Imphal: A combined team of forest and police personnel dismantled as many as 21 huts, purportedly used for jhum cultivation and hunting purposes at Eshing Chaibi area of compartment No. 7, Irilbung block of the Nongmaiching Reserved Forest.
The team was led by the Divisional Forest Officer, Central Forest Division, RK Amarjit who is also the Conservator of Forests of Central Forest Circle, Manipur along with the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Central Forest Division, Siva Veimy, MFS, Range Officer, Nongmaiching N. Prabir, Range Officer, H/Q, Central Forest Division, Jobid Meitei, Range Officer, Sadar East, Ng. Ratan and Range Officer, Sawombung K. Raghu and field staff from all the four ranges of Central Forest Division and personnels from the Sanjenbam Police Outpost.
Expressing his concern, Conservator of Forests, Central Forest Circle RK Amarjit informed that there is enough evidence that the increasing number of forest fires is related to the activities in these huts.
He appealed to the people involved to abstain from jhum cultivation and hunting wild animals within the Reserved Forest area as these activities are against the provisions of Section 26 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927. He also warned of strict legal actions including imprisonment if they ever re-construct such huts and indulge in jhum cultivation and hunting.
The DFO said that information has been received from reliable sources that some individuals are selling Reserved Forest land by luring people to buy the land at cheap prices.
He cautioned that Reserved Forests are public property belonging to the Nation and nobody can sell Reserved Forest land and doing so is a crime. He said that there have been instances in the recent past where groups of people came to establish new villages within the Nongmaiching Reserved Forest.
He informed that satellite mapping of encroachments within the Nongmaiching Reserved Forest has already been completed and a new village can not be established without the prior approval of the State and the Central Government. Any new villages, even if physically established, will be evicted after following due process of law, he made it clear.