Manipur Minister launches drive against illegal timber business

Imphal (Manipur) [India] Apr 12(ANI): The thickly forested area of the northeast state of Manipur has been on the verge of deforestation due to illegal felling of trees and practices of shifting cultivation in the region. Recently, a team led by the state forest & environment Minister Th.Shyamkumar Singh conducted a drive against the illegal timber business at Kamjong district and seized truckloads of logs worth of rupees 1 crore. Speaking to Media, Singh said, "Under the Forest Act of India and Forest Act of Manipur, we have formed Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC) in the state and through JFMC; we involved to the villages and planted trees of a different variety. And when it is fully ripe, under the permission of the forest department allow extracting or harvesting the timber." According to reports, huge stocks of logs were illegally smuggled into Manipur mostly from the Indo-Myanmar border and stationed in Sorathen village as the village has different routes to connect to the neighboring country and Tengnoupal district as well. With an aim to eliminate such illegal activities of felling trees and to save the environment, the minister has urged the residents to join hands in curbing the environmental issues for a better tomorrow. Economist, Professor Amar Yumna said, "When it comes to the forest, the way he (Th. Shyamkumar Singh) has shown and his engagement in trying to stop the illegal timber trade that is fundamentally trying to save the forest is something no forest minister has ever shown that kind of involvement in preserving the forest products." It is also informed that the seized logs comprising of Khangra, Teak and Yangou will be auctioned following the legal procedure by the forest department. "I have been into this business for the last 10 years. And I have been supplying to almost every part of the state including Ukhrul, Chandel, Churachandpur districts and Moreh to Myanmar. And since timber is not found everywhere in the state, sometimes we are unable to meet the customer's demands," said Md.Rafi a timber businessman. Since massive felling of trees happens on a large scale across the Indo-Myanmar border, such activity may have an adverse effect on the climate in the state and the country. During the visit, the minister was accompanied by Phungyar MLA, K. Leishiyo and other officials of the forest department of the district.(ANI)
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