M Ashinikumar Singh, the chairman of the Loktak Development Authority (LDA) has initiated to review the Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006 and restructure the LDA with a new dimension for holistic approach
By Diana Potshangbam
M Ashinikumar Singh assumed charge as the chairman of the Loktak Development Authority (LDA) recently. After taking charge, he thoroughly examined the functioning of LDA with its concerned officers and stockholders. The chairman also appraised the chief minister of Manipur and minister (Forest & Envt. & Climate Change), government of Manipur.
He also initiated to review the Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006 and restructure the LDA with a new dimension for holistic approach in order to reconstruct its policy programme in consultation with all the concerned stakeholders and international experts.
The chairman deeply analysed the issues pertaining to Loktak Lake in the socio – economical parameters after the commission of Loktak Hydel Power Project. The ecological condition of the lake has already reached alarming levels with adverse consequences on the livelihood of the lake dwellers as well as the ecological cycle of the lake.
According to the alarming situation faced by the Loktak Lake, the Chairman put up an appraisal to the chief minister, and minister (Forest & Envt. & Climate Change), Manipur to allow the involvement of highly reputed institutes with expertise in the field e.g. the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian Institue of Technology, Wetlands of International South – East Asia (WISA) , Wildlife Institute of India (WII) etc. Besides, the involvement of local communities (particularly those drastically affected“Phum-Hut” dwellers and local experts) is also an important component of the conservation mission.
Recently, the chairman convened series of meetings with the dwellers of the lake where he called for public co-operation from those residing in the confines of the Loktak as well as their active participation in conservation mission.
He set a new vision, a new outlook for a holistic approach for Loktak Lake’s Conservation mission, which needs to be given priority on ecological parameters, community engagement , technical-engineering intervention and strong co-ordination with inter related departments.
The chairman appeals to the all the stakeholders, particularly the local elected representatives for their valuable support while carrying out the conservation and sustainable measures for preserving the Loktak Lake and its associated wetlands.
A number of illegal encroachment and constructions has been taken place within the protected area of the Loktak Lake like floating huts for local fishing purposes, home stay, cage culture, plantation of athaphums, and construction of ring bands which have become alarming issues as well as harmful deterrents to the environmental and ecological cycle of the Loktak lake.
Therefore, the LDA earnestly appeals to those responsible to put an end and remove such illegal activities/structures. If not, necessary legal actions will be taken up as per rule of law against those defaulters within 3 weeks from this day.
On the advice of chief minister, the chairman LDA had convened a joint meeting with the Additional Chief Secretary (Forest & Envt. & Climate Change), Secretary (Revenue), Joint Secretary(Revenue), Deputy Commissioners – Imphal West, Bishenpur, Thoubal, Kakching & Director Fisheries, senior officials of LDA. During the said meeting, thorough discussions and deliberations on the issues regarding encroachment and land allotment inside protected areas of Loktak Lake and its associate wetlands took place. Also, the officials present in the meeting were instructed to submit a concrete report within 3(three) weeks pertaining to the encroachment of the Lake and its’ associate wetlands. Swift, appropriate actions shall be taken up as per the report.
The chairman with his active commitment after assumption of the charge of Chairman\LDA approached the Ministry of Environment & Forest, Climate Change, Govt. of India, for approval of the “Wise – Use Policy of the Loktak Lake ” a very vital measure which pertains to the conservation and sustainable management of the lake for long term and visionary mission of the lake, which is already approved by govt. of Manipur.
Besides, the chairman also emphasised the integrated development of the Loktak Lake – Ecotourism, Preservation of Champu Khangpok Floating Village(to preserve & promote local haritage), to identify culturally and historically important sites inside the lake & preservation of such sites, enhancement of fisheries and support of community livelihood, promotion of water sports, regulation of local fishing practices and motor boats(used by local commuters and tourists) with consultation with the concerned departments, stakeholders under the active guidance of the Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri. N. Biren Singh and Honb’le Minister, (Forest & Envt. and Climate Change), Shri. Th. Bishwajitt Singh.
The vision of the newly appointed chairman of LDA is to make a long term management action plan for conservation and sustainable management of the Loktak Lake and its associate wetlds for the present as well as future generations. The Chairman sincerely thanks the Hon’ble chief minister, Manipur for being entrusted with the responsibility as Chairman of LDA.
(Diana Potshangbam is PRO, Loktak Development Authority)