N Shyamsundar Singh
(Contd from yesterday)
The damage control mechanism may be designed and adopted and for that financial support is also available. Therefore, what is needed most, is to strike balance between environment and development in such a way that the damage is controlled, loss is compensated and the benefit is optimized. All stakeholders shall co-operate and take part in it.
1. No major economic transformation has been possible without perceptible contributions made by industrial sector. Therefore, the State of Manipur must have suitable industries.
2. Hydro Electric Power Industry is the only technically and commercially viable industry for a land locked State like Manipur. It can not only support the economy of the State but also ensure energy security for future generation.
3. Hydro Electric Power is a renewable energy source; therefore the ultimate choice enjoys the support of the natural RE sources and the imperatives of the national initiatives It also helps the authority promote Tourism.
4. Development experience has shown lack of sincerity, commitment and conviction on the part of the implementing agencies for the maintenance and management of Loktak Lake.
5. Extensive studies, analyses and on the spot verification would be needed to ascertain the reasons attributing to the deterioration of the environment and loss of ecosystem values of the precious lake so that renewed efforts are made collectively to mitigate, restore and retain the lake within a shortest possible time.
6. Physical survey and demarcation of the boundary of the lake may be given top priority. Technology is readily available now to carry out the contour survey and measure the areas at different levels within short duration.
7. The responsibilities for opening the Gates at Ithai Barrage lie mainly with state agencies
8. Many lakes and water bodies have disappeared in Manipur over the last couple of decades. The simple reason is that the lakes and water bodies are left to the mercy of several corrupt, influential and squatters who enjoy political patronage.
9. Even the Loktak Lake which receives threats constantly from encroachers might have met the same fate had the Loktak HE Project not been there. Therefore, anybody who really loves the Lake and its environs must not let it be another victim of the menace of encroachment.
10. The present trend in Hydro Power Development fulfils the criteria for sustainable development and inclusive growth.
11. Maintenance and management of environment without project is not easy as it is an open-for-all case and no authority has so far come to the rescue of the forest and environment.
12. With project, general public can be motivated and made aware of the merits and demerits of large scale deforestation. The damage control mechanism may be designed and adopted and for that, financial support is also available in the project.
13. What is needed most is to strike balance between environment and development.
14. For achieving the goal, the following are also badly needed – i) Strong determination and commitment of the public leaders; ii) The Government company holding the charge of Power Sector to acquire the character of a competitive industrial enterprise having business and commercial motive, not merely of a public utility and iii) Assured social and administrative commitment to peace and cooperation of all kinds.
Each of the above points may need further debate. However, the goal is identified ‘To make Manipur, a peaceful, well integrated and self reliant State”. It is common for all; we unite and stand for it. The difference in the approach, if any, may be sorted out and addressed jointly by all technological means. Therefore, the need of the hour is that we invite all concerned, join hands and find the best way forward. (Concluded)
(The writer is former Chairman, Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission for Manipur & Mizoram)