Imphal: Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh announced in the House that the cabinet has decided to prohibit all activities associated with mineral mining in the state, including the use of machinery for sand mining in riverbeds.
However, manual mining will be regulated to support the livelihoods of manual labourers, he added.
In response to a calling attention notice from MLA Surjakumar Okram regarding the deterioration of Thoubal river due to illegal mining, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh stated during the Seventh Day of the 3rd Session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly that manual workers can continue their work with prior permission from the Commerce & Industries and Forest Departments.
However, earlier, the Manipur High Court had ordered a complete ban on illegal sand mining, stone quarrying, and other polluting activities in all rivers of the state to prevent river pollution.
The Leader of the House, N Biren Singh, acknowledged during a session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly that human beings can be selfish and lack civic sense, with 99% of the population not knowing how to properly set up toilets. Many have built toilets near running rivers, contaminating the water that others consume.
The Chief Minister also shared that the government recently carried out a mass eviction of toilets and cleaning of riverbanks from Kangpokpi to Imphal river. He added that the Singda Dam is drying up due to trees being cut down on the hills around Singda, leading to a scarcity of drinking water.
Regarding illegal mining and quarrying activities, especially at Thoubal river, Biren informed the House that the government has taken steps, including arresting those involved. However, he acknowledged that some people engage in these activities for their survival, neglecting the consequences that could impact future generations. The Chief Minister emphasized that any activities that harm the environment will be dealt with severely according to the law. The Industry Department and Forest Department are identifying locations for preservation, and proposals are being sent to the Centre for approval.
During a session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, Minister for Relief and Disaster Management Awangbow Newmai stated that the government had declared drought during Kharif-2019 on August 31, 2019. Based on a field survey of various parameters, the state government requested Rs 151.04 crore as relief assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). In 2020, the Ministry approved Rs 26.53 crore as assistance.
Minister of Textiles, Commerce and Industries Nemcha Kipgen shared with the House that no stone crusher is allowed to operate on paddy land without a permit/license, which is issued under ‘The Manipur Factories Rules, 2021.’
Minister for Forest, Environment & Climate Change Th Biswajit Singh clarified during a session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly that there are no forest villages in the Nongmaiching Reserved Forest and no Reserved Forest named Leimaching Reserve Forest. He emphasized that constructing religious or memorial structures in Reserved Forest areas without prior forest clearance from the Central Government under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 is not allowed. However, structures related to religion cannot be evicted due to social sentiments.
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In response to a question from MLA K Ranjit Singh, Power Minister Biswajit Singh stated that during peak hours, the state requires 250 MW of power. He also shared that pre-construction work costing Rs 63.5389 crore for the Loktak Downstream project has been completed, but the construction work is yet to begin.
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