| Jhum cultivation in Mizoram |
Aizawl, July 30: The Centre has agreed to extend Mizoram’s flagship economic development project, the New Land Use Policy.
The scheme aims to replace the traditional slash and burn cyclical jhum cultivation with horticulture and terrace farming. It also opens up new avenues of livelihood for the rural masses by promoting export of handicrafts and by inviting unemployed rural youths to branch out into unconventional business opportunities like mobile phone trade and opening computer training centres.
Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla said in Aizawl today that the NLUP scheme had already started making waves in the state by registering a large numbers of Mizo villagers.
At the same time, he spelt out a cautionary note saying that political leaders and officials should not yet bask in the glory of the benefits of the scheme and should not become smug in self-satisfaction at its progress in the state. He said he had noticed a slack in efforts and lack of seriousness among the rural panchayat leaders and officials while implementing the third and fourth phases of the NLUP programmes.
The NLUP was started in January 11, 2011. In the past three years, the state recorded several achievements in the economic progress of its rural population by inducting 45,099 beneficiaries in the first phase and 45,070 beneficiaries in the second phase of development, particularly in agriculture.
The vice-chairman of the NLUP implementing board, P.L. Thanga, has recently said in a review meeting that the flagship programme had so far received central grant of Rs 1,524.92 crore.
NLUP nodal minister R. Lalzarliana, who is also the state’s home minister, said the “one crop one village” scheme under this project, which has formed a major development plank for Mizo villagers, should be toned up from time to time.
He said under the scheme, pre-selected villages would be persuaded to concentrate on tilling and raising a single crop, such as the summer and autumn rice, maize and other horticultural items. This scheme would be implemented in the state in phases.