IMPHAL, Jan 9 - Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday conducted a ground assessment of Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP), the only floating park in the world located in Loktake Lake, and only habitat of endangered brow antlered deer locally known as Sangai, to nominate the park as a World Heritage Site.
Javadekar arrived here yesterday on a two-day visit to Manipur. The KLNP which houses endangered Sangai and more than 190 other wildlife species was declared a national park 38 years ago. The number of endangered Sangai was 14 in 1975 after it was reported extinct in 1951. It has then increased to 204 in 2013 after 38 years of conservation activities.
On Friday, the Union Minister appealed to the farmers practising shifting cultivation to take up alternatives in place of jhum cultivation.
Javadekar was concerned about jhum or shifting cultivation as it drastically reduces forest cover of NE region.Three lakh people belonging to 70,000 households are practising jhum cultivation in Manipur.
A senior State Forest official said that about 400 sq km of forest area is cleared for jhumming annually in Manipur and its cycle has been reduced to three-four years during which a forest cannot get rejuvenated. Earlier, the jhum cycle was seven-10 years.
PTI adds: Javadekar is on a three-day visit to the Northeastern States of Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura to hold meetings with Forest officials and farmers to discuss various issues.
He will interact with officials in the three States apart from meeting people from local communities and farmers practising shifting cultivation.
On his arrival in Lengpui in Aizawl, the Union Minister will pay a visit to Advanced Research Centre of Bamboo (ARCB), Forest Training School to inaugurate a training institute under Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) of the Environment Ministry.
The Minister will also hold an interaction with bamboo entrepreneurs in Aizawl.
On Sunday, Javadekar will visit Tripura Forest Development Corporation (TFDC) in Agartala and hold discussion with rubber growers and artisans producing rubber products at TFDC.
The Minister will also meet Forest officials and pay a visit to Sipahijala sanctuary the same evening to conclude the visit, the statement said. � PTI