The indigenous communities in the valley of Manipur were traditionally capable of water management with distinctive awareness related to eco-friendly sustenance of water bodies, said Prof N Lokendra Singh, vice-chancellor – Manipur University.
A Report By B Anil Kumar Sharma
A two-day National Seminar on ‘Water Resources and Livelihood Issues in North East India’ (April 11-12, 2022) successfully concluded on Tuesday. It was jointly organised by Geography Department, Moirang College, Manipur in collaboration with Centre for Alternative Discourse, Manipur (CADM) with assistance from North Eastern Council, Minister of Development of North East Region, Shillong.
The seminar was participated by a galaxy of academic personalities, researchers and activists from all across India. While speaking in the inaugural session, Prof N Lokendra Singh, vice-chancellor – Manipur University pointed out that the indigenous communities in the valley of Manipur were traditionally capable of water management with distinctive awareness related to eco-friendly sustenance of water bodies. The vice-chancellor also acknowledged the advanced system of medieval Manipur as there existed innumerable spaces for conservation and harvesting of water in Manipur. Prof Kh Pradip spoke on how the breakdown of traditional depositories of water has led to frequent flooding, and even scarcity of water in off seasons.
Delivering his inaugural remarks, Tanvir Aeijaz, associate proferssor, Department of Political Science – University of Delhi stressed on the need for academic freedom as integral condition for a democratic circulation of knowledge. While commenting on the theme of the seminar, Tanvir explained how market driven economic system was a challenge to ecology and resources leading to an increasing alienation of people from actual access to public goods. Tanvir was of the view that to have a continued understanding of conservation from the lenses of colonial vocabulary was a site of concern as it was to lead to further impositions of foreign systems on communities who are already in practice of a self-sustaining shared community processes of handling resources.
While delivering the key-note, Arambam Noni, Assistant professor, DM University, highlighted the idea and objectives of the seminar. Noni threw up issues relating to water governance in Northeast India. He explained how water governance in the region was marred by three predicaments. The Northeast was home to 34% of India’s water reserve while its landmass was just 7%, said Arambam Noni. He also underscored that access to irrigation was less than 10% in the region. The third predicament was that the region was increasingly exposed to intensive global capital affecting traditional values of conservation, economy and livelihood. Adding on to the keynote, B Anil Kumar Sharma, Convenor of the Seminar, was of the view that the papers presented in the seminar was almost panoramic in its scope covering wide issues of issues relating to water, resources and livelihood. There was a serious need for a region sensitive policy perspectives on the issues and publication of a compiled book on the same theme was an immense necessity, said Anil.
Giving his closing remarks in the valedictory session, Kh Jugindro Singh, principal – Moirang College, viewed that national seminars play a significant role in bringing in diverse ideas. The seminar was attended by scholars from Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland University, Sikkim University and Mizoram University,
(B Anil Kumar Sharma teaches Geography at the Moirang College and is the convenor of the national seminar)