TODAY -

Session on Ramsar suggests amending Loktak Act
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 17, 2011: A day-long session on 'Contradictions of RAMSAR conventions' standards & guidelines with Loktak Wetlands Management in Manipur' was held today at the conference hall of Manipur State Central Library, Keishampat under the joint aegis of All Loktak Lake Areas Fishermen's Union and All Manipur Thanga People's Welfare Association.

Delivering the keynote address, Union advisor H Kula said resolutions adopted at the Ramsar convention in 1990 with the participation of 18 nations cover the Loktak Lake of Manipur.

Explaining that the convention was held with the objective of preserving wetlands around the world with equal emphasis on ensuring that the existing water bodies do not disappear due to pollution, the advisor asserted that pollution of Loktak Lake is not caused by the Loktak dwellers but from the wastes carried by different rivers in Manipur that flow into the Lake.

Describing the Government of Manipur's recent eviction drive against the fishing community settled at the floating biomass of Loktak Lake as discriminatory and testify indifferent attitude against the economically deprived section of the society, he suggested that the Government chalk out a pro-active plan to provide source of income generation to the evicted families.

Speaking at the session, CORE director Dr Debabrata Roy Laifungbam elaborated that guidelines of RAMSAR convention not only imply that there should be effective mechanism for protection of the lakes/wetlands along preserving the food chain of the local as well as migratory birds but also emphasise that there should be no disruption to earning source of human populace settled in and around water bodies.

Backing Kula's assertion that pollution caused to Loktak lake is due to filthy rivers ending its course at the Lake, Dr Debabrata strongly advocated amendment of the Loktak Lake Protection Act to ensure survival of the evicted Loktak dwellers.

Prevailing upon all concerned for a concerted movement on amending the said Act, which he termed as 'draconian', the director asserted that any Act that imperils man is an act against nature.

He even called for total scrapping of the Loktak Lake Protection Act.

ISTV editor Yumnam Rupachandra, who also addressed the session opined that the Government of Manipur do not respect human value but is only interested in convincing the Central Government to provide funds under the pretext of implementing development projects.

Accusing successive Government of Manipur of lacking vision, he posed what benefit the Loktak Project has brought to the people of Manipur when in fact the power generated from the Project is supplied to other States.

Rupachandra also supported the call for amending Loktak Protection Act with a more humane legislation.

Editor of Naharolgi Thoudang daily Khoirom Loyalakpa conveying deep sympathy on the bleak future of children of the displaced families, observed that the Loktak dwellers are being victimised under the covert operation to drive out insurgents from the lake.

With regard to hideouts of different armed groups in the Lake, he said there is no justification in accusing the fishing community for the presence of UGs while questioning what punitive action had been initiated when activists of UG outfits were rounded up from the officials quarters of Ministers and MLAs.

apart from the editor, UCM president Yumnamcha Dilipkumar, COHR convenor Phulindro Konsam, All Loktak Lake Areas Fishermen's Union president N Chaoba, All Manipur thanga People's Welfare Association president O Yaima and former MLA S Ibohal also opined that the Loktak Lake Protection Act should be amended.


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