Institutions such as traditional village durbars in Meghalaya play a vital role in the state’s environmental conservation and raising awareness about sustainable practices, Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region, G Kishan Reddy, said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.
The traditions such as conservation of sacred groves, prevention of over-exploitation of natural resources such as forests, managing springs and other water sources wisely, customary law discouraging hunting of wild animals, etc are helpful in protecting the ecology, Reddy added.
The state government has already notified several sacred forests and community reserves under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Also, the centrally sponsored schemes of Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats and Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) “have brought development to the communities by providing them alternative livelihood opportunities”.
Local communities and traditional institutions in Meghalaya are already involved in developmental planning, providing support to Village Employment Councils, identification of beneficiaries of various government programmes, making available community land for construction projects, management of community reserves, etc. for development of tribal regions in the state, the DoNER minister told the upper house of Parliament.