Centre to invest Rs 6000 cr on oil palm cultivation in NE: Khandu

Namsai: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Saturday informed that the Central government will be investing around Rs 6000 crore on oil palm cultivation in the Northeast and expected Arunachal Pradesh to benefit the most out of it.

Allaying ‘fears’ of its negative impact on the environment, the chief minister reiterated that no forest land will be destroyed or a tree cut.

“Only wastelands, which are abundant along the foothills, will be utilized for oil palm cultivation. We will have to be patient and wait for a few years to reap its benefits, which will be massive,” Khandu said.

The chief minister was addressing the BJP karyakartas after laying the foundation of the Namsai Block BJP office here.

The Union Cabinet had in August approved Rs 11,040 crore for the National Mission on Edible Oils-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) to boost palm oil production in the country with special focus on the Northeast and the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The investment aims to boost domestic oilseed production to make the nation self-reliant in terms of cooking oil.

India is currently dependent on imports from countries in South East Asia to meet its domestic demands.

Responses from the northeastern states to the announcement have, however, been mixed with Meghalaya Lok Sabha MP Agatha Sangma raising concerns and Arunachal chief minister Khandu stating his support for the move.

Khandu had earlier this month said that Arunachal Pradesh has at least 1.33 lakh hectares feasible for the commercial cultivation of oil palm out of which only about 5,000 hectares have been used.

He had, however, assured that the land surveyed by the Central team in 2019 for the cultivation falls under unused wasteland and not under the forest land category.

Push for schemes: Chief Minister Khandu earlier called upon the BJP karyakartas to widely publicize the two state government’s flagship programmes – ‘Atma Nirbhar Krishi Yojna’ and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bagwani Yojna’ – which he claimed would be game changers for the state’s rural economy.

Khandu urged the party workers to become the bridge between the government and the rural masses.

He particularly stressed on taking the schemes to the farmers and help and encourage them avail the benefits.

“These are both front-ended subsidies. Components of the schemes are 45% government subsidy, 45% bank loan and only 10% individual investment farmer,” informed Khandu.

No land document like land possession certificate (LPC) will be required for SHGs availing the schemes. A simple certificate from the concerned extra assistant commissioner, circle officer or block development officer will serve the purpose.

Expressing optimism that the schemes will be very much beneficial to about 3700 SHGs of the state, Khandu advised grassroot party workers to reach out to SHGs of their respective regions, who may not yet be aware of these.

Earlier, the chief minister launched the BJP’s Health Volunteers Programme, wherein health volunteers equipped with medical kits will reach out to people in far flung areas to aware, help and counsel them on Covid-19.

He also distributed free ration to the needy under the PM’s Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna and inaugurated an exhibition stall on life and achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the site of the BJP office. He also planted tree saplings around the site.

The day also marked the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.

BJP is celebrating ‘Sevaaur Samarpan Abhiyan’ across the country from September 17 to October 7 to commemorate Modi’s birthday and his 20 years of active political service (as Gujarat CM and India’s PM) to the people.

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