Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by SPN Editor
People’s Alliance for Peace and Progress Manipur (PAPPM) writes to the Chief Minister of Mizoram, Zoramthanga against ZORO and to prevent using Mizoram’s soil to spread false information which may affect the inter-community relationships in other states.
A press statement sent by the president of PAPPM, M Bobby Meetei highlighted the Mizoram Chief Minister that the Zo Reunification Organization (ZORO) held a press conference in Aizawl Press Club on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, making an allegation that the Manipur government is “planning to take away land from the Zo people ( Chin – Kuki – Mizo) living in the state’s hill areas ” by declaring multiple tribal settlements as reserved forests.
However, it is learned from the press conference held by Dr. Aditya Kumar Joshi, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Head of Forest Force of Manipur Forest Department that there has been no recent declaration of reserved forests. He also informed that there are 37 Reserved Forests and 23 Protected Forests in the State of Manipur covering 1,467 Sq. Km and 4,171 Sq. Km respectively. Some of the Reserved Forests were notified by the then Manipur State Darbar and some were notified under the provisions of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 as per the provisions provided under the Act. The declaration of Reserved Forests by Manipur State Darbar is considered to have been notified under IFA, 1927 as per the provisions of the Manipur (Administrative) Order 1949.
The declaration of the reserve’s forests decades back and not recently suggests strongly that there were no village settlements or very few settlements inside the forests when it was declared either as reserved or notified forests. As such it is well established that the village settlements at present inside the reserved and protected forests were established much after the declaration/notification of the reserved forests. This is also very much evident in the case of the recent incident inside the Nongmaiching Reserve Forest whose notification was issued on 16th February 1966.
PAPPM mentioned that Mizoram State is also facing the same problem in managing the 7,045.29 Sq. Km of reserved forests, which is much more than the reserved and protected forest areas of Manipur. It is also learned that Mizoram has implemented a New Land Use Policy whereby village settlements are restricted to certain definite areas.
The organisation also urged Zoramthanga to enlighten the office–bearers of ZORO on the facts about reserved and protected forests.