From Our Correspondent| UKHRUL
Water conservation and forest regeneration in catchment areas under the project ‘Community Based Sustainable Forest Management for Water Resources Conservation in Manipur’ will be taken up at Shirui, Choithar and Langdang villages of Ukhrul district, Manipur.
The project has the grand vision of regenerating forest health with a focus on nurturing back or enhancing natural water retention capacity of the soil in the upper watershed of the Manipur river system.
The basic problem that the project aims to address covers two closely interlinked issues that is constant depletion of the water supply from the upper watersheds of the major rivers in Manipur and livelihood of the people depending on water from this area.
Chief technical advisor of GFA, (the consultant agency engaged by the KfW project) Manohar Shrestha and his team visited Choithar and Shirui villages today and conducted a series of interaction sessions with villagers for the successful implementation of the said project in the coming days.
The Indo-German development cooperation project will be operational for 7 years and will cover 50 villages of Manipur. The visiting team brief the villagers on the propose project. The visiting team informed that watershed areas will cover only the tributaries of Thoubal River and livelihood activities will cover the whole village.
Seminar and power presentation to the villagers will be taken up before signing of MoU between the project implementing Society and village. Only after obtaining Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), the MoU will be signed by both the parties, informed the visiting team.
Each village has been directed to form a WRCG (Watershed Reservation and Conservation Group) comprising of 1 member each from every household to constitute a Watershed Reservation and Conservation Committee (WRCC) consisting of 10-15 members to be elected by the WRCG.
The WRCC should include representatives from women and people belonging to poor families. The villagers will make their own by-laws and a current bank account will be opened in the name of the WRCC which will be operated jointly by its chairman/secretary and treasurer. Resource mapping will be prepared by the villagers, and accordingly the project will be carried out as per their proposal.
Since both sides of the stream have to be protected from erosion or landslide by taking up afforestation, formation of several Forest User Groups was advised to manage specific area which is to be monitored by the WRCC of the concerned village. The purpose of the Forest User Group is to maintain and nurture the planted trees and also to protect the saplings from forest fire.
Shirui have taken the decision on October 24 to undertake forest regeneration activities in the Ramseikathi catchment area situated about 4km away on the east of the village. This is a public land and the land is free from any dispute, said headman of Shirui Village (Chingkha), Khavangpam Wungsek. Even though, the village has two headmen, the other is Wungchanngam Shangh (Headman of Shirui-Chingthak); however, the village will have only one WRCC for implementation of the project.
The water conservation at Shirui village will be taken up at several places including Khokthi Kongra, Namra Kongra and Khuirung Kongra. Besides them, Shirui village has also several water resources and streams for water conservation.
The Choithar village assembly held on September 9 had also unanimously agreed to undertake drinking water, connectivity road and forestry as their point of activities under the said project. And, neighbouring Shirui Village Authority has allotted Maret Kongrei at Shirui for drinking water purposes to Choithar Village.
Maret Kongrei is situated about 20 km away from Choithar Village with water available throughout the year. The village has also decided to take up afforestation or tree plantation at Yangvei and Lungshang areas, on both sides of the Yangvei Kong river which is a tributary of Thoubal River originating from Shirui Peak.
Yangvei and Lungshang is a public land and is free from any dispute informed headman of Choithar, KAS Alexander.
Headman of Langdang, Yungrei Tungshang, said, “Due to frequent landslides in the ‘Khara Kongra’ on the eastern side of the village, the villagers have decided to take up afforestation,” while also mentioning that the villagers have also formed the WRCC for effective implementation of the said project. Khara Kongra is located about 2km way from human settlement and is also a tributaries of Thoubal River. The village headman also informed that the area demarcated for taking up forestry project is public land and free from any dispute.
The visiting team’s interaction with the villagers of Langdang is scheduled to be held tomorrow.