TODAY -

Unscrupulous human activities destroy "Varham" in Ukhrul
Source: The Sangai Express / Mungchan Zimik

Ukhrul, October 08 2020: The unscrupulous behaviour of many locals of Hunphun/Ukhrul village during harvesting of wild mushrooms by uprooting its naturally sprouting medium "Varham" in Tangkhul parlance, have been rampantly destroyed and has consequently let to decrease in wild mushroom production in the district.

This indiscriminate human destruction in the natural land form has caused tremendous loss in Varham in Ukhrul and elsewhere and is witnessing fast decrease of wild mushroom production.

This correspondent interacted with some of the villagers about the rampant destruction of Varham in order to establish their intention.



Unscrupulous human activities destroy 'Varham' in Ukhrul
Unscrupulous human activities destroy 'Varham' in Ukhrul


It was informed that due to the destruction in the Varham, wild mushrooms will not grow again in the same area.

While collecting mushroom, in spite of the mushroom found growing above the ground surface, many of them with a brute mindset tend to destroy the Varham by digging at least two feet under the soil to collect the gathered stalk attached to the Varham.

They do not think about preserving or saving the Varham for next season to grow again and to re-harvest the mushroom.

This indisciplined harvesting of wild mushrooms for last 6-7 years in the village has resulted in huge loss of Varham found in the forest of Ukhrul areas.

It may be mentioned that the Tangkhul community has a customary law on forest preservation and wild life protection, however this important traditional value is now almost abandoned for selfish economic wants.

It may also be mentioned that Ukhrul district was once covered with dense rainforest with sub-tropical climate, heavy rainfall very favourable for sprouting different varieties of wild mushroom, starting from May end to beginning of October.

Seasonal harvest of wild mushrooms were abundant and served as one of the main kitchen ingredient/menu during lean season.

A local farmer of Hunphun/Ukhrul village, Makra Vasha, who also owns a vegetable shop at Tangrei, gave his personal observation and experience of periodical cycle of sprouting wild mushroom in Ukhrul.

According to him, tree mushrooms called (lengphong or Uyen and Varleo) first sprout just before the onset of monsoon, during the first shower of rain, in the last month of May, in Ukhrul.

He also said, maximum of the wild mushrooms sprout during June, July and August during heavy rainfall.

Different types of wild mushrooms such as chiphungvar, varlang, sheishovar, mahaivar, chinaivar, ngaleithei, varngok, varsak, etc would be found growing abundantly in the mountain slope in shaded forest area till October first week.

He could sell more than Rs 1000 a day in the previous years and even shared the food with neighbours, however this year, although the demand for wild mushrooms is high, unavailability of supply from other villages and price hike of wild mushrooms has reduced his sale considerably.

Makra said there has been interruption in the natural cycle due to uncontrolled human activities.

K Rinmaya, another local farmer from Kasomtang who has a great concern for environment expressed dismay with the harmful practice of Ukhrul youths.

The youths simply chop off the tree bearing fruits while collecting the fruits instead of plucking the desired mature fruits and letting it grow, the local stated.

Rinmaya also mentioned that the locals of Hunphun/Ukhrul village have a strong traditional belief that if the first person who dies in beginning of the year possessed good moral character and is was an honourable person, then the villagers expected a very good harvest of wild mushrooms for the same year.

Meanwhile, a local resident from Meizailung, Ukhrul expressed that his family was able to earn over Rs 30,000 from just selling wild mushrooms last year.

The concerned locals and environmental enthusiasts have requested for timely intervention by the concern Department looking in the affairs of forest management.

They also appealed for some regulating rules or system of management to be enforced in every village, before irreparable damage is done to the forest environment and for judicious utilisation of naturally endowed resources.


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