The Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate, Labor and Employment, Bhupender Yadav, has agreed the Manipur MP Maharaja Leishemba Sanajaoba’s proposal to conserve and promote the Loktak lake and the Keibul Lamjao National Park.
In a letter sent to MP Sanajaoba, Union Minister Bhupender Yadav assured swift action on protecting the protected area and wetlands.
MP Sanajaoba raised the issue of conserving and promoting the Loktak lake and Keibul Lamjao National Park in Parliament on 19th December 2022. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has informed the relevant forest department to take necessary actions while expecting the State government to perform its responsibilities sincerely.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has instructed the State government to take necessary measures to protect wildlife and natural habitats in the Loktak lake and Keibul Lamjao National Park.
The letter mentioned that the center’s role is to provide technical assistance and financial matters while protecting the protected area and wetlands are the responsibility of the State government.
The State Chief of Wildlife Warden has confirmed the development and expressed that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Wildlife Division has contacted them to look into the matter regarding the conservation of the Loktak lake and Keibul Lamjao National Park. The State government is expected to take prompt action in this regard to ensure the conservation of these natural habitats.
Last year, MP Maharaja Leishemba Sanajaoba drew the attention of the Central government to take up all possible steps for the conservation of Loktak Lake and Keibul Lamjao National Park which is the only means to protect the endangered Sangai from extinction.
Citing the Loktak Hydro Project and Ithai Dam as the major factor affecting the surrounding environment and the ecosystem, he drew the attention of the Central government to address the issue.
MP Sanajaoba said it is an undeniable fact that the Loktak Hydro Project and Ithai Dam have been benefitting many people, but it is also a fact that it is affecting the environment and ecosystem on a large scale.
The MP further said producing a total of 105 megawatts (MW), the Loktak Hydro Project has been supplying power amounting to 70 MW to the state of Nagaland, Assam, and Mizoram while Manipur uses 35 MW.
Highlighting the demerit of Loktak Hydro Project and Ithai Barrage, he said a total of agricultural land measuring around 83,450 hectares has been completely submerged, thereby becoming a wasteland.
Besides affecting the socio-economic and cultural life of the people living on the periphery of the Loktak Lake, the water level of the lake is rapidly decreasing, he added.
The MP further pointed out that the ecosystem and environment of Keibul Lamjao National park, the only floating park, which is also the one and only natural habitat of the endangered Sangai, the State animal of Manipur, having a population below 250, is also declining as a result of the project and the dam.