Agartala, Nov 20 (UNI) Japan has assured to continue its support in the form of loans to India for boosting the bilateral trade of both the countries while expressing interest to invest in the forestry sector to promote forest-based economy in the Northeastern region.
Talking to UNI here today, Counsellor (Economy) of the Japanese embassy in India Keiji Kamiyama said Tripura was the first state in the NE to receive financial assistance from the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) under the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) project in 2007-08.
Mr Kamiyama said the JBIC had agreed to provide Rs 366 crore aid for conserving Tripura's forestry to overcome challenges posed by global warming, climate change and poverty while 15 Indian states had received financial assistance from Japan since 1990 for sustainable management of forest wealth through improvement of the density and quality of forests.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar launched the project here yesterday and announced that the state government would add another Rs 60 crore to the JBIC funds for facilitating groundwater recharge as well as to protect the rivers which were gradually losing their depth due to silt.
The project aimed at upgrading degraded forestland, caused by shifting cultivation, into an ecologically and commercially productive forest to help improve the standard of living of the backward tribes.
''The project, to be completed in eight years, covering an area of 7,023 sq km and three wildlife sanctuaries, would have a healthy impact on the overall environment,'' Mr Sarkar said, adding that as many as 456 joint forest management committees and 1,250 self-help groups would be involved in implementing the first ever externally aided project.
Under the project, 16 non-timber forest produce centres would be set up across the state with the help of the Oita Prefecture of Japan for creating livelihood options and skill upgradation of the rural poor, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests R P Tangwan said.
The JBIC had also estimated production of incense sticks worth Rs 20 million and honey processing potentiality of Rs 100 million in the state, he added.
Meanwhile, state Forest Minister Jitendra Choudhury underlined that besides Japan, Germany would also provide support of Rs 11.2 crore while the China-based International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) had agreed to provide over USD 48,114 (Rs 1.9 million) to Tripura for all-round development of forests, forest produce, ecological conservation, setting up of forest-based units and their exploitation in trade and economy.