The story of a transformation of Barren land to lush green forest named Punshilok, 6 km from Manipur’s capital Imphal in the Langol Hill Range, a group of friends took the initiative to change the barren hill to make it green again, who were determined to restore the ecological balance that originally existed in the region.
Moirangthem Loiya Ngamba was scouting for land to create a green space for the local communities. It was then a farmer from the foothills of Langol Range suggested a visit to a nearby hill, Punshilok. Loiya is also the founder of Wildlife and Habitat Protection Society (WAHPS), an NGO to conserve the rich natural wealth of the region.
Punshilok literally means ‘Spring of Life’ and derives its name from King Luwang Ningthou Punshiba, from whom the Manipuri people trace their descent. But, when Loiya visited Punshilok, it was straggly, a rock-strewn patch of land with nothing growing on it except for some wild weeds. The gurgling stream flowing through it had plenty of water but was used mainly by herds of cattle and sheep, not humans.
These friends not only cleaned the hill but also cleaned the river of the valley which now good to people of the valley and channelized the water for watering forest too. Loiya came so close to nature and the valley that he made his home there and lived for six years alone in a seven-feet-by-five-feet hut that he built for himself, Under his supervision, lush green vegetation spread over the land, breathing life into it.
When wild animals started returning to the forest, he hired caretakers to prevent hunting, poaching, and deforestation. Punshilok is now home to over 200 plant species, 20 species of bamboo, some varieties of orchids, herbs and medicinal plants.