Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

Forest minister Thongam Biswajit Singh at the function declaring Manipur forest guards would be given modern weapons

Cabinet Doubles Down on Reserved Forest Eviction Decision and Crackdown on Poppy Farming; to Withdraw From SoO with KNA and ZRA; Forest Guards to be Armed

IMPHAL, March 11:

The Manipur government in a cabinet decision yesterday decided to take strong measures against any effort to disrupt the State Government’s fight against depletion of the state’s forest resources and to irradicate the new culture of poppy cultivation, according to a press brief released via email by the Department of Information and Public Relations, DIPR this afternoon.

The release also said the cabinet took very stern views on the rallies held yesterday at Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Tengnoupal districts and charged that the rallies were motivated and unconstitutional, therefore illegal.

It further said the State Government has decided to also withdraw from the Suspension of Operation, SoO, agreement with underground organisations, namely the Kuki National Army, KNA and the Zomi Revolutionary Army, ZRA, saying they hail from outside the state.

The release however did not elaborate any further if this decision to withdraw from the SoO agreement is prompted by the development regarding the protest against the government’s initiative to evict those considered encroachers in the state’s reserved forests or its campaign against poppy plantation.

It also added that the cabinet decided to serve show cause notices to the DCs and SPs of Churachandpur District and Tengnoupal District for allowing the rallies against the government despite prohibitory orders under CrPC 144 and that if lapses are found, strict action would be taken against them.

Pump Action Rifles for Forest Department

In an earlier development, the minister for Forest, Environment and Climate Change, Th. Biswajit Singh in an event held at the forest Headquarters on March 7, to distribute arms to field staff in the presence of top forest officials, said in all 40 pump action rifles and 60 double barrel guns will be provide to arm filed staff fo the Forest Department to meet the challenges coming in the way of protection and management of forests.

A press release of the DIPR also said a total fo 49 forest guards and foresters have been trained in arms handling and operation at the Manipur Police Training College, Pangei.

It also said the government is in the process of conducting arms training of more forest field staff at the MPTC in batches.

It added that after a review, the department may decide to procure more arms.

The release also said forest minster assured the government will not slacken its effort to address the issue of illegal encroachment oj forest land.

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