Assam Government is contemplating on relaxing restrictions on the cultivation and felling of agar trees in the State.
The move has been discussed with a view to create a conducive atmosphere for cultivation and utilization of these trees for the trade of agar oil and other derivatives, reports The Telegraph.
Notably this has been a long-pending demand of agar farmers and traders in the State.
The report quoting an official stated that the Additional Chief Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department, Ravi Capoor, who also holds the additional charge of the Forests and Environment Department, has discussed the matter with the senior officials of the two departments and asked them to prepare a cabinet note in this regard.
The note will be placed before the State Cabinet soon for its consideration and approval, the report quoted its source.
The All Sanchi (Agar) Growers Association of Assam (ASGAA) has been demanding that agar plantations on non-forest land should be declared as social forestry to do away with the need to obtain transit permits from the Forest Department for transportation of agarwood and its derivates.
A no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Forest Department is mandatory for cutting agar trees on non-forest land.
The association also wants the government to announce that the State’s agar wood is not covered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ban as it is grown on private land and the ban applies only to forest produce.
Notably, the export of agar wood was prohibited in 1991, which affected lakhs of people associated with extraction of agar oil and other agar wood-based products in the State.