7 pulled up for burning forest, felling trees

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Mar 30: Seven individuals who were directly or indirectly involved in starting forest fires and felling trees at the surrounding hills of Kongba Maru Laiphamlen have been arrested by police.
Briefing media persons at his Porompat office this evening, Imphal East SP Ksh Shivakanta said that they were informed by some people who went to offer prayers at Kongba Maru Laiphamlen about forest fires and felling of trees.
Acting on the information, a combined team of commandos and Sagolmang police station moved to the area and launched an investigation.
In the course of the investigation, two individuals were pulled up at around 1 pm today.
Together with those people who went to offer prayer at the sacred site, the police team managed to put off the forest fire and two persons who were involved in starting the forest fire were arrested.
They have been identified as Dongkhomang Khongsai alias Mangcha (30) s/o Ngamkam and Sasang alias Haubisang Khongsai (27) s/o Kampu, both hailing from Khonomphai, Kangpokpi district.
Acting on the disclosure of Dongkhomang and Sasang, Thokchom Tomba alias Ibungomacha (54) s/o late Ibobi of Sanjenbam, Imphal East and Thokchom Mangiyaima (54) s/o late Parijat of Yumnam Khunou Awang Leikai were also arrested for felling trees.
They revealed that Paomang Haokip (62) s/o late Nehkai and Thangpao Haokip (48) s/o late Hemjamang, both belonging to Khonomphai were also involved in starting forest fires.
As such, Paomang Haokip and Thangpao Haokip were also arrested, Shivakanta said.
The six individuals arrested for starting forest fire and felling trees disclosed that they were acting at the behest of SD Molnom village chief Hempao Haokip (57) s/o late Semdou, the SP conveyed.
Subsequently, Hempao Haokip was also pulled up from his Mahabali residence.
To a query raised by media persons, the Imphal East SP, citing officials of Forest Department, said that the area where the arrested individuals started forest fire  and fell trees belongs to unclassified category under the jurisdiction of Kangpokpi Forest Division.
As starting forest fires and felling trees without necessary permits are illegal, all seven of them have been arrested and a FIR has been registered against them at Sagolmang police station, Shivakanta said.
Warning that befitting action would be taken up if any one is found starting forest fires or felling trees without    permission from authorities concerned, the SP appealed to all the people to refrain from such illegal activities.