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Manipur eyes lemongrass as alternative to poppy cultivation

By Correspondent

IMPHAL, Dec 6 - The Manipur government has sought the Centre�s approval for cultivation of lemongrass in 130 hectares in the hill districts as an alternative to poppy plantation.

The proposal for the Rs 6.8-crore project has been sent to the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs for approval.

During a consultative meeting with the village chiefs of Ukhrul district, Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Saturday said the government is trying to provide an alternative livelihood to poppy growers and directed the officials to convene a joint meeting of all concerned officials and stakeholders to identify the villages where lemongrass plantation could be taken up.

Many villages in Ukhrul district were affected by the destruction of poppy plants under the government�s campaign against drugs.

Tribal Affairs and Hills Minister Vungzagin Valte, Social Welfare Minister O Henry, MLAs TN Haokip, DD Thaisii, Ngamthang Haokip, Yamthong Haokip, Ginsuanhau, Khasim Vashum, K Leishiyo, Alfred Kanngam Arthur, DGP LM Khaute, Home Commissioner Gyan Prakash, Special Secretary (TA and Hills) Chiphang Arthur Worchuiyo, Ukhrul Deputy Commissioner Joseph Pauline Kamson, Ukhrul SP Worngam Ningshen and other officials were also present at the meeting.

The Chief Minister, who is confident that the poppy growers would automatically switch to other means of livelihood if the government provide them adequate assistance, stated that suitable livelihood activities should be identified keeping in view the climatic and soil conditions and interest of the villagers.

�Chaired a consultative meeting with DC & SP, Ukhrul Dist along with representatives of farmers/villagers affected by the Govt�s drive against poppy cultivation. The Govt is offering various alternatives to poppy cultivation in the hills,� he tweeted.

Steps are also being taken to implement a pilot project worth Rs 60 lakh by the Manipur Food Industries Corporation Ltd to plant lemongrass in 10 hectares in Senapati district and three hectares in Ukhrul district.

Depending on the success of the pilot project, it would be extended to other areas. The State Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department has also given permission for plantation of lemongrass under MGNREGA, official sources said.

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Manipur eyes lemongrass as alternative to poppy cultivation

IMPHAL, Dec 6 - The Manipur government has sought the Centre�s approval for cultivation of lemongrass in 130 hectares in the hill districts as an alternative to poppy plantation.

The proposal for the Rs 6.8-crore project has been sent to the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs for approval.

During a consultative meeting with the village chiefs of Ukhrul district, Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Saturday said the government is trying to provide an alternative livelihood to poppy growers and directed the officials to convene a joint meeting of all concerned officials and stakeholders to identify the villages where lemongrass plantation could be taken up.

Many villages in Ukhrul district were affected by the destruction of poppy plants under the government�s campaign against drugs.

Tribal Affairs and Hills Minister Vungzagin Valte, Social Welfare Minister O Henry, MLAs TN Haokip, DD Thaisii, Ngamthang Haokip, Yamthong Haokip, Ginsuanhau, Khasim Vashum, K Leishiyo, Alfred Kanngam Arthur, DGP LM Khaute, Home Commissioner Gyan Prakash, Special Secretary (TA and Hills) Chiphang Arthur Worchuiyo, Ukhrul Deputy Commissioner Joseph Pauline Kamson, Ukhrul SP Worngam Ningshen and other officials were also present at the meeting.

The Chief Minister, who is confident that the poppy growers would automatically switch to other means of livelihood if the government provide them adequate assistance, stated that suitable livelihood activities should be identified keeping in view the climatic and soil conditions and interest of the villagers.

�Chaired a consultative meeting with DC & SP, Ukhrul Dist along with representatives of farmers/villagers affected by the Govt�s drive against poppy cultivation. The Govt is offering various alternatives to poppy cultivation in the hills,� he tweeted.

Steps are also being taken to implement a pilot project worth Rs 60 lakh by the Manipur Food Industries Corporation Ltd to plant lemongrass in 10 hectares in Senapati district and three hectares in Ukhrul district.

Depending on the success of the pilot project, it would be extended to other areas. The State Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department has also given permission for plantation of lemongrass under MGNREGA, official sources said.

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