Mizoram has assisted 131,940 families in settled farming: Governor

Aizawl, Jan 26 (IANS) Mizoram has financially assisted 131,940 families in doing settled farming instead of the traditional ‘jhum’ cultivation, Mizoram Governor Lt. Gen. Nirbhay Sharma (retd.) said here on Thursday.

“The state government under the state’s flagship programme — New Land Use Policy (NLUP) — has financially assisted 131,940 families against an original target of 120,000 families for doing settled farming instead of the traditional and age-old ‘jhum’ cultivation,” the Governor said after unfurling the national flag at the Assam Rifles Ground here on the occasion of Republic Day.

The Mizoram government launched the Rs 2,873 crore-programme in 2010 to give financial help to tribal ‘jhumia’ families and provide them training for settled farming instead of ‘jhum’ cultivation.

Tribals, who constitute 27 per cent of the 45.58 million people in the northeastern states, practice traditional and unscientific ‘jhum’ or slash-and-burn method of cultivation, in which wild land is cleared and the vegetation burned to make way for new cultivable land.

Sharma said that agriculture and its allied sectors are the primary strengths of Mizoram’s growth and development and is the very backbone of the state’s economy as more than 70 per cent of the population is engaged in it.

“Utmost importance and due stress is given to the agriculture sectors to bring about self-sufficiency and lessen the state’s agricultural dependence on neighbouring states. Mizoram is currently producing only 33.71 per cent of the state’s rice requirement, which is the staple food of people in the state. Thus, Mizoram is aiming towards self-sufficiency in terms of food production with the utmost urgency,” he said.

Sharma said that three hydro power projects with a total generation capacity of around 70 MW would be commissioned this year fulfilling the state’s total power requirement.

“Mizoram has rich water resources, which can be utilised for hydro power generation. The state has a potential to generate 4,500 MW of electricity if all the rivers are harnessed,” he added.

“Mizoram has strived to emerge as the cleanest state in India and to make cities, towns and villages of the state as the cleanest habitations by 2019. The Asian Development Bank assisted by North Eastern Regional Capital Cities Development Investment Programme, has been instrumental in taking up infrastructure such as water supply, sewerage and solid waste management,” he told the gathering at the Assam Rifles ground.

The Governor said the Mizoram Youth Commission has been facilitating skill development training for employment and more than 3,000 youths have attended such enriching programmes and a large number of them have found gainful employment outside the state in the services and hospitality sectors.

“The Kelkang Water Supply Scheme, the largest solar energy-based pumping water supply scheme in Asia, was commissioned in November 2016,” he said adding that Champhai district was recently declared an Open Defecation Free district while four other districts are expected to be declared ODF districts during this year.

Republic Day was celebrated across the state with a variety of functions.