IMPHAL, June 5: At least 190 square kilometers of virgin forests has been lost in the last 2/3 years, the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) voices its concern of the rapid deforestation in the hill and valley areas which has led to the state facing acute environmental problems.
The proscribed outfit in a press release by its publicity secretary, Leibak Ngakpa Luwang states that the activists of the state plays a pivotal role in controlling the wanton deforestation and preservation of the flora and fauna. In culmination with the World Environment Day, it states that the theme of “Small islands and climate change” is more appropriate then the main theme of “Raise your voice, not the sea level”. The day has been observed to save the environment and mandated by the United Nations Environmental Agency since 1972.
Manipur is located along the Tropic of Cancer and is bordered by the Great Triangle on the western side, there is abundant greenery and has a rich reserve of virgin forests. But, there has been a rapid decline of our forests wealth in the ongoing years. At present, there are 54 reserve forests and 22 protected forests whereas, the protected and reserved areas status is left for a namesake only. From the Koubru range to the barren hills of Senapati, Thangjing to Tamenglong and the Churachandpur and Chandel have felt the effects of deforestation. It is said in documents that these areas are rich with primary forests but the barren hills state otherwise, it said.
Since the forced annexation of Kangleipak to India, appropriate measures to protect and preserve the forests has not been taken up. The forests are lost at a rate of 18 hectares per day amounting to a square kilometer in a week’s time. Before losing our sovereignty, there were 34 reserve forests, 20 proposed reserve forests and 22 protected forests. Out of the total of 17,418 sq. km. of forest land, there was 1,467 sq.km. of reserve forest and 4,171 sq.km. of proposed reserve forest, there is a total of 11,780 sq.km. of un-classed forests before.
Now, there is rapid settlement and encroachment in the reserve forests areas and the forests in the hill districts are in rapid deforestation. It is an agenda of those persons holding the reins of public administration and this should be clarified to the public at the earliest, it said. The shrinking of the wetlands and the loss of agricultural land gives an irreplaceable blow to the environment of the state and to mitigate this, the public as well as the social activists has a pivotal role to play. The message of the World Environment Day should be heralded in a practical manner by all, the release said.