TODAY -

LDA working on master plan to protect Loktak Lake
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, January 25 2023: Loktak Development Authority (LDA) chairman M Asnikumar said that LDA is taking up several steps through different commit -tees under a master plan to protect Loktak Lake.

Speaking on the occasion of releasing annual calendar and diary of LDA held at its office premises, Secure Building, North AOC, here on Wednesday, Asnikumar informed that an environment, advisory committee with subject experts as members has been formed.

The 11-member committee is chaired by professor Rajiv of IIT Kanpur.

The committee studied and analysed the degrading ecosystem of Loktak Lake and impact of Loktak Hydro Power project, and has finalised a recommendation to protect the lake and its ecosystem.

The recommendation will be submitted to the government soon, he said.

At the same time, under the initiative of the chief minister, LDA consulted international experts, and in the process of executing a long-term master plan with a vision of 50 to 100 years for protection of the lake and improvement of livelihood as well as living standards of the people living in and around the lake.

The master plan will be executed with technical and financial support from Asian Development Bank (ADB).

A technical team of ADB headed by renowned environment expert Ajit Patna, who is known for his work in saving Chilka Lake, is assessing the situation for smooth execution of the master plan, which has already been approved by ADB, he informed.

Apart from its environmental importance, the Loktak Lake also holds historical importance in the context of civilisation of Manipur.

Other lakes like Pumlen, Ikop, Khoiyum, Loushipat, Ikou are parts of Loktak Lake.

LDA has its own mandate to protect the lake after the government entrusted the responsibility in 2018.The initiative was delayed only due to Covid-19 pandemic, the chairman said.

He himself as a person, who has grown up in the surrounding of the lake has strong emotional attachment to the lake.

He knows well the ecological imbalance that took place in and around the lake in the past years.

As a result of these changes, several fauna and flora of the lake are vanishing gradually.

Foods and fish species with high economic values are also vanishing day by day and Loktak Hydro Power Project is one of the main reasons behind the changing ecology of the lake.

The Chief Minister had submitted a written letter to the Prime Minister and also talked with him in this regard in 2017.However; no definitive steps are yet to be seen as of now, Asnikumar added.

The objective of LDA is to protect the lake as well as the livelihood means of the people, who are depending on the resources available in the lake.

There are 72 catchment villages in the surroundings of the lake and he carried out extensive interaction with the people in the catchment villages with the help of Cana dian government in 1996-97.Since then, he has been taken up catchment area treatment programme by developing forest coyers in those areas and utilising these forest covers as a source of livelihood for the people.

Proper documentation of these activities will be released on the occasion of the World Wetlands Day, which falls in the first week of February, he said and also emphasised on the roles and responsibilities of the people living in the catchment areas in protecting the lake.

A total of 29 water bodies including streams, canals and rivers, fall into the lake and these water bodies also play a major role in the condition of the lake.

Under the initiative of the chief minister, the government had formed a committee to facilitate framing a policy for the welfare of fishermen and the committee will work with fishery department to bring out the policy, he added.

Besides, a Cabinet Sub-Committee on Determination of Boundary of Loktak Lake was formed and the committee has three ministers as its members.

At the same time, the government had procured heavy machineries to clear biomass (phumdi) from the lake.

The workload is huge since works on clearing phumdis were stopped during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As LDA is working on restoring the ecosystem of the lake, different species of birds are now visiting the lake-after a gap of almost 50 years.

It shows the improving ecosystem of the lake, he informed.

Asnikumar further informed that LDA will organise a painting competition in Thanga Karang, pony rally in Iroishemba as part of the World Wetland Day.

LDA project director L Bhagaton and wetland officer Ng Sa-najaoba also attended the calendar and diary release function.


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