IMPHAL, November 18: The Loktak fisher folks, who have been evicted recently from the lake as a part of its cleaning project being implemented by Loktak Development Authority (LDA), are now in a pitiful state with no proper food and shelter.
So far 167 residential huts out of 1132 huts floating on the Loktak Lake have been burned down by the state authorities with the objective to expedite the cleaning project of Loktak Lake. All of the displaced families of Loktak Lake are presently taking shelter at District Multipurpose Mini Indoor Stadium, Ningthoukhong Kha Mamang Leikai.
Expressing deep concern over sudden eviction drive, Heisnam Chaoba Devi stated that the fishers have no place to live. They have been living in the huts on the Loktak Lake for many decades. The sudden eviction drive taken up by the state government has deprived the “right to life” of the Loktak fishers, she averred.
Chaoba further asserted that the fishers will stay on Loktak Lake till their last breath. All their belongings including money and valuable items have been burned down during the unwarranted eviction drive. The fishers will never accept the compensation of Rs. 40,000 given by the state government, she stated.
Thoudam Pishak maintained that their huts have been burned down in their absence. They are now left with nothing except the piece of clothing they were wearing. The state government is very inhumane, she cried out.
Pishak stated that the fishers were not given prior information about this eviction. The authorities claimed to have given the information through media; however, they have difficulty in accessing even the radio. The Chief Minister himself did not listen to the fishers and carried out the eviction without showing any compassion to them.
The fishers also condemned the attitude of local MLA for his apathy towards their sufferings. They said that their MLA had given them only a bag of rice and so far there has been no other assistance from his side.
Meanwhile, social leaders led by the president of All Manipur United Clubs’ Organization (AMUCO), KT Rahman visited the displaced families and donated 30 bags of rice and one bag of dal to them.
Rahman stated that the state government should consider the welfare of the Loktak fishers and ensure their rights are not harmed.
Members of Human Rights Alert (HRA) also inspected the condition of the evicted families of Loktak Lake.