Several people facing eviction staged a sit-in protest on Saturday at Waithou protected forest area under Thoubal Forest Division. They condemned the notice issued by the divisional forest officer of Thoubal for the eviction of illegal land encroachers.
One Naorem Ebema, a protester, said that the residents of the area had been living there since the era of king Budhachandra. The long-standing well constructed by the king and the mango tree planted by the king stands as proof, she added.
She continued that the people of the area had never cut trees from the forest nor used the soil for gardening. Although they had never obstructed the forest department officials in any official activities in the hill and forest area, they had even prevented outsiders from conducting land excavation in the area, she mentioned.
The protesters condemned the sudden eviction notice, and appealed to the authorities concerned to consider their helpless situation as they are extremely poor, have no resources to buy land or build a new house.
Although the chief minister’s developmental initiatives are appreciated, most of the people in the area have nowhere else to go and have no means to relocate elsewhere, they lamented.
Appealing to the authorities concerned to withdraw the eviction notice, the protesters continued that “the people living in the land will protect the forest area, promote afforestation and take up other measures for the wellbeing of the forest area.”
The protesters appealed to the authorities concerned to conduct a re-survey of the area.
In protest of the eviction notice, residents of Waithou Samgomsang and Usoipokpi area on Friday blocked the Waithou Samgomsang part of the National Highway (NH) 102 connecting Imphal to Moreh.
Attempting to control the road block, police force clashed with the protesters. The police used tear gas cells during the clash and injured seven protesters.
After the police force managed to control the situation, transportation on the NH resumed to usual by 7 pm, with the police keeping guard.
According to sources, the DFO Thoubal had issued show cause notice to the respective pattadar and Jamabandi holders. The eviction notice was issued when the pattadar and Jamabandi holders failed to meet the respective criteria, it added.