Bamboo categorized as 'grass', instead of 'tree' – allowing its social growers to use them for various purposes
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, April 4: Bamboo growers in society in the State are free to grow bamboo for domestic as well as commercial purposes as its new categorization as a ‘grass’ instead of a ‘tree’ is not going to ‘bamboozle’ its growers any longer.
Despite being woody in ture, biologists always classify bamboo as a grass — based on its various characters.
This became possible with the passage of the Assam Forest Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in the State Assembly on Wednesday. The new Act has categorized bamboo as a ‘grass’ against its earlier categorization as ‘trees’. Since tree felling is banned in the State, no individual who grows trees on his/her own land can cut them for any purpose, domestic or commercial, without permission from the Forest Department.
Introducing the Bill on the floor of the Assembly on Wednesday, State Forest and Environment Minister Pramila Rani Brahma, however, has made it clear that even as bamboo has been categorized as a grass, all bamboos grown turally or otherwise on forest land will continue to be treated as forest resources that cannot be cut or transported under the relevant Act.
The passage of the Bill has not been without any hiccups. Congress MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed moved an amendment motion seeking clear mention in the Bill that bamboo that grows on forest land should be treated as ‘trees’, not as ‘grass’.
In her reply, Brahma has said that such a measure is not warranted as the existing rules and regulations term as bamboo as a forest resource, regardless of its categorization as ‘grass’ or ‘trees’. Cutting or using any forest resource for domestic or commercial purpose is always banned, she said.
Despite such a clarification from the minister, the Congress refused to withdraw the amendment motion, leading the Speaker to put the ‘amendment motion’ to voice vote. With the amendment motion being defeated on voice vote, the Congress staged a walkout.
Later, State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said: “The new Act ected today is going to benefit the bamboo industries in the State. Various rules and regulations do hem the bamboo industries in, not allowing the use and transportation of bamboo for any purposes.”
On the amendment motion moved by the Congress, Patowary said: “In fact, the Congress doesn’t want industrialization in the State. The party made an attempt to stall the passage of the Bill only to get its purpose served. I’m in the know of facts as to how much funds did pour in into the State in the me of bamboo mission during the Congress regime. During its tenures at Dispur, the Congress Government failed to plant a single bamboo groove under the bamboo mission. I’m also in the know as to where funds meant for bamboo mission were spent.”
Such a statement from Patowary prompted AGP MLA Brindabon Goswami to raise the demand for an inquiry into the alleged embezzlement of funds meant for the bamboo mission during the Congress regime in the State.