Imphal: Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Friday appealed to the people particularly the Gurkhas residing in the hills of the state to give the importance of forests to conserve the environment.

The CM was speaking at the historic Shandmashik Vishwa Shanti Mahayagya at Santolobari in Kangpokpi district of Manipur. 

The Gurkha communities residing in the district organized the function to which the Manipur CM N Biren Singh and his Sikkim Counterpart Prem Singh Tamang attended the religious function as the chief guest and guest of honour.

Stating that forests play a critical role in the global environment, population, and economy apart from alleviating the effects of climate change and natural disasters, N Biren Singh appealed to the tribals and minority communities in the hills to stop the traditional practice of shifting or jhum cultivation also known as “Pam-Lou” which led to as an agent of forest and soil degradation in the hills.

The CM also called upon the Gurkhas not to practice the planting of poppies to which the state government is making an all-out war against drugs.

He also called upon the Gurkhas residing in the northern part of the state for peaceful coexistence with other communities. There are 32 different government-recognized tribes in the state.

Earlier, upon his arrival at the Imphal International Airport, the Sikkim Chief Minister was accorded a warm welcome.

The Sikkim CM was accompanied by Sikkim Commerce and Industrie minister BS Panth, Darjeeling MP Raju Bista, and SD Shakal who is the secretary to the Sikkim Chief Minister. From his humble beginning as the son of a village school teacher in Kangpokpi district in Manipur, Raju Bista is now representing the Darjeeling constituency as a Member of Parliament.