IMPHAL, March 15 - Twenty-two year-old Chabungbam Omita Devi planted an indigenous Heirangoi (Amoora rohituka) tree on her Heijingpot day, a pre-wedding ceremony on December 5 last year at her home in celebration of her wedding.
Omita, daughter of one Nodiyachand of Yumnam huidrom mayai leikai village in Manipur�s Imphal West district was married to Elangbam Rameshwar Singh (33), a teacher and wildlife activist of SekmaijinThongam on December 9, 2018.
Since then, Omita also started to support and take up pre-wedding tree plantation initiatives through her near and dear ones at various places.
On March 13, Thoidingjam Nirmala (Echal) planted a local tree few hours before her wedding ceremony at her Wangoi Wahengbam Leikai village under Imphal West district.
Several other brides in the State particularly from Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishnupur districts have also taken up the initiative of planting trees mostly indigenous varieties at their homes ahead of their wedding ceremony considering its importance in conserving and restoring the degraded forests and wildlife.
On why she planted a tree on her pre-wedding ceremony, Omita said, �I planted a local tree ahead of my wedding in the hope that it would extend a little support in saving our degrading environment.� �I hope those who are planning to marry in future will also take up similar initiatives,� she added. Supporting her initiative, her family has assured that they will take care of the tree like the way they brought her up since childhood.
Most of the families of the new brides and grooms have promised to take care of the trees planted by their daughters, said Rameshwar, president of Unique Wildlife Protection Committee, Manipur (UWPCM), which has initiated the ongoing �Greenery campaign� under the aegis of Forest department.
The families believe that if anything goes wrong to the tree planted by their daughters, it may affect the livelihood of the newly-wed couples. �So they are serious about protecting the trees. So far, as per our records, as many as 20 brides have planted trees on their Heijingpot day. There are reports of similar green initiatives in other areas�, he added.
The UWPCM is also aiming to popularise the trend of planting trees on occasions like wedding, birthday, anniversary, etc., in valley and hill areas. Couples who plant trees shall be awarded as �Green Couple�.
The NGO also drew the attention of authorities to legislate a law to ensure that every employee/citizen plant at least one tree on his/her lifetime. The planters should be given more benefits in government schemes/subsidies, etc.
According to India�s State of Forest Report 2017, Assam and Manipur are the only States in North East where forest area have increased while the other NE States lost forest cover. Assam has increased 567 sq km in forest cover and Manipur 263 sq km.