Assam on Monday signed an agreement with the French Development Agency (AFD) which will spend 50 million euro supporting the State government’s initiative to restore Assam’s forest ecosystems and preserve their biodiversity.

The agreement was signed on Monday between AFD Country Director Bruno Bosle and Assam additional chief secretary Jishnu Barua at Dispur.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Ambassador of France to India, Emmanuel Lenain clapped as the agreement was signed.

The project sponsored by AFD is focuses on working with the local women, empowering them through participatory planning and imparting skill training to them, enabling to revive the local economy and thus engage them in protection of forest resources.

However, the Assam government in September this year had to return to the central government an amount of Rs. 24.57 crore for failing to utilize it for uplifting peoples’ livelihood in and around Kaziranga National Park (KNP) in the state.

The KNP authorities had to return the money as they failed to implement the project before the closure date, which is September 2019.

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) released the amount of Rs. 24.57 crore for improving peoples’ livelihood in Assam, particularly around the Kaziranga national park.

The project was sanctioned under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).

A total of 26 projects have been sanctioned by NABARD involving an amount of Rs. 660.72 crore under the NAFCC meant for differenr states.

The AFD sponsored project aims to reforest 12,000 hectares of land, scale up efforts in biodiversity conservation and skill the members of 135 additional communities in different trades.

While the first phase of the project was implemented between 2012 and 2019, the second phase of financing will continue for five years.