Unhindered by the lack of infrastructures and basic requirements, security personnel of the Manipur Police and the Indian Reserve Battalion posted at the Dzuko base camp since 2021 have been discharging their duty faithfully to check illegal activities at Dzuko valley on the side of Manipur.
During a visit by the Imphal Free Press to Dzuko base camp recently, it was found that 71 personnel, including 52 personnel of the Manipur Rifles and IRB and nine police personnel were posted at the base camp under the command of one Assistant Commandant of the 1st Manipur Rifles.
While interacting with the security personnel, a Jamadar, who identified himself as Dev, said due to unpredictable weather conditions in the area, there is frequent rainfall. However, the 71 personnel frequently conduct foot patrolling, on rotation wise, of around five-six km from the base camp towards Dzuko valley in order to monitor illegal activities, even in the rain.
The Jamadar said the personnel have been discharging their duty to prevent illegal activities carried out in the area such as illegal cutting of timbers and hunting among others.
Responding to a query by the Imphal Fress Press, Dev said one of the major issues faced by the personnel is lack of infrastructures in the base camp.
Pointing out that the construction work of the base camp is still incomplete and there is no proper place to hold a meeting if there is rain, he appealed to the authorities concerned to look into the present situation of the camp and the problems that the personnel are facing.
Highlighting the plight of the security personnel posted at the Dzuko base camp, Dev said that due to lack of beds, many of the personnel place their mattresses on the floor and sleep on it. Moreover, due to bad weather condition, most of the personnel, who do not have beds to sleep often fall sick.
It was also found that the windows in the base camp do not have any window panes. When the Imphal Free Press enquired about it, Dev said there were no windows panes and even door locks were not installed when he came for his posting. The personnel can manage it when the weather is warm and dry but on rainy days, even poisonous snakes have entered the room at night and this is dangerous for those personnel who are sleeping on the floor due to lack of beds, he added.
Dev also said there is no toilet facility in the camp and they have to manage with the temporary toilet that was constructed earlier with a galvanised tin roof and covered with plastic sheets.
Structures of incomplete construction of toilets were seen at the base camp.
Another personnel of the camp revealed to the Imphal Free Press that they have to buy their basic needs ranging from rubber boots to uniforms. He said various complaints regarding the incomplete infrastructures of the camp had been made to the higher officials but no necessary steps have been taken yet.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh had informed the House earlier that security personnel were deployed at the area to keep strict vigil at the border.
Commandant of 1st Manipur Rifles, S Ibomcha, who also came to visit the camp, took part in the foot patrol towards mount Tenipu, which is also known as Mount Iso. The stretch of the foot patrol was 5 km long from the base camp towards Mount Iso.
Ibomcha told the Imphal Free Press that after a wild fire occurred at Mount Iso in 2019, the base camp was set up to monitor the area, even to prevent illegal activities by the neighbouring states. With the installation of the base camp, activities such as poaching and illegal timber cutting in the area could be prevented, he said.
As the personnel face problems to patrol in the area, Manipur police blocked the motorable road with huge logs wrapped with barbed wires in the effort to prevent transportation of illegal timber from Manipur, Ibomcha said. He said necessary measures will be taken up to protect the area.
In an interaction with people from the nearby villages, one of the villagers living near the base camp told the Imphal Free press that with the installation of the security base camp, many illegal activities especially poaching and timber felling have been prevented.
Prior to the installation of the security base camp, poachers and illegal timber cutters were frequented the area, the villager said, adding that clashes often took place between the villagers and those who entered from neighbouring states to conduct illegal activities.
The protection of the area is now being ensured since the installation of the Dzuko base camp, with the collective effort of the villagers and the security personnel, the villagers added.