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UNDP for alternate livelihood projects in Dhansiri-Sikaridanga JFMC

John Borgayari, Regional Head of UNDP addressing members of Dhansiri-Sikaridanga JFMC man-made forest at Sikaridanga near Bhairabkunda recently. Dr Bibhuti Lahkar and Jayanta Sarma of Aranyak are also seen. – Photo: Jayanta Das
 KALAIGAON, Oct 19 - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will support a few projects on alternate livelihood for the green warriors of Dhansiri-Sikaridanga JFMC man-made forest in Udalguri district bordering Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. The UNDP-supported project will be implemented by Aranyak Assam. The project will cover 13 villages around the Dhansiri-Sikaridanga JFMC man-made forest. The main purpose of the programme will be to support alternate livelihood for the families of the people involved with conservation of nature and wildlife in the localities concerned. It is worth mentioning that Dhansiri-Sikaridanga JFMC man-made forest was started in 2014 on a 175-hectare area. Most of the lands belonging to Bhairabkunda Reserve Forest and Rowta Reserve Forest were under encroachment till 2014. Final eviction was done in 2016 under the supervision of Sadhana Hojai, DC, Udalguri (now retired), Girindra Adhikari, DFO and Madhurjya Kumar Sarma, DFO, Dhansiri Forest Division, Udalguri (both retired now). Nearly 600 hectares of encroached lands were cleared for plantation after eviction of 45 families.

 A Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC) was formed with people of seven nearby villages namely – Dolonibasti, Naoheruwa, Dakhin Naoheruwa, Kukurbhuka, Monai, No. 1 Sikaridanga and No. 2 Sikaridanga to look after the new man-made forest. The JFMC was formed with 62 members including 21 woman members. For each seven villages, there are seven sub committees to look after respective villages. Since 2019 wild animals, birds and reptiles of various species namely-wild elephants, wild boar, jackal, python, deer, hare, leopard, black panther, hornbill, bengal florican, coucal etc., are taking shelter in the man-made forest attracting visitors and villagers.

John Borgayari, Regional Head, UNDP North East office paid a visit to the JFMC recently. Senior officials of Aranyak headed by its programme secretary Dr Bibhuti Lahkar were also present on the occasion. Addressing both JFMC members and Aranyak, John Borgayari, UNDP NE Region Chief gave details of the UNDP-supported programme to be implemented by Aranyak, Assam. He thanked the people who had been instrumental in the establishment of the new man- made forest. Dr Bibhuti Lahkar of Aranyak said that the programme would cover issues like – piggery, cleanliness drive, conservation activities, cultivation of dragon fruits, training of cooking ethnic foods, training of tourist guides, woman SHG formation and support, formation of Green Cadres etc. Aranyak officials namely– Jayanta Sarma, consultant, Alternative Livelihood Mission, Jayanta Kumar Pathak, Manager, Environment Management and Capacity Building and JFMC officials namely– Proloy Daimari, president, Bineswar Daimari, secretary and Tata Daimari assistant secretary also took part in the discussion. The whole session was anchored and conducted by Jayanta K Das, honorary wildlife warden of the district.

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