Manipur Forest and Environment Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar rewarded the villagers of Khamasom village for protecting the only virgin forest in the State situated along the Indo-Myanmar international border.
The Minister handed over a sum of Rs 2 lakhs from Forest Department to the Khamasom villagers for their commitment to protect the environment.
On his maiden visit on Friday to the Khamasom village and its surrounding areas, Forest Minister Shyamkumar inspected the village, situated near the international border pillar number 24, according to DIPR Manipur reports.
Expressing his happiness at the villagers for carefully safeguarding the only remaining virgin forest in the State along the international border, he said the Forest Department is happy that the villagers of Khamasom have carefully safeguarded the only remaining parts of the virgin forest in the State at a time when the department is working hard to combat deforestation and global warming, currently one of the major issues in the world.
The village is located at a distance of around 40 kms from Ukhrul headquarters. It is worth mentioning here that the village has been visited by a minister after a gap of 40 years. Late Yangmasho Shaiza, the then Chief Minister of the State visited the village in 1978.
Stating that the State Government led by the Chief Minister N Biren Singh has instructed his cabinet ministers to specially visit remote places and address the grievances of the people. The State Government is committed to keeping close contact with the people residing in the interior areas so that new policies and developmental programs can be implemented.
Forest Minister informed the Khamasom villagers that the Forest Department got to know about the virgin forest through satellite image and he made a surprise visit to the village after attending the Ukhrul Flower Festival at Ukhrul Town Hall. He said it is the duty of the department to support the villagers who are working tirelessly to protect the forest.
Assuring that the Khamasom villagers that he will apprise the Chief Minister and Works Minister regarding the bad road condition, he said the present State Government does not believe in working on the table rather it believes in visiting the places to have close connection with the people.
He also visited the village without giving any prior information. He informed that the Khamasom is located in the Ukhrul Central Sub-Division and it has over 400 households consisting of Khamasom Khayangkho, Khamasom Walely, Khamasom Phungdhar and Khamasom Phungrei. He said that the village is home to the people of Tangkhul tribe with agriculture as the primary occupation.