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Eviction of Phumdi dwellers from Loktak Lake Legal notice served on Ibobi and party
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 17, 2013: In connection with the eviction of phumdi dwellers from Loktak Lake, a legal notice has been served on Chief Minister O Ibobi who is also Chairman of the Loktak Development Authority (LDA) and three other parties/individuals.

In accordance with an order issued by Gauhati High Court, Imphal Bench on January 25 last year, the legal notice was served on Ibobi and three other individuals yesterday.

Speaking to media persons about the legal notice here this afternoon, general secretary of the Loktak Lake Areas Fishermen's Union, Oinam Rajen who is also one of the petitioners said that the legal notice was served on the LDA Chairman, LDA Project Director, Bishnupur DC and Bishnupur SP yesterday.

The Gauhati High Court order of January 25, 2012 stated that status quo of phumdis of Loktak lake should be maintained which means there should be no construction of structures/huts nor demolition of the structures which existed on the day of issuing the order.

But the respondents rather than complying with the Court order, demolished 15 huts on March 8 and another 11 huts on June 19 and 20 last year.

Moreover, LDA officials asked phumdi dwellers on February 13 this year to dismantle all huts built on phumdis by February 18.The legal notice was sent to the respondents yesterday in response to their instruction to remove huts from phumdis, and it was the third time legal notices were sent to the respondents.

Similar notices were already served to the respondents on February 1 and June 20 last year.

It was estimated that there were around 1110 huts built on phumdis in and around Loktak lake.

Phumdi dwellers from Loktak
Phumdi dwellers from Loktak


After 770 huts were dismantled and burnt on November 15, 2011, the number of huts built on phumdis has been reduced to just around 333. The evolving situation is such that there are no options for the phumdi dwellers other than perishing together with the LDA, Rajen said.

Commenting on the ongoing phumdi clearance work of the LDA, Rajen said that huge mounds of uprooted phumdis are being piled up on the northern side of Loktak.

This has staled and polluted Loktak water though the lake has been already declared as a Ramsar Site.

It is also threatening several species of fish as the present condition is no more favourable for laying eggs.

Together with uprooting phumdis, Heikak and Jelli plants have also been destroyed.

Earlier, phumdis were serving as natural purifier/diluter of insecticides and pesticides which were drained into the lake.

"The lake is being used only as a water reservoir for the electricity we get for a few hours in a day", Rajen remarked.

If one takes into account the vast tracts of submerged paddy fields, the trifling quantity of electricity provided to people and degenerated condition of Loktak lake, NHPC's Loktak Multipurpose Project need to de-commissioned.

The Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act 2006 is more to do with abetting NHPC and less to do with protecting the lake.

People have been demanding scrapping of the Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act 2006, de-commissioning of Loktak Project and Ithai Barrage, participation of local people in all efforts to preserve Loktak lake, compensation and resettlement of all evicted phumdi dwellers.

However, none of these demands have been addressed till date even though a memorandum highlighting all these demands was submitted to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on December 2, 2011, Rajen lamented.


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