Japan’s aid to India’s environment

June 22nd, 2011 - 8:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, June 22 (IANS) The Japanese government has been monetarily supporting forest and environmental projects in 11 Indian states, an official said here Wednesday.

“The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) since 1990 has been supporting 11 Indian states for protection and development of forests and environment,” said S. Tsuji, consultant for Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

The 11 Indian states getting the financial assistance from JICA are Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Orissa, Haryana, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal.

Tsuji was addressing a function where Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar inaugurated the headquarters of a Tripura-JICA project at western Tripura’s Gandhigram, 25 km north of here.

At the function, Sarkar said: “A couple of years ago destruction of forests in the interior areas of the northeastern state was virtually a common feature. But with the mass awareness and effective forest management, forest cover of the state now stands at 70 percent of the total geographical area.”

According to Tripura Forest Minister Jitendra Chowdhury, this project started in 2007-08 would be completed in 2014-15 fiscal.

JICA, the Japanese government run financial institution, has been funding this major ecological conservation project in Tripura with a Rs.460 crore soft loan at simple interest.

The eight-year long project aims at upgrading the degraded forest land into an ecologically and commercially productive forest. This will also help in improving the quality of life of locals, especially in tribal-dominated areas.

The tribal people in the hilly terrain of Tripura and other northeastern states have for generations been carrying out the traditional slash-and-burn method of cultivation, which has resulted in degradation of forest land and badly affected the condition of soil.

Some 55,049 tribal families in Tripura are involved in this primitive form of cultivation, locally called “jhum cultivation”, covering a forest area of about 40,000 hectares.

— Indo-Asian News Service

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