Itanagar: Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Thursday hailed the Arunachal Pradesh government for its “Airgun Surrender” campaign, a wildlife conservation initiative, and assured the state administration of all possible help to protect the hoolock gibbons.

Choubey, the minister of state for environment, forest and climate change, appealed to the authorities to continue the programme to protect animal species in the state.

In Arunachal Pradesh, where hunting has been a community practice steeped in history and culture, the “Airgun Surrender Abhiyan” is spinning a new hope for conservation with over 2,000 weapons given up voluntarily since its launch in March.

According to state environment and forest minister Mama Natung, who masterminded the initiative, had said the programme is completely voluntary, aimed at making people aware of wildlife conservation.

Choubey also said the Centre has been focusing on the development of the northeast and has sanctioned “sufficient” funds to Arunachal Pradesh under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) for various programmes.

The state government has sent a slew of proposals for the protection of environment and forest, and the central government is working on these requests, Choubey, who arrived here during the day, said.

On his maiden visit to Arunachal Pradesh, the minister said the union environment ministry is looking into the eco-tourism aspects in the state and to solve the issue of transportation for valued timbers.

Choubey, who also holds the portfolio of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, lauded the state government for the delivery of free ration distribution in remote places of Arunachal Pradesh.

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