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Shyamkumar rewards Khamasom for safeguarding the only virgin forest in the State

 Source: The Sangai Express / DIPR

Ukhrul, October 28 2018: Forest and Environment Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar rewarded the villagers of Khamasom village for protecting the only virgin forest in the State situated along the Indo-Myanmar international border. The Minister handed over a sum of Rs 2 lakh from the Forest Department to Khamasom villagers for their sincerity and commitment towards protecting the environment. On his maiden visit on October 26, the Forest Minister inspected Khamasom village and its surroundings, which is situated near international border pillar number 24, and lauded the villagers for carefully safeguarding the only remaining virgin forest in the State along the international border. The village is located at a distance of around 40 kms from Ukhrul Headquarters. It is worth mentioning here that this is the first time that the village has been visited by a Minister after a gap of 40 years after late Yangmasho Shaiza, the then Chief Minister visited the village in 1978.Addressing media persons, Shyamkumar said that the Forest Department appreciates the villagers of Khamasom for carefully safeguarding the only remaining parts of the virgin forest in the State at a time when the Department is working tirelessly to combat deforestation and global warming, which are currently some of the major issues plaguing the world. Stating that Chief Minister N Biren Singh has instructed his Cabinet Ministers to specially visit remote places and address the grievances faced by the people, he explained that the present Government is committed to keeping close contact with the people residing in the interior areas so that new policies and developmental programs can be implemented. Shyamkumar further assured the villagers that deserving individuals will be given benefits under various schemes/programs of the State Government Departments. Concerned over the remoteness of the village, the Minister even gave his direct contact number to the villagers to update him regarding the problems and other queries so that they do not have to travel a long distance to reach Imphal. The Forest Minister further informed the villagers that the Forest Department got to know about the virgin forest through satellite images and he made a surprise visit to the village after attending the Ukhrul Flower Festival at Ukhrul Town Hall. He said that it is the duty of the Department to promote and support the villagers who are working tirelessly with sincere efforts to protect the forest which has remained untouched for years. He also appreciated the State Government officials for sincerely working in the area. Assuring the Khamasom villagers that he will apprise the Chief Minister and Works Minister regarding the bad road conditions, the Minister said that the present State Government does not believe in working on the table rather it believes in visiting the places to have close connection with the people. He concluded his speech by promising the villagers that he will visit the village once again before Christmas festival. Speaking exclusively to DIPR reporter, Rio, Headmaster of Yang Academy, Khamasom termed the maiden visit of the Forest and Environment Minister Th Shyamkumar as a historic day for the village and the surrounding areas. He said that he was surprised as the Forest and Environment Minister visited the village without giving any prior information.
He further informed that Khamasom is located in the Ukhrul Central Sub-Division and it has over 400 households consisting of Khamasom Khayangkho, Khamasom Walely, Khamasom Phungdhar and Khamasom Phungrei. He added that the village is home to the people of Tangkhul tribe with agriculture as the primary occupation. The village which is known for its scenic beauty, has a vast, thick virgin forest stretching up to the international boundary with Myanmar and is teeming with varieties of flora and fauna, he added. Requesting the State Government to look into the issues of the villagers, he informed that the road of the village was washed away by cyclone Mora. The village also faces electricity problem, he said and added that two teachers are managing the only Government high school in the village. Volunteers for Green Khamasom (VGK) formed in 2015 are helping the villagers in providing drinking water to the villagers, he added. Earlier on the way to the Khamasom village, the Forest and Environment Minister was given a rousing welcome by the students of Yang Academy High School, Khamasom. The Minister welcomed the students to Imphal and promised to make all the necessary arrangements when the students expressed desire to visit the capital city of the State. It is worth mentioning that Th Shyamkumar made his maiden surprise visit to Khamasom village after attending the inaugural function of the three-day Ukhrul Flower Festival being held at Ukhrul Town Hall which was concluded today.