NEW DELHI, Nov 27
BJP Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) from Darjeeling Raju Bista, who was born and brought up in Manipur, raised questions regarding the health of Loktak Lake and well being of the surrounding villagers/farmers in the Parliament's winter session today.
In his questions, MP Bista asked about the plights of the farmers who continue to suffer during floods due to excessive water from the Ithai Barrage. Bista also asked the Ministry concerned about the steps taken by the Government to upkeep the ecological integrity of Keibul Lamjao National Park and conserve Sangai, the State animal of Manipur.
The MP's questions came at a time when the Manipur Government is holding the 10th edition of Sangai Festival, which aims to promote tourism and conserve Sangai, amidst boycott by COCOMI (Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity) in connection with the concluding Naga peace process.
Giving response to the questions raised, the DONER Minister Dr Jitendra Singh attributed the flooding around Loktak Lake to the Sugnu hump in the downstream of Ithai Barrage. The Government of Manipur has proposed preparation of a master plan to the Brahmaputra Board for dredging or re-sectioning of the river downstream of Ithai Barrage for mitigation or control of flood, replied the Minister.
To upkeep the ecological integrity of Keibul Lamjao National Park, the DONER Minister informed that several steps have been taken up by the Government of Manipur including “improvement of habitat conditions and protection measures, involvement of local community, participation in conservation efforts, skill development, and capacity building of frontline field staff posted in the National Park periodically.” The Minister also informed that “research and monitoring of habitat of National Park for detection of change in the natural habitat” is also being carried our regularly.
Regarding conservation of Sangai, the DONER Minister informed that an MoU has been signed with Wildlife Institute of India for implementing the project "Conservation action plan for Manipur's brow antlered deer or Sangai: An integrated approach," under the Endangered Species Recovery Programme of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India.”
Commenting on the responses he received, MP Bista said “I am thankful to the DONER Minister for addressing my concerns in such detail. I also thank the Government of Manipur for the tremendous work being done to conserve the Loktak Lake and the steps being taken towards capacity building of the local inhabitants.
“As someone who grew up in Manipur, I am emotionally connected to Loktak Lake and I feel that if all the stakeholders work together, we can preserve this amazing wonder of nature for our future generations. I will do everything I can to uphold the natural and ecological integrity of our North East region,” he added.
The Loktak Lake is the largest fresh water lake in the North-East India and is home to the endangered Sangai.