KAMALA NAGAR- A team of delegates from Japan International Cooperation Agency ( JICA ) headed by Dg. Akihito Sakurai who came from Lawngtlai yesterday interacted with various Head of Departments in a meeting organized by Chakma Autonomous District Council ( CADC ) today in the Conference Hall of CADC Rest House, Kamalanagar. He was accompanied by Dr. Michiko Ebato, Co-Team Leader; Dr. Sanjay Verma, Dgb. Keiko Kani, Dg. Ryunosuke Ogawa, Dg. Dinesh Kumar and Dg. Shalabh P. Bharadwaj.
Dg. Pronit Bikash Chakma, Executive Secretary, CADC; Dg. Buddhankur Chakma, Sr. Finance & Accounts Officer, CADC; Dg. Prabin Chakma, Planning & Development Officer, CADC; Dg. Bimbisar Dewan, District Council Conservator of Forest, CADC; Dg. Jagadish Chakma, District Council Horticulture Officer, CADC; Dg. Nilo Ranjan Chakma, Assistant Conservator of Forest, CADC and Dg. Suman Chakma, Assistant Information & Public Relation Officer, CADC among others have attended the meeting.
Dg. Pronit Bikash Chakma while welcoming the visiting team members expressed his happiness for their visit to Kamalanagar and their keen interest towards CADC and its people. He informed that this visit to CADC from an International Agency like JICA is the first of its kind as CADC is one of the remotest and underdeveloped part of the country. He gave a brief report on CADC and appraised many challenges which bar the path for its development.
He mentioned that only a meagre amount is left from the non-salary component meant for development which is not even enough for the maintenance of Offices is one of the reasons that CADC is lagging behind in every spheres. With the visit of the JICA team, the people of CADC not only will be beneficial but also certain structural development like roads will take place even though it is still at rudimentary stage to say, he added.
People will earn permanent livelihood through alternative source of income other than jhum cultivation when certain projects under JICA will be taken up in the time to come, he further added.
Dg. Akihito Sakurai informed that the purpose of their visit to Kamalanagar is to study and access the conditions for conservation of forest and its biodiversity within CADC area and the feasibility of projects under JICA in CADC. He invited all to share their views on the subjects accordingly. After which a round of interaction with the team members was held with respective Head of Departments.
Dg. Bimbisar Dewan presented a report on climate, forest cover and its types, vegetation, demography, socio-economic life of the people and bio-graphical importance of forest in CADC area. He mentioned that the area of CADC is comparatively small with an area of 686.25 sq. km, from which approximately 76% is forestland but, due to lack of alternative source of income majority of the population depend on jhum cultivation for their livelihood. Out of 15, 572 families (as per Village Population Register, 2022), more than 70% of the families depend on jhum cultivation and agricultural activities for their permanent livelihood.
Dg. Prabin Chakma while explaining mentioned that a project on Bamboo Plantation in the wasteland area outside Indo-Bangla Border Fencing in the western part of CADC was submitted to the Finance Commission sometime back, but the project never materialized and hence no such project on forest conservation was made again.
However, he mentioned that with the increasing population, some are eying the virgin forest in the catchment area of Palenosora, which is the only source of water left to feed the populace of Kamalanagar town area. He also mentioned, earlier, the sound of the flow of water in the rivers of the nearby area can be heard from a distant place but, now the amount of water that flows decreased so much that it has left to nothing in some parts. From this we can deduce that the forest is massively damaged though without any reliable data, he added.
Dg. Buddhankur Chakma explained about the financial status of CADC and how some Department in CADC is left to skeleton due to lack of fund and project. He mentioned that it is true that the Soil & Water Conservation Department has scope to contribute for conservation of soil and water but, due to lack of funds it is simply an idle department.
He thanked Young Chakma Association (YCA), a community-based organization and Tharum, a forest-based organization for their endeavours in protecting and preserving the forest in CADC. Both the organizations support the authority as and when necessary, he added.
The meeting was concluded with a vote of thanks proposed by Prabin Chakma.
After which the team went to visit the Central Nursery at Sadarasora. They will leave for Aizawl today.
The visit to CADC was a part of their field visit to different districts of Mizoram including 3 Autonomous District Councils namely Chakma, Lai and Mara Autonomous District Council of Mizoram.