- NET Web Desk
In the wake of a silent protest launched by noted Mizo social activist – Vanramchhuangi over alleged environmental violations, the state government today instructed five Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) to visit construction sites where the National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) is currently widening or expanding National Highways.
The NHIDCL is currently executing widening works of four national highways – NH-09 (Seling- Zokhawthar), NH-102B (Keifang-Manipur), NH-302 (Lunglei-Tlabung) and NH-54 (Aizawl-Tuipang) in Mizoram.
According to the Mizoram Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) – Jitendra Kumar, the DFOs of Aizawl, Lunglei, Thenzawl, Tlabung and Champhai have been instructed to conduct site verification within their respective jurisdictions to determine, if NHIDCL has violated the Mizoram (Forest) Act, 1955 and the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
In the event of a violation, he said, work could be halted immediately in accordance with the relevant legislation or rules.
According to Kumar, the DFOs have been ordered to submit their findings by May 29. He stated that the state administration is committed to environmental protection and the creation of green forests.
The Mizoram government is interested in collaborating with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders to protect the environment.
Therefore, the Mizoram Environment, Forest and Climate Change Department had issued a show cause notice to the NHIDCL on May 25, seeking response for the alleged environmental damage within a week, he added.
Its worthy to note that the renowned social activist – Vanramchhuangi from Mizoram, popularly referred as ‘Ruatfela Nu’ launched a silent sit-in protest from May 27, in front of the state Environment, Forest and Climate Change Department’s office; agitating over environmental violations caused due to various construction projects.
She claims that various projects, are recklessly destroying forests and rivers, wreaking havoc on indigenous people’s socio-economic dynamics.
The social activist also asked for a halt to the NHIDCL’s work on widening the four national highways. However, the 62-year-old activist called off her indefinite strike on Monday after receiving assurances from the state government that swift action would be taken.