IMPHAL, December 3: In the wake of the Rs 224 crore Loktam scam, a BJP team led by its zonal organisational secretary (in-charge, North East) P Chandrashekhar Rao and including media persons inspected the work site of K Pro Infra Works Pvt Ltd at Loktak Lake today.
Briefing media persons, on the sideline of the inspection, P Chandrashekhar Rao said one hydraulic excavator to be used in cleaning the phumdis (water hyacinth) of the Lake has been lying near the lake without functioning for almost three years.
Two broken down excavators are also lying inside the premise of 5/9 Gorkha Rifles post.
Ridiculing the company, he said, it is ridiculous that it has been trying to clean Loktak with this broken down excavators.
He asked, “The Lake is property of public and not of the government. What right do the government have to vacate them?”
BJP demands rehabilitation of the fishing community immediately, shelters should be provided, and fishing licences should be given for fishing activities, he said.
The Loktak Lake is popular due to its phoomdis, it should be preserved. However, they are forcefully removed, he continued.
A woman whose hut has been burnt in the name of cleaning the lake by the government lamented that she could not afford to bring up her children at present as fishing was her main activity to support the family. Even if fishing was not banned, materials required for fishing was banned to carry in the lake. The blockage of Ethai Barage is the main reason for degradation of Loktak Lake.
She further said such act of burning the huts in the name of cleaning phoomdis do not happen in other parts of the world.
Oinam Rajen, Secretary of All Loktak Lake Area Fishermen Union said LDA has been reversing the ecological balance of the lake. Ibobi government has been trying to vacate the fishermen by giving them the name “occupiers”. He said, “We are not occupiers; we have been living on the lake since the time of our forefathers”.