LOUSAL, a farmers group in Manipur, has called for tough government action against construction on agricultural land beyond government permit, alleging that several "VIPs and affluent people" in the state are buying agricultural land and using them for constructions beyond the permit of the state government.
LOUSAL president Mutum Churamani said that these affluent individuals and VIPs buy agricultural land and construct anything without prior permission but to only take permission later, mostly after work has begun.
“Many affluent individuals and VIPs construct anything without getting prior permission from concerned authorities and then take permission later,” he said, urging the state government to take up stringent action against the erring people.
He said that after the enactment of Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2014, the state government permitted setting up of hospital, shopping mall, multi-storey complex in public interest. However, affluent people and VIPs in the state acquire agricultural land one after the other and use them for other purposes, he said.
Also Read: Experts fear Khongnem Chakha Dam, Pabram Dam may submerge several villages
Asking if the public should remain silent on the matter, he further asked: “If lawmakers break and violate the laws, then who will protect land”.
"One day, the state will not have agricultural land for production if it continues this way, turning all into commercial purposes," Churamani said and appealed to the state government to look into the matter seriously and take action according to the Act.
Churamani also said that a permit was given of an agricultural land located at 9-Khabam Chumbreithong for setting up a hospital by the locals some years ago, but the area has now turned into a dumping site.
And since the construction of the hospital has not begun, the site has polluted the area with waste and smell, affecting the health of the people, he added.
Also Read: Where have all the urea gone?
Moreover, the agricultural land adjacent to the dumping site was also acquired for the hospital, he informed.
The LOUSAL president continued that the agricultural land from Chairenthong to Chinggaren of Imphal East district has been levelled up to the road level for construction and commercial purposes. However, due to complaints, some areas were dug out but the same could not be done at some areas as they belong to powerful men, he said.
Similarly, in Bishnupur district some agricultural lands were dug for top soil. But following a complaint to the concerned DC, the LOUSAL unit president was able to block digging out the fields. However, they could not stop a vehicle from digging as it belongs to a cabinet minister, he stated.
Again, at Langathel the top soil of a paddy field was dug up and taken to other places without restoring it, all in violation of the district magistrate’s order, Churamani said.
Also Read: Poaching of hog deer continues unabated at Jawa Lamjao
Regarding the agricultural land that has become a dumping site though it was acquired for hospital purposes, Churamani informed that extension agriculture officer of Imphal East came to the site and inspected it. However, the officer stated that turning agriculture to another purpose or purpose of homestead land is handled by the revenue department and said he will discuss the matter with concern, he informed.
Churamani also suggested that agricultural lands can be turned into a good sports venue if the owners want to turn them into turf grounds. Turf grounds are not affordable for all players but a good sports venue will process access to all, he said.