Zobawk, Lunglei: In a united effort to protect the Tlawng River and its surrounding ecosystem, a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Zobawk village near Mizoram’s southern town Lunglei has come together to champion the cause of conservation. This move comes in response to ongoing controversy surrounding development projects and forest clearances in the area.
The recently established formal organisation for Tlawng River conservation has garnered significant support from various NGOs. The community’s appreciation for the formation of this organisation is rooted in a deep-seated connection to the Tlawng River, which has been a lifeline for generations.
Established in 1856, Zobawk’s historical reliance on the Tlawng River as a primary water source underscores the importance of its preservation. With this rich history in mind, the village council and YMA branches have worked tirelessly over the years to ensure the health and vitality of the river and its surrounding habitat.
Efforts to create a green environment have been a priority for the community, as evidenced by the planting of tree saplings, wild bananas, and bamboo, along with the construction of contour trenches and fire lines to prevent forest fires and soil erosion. The result of these collective endeavors is a thriving forest ecosystem that serves as a testament to the dedication of Zobawk’s residents.
Despite these conservation efforts, challenges remain. The rising demand for water in Zobawk, coupled with population growth, necessitated the construction of the Recharging Dam to ensure a stable water supply. However, the delay in the construction of another Recharging Dam under the Central Government’s “Amrit Sarovar Mission” has raised concerns within the community. Residents are urging the Mizoram government to expedite this vital initiative for the benefit of all.
A point of contention has emerged with the construction of the Mizoram State Sport Academy and Recharging Dam, both of which have been halted due to allegations of insufficient forest clearances. The Mizoram State Sport Academy, which holds promise as a crucial infrastructure for the younger generation, has garnered support from Zobawk’s NGOs and the broader Mizo community. The suspension of these projects has sparked disappointment and frustration among those who view them as essential for the region’s development.
The NGOs express a sense of bewilderment at the opposition they face from some groups, who they believe do not fully understand the extensive efforts undertaken to protect the Tlawng River and its surroundings. As annual forest fires continue to pose a threat, the NGOs are concerned about the potential psychological impact on the youth who have played a pivotal role in firefighting efforts.
Amidst these challenges, the united front of NGOs in Zobawk continues to champion the cause of Tlawng River conservation. As the community seeks to strike a balance between development and environmental protection, their message resonates: a harmonious coexistence with nature is vital, and the collective effort to preserve the Tlawng River remains unwavering.