LDA Chairman blames Ithai Barrage

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Jun 20: Loktak Development Authority (LDA) Chairman Moirangthem Asnikumar has blamed Loktak Hydroelectric Project’s Ithai Barrage for the sorry state of Loktak Lake.
He was speaking at the release of “Report on the Current Ecological Status of Barak River” and “Integrated Management Plan of Keibul Lamjao National Park” at Hotel Classic Grande here today.
The report and the plan were released under the aegis of the Forest Department and Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun.
Speaking at the gathering, M Asnikumar said that the Loktak Lake cannot be skipped from any discussion on the Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP) as the park is an integral part of the lake.
Loktak Lake, the biggest fresh water lake in the entire North East region, has been deteriorating every day and how long it would survive has become a serious question.
From being a Ramsar Site, Loktak Lake has been enlisted in the Montreux Record. In another word, Loktak Lake has been turned into a big septic tank for Manipur valley, Asnikumar said.
One primary reason for the ever deteriorating condition of the Loktak Lake is the Ithai Barrage.
The barrage has been disturbing the ecosystem of Loktak Lake in a big way. As a result, many flora and fauna which depended on the ecosystem of Loktak Lake have vanished, he said.
At the time of establishing the Loktak Hydroelectric Project, the then political leaders of the State had their eyes only on power generation. No ecological concerns or aspects could be seen in the DPR of Ithai Barrage, the LDA Chairman said.
He said that the existing condition of Loktak Lake had been studied thoroughly and a report has been sent to the Chief Minister and the Central Government.
A high level expert committee on Loktak Lake has been constituted with Prof Dr Rajiv Sinha of IIT Kanpur as its leader and WII former senior scientist Dr SA Hussain as a member.
The committee would submit its report to the State and Central Governments for perusal and necessary action, Asnikumar said.
Hailing the publication of a management plan on KLNP under the joint initiative of Forest Department and WII, the LDA Chairman said that many people including himself were working to draw up such a plan since the early 1990s but without success.
He hoped that the plan/document would go a long way in conserving Sangai which is also known as the dancing deer.  
The status report on Barak River released today would also be quite helpful in conserving and protecting the river system, he remarked.
The status report on Barak River was drawn up by the Forest Department and WII with financial support from the National River Conservation Directorate (NRCD). The Integrated Management Plan of the KLNP was framed by the Forest Department and WII under the Species Recovery Programme of the Ministry of Forest and Climate Change. WII Scientist-G Dr Ruchi Badola, NRCD Project Director G Ashok Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary (Forest & Environment) MH Khan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Head of Forest Force and Chief Wildlife Warden Dr AK Joshi, senior officials and many stakeholders were present at the gathering.
A documentary film on Sangai produced by WII was also screened at the gathering.