All Assam Agar Traders and Agaroil Manufactures’ Association (AATMA) welcomed the decision taken by Assam Cabinet of liberating the agar trade in the State on Wednesday.
Addressing a press meet at their office in Hojai, AATMA’s general secretary Helaluddin Ahmed along with its executive members said, “We are overwhelmed by hearing the decision of Assam Cabinet that Agar wood business will be regularised, however, yet their is no official notification by the government in this regard.”
“As per new rules, a person interested to plant Agar tree in 35 bighas of land won’t have to take any permission and also no permission will also be needed for felling Agar trees, this will highly help agar farmers,” he said.
He further said, “At present more than 20 lakh people are associated with agar business in Assam and if this is regularized it will be double in coming years.”
“Moreover as Assam is famous for tea, it will also one day be popular for Agar too and simultaneously it will boost tourism industry of the State,” he added.
“In the year 2016 Bharatiya Janta Party in their Legislative Assembly election manifesto promised that if their government is formed in the State then they will regularize Agar wood business as such agarwood community was eagerly waiting for the positive steps by BJP led Sarbananda Sonowal government after they formed government and finally a decision has come in this regard in State Cabinet on July 23,2019,” Ahmed further said.
He said,” We don’t want to blame any government but BJP has truely shown concern for Agarwood business.”
He praised chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya and finance minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma for taking a serious interest in removing the restrictions on agarwood.
Emphasizing on AATMA’s movement and initiative to legalize the Agar wood business in Assam since the year 2000, he said,”Our organization did many protests, submitted many memorandum to the government and organized many seminars on agarwood and in the year 2000 the seminar at Assam Administrative Staff College at Guwahati was a turning point for us, as we learnt a lot new things related to Agar by the invited resource person from all of the country.”
Ahmed further asserted, “Today we feel that we have won the battle, but only Agarwood in industrial policy will be regularized and this not the end still for a fruitful result and to boost the economy of Assam ‘Forest policy needs to be amended’. We appeal government to amend the forest policy.”