A Joint Forest Management Committee has demanded the authorities concerned to enquire and investigate the encroaching of land under Chingkhei Ching Reserve Forest Area.
The JFMC Top Awang Leikai alleged that there is a high suspicion of issuing land records by the Department of Revenue to individuals and societies in Tinsid Chingol which is under Chingkhei Ching Reserve Forest Area by manipulating maps.
An RTI was filed seeking information about encroaching in Chingkhei Ching Reserve Forest Area, it stated.
Responding to their RTI application, the Revenue Department informed them that they don’t have any such record. Most of the documents were lost when a fire broke out at SDO office, Porompat in the year 1997, it added.
As per the Central Reserve Forest Division, the total land area of Chingkhei Ching Reserve Forest Area is 14.23 square km, it stated.
As per a joint survey carried out in 2020, it has come to notice that around 42.7 hectare within this reserve forest are occupied as revenue land as per 1960 report.
However, Chingkhei Ching Reserve Forest was declared as Reserve Forest in 1937 by Manipur Darbar. This contradiction has created a doubt as to whether the Revenue Department has manipulated the map or not, the release expressed.
Besides this, the land, which is newly settled, was once a nursery plantation site of the Forest Department and grazing ground, it added, while alleging that there are as many as 13 encroachers in Tinsid Chingol. Out of it, seven of them are patta holders while the rest doesn’t have any land record, it stated.
The release further said that as per Forest Act 1927 and Forest Conservation Act 1980, no individual or society is allowed to settle in reserve forest area. As such the state government should take immediate action against the changes taking place in Chingkhei Ching Reserve Forest Area, it stated.
Not only Chingkhei Ching, its adjacent hill range ‘Nongmaijng Ching’, which was declared as a reserve forest area in 1991, is also in a pathetic situation. Many areas have started to turn into settlement areas and deforested, the release informed and appealed to draw attention to forest degradation.