A silent worker
It is difficult to believe that a hardcore politician, who served as the state minister of industries for a decade, could have a "green" facet too. But, Tiameren Aier is one such person. In fact, people who work closely with him will vouchsafe for it.
Owner of rubber and teak plantations in the Mokukchung district of Nagaland, Aier served as the state minister from 1982-92. During his tenure, he claims to have contributed a lot to the industrial growth of the small hilly state. He continues to be the head of the Small-scale Industries' Association of Nagaland, which he established in 1988.
Besides his regular duties, Aier has made significant contribution towards improving the environment. One of the notable campaigns he is involved with is educating people about the adverse effects of jhum (shifting) cultivation.
To this effect, Aier has started a tea plantation in the foothills of the Mokukchung hills. In this way, he intends to divert the "destructive practices" of the local people. "I tell my employees to give up jhum cultivation," he says.
In 1994, Aier opened the Kilenkaba Memorial College in Dimapur which has 300-400 students at present. Aier plans to introduce environmental awareness training in this college, a rural-based programme which will require no qualification. Even dropouts can join. This is because he wants the farmers to enroll to avail of the basic environmental education, which can then be applied in their day-to-day activities.
However, many local people do not seem to be aware of his presence in the environmental field. "I know that he is a rich person, he owns huge plantations and huge houses, but I have not heard of any contribution he has made to rejuvenate the depleting land," says Moa, Aier's neighbour for more than a decade. His statement is met with nods from the crowd around him.
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