We must move from ‘Green Revolution’ to ‘Ever Green Revolution’ of organic farming: Thongdok

We must move from ‘Green Revolution’ to ‘Ever Green Revolution’ of organic farming: Thongdok

ITANAGAR, Oct 9: A conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), India region (Zone III) that concentrated on issues related to insurgency in Northeastern region with the participants examining the scope of a collective approach to resolve the decades-old problem concluded at Dispur in Guwahati today.

Arunachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker T N Thongdok, who chaired the session yesterday, said insurgency in the region did not occur just without any reason and called for setting up a special task force comprising of Ministers, intelligence, police and peers to hold talks with insurgent groups.

“Every community in the region once had their own system of administration and justice. Post independence, these communities felt that their age-old system were replaced and that their customs were infringed upon. Some responded to it with violence, some with resentment,” he said while urging for addressing these reasons.

Thongdok also suggested replacing the word “insurgent” with “some softer word” and said this would encourage the groups to come forward for talks. “State Government has better understanding of ground issues and the group will be more comfortable talking to them,” he said. Application of force has proved that it was not the right solution,” he remarked.

Speaking at the concluding day today on the subject ‘Skill Development for Sustainable Growth of Organic Farming in NER’, Thongdok came up with a number of suggestions.

For exponentially promoting organic farming in our country, especially in the NER, he said State Governments must ensure guaranteed availability of farm labour to agriculture. This can be possible by arresting the flight of agricultural labour to other avocations especially after the advent of MNREGA. At every block level, it must be ensured that youths of that locality are trained and retained for organic farming work. MNREGA should be tweaked to apply to Agriculture besides applying it to create rural assets. MAKE IN INDIA movement must have at its core youths employed in organic farming under the aegis of the Government.

The Speaker viewed that in place of the present plethora of agencies there may be a unified authority for regulating organic farming – one at the Centre and one in each State so that organic farmers are not driven from post to pillar. From awareness to marketing, export etc, there must a single window for interaction and engagement, which should usher in “ease of doing business”, he added.

By using village level institutions, customary laws in North East India may have to be reoriented so that farmers are nudged to adopt “sustainable farming” from “subsistence farming” by appropriate land consolidations for viable organic farming, Thongdok opined.

He asserted: “While blocks should be basic administrative units for implementing organic farming, Panchayats must be made basic political units for driving farmers towards organic farming. States must be goaded to enact suitable laws under article 243G of the Constitution of India in order to devolve more operational powers upon the Panchayats with respect to agriculture, irrigation and allied activities enumerated in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution. Unless Panchayats are empowered in this behalf, Organic Farming will make only snail’s progress and will not become a People’s Movement.”

As Dr M S Swarninathan clamoured, Thongdok suggested we must move from the “Green- Revolution” of the 1960s to the “Ever Green Revolution” of organic farming at least by the next decade.

Addressing the CPA conference yesterday, Arunachal MLA Gabriel D Wangsu called for total review of forest reservation policy and that a perfect mechanism be put in place so that the people affected by insurgency get access to the precious land while ensuring that efforts to protect the forest are not disturbed.

He said that the benefits of packages and policies should not trickle but percolate down to the last man so as to ensure that such mechanism should not breed BPL families.

In the Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts most of the fertile and plain areas are declared as forest reserves whereas the people are compelled to continue jhum cultivation in the mountainous areas and thus are left reeling under poverty and unproductive engagements, Wangsu said.

Earlier delivering her keynote address, Rina Mitra, Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs, presented an overview of the insurgency scenario in the North East and dished out statistics to prove that the situation had improved in the past few years. (DIPR)

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