TODAY -

CM confronts earth excavation in reserved forest area
Police detain five, released later

Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, May 24 2011: Police today, on the orders of the Chief Minister, arrested five labourers excavating earth from a reserved forest area using a JCB machine.

They were later released in the evening.

The CM, who was in the Langol area on a inspection tour with some of his ministers, intercepted the excavation work at the Langol hill reserved forest area.

Seeing the earth being dug out near the Langol Lairembi temple area, the Chief Minister immediately directed the police to detain them and to take up action for violating restrictions in taking out earth from the reserved forest areas without prior permission from the competent authority.

Lamphel police who were on duty to take up security measures in connection with the CM's tour picked up the five persons when they could not produce proper documents.

RK Robikanta of Sagolband Tera Sapam Leirak, Wahengbam Dipak of Patsoi, Khulem Mangi of Naoremthong, Koijam Jiten of Naoremthong Khullem Leikai and Lourembam Romesh of Maklang were taken to Lamphel PS for further course of action.

But no action could be initiated against them as two MLAs of the ruling Congress intervened to release the five persons.

MLAs, L Nanadakumar and W Brajabidhu came out in favour of the labourers to justify their activities.

They reportedly justified that the area where the earth excavation work was not done within the reserved forest area but that it was within the campus of the temple that stands at the foothill.

They further clarified that the earth was being collected for use in the embankment work of Nambul river to prevent flooding.

The incident came at a time when a newly constructed retaining wall of around 25 feet along the bank of the Nambul river collapsed last night.

The retaining wall allegedly collapsed due to lack of quality control.

The head mason engaged in the work, Thokchom Latababu of Bashikhong, who was at the site, said that the proportion of sand-cement at the time of construction of the wall was 7:1 .

They were engaged by contractor Thokchom Jatishwor of Bashikhong and the work was completed about 20 days back.

Meanwhile, IFCD minister N Biren announced an inquiry into the collapse of the newly constructed retaining wall.

The inquiry will be completed within two days and action will be taken up accordingly, the minister told reporters at his official quarters this afternoon.

If there were flaws in the construction then, a check to all works awarded to the contractor will be conducted to assess quality control so that measures to rectify lack of quality could be taken up before causing further untoward incidents.


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