Arunachal Pradesh had claimed peace bonus for being an “island of calm” in militancy-ravaged Northeast. It has now sought green bonus for ensuring India’s most verdant State.
In a memorandum submitted to V Narayanasamy, Union Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs, on Tuesday, Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu said the 1996 Supreme Court ban on felling deprived his State of its prime revenue source.
“Till that year, forest was one of our major sources of revenue. The ban has cost us Rs 178 crore annually at current rate of loyalty. Besides, restriction imposed on forest harvesting and closure of many plywood and saw mills resulted in loss of jobs,” Khandu pointed out.
On the brighter side, Arunachal Pradesh has had 82 per cent of its land area under forest cover since the ban. “Therefore, the burden of letting our major natural resource spread to serve ecological and environmental interests needs to be addressed and adequately compensated… Arunachal Pradesh deserves to be given Green Bonus,” he added.
Notably, the Union Finance Ministry has constituted an Empowered Committee to look into the green bonus demand.