Loktak Lake is like the proverbial phoenix and activities centering around this lake which provides food and shelter to local communities need to be people-centric and focused on finding solutions to local people’s needs and aspirations, observed Professor Elangbam Bijoykumar.
There is always a debate between development and the sustainability of communities that thrive upon natural landscapes, observed Professor N Lokendra Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Manipur University.
Addressing a one-day workshop on redefining Loktak indigenous peoples’ territory, rights to life and resource use at the university’s courtroom Monday, Professor Lokendra said that the politico-administrative decision of the State involves complex issues on different aspects of the State.
Describing the workshop as a very important theme for proactive interaction amongst various stakeholders to address grievances affecting local communities, the vice-chancellor observed that the outcome of the workshop could be a new thinking process for the blue economy.
Presenting the keynote address for the workshop, Professor Elangbam Bijoykumar Singh, Director CSSEIP, said that the question of sustainability has since emerged in a big way in today’s world which is plagued by various human and environmental issues.
Expressing his concern that the manner in which development has been happening may not be in the best ways, Prof. Bijoykumar opined that finding options for solutions is the correct way to resolve conflicts of interest between communities and States.
Loktak Lake is like the proverbial phoenix and activities centering round this lake which provides food and shelter to local communities need to be people-centric and focused on finding solutions to local people’s needs and aspirations, he observed.
Universities and academia should not be ‘islands’ confined to themselves alone, rather they should reach out to the people in understanding the needs and aspirations of the people, Professor S.K.Shrivastava, former vice-chancellor of NEHU, observed during his address at the opening session of the workshop.
Professor S Mangi Singh, Dean, School of Social Sciences MU, placing his observations reflected that the discussion on issues of Loktak Lake should be on a broader thematic temperament and it is very important to understand who are the indigenous peoples in the State.
The people in Manipur can never think of Manipur in isolation of Loktak at the forefront, Prof Mangi observed saying that the focus should be on protecting the rights of those local people who live within and around the lake.
Participating at the one-day workshop, Dr. Rajkumari Sunita Devi, Additional CEO, State Level Nodal Agency for Watershed, Planning Department, spoke on Wetlands for our Future: Loktak – A Perspective Study; while Salam Rajesh, Honorary Member, ICCA Consortium, presented powerpoint talk on Loktak fishers’ assertion on their Rights to Life and Resource Use within Loktak Territory of Life.
Oinam Rajen Singh, Secretary, ALLAFUM presented a talk on deprivation of the rights of Loktak fishers by State intervention; Champu Khangpok floating village dweller Heisnam Apabi Devi spoke on rights violations faced by the Loktak fishing community; while Human Rights Alert’s Executive Director, Babloo Loitongbam delivered an enlightening talk on international legislations binding human rights violations.
Indigenous Perspectives’ Executive Director, Ramananda Wangkheirakpam spoke on the nstatus and assertion of Loktak fishers’ rights, and independent researcher Donald Takhell presented a talk on Assessing Loktak fishers’ concerns on livelihoods threatened by external pressures.
The workshop organized by the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Manipur University in association with the All Loktak Lake Areas Fishermen’s Union, Manipur (ALLAFUM), also had presentations from research scholars working under the Centre.