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State To Consult Experts For Protecting Keibul Lamjao

IMPHAL, Jun 18: Taking note of the expert opinion on the threat posed to the natural habitat of brow-antlered deer, Sangai from rampant growth of a type of grass known as Para Grass in Keibul Lamjao National Park, Department of Forest & Environment, Government of Manipur has decided to rope in the service of Wild Life Institute of India to verify the matter.

The Department has taken up the step after Associate Professor in Life Sciences of Manipur University P Kumar pointed out during a recent workshop organized by The Sangai Express that the rampant growth of Para Grasses, an exotic plant, that Veterinary & Animal Husbandry Department initially brought and planted in and around Loktak lake as fodder for cattle, is posing a serious threat on the natural habitat of Sangai in Keibul Lamjao National Park.

According to a top official of the Forest Department, the service of the Wild Life Institute of India is to be roped in to verify the report as well as to find out the extent of possible harm in the National Park from the said Para grasses.

Meanwhile, following the seizure of 10 kgs and 500 grams of Pangolin shells, which were being smuggled to Myanmar, by troops of 31 Assam Rifles from Moreh on June 15, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest A Kharshiing issued a circular the following day (June 16) declaring that all Forest and Wildlife offences are to be dealt with exclusively by the Territorial Forest Officers concerned as defined al- ready in the Indian Forest Act as well as Wildlife Protection Act.

The circular pointed out that Wildlife contrabands were generally detected and seized, and the culprits apprehended by the enforcement agencies like Army, Police including Forest Officials while frisking and checking passengers and vehicles plying along NH-39 on their movement towards Moreh. In most cases, these enforcement agencies were able to seize and arrest the culprits at the check posts like Pallel, Bongyang, Tengnoupal, Khudengthabi and Moreh.

For conveniences, the police as well as the Assam Rifles, in many cases, brought the seized contraband goods like Red-sanders, Wildlife parts along with vehicles and culprits and handed over directly to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest or Chief Wildlife Warden or Conservator of Forests/Wildlife in Head office, Sanjenthong. In such cases, these contrabands were taken over by the Chief Wildlife Warden or Deputy Conservator of Forests/Parks & Sanctuary and the culprits handed over to the custody of the Imphal Police station while the cases were transferred to the Divisional Forest Officer/Chandel, who normally pursues them in the law court. However, any Wildlife crime committed inside the protected areas will have to be dealt with exclusively by the Deputy Conservator of Forests/Parks & Sanctuary. So, henceforth, any Wildlife contrabands seized by the Army or the police or the Forest officials along the NH-39 till the destination at Moreh are to be dealt by the Divisional Forest Officer/Tengnoupal Forest Division. Likewise, if such contrabands were seized along the NH-39 in Thoubal or Bishnupur districts, etc, the Territorial Divisional Forest Officer concerned will have to handle the cases properly, the circular directed.

It may be recalled that troops of 31 Assam Rifles apprehended 22-year old Thiengte s/o late Routsang of Moreh ward no. 7 and 32-year old Theneilhing w/o Ngamkhopao of Moreh ward no. 8 along with 10 kgs and 500 grams of Pangolin shells from their possession on June 15. In addition, the troops also seized 3 Mobile phones, 3 Airtel SIM cards, 2 BSNL SIM cards, 1 Vodafone SIM card and one voter identity card from the two apprehended individuals.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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