Meghalaya Govt providing livelihood options in coal rich districts

July 9, 2023 by MT Bureau

Staff Reporter

Shillong, July 8: Minister in-charge Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Ampareen Lyngdoh has informed that the department is providing alternative livelihood opportunities to the people in coal-rich districts of Jaintia Hills region.

Speaking to reporters, Lyngdoh said, “Many departments are also now converging into that area to convince the people of Jaintia Hills that until such time you can have proper approaches to coal mining, here are these alternatives and please engage with us and look for opportunities for positive livelihood engagements.”

She said the agriculture department is now taking on board the climate change approach and trying to encourage local people from East Jaintia Hills and certain areas in West Jaintia Hills, which were predominantly mining areas, to get back to their agricultural practices.

The two districts in the past few years have witnessed the livelihood of thousands of people get dislocated due to the ban on coal mining in the state.

“We have managed to convince them to look at agriculture as an alternative good practice so that you are at the same time attending to environmental degradation issues that have now taken a toll, you know your water and everything, now we need to look at ways and means,” she added.

Stating that the department is also trying to encourage people in growing the Khasi mandarin, Lyngdoh said, “You will not only increase your green forest cover but you also have fruitful businesses out of the Khasi mandarins which grow very well in that region.”

“We are aware of the fact that large areas of Jaintia Hills are organic plant growers, they do not engage in non-organic habits, we are trying to reclaim soil life and soil productivity,” she added.

She further informed that the department is also encouraging food processing activities of both fruits and vegetables.

The minister also expressed happiness that Jaintia Hills also has some the progressive farmers and said they are doing very good work.