IMPHAL, December 22: The Manipur Legislative Assembly today passed the Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection) (2nd Amendment) Bill 2011 in its afternoon session. The Act will allow government identified fishermen of the Loktak Lake to have their independent fishing at the Lake.
While explaining the Bill before it was passed, the Chief Minister stated that the government has acknowledged the people depending on the Lake for their survival and there is no question for the government to curtail their livelihood. He further clarified that the government has no intention to leave the lake dwellers without any re-habilitation
However considering the international importance of the Lake today after being designated as a Ramsar Site, the government had to take up and implement schemes to maintain the lake, he added.
The Chief Minister further mentioned in the House that the physical activities of clearing the artificial phumdis had to be taken up for the conservation of the lake.
The government had handed over the project for clearance of Phumdis to the LDA and the reported burning of the huts build on the phumdis were done with prior consent of the dwellers and in their presence.
The Chief Minister further addressed that the state government will never allow for the Loktak Lake to lose its sanctity and the government will always maintain the Keibul Lamjao National park.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also added that considering the grievances of the displaced Loktak fishers, the state government has brought up the Bill in the House for its amendment.
The bill was moved by the Chief Minister himself.
Meanwhile supplementing the Bill, senior opposition member O Joy Singh, Thanga MLA Mangi Babu and Kumbi MLA N Mangi Singh drew the attention of the state Government to include a welfare scheme in the amendment of the Bill.
They further supplemented that the displaced fishers should be provided with a big boat to enable them to find their livelihood and to construct huts in the surrounding fields of the Loktak lake as rehabilitation of the displaced fishers.
The Chief Minister further answered that the government has already provided compensation of Rs 40,000 each to the displaced fishers as compensation and the government is further considering to provide them with an alternative dwelling site as rehabilitation package.