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Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, February 22: Having realised the seriousness of bamboo flowering in Tamenglong and Churachandpur districts, and categorising the menace as a natural calamity and despite the announcement of of an action plan to contain similar incidents, the preventive measures in all probability seem to be gathering dust in the department desks as bamboo flowering has struck again in pockets of Tamenglong district with a vengeance.
A follow-up story of the menace that had sent chilling reminder to the people of the district, considered to be most remote of all the districts of the State, The Sangai Express made another sojourn to Tamenglong recently following reports of bamboo flowering.
In fact, flowering of bamboo plants could be seen on an ever larger scale this year and is most likely to be full blown by June/July which means Tamenglong people have to grapple with another bout of food-scarcity threat if immediate remedial action is not initiated.
Bamboo flowering said to occur at an interval of fifty years had devastated food-crops in not only Tamenglong district but had also affected pockets of Chandel and Churachandpur districts as well as pockets of Jiribam sub-division last year due to rodent population recording an alarming rise.
Bamboo flowers are considered to make rats highly fertile, and the quantum jump in the population of the rodents lead to the rats attacking the standing crops.
During whirlwind tour of the interior areas of Tamenglong district, this reporter detected widespread flowering of the most abundant bamboo variety called Moubiwa (muli) found in the district with huge tract of bamboo groves withering.
The most affected part so far include Barak river bank, Tousem, Jiribam and border areas between Manipur and Assam.
Villagers in these areas cited significant increase in population of wild-boar and rats due to bamboo flowering.
Inspite of the State Government's special policy of relaxing tax levied on forest products to enable nearby villagers cut and sell bamboos before flowering and self decadence occurs the villagers are still in a hopeless situation mainly to absence of motorable road to transport the bamboos.
However, the district administration is found to be making all effort to construct TamenglongTousem and Khongsang-Barak roads under the Central sponsored scheme of Rashtriya Swyam Vikash Yojana to facilitate transportation of bamboos.
even though the road construction works are completed before bamboo flowering gets full blown transportation of the forest products are unlikely to be smooth as there are no bridges over Makru and Barak rivers.
With such crippled infrastructure the abundant Moubiwa seem destined for wasteful end and the villagers made to scratch their heads wondering when would they be blessed with well-maintained motorable road to eke out a living from the forest products which they rely on for sustenance.
Expressing fear of the people most likely to face severe food shortages, chairman of Tousem village Rangui Zam told this reporter that in addition to wild boars ravaging food-crops having become a daily headache there is also no reduction in rodent population and suggested State authorities gather its resources and machinery before onset of monsoon season to ensure adequate stock of food-grains.
He conveyed fervent appeal to the Government to construct bridges over Makru river to facilitate transportation of bamboos to other pockets of the State and establish connectivity with the neighbouring State of Assam over the Jiri river.
The chairman also recalled of Phaklong area in Tousem sub-division subjected to impact of rodent menace last year.
While expressing gratitude to the State Government for rushing in food-supplies when bamboo flowering accompanied by sudden increase in rodent population had hit the area last year, he however deplored the fact that insecticides meant for the effected areas were insufficient.
According to the Tamenglong district Deputy Commissioner T Panmei maximum efforts would be made to convert into action the 'action plan' conceived by the Government to avert food-scarcity and iterated district administration's determined endeavour to complete the road construction activities so as to facilitate cutting and sale of bamboo.
Appreciating the DC's humane gesture and far-sightedness, president of Tousem headquarters Students' Union Ngaikiulong Newmu highlighted difficult situation the villagers are likely to face when rodent menace intensify and desired immediate attention and necessary action from the Government side.
Newmu also prevailed upon the State Government to expedite the ongoing road construction activities.
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