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Demand of a green kind

- Ungma wants sanctuary pledge from candidates

Jorhat, March 19: Come elections and demands sprout covering a broad spectrum, ranging from a road here or a bridge there, employment to drinking water and what-have-you.

The 10,000-odd populace of Ungma village in Nagaland’s Mokokchung district, however, has turned out to be a breed apart. Their demand: assistance to develop a wildlife sanctuary in the village.

“We will ask the candidates who come to our village for electioneering to help us develop a wildlife sanctuary in our village,” the chairman of the village, Imolemba Jamir, told The Telegraph over phone.

Nagaland, which has only one Lok Sabha seat, goes to polls on April 9.

Jamir said the village has already decided to set up a wildlife sanctuary in a bid to preserve wildlife and the environment in the village, which is located about 15km from Dikxu Green zone, a joint project of Ungma and Longcha villages.

He said a committee has been formed in this regard and things would get rolling after the elections.

C. Tia Longkumer, chairman of Ungma Wildlife Conservation Management Committee, said Ungma village is rich in biodiversity and the sanctuary would help preserve the wildlife. The proposed name of the sanctuary is Oki Menden Wildlife Sanctuary, which means the seat of the forefathers. “We have selected an 8 square km area on the northern side of the village as the site for the sanctuary and there is scope for expansion,” Longkumer said.

He said a few species of deer, Asiatic Black bear, wild goats, leopards, porcupines and wild boars, apart from several species of birds are found in the area and the village council has issued orders prohibiting hunting in the area.

“There would be stringent punishment and penalties of upto Rs 50,000 for anyone found guilty of violating the order,” he said.

Longkumer said sambar deer, which was found abundantly in the area, was on the verge of extinction because of frequent hunting and as such there was an urgent need to set up a sanctuary to make it a protected area.

He said the village has already approached the state government for necessary assistance for the proposed project and they would want the MP from Nagaland to take up the matter with the Centre for providing necessary assistance.

Principal chief conservator of forests, Nagaland, M.L Rao, said such moves by the villagers to come forward for conservation of wildlife were always welcome and people of Nagaland have shown this in their conservation efforts to protect the Amur falcons last year.

Nagaland has two wildlife sanctuaries — Fakim along the Indo-Myanmar border in Kiphire district and Singhipha in Mon district — apart from a national park, Intanki National park, which is located near Dimapur, the commercial capital of Nagaland.

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