Guwahati, Monday, January 17, 2011
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Mizoram launches policy to end jhum
BB Lahkar
 AIZAWL, Jan 16 – Jhum cultivation, a bane of Mizoram, will change into settled agriculture in five years and poverty will be removed from the State in 10 years, State Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla promised on Friday while launching the ambitious Rs 2,873-crore New Land Use Policy (NLUP) here.

Addressing a crowded audience at Vanapa Hall here after unveiling the NLUP website, the Chief Minister said the project aims to provide permanent livelihood to 1,20,000 jhumia families within the coming five years. He also announced that there would be no below poverty line (BPL) families in the State after 10 years.

Later, speaking to newsmen at his office chamber, Lalthanhawla informed that a lot of planning had gone into working out the project to ensure best possible results. Denying that his Government was trying to benefit only Congress members through the NLUP, he said, “ All efforts have been made to benefit all sections of the people by constituting monitoring committees at village, district and State level to ensure transparency.”

He claimed that even the Government of India is impressed by the project and if successful, it will be replicated in other States in the North East and rest of the country. A baseline household survey was entrusted to the Young Mizo Association (YMA) in September, 2009 which identified 1,58,000 families as eligible for assistance. Of this, 1,20,000 families were finally selected for providing assistance under the project.

The successful implementation of the NLUP will bring about a massive 16 per cent rise in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State, PL Thanga, vice chairman of the NLUP Implementing Board informed. “In several areas, we will be adopting the cluster approach so as to enable technical and marketing support to the beneficiaries,” he added.

Crops suitable for cultivation in different areas of the State have been identified, he said, adding, “For instance, orange has been identified for cultivation along the border with Myanmar.” In Vairangte area, an ‘arecanut village’ has come up with as many as 500 families taking up the cultivation of arecanuts.

“The State is targetting to achieve self-sufficiency in fish, poultry and pig production by the end of the current year itself”, Thanga stated.

Muga, the golden silk of Assam, may not remain the exclusive preserve of Assam after NLUP. The Implementing Committee has identified 6,000 hectares which are suitable for rearing muga silkworms. Mulberry trees on which the silkworms feed are extensively found in Mizoram, Thanga disclosed. Nearly 3,000 families in two clusters will take up muga cultivation, he added.

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