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Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Tuesday launched the Indo-German financial co-operation Project on community based sustainable forest management for water resources conservation in Manipur. The project was signed by KfW, Hamburg Germany and Ministry of Finance, Government of India in 2017. A separate agreement was also signed by the state forest department and KfW for implementation of the project.
The objective of the project includes regeneration of degraded forest, rehabilitation of around 300 km streams, improve the livelihood of 90 per cent of targeted households of upper watershed forest-dependent villages among others.
The total project cost for 11 years is about Rs 254 crores: the first phase of which is for 7 years and is estimated to cost Rs. 137.47 crores. As per the current funding norm to the northeastern states, 90 per cent of the loan will be repaid with interest by the Centre and 10 per cent by the state after 20 years with an interest of less than 1 per cent.
Addressing a gathering here in Imphal during the official launch event of the project, the Chief Minister said that the successful implementation of the project would ensure protection of existing forest areas in collaboration with local people and help regenerate 21,800 hectares of degraded forest.
“When the project is implemented it would promote livelihood activities, improve wildlife habitat and also generate employment opportunities to the local people. We need love and support of the people for the successful implementation of the project”, he added.
N Biren Singh further said, in the last 18 months, the government has put in an effort to increase the Protected Area Network by 92 sq Km by declaring eight new community reserves in Senapati and Tamenglong Districts. Community-based forest management projects have been started at local levels, he said.
The government has also started providing alternative livelihood to those farmers who had earlier engaged in jhum cultivations and illegal poppy plantation in hill areas, he added.
“In order to make successfully implement the project all the stakeholders must extend close co-operation and exchange of ideas”, said Manfred Fischer Senior Sector Specialist representing KfW.
K Angami, the principal chief conservator of forest, Manipur, said the project is a first of its kind, externally aided project, in the department’s history.