Manipur: Authorities call for urgent protection of Loktak lake
Loktak lake, Manipur (file photo)

Imphal: Loktak Development Authority Chairman M. Asnikumar Singh on Friday appealed to Union Minister RK Singh (Power and New & Renewable Energy) regarding the environmental and socio-economic concerns stemming from the 1984 Loktak Hydel Project, urging a thorough review.

Copies of the appeal were also sent to the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India.

The appeal is regarding the importance of Loktak lake, which holds immense cultural, traditional, and economic significance in Manipur, apart from its ecological value. The lake serves as a vital water source for irrigation and household use and has played a big role in the socio-economic fabric of the region for centuries.

The appeal also highlights the importance of addressing 39 years of evolving hydrological patterns, deteriorating Loktak Lake ecology, and mitigating socio-economic impacts on local communities. A revised Detailed Project Report (DPR) is crucial as it addresses concerns and ensures sufficient funding for effective implementation of necessary measures.

Asnikumar Singh’s appeal stresses NHPC Ltd.’s responsibility to prioritise sustainability, local communities, and public interest in the rehabilitation of the Loktak Hydel Project.

In response, on August 11, 2023, Sanjeev Sanyal of the Economic Advisory Council to the prime minister reached out to NHPC Ltd.’s chairman and managing director in Faridabad, underlining the lake’s significance to Manipur and its status as a national heritage site.

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The Wetland Division of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, referred to the directive given to NHPC for prior approval of the Loktak Hydel Project’s modernisation. This directive was conveyed in a letter dated May 5, 2023, to NHPC Ltd.’s chairman cum managing director in Faridabad (Haryana).

The Ministry has instructed prompt action, informing the chairman of the Loktak Development Authority, Government of Manipur, in a letter dated September 9, 2023, with a copy to the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change.

The chairman emphasised the joint commitment of state and central government authorities to protect the Loktak Lake.

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