Imphal: Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said that the State Government had been fulfilling its commitment to work for the welfare of the people since its formation and the recent by election result had shown the people’s faith in the Government. The Government will continue its concerted efforts to work for the overall development of the State, he added. He said this in a press briefing held today at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.
He also informed that the State Government had recently introduced two schemes namely Leave Travel Concession (LTC) Cash Voucher and Special Festival Advance Scheme to stimulate consumer spending in the State along the line of the schemes announced by the Government of India on 12th October, 2020. Under the Special Festival Advance Scheme, all the Government employees will get an interest free advance of Rs. 10,000 and will be in the form of pre-paid card. The Scheme also covers VDF personnel, Home Guard Volunteers, Autonomous District Council employees and employees of bodies receiving grant-in-aid, he added.
Regarding chances of spread of COVID-19 due to recent bye election in some Assembly Constituencies (ACs), N. Biren said that surveillance teams would be sent to the ACs where bye election was conducted recently through which persons showing symptoms could be identified and testing could be done. He also appealed to the public to strictly comply with the Standard Operating Procedures issued by the Government to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The Chief Minister also informed that the Central Government had sanctioned approval for construction of four lane RCC bridge over Irang river and the foundation for the same bridge would be laid soon. He also added that big machineries had been sent to pull up the bailey bridge which had recently slipped into the Irang River.
Earlier, N. Biren Singh also launched the Oil Palm Project Manipur through video conferencing held at the Cabinet Hall of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat. The project is taken up under the Department of Agriculture, Manipur.
Delivering his speech as chief guest, N. Biren Singh congratulated the Sub-Committee on Oil Palm for successfully taking up the new project. He added that the project had been taken up under the National Mission on oil seed and palm oil which aims to make India self-sufficient in edible oils and even export to other countries.
Stating that oil palm cultivation is suitable in warmer region, the Chief Minister informed that the Government had started the project after identifying suitable areas for its cultivation and the Government had identified areas in Chandel, Churanchandpur, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Ukhrul and Thoubal Districts. The oil palm cultivation could be an alternative to jhum cultivation and poppy cultivation as oil palm is the highest vegetable oil yielding perennial crop with an effective income generation to farmers and beneficial to the environment as well, he added.
Biren also said that the Climate Assessing Departments had identified 66,652 hectares of suitable land through satellite mapping out of which the Government had initially targeted to cultivate the oil palm on 200 hectare of land. Under the funding of the Central Government, the State had procured seeds from Mizoram and Andhra Pradesh and had plan for cultivation in hill areas to replace poppy plantations.
He maintained that the most important thing is continuation of the project through active participation of District Agriculture Officers and other officials concerned to ensure proper growth of the planted oil palm. Such steps could help attain the aim of the State Government to make the State self reliant and improve the economic status through exports of various products produced in the State, he added.
During the launching programme, Director, Agriculture Laltanpuii Vanchhong gave a powerpoint presentation on Oil Palm Project, Manipur.
It may be mentioned that Oil Palm Mission Manipur was constituted on 20th August this year with the Joint Director of Agriculture as Mission Director with technical staff supported by a consultant. A Sub-Committee on Oil Palm was also constituted with Principal Secretary (Health), Government of Manipur as Chairman comprising members from Central Agricultural University, ICAR Manipur Centre, Director MARSAC, Agriculture and Horticulture Department.
Chief Secretary, Dr. Rajesh Kumar, Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) V. Vumlunmang, Commissioner (Agriculture) M. Joy and other officials also attended the programme.