TODAY -

National Green Tribunal directs State Govt
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 09 2015 : The Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal, New Delhi has directed the State Government to conduct fresh demarcation with respect to 0.956 hectares of land at Lamlongei Langol reserved forest area for the construction of Leprosy and TB hospitals and rehabilitation of displaced families of Lei Ingkhol.

The Principal Bench also directed the State Government to demolish the buildings and structures constructed outside the perimeter of this 0.956 hectares.

Speaking at a press conference held at Manipur Press Club, Lamlongei Yaipha Thoudang Nupi Marup secretary Thangjam (ongbi) Ratna said that the State Forest Department and locals have been protecting the site as a reserved forest area since past many years.

Ratana further said that the State Forest Department and Central Forest Department with the support from locals even formed a Forest Protection Committee to protect the area in 1996 .

However, on May 9 last year, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi visited the area and directed the officials concerned to survey land for setting up TB and Leprosy hospitals and providing rehabilitation to the displaced families of Lei Ingkhol.

On May 12 last year, the State Forest Department informed the general public through a statement that TB and Leprosy hospitals would be set up in the area.

Decrying the decision, locals of Lamlongei carried out various forms of protests and submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister requesting him to revoke the decision of the State Government, Ratna said.

As the Chief Minister did not give any reply, locals of Lamlongei filed a case against the State Government and State Forest Department in the High Court of Manipur, Ratna added.

However, the State Government neither sent their counsel nor submitted any document in the five hearings fixed by the Court, she said.

Later, the locals not only filed a case in the Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal, New Delhi on December 16 last year, but also sought an information through RTI on deforestation and construction works taken up at reserved forest area, Ratna said.

On January 21 this year, the Court passed a stay order to stop construction works in the area, she said.

During the hearings of the case at the Principal Bench, the counsel of the State Government submitted relevant affidavits and documents, which stated that 0.956 hectares of land had been acquired for the construction of TB and Leprosy treatment centres and for that purpose non forest activities have been permitted by the Governor of Manipur.

The affidavits and documents also affirmed that the State Government would not expand construction outside the perimeter of this 0.956 hectares of land, Ratna said.

On April 6 last, after perusing all these documents, the Principal Bench passed an order to the State Revenue Department to demarcate the required area on April 13 at 11 am in the presence of the applicants and their counsel.

The order further said that the demarcation works must be completed expeditiously.

The Bench further instructed the State Government to demolish the buildings and structures, which are constructed outside the perimeter of 0.956 hectares.

Ratna further said that it has come to their notice through RTI that the construction works started on January 16 this year.

She also alleged that Okram Henry, nephew of Chief Minister O Ibobi is one of the key stake holders, who have taken up construction works at the area.

She also alleged that Henry has earned more than Rs 10 crore from deforestation and selling of earth dug up from this reserved forest land in the past six months.

Thangjam (o) Ratna said that their move is not against the people of Lei Ingkhol, who are to be rehabilitated at the area, but to conserve the forest area.


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