Imphal: In the continued crackdown against encroachers in the reserved forest areas in Manipur, at least 29 houses “illegally constructed in a reserved forest” were demolished on Tuesday.
Officials of the Manipur Forest department alleged that the 29 houses were illegally constructed by encroaching upon the reserved forest areas at Lamlongei Mantripukhri under Heingang police station of Imphal East district.
The area where the houses were constructed lie within Khabam Lok of the Langol Reserved Forest. The eviction was carried out by the authorities of the divisional forest officer of Central Forest Division.
A strong team of police was deployed while dismantling the illegally constructed houses. No untoward incident occurred while evicting the houses.
As told by the officials of the Forest department, the eviction drive was carried out after serving prior notices to the respective houses.
The notices were served to as many as 29 houses. Five of the houses were found dismantled by the house owners following the notice and the other houses were demolished by the forest staff assisted by the police using machines under the supervision of principal chief conservator of Forest, RK Amarjit.
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Talking to reporters at the spot, the principal chief conservator said that the houses were constructed illegally by encroaching upon the reserved forest area.
Earlier, notices were already served to the occupants on March 31. The notices to vacate the area were served under section 26 of the Indian Forest Act 1927 read and Manipur Forest Rules 2021, he said.
Five of the houses were found already dismantled by the owners, he added.
The eviction drive was carried out peacefully without any objection from the occupants, he added.
In Manipur, the authorities have been cracking down against illegal construction of houses and other structures within the reserved forest and protected forest areas in the last few months.
The protection of forest areas is given priority for the conservation of biodiversity and the environment in the state, the principal chief conservator of Forest added.