Imphal: As part of the modernization initiative of the Forest Department, a distribution program of forestry equipment and modern gadgets was held at Forest Head Office, Sanjenthong here Wednesday. Forest and Environment Minister Awangbow Newmai handed over the equipment and gadgets’ in the presence of officials and staff of the forest department as well as selected beneficiaries of the State.
Minister Awangbow distributed forty-two computer printers to various divisions/beat offices of the department. The printers will be utilized in printing of Online Transit Passes for transportation of forest products. Awangbow Newmai also distributed twenty-nine computers to Manipur Forest Training School for imparting computer knowledge to frontline field staff and other department officials. Four unmanned aerial vehicle/drones were also handed over to Senapati, Ukhrul Chandel and Jiribam Forest Divisions under CAMPA funding along with two bolero vehicles to Ukhrul and Kangpokpi Forest Divisions under External Aided Project-KFW Project. The unmanned aerial vehicle/drones will be utilized for tracking wildfires, counting wildlife, mapping plants, guarding forests among others.
Under National Bamboo Mission, four entrepreneurs of the State selected by a committee of officers from Handloom & Handicraft department, Commerce & Industries, MSME-DI Imphal and DC Handicrafts, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, Imphal were also provided with a set of modern tools and equipments to enhance their product quality.
Tensubam Kennedy proprietor of Taibangkhomba Crafts, Imphal East, Elangbam Ajitkumar Proprietor of Waa Lee Crafts, Imphal West, V. Ginkhanpau, Zogam Bamboo Works, Churachandpur and Thonkulung kamei, Cane &Bamboo Handicraft Development Society, Noney district received these set of handicraft tools which include laser engraving machine, air compressor, wood turning machine, table saw among others. Each set of the handicraft tools cost Rs. 7.5 lakhs each. The four entrepreneurs are also provided a cheque of Rs. 1.5 lakhs as working capital.
Speaking at the distribution function, the Forest Minister said that Manipur forest department is performing better compared to other states in the country despite facing hindrances and shortcomings in manpower and funds. He applauded department officials and staff for their dedication and assured them that the department will see better days in the near future.
Firmly stating that any illegal transporter will be apprehended, the Minister clarified that not all timber transportations are illegal. Certain allocations are made in each district to licensed saw mill holders and Transit Passes are issued to such mills accordingly. Keeping in mind the required necessity/demand of timber, certain permissible limits on cutting trees are scientifically calculated based on the density or number of trees, he added.
Clarifying allegations reported in some media outlets that the forest department is not regularly checking timber transportation, he said that many trucks carrying timbers have been seized and the timbers are subsequently confiscated from such illegal transporters.
Minister Awangbow appealed to the public for cooperation and support towards the forest department to curb illegal timber transportation in the State since the department alone cannot handle the responsibility.
Saying that peoples’ awareness on protection and conservation of forest, animals and birds in the State has been gradually improved, Awangbow Newmai also extended a note of appreciation to the media for its significant contribution in raising public awareness in making the environment more hygienic and liveable.
Congratulating the four beneficiaries, he encouraged them to be a source of motivation for others and create job avenues for others. The success or growth of only a handful will not lead to wealth for all, everyone has to grow together. If only few people are self -sufficient, the majority will face hardship. He concluded by saying that, we expect nothing but only success in return and encouraged the beneficiaries to contribute their talent for the development of society.
MH Khan IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, (Forest & Environment), K. Angami IFS, PCCF & HOFF, AK Joshi IFS, PCCF (wildlife), Dr. Lokho Puni, PCCF and State Mission Director (NBM) and officials of the forest department attended the distribution function.