Muchut (Arunachal Pradesh), Nov 19 : Development is taking deep roots on this side of the Sino-India border unlike the common impression that other side of the border was highly developed.
This was the message conveyed by Lumla lawmaker and Civil Aviation Parliamentary Secretary Jambey Tashi while inaugurating the community mushroom farms here in Tawang district along the tri-junction of Bhutan, Tibet and India here today.
The farms are set up by New Delhi-based Inspire Network for Environment (INE) and Yuva Arunachal, both voluntary organizations engaged in improving the lot of the people living in the border areas.
Addressing a public meeting, Tashi advocated chairveti as the principle of his life and lauded INE and Yuva Arunachal and ICICI bank and its Foundation for their path-breaking initiative in six border villages by launching community mushroom cultivation farming to provide solace to the villagers looking for sustainable development alternative with cultivation becoming less remunerative with the passage of time.
Appreciating former chief minister, late Dorjee Khandu, who desired greater welfare of the state and present Chief Minister Nabam Tuki for giving priority to agri-horticulture sector for improving the lot of the people of the agrarian state, Tashi assured all possible support to INE and Yuva Arunachal in making their all endeavours successful.
Mushroom, traditionally consumed by the local denizens since centuries, could be the best unique sales proposition (USP) if branded and promoted as Tawang mushroom to carve a niche in regional, national and global market, he reasoned.
Tashi placed on record special thanks for Yuva Arunachal president Chombay Kee, INE programme officers Monalisa Sen and Dr K M Jayahari for their painstaking efforts to ensure the success of many other projects, including Tawang Rhododendron squash production, community Rhododendron nursery to plant 3,000 saplings to protect the famous Tawang Monastery from landslide and convincing the religious Monpas to convert their idle sacred grooves to productive land by planting Rhododendron saplings.
Saluting the uniformed and un-uniformed sentinels of Indian frontier, this correspondent called upon the guests from Mumbai to go back with the smiles of the local Monpas community, who live a hard life with limited expectations but continue to smile all the time without being influenced by the materialism, the bane of the present world.
He unfolded Gandhiji's locket given to Jawaharlal Nehru that advised look at the face of the last person in case of any development dilemma.
The INE, Yuva Arunachal, ICICI Bank and Foundation have been following the same principle to improve the lot of the border villagers to supplement the efforts of the GoI and GoAP, he said and appealed to the villagers to not lose their smile under the impact of modern developmental urges.
ICICI Foundation president Subrata Mukharjee, chief manager Jaising Dhumal and senior manager Joachim Colaco assured all possible support to ensure the success of the project and promotion of a Tawang brand of mushroom.
Mukharjee said the environment-friendly project is best suited for the high altitude region where the locals face a harsh winter when no cultivation is remunerative.
Expressing his happiness over the success of the project, INE president Dr Kinsuk Mitra informed that the residents of six villagers and some private entrepreneurs have been trained in mushroom cultivation, provided with mushroom spawns as was proved during the inaugural function with over hundreds of buds visible in every bunches.
He wished that every month the villagers should earn Rs 20,000 and the products reach the North East market as Tawang mushroom very soon. He assured to set up a community mushroom processing centre for the purpose.
Commanding officer of 16 Rajputana Rifles Col Vijay R Jagtap, in his address, assured all possible cooperation and assistance for the development of the border villagers but advocated that their ever smiling faces as referred by the journalist should not be lost under the impact of materialism.
"I have visited many parts of the country but have never come across smiling people despite the fact that they lead a very harsh life. Their smiling faces encourage us to work for protecting the frontier of this great nation. I salute them from the core of my heart."
The villagers gave a rousing welcome to the visiting guests with a heart touching cultural programme besides serving local delicacies.
The INE gave away wages to the community for constructing the mushroom huts and felicitated those who have been constantly supporting the project.
Attn: News Editors/News Desks: The views expressed in the above article are those of Mr. Pradeep Kumar, Editor-in-Chief, Arunachal Front (ANI)