THOUBAL: In a significant order, the CJM Senapati has remanded three accused persons who were involved in starting a fire at Nongmaiching Reserved Forest on Sunday last into the custody of the investigating officer for 5 days.
The three persons were identified as Ch.Ghandharmani, 54, son of Chaoba, Ch. Malemnganba, 19, son of Tombisana, both from Andro Kharam Leikai,Imphal East, and N.Naoba, 25, son of late Moto, from Andro Awang Leikai, Imphal East.
They were arrested at around 5.15 am on Sunday afternoon inside Nongmaiching Reserved Forest area by a team of Irilbung forest beat office, Joint Forest Management, Naharup and members of Naharup Club. The accused persons were allegedly arrested while they were setting the fire and from their custody a carcass of a bamboo rat, one live bamboo rat, three mobile phones, one single barrel gun with five live rounds, one knife and four torch lights were also seized by the team.
They were produced before the court of CJM Senapati on Monday.
According to forest official sources, it was said that the alleged offence of setting fire in a reserved forest is punishable under section 26(1) (a) (b) of the Indian Forest Act with six months imprisonment or fine or both along with compensation of damages caused to the forest. This is bail able. However, the three were not in possession of the license for the gun which comes under the Arms Act and is a non- bailable offence, added the source.
Moreover, in light of the circumstances of the arrest wherein the whole of India is under lockdown but the accused persons were arrested inside a reserved forest along with the illegal arms and ammunition, and also they were arrested while the Forest Department was fighting to stop man-made fires. Further, the court also rejected the prayer of bail, and the carcass of the rat might be disposed of as decided fit by the investigating officer, the order added.
Meanwhile, there was a big wild fire at Nongchubi Ching near Kakching Garden on Monday evening which was extinguished at about 1 am midnight.
Preliminary enquiry suggested that the fire was started from Heiritpokpi area near Phunal Sungphum since the day before yesterday and after burning some area it extinguished itself. But the fire was again restarted from the cinder of cow dung and dry tree twigs etc. and created today’s devastation.
N. Munal Meitei, Range Forest Officer/Kakching stated that wild fires are normally worst in the day time and evening due to the dryness of the grasses and with speedy wind. But as night deepened, due to dew and mist etc. setting in the fire automatically gets extinguished. But more importantly, when there is presence of dry cow dung or dry tree twigs, there is high risk for another wild fire on the next day.
N. Munal Meitei and his staffs searched for such remnant smoulder and could found out extinguished about 8/9 such remnant fires on Tuesday.
On the occasion, N. Munal Meitei, Range Forest Officer told that forest fire is becoming very common everywhere in the state these days. Huge forest areas including the wildlife are damaged from such wild fires. It is told that when there is thief, something is left but when there is fire, nothing is left behind. To save our invaluable forest is the responsibility of all the citizens of the country, he said.