Ecological task force should be raised in Manipur

Thangjam Ranjit
Contd from previous issue
We have been seeing the indiscriminate cutting down of trees, deforestation for jhum cultivation  of poppy, ganja, vegetables, cash crops ,paddy etc. of almost all the forest areas of the state by hill people.
We have experienced a number of draughts in the past but no flood, due to lack of green vegetation cover. Not only this we have experienced great mud flows in Gopibung (Keithelmanbi) in 2004 and recent one at Tujang vaichong  in 2021 in the Kangpokpi District where massive land degradation are  going on due to deforestation in the name of cultivation.
Geomorphologically, Manipur is a high land with Imphal  as intermontane valley, like that of Tibet,at an altitude of 746 – 850 m from msl. The altitude of Imphal valley is higher than those of many of the mountains in the south and westof the state.
 On account of its geomorphological and hydro-geological feature of this hilly state, there is high possibility of facing acute scarcity of water in the years to come if we cannot harvest yearly monsoon rains by plantingtrees for green cover in the 92% high land of the state, which has been left with little or no care by the Government so long but at the mercy of the people inhabiting the area. Now, people in valley, particularly along the foothills have started experiencing the water scarcity with untimely drying of wells, ponds, rivers and streams for the last few decades and occurrence of natural flood is becoming a rare phenomenon.The situation will be grimmer in the hill areas than that of the valley,if we do not offset the scene in our highland by greeneries. All these are warning signs of poor rainfall in the hill areas due to massive deforestation and lack of afforestation by the individuals, Government and NGOs .
If the ETF is established in the state and the afforestation work is taken up, Manipur will be back to its pristine beautiful green cover and will usher in many a benefits to the state and its people in the following ways :
(a) The ETF (TA) will be watch dog while progressing their afforestation/ plantation work in the region.
(b) They will stop deforestation while doing afforestation works.
(c) Migration and influx of foreigners and refugees in hill areas of the state will be reduced if not checked completely. Poaching of wild animals and felling of trees will be reduced.
(d) By planting economically useful trees, medicinal plants, etc. will change the economy of highlanders and will prevent from illegal plantation of poppy, ganja ,etc, the worst form of  deforestation and soil erosion prevailing in the state since long time.
(e) If Ecological Task Force is raised in Manipur, at least few lakhs say 5 – 6 lakhs saplings will be planted (as compared to 7 lakhs in Assam in a year) in a year. Manipur will become a green state again with no fear of facing drought and flood of great magnitude. The hills will be adorned with greenery, wild animals and birds including migratory birds; soil erosion, landslidesand mud flows will also be gradually checked.
Territorial Army Eligibility Criteria - 2021
The establishment of Ecological Task Force in 1982 is probably the world’s first experiment in which Army took up ecological work on a regular basis. For this Territorial army are recruited on the following criteria.
(a) Citizenship-Candidates should be a citizen of India.
(b) Age limit-The candidates should be of the age between 19 – 42 years of age on the date of application.
(c) Educational qualification-The candidates should be a graduate or its equivalent.
(d) Salary-Similar to that of regular Army.
(e) Physical standard-(a) Height – 160cm
(f) Bodily strength-Mentally and physically sound