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Meghalaya gives thumbs-up to jhum practice

By Staff
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Byrnihat, Apr 18 (UNI) The Meghalaya government today made it clear that it would not ''disallow'' the traditional agricultural practice of jhum that has been considered harmful to the environment.

Jhum cultivation involves large-scale slashing and burning of vegetation for agricultural purposes, leading to soil erosion and both air and soil pollution. After using the land for two-three years, farmers shift to another forestland.

'' The government of Meghalaya is taking it unto itself to examine whether we should go ahead with our existing strategy to control jhum cultivation or whether a better system of cultivation with full soil and water conservation measures should be adopted,'' Deputy Chief Minister Donkupar Roy said here after inaugurating a workshop on ''Soil Survey using Remote Sensing and Geographical System''.

''In case this practice of agriculture is allowed with minimum soil erosion, there is no reason why the government should interfere with the way of life practiced by our people from time immemorial,'' he said.

Dr Roy said plans were afoot to find out a concrete strategy to deal with the problem.

''The state government shall start a programme to study on this seemingly unconquerable problem of shifting cultivation in the state and come up with a concrete strategy after thorough studies,'' he said.

The 21-day workshop aims to provide training to Meghalaya government officials on the use of advanced technologies for soil survey.

The workshop has been organised by the National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (NBSS and LUP) in association with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the government of Meghalaya.

UNI SG-PRS KK VD PC1820

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