Guwahati: Despite environmental experts and politicians raising objections against the Centre’s move for oil palm cultivation in the Northeast, the Assam government has signed a pact with Patanjali Food Limited for oil palm plantation and setting up oil mills in Assam.

Ruchi Soya Industries Limited, (now known as Patanjali Foods Ltd) has been allocated Assam’s seven districts–Tinsukia, Jorhat, Golaghat, Nagaon, Kamrup and parts of Goalpara– to promote oil palm cultivation.

A memorandum of understanding was signed by the Department of Agriculture, Govt of Assam and Ruchi Soya Industries Limited recently to commensurate the allocation of the districts.

Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd’s name has been recently changed and is effectively known as Patanjali Foods Limited from July 1, 2022. 

According to environmentalists, the widespread oil palm cultivation inflicts damage on biodiversity. It drains groundwater resources and causes immense destruction of flora and fauna, thereby leading to irreparable damage to the state.

Earlier, Association for Environmental Preservation (AsEP) and Conservation Mizoram said the Centre’s move to promote oil palm cultivation in the northeastern states and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands could be disastrous.

In October last year, Congress MP Pradyut Bordoloi 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.

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