A Manipur man quit his job 18 years ago to devout all his time in planting trees. Moirangthem Loiya who is from Imphal says he was always fascinated by forests, and were a big part of his childhood. However, he had to leave his town to pursue higher education and when he returned home from college, he was devastated to find the forest in his area was cleared and in its place only shrubs remained. “I found that the entire forest in my area was gone and only small plants of peas were there. I was very shocked and upset. This led me to do something for the environment,” Loiya said to ANI.
Moirangthem Loiya has been re-planting trees on a 300-acre land in the Langol hill-range in Manipur. Sharing stories of some of the challenges he faced to a local media, he spoke about how he had to stop people from chopping down trees for firewood and keeping the forest free of poachers, and how over time, he was able to overcome all the obstacles in his way. Named ‘Punshilok’, the forest is now home to 250 species of plants and a variety of animals, birds and snakes. Many authorities have lauded his efforts in rejuvenating the environment and also for dedicating so many years of his life for this cause.
"I had a hard time making people understand the disadvantages of cutting trees. Some people would also come here for hunting different species. But thankfully all this was resolved with time", he said. Kereilhouvi Angami, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest of Manipur, said, "We appreciate his efforts. We welcome all those who protect the environment and are engaged in reforestation. We would encourage others also to take part in protection, revival and re-forestation of forests". Loiya has now formed a group with his friends and some volunteers to expand the forest cover.
(with ANI inputs)