Sunday, March 26, 2023

Mnp based Naga body wants socio-political issues addressed


A Naga based civil society on Tuesday urged concerned authorities of the Manipur government to identify and delete the fictitious villages, bogus population, bogus Aadhar Cards and voter identity cards.
Naga Youth Forum Manipur (NYFM), in a statement signed by its president Amu Pamei, also demanded de-recognition of chieftainship heading multiple villages and to enact appropriate laws for new village recognition, while expressing serious concern over the present socio-political issues of Manipur.
It also called for a mass social movement while highlighting issues plaguing the state, particularly the massive loss of forest cover that affected the whole Manipuri society.
Manipur has been in the national news recently for the massive loss of forest cover. According to India’s Forest Report 2021, Manipur recorded a loss in forest cover of 249 sq. km in 2021. In 2019, forest cover loss was 499 sq. km as compared to the previous assessment in 2017. From 2017 to 2019, Manipur lost a total forest cover of 758 sq. km.
“This is in contrast with the increase of 2,261 sq. km in the total forest and tree cover for the whole country during 2019-21,” the forum pointed out.
The NYFM observed that deforestation to facilitate poppy cultivation has been mainly responsible for most of the forest cover loss during this period.
Correspondingly, drug trafficking has also been on the rise as evidenced by massive seizure of drugs in the state, it added.
Drugs originating from the neighbouring countries and trafficked through the state have also been seized in other parts of the country.
Responding to the critical situation, the Manipur government under the leadership of chief minister N Biren Singh has been undertaking a massive campaign against drugs under the banner of “War on Drugs” since November 2018. In the process of the drive against poppy cultivation, it was found that many areas under the reserve forest and protected forests are under poppy cultivation.
Many illegal encroachers were also found within these forest areas which led to investigation into the existence of many illegal settlements within forest areas.
For instance, K Songjang village evicted recently from Churachandpur-Khoupum Protected Forest was a new settlement established in 2021.
As per the statement of the forest department, the establishment of a new village inside a protected forest area violated section 30 (C) of the Indian Forest Act, 1927, Rule No. 73 (4), 73(5) of Manipur Forest Rules 2021, Section 2(ii) of Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and Supreme Court order dated 12.12.1996 passed in WP(C) No.202 of 1995 and was treated as encroachment in the protected forest.
Besides, the long-term impact of climatic change, another immediate big impact of deforestation is that Manipur is facing floods during the rainy season and drought and shortage of drinking water during winter.
The massive herbicides and fertilizers used for poppy cultivation have become a big cause of health hazards.
Many new villages, both recognized and unrecognized, have been detected in the follow-up investigation. There have been instances where more than 10 villages in different districts under a single village chief are recognized.
The villages were also found to be named after their forefathers and not by location. It is also very alarming that many villages with fictitious populations, Aadhar cards and voter ids have also been found.
The process of timely streamlining has so far been blocked by the elected representatives for their selfish ends. Sadar Hills (present Kangpokpi) had 179 villages in 1969 which has grown into massive 534 villages in 2021, an impossible growth of 198%.
This can be compared to the growth of villages in Senapati District with 126 villages in 1969 and 140 in 2021, a growth of 11% growth. Similarly, Churachandpur had 216 villages in 1969 and 544 villages in 2021, a growth of 150%. Tengnoupal and Chandel had 232 in 1969 and it has increased to 446 in 2021, a growth of 100%.
Tamenglong and Noney recorded a growth of 29%. Ukhrul and Kamjong district have recorded a negative growth of 6% in the number of villages.
Correspondingly, an attempt to control land and resources has been translated into a political movement demanding a separate political status.
The NYFM said that this has resulted in socio-political issues in Manipur. This is evidenced by the recent agitation launched by some sections of people in support of the illegal encroachment in the reserve and protected forests.
A mass social movement is the need of the hour to address the present artificial socio-political issue created by vested interests.
It is the moral responsibility and bounden duty of all those who desire a peaceful and prosperous society, irrespective of their caste, creed or ethnic affiliation, the NYFM asserted.

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