IMPHAL, Mar 13: Terming the Loktak Lake (Protection) Act, 2006 as an anti-fishermen act which would hamper the livelihood of thousands of fishermen inhabiting near the Loktak Lake, the vice-president of BJP Manipur Pradesh and former MLA of Thanga assembly constituency Salam Ibohal has today demanded the amendment of the act along with necessary relief packages for the fishermen.
Addressing a press conference at the head-office of BJP Manipur Pradesh, vice-president Salam Ibohal further stated that the whole region of Loktak Lake has been divided into core zone and buffer zone according to the Loktak Lake Protection Act.
The core zone is a restricted area where fishing and other allied activities are totally prohibited. He further maintained that the act has no proposals allowing fishing in the said core zone which has could be termed as an act against the interest of the fishermen of the ares.It encompasses the dwelling areas of Thanga, Karang, Moirang, Oinam, Mayang Imphal and Nambol.
While supporting the interest of the govt in trying to save the lake, he has further maintained that it would be wrong for the government to hamper the interest of the fishermen while trying to save the lake.
The vice president further clarified that there are more than 1 and half lakhs of fish farmers defending for their livelihood from fishing at the lake. The government has already surveyed more than one thousand huts built on the floating phumdis, however he has appealed to the government to consider rehabilitation for the persons and to provide other means of livelihood for them before evacuating them from the phumdis in the name of cleaning the lake.
He said that the livelihood of the fishermen will be totally hampered once the act is put into action. The protection of Loktak Lake is a significant step taken up by the state government, but without amending some clauses of the act and giving necessary relief packages to the fishermen the act itself will become anti-people.
The state government should consider the plight of the fishermen of Loktak Lake and take up their rehabilitation process before they are flushed out of the Loktak Lake, Ibohal enjoined.
He also appealed to the concerned authority not to destroy the fishing equipments of the fishermen during the operation of hovercrafts in Loktak Lake. While supporting the government for coming out harshly against the militant groups hiding amongst the phumdis and for recently acquiring the three hovercrafts to be used for flushing out the militants from their hiding places, he has further appealed to the government to also consider the fishermen living on the phumdis.