‘With nowhere to go we get hungry and tired, and we cry’

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Students' coming to school by wooden boat from Karang Island to

By Deepak Shijagurumayum

IMPHAL, August 13: The Karang Island is located in the middle of the Loktak Lake, which is the largest fresh water lake in the whole of North East India. It is considered a boon for Manipur especially for those residing in and around the lake. Fishing is the main source of livelihood. The lake caters to the need of many people, but the big question is, “Is life really easy out there?” when pondered upon, it is not so.

Thanga is one of the important tourist centers of Manipur and the most attractive spot is Thanga Karang, an Island surrounded by Loktak on all sides. The Island is like a small peak and was covered by thick forest at one time. But now it has completely changed because of human settlements. Karang island has more than 3000 human population.

Boat is the only mode of transportation. There are three schools on the island. One Government Primary school, and another aided upper primary school, which are in sorry state. Those who can afford send their children to Moirang for studies.

Sayalaxmi (name changed), who is a 6th standard student in a local school explained how she go to her school everyday. She said, “ My school is a bit far away from my home. First, I’ve to travel by boat to reach the mainland and after that I have to walk three kilometers to reach my school.

The same is true for most of the students on this isalnd. Occasionally strong winds and bad weather condition add up to their hardship.

Dislocated Phumdis get accumulated in one place, which make the boats difficult to sail. There is no proper place to take shelter during the torrential rains and bad weather. Sometimes Sayaluxmi and her friends even miss their exams.

Thoiba, who reads in 3rd standard said, “Sometimes, while returning from my school, I get stuck in Thanga area because of the displaced phumdis. Elder students will swim across the lake and we will be left alone”. He added, “with nowhere to go we get hungry and tired, and we cry”

Even though the island is surrounded by fresh water, at times the island faces the problem of water scarcity. Accumulated phumdis can hamper the food supplies.

In 2007, the CM had promised to build a hanging bridge from Thanga to Karang but as of now, we don’t see anything happening, said one villllage elder. On top of that, he recently announced building of yet another rope bridge connecting Karang and Sendra, we are still waiting, he added.

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