Imphal: A man from Uripok Khaidem Leikai area in Imphal West has quit his job to devote his life to environmental causes and has replanted a 300-acre forest all by himself over a span of 18 years.
Loiya has been planting trees in the Langol hill-range of Manipur.
"I am doing this work from the last 18 years. Since childhood, I was fascinated by huge trees and jungles. When I completed my college, I came back here and saw the entire forest in my area was gone and only small plants of peas were there. I was very shocked and upset. The sight triggered me in doing something for the environment," said Moirangthem Loiya.
The forest which is now known as Punshilok forest is home to 250 species of plants and 25 species of bamboo is grown here, said Loya. "It is also home to a variety of birds, snakes and wild animals," he added.
He also stated that during the re-plantation drive, it was a challenge to thwart attempts of hunters and firewood collectors but with time they were able to overcome it. "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 added.
Loiya's efforts and its results have won him appreciation from the authorities who want others to take inspiration from his feat.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Kereilhouvi Angami 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 now has made a small group with the help of friends and volunteers and wants to expand the forest cover.