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Don’t allow your soil for spreading false info: Manipur CSO to Mizoram CM

This may affect the inter-community relationship in other states

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Imphal: A Manipur-based Civil Society organisation has urged the Mizoram government not to allow its soil for spreading false information which may affect the inter-community relationship in other states. 

In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Zoramthanga, People’s Alliance for Peace and Progress said that Zo Reunification Organisation (ZORO) during a press conference held on 31 May, 2022 had alleged that “Manipur government is planning to take away land from the Zo people (Chin-Kuki-Mizo) living in the state’s hill areas by declaring multiple tribal settlements as reserved forest”. 

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However, it said, the same was already denied by Dr Aditya Kumar Joshi, Principal Chief conservator of Forest and Head of Forest force of Manipur Forest Department, who stated that there has been no recent declaration of reserved forests. In a press conference, Dr Joshi informed that there are 37 Reserved Forests and 23 Protected Forests in the State of Manipur covering 1,467 Sq. Km and 4,171 Sq. Km respectively.

Some of the Reserved Forests were notified by then Manipur State Darbar and some were notified under the provisions of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 as per the provisions provided under the Act. The declaration of Reserved Forests by Manipur State Darbar is considered to have been notified under IFA, 1927 as per the provisions of the Manipur (Administrative) Order 1949. 

The declaration of the reserve forests decades back and not recently suggests strongly that there were no village settlements or very few settlements inside the forests when it was declared either as reserved or notified forests. As such it is well established that the village settlements at present inside the reserved and protected forests were established much after the declaration/notification of the reserved forests. This is also very much evident in the case of the recent incident inside the Nongmaiching RF whose notification was issued on 16th February 1966, the letter added. 

The People’s Alliance also reminded the Mizoram Chief Minister that the state is also facing the same problem in managing the 7,045.29 Sq. Km of reserved forests, which is much more than the reserved and protected forest areas of Manipur.

Moreover, the Mizoram government has already implemented a New Land Use Policy whereby village settlements are restricted to certain definite areas. 

“We, therefore, urge the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Mizoram to enlighten the office–bearers about the facts about reserved and protected forests. You are also requested not to allow the use of the soil of Mizoram for spreading false information which may affect the inter-community relationship in other states,” the letter of the People’s Alliance for Peace and Progress concluded.

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