Khamasom villagers rewarded for safeguarding the only virgin forest
Pothashang News Service: Ukhrul, October 27, 2018: Forest and environment minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar yesterday rewarded the Khamasom villagers for protecting the only virgin forest in the state situated along the Indo-Myanmar international border.
The minister handed over a sum of Rs 2 lakhs from forest department side to the Khamasom villagers for their sincerity and commitment for protecting the environment.
On his maiden yesterday, the forest minister inspected the Khamasom village and its surrounding areas, which is situated near the international border pillar number 24. The minister expressed his astonishment and happiness towards the villagers for carefully safeguarding the only remaining virgin forest in the State along the international border. The village is located at a distance of around 40 kms from Ukhrul Headquarters. The village has been visited by a minister after a gap of 40 years. Late Yangmasho Shaiza, the then chief minister of the state visited the village in 1978.
Addressing media persons, Shyamkumar said the forest department is happy that the villagers of Khamasom have carefully safeguarded the only remaining parts of the virgin forest in the State at a time when the department is working hard to combat deforestation and global warming, which is currently one of the major issues in the world.
The chief minister instructed cabinet ministers to specially visit remote places and address the grievances faced by the people. The present state government is committed to keep close contact with the people residing in the interior areas so that new policies and developmental programs can be implemented, said Shyamkumar.
He assured to the Khamasom villagers that deserving villagers will be given benefits under various schemes/programs of the state government departments. Concerned over the remoteness of the village, the minister gave his direct contact number to the villagers to update him regarding the problems and other queries so that they do not have to travel the long distance to reach Imphal.
He informed the Khamasom villagers that the forest department got to know about the virgin forest through satellite image and he made a surprise visit to the village after attending the Ukhrul Flower Festival at Ukhrul Town Hall. He said it is the duty of the department to promote and support the villagers who are working tirelessly with sincere effort to protect the forest which have remained untouched for years. He also appreciated the state government officials for sincerely working in the area including the officials of forest department.
The minister also assured the Khamasom villagers that he will apprise the chief minister and works minister regarding the bad road condition.
Khamasom is located in the Ukhrul Central Sub-Division and it has over 400 households consisting of Khamasom Khayangkho, Khamasom Walely, Khamasom Phungdhar and Khamasom Phungrei. The village has a vast thick virgin forest stretching up to the international boundary with Myanmar which is rich in flora and fauna.