From coal mining to orange cultivation: East Jaintia Hills village sets example

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: The noble initiative taken by the villagers of Narwan Village in East Jaintia Hills to grow oranges rather than engaging in coal mining has now begun to pay rich dividends.

As part of the 41st Meghalaya Day celebration in the city, Governor RS Mooshahary released the Narwan Oranges marketed by the Narwan Village Society of Shangpung area in collaboration with Integrated Basin Development Livelihood Programme Unit, East Jaintia Hills District.

Narwan village, just three kilometers from Khliehriat, has a population of 3,450 and an orchard with 6,986 orange trees, some of which date back to over a hundred years. It was 14 years ago when the villagers of Narwan realized the dangers of unscientific mining on the environment following which the village council banned coal mining and took up orange cultivation on a full-time basis. The village produces an average of about seven truckloads of late oranges annually which are available in local markets till March, Narwan village headman Herlington Shadap said.

“The village now plans to construct fish ponds taking advantage of the government’s flagship Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Programme,” Shadap said.

The oranges of Narwan village grow and ripen during the last week of February or early weeks of March, the time when all other oranges grown in other parts of the State are depleted.

Recently, a group of 18 youths from the village went to Nagpur to learn more about orange cultivation and value addition of the produce.

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