Thoubal Forest Division condemns threatening of forest field staff

On November 29, an on-duty forest field staff was threatened with gun shots by some unidentified persons near Chanam Sandrok area at Compartment No. 8 of Yairipok Block, Waithou Protected Forest.

The Thoubal Forest Division office has strongly condemned the act of threatening the on-duty forest field staff by firing gun shots by few unidentified persons on November 29 near Chanam Sandrok area at Compartment No. 8 of Yairipok Block, Waithou Protected Forest.

Thoubal divisional forest officer Debala Leiphrakpam said in a release that the incident was unfortunate and against the established law. The office strongly condemned the cowardice act of the perpetrators of the crime, she said. 

It said that on receiving specific information of felling of pine trees, the forest staff went to the area in the evening of November 28 to take stock of the situation as per procedure laid down under law. Noticing that machineries and labourers would be required, the forest field staff came back to collect the illegally felled pine logs on November 29 morning. As the forest staff were preparing to lift the logs, some miscreants approached them and opened fired arms and threatened the staff on duty of dire consequences if they ever tried to lift the logs. Being helpless, the staff approached the Irilbung Police Station and filed an FIR against the miscreants. A Forest Offense was also registered at the office of the Range Forest officer, Thoubal Range against the act of felling of pine trees.

The Waithou Protected Forest was notified as Protected Forests under Section 29 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 vide Notification No. 55/10/65-66 M(2) dated June 1, 1966 of the Government of Manipur and published in Manipur Gazette No. 42. E33 dated June 3, 1966, the release stated.

It further stated that as per Para (a) of the said notification and also as per Chapter-V, Rule No. 22 of the Manipur Forest Rules 1971, the Government of Manipur had reserved pine trees in Protected Forests areas of Manipur under Section 30 of the Act. This would connote that no individual can fell any pine tree in the protected forests areas without permission from the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) having jurisdiction over the protected forests. In the event of violation of the above provision, the offender is punishable under Section 33 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927.

If any individuals, NGO(s) or any organisation(s) has any grievances with any forest law which is presently put in force by the Forest department, Government of Manipur, the relevant public offices under the state government should have been approached to settle the impending issue, it stated.

It is unfortunate that the miscreants had used their license arms to open fire and took law in their hands by threatening the uniformed staff and stopping them from performing their mandated duty. It is expected that such illegal act of taking law in their hand and disrespecting government establishments may not be repeated in future. It is, therefore, appealed that individuals or NGOs involved in the instant incidence should restrained themselves from spreading dubious and unauthenticated charges against the government department through media and subjecting confusions the general public to meet their vested interests, it added.

First Published:Dec. 4, 2020, 10:40 p.m.

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