Global event exposes devil-may-care attitude of Manipuris
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 05 2013: The World Environment Day observance held this year under the theme 'Think, Eat, Save' evoked mixed response from experts who cautioned that in case there is absence of collective effort from both the Government and the communities, the human race wiped out from the surface of the Earth would be a reality sooner than expected.

At a one-day 'panel discussion' organised by The Sangai Express at Dave Literature Centre, DM College Campus today, speakers ridiculed reckless wastage of vital resources inspite of majority of the people strapped in financial woes.

While chief guest of the function RR Rashmi (IAS), who is the State's Additional chief Secretary (Finance & Planning), was understandably moderate in his criticism against certain Government policies related to environmental preservation, functional president and All Manipur Working Journalists' union Wangkhemcha Shyamjai branded the state Government as naive, indifferent and incompetent with regard to environmental protection projects.

Asserting that Loktak Hydro Power Project cannot be dismissed as a failed project in any way for electricity is one of the most basic necessities for mankind to progress, Rashmi nevertheless opined that every major development project should ensure minimal impact on the environment.

Noting that impact of global climatic change had been relatively insignificant in the valley areas compared to the hills where years of disturbances caused to the ecological system is starting to have devastating effect, the bureaucrat said erratic rainfall hampering agricultural activities in the hills is a clear indication that time has arrived for every community to contribute their mite in replenishing the green cover.

With regard to Government policy, he strongly advocated setting up of micro hydel projects in place in major ones as the former would be more appropriate taking into account the geographical condition of Manipur.

On the otherhand, Wangkhemcha Shyamjai criticised the Government of Manipur for alleged lack of initiative to nurture plants/trees planted to commemorate different events.

While lakhs of rupees are being spent in planting trees and barricading the plantation sites there is hardly any follow-up action of even watering the plants/trees, lamented the journalist who also desired that the business community in Imphal area adopt a more compassionate attitude in the environment protection campaign by atleast watering the tree sapling planted in front of their shops.

Rampant destruction of forest cover in reserved forests and protected areas, unrestrained quarrying activities at environmentally fragile zones and failure to check illegal logging activities in the State also came in for sharp criticism from the senior journalist.

During the technical session held with senior journalist Irengbam Arun as the moderator, Principal Scientist (ICAR) Dr Irengbam Meghachandra deliberated on 'Food Security' and State Level Environment Impact Assessment Committee Chairman Dr Kh Shamungou on 'Impacts of Cultural Practices on Biodiversity' .

Highlighting that Manipur was a food crop abundant zone in the region Dr Meghachandra suggested that global phenomenon of unpredictable rainfall could be tackled most effectively only through extensive irrigation network in the valley areas and massive tree plantation campaign in the hills.

In case multiple cropping is practised in the nearly 2 lakh hectares cultivable area available in the valley pockets there would be no serious threat of food crop shortages in Manipur, said the resource person who also expressed that global warming could also be capitalised for enhancing food productivity as warm weather is very helpful in the seed germination process.

Dr Kh shamungou in his presentation cited clogging of tributaries flowing into the Loktak Lake as an example of wrong cultural practices along with the explanation that preferences for environmentally harmful items such as bottled drinking water and plastic plates/cups during community feasts have become a new challenge for the environmentalists.

Stating that Manipur is a festival-crammed land and community feasts an associated component of festivities, he ridiculed irresponsible attitude of individual citizens for wastage foods at such gathering.

likening such behaviour to exposing the future generation to food insecurity, Dr shamungou also pointed that use of loudspeakers during festivals amounts to creating noise pollution and thereby posing health threat to the citizens.

As a member of the panel discussion session, KVK (Thoubal) Programme Coordinator Dr M Thoithoi emphasised on concerted effort from all concerned to check violation of prescribed guidelines on pesticides as well as other agricultural practices mainly food crop supplements.

Regretting lack of citizens' concern on sale of eatables at unhygienic locations, Dr Thoithoi wryly commented on the people's preference to purchase mobile phones from air-conditioned shops while they have no qualms on buying consumable items from close to garbage dumping sites.

DFO (forest Department) L Joykumar, in his speech as another panel discussion member, conceded that lack of man-power and prevailing law and order situation have been some of the impediments hampering effective implementation of forest protection programmes in the State.

Like in the past, observance of World Environment Day was also organised by various NGOs, department concerned and security forces.

At a Directorate of Environment-organised observance function at MFDC Hall, Palace Compound, four environment media activists including the Sangai Express senior staff reporter Laishram Shamungou, 14 environmental experts/scientists, 15 environment activists/innovators and 20 NGOs working in the field were presented appreciated award and citation for their contribution towards environmental protection.

forest Department, Govt of Manipur also joined the observance by planting tree saplings at its Sanjenthong office campus.

Apart from Principal Chief conservator of forest AK Rana, Chief Wildlife Warden Th Ibobi and Additional Chief Conservator of Forest (Adm&Plng) K Angami, other officials and personnel of the Department also participated in the endeavour.

To commemorate the event, 69 Bn CRPF organised a tree plantation programme at its Mantripukhri headquarters and Chilchil training node along with an awareness programme which was formally launched by IG (CRPF) Manipur & Nagaland Sector SP Singh in the presence of 400 CRPF personnel, including DIG BD Das and event host unit Commandant RK Singh.

Besides planting 200 more tree saplings by the trainees at Chilchil node, pledge was also taken to nurture nature.

painting competition, lecture/awareness programmes and tree plantations marked the observance events organised by 30 Assam Rifles of 9 Sector, 27 AR of 28 Sector and 36 AR of 28 Sector at their respective area of command.

Kanggui Youth union and KWWU also organised observance programme with Kangpokpi AC MLA Nemcha Kipgen and other public figures planting tree saplings at different locations of Kangpokpi town.

In connection with the global event, Islamic Research & Dawah Centre, Babupara launched Green Masjid Campaign today with tree plantation programme around the Masjid campus at Sangaiyumpham marking the year-long observance, under the aegis of Directorate of Environment.

At Manipur press Club the observance function was organised by Biodiversity, Ecology and Environment Network, Manipur with Prof Rajmuhon Singh of Manipur University (chemistry), Women Environment Protection forum president Dr Th Sobita Devi, world Manipuri Organisation (Imphal) president S Mangi Singh and junior Scientific Officer Th Bhogen of Directorate of Environment elaborating on the harmful impact of environmental degradation along with suggestions on maintaining ecological balance.

Nehru Yuva Kendra (Thoubal), NSS Unit-II of Waikhom Mani Girls College (Thoubal Okram), All Manipur Trained Medicine and Aromatic Plant Promoter Consortium president P Devakanta was also presented Rs 1 lakh cash award and citation in recognition of contribution towards 'protection of plant varieties and farmers' rights' .

Images of Manipur (photo news agency), Science Teachers' Forum (BT Road), Manipur State Scouts Union, Jananeta Irawat Charitable Trust (Porompat), Manipur state Bharat Scouts and Guides (Langol Games Village), Royal Riders Manipur (Meitei Langol), Human Resource Development Centre (Mayang Imphal Chabung Company), Whizz-Kids Society (Kakching), Manipur Pollution Control Board (Lamphelpat), People Resource Development Association (Bishnupur) and Nambol Higher Secondary School also joined the observance by planting trees and organising awareness campaigns at their respective office premises and nearby areas.

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