Nagaland Minister for Forest and Environment MC Konyak rubbished charges that he organized hunting parties during his visit to Shingphan Reserved Forest area early this month. Breaking silence on the allegation, the Minister described it as “nothing but to malign me and to hamper the progress of the developments undertaken in the Shingphan Reserved Forest.”
“When I was sincerely trying to initiate various developments in Shingphan Reserved Forest as ‘State Projects,’ how could I think of hunting or for that matter instigating someone to go for hunting,” Konyak said while terming the issue as politically motivated the allegation hurled against him.
The minister while talking to NEPS asked “his people” to change their mindset and develop “proactive attitude” to catch up with the rest of their counterparts in the fast paced world. “Because, we are lacking much behind in almost all areas,” he said.
Konyak said his first and foremost objective, as soon as he was made in-charge of Forest and Environment Minister, was to save the reserved forest from being further “ravaged and ruined.”
The forest had vast stretch sharing with Assam. He said rampant illegal felling of trees and smuggling of timbers was going on from Assam area taking advantage of vast stretch of unfenced areas. “And in fact, as soon as taking over as Minister of Forest and Environment in March 2008, I straight went to Shingphan Reserved Forest area to examine the feasibility of making it as one of the Wildlife Sanctuary divisions in the State.
Reserved Forest was purchased by the Government in 1929 during British India. It has 2357 hectares. Thereafter, the Minister took up various measures to save and develop the ruined reserved forest. “Out of 17 kms, we have constructed fencing about 14 kms and the remaining portion will be completed soon,” he disclosed.
Konyak further stated his department had already planted particular imported trees of over 5000 in the reserved forest, besides contacting his counterparts to provide animal species to keep them in the Shinghpan Reserved Forest which has recently been declared as a “Wildlife Sanctuary” through a State Gazette.
“I am going to ask the Chief Minister to lay foundation stone of the new Wildlife Sanctuary in Shingphan,” he added.
The Minister also disclosed that his department had taken up to plant variety of fruit plants in the reserved forest that would give not only economic benefits to the villagers but also sustainable feeds to the animals.
Seeking cooperation from all sections of people in his sincere attempt to save and develop the forest and making it as one of the Wildlife Sanctuaries in the State, the Minister also committed that during his tenure as Minister of Forest and Environment, he would do whatever possible to see that major projects were coming up through various initiatives and departments revamped.