CM pledges to protect agricultural lands, wetlands

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Imphal, Jun 20 (DIPR):Chief Minister N Biren has vowed to protect agricultural lands and wetlands in order to ensure sustainable development to the people and maintain ecological balance.

He was speaking at a one-day interaction programme of local and district level monitoring committees constituted under the Manipur State Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2014, organised by Department of Revenue at Manipur State Film Development Society (MSFDS) auditorium, Palace Compound today.

Expressing serious concern over shrinking of paddy lands and wetlands at an alarming rate, the Chief Minister directed the officials concerned to review the performance of local, district and State level committees constituted under the Act and induct competent officials and social-minded locals into the committees.

He said that the new State Government would do whatever is possible to effectively implement the Act.

Underscoring the importance of making Manipur self-reliant in food production, the Chief Minister asserted that the same cannot be achieved without protecting agricultural lands and wetlands.

Biren further said that he is in constant touch with the Agriculture Minister to find ways and means to introduce the practice of double-cropping extensively in the State.
He further said that deliberations are also being made to construct small dams in the riverbeds of Imphal, Kongba and Thoubal rivers to harvest water for irrigation and water supply purposes.

Stating that the present state of Lamphelpat is very disappointing, he directed the Imphal West DC to take up immediate steps to curb onslaught on paddy lands and wetlands there.
The Chief Minister also asked the DC to evict unauthorised structures and effect immediate steps to stop unnecessary acquisition and encroachment into agricultural land at Lamphelpat. Stating that protection of Loktak Lake is another task which the present Government takes seriously, Biren asked Bishnupur DC to constitute a committee comprising MLAs, DC, LDA officials and elected leaders of Panchayats in this connection at the earliest.

Speaking at the occasion, Revenue Minister Karam Shyam said that the interaction programme was organised under the supervision of the Chief Minister considering the significance of the Manipur State Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2014. The Minister observed that people should be made fully aware of the Act so as to solicit their cooperation towards effective implementation of the Act.

He said that Manipur requires 25 lakh tonnes of rice annually and the State could produce only 1/5th of the total requirement.

The Minister further informed that as per the official records, the State has 2,34,000 hectares of agricultural land, but this total area is shrinking fast due to rampant constructions and urbanization.

Agriculture Minister V. Hangkhanlian said that the State Government is putting in serious efforts to double the State’s agricultural produces by 2020.

Commissioner (Revenue) Th Chittaranjan gave a power point presentation on the Act.
DCs of different districts, Directors of different departments, SDOs and other officials also took part in the interaction programme.

Source: The Sangai Express

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