Man Selflessly Dedicates 18 Years to Replant 300-Acre Forest in Manipur
The environment is in dire need of help given the extent of deforestation and global warming. When everything seems to be doomed, Moirangthem Loiya, a 45 years old man from Manipur gives hope to the world with his tremendously appreciable actions. The man has planted a 300-acre forest dubbed ‘Punshilok’, which means ‘Spring of Life’. Loiya has been replanting and protecting trees for the past 18 years which in itself is a herculean effort.
In his childhood, Loiya used to visit the lush green forest of Koubru Peak in Senapati district, Manipur. But after his college was over in 2000, Loiya visited the place again, his heart couldn’t bear to see the whole forest destroyed.
In 2002, he left his job as a medical representative and searched for land to plant trees. Fortunately, a local guided him to Maru Langol Hill range, a place without any trees that were burnt down by locals for rice cultivation. The man decided to raise a forest out of it.
Loiya started living in the forest in a small hut that he built. He spent six years there alone, planting bamboos, oak, ficus, magnolia, teak and jackfruit trees among other vegetation. With the help of his friends and few volunteers, he cleared out weeds and planted the saplings.
In 2003, the group formed ‘Wildlife and Habitat Protection Society’ (WAHPS). Owing to the spring-like weather of the area, the plant growth was remarkable.
The government had a ‘no-construction-inside-forest’ policy, but given the noble initiative, the government molded it and helped Loiya. The authorities demolished the illegal constructions on the forest periphery.
One of forest ranger says that Article 51-A imposes a duty on every citizen to protect the environment and its elements and WAHPS is adhering to it by nurturing Punshilok. The group has saved the forest from many fires and poaching has been eliminated from the area.
Punshilok is spread over 300 acres of land and houses various flora and fauna species including herbs and medicinal plants. There are around 250 species of plants and 25 species of bamboo. The forest also has a variety of birds, snakes and wild animals – barking deer, pangolin, porcupine, mongoose, leopard cat, and deer among many others.
This forest has become a site of attraction to the tourists and locals alike. Many treehouses have also been built in the forest where people can enjoy the panoramic beauty of nature.
Loiya currently works as a pharmacist at his brother’s drug store and organic farming for a living. He considers this forest his work of art and himself as an artist. Now he wishes to continue his work and plant more trees in order to conserve nature.
Via: Times of India