State

State to do homework on oil palm cultivation, KSU opposes central plan

Shillong, Sept 8: Chief Minister Conrad Sangma assured that the state government will do proper homework before taking a call on the Centre’s plan  to promote oil palm cultivation in the Northeast region.

Earlier, the KSU had asked the government not to implement the project.

Speaking to reporters after the MDA meeting, Sangma said, “Whatever steps we take forward we will do it only when we are convinced that the environment is safeguarded and the interest of the local people are safeguarded and ensure all these aspects are taken into consideration and then we move forward. As I said government of India proposal is there and obviously we will see to what extent we will go but we will go once we have done our homework properly.”

He said it is a good project and added if the state government has barren land which is not forest area, this can be utilised for plantations.

However, in a memorandum to the chief minister, the chairman of the KSU Environment Cell, B Nongsiej said,”…Union is of the opinion that the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm, should not be implemented in the state of Meghalaya. We urge your esteemed office to pull in other alternative schemes and projects which will be more sustainable and beneficial to the environment and the livelihood of the farmers and public at large.”

The KSU leader pointed out the policy adopted by the Sri Lankan government towards the palm plantations over the recent years and added that the state government should take into account their initiative and actions as they have already discouraged such plantations  putting a ban throughout their country due to various alarming environmental and health concerns.

The KSU leader said as per reports, palm oil plantation will result in vast deforestation which will automatically increase the carbon footprint, habitat fragmentation, habitat loss of organisms and will cause mass destruction to the ecosystem in Meghalaya.

“It has also been reported that the plantation of such different monoculture crop which is not indigenous will lead to the depletion of underground water and lead to the diversion of stream waters into such areas, therefore, it will adversely affect the water table and obstruct the natural flow of rivers and streams which is one of the main source of livelihood of the people,” Nongsiej said.

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