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Japan crores for forest projects

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 24.06.11
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Jaldapara (Alipurduar), June 23: The state forest department will get funds of nearly Rs 400 crore from Japan for an eight-year project to develop the forests. A representative from the country is visiting the Dooars to assess the condition of the forests and the impact of the joint forest committees on the wild.

The field survey is being done by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the report will be submitted to the government of Japan by November this year.

According to Y. Nitta, a senior researcher and adviser to the agency, after studying the report, the Japan government will decide areas in which the project would be implemented.

Manindra Biswas, the conservator of forest (north), said: “We had sent a proposal to the government of India two years ago asking for foreign funds. The government of Japan will provide Rs 400 crore to the state for overall development of the forests here.”

According to Nitta, funds would be provided for afforestation, habitat improvement and better management of the joint forest committees in the Dooars.

As part of the survey, Nitta will visit the Buxa Tiger Reserve, Mahananda wildlife sanctuary, Jalpaiguri forest division, Gorumara National Park and forests in Cooch Behar and the Sunderbans .

The researcher, who arrived at Jaldapara on Tuesday, visited the South Khayerbari tiger rescue centre along with Subimal Roy, the former chief wildlife warden of the state. They also visited the leopard rescue centre at Khayerbari.

After spending the night in Holong bungalow, Nitta visited the Jaldapara sanctuary yesterday. Later, he interacted with the members of Malongi eco-development committee.

At the meeting, the villagers told the researcher how they assist the forest department and how the department has helped uplift the socio-economic condition of the local people.

Tozammel Haq, a member of the committee, said: “When an animal strays into the village we help the foresters to steer them away. We help them to keep crowds away from the animals when efforts are made to dart them. When we receive information that poachers have entered the village, we inform the foresters immediately so that they can be caught.”

He added that the villagers form night patrol teams to keep elephants away from the area. “The forest department has constructed roads, community halls, primary schools and culverts in the village. They have also set up tube wells for us,” Haq said.

According to Nitta, the Japan government will provide funds for the all-round development of forests that include bio-diversity management, habitat improvement, plantation development and community work.

“A major portion of the funds will be spent on afforestation,” he said. Nitta added that the project that is likely to start next year would be executed by the state forest department.

Sources said the funds will be given over a period of eight years.