By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Mar 30 : Establishment of fish farms and human settlement in an area measuring 266.21 square kilometres covered by the Loktak Protection Act, 2006 has put the initiative taken up by the Government to preserve the fresh water lake in a difficult position.
Reportedly, some of the people who started fish farms and have been settling in the area include patta holders and influential persons with some forged pattas.
On the condition of anonymity, an official of the Loktak Development Authority (LDA) told The Sangai Express that the Sub-Committee of the LDA constituted by the Government to demarcate the boundary of Loktak Lake is unable to work intensively due to various factors mostly opposition by the people.
Saying that a Cabinet Sub-Committee has also been formed to keep the boundary of Loktak Lake intact with PHED Minister as the Chairman, the official said that the decision to form the committee was taken during a Cabinet meeting on October 10, 2022.
Claiming that starting fish farms and making settlement by both patta and non-patta holders in the identified area of the Loktak Lake has been hindering the undertaking of the Government to a great extent, the official went on to state that some of those who obtained fake as well as genuine pattas are influential persons.
He also said that they often argue with the patta holders while carrying out their duties.
Stating that members of the Sub-Committee led by Moirang AC MLA and LDA Chairman also had an arguments with the locals while going for boundary marking along Keipha Road to Thamnapoki on the southern side of the Loktak Lake on March 15, the official conveyed that they were compelled to conduct the demarcation exercise in the presence of top Government officials under police protection.
"We have also carried out an inspection tour at Mayang Imphal Bengoon areas which is situated on the eastern side of the Lake," he said and added that three hydraulic excavators were impounded during the tour for making unlawful fish farms inside the Loktak Lake and the drivers arrested.
Saying that the boundary marking works at Mayang Imphal Bengoon areas were also opposed by the locals initially, the official continued that the demarcation exercise was carried out after the PHED Minister L Susindro and LDA Chairman held a dialogue with the protesters.
Reportedly, the PHED Minister had assured that the Government will not rob the rights of the patta holders while the LDA Chairman conveyed that the Government will give alternative sources of livelihood to fish farmers by consulting with the Chief Minister during the talk.
It may be mentioned that the Revenue Department has been processing to cancel some of the land pattas given for settlement at Loktak Lake while the Government has sent a proposal to the Asian Development Bank to start an eco tourism project at the fresh water lake.
Representatives of the Asian Development Bank have also assessed the situation of the lake and they advised the Government to start with ecological restoration and livelihood projects first.