Chief Minister N. Biren Singh has announced that the famous Sirarakhong Chilli and Tamenglong Orange have now received Geographical Index (GI) tag. He made the announcement while speaking at the inaugural function of the Van Dhan Vikas Kendra (VDVK) Mela, 2021, organised by the State Forest Department at GM Hall Friday.
Prior to the inauguration of the fair, the Chief Minister also inaugurated a VDVK Outlet and Extension Centre at Forest Department Head Office, Sanjenthong, where products manufactured by different Vandhan Kendras of the State are showcased and sold. Forest, Environment and Climate Change Minister Awangbow Newmai and Tribal Affairs and Hills Minister Vungzagin Valte also attended the function as dignitaries.
Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVKs) are opened across the country by the Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) under the Van Dhan Yojana, which is a scheme to set up tribal owned enterprises for processing, value addition, packaging and marketing of value added products made from different forest produces found in the wild.
Addressing the gathering, N. Biren Singh said that within a short span of time, Manipur has emerged as a model State for the scheme in the whole country. Manipur was conferred with five national awards during the first Van Dhan Annual Awards, 2020-21 at 34th Foundation Day celebration of TRIFED, Ministry of Tribal Affairs on August 8, 2021. The awards are – ‘The Most Pro-active State’, ‘Best Digital Friendly State’, ‘Best Sales Generated (2nd Place)’, ‘Most number of Van Dhan Vikas Kendra established (2nd place)’ and ‘Best Training (2nd place)’, he said.
N. Biren Singh further stated that 41,908 women of 3320 SHGs had been benefitted under the scheme in Manipur so far. He said that the fruits and other forest produces which remained uncollected and perished in the wild earlier are now properly processed, value added and packaged for export to other States and abroad.
Stating that the State Government is striving for development of hill districts and uplifting the living standard of tribal people, N. Biren Singh said that among various other development works, construction of medical college at Churachandpur is in progress and works are afoot to upgrade Pettigrew College, Ukhrul and opening of Science stream in Tamenglong College.
Packaged Van Dhan products like Candy (amla, pineapple, wild apple, ginger, fig, tamarind), jam (pineapple, alma, plum), juice and squash (pineapple, amla, wild-apple, plum, Burmese grapes), spices (dalchini, turmeric, ginger) pickles (bamboo-shoot, king-chilly), fermented bamboo shoots, etc. are showcased in 14 stalls of different districts at the fair.