Tripura Cabinet approves Non-Timber Forest Product policy to ensure systematic development of forest produce, boost economy in state amid COVID-19 crisis
Agartala: In a bid to boost the forest resources and provide an opportunity to the indigenous communities who largely depend upon the forest products, the Cabinet of Tripura BJP-IPFT government has approved the ‘Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP)‘ policy, said Cabinet spokesperson and law minister Ratan Lal Nath.
Among other states of India, so far, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Uttrakhand have implemented this policy.
Speaking at a press conference, Nath said that this for the first time in state that such a policy has been approved in view to make the best use of available forest resources.
“The state cabinet has approved the NTFP policy to ensure the systematic development of the forest produces and boost the economy of the tribal community. Now, the harvesting would be done in a scientific manner to increase the income for forest-dwelling people especially in the tribal areas who are dependent on forest,” Nath said.
He also said that currently, Tripura currently produces 800 MT broomstick flowers, 200 MT incense, 200 MT large cardamom annually. Bamboo is cultivated in 3,617 km area of the state.
Speaking further, he said that the BJP-IPFT government has decided to keep 25 percent of funds from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) phase II funded for planned forestry programmes in scientific cultivation of non-timber forest products for the next five years.
The JICA project first was launched in the year 2007 with an initial earmarked fund of Rs 4 crore for forest activities like joint forest management, soil conservation. A total of Rs 304.62 crore was spent till 2017 in the first phase of JICA and over 79.54-hectare joint forest land was developed in the state with the involvement of around 1,505 self-help groups in the first phase.
Phase II was approved with the initiatives of the present BJP-IPFT government and as per the agreement between the state government and JICA, Tripura is scheduled to receive Rs 1,000 crores for 10 years to improve forestlands in targeted catchment areas of Tripura.
Earlier in January, chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb launched the Sustainable Catchment Forest Management to develop the quality of forest lands and livelihood of forest dwellers which is also jointly funded by JICA and the government of India.