IMPHAL, July 7 - In a move to preserve forest cover in the catchment areas of major rivers in Manipur, the Forest department in association with a German agency is all set to launch a community-based catchment conservation project in the border State.
This was conveyed by Principal Chief Conservator of Forest PN Prasad while addressing a press conference here on Tuesday. �The proposed project will be taken up as part of the upcoming aided or assisted natural regeneration, in association with German banking group � KfW for the development of the catchments of Imphal, Thoubal and Singda rivers,� Prasad said.
�The objective is to conserve forest for better water resources.� Prasad also informed that the number of Brow-antlered deer, one of the rarest deer on Earth popularly known as Sangai (Cevus Eldi Eldi), has increased in number from 204 to 260, while the number of its associated species such as hog deer has jumped from 212 to 276 in the last three years.
He also said that the department has taken up necessary steps for the inclusion of the Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP), the only floating park in the world and only natural habitat of Sangai, as a world heritage site by 2018.
He claimed that the forest cover of Manipur at 77 per cent is on the rise as per Forest Survey of India reports. The department is trying to tackle the jhum cultivation by introducing new steps which include rehabilitation of jhumias. A senior Forest official Dr Puni Mao said jhum cannot be stopped but the jhum area can be reduced by introducing agro-forestry programmes. Around 70,000 families are practising jhum cultivation in 90,000 hectares of land in Manipur annually, he said.