Stating that Loktak Lake cannot be saved without its people, Apunba Loktak Ngami Sinmi Cooperative Society and Loktak Floating Homestay Association, Thanga (LOFHAT) urged the authorities to take back the “biased” notification by July 30, 2022, failure which they threatened to embark on various forms of agitation, including debarring the LDA chairman and tourists from Loktak Lake, to resist and fight for its right.
Apunba Loktak Ngami Sinmi Cooperative Society and Loktak Floating Homestay Association, Thanga (LOFHAT) came out strongly against Loktak Development Authority (LDA)’s 18 July 2022 notice threatening to remove/dismantle Athaphums, Houses (Home stays) and huts within 15 days on grounds of polluting the lake.
Stating that Loktak Lake cannot be saved without its people, the joint body urged the authorities to take back the “biased” notification by 30 July, 2022, failure which they threatened to embark on various forms of agitation, including debarring the LDA chairman and tourists from Loktak lake, to resist and fight for its right.
They threatened to ban LDA and bar its chairman Asnikumar Moirangthem and tourists from Loktak lake if the notification is not withdrawn by 30 July, 2022.
Replying to the queries made by TFM during the press meet held at the Manipur Press Club on Wednesday, a spokesperson of the Joint body said, “It is unfortunate that the incumbent chairman, who himself hails from within the fishing communities, has gone against its people.” He would be barred from the lake, added the spokesperson.
The joint body alleged that the notification is a clear attempt to alienate and deprive the rights of people who have been dependant on the lake since time immemorial.
The joint body maintained that before the Loktak Hydro-Electric Power Project came into being, the lake was bountiful. Fishing, collecting herbs such as Loklei-pullei, komprek, thangjing, heikak was able to provide subsistence livelihood, it said. However, the installation of Ithai Barrage has affected fish communities badly with drastic drop in fish catch and brought changes to the ecological and hydrological characteristics leading to the decline of arrival of migratory birds and dip in overall productivity in life stocks such as buffaloes and cows, it said.
“Loss of large areas of agricultural fields due to inundation, increased levels of sediments, and pollutants brought by untreated rivers, have added more misery to the fate of the lake,” it added
The joint body said, “It is unfortunate that the agencies involved have remained silent to the NHPC by leaving them out from the ambit of the Manipur Loktak Protection Act 2006, but have always been very brave to blame and target the indigenous community, who have been living in harmony with Loktak Lake and nursed it as their mother.”
“Loktak is our Ema (mother). Nobody has the right to rob the people of the lake from their rights. Nobody who loves the lake would pollute the lake, and the people of the lake would fight against anybody/departments, who seek to pollute and destroy the lake,” said the joint body.