Imphal, May 11 (DIPR)
Chief Minister N Biren Singh attended a ranching programme at Sendra today which aims at rejuvenation of pengba (osteobrama belangeri), the State fish in Loktak Lake and distribution of inputs (cage net and fish feed).
Addressing the formal function, the Chief Minister appreciated the concerted efforts and schemes of the ICAR-CIFRI, Barrackpore taken up in collaboration with local fishermen and the department to protect and revive the indigenous fish varieties of the State.
"Out of 54 indigenous fish varieties in the State, we have now only 35 varieties in existence," he said, expressing concern over the environmental hazards caused by human negligence and interference.
He said that dumping garbage into rivers which in turn fall into Loktak Lake makes it hard for the fish and other organisms to survive.
"Now is not the time for speeches, it is the time to act,'' the Chief Minister said while stressing on the importance of acting on the Government’s promises and assurances.
"Sometimes, we seem to forget that there is a democratically elected Government formed with the mandate of the people," he continued and added that the present Government was formed with the full mandate of the people.
The Chief Minister appealed to the people to not cause any obstruction to developmental schemes.
Explaining the story behind implementation of the Loktak Livelihood Mission in 2018, the Chief Minister said that during his air travels, he noticed a vast tract of swampy area around Loktak Lake lying idle. This gave him an idea to utilize the area for rearing fish by means of pen culture after clearing the phumdis which in turn will be turned into organic fertilizer, he said.
The Chief Minister also said that altogether Rs 15 crore has already been sanctioned for developmental works for the peripheral area of Loktak Lake and only about Rs 2.5 crore had been utilized so far.
Highlighting that the shortage of fish production in the State is due to lack of releasing fish in the lake, the Chief Minister said,"today we are releasing one lakh fishlings, and aim to release around one crore during the month of May."
He also made an earnest appeal to the fish farmers to create awareness among the public as well as stop catching fishlings. The Chief Minister also appealed to the fish farmers against using electric current to catch fish.
N Biren Singh also spoke strongly against encroachment on forest land and Loktak Lake.
Stating that out of 12,344 pattadars around the lake, 379 illegal encroachers were found, he said that after the Loktak Protection Act was implemented in 2006, no new patta could be issued.
He reiterated that stringent actions will be taken up against all encroachers and concerned Government officials who were involved in issuing illegal pattas.
The Chief Minister also warned against illegal drug business and illegal poppy plantations.
Calling upon all to preserve Loktak Lake, the Chief Minister said that Manipur’s own existence rests on the existence of Loktak Lake and Koubru Range.
"So it is very important to safeguard Loktak Lake and Koubru Range," he said.
He further stressed on the importance of safeguarding 'our forest cover' and added that with conviction and commitment 'we have to meet all challenges for our future generation.'
Earlier, around Rs 400 crore was utilized for importing fish into the State annually, however, that same has been reduced to Rs 300 crore in the past 4-5 years, he added.
The Chief Minister said that the Government needs the support of the people to take the State to greater heights and assured that any developmental project to be implemented in and around Loktak Lake will be taken up by properly maintaining the ecological balance and after proper consideration with the local public.
He further stressed the need to construct a ring road around the lake to ensure that there is no encroachment around the lake and to improve tourism in the area.
Reiterating that the Government will not work against the law, the Chief Minister further appealed to all to support surveys of the Revenue Department and Loktak Development Authority (LDA).
Director (Fisheries) H Balkrisna Singh appealed to the local fishermen to protect the fingerlings and allow them to grow fully in an undisturbed habitat.
ICAR-CIFRI, Barrackpore Director Dr BK Das said the population of pengba is gradually declining in Loktak Lake and so ICAR-CIFRI is trying to reestablish its population in the lake.
He said that they will mark this day so that this fish can establish its population within 2-3 years in the lake, and at the same time increase the livelihood of the local fish farmers.
The programme also included distribution of inputs including cage net and fish feeds to fish farmers’ associations.
Today’s programme was also attended by the Fisheries Minister H Dingo Singh, Thanga AC MLA T Robindro Singh, Mayang Imphal AC MLA K Robindro, Keirao AC MLA L Rameshwor Meetei, Moirang AC MLA Th Shanti, Chairman of Loktak Development Authority M Asnikumar Singh among others.
The programme was organised by ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Loktak Development Authority, Manipur.