IMPHAL, October 21: “Loktak lake is intrinsic with the people’s survival but it has become an arena for mismanagement in the name of managing it’’, this was said today by Imphal Free Press (IFP), Editor, Irengbam Arun during the state level convention on ‘’Exploitation of Loktak Wetlands’’, at Manipur Press Club.
The state level convention, organised by the All Manipur Loktak Lake Fisherman Union, AMLLFU and Committee of Protection of Natural Resources in Manipur, CPNR, adopted a series of resolutions to protect Loktak Lake.
This one day convention was attended by state’s renowned journalist, expert, intellectual, researcher, human right activist, lawyers, CSO’s representative etc.
Participants adopted a series of 7-Points Resolution, calling upon the state and central governments to institute a CBI inquiry on the much talked about “Rs 224 cores Loktak Lake scam” and to furnish details of the controversial contract including the earnest money submitted by K-Pro, repeal of Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006, review of impact of Loktak multipurpose hydro Project as per comparison with World commission on Dam, 2006.
The convention further resolved that the government should disclose the actions taken and the present status to the recommendations by the Manipur State Commission of Human Right and National Human Right Commission and to investigate the contract award to K-Pro for phumdi clearance.
In his key-note address, Committee on the Protection of Natural Resources in Manipur, co convenor Jiten Yumnam said that Loktak lake is a designated protected site of international importance under the Ramsar Convention but the govt has failed to ensure community participation on the management of Loktak wetland which is complete violation of the said convention.
Speaking during this one day convention, IFP-Editor, Irengbam Arun regretted the irrationality of the government’s decision to approve a lone company, and a no-experience bidder to clean-up the entire Loktak Lake.
The IFP editor also informed that K-PRO was formed on June 22, 09 after 20 days of the govt. tender notice to clean-up the huge floating biomass (Phumdi).
He added that the allocation of the contract for the clearance of the phumdis on a trial basis to Progressive Construction Ltd. is unprecedented.
He further wondered the interest of the state government and the CM to officially approve the K-Pro and its associate PCL for the Rs 224 crore project, which is blacklisted by the World Bank for its dubious records.
He further added that, the entire process and action shows the clear manipulation and the disrespect of Loktak Lake.
Citizen Concern for Dam & Development chairman Dr RK Ranjan said that it is very unfortunate that no MoU was signed between state govt. and NHPC in the process of exploitation of our land and wetlands
The Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006 enacted by the state to protect wetland has only target the local communities, fishermen who are dependent on the wet land for physical and spiritual survival.
Oinam Rajen, Secratary, Loktak Lake Fishermen Union, stressed the importance of Loktak Lake and how the entire population of the state are dependent.