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Ukhrul, October 27, 2018 (DIPR): Forest and Environment Minister Shri Thounaojam Shyamkumar rewarded the villagers of Khamasom village for protecting the only virgin forest in the State situated along the Indo-Myanmar international border. The Minister handed over a sum of Rs 2 lakhs from Forest Department side to the Khamasom villagers for their sincerity and commitment for protecting the environment.
On his maiden visit on Friday (October 26, 2018), the Forest Minister Th. Shyamkumar inspected the Khamasom village and its surrounding areas, which is situated near the international border pillar number 24. The Minister expressed his astonishment and happiness towards the villagers for carefully safeguarding the only remaining virgin forest in the State along the international border. The village is located at a distance of around 40 kms from Ukhrul Headquarters. It is worth mentioning here that the village has been visited by a minister after a gap of 40 years. Late Shri Yangmasho Shaiza, the then Chief Minister of the State visited the village in 1978.

Addressing media persons, Minister Shyamkumar said the Forest Department is happy that the villagers of Khamasom have carefully safeguarded the only remaining parts of the virgin forest in the State at a time when the department is working hard to combat deforestation and global warming, which is currently one of the major issues in the world.
Stating that the State Government led by the Chief Minister Shri N. Biren Singh has instructed his cabinet ministers to specially visit remote places and address the grievances faced by the people. The present State Government is committed to keep close contact with the people residing in the interior areas so that new policies and developmental programs can be implemented.
Th. Shyamkumar further assured to the Khamasom villagers that deserving villagers will be given benefits under various schemes/programs of the State Government departments. Concerned over the remoteness of the village, the Minister gave his direct contact number to the villagers to update him regarding the problems and other queries so that they do not have to travel the long distance to reach Imphal.
Forest Minister informed the Khamasom villagers that the Forest Department got to know about the virgin forest through satellite image and he made a surprise visit to the village after attending the Ukhrul Flower Festival at Ukhrul Town Hall. He said it is the duty of the department to promote and support the villagers who are working tirelessly with sincere effort to protect the forest which have remained untouched for years. He also appreciated the State Government officials for sincerely working in the area including the officials of Forest Department.
Assuring to the Khamasom villagers that he will apprise the Chief Minister and Works Minister regarding the bad road condition, he said the present State Government does not believe in working on the table rather it believes in visiting the places to have close connection with the people. He concluded his speech by promising the villagers that he will visit the Khamasom village once again before the Christmas festival.

Speaking exclusively to DIPR reporter, Shri Rio, Headmaster of Yang Academy High School, Khamasom termed the maiden visit of the Forest and Environment Minister Shri Th. Shyamkumar as a historic day for the village and the surrounding areas. He said he was surprised as the Forest and Environment Minister visited the village without giving any prior information.
He informed that the Khamasom is located in the Ukhrul Central Sub-Division and it has over 400 households consisting of Khamasom Khayangkho, Khamasom Walely, Khamasom Phungdhar and Khamasom Phungrei. He said that the village is home to the people of Tangkhul tribe with agriculture as the primary occupation. The village which is known for its scenic beauty has a vast thick virgin forest stretching up to the international boundary with Myanmar which is rich in flora and fauna, he added.
Requesting to the State Government to look into the issues of the villagers, he informed that the road of the village was washed away by the fury of cyclone Mora. Informing that the village also face electricity problem, he said two teachers are managing the only Government high school in the village. Volunteers for Green Khamasom (VGK) formed in 2015 are helping the villagers in providing drinking water supply in the village, he added.
Earlier on the way to the Khamason village, the Forest and Environment Minister Th. Shyamkumar was given a rousing welcome by the students of Yang Academy High School, Khamasom. The Minister welcomed the students to Imphal and promised them to make all the necessary arrangements when the students expressed their desire to visit the capital city of the State.
It is worth mentioning that the Minister Th. Shyamkumar made his maiden surprise visit to the Khamasom village after attending the inaugural function of the three-day Ukhrul Flower Festival being held at Ukhrul Town Hall. The festival will conclude tomorrow. (DIPR)

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