North Eastern Social Research Centre, Guwahati (NESRC) study coordinator Vareishang Phungshok and Asojiini Rachel presented a summary of the study on Forest Legislation and Implementation in Manipur, conducted by NESRC together with the people of the state.
North Eastern Social Research Centre, Guwahati (NESRC) on Wednesday organised a one-day workshop on Forest Legislation and Implementation in Manipur under the theme “Forests in Manipur: With or Without People?”, at Manipur Baptist Convention (MBC), Imphal.
NESRC study coordinator Vareishang Phungshok and Asojiini Rachel presented a summary of the study on Forest Legislation and Implementation in Manipur, conducted by NESRC together with the people of the state.
Speaking at the workshop, NESRC director Walter Fernandes said that given that many forest projects are being planned in the state, including some funded by countries of the European Union and Japan, it is important to look at their nature and make suggestions from the point of view of the tribal and other people of the state.
The issues go beyond control and ownership to the forest land to the nature of planning and implementation. Can the Forest Department or people’s communities alone plan and implement them? What will be its nature in one or the other case? The study looked at the implications, he added.
Walter Fernandes also maintained that the study is based on the whole issue of climate change. As European companies are coming to the Northeast, there is the danger of turning the whole forest into commercial forest, he added.
He also delved into how the 36 tribes of Manipur could be involved on the issue. Stating that there are issues of tribal rights and land issue of non-tribal people, he said that the important issue is to discuss how the land be used in favour of the people.
Apart from technical and legal levels, it is important to discuss at the level of the people, he said while stressing on the need to make the forests a livelihood of the people again.
The NESRC director also urged the participants to take whatever they have learnt in the workshop back to the people of the districts. It is your challenge now, because it is an extremely important issue that cannot be ignored anymore, he added.
Environmentalist Salam Rajesh while presenting his views on the issue, maintained that without the involvement of communities in making policies, conflict will always be there.
The participants also interacted with the resource persons, and presented their views.