Imphal: As part of the Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana, the Divisional Forest Officer, Kangpokpi Forest Division launched Hengbung Van Dhan Vikas Kendra today at Multipurpose Hall, FEEDS, Hengbung in Kangpokpi District.
Hengbung Van Dhan Vikas Kendra is among the three Van Dhan Vikas Kendra open in Kangpokpi District. The other two Kendras are Tujang Vaichong Van Dhan Vikas Kendra and Konsakhul Van Dhan Vikas Kendra. The three Kendra comprised fifteen Self Help Groups each.
As part of the launching program, district level advocacy cum training programme of Self Help Groups on Value Addition of NTFPS was also conducted which was graced by Lalithambigai Kalidas, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, Kangpokpi as Chief Guest while Chinpilhing Kipgen, MFS, DFO, Kangpokpi Forest Division and Haokholet Kipgen, President, FEEDS Hengbung attended as Functional President and Guest of Honour respectively.
Addressing the gathering, DC Kangpokpi, Lalithambigai Kalidas, IAS said that alternative livelihood is very important and Kangpokpi district has very fertile soil where any kinds of crops, vegetables, etc. can be grown by farmers for and alternative livelihood but we should keep in mind that our means of alternative livelihood must not be at cost of degrading our fertile soil, land, forest and environment.
Motivating the Self Help Groups participating in the function, the IAS Officer said that Self Help Group is a group of people having different skills field who shall put their heads and skills together for a sustainable livelihood while exhorting them to work enthusiastically and sincerely in their respective Van Dhan Vikas Kendra so as to avail the benefits the schemes.
FEEDS President, Haokholet Kipgen also motivated the Self Help Groups participating in the advocacy cum training programme.
In her presidential address, Chinpilhing Kipgen, DFO Kangpokpi Forest Division said that Van Dhan Vikas is an initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) targeting livelihood generation for tribal population by harnessing the wealth of forest and to improve tribal incomes through value addition of tribal products.
She continued that the scheme will be implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level. At State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and the District collectors are envisaged to play a pivot role in scheme implementation at grassroots level. Locally the Kendras are proposed to be managed by a Managing Committee (an SHG) consisting of representatives of Van Dhan SHGs in the cluster.
She also said that the programme aims to tap into the traditional knowledge and skill sets of tribal people by adding technology and Information Technology for upgradation of output at each stage and to convert the tribal wisdom into a remunerative economic activity while it seeks to promote and leverage the collective strength of tribal people to achieve a viable scale.
She further said that the establishment of Van Dhan Vikas Kendra is for providing skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility and they are then trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products, which they collect from the jungle. Working under the leadership of Collector these groups can then market their products not only within the States but also outside the States while the training and technical support is provided by TRIFED.
The DFO also said that Van Dhan Vikas Kendras will be an important milestone in economic development of tribals involved in collection of MFPs by helping them in optimum utilization of natural resources and provide sustainable MFP-based livelihood in MFP-rich districts.
DC Kangpokpi and DFO Kangpokpi Forest Division also hand over the tool kit comprises of 21 items including weighing balance, sealing machine, syntak, pressure cooker, plastic storage box, tarpoline, gas stove, gas cylinder, etc. during the function.