IMPHAL, May 17(NNN): All Manipur Tribal Union (AMTU) has expressed concern over the diminishing trend of arable lands in the hill districts following the onslaught of urbanization, infrastructural development and increasing intrusion of living quarters on cultivable lands of Manipur.
The state government has been constructing almost all the infrastructures of its projects or estate on cultivable lands thereby destroying agricultural lands permanently, stated an AMTU memorandum submitted to the state chief minister.
AMTU has mooted five-point suggestion to offset the diminishing trend of arable lands due to urbanization and installation of infrastructure on those lands.
The suggestions are inter alia introduction of arable land conservation and protection bill, utilization of moderate hills and foothills for government estate and public homesteads, planting of high oxygen emitting banyan tree, tapping mega projects on irrigation and agriculture under DoNER etc.
The memorandum signed by the general secretary Romeo Bungdon maintained that a basic sociological phenomenon would suggest that urbanization transforms arable lands into homesteads and sites for infrastructural development under the provision of `right to own property` wherein revenue department hastily sanctions pattas.
Only agricultural products will sustain us into the future and not buildings and mountains. The situation has become ominous and `I regret to note that we can not expect other states to feed us` he said.
He went on to argue that since cultivation on hills and mountains can not yield as much as on plains and valleys due to variable conditions like fertility of soil and irrigation etc., the government must devise a policy to safeguard cultivable lands. `The severe ill economy in the valley naturally hits the hills with inflationary impact,` he said.