No intention to shun jhum but improve system: Pala

SHILLONG, Oct 27: Under fire from North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS) over his notion about jhum cultivation, Lok Sabha member, Vincent H Pala, has clarified that his intention is not to stop jhum cultivation but to improve the system by striking a balance so as to ensure environmental conservation.
Earlier, the NESFAS had caught the Shillong MP on the ‘wrong foot’ when he had stated that he would raise issues related to jhum cultivation at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) when he will attend the summit, which will be held between October 31 and November 12 this year.
“The thought of me trying to stop jhum cultivation is totally wrong. We are not going to stop jhum cultivation, but we are going to improve it,” he said.
Shedding more light in the matter, the Shillong MP said that NESFAS had misinterpreted his statement, even as he reiterated that he had earlier said he would try to discuss ways to help people practising jhum cultivation when he was asked about his agenda and priority for the climate change summit in Glasgow next month.
“It (agenda) is not to stop jhum cultivation, but rather to improve the system in jhum cultivation in such a way that there is a balance between the environment and the economic problem of the people,” he said.
NESFAS had expressed strong concerns over Pala’s statement and maintained that maintained that a thorough research is needed to be undertaken.
Informing that he has not yet raised the issue and a research team is on it, Pala, however, was unsure about whether he would be able to take up the issue to the discussion at the meeting or not. “Whatever issues we are supposed to speak of, we have to give a list to them (COP26). It’s up to them. If that issue is related to them, only then they would allow. So I’m not very sure whether they’ll allow or not. I’ve sent a request, but I’m not very sure,” he said.
Pointing out that in Mizoram, people who practised jhum or shifting cultivation were provided an incentive, Pala said he would try and get funds for the people of Meghalaya similar incentives as there are no such benefits in offer as of now.

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