SHILLONG, Aug 29: With the objective to take forward the Green Economy concept of the State Government in a more aggressive manner, a state-wide mass bamboo plantation drive was launched by Agriculture & Horticulture departments with the involvement of all the Village Employment Councils (VECs) across the State on Monday.
Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma kicked off the bamboo plantation drive at Betasing C&RD block in South West Garo Hills and also planted bamboo saplings.
He also made a token distribution of bamboo saplings to selected farmers on the occasion.
From Betasing, the Chief Minister proceeded to Gongglanggre village under Selsella C&RD Block in West Garo Hills district and joined in the bamboo plantation.
In his address, the Chief Minister said this mass bamboo plantation is not a new scheme and that it is more of a programme of adoption of new approach in a convergence mode as the scheme had been launched last year under Horticulture Mission to promote Agar & Bamboo plantation aimed at promoting sustaible livelihood as well as sustaible ecology.
Stating that bamboo has always been the way of life of the tribal people and that it is not something new, the Chief Minister however said the government has given special thrust on bamboo to fill the demand and supply gap and create opportunities “in our own backyard”.
Despite being an agrarian country we are still importing bamboo for various purposes like paper mills and making incense sticks, besides other things,” he said.
Highlighting the importance of bamboo, the number of activities associated with it and how it can be a raw material for various industries, the Chief Minister said that amazing things can happen when our tural resources are utilized in a scientific approach and spoke of the proposal to create additiol value of bamboo by producing bio-fuel from this wonder plant.
Expressing alarm over the abnormal climatic condition, erratic and scanty rainfall in the past few weeks, the Chief Minister said that there is a need to recharge our catchment areas through plantation of Bamboo and remunerative plants like Agar, Ramie, Black pepper and others.
He urged upon the Horticulture and Agriculture departments to create programmes that are more remunerative to farmers and help in recreating biodiversity as well and also to look at the barren lands in the area for plantation of pulses.
“There is a need to create resilient livelihood opportunities so that our people do not suffer during the times of crisis brought by climatic change”, he added.
As part of the Mission Green, he said the bamboo plantation should also be done along the roads and that maintence of different stretches of the roads should be given to communities, schools, clubs, etc, “because only when communities are involved, the forests that we create can be sustained”, he added.
Stating that there are over five lakh job card holders in the State under MGNREGS, the Chief Minister was of the view that if all these families were involved in the plantation they could be able to create an aggregated impact.
He also announced additiol funds from the Government to those VECs who make schemes for livelihood so as to generate competition among the villages and to build stronger partnership with the communities for proper use of tural resources.