IMPHAL, March 2 - The State Forest Department has asked the officials of M/s Shivalaya Construction Pvt Ltd, an authorised agency of the Public Works Department (PWD), Government of Manipur, to plant/replace trees/plants with good-sized saplings of appropriate species with proper tree guards in consultation with the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Urban Forestry Division, Mantripukhri Forest Complex.
In an order issued on March 1, the State Forest Department asked the agency to plant/replace trees/plants with good-sized saplings of appropriate species with proper tree guards in consultation with the concerned forest officials.
The officials/representatives were also directed to pay the cost of maintenance of saplings for three years as assessed by the DFO: Urban Forestry Division and the same is to be deposited to the DDO (Drawing and Disbursing Officer) account of DFO, Urban Forestry Division, the order stated.
The directive was given after the plants planted by the Forest Department in the road median from Koirengei to Khabam Chumbreithong (on National Highway) have been uprooted/damaged during last week by the agency of PWD, Government of Manipur, without obtaining prior approval from the department, i.e., the forest department, who is assigned to plant and maintain the plantation on road medians.
Stating that the order shall be complied with by the concerned firm within one week, the Forest Department order said, non-compliance will attract appropriate legal action against M/s Shivalaya Construction Pvt Ltd.
On Saturday, Chief Minister N Biren had expressed displeasure after he witnessed the plants/trees which have been growing on road medians from Koirengei to Khabam Chumbreithong for more than a decade were all damaged and dying due to the ongoing black-topping of the highway and road median construction.
In September last year, the State Forest Department had also directed the officials of PWD to plant 20 saplings for felling a tree on the roadside near Johnstone School in the heart of Imphal town in connection with the construction of a foot overbridge.
There was a loss of 499 sq km forest cover in Manipur, according to the latest edition of the Indian State of Forest Report 2019. But the forest authority had clarified that the loss was based on a survey conducted in 2016-17.