Nagaland Empowerment of People through Economic Development (NEPED) has clarified that ‘Saramati Bio Reserve’ formally known as SACAMS has been formed by a joint resolution of 19 village councils of the area under the name and title of Saramati Awung Conservation and Management Society (SACAMS) of which Lopfukong village is among them.
Clarifying to a press statement issued by L. Shishele Yimchunger, Chairman, Lopfukong Village Council that was published in a local daily on August 1, Nagaland Empowerment of People through Economic Development deputy team leader Raj K. Verma in a press statement stated that it had been partnering with Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore in researching Indigenous Ecological Knowledge of Saramati Area for last 2 years. The villagers of the area have been integral in this unique people-led action research.
The press statement further stated that it was during the joint research that local populace realised the need to conserve and protect their fast depleting ecological heritage for future generations and requested the external agencies (NEPED/ SACON) to assist them in organising themselves into what has become SACAMS.
As such, the formation of this voluntary body was never part of Nagaland Empowerment of People through Economic Development’s programme objectives, but was facilitated as an unbudgeted ancillary activity based on popular desire and in keeping with Nagaland Empowerment of People through Economic Development’s credo of “People First”.
Hence, the decision of “not allowing SACON (NEPED) department to carry out any work in its jurisdiction” laid with the 19 villages comprising SACAMS, which included Mimi, Khongjire and Mutenkhong villages mentioned in the press release, and not just LVC alone. Nagaland Empowerment of People through Economic Development stated that it would abide by the wishes of SACAMS.