TODAY -

Looking at Loktak from different perspectives
- Part 1 -

Oinam Nabakishore Singh *

 Loktak Lake - Largest Fresh Water Lake in North East India :: First Week of June 2013
Loktak Lake - Largest Fresh Water Lake in North East India :: First Week of June 2013 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



Loktak lake, the pride of Manipur, is the largest freshwater lake in the north-east India.

Its beauty is enhancedby moon light, by the vast expanse of water dotted with green vegetation, islands of Thanga and Karang and surrounding blue mountains forming the backdrop of the lake. During windy and stormy time, one gets to see high waves. The migratory birds and other birds, which are normal inhabitants available round the year add to the charm and splendor of the lake.

Ballads of Moirang(Moirang Parva, Khuyon Haoba, etc.), handed down from generation to generation and popular among the people in the valley, narrated through various art forms-Pena, Khongjom Parva, Khunung Eshei/Khullang Eshei, etc. , profusely mention Loktak lake. Hero and heroines of the romantic ballads had romantic anecdotes in Loktak.

They also exchanged romantic duets in Loktak lake. Subsequent generations associate Loktak with romance. Being born and brought up on the edge of Loktak since the late nineteen fifties, I have some first-hand personal knowledge and understanding of Loktak lake.

The lake had a cycle of flooding in the monsoon pushing the boundary of the lake right upto the edge of habitation areas in the surrounding villages and receding boundaries in the winter season.

This cycle influenced the ecosystem of the lake in various ways. People living in the islands of Loktak lake, Thanga and Karang, and villages along the edges of the lake adapt to the s of volume of water, accompanying vegetation, fishing mode and gears, etc. Domesticated animals like cattle and horses also adapt to the availability of fodder and grass for grazing due to change of wet and dry areas of lake.

Loktak is also a source of livelihood for more than one lakh people living in Thanga island, Karang island, and all other villages situated along the boundary of lake in four districts of Bishenpur, Imphal West, Thoubal and Kakching.From time immemorial,people havebeen catching fish in Loktak by using dugoutcanoe made locally available trees in the hills of the state.

Huge tree trunks of Uningthou, Teiren, Cham, Tolhao, etc. were used to make dugout canoes by using simple tools of axe and side axe. Local carpenters work on the rough dugout canoes to remove the rough edges, smoothen the surfaces using jack plane, chisels, etc. The skill of indigenous people of making reliable dugout canoes used for fishing, boat race and transportation on water is evidence of an old civilization able to make tools and fishing gears required to support their survival. They also know the maintenance of boats as they age and need repairs.

Catching fish has been the main source of livelihood of people of Thanga and surrounding villages, even though some people are engaged in agriculture and allied activities. In the past, some 70-80 years back before the inauguration of Loktak hydro power project, fish was found in abundance in Loktak lake.

The catch was so abundant that fishing community had to develop the skills and process of preserving fish for future uses by drying in the sun and smoking in the fire. Bamboo baskets having lower storage space and removal cover of various sizes were used to keep dry fish over long period and transportation for sale.

People of Thanga, being entirely dependent on fishing, learn different techniques of catching fish over the ages. Fish traps, mainly made of bamboo strips, of different sizes to suit various fish are made and used in Loktak lake. Similarly, fish nets for different fish sizes are made locally and used. Both lifting and dip fishing nets are used.

Besides, many other fishing gears made of iron and steel, called “Long”, a bunch of harpoons arranged cylindrically and fixed on a long bamboo handle, are used. Line fish hook fishing is also common. Encircling an area allowing fish to collect and live there for some time and catching them by creating a turbulence, locally called, “Phum Thaba”, is also used on a large scale. One can see a large number of circles on the lake while flying over the lake.

When Loktak hydroelectric project was conceived, and implemented, there was euphoria in the state as it was the largest central government financed project to generate power. Loktak lake is used as reservoir, from where water is taken to the other side of the hills through water channel and tunnel. By exploiting the potential energy from difference in water levels on either side, three turbines are used to generate 3×35 MW=105 MW of power.

The power station was inaugurated in 1984 and since then, power has been generated in varying amounts depending on water volume in Loktak. The major benefits of the power station now go to the National Hydro Power Corporation(NHPC), a government of India enterprise, except the royalty power of 12.5% share in power generation for Manipur, employment of some local people, CSR activities and local development works. In financial terms now, the benefit to the state from the power station is insignificant.

State government also buys some power from the power station at a cheaper rate. If one looks at the total power purchase by the MSPDCL, the share of Loktak Hydro Power station is not substantial. On this day, even if Loktak Hydro Power Station is abandoned for socio-economic and environmental grounds, the loss to the state will not be very large, whereas the economic and environmental adverse effect of Loktak Project is enormous. Loktak lake is like a living being. Small rivers originating from the hills abutting the eastern and western edges of the valley fall into Loktak.

They fill the lake with fresh rain water whenever there is rain in the catchment areas. During the period of heavy rains in monsoon, the flow of water is fast and furious. Because of continuous deforestation of catchment areas, the volume of silt brought by these rivers has been increasing leading to large scale siltation and shallowing of Loktak. In the past, vast areas of the lake had depths more than twenty feet. With increasing siltation, holding capacity of the lake is decreasing day by day.

Nambul river, which goes through crowded city of Imphal brings a lot of pollutants and plastic articles to Loktak. Apart from siltation, another major threat to Loktak lake is deposit of pollutants in the lake rendering the lake unfit to support plant and marine/aquatic organisms of the lake. However, the major rivers of the state, Barak, Imphal river which becomes Manipur river after merger with Iril, Sekmai, Khuga and Chakpi do not fall into Loktak.

While Barak goes to Assam and Bangladesh to fall in Bay of Bengal, Manipur river joins Chindwin river in Myanmar, which joins Irrawady river to fall in Bay of Bengal. Imphal river is connected to Loktak through a channel called Khordak,which acts like a two-way valve. In order to have adequate water storage to meet the requirement of Loktak Hydro Power station, a dam was constructed over Manipur river at Ithai to allow diversion of water to Loktak through Khordak channel. This dam has altered the natural life cycle of Loktak and its ecosystem as well ecosystem of surrounding areas.

Before the dam was constructed, as mentioned above, the excess water of Loktak used to be discharged to Manipur river through Khordak. It helped in preventing flooding by submergence in the river basins and villages adjoining Loktak. In the last few years, when there was flooding of settlements near the rivers of Imphal, Iril, Kongba, etc., there was a hue and cry to open the gates of Ithai dam. Some including the leaders of the state thought of dismantling Loktak hydro power station blaming it for the flood and sufferings of flood affected people.

Phumdis or thick biomass created over time by decaying weeds in the Loktak have created a huge problem as it started almost covering the lake. Before, the Ithai dam obstructed the flow of water, the weeds of Loktak were carried away by flow of water through Khordak to Manipur river and onwards to Bay of Bengal. After the water became stagnant due to stoppage of flow, weeds in Loktak grew luxuriantly.

Weeds posed a serious threat to the ecosystem of Loktak. The state government set up Loktak Developmment Authority to take care of clearance of Phumdis and desiltation. There has been considerable success in clearance of Phumdis though desiltation was held up due to disturbance in the works.

To be continued......

Views expressed are personal.


* Oinam Nabakishore Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on 02 October , 2018 .


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #2 : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba : Unity - hill & valley
  • Khong: significance in Zeliangrong culture-1
  • Woes of farmers & measures to mitigate
  • A Scarecrow :: Poem
  • New Executive Body of DAMMS
  • National Integration Tour flagged in
  • Benevolence behind the iron fortress
  • Parties to watch in LS polls : Cong Vs BJP
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Floral Tribute #2: Gallery
  • A scientific view to uniqueness of Kangla
  • Citizenship Bill 2016: An unjust Bill
  • Developing a database on bio-resource #1
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Flight at the land of clouds :: Poem
  • Stop occupation at Moreh Chikim village
  • Contribution of Rani Gaidinliu
  • Police Day Marathon #2: Gallery
  • Kayada Ningthijaba Eseino :: Review
  • Stop religious encroachment of Kangla
  • Cry of a Dying River - 50 :: Poem
  • Money- laundering and juveniles
  • To drive or to be driven
  • The barricade cordoning CMO
  • October 31 rally : Manipur is a reality !
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #2 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-19 : Gallery
  • Tribes, Castes & Development :: Book
  • Durga Puja celebration in Manipur
  • Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis
  • Life did put me into darkness :: Poem
  • Matrimonial sites: Dangerous proposals
  • Absentee in history
  • Of KTC and demand of UMLA
  • Pari Imom (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Chunglenyanba, Awa Leima :: eMing
  • Manipur State Constitution Act, 1947 #1
  • 7th anniversary of PCRM
  • Funding TB response is smart investment
  • The Broken Stone:: Poem
  • 15 Ceremonial Horses handed to Myanmar
  • Needs for realizing the truth
  • Time to put education on track
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #1 : Gallery
  • Kuki Black Day: desperation to Nagas #2
  • Finance knowledge to make better decision
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Bunglawn Remembers Dr Kalam's Visit
  • No baab tree :: Poem
  • Official website of Sangai Photo Festival
  • Beauty care with natural ingredients
  • Deportation of Rohingya against intl law
  • Noting efforts to put MU on track
  • MU: Teachers/students released : Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #3 : Gallery
  • Ithai Barrage Impact on Environment
  • Rural development as career option
  • Put the kibosh on ochlocracy
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in women
  • India International Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Marketing Assistant @ PiCiDi, Canchipur
  • 'Ram Madhav is wrongly briefed' : NPF
  • Uniforms for school teacher: What purpose?
  • Marangwon at @Mt Khorung #3 : Gallery
  • Police Day Marathon #1: Gallery
  • I call it life :: Poem
  • International day for Disaster reduction
  • Contested territorial demands in Manipur
  • WhatsApp & mobile usage study results
  • Physics Programme in Nowgong College
  • Rejoinder to NDPP [15 October]
  • Stop bluffing Nagas
  • The state of the states
  • Gearing up for Oct 31 rally
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #4
  • MU: Student/police clash -10 Oct #2: Gallery
  • X-Jam -Extreme Sports & Music festival
  • Urban Local Govt in Mizoram :: Book
  • 3 perspectives in context of present Manipur
  • Figures in the Shadows :: Poem
  • To UNC, Zomi Council, Hmar Inpui on ST
  • HC acted in good faith for MU
  • Jarnail Singh @ MU : Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba #3 : Gallery
  • The undeniable subtlety of Atingkok
  • Kuki Black Day: desperation to Nagas #1
  • Let me shower moonlight :: Poem
  • On allegations issued by NPF : NDPP
  • Challenges to the digital dreams
  • Eyes now on K Yugindro
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #3: Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #2 : Gallery
  • Meetei Tribe wont grab land of Hill Tribes
  • Making a tangible difference
  • Contradicted journey of IPC Section 377
  • Free open defecation & open pee
  • Act East & Importance of Myanmar & NE
  • Vacancies at Multimind Software
  • Waiting for "Sorry"
  • Out Yugindro in Jarnail Singh
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #1 : Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Cultural evening : Gallery
  • Management Convergence at Mizoram Univ
  • Observation of World Mental Health Day
  • Cry of a Dying River - 49 :: Poem
  • Buddhism is free from compulsion...
  • 7th AGM / Cultural evening of AMAND, Pune
  • Forsaken farmers - food for thought
  • Second police raid at MU
  • NESO opposes Indo-Nepal Treaty in NE
  • British Council, NEC sign MoU
  • MU: Student/police clash -10 Oct #1: Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #1 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919
  • University :: Poem
  • Remembering class boycott 2009-2010
  • Hair stylist as career option #2
  • Training of Trainers on Gender Justice
  • Manipur University fresh violence by police
  • MU Crisis- admissions and omissions
  • Issues besetting State before LS polls
  • Langban Heitha Leithaba #2 : Gallery
  • Sizo Festival @Saikot : Gallery
  • Opening of Moreh-Tamu Border Gate
  • Forest Cover of Nagaland :: Book Review
  • Ingocha Chingtham: Cycling from Mumbai ..
  • Blood Transfusion service- future in Manipur
  • IT Enabled Employment Generating Course
  • NDPP condemns statement of NPF
  • Beyond the reality
  • Need for MUTA to approach Court
  • Kang Tournament @Kongba #2: Gallery
  • Elangbam Sonamani : Sahityaratna 2017
  • Celebrating the rights of wildlife- Are we
  • The sky's gone wonderful :: Poem
  • Communal Harmony and Integration
  • Opportunity for India in Indo-Pacific Region
  • To be a good man
  • Education : Why no private players here ?
  • Tarpon Sonba : Gallery
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • MN Singh promoted as IG of CBI felicitated
  • Loktak from different perspectives #2
  • The Journey of Happiness :: Poem
  • A personal discourse of Manipuri people
  • Improper use of loud speakers in Manipur
  • Art Exhibition @Art College #3: Gallery
  • Sudip Kongbrailatpam -recording engineer
  • Dismantled 9th times & safer in 10th times
  • Remembering Irawat: Are we following ..
  • State Level Archery Championship 2018
  • Stop religious encroachment at Kangla
  • Navratri (festival) make up
  • khongjang changsinnaba sem sarey : ST
  • MU crisis: Emerging questions
  • Lining up five days blockade
  • Dhol Chollom @Sangai Fest: Gallery
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #2
  • Maroi napakpi in Manipuri dishes
  • National Integration Tour Team
  • Cry of a Dying River - 48 :: Poem
  • Ending antimicobial resistance to #endTB
  • Condoles death of Pu Kaikhokam Kipgen
  • Rejoinder to NDPP (5th Oct) : NPF
  • Responsibility required - not restriction
  • After Thuingaleng Muivah who ?
  • Paddy dry up due to deficit rainfall
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #2: Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram : RAW in WAR Award
  • Agribusiness & Carbon Management : Book
  • Is Gandhi (ian) relevant today ?
  • Guidelines for Hostels for Children
  • ATM based frauds : Router compromise
  • 'Rio's announcement as just mockery'
  • Training Program on Mushroom Cultivation
  • 'Chadong' - the victim of development
  • Poles apart : Pandey and Singh
  • Manipuri Diaspora in Myanmar #2
  • Why has Egg become Danger for Manipur?
  • Speech by Atif Anik on Irabot Day 2018
  • Wounded tree :: Poem
  • Hair stylist as career option
  • Synopsis of Sizo Festival 2018
  • Traffic regulation still a Flop show
  • In the evening of his life : Th Muivah
  • Langban Heitha Leithaba : Gallery
  • World Bamboo Day #2: Gallery
  • Where have all the lights gone ?
  • Mahatma and non-violence
  • Detention of students/professors of MU
  • Gandhi Jayenti at Itanagar
  • IBSD cleans Imphal City
  • MU: Abide by wisdom of Sr citizens
  • Power of humility
  • Ghost of Pandey : Four teachers suspended
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #1: Gallery
  • October Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Looking at Loktak from perspectives #1
  • Morning - a Haiku :: Poem
  • R&V Art House curates 'Land of Polo'
  • Show for football fans at NEUFC Fan Park
  • Indigenous People: Stand against Fascist
  • Clarification on Tamei Residential School
  • Organic Farming Tour to Sikkim
  • System error- or is this real democracy
  • Autonomy for Naga- Stakeholders on board
  • Th. Muivah hospitalized
  • Choidev Chongba @Kang Fest : Gallery
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #1
  • The day after Sahnit-Ni
  • ..but Irabot may still shed tears in heaven
  • Heikru Hidongba #2 : Gallery
  • Lamyanba Hijam Irabot :: Read all about
  • Tingmila Doungel : Manipuri Boxer
  • Tarpon: Annual offerings to dead by living
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #3
  • MU: General Srtike [27 Sep] #2 :: Gallery
  • Irabot's letter to Assembly :: 18 Oct 1948
  • Ringui Village, Ukhrul :: Gallery: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Tuilha Kol waterfall #2: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Jangou Rah : eRang Classic
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS