Indo-German (KfW) Financial Co-operation project launched
IMPHAL| Oct 23
The ‘Indo-German Finance Co-operation Project community based sustainable forest management for water resources conservation in Manipur’ was officially launched at Hotel Sangai Continental, Imphal today.
Some important expected outcome of the project are healthy watersheds of streams, close to nature torrential stream restoration, riparian forest conservation, downstream flood mitigation, improved soil and water conservation reducing siltation, recharged spring shed and rejuvenation of springs and streams, resilient climate change mitigation and adaptation, improved biodiversity and improved water supply.
Principal chief conservator, forest and environment, K.Angami said, “This project of implementing externally aided project by the Forest department will be the first of its kind in the history of Manipur and there will be a better change through the project, for the betterment of the Forest department and to conserve and preserve the forest.”
While speaking at the function, the chief minister of Manipur, N. Biren Singh said that Manipur is nestled between two of the world’s hotspots of biodiversity, the ‘Indo-Myanmar hotspot’ and the ‘Himalayan hotspot.’
And the state has abundant natural resources and rich bio-diversity. It is also home to the rare and endangered brow-antlered deer, ‘Sangai’ and also gifted with the ‘Loktak Lake’ and blessed with the beauty of ‘Shirui Lily.’
Biren said that there are lots more to be done for the welfare of the people and communities while ensuring that growth is sustainable and resilient to consolidate development gains and it requires a collaborative and cooperative approach between various stake holders.
A growing population which is increasing demands with huge developmental needs has put tremendous pressure on the land and natural resources and to protect the Paddy fields and wet lands, the government has made various efforts, he said.
In the last one and half years, the government has also increased the protected Area network by about 92sq.km by declaring eight new community reserves in Senapati and Tamenglong districts and mass awareness programmes involving civil societies, academicians, community, students and locals to protect and conserve forests and wildlife were taken up, he further informed.
An initiative has been started to conserve and protect the Loktak lake under ‘Loktak Livelihood mission,’ said the chief minister.
He further said that in the recent past, Manipur has been affected by floods which have destroyed homes, roads, crops and livelihood of thousands and at the same time the state has also faced spells of drought like situation affecting mostly the rural poor. So it is necessary to ensure proper management of forest and water resources by conserving and developing catchment areas, soil and moisture conservation measures, rejuvenating the wildlife habitat and biodiversity and creating livelihood opportunities, he added.
At the local level, projects in community based forest management intend to achieve forest protection while generating socio economic benefits for forest dependent people through a collaborative approach. And at the Global level, the launch of Indo-German Financial Cooperation Project is a step towards the close cooperation required between developed and developing nations towards climate change mitigation and adaptations, said Biren.
He said that climate change is a reality which adversely affects development and it has dramatic impacts on natural resources, economics activities, food security health and physical infrastructure.
Biren also said that Manipur and the Northeast region with its difficult terrains, socioeconomic realities, poor infrastructures and fragile ecosystems is no exception to the challenges and vulnerabilities of climate change.
In order to ensure inclusive development, climate adaptation measures are of vital importance for the protection of rural livelihoods and for ensuring sustainable development.
The chief minister further said that he is looking forward towards the successful implementation of the project which aims to invest in protection of existing forest areas in collaboration with the local communities, to regenerate 21,800 hectares of degraded forest which will reduce flash floods in downstream Imphal valley and sustain multipurpose Thoubal dam and to improve and sustainably manage 1,500 hectare of riparian zones.
The project will also rejuvenate springs, ensure that soil erosion is reduced and moisture conserved and rehabilitate 2000 hectares of area from shifting cultivation and the need to develop mechanism to control and regulate mining of sand and stone to restore important streams will be addressed by the project, said Biren.
He added that implementing the project will also promote livelihood activities, improve wildlife habitat, strengthen the Forest department and train front line staff and villagers and it is expected to generate 37.50 lakhs of employment to local communities where the benefits will be over and above the ecosystems benefits accrued as a result of the healthy watersheds of the streams, rejuvenated springs and general improvement in the environment and ecology is expected from the project.
While congratulating the individuals and institutions whose hard work and commitment has made the project a reality, Biren gave assurance of support and cooperation to ensure that the project is successfully implemented for the welfare of the communities and the environment.
He further asked the active participation of all stakeholders to ensure that the project can be a grand success.
Forest minister, Th. ShyamKumar said that the people should be aware of the Law and Forest Act so that they can be careful in their actions.
Representing the GFA Consulting group, Hamburg Germany, portfolio manager, Manfred Fischer said that the group will support the state in implementing the project and further stress the need of close co-operation, regular meetings and exchange of ideas to implement the project successfully.
Officials informed that the total project costs for eleven years is about Rs. 254 crore and the first phase of seven years is Rs. 137. 47 crore. As per the government of India, current funding norm to northeastern states, 90 percent of the loan will be repaid with interest by government of India and 10 percent by the state after 20 years with interest of less than one percent.
The project loan agreement was signed by KfW and ministry of finance, government of India in 2017; a separate agreement was also signed by the state forest department and KfW for implementation of the project.
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