Manipur: Loktak Lake under threat from anthropogenic activities, says LDA chief

Imphal: Chairman of Loktak Development Authority (LDA), Manipur, M Asnikumar Singh on Thursday stated that Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India, is under serious threat from anthropogenic activities such as encroachment, pollution, and various developmental activities in and around the lake. 

Singh was addressing a gathering at the international conference on ‘Environmental Policy Discourses since the 1960s: Politics, Problems and Narratives of Environment Policies in Europe and Asia’ organised jointly by the Centre for Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; Institute for Governance, Policies & Politics, New Delhi; German Research Foundation and Justus Liebig University, Germany at Committee Room, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

“We cannot let others decide on the fate of the iconic Loktak Lake which is regarded as the cradle of Manipur’s civilisation,” he said.

Highlighting that the Government of Manipur is determined to make Loktak Lake an iconic wetland in the entire world, he stated that under the guidance of chief minister N Biren Singh, the Loktak Development Authority (LDA) is moving ahead with community participation, research, policies and conservation activities to fulfil the mandate of conservation and sustainable management of the lake.

He also added the LDA has constituted an Expert Advisory Committee to address the issues related to the fast-changing ecological status and their impact on the socio-economic condition of the community dependent on them.

Asserting that the state government is also working on a long-term plan to conserve and preserve the lake, he stated that it has the Asian Development Bank with a detailed project report to rejuvenate the lake’s ecology and improve the livelihood of those dependent on the lake for sustenance. He further added that the state government has already approved the Short-Term Plan of WISE use of Loktak Lake and is awaiting approval from the Ministry of Environment.

Regarding the prevention of encroachers in the lake, he informed that an empowered committee, chaired by the chief minister of Manipur and constituted by senior Government officials and various Heads of Departments has already been formed to notify and demarcate the lake’s boundary.

He said the LDA has also made suggestions to the state government to regulate and come up with a fishing policy to check on the dwindling fish population and overfishing in the lake.

Maintaining that construction of floating homestays would provide ample employment opportunities to our youth, promote eco-tourism in the state and decrease the dependency on the lake for sustenance, he reiterated that the Government is setting up guidelines for the construction of floating homestays that reflect our cultural heritage and are environment-friendly.

He also expressed that with a strong sense of hope and optimism, we can carry out the work of conservation and management of Loktak Lake and its associated wetlands.

The Conference was attended by more than 300 delegates, including policymakers, intellectuals, academicians, and research scholars from different countries. 

Various delegates from India and abroad showed keen interest in different steps taken up by the state government to conserve Loktak Lake and expressed their desire to share ideas and thoughts regarding the same.

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