Agartala: The state forest department on Monday banned commercial purchase and sale of indigenous varieties of bamboo shoots to stop rampant destruction of the bamboo forest cover in the state. Young shoots are consumed by people in the northeast as a delicacy.
The state government, in order to cater to the growing demand of plant as a food item, started massive cultivation of the shoot’s Chinese and Thailand varieties as livelihood option for the poor tribals of the state two years ago.
But, the people here prefer the indigenous verities to the imported ones. The annual estimated consumption of the shoots in the state is over 20,000 MT.
North Tripura divisional forest officer Sandananda Talwar said the department had been promoting bamboo cultivation in the state to engage tribals in forestry based economic activities.
He pointed out that the department had made a public announcement in most of the market places of North Tripura banning harvest, sale and purchase of bamboo shoots in the past few days. However, the department has not yet put any restrictions on the harvest of bamboo shoots for personal consumption. “We are well aware that bamboo shoot preparations are common dishes among the tribals in Tripura. Because of its abundance in the forests, the administration was initially liberal and allowed bamboo harvest. But, now, even after increasing the harvest of shoots by 70% there is acute shortage in terms of industrial needs,” he added.
Bamboo shoots of Tripura have huge demand in Indian hotels and abroad, forest minister Naresh Jamatia said. He added, “Its is an indigenous edible item among tribals of Tripura. But over the years, it has received overwhelming acceptance from people outside the tribal community as a tasty and nutritious food item. Now it has got an international tag.”
News Source: Times of India