The Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) has instructed all villages under its jurisdiction to frame their respective rules on wildfires and to penalise any offenders in line with its customary laws on protection of lands and forests.
TNL President Hopingson A Shimray informed the matter in a telephonic talk on Wednesday evening.
“Back in 2015, we formulated customary laws for protection of the forests, rivers, streams and other natural resources under ‘Ngalei-Ngahong Phakhari kala Shikachin Yanret’ (Rules of protection and usage of lands and forests),” he said.
It has been clearly stipulated under Part 5, Section 22, and Clause I-IV of this Yanret (rule) that indiscriminate burning of forests is strictly prohibited across the villages, Mr Shimray continued.
“Now, as part of implementation of this Yanret, we have asked all the villages to formulate their respective regulations for protection of lands and forests from haphazard fires and to penalise any offenders in accordance with the local rules,” Shimray said.
According to the TNL chief, all the four zonal bodies, Longphangs have also been asked to oversee and monitor the implementation part for strict compliance in their zonal areas.
At the same time, he disclosed that the Yanret does not cover systematic clearing and burning related to traditional Jhum cultivation and other livelihood/farming occupations.
Meanwhile, Tangkhul Naga Long, in its official circular to villages, has endorsed village authorities to come up with their regulations on forest fires and strictly enforce the same in their respective areas.
“Any offender should be penalised with a fine up to Rs 1 lakh, depending on the extent of the damages, on top of being made liable for the property destruction caused by any such random fires,” it said.