14 FIRs lodged, 590 acres of poppy plants destroyed in Kangpokpi district: DFO

Kangpokpi, Feb 4: In Kangpokpi district of Manipur alone, poppy plants on over 590 acres were cleared and as many as 14 FIRs under relevant sections of ND&PS were lodged against the poppy cultivators in the ongoing drives against illicit poppy cultivation.

Moreover, 23 village authorities were summoned for poppy cultivation in their respective village jurisdiction, according to divisional forest officer (DFO), N Ganesh of Kangpokpi Forest Division who informed the media on Saturday.

Addressing a press conference at the mini conference hall of the Manipur Forest department, Imphal, the divisional forest officer said that Kangpokpi Forest Division is all out to fight the menace of deforestation in the district.

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He said that Kangpokpi forest division and other agencies have carried out destruction of poppy in 19 instances in 2022-23 in which 590 acres of area under poppy cultivation was cleared of poppy.

FIRs were filed in 14 instances by officers of the division under section 26 of Indian Forest Act and ND & PS Act, he also said, while informing that operations to clear poppy of remaining areas are still going on.

The division was ably supported by foresters of Central and Senapati division. Drone survey is also being conducted to identify areas under cultivation of any form on Reserved Forest (RF) land and forest offence cases will also be filed against people indulging in any form of cultivation in RF, the officer added.

The range forest officers were ordered to investigate the matters of poppy cultivation inside Reserved Forest Areas in August 2022. This office has issued summons to around 23 villages and investigated the matter thoroughly with respect to poppy cultivation within the Kanglatongbi-Kangpokpi reserved forest (KKRF), Koubru hill range and other reserve forest (RF) areas.

Complaints have been registered against 24 such cultivators of poppy inside RF in the last two days besides FIRs in 14 instances filed earlier. More FIRs will be filed based on further investigation, he said.

The DFO has coordinated with police to affect the arrest of these offenders immediately under IFA 1927 and NDPS acts.

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“This exercise has been carried out on a regular basis, but not just as a knee jerk reaction”, he said.

Apart from poppy destruction, on other fronts of forest management, the forest office will be dispatching a team of forest officials to camp permanently at Koubru peak for the entire fire season to prevent any forest fire in the KKRF, Ganesh informed.

The team will be patrolling the entire KKRF area, operating from Koubru peak and will also be involved in making large fire lines in KKRF which will act as a break to any forest fire.

Also keeping the fire season in mind and as a preventive measure to avoid any forest fire, Ganesh said that restrictions were imposed on camping, trekking, expedition, etc. without the permission of competent authority inside KKRF by an order issued on January 26 last.

In the last one year over one lakh seedlings have been planted by the division at Koubru hill range alone. In the upcoming plantation season, the division is planning to plant more than 1.5 lakh seedlings at Koubru ranges, the divisional forest officer said.

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The division has also conducted a joint survey for demarcation of reserve forest and protected forest which will be followed by consolidation. The joint survey and signing of maps is completed for Khumanthou Ching RF and Kharam RF.

Joint survey and map preparation has been done for Kangchup RF and Kangchup Chiru RF and are pending with DC, Imphal West for signature.

About 95% of the joint survey in KKRF has also been completed. The joint survey has also been started for Imphal-Iril PF and Kangchup-Laimakhong Irang PF as well, he said.

Demarcation will be followed by laying of boundary pillars and consolidation of RF/PF, Ganesh added.

The division was able to attain a huge progress in the last four to five months in survey and demarcation.

The division has issued eviction notices to 30 encroachers in KKRF at Mahavir and Thotne. The encroachers will be evicted on the 2nd and 3rd week of February after following due procedure, the DFO also said.

Earlier, the division had evicted resorts and houses from Kangchup Chiru Reserved Forest in the 1st week of December 2022, he said.

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With the arrival of forest fire season, the Forest department has laid emphasis on awareness generation by maximum registration of people on FSI forest fire alert portal.4,980 people have already been registered on fire alert portal from Manipur state which includes 2,546 from the Kangpokpi division.

The division is also conducting a forest Fire awareness workshop and conducting regular patrolling of forest for forest fire. Cutting of fire lines across divisions is also being focused upon, Ganesh further added.

“We are aware of the water crisis gripping the city, given the fact that the catchment areas of Singda and Imphal river lie in Kangpokpi district. The forest department has also prepared a detailed plan for conservation and development of Singda and Imphal-Iril watershed under the Indo-German Project,” he said.

The DFO then appealed to the people to not indulge in cultivation of poppy and not involve in any form of encroachment into forest land or breaking up of land inside RF for cultivation etc.

Such acts attract penalties under section 26 of Indian Forest Act, 1927 read with Manipur Forest Rules, 2021, he said.


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