Manipur: No case of Nongmaiban village pending in court says Principal Chief Conservator of Forest

Imphal, June 07 2022: While stating that there are no pending cases in the court regarding the land of Nongmaiban village, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Dr AK Joshi has informed that the case filed by the village chief at Civil Judge (Senior Division), Senapati has been dismissed by the Court.

Addressing a press meet at the conference hall of Forest Department, Sanjenthong here on Tuesday, Dr AK Joshi said that Nongmaiban village chief Jankhoshat Haokip filed a case at Civil Judge (Senior Division), Senapati in 2018 regarding a plot of land provided by the Department aside from the one provided previously.

DFO Central Division gave an exact para-wise reply to the case, fol lowing which the petitioner himself stopped coming to the Court and as such, the Court dismissed the case on December 17, 2021.Informing that the state government is planning to plant around 75,000 tree saplings till August 31 in connection with the observance of World Environment Day, the PCCF recounted that a tree plantation programme was organised by DFO Central Division at Nongmaiching Reserved Forest area on May 5 .

However, the programme was interrupted by the villages of Nongmaiban.

The incident can be said to have occurred due to some misunderstanding, he added.

He continued that the area, which spreads around 74.7 sq km and selected by the Forest Department for the programme on the day was not part of Nongmaiban village, but that of Reserved Forest area, as was notified on February 16, 1966 .

Under Section 6 of Indian Forest Act (IFA), 1927, the then Forest Settlement Officer invited objections, based on which around 20 surrounding villages including Nongmaiban village made claims/objections.

After the claims were heard in detail, around 7.07 sq km of the Reserved Forest area was given to Nongmaiban village.

However, Nongmaiban village did not reside in the land provided by the department and instead relocated twice in 1985 and 1995, before settling in the Reserved Forest area.

This is against the Act and Rules concerned, he remarked.

Dr AK Joshi further recalled that on July 18, 2017, a combined team of Forest and Police personnel apprehended 7 people and 3 trucks which were found illegally mining in Chaithabi area of the Reserved Forest.

During investigation, it was found that Nongmaiban village chief Jankhoshat Haokip had signed on a lease deed amounting to Rs 40,000, for allowing the mining activities, in addition to taking another Rs 20,000 for extending the lease period.

Thus, 15 people including Jankhoshat Haokip were convicted for the illegal mining.

Even now, two cases are pending against two people including Jankhoshat Haokip concerning illegal mining.

The PCCF then said that under the provisions of Manipur State Durbar and IFA, 1927, there are 37 Reserved Forests, and 23 Protected forests in the state.

All Protected Forests are notified under Section 29 of IFA, 1927.On top of this, a committee with the state chief secretary as the chairman has been formed to carry out a joint survey to deal with issues related to forest land and revenue land.

The joint survey will forever remain as part of the history of Manipur, he said.

Appealing to the people to extend support to the joint survey, Dr AK Joshi contended that both Reserved and Protected forests are for the people.

It is not the sole responsibility of the government and the department to protect the forests, he remarked, while urging all concerned to help protect the forests so as to protect the environment.

The PCCF further urged for protecting the ecosystem so as to ensure the longevity of human life.

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