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Govt to lift ban on agar tree felling

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, July 26 - The State government will amend the Assam (Control of Felling and Removal of Trees from non-forest lands) Rules, 2002 and Agar would be included in the list of trees for which no felling permission from the Forest department would be required.

The other trees in the Rules are �Aam�, �Jamun�, �Kathal�, Eucalyptus, Poplar, all species of home-grown bamboo, �Leteku�, �Paniol� and �Madhuriam�.

The Cabinet last evening approved the proposal of the Forest department to liberalise felling restriction to grow more agar trees on non-forest lands and farms for enhancing the economic status of the growers. Regulation of agar plantation is also proposed to be relaxed for ease of cultivation and felling of the tree.

A recent survey had found that the total number of agarwood trees in non-forest areas of the State is about 1.433 million. The trees are concentrated in the four districts of Hojai, Jorhat, Sivasagar and Golaghat. Hojai constituted more than 91 per cent of the total tree resource.

Export of agarwood in the form of log, timber, chips, oil, powder and flakes derived from wild trees has been prohibited in India since 1991. The export of plant portions from cultivation origin of such species has to be supported with production of certificate of legal possession. The farmers who are planting the trees only receive about 30 per cent of the actual price due to restriction of agarwood trade and export and certain groups are creating a monopoly over the trade of agarwood oil.

According to the Forest department, lifting the ban of felling agarwood tree in non-forest areas will pave the way for direct trade between growers, processors and buyers. �However, there should be a defined role for all stakeholders which should be suitably accommodated in the amended Act so that unscrupulous traders do not have monopoly,� the department felt.

Agarwood oil is a sought-after product for world class perfumery as a fixative and is highly priced by western perfumers for mixing their best grade scents. Agarwood chips and powder are used for incense sticks and fragrance, hence making the trees a lucrative global trade option.

Due to an unsustained harvest in the past, these trees have almost depleted from the forests in Assam. People have started planting the trees in their private lands in non-forest areas to continue with the trade.

To support the growers and eliminate the middlemen who get maximum benefits at present, the government will also set up a trade centre at Golaghat.

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Govt to lift ban on agar tree felling

GUWAHATI, July 26 - The State government will amend the Assam (Control of Felling and Removal of Trees from non-forest lands) Rules, 2002 and Agar would be included in the list of trees for which no felling permission from the Forest department would be required.

The other trees in the Rules are �Aam�, �Jamun�, �Kathal�, Eucalyptus, Poplar, all species of home-grown bamboo, �Leteku�, �Paniol� and �Madhuriam�.

The Cabinet last evening approved the proposal of the Forest department to liberalise felling restriction to grow more agar trees on non-forest lands and farms for enhancing the economic status of the growers. Regulation of agar plantation is also proposed to be relaxed for ease of cultivation and felling of the tree.

A recent survey had found that the total number of agarwood trees in non-forest areas of the State is about 1.433 million. The trees are concentrated in the four districts of Hojai, Jorhat, Sivasagar and Golaghat. Hojai constituted more than 91 per cent of the total tree resource.

Export of agarwood in the form of log, timber, chips, oil, powder and flakes derived from wild trees has been prohibited in India since 1991. The export of plant portions from cultivation origin of such species has to be supported with production of certificate of legal possession. The farmers who are planting the trees only receive about 30 per cent of the actual price due to restriction of agarwood trade and export and certain groups are creating a monopoly over the trade of agarwood oil.

According to the Forest department, lifting the ban of felling agarwood tree in non-forest areas will pave the way for direct trade between growers, processors and buyers. �However, there should be a defined role for all stakeholders which should be suitably accommodated in the amended Act so that unscrupulous traders do not have monopoly,� the department felt.

Agarwood oil is a sought-after product for world class perfumery as a fixative and is highly priced by western perfumers for mixing their best grade scents. Agarwood chips and powder are used for incense sticks and fragrance, hence making the trees a lucrative global trade option.

Due to an unsustained harvest in the past, these trees have almost depleted from the forests in Assam. People have started planting the trees in their private lands in non-forest areas to continue with the trade.

To support the growers and eliminate the middlemen who get maximum benefits at present, the government will also set up a trade centre at Golaghat.

More in Entertainment
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