The union demanded that Loktak Development Authority (LDA) and Forest Department not to interfere with Pumlen and/or its wetland dependent villages
The Pumlen Pat Khoidum Lamjao Kanba Apunba Lup on Wednesday reiterated its demand for withdrawal of March 23 notification issued by Kakching district DC for eviction of ‘encroachers’ from the Pumlen Pat area.
Appealing to the DC of Kakching and to the state government to withdraw the notification immediately, This Union, which comprises 26 villages engaged in fishing and farming living around Pumlen wetland region, also demanded that Loktak Development Authority (LDA) and Forest Department not to interfere with Pumlen and/or its wetland dependent villages.
“Any effort must be democratic in nature and a comprehensive process of consultation and consent must be obtained,” it added.
It may be noted that during the midst of COVID pandemic, the Kakching district DC issued the notification on March 23, 2021 that the whole areas of Pumlen Pat is being notified for eviction of encroachers and that the residents will have to vacate within 30 days.
In response to the notification, the union has written to the DC and copies marked to the PM and the CM on April 23, 2021 arguing that this notification of the DC is itself a fundamental violation of Article 21 of the Constitution which guarantees right to life and livelihood to communities, including those of dependent on Pumlen Pat.
“Till today, seven months now, there has not been any response from the DC or the government to our appeal. This Notification has created a great insecurity and uncertainty in the minds of thousands of people whose lives are traditionally dependent on the periphery of this wetland area,” said a press statement issued by Lup’s president Yumkhaibam Gulapi and secretary Salam Joy.
The statement said, “We are fully conversant with our ancestral rights and also the Wetlands Rules 2017, the Loktak Protection Act of 2006 and the agenda of the Forest Department to bring in Conservation Reserve for Sangai.”
These efforts by both Loktak Development Authority (LDA) and Forest Department are done in a hush-hush manner using some few locals but without taking any consent from the villagers as well from the Gram Sabha, they alleged.
The Union further said, “We have communicated to LDA as well as to the Forest Department that the people of Pumlen do not welcome them nor will they be allowed to step in without proper processes of consultation.
However, LDA and Forest Dept continue to make their feeble entry by forming bodies like Wetlands Mitra(s) in Loktak and Pumlenor holding frequent meetings at Tokpaching. These are unacceptable bodies and they do not represent the voices of the 26 villages living around this wetland, said the union.eviction notice, Pumlen Pat, Khoidum Lampjao