IMPHAL, March 7: Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh has given a clarion call to the fishermen and local people surrounding the Loktak Lake, that farming of Phumdis (floating bio mass) will be held accountable as restricted activities under provision of the act for protecting the Lake.
The Chief Minister stated this during the official launching function of the hover crafts issued to the Loktak protection force to flush out militant in and around the Lake, held at the Takmu Water Sports Complex.
The Loktak Protection Force with over 200 security personnel which included a DSP, Inspector and Sub-Inspector will be initially deployed and starts their operation in three strategic places from today to flush out militant. The forces will conduct daily patrolling using the crafts.
While appealing the local people of the surrounding area to extend their co-operation without which the operation would not be fruitful, the Chief Minister said additional forces will be provided from the state force if required.Further addressing the gathering the Chief Minister assured that the Phumdis clearance works under taken by a private company will soon be over. He said that project was under taken with the motive to preserve the Loktak Lake, the largest fresh water lake in the NE region, under the integrated Management of Lotak Lake with the GOI sanctioning a sum of 224 crores for clearance work.
Comparing the Loktak with lakes in other parts of the country the Chief Minister lamented that unlike Manipur people of other states try to maintain the lake as clean as possible with frequent cleaning however in Manipur fishermen are growing Phumdis and built huts on it and has become a way of livelihood.
There is no restriction in any kind of fishing but planting Phumdis and building huts gives advantage for under ground and antisocial groups to take refuge and shelter who carry out various anti social activities like kidnapping, extortion etc, said Chief Minister Ibobi adding it hinted the people that Government would be compelled to construed this as a sign of showing their endorsing the anti social activities. As a part of protecting the Loktak Lake a proper demarcation would soon be conducted under the “Protection of Lotak Lake Act”. Besides that a dragging machine (water master) has been purchased by the Government from Finland for 3.5 crore rupees. The machine will soon reach in the state from Kolkata by March, informed that Chief Minister.
If necessary more hover crafts will be purchased not only to flush out militants but also to use in task of protecting and preserving the Lake, he further said.
In the meantime, the chief minister further informed that adequate compensation amounting to over 10 crores have been given to farmers for the Phumdis. Besides the amounts also covers a part for alternative livelihood for the fishermen like taking up dairy farming, vegetation farming, paddy cum Pisci culture etc.
While noting the initiative taken by concerned Governments and NGOs to save Lake, Chief Minister Ibobi further appealed not to continue Phumdi farming and warned that it is highly restricted.
The function was attended by Social Welfare minister, N. Loken, DGP Manipur Y. Joykumar, Thanga MLA Mangi Babu, Loktak Brigade and other concerned officials.
A trial run of the hover craft (Hoverguard-1000) was displayed in front of the gathering after its official launch.