TODAY -

Domestic refugees : Worst case scenario for displaced Loktak dwellers
Evicted fishers driven out further
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 20 2011: Fishing community of Loktak Lake, who had been taking shelter at the Ningthoukhong Kha Mamang community hall after their eviction from their dwelling huts in the lake, have been denied further stay at the temporary shed.

Speaking to The Sangai Express fisher-woman Ningthoujam Thasana (37) said late in the night of November 18 a police team showed up at the community hall and asked all the shelter seekers to vacate at the earliest.

Informing that she was among many families who had moved in to the temporary shelter at the community hall since November 15 after their huts built on the floating biomass were systematically dismantled by police and personnel of Loktak Development Authority, Thasana bemoaned that she could not foresee the future of her young children.

Lamenting that the Government's policy of evicting the Loktak dwellers has virtually cut-off all sources of livelihood, she said that providing alternative means of income generation to the displaced families prior to the eviction drive would have been some sort of a reprieve.



A man stands in front of a hut which once stood to house a lake dweller family
A man stands in front of a hut which once stood to house a lake dweller family


Confiding that despite difficulties associated with dwelling on the floating biomass she atleast had some earning source, Thasana recounted that on most occasion, when she had to leave home for fishing her children were left in the hut tied to some heavy objects so that they do not fall into the lake.

Lamenting that her expectation and consequent toil for a brighter future for her children had all but vanished when the eviction personnel burnt down the dwelling hut during which her entire belongings were also consumed by the fire, she said her worst nightmare would be when the children need medical attention.

Conveying that her life revolved around fishing in the lake till late in the evening and waking up early to sell the catch at the nearest market place, she claimed that the eviction party did not spare even clothes and fishing equipment.

Echoing similar sentiment, another fisher-woman namely Hemam Chaoba Devi (38) said since her ouster from the Loktak Lake she lost consciousness several times for she had no answer when her young children enquired whether their education would have to cease.

She confessed that her anxiety only multiplied when Ningthoukhong locals advised the displaced Loktak dwellers to move to another location on account of the police raising objections on their further stay at the community hall shelter.

Chaoba Devi also contended that the eviction team destroyed all her belongings including documents of her children's education.

She further conveyed that with school examination round the corner not only would her miseries grow but the children will certainly experience trauma if their education ends abruptly.

Informing that most of the Loktak dwellers had left their homestead land owing to space crunch as well as to earn livelihood from fishing activities in the Lake, she regretted her origin from a poor family.

While expressing hope that some noble individuals or NGOs will extent assistance to the displaced families, she however said expecting continuous flow of assistance would be a far-fetched dream.


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