The forest cover of ‘Law Syiem’ is on
the path of an inevitable death,
thanks to the famed human intervention in the form of ‘denuding’ every strip of greenery that manages to cover our land.
What aggreviated the problem is that ‘Law Syiem’ is the only catchment area for the villages like Mawtawar, Umshing, Mawpat, Mawlai Mawroh, Golflink, Lumshyiap, Langkyrding, Nongmynsong and Pynthor for the past many decades.
This thick forest cover is under the Syiem of Mylliem and has been the source for many of the natural springs in these areas even as the three major water supply schemes of Lumshyiap, Pynthorumkhrah, Mawlai Mawroh and Langkyrding.
With the reduction in forest cover, many of the natural springs have started to become smaller when compared to the past.
It was also observed that after a heavy rainfall, the villages adjacent to ‘Law Syiem’ would see water flowing into the drains for many days.
But the situation now has changed. The whole area would dry up as soon as water stops.
There is a general observation among the people residing in localities adjacent to the forest area that this unusual phenomenon which they are experiencing is because the catchments can no longer hold the rainwater due to rampant felling of trees.
The major problem is that the Syiem of Mylliem does not have the manpower in place to patrol the forest area which would act as a deterrent to the villages to stop this illegal rampant felling of trees.
With no one protecting the forest area, the villagers are able to cut the trees without any fear of being arrested.
A resident of Lumshyiap, C Lyngdoh said that in the past few years, the forest cover of ‘Law Syiem’ has drastically reduced due to this rampant felling of trees by the villagers.
Building a relation between the felling of trees and global warming as well as climate, KHADC CEM Pyngshngain N Syiem has emphasised on the need to convert certain stretch of the forest areas which are owned by various traditional bodies into a reserve forest.
“The forest cover across the State has drastically been reduced over the past many years due to various human activities which in turn is having a huge impact on the environment. We have to take serious steps to protect the forest areas before it is too late,” Syiem said while speaking to The Shillong Times.
He strongly felt that the best possible way to address the problem of environment degradation is to convert certain stretch of the forest area under the various Hima, Raid and even those belong to various clans into a ‘reserve forest’.
According to KHADC CEM, the Council is also contemplating to come up with law to protect the various catchment areas.
As a constructive step towards preserving the precious water bodies, the Council is planning to come up with projects to protect and preserve the various water bodies and resources in the Khasi Hills.
The KHADC had also decided to direct all Himas, Raids and Dorbar Shnongs to preserve some parts of the forest covers in their respective areas as Law Kyntang (sacred forest).
Earlier, KHADC Chairman Fabian Lyngdoh have also emphasized on the need for creating awareness among the masses for the protection of the catchment areas.
While admitting that the State is having a peculiar land system, Lyngdoh said that there should be some kind of correlation between private ownership and general requirements.
The KHADC Chairman also informed that the Advisory Committee is also preparing a concept paper for protection of ‘Law Adong” and ‘Law Kyntang’ which is indirectly related to the protection of the catchment areas.
“The Advisory Committee would submit its report in this connection to the Executive Committee for its consideration,” he added.
While expressing concern over the rampant feeling of trees inside ‘Law Syiem’, a senior government official said that it is important for the Dorbar Shnongs and Himas to be involved in order to preserve the catchment areas and water bodies.
“Unless and until the people themselves realize about the need to protect these catchment areas, nothing concrete can be achieve towards this end,” a senior government official said.
He said that the Government was concerned on the earlier plan of the Syiem of Mylliem Latho Manik Syiem to allot the plot of land at “Law Syiem” (Forest under the Hima) to all the Myntris (Officers) under the Hima of Mylliem.
“But now I am happy to see the Syiem of Mylliem has abandoned this idea,” a senior government official said.
(By Lamphrang Nongspung)