ALLAFUM opposes inland waterways project

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Nov 30: The All Loktak Lake Areas Fisher-men’s Union, Manipur (ALLAFUM) has vehe-mently opposed implemen- tation of Loktak Inland Waterways project, claiming that it will cause rapid destruction of the environ-ment and bio-diversity of the lake.
The union also decried the Government’s plan and labelled it as an initiative/venture against the Manipur High Court’s order issued on August 7 this year explaining that no new project or development program-mes can ben taken up by the authorities concerned, including the Departments of the State and the Manipur State Wetlands Authority, without due permission from the Court.
Speaking to media persons at Manipur Press Club today, ALLAFUM secretary O Rajen Singh, asserted that the union is not opposed to developmental works in the State. However, ALLAFUM opposes developing Loktak Lake Inland Waterways in view of the devastating effects it will create  to the environment and biodiver-sity of the lake.
Terming the said project as a short sighted scheme/plan which will amount to destruction of Loktak Lake in the name of development, he further explained that using motor boats at the lake will cause immense harm to the aquatic animals/lives in the lake.
Reminding that Loktak Lake is one of the Ramsar sites and is covered under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010, Rajen informed that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in 2014, even requested the Loktak Deve- lopment Authority (LDA) to take necessary action regarding the matter of using motor boats in the lake, as per the provisions contained in the Wetland Rules, 2010.
He then maintained that ALLAFUM is shocked and surprised to learn about developing Loktak Lake Inland Waterways while contending that the said plan or proposal is contradictory to the initiative made by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in 2014.
The ALLAFUM secretary also lamented that no public hearing has ever been conducted in connection with the Loktak Lake Inland Waterways project. Mention may be made that the Union Ministry of Shipping, very recently, approved the State Government’s Loktak Inland Waterways project whose estimated cost is Rs 25 crore and 55 lakh.