LLFU hails HC order

IMPHAL, Aug 26: The Loktak Lake Fishermen Union (LLFU) has lauded the August 7 order issued by the High Court of Manipur for the conservation and protection of  the State's wetlands.
Speaking to media persons at Manipur Press Club today, the general secretary of the union, Oinam Rajen, said that  after Loktak lake was included in the Ramsar site on March 20, 1990, the Central Government provided funds to the tune of Rs 86,696 crore to conserve the lake but to no avail.
Even though such a huge amount was given by the Centre, no change could be seen in the condition of the lake, he alleged adding that the conditions of the lake, instead, worsened with time.
In view of the grave situation, the High Court intervened and ruled that no projects or works can be taken up in the lake without approval from the Court, he added.
Rajen continued that even though the Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act 2006 exists, it has not been properly implemented till date. With the coming of Ithai barrage, the lake's eco system and environment became severely affected, he said, claiming that Loktak Development Authority has failed to acknowledge this fact even till date. As such, if the LDA remains as the authority governing and monitoring the lake, Loktak will surely vanish within a decade, he alleged.
He narrated that in the name of cleaning the phumdis in the lake, LDA targeted the fishing sites of the fishermen at Loktak from 2008 to 2013. By claiming that there were 8000 athaphum at the core zone (which did not even have 2000 athaphum), the authorities concerned looted huge amounts of money, he  alleged adding that till now, there is no information regarding where the dumping site of the 8000 athuphums is.
He continued that on November 11, 2011, the Project Director of LDA issued a notice stating that all encroachers at Loktak Lake would be evicted and following the order, LDA destroyed 777 huts at Loktak. Till date, the owners of 258 huts (out of the 777) are yet to receive any compensation, he added.