Imphal: In continuation of the Manipur government’s War on drugs mission and consolidation of boundaries of government forest land, and as instructed by chief minister N. Biren Singh, a combined team of Kangpokpi Forest Division and Kangpokpi District Police led by Range Forest Officer, Motbung Range and Kangpokpi Range trekked the Koubru Hill Ranges under Kanglatongbi Kangpokpi Reserved Forest to check for encroachments and illegal poppy cultivation.
The team comprising of 45 forest and police personals, came across illegally erected structures numbering to around 10 huts which were removed and destroyed on the spot. There were evidences of breaking up of land for cultivation/ farming. These areas were fields of illegal poppy cultivation since last year, Kangpokpi forest division officer N. Ganesh said.
Kanglatongbi Kangpokpi Reserved Forest was notified as Reserved Forest on July 3. As per Section 26 of Indian Forest Act, 1927, trespassing, making fresh clearings, breaking up of land for cultivation or other purposes inside a reserved forest are prohibited. Any person found to have committed such illegal activities shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both, in addition to such compensation for damage done to the forest as the convicting Court may direct to be paid .
The divisional forest officer, Kangpokpi Forest Division lauded the efforts of the team who trekked for four hours into the hills to carry out their duties. He extends his gratitude to Kangpokpi District Police for their valuable cooperation and is thankful to the superintendent of police, Kangpokpi district for her considerations and support for the cause. In spite of many appeals and warnings issued earlier in this regards, the DFO said no heed was paid.
Such action are being taken up to deter encroachers. FIRs will be filed and similar actions will be taken up against encroachers, Ganesh said. He reiterated that such encroachments are clear violation of acts, rules and regulations framed by Centre as well as the state government for conservation and protection of precious forest areas of the state, the greenery of which has been dwindling recently mostly due to illegal encroachment and illegal poppy cultivation.
The divisional forest officer, Kangpokpi Forest Division has appealed to the public to help the government in identifying such culprits and contribute in efforts for conservation of the forest of the state.