Kohima: Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ashwini Kr Choubey Monday announced that the Centre will be releasing Rs 20 crore for rehabilitation of shifting cultivation or Jhum cultivation in the state.

Addressing a press conference at a hotel in state capital Kohima, Choubey said the amount will be disbursed to discourage the slash and burn agricultural practice and to rehabilitate the forest lands degraded through Jhum cultivation. He assured that farmers will also benefit through the compensation grant.

Chief Adviser of the minister, Naveen Jha, told journalists that since Nagaland does not qualify for the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funding, as the state does not have a Forest Conservation Act, the Centre has found another way to give compensation to encourage afforestation.

Jha said the sanction was made ahead of the union minister’s visit to the state. However, at the request of the chief minister, the union minister has assured to release the amount as one time grant for the state of Nagaland even if the state does not qualify for CAMPA.

Temjenyabang Jamir, IFS, Conservator of Forests, later told the media that the pilot project will be carried out in six districts of the state covering the eastern part, including the Wokha district.

Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ashwini Kr Choubey, addressing a press conference in Kohima on Monday evening

“We are looking at the possibility of shifting from jhum cultivation to settled land use. The proposal is for the jhum fields to be converted to terraces. It has been tried in the past but it did not happen as there was no holistic approach. This time we are not just looking at the establishment of terraces but also focusing on livelihood and income generating activities,” the officer said.

Jamir informed that a micro plan will be made where the suggestions of the local communities will also be taken up.

The announcement was made by the union minister after he briefly met with Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio at the CM’s residence in Kohima.

Rio took to Twitter saying, “Shri Ashwini Kr. Choubey @AshwiniKChoubey, Hon’ble Union MoS called on me. He is in Nagaland to review different forest and consumer affairs departmental projects in the state. Grateful to him for his concern and support for Nagaland.”

Choubey also met the new Nagaland governor, Jagdish Mukhi, at the Raj Bhavan. “Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Hon’ble Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India, called on Hon’ble Governor, Prof @jagdishmukhi at Raj Bhavan  Kohima today. They discussed matters relating to our forests and environment,” the Raj Bhavan tweeted.

36 schools in Nagaland to receive Rs 50,000 each for setting up nurseries

The union minister also announced that 36 government schools in Nagaland will be receiving an amount of Rs 50,000 each to set up school nurseries. Besides, an amount of Rs 40,000 each will also be released for the gardeners of these nurseries.

Jha informed that the amount will be given during the initial two years of the 5-year project following which these nurseries will be monitored.

Jha said that as a “token of gesture” for forest conservation activities, the union minister has donated Rs 10,000 to the Piphema village council in Dimapur, which Choubey visited prior to his arrival in Kohima.

The Union minister has also promised to provide a sum of Rs 10,000 and bear the education expenses of a student who promotes plantation and environment-friendly activities.

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