Shillong: Officials of North East Slow Food & Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS) in Meghalaya, on Friday condemned Member of Parliament (MP) Vincent Pala for his statement that he would raise the issue of negative impact of jhum cultivation at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Addressing the media, NESFAS executive director Pius Ranee said the MP should have conducted proper research before deciding to raise the issue. They also felt that Pala, being a tribal, should understand that jhum cultivation has a lot to do with the culture of the people.

“We’ve been looking at sustainability; in this kind of cultivation it is diverse. The statement that Pala had made regards to jhum cultivation is unacceptable to us. It is not based on facts. Jhum cultivation is an ancient tradition and part of our culture,” said Ranee.

Senior associate research and knowledge management at NESFAS, Bhogtoram Mawroh, said that over the years debate over shifting cultivation has changed. “Shifting cultivation is not against climate change. Actually, it can help in combating climate change,” said Mawroh.

Mawroh also felt that the MP should be more concerned about the coke factories and coal mining which is contributing immensely to climate change in the state. He added that the MP was “a hypocrite” to only pick up on jhum cultivation.

Environmentalist Hamkhein Mohrmen said there is a community in East Jaintia Hills that live on jhum cultivation since time immemorial.

“Pala should look and learn from this community before speaking about the impact of Jhum cultivation,” Mohrmen added.

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