TODAY -

LDA starts removal of illegal structures from Loktak
Source: Chronicle News Service

Bishnupur, August 03 2022: In accordance with the direction of chief minister N Biren and notification issued on July 18 for removal of illegal structures such as floating home stays, phums and Athaphums (artificially grown floating biomass) from Loktak lake, Loktak Development Authority (LDA) started dismantling of athaphums from the water body with use of machines on Wednesday.

LDA chairman Moirangthem Asnikumar, LDA project director Longjam Bhagaton and other LDA officials were present on the first day of the drive, which was also joined by 300 people from fishing community from villages on the western side of Loktak namely, Ningthoukhong, Toupokpi, etc.

Speaking to media persons, M Asnikumar informed that the N Biren-led government has taken up various measures for conservation of Loktak lake and as part of such steps, removal of athaphums has begun which will benefit both the water body as well as the fishing community.

He also emphasised that Loktak will always be for fishing community and they can continue fishing to earn their livelihood.

Hence, it will be best if the owners themselves remove their athaphums.

Asnikumar continued that earlier the number of athaphums in the Loktak was very less but presently it has ballooned with roofs of the huts earlier covered with straw, replaced with plastic and corrugated roofing sheets.

As use of such materials is diluting heritage aspect of the lake, the government will only remove structures that are not in line with the age-old tradition.

Only home stays that follow government mandated rules and regulation will be allowed, he added.

The LDA chairman observed that past beauty of Loktak has been lost due to large number of athaphums, which also disrupt the flow and ecosystem of the lake resulting in extinction of various fish species earlier found in the lake.

This is a big loss for the fishing community, he regretted and also appealed to all concerned not to dump plastic waste into rivers that flow into Loktak.

Fishing community will also not be allowed to use plastic-based fishing kits such as 'Yempak', he declared and added that to encourage use of traditional fishing materials, government has dis tributed 'yempak' made of bamboo and locally available bio-degradable materials to the fishers.

Asnikumar further informed that government has decided not to allow fishing in the Loktak for specific months to allow the fishes to lay eggs and increase their population.

During the off season, various other income generation activities will be extended to the fishing community, he maintained while confiding that plans are being made to stop fishes going to waste by entering channels of hydel project of NHPC located at Ningthoukhong.

He also thanked fishing community of Ningthoukhong, Toupokpi and other villages along with members of Loktak Fishing Association (LFA) for voluntarily participating in the removal of athaphums.

On the other hand, LFA secretary Kh Surjit stated that it trusts that government and LDA will take up initiatives for the welfare of fishing community.

He also expressed belief that the LDA chairman will implement his assurances that there will be five-month off season for fishing during which fishing community will be provided incentives, while athaphum that follow government regulation will be allowed in the lake.


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