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Fire gutted Langol Reserve Forest Area. ‘Land encroachers file case against forest department’

by IT Web Admin
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Laishram Ranbir
Forest department officials today visited the Langol Reserve Forest Area site where trees were burnt down by unknown miscreants on March 26 evening.
It is unfortunate that trees growing at around 10 hectares of the Reserve Forest Area has been gutted down due to fire. Above 70 percent of trees of the reserved forest have turned into charcoal by the fire which was suspected to be set on by local land encroachers to establish new village, said Forest Range Officer in charge Sadar Hills(West), Sukham Ratankumar.
While observing that burning down of forest areas is against the law and any persons caught in the act are punishable the Forest Officer said that local people have consistently tried to encroach at the reserve forest by burning trees. In this year till April, the department has been able to save the forest from fire in five instances. However this time the department was unable to save the trees due to late notice.
Ratankumar further said that the Forest Department have served enormous number of notices on the encroachers but became ineffective as most of the encroachers turned out to be people and relatives of high profile people of the state and still they are residing at their encroach areas. Lack of man power of the forest department, the encroachers could not be evicted till now.
Shocking point is that the encroachers have file cases against the forest department for issuing notice to vacant the encroached area of the Langol Reserve Forest Area even if settlement in reserve forest areas is against the law and are punishable. Handover of reserve forest area is not in the hand of forest department, it can only be done after being approved by the ministry of forest department, he said.
Langol Reserved Forest areas are being continuously occupied by the encroachers and many new villages have been set up so far. Thus the department is unable to take up any further steps, asserted Range Forest Officer.
According to the Forest Rights Act 2005 encroachment in the reserved forest areas is forbidden and illegal encroachment of the reserved forest areas is punishable. No land can be allotted in the interest of any particular person.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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