A one-day consultative workshop on prevention and control of Forest Fire for stakeholders was held at Happy Villa, Tamenglong on Friday. It was organised by Forest division Tamenglong in collaboration with Happy Villa village authority,
District forest officer Tamenglong Kh Hitler Singh, chairman of Happy Villa Andrew Panmei, Chief Medical Officer Tamenglong Dr Chambo Gonmei, and wildlife warden Tamenglong Nehemiah Panmei attended the event as chief guest, president and guests of honors respectively.
It may be mentioned here Happy Villa village is located at the foothills of Gadai forest range which is the only source of water supply for the town areas, and a wildfire had broken out a few weeks back in the Gadai forest. However, fire department personnel, policemen along with volunteers of Happy villa village were able to douse the fire after hours of fierce combat.
In his address as chief guest, Kh Hitler Singh urged the people of Tamenglong to support the forest department stating that the forest department alone cannot preserve the forest and control wildfires in the district. Pointing out that wildfires have increased in the district causing large scale destruction of forests, he warned that if the burning of trees continues, water supply sources will be adversely affected and there will definitely be an acute shortage of drinking water in the near future.
Dr Chambo Gonmei said, “Wildfires are generally man-made as they happen due to the negligence of hunters, picnic parties and most shockingly by Jhum cultivators.” The wildfire happening across Tamenglong district is seasonal, and it happens in other states and countries too, he said.
Reminding the masses that Gadai forest is the only source of water for Tamenglong town and almost all water sources have dried up, Dr Chambo Gonmei informed that the district hospital Duigailong Tamenglong is facing an acute shortage of drinking water.
He continued his narration on the shortage of water in the district stating that there is no water available even for purchases in times of necessary requirements. “We have to wait for three to four days to buy water. Therefore, let us preserve the forest and wildlife including flora and fauna for the sake of drinking water,” Dr Chambo Gonmei appealed.
He further said the number of forest guards is very less in the district, and non-locals seldom stay at their station while also motivating the youth that they can be warriors to preserve, protect and control wildfire at Gadai forest.
In regard to the appointment of forest guards, Dr Chambo Gonmei suggested that it will be appropriate and best for the department and particularly the district administration if the recruits are from the district. He concluded his speech with a fervent appeal to all the people of Tamenglong particularly those living near foot Hills of Gadai forest to protect and preserve the forest for water.
Nehemiah Panmei and Andrew Panmei also spoke on the occasion and both of them emphasised on the need to preserve and protect wildlife, flora and fauna, forest trees for the sake of water for the town.
A total of around 160 individuals which included youths, members of women wings and other villagers attended the vital awareness programme on the current situation. And as part of the programme, blankets were distributed to all the elderly people of Happy villa while wildfire fighting equipment such as spades, shovels and water bottles to the village in order to help combat wildfire in the near future.