90 percent of timber transportation has transit pass: Forest minister


Imphal: Ninety percent of the timbers that are seen transporting along the streets of Imphal city have transit pass receipt, the state is getting a revenue of over Rs 18 crore from the neighbouring country as tax, said Forest minister Thongam Biswajit Singh on Thursday.

The  minister was responding to the motion for disapproval of policy cut raised by opposition MLA K. Ranjit Singh during discussion and voting of demands for grants of the demand Environment and Forest on Thursday in 3rd session of 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly.

Opposition MLA K. Ranjit Singh raised the policy cut motion on account lack of initiatives for protection of forest i.e. protected and reserved forest and others.

Seeking the information from the concerned minister through the Speaker, opposition Ranjit said many trucks loaded with huge timbers are found ferrying in the Imphal city during the late night and many of them are found loading huge timbers in Namli, Kamjong district and other parts of the area of the disricts.

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He asked the concerned minister what necessary steps the government is taking on the matter. With the present scenario it seems that the policies made by the government is not functioning properly, he added. He suggested that if the government collect taxes from those trucks loaded with timbers then the state’s economy issue could be resolved at maximum.

Biswajit informed the House that over around 90 per cent of the timbers that are ferrying in the state are not illegal. They all have transit pass for the transportation of the timbers.

He said in the state the huge timbers are imported from the neighbouring area as no such huge timbers are found in the state. The state government is preparing for auction of 6,000 cubic metre of timbers which were found for transportation illegally and another 5,800 cubic metres of timbers are also going to be auctioned.

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Even the video clip uploaded in Imphal Free Press showing ferrying of timbers are also transported after having TP, minister informed.

Minister informed that the owners are given a deadline of 7 days to pay the transit pass tax if they failed to pay the tax then the government started the process of auction.

In the same demand opposition MLAs K. Meghchandra and Th. Lokeshwar also raised policy cut motion on account of deterioration of environment due to dust and degradation of water quality of rivers; lack of policies/strategies to control wild fires and need to promote nursery plantation in forest area.

The Forest minister informed the House that the government has already installed Ambient Air Quality monitoring unit at DM University campus and Manipur University campus. He said due to ongoing road construction work in Imphal area and National Highway Imphal-Moreh the air quality are found over permissible limit.

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The government has instructed to utilise anti smoke guns while road construction and the department has already instructed the concerned officials to monitor stone crushing and sand mining sites and others to control degradation of water quality of rivers, said the forest minister.

He informed that the department has evicted many illegal encroachers from 135 reserved forest and still counting. The government will take stringent actions against those who violate the forest law after the government spread awareness, he cautioned.

In the same demand, MLAs Surjakumar Okram; M.  Rameshwar and Leishiyo Keishing also placed their observation.


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