India — At least two young people were killed while burning their ‘jhum’ forest in Mizoram, officials said here Friday.
The tribal people in the hilly terrain of northeastern states have for generations been carrying out the traditional slash-and-burn method of cultivation, locally called ‘jhum’ cultivation, which has resulted in degradation of forest land and worsening of the soil condition.
‘Two brothers — C. Lalrinmuana, 47, and C. Lalrinchhana, 35 — were burnt to death Thursday night while burning their ‘jhum’ forest at Theiriat village in Lunglei district, 170 km south of capital city Aizawl,’ a senior police official told reporters.
He said that the victims were trapped in the forest fire.
At least seven people have died this year in the ‘jhum’ fires in the northeastern state of Mizoram since February.
About 80 per cent of farmers in Mizoram still depend on ‘jhum’ cultivation which involves clearing of forests and burning the slashed trees, weeds and bamboos.
To discourage ‘jhum’ cultivation, the Mizoram government has undertaken an ambitious plan to implement its flagship programme – the New Land Use Policy (NULP).
‘The NLUP would be implemented for coordinated, balanced and inclusive development of farmers and poor people. It would help in economic empowerment of all sections of people,’ Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla said at a function here earlier this week.
He added that the NLUP would also help in afforestation and protection of environment besides providing livelihood to the tribals.’