In order to promote the cultivation of Agar and Chandan (sandalwood) in the state, the Government of Assam has relaxed the restrictions on the cultivation of the scented Agar tree.
In a landmark decision, the Cabinet approved growing and cutting of Agar and Chandan trees on non-forest lands which will promote the cultivation of Agar and Chandan in the state. In a tweet, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal also said that the Cabinet has also approved setting up of an International Trade Centre for Agar in Golaghat.
Accordingto a senior industry officer in the state, the cabinet has kind of liberalizedthe Agar plantation which is also known as "Aquilaria Malaccensis" and itsfelling. The officer said that now there is no need for registration for Agarcultivation up to 35 bighas of land which is going to boost the state's economyto a great extent.
Thecultivation of Agar tree is seen in Sivasagar, Sadia, Nagaon, Darrang, Goalparaand Cachar. Apart from Assam, the tree is also grown in Khasi Hills and GaroHills districts in Meghalaya. The tree is also found in the forests ofNagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.
Hojaidistrict is said to be the hub of distilling the agar oil and more than twolakh people are directly dependent on the agar cultivation and illegal trade inthe state. Reports say that in Hojai district alone, there are over 2,000distillation units of Agar.
The All Assam Agar Traders and Agar Oil Manufacturers" Association has been demanding the state government to exempt agarwood from the purview of Assam Wood Based Industries (Establishment and Regulation) Rules 2000 and bringing them under the Secondary Wood Based Industries.