ALLAFUM praised the participation of Loktak Development Authority (LDA) and the Bishnupur District Administration in this year’s celebration and said it was a positive difference from the previous years.
As observed in many previous years, All Loktak Areas Fishers Union Manipur (ALLAFUM) and Champu Khangpok Floating Village Welfare Committee observed the International Day of Wetlands at the Champu Khangpok Floating Elementary School on February 2.
In a press statement, ALLAFUM praised the participation of Loktak Development Authority (LDA) and the Bishnupur District Administration in this year’s celebration and said it was a positive difference from the previous years.
“The effort was from both sides to begin a process of reconciliation as well as to make way for working together of wetlands people and the state authority which is the bulwark of any wetlands management,” it added.
LDA Chairman Asnikumar Moirangthem also promised to work for the welfare of fish workers of Loktak as well as to commit to removing Loktak from the Montreux record, it said.
The statement further said secretary of ALLAFUM Oinam Rajen emphasized the need to work harder to protect and manage Loktak and all other wetlands in Manipur as most wetlands in Manipur are dying and are in a serious condition of decay and pollution. Champu Khangpok village authority president Heishnam Arunkumar reiterated the commitment of the village to protecting Loktak as the wellbeing of Loktak is the same as the wellbeing of fishers as well as that of humans and other fauna and flora, it added.
The statement also said Bishnupur District SDO Moirang promised to ensure that the capture fishers of Loktak have their due share of identity cards, rations etc. This is a significant step for capture fishers as they tend to be ignored as compared to those who are involved in culture fishery, it added.
ALLAFUM further said it considered this as a very positive step of the government of Manipur in ensuring that those involved in capture fishery possess legal identity and that their productive activities are protected.
This wetlands day is also marked by the distribution of Solar reading lamps for Children, solar lamps with radio systems and water filter systems for each household of Champu Khangpok. Directorate of Minorities, SC and OBC (MOBC) has provided these items.
In addition, the founder and Executive Director of South Asia Bamboo Foundation Kamesh Salam spoke on the need to use locally available resources such as Water reeds and bamboo for livelihood development to best suit housing and eco-tourism and other infrastructure needs of people of Loktak. SABF has been instrumental in building the first Bio-Toilet at Champu for the School at Loktak, which can be replicated for individual housings.