All chief ministers of Northeast states should take up urgent action to stop and withdraw the centrally-approved large-scale oil palm plantation project across the region under the National Mission on Edible Oil–Oil Palm (NMEO-OP), the Eastern Himalayan Youth Coordinating Committee on Climate Change has said.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 18, gave its approval to launch the NMEO-OP as a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme with a special focus on the Northeast region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Taking serious note of the project as “yet another project of destruction” for the people of North East India, the committee submitted a memorandum to all the chief ministers of North Eastern states on Monday.
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Stating that large-scale oil palm plantation is not people friendly and environment friendly, the committee pointed out that several countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia and Colombia, have witnessed large-scale negative impact of oil palm tree plantation.
The committee also stated that the Sri Lankan Government has banned oil palm tree plantation and import and export of the same. It also stated that it is important to learn from the bitter experience faced by the people in Mizoram.
“As there is no solution proven by experts to curb the negative impact of oil palm tree plantation, we request all the chief ministers to stop and withdraw the proposed oil palm plantation in all the NE states under the NMEO-OP,” the committee stated.
The committee requested the governments to withdraw all the laws passed by the respective legislative assemblies with regard to oil palm plantation in Northeastern states of India. It also requested to encourage farmers to produce large-scale vegetable oil by taking up mustard farming on a large scale.
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The committee stated that the biodiversity of the Northeast region is a genetic treasure of various forms of plants and animals. The region comes under the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot which ranks sixth among the 25 biodiversity hotspots of the world. Most of the North-Eastern states have more than 60 per cent of areas under forest cover.
Large-scale forest areas have disappeared due to construction of mega dams, mining, oil exploration, expansion of highways, etc. giving serious negative impact on the inhabitants in the region, environment, animals, flora and fauna, etc, the committee mentioned.