The Nongmaiching Laiphamlen Environment Preservation Committee (NLEPC) and Coordinating Body, Khurai submitted a memorandum to Manipur Chief Minister N Biren to investigate the burning of forest and smoldering of Nongmaiching Forest Range.
The memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister’s Secretariate was signed by Chongtham Sanahal, Secretary of NLEPC and Vice Chairman, Bon Khurai of Coordinating Body Khurai which is a conglomerate of 42 Civil Society Organisations of Imphal East districts.
The CSO is worried that the ongoing mass-scale burning of forests is practiced with the sole intention of deforesting for poppy plantations. NLEPC also requested the concerned authority to disarm the dwellers until the end of the dry seasons.
It said that some of the villagers settling in and around the Nongmaiching Hill Forest Range are regularly burning down the Reserve Forest of Nongmaiching Hill range deforesting the Reserce Forest Area for the purpose of poppy plantation thereby causing irreparable loss to the forest ecosystem and wildlife.
Recently, the said Reserve forest was set ablaze last month on 19th January in an uncontrollable manner which was dozed off by the volunteers of NLEPC along with the combined team of Forest Department, fire services, and members of the Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC) with tough endeavors.
Again, the forest was set fire on Monday, 21st, and 26th of January repeatedly. In this matter, the Forest department as well as the CM himself appeals to people not to destroy the forest by fire.
Seeing the rampant and continued burning of forests, Manipur CM N Biren has announced a reward of Rs 5 lakhs to inform the culprits.
It is unfortunate that this month, on the 6th,7th, and 8th of February, some anti-social people are burning the Nongmaiching Forest Range consecutively for three days. The culprits are continuing the heinous crime of burning the forest in the Reserve Forest areas using firearms and ammunition despite strong objections by the volunteers of Coordinating Body Khurai and NLEPC.
Therefore, the two Civil Societies requested the government to take urgent action and protect the Nongmaiching Forest Range from the anti-social people. Also, the bodies demand an investigation into the burning of forest repeatedly, so that the culprits may be booked and punished.