TODAY -

Forest conservation efforts pay dividends, paddy fields flourish
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 04 2019: At a time when many fields and agricultural lands of the State are being rendered useless due to the scarcity of rainfall, a considerable number of paddy fields located in the vicinity of Nongmaiching Ching, Leitembi and Makhapaat Loukon are thriving robustly as they get adequate volume of water due to tireless efforts to conserve forest resources of the surrounding area and hills.

In the past, many of the trees and plants at Ayokpa Kabui Lok and Uthambal Lok surrounding Nongmaiching Ching reserved forest area under Imphal East district, were cut down or cleared.

But efforts by the Forest Department and the people of Naharup area led to formation of a Joint Forest Management Committee and a systematic tree plantation campaign was launched in the area.



Forest conservation efforts pay dividends, paddy fields flourish
Forest conservation efforts pay dividends, paddy fields flourish


The campaign has now started paying dividends as testified by the lush green paddy cultivations seen in the surrounding area even as large parts of the State have been facing a drought like condition.

Speaking to media persons, treasurer of the committee, Thoudam Meghachandra said that the area was almost cleared of all the trees some 20-25 years back by loggers and charcoal makers.

From 2010, the committee, in collaboration with the Forest Department began planting trees and looking after those trees properly which slowly, but surely, improved the forest area again.

Around two years back, fresh water began flowing down from Lafupokpi and Shamukok Lok and this year, fresh water began to reach Leitembi and Makha-paat Loukon, which consist of around 30 paris.

The surrounding paddy fields have adequate volume supply which will ensure healthy paddy yield this year, he said.

Speaking about the efforts to conserve the reserved forest area, Meghachandra said that in the winter, the villagers are allowed to collect wood (without using any tools).

If anyone is found using tools to cut down trees, they are heavily fined.

On the other hand, those who provide information to the committee regarding such cutting of trees or those who are engaged in starting forest fire, the committee gives him or her Rs 5000 as reward.

Claiming that such stringent rules set by the committee have even led to unfortunate incidents in the past including miscreants targeting the committee members, Meghachandra strongly condemned the act of some MLAs who used heavy machinery to carve roads in the area during the period of a single night.

On the other hand, the president of the committee Ningthoujam Basanta also said that his paddy field have been able to get adequate water from the streams as a result of the unending efforts to conserve the forest areas.

Range Officer of Nongmaiching range, K Momba said that the positive developments seen in the area should be attributed to the works of the Forest Department and the committee.

He then claimed that road construction in the area was not approved by the authorities concerned.

On the other hand, Directorate of Environment Deputy Director Dr T Brajakumar said that if the forest areas at the mouth of streams and rivers are properly conserved, then the water bodies will not run dry in any part of year.

At a time when the whole planet is facing grave climate change, conserving forest areas will ensure carbon positivity in the soil and improve ecological balance.

He then claimed that due to the Department's efforts to create a model eco-village at Phayeng, the village has been able to avoid scarcity of water, a situation which the State is facing currently, and the villagers are able to properly plant their crops.

Around 40,000 trees were planted in the catchment area of the said village, he explained.


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