Congress MP Pradyut Bordoloi has exhorted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider the palm oil project in Assam.

Bordoloi in a letter to PM Modi urged to weigh the negative impacts on the region’s natural environment due to the proposed palm oil project in the Northeast.

The Congress MP mentioned that the scientific community claimed that while oil palm cultivation may be useful in the short term as a means of income generation, it is not at all a sustainable long-term strategy.

“Research has widely shown that oil plant plantations store less carbon (50-90% less over 20 years) than the original forest cover, thereby, significantly contributing to climate change. It is such environmental concerns that lead our neighbouring country Sri Lanka to uproot existing oil palm plantations and ban palm oil imports earlier this year,” the letter read.

“Sir, oil palm plantations are not new to the North East region, but to proceed with the proposed increase in an oil palm plantation in our areas need to be scientifically assessed.

“Not only do these proposed plantations stand to destroy forests, but significantly alter social dynamics since community ownership of lands is prevalent in the North-East.

“As a water-intensive crop with a high gestation period, it would be unsuitable for many small-scale farmers. One recalls how similar proposals for large-scale oil palm cultivation were rejected after due diligence in the 1980s as a -recipe for ecological disaster,” a reminder for us to tread with caution.”

Bordoloi asked the PM to think along sustainable lines and in wider consultation with all stakeholders before any irreversible damage is done.

“I sincerely hope that our economic pursuits will take into view ecological contexts and socio-economic dynamics, rather than being solely guided by the commercial interests or corporate monopolies. In hope of your kind and careful reconsideration,” he said.

The Centre on August 18 cleared an Rs 11, 040-crore palm oil project across the northeastern region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

However, many environmental experts and activists have opposed the projects saying that it will have an adverse impact on the environment.


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