IMPHAL, April 7: Amidst growing concern on the deteriorating condition of Singda Dam under Lamphel Police Station, Imphal West due to large scale cutting down of trees in and around the dam which is against the ruling of Supreme Court, the chowkidar of Irrigation & Flood Control Department (IFCD) who is entrusted with the responsibility of looking after the dam was found directly involved in cutting down of pine trees grown in and around the dam.
The embarrassing revelation came to light when a Shaktiman truck bearing registration no MN04/A-4053 loaded with cut pine trees was intercepted by women folks and club members of the area near Singda Bazar this morning around 10.
According to members of Singda-Kadangbam Part I Meira Paibi Lup (SKPMPL) and Singda Naharol Yaipha Thouni Kanglup (SNYTK), the truck was seen coming from the office of IFCD situated just nearby the dam. When women folks and club members out of suspicion stopped the vehicle, it was found fully loaded with pine trees.
When driver of the truck was asked with whom permission the trees were cut down and where it was heading, he replied that the trees were cut down legally at the behest of the chowkidar identified as Thangboi Haokip, 47 in unison with officials of IFCD and that the truck was heading towards Imphal.
The driver also used unpleasant remarks against the women folks and club members.
They demanded the driver to produce permission paper to validate his claim that the trees were cut down legally with the permission from the concerned officials of the department. However, the driver failed to do so.
The women folks and club members attempted to meet the chowkidar in connection with the incident but proved futile as he had already fled the area.
Suspecting foul smell over the act, they enquired about the incident and came to know that Assistant Engineer and Section Officer of IFCD had asked the chowkidar yesterday to remove seven pine trees which were destroyed during the thunderstorm in the last few days from the department.
Taking chances of the order, Thangboi Haokip cut down around 50 pine trees which were transported by hiring a buffalo from Ireng village and loaded the trees on the Shaktiman truck.
On hearing the news that locals erupted in anger over the recovery of the pine trees at Singda Bazar, a team of police led by Officer-in-Charge of Singda Dam Police Out-Post rushed to the area and tried to fuse the situation.
Notably, a saw mill is situated just nearby the police post and it is said that several number of pine trees were found inside the post when the locals entered it.
Though the police tried to seize the truck loaded with pine trees, the irate locals resisted to it. Even as officials of IFCD also arrived at the area to explain the locals why the pine trees were cut down, they failed to convince them.
Later, the locals parked the truck at the premises of Singda Naharol Yaipha Thouni Kanglup and unloaded the pine trees from the vehicle.
Talking to this daily, the locals lamented the Singda Dam which is one of the important dams of the state has been reduced to a pitiable condition with the number of people settling in and around the dam increasing to a alarming figure.
They contended that huge quantity of earth was made to submerge into the dam by the settlers in their bid to construct road, posing a serious threat to the existence of the dam.
Saying that the incident of cutting down of trees in and around the dam is a serious matter which should not be sidelined, the locals urged the Chief Minister to intervene into the matter and ensure that the dam is not affected at all.