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Preservation of Loktak Lake hampered

Loktak Lake removal from Montreux Record

Manipur asked to submit timeline for removal of Loktak lake from Montreux Record.

The Loktak Protection Act of 2006 aimed to protect and preservation of Loktak Lake in Manipur, India.

However, the establishment of fish farms and human settlements within the area has put this initiative in a difficult position. The area in question measures 266.21 square kilometers and is covered by the Loktak Protection Act.

According to an official (On the condition of anonymity) from the Loktak Development Authority (LDA), patta holders and influential persons with forged pattas have settled and started fish farms within the area.

This has made it challenging for the Sub-Committee of the LDA, which was formed to demarcate the boundary for the preservation of Loktak Lake, to work intensively due to opposition from the people.

To address this issue, a Cabinet Sub-Committee has been formed with the PHED Minister as the Chairman to keep the boundary of Loktak Lake intact.

Fish farmers refilling the drains demarcating Loktak Lake in Mayang Imphal Area.

The decision to form the committee was taken during a Cabinet meeting on October 10, 2022. However, even this committee has faced opposition from the locals.

During a boundary marking exercise along Keipha Road to Thamnapoki on the southern side of the Loktak Lake, members of the Sub-Committee had arguments with the locals on March 15. They were compelled to conduct the demarcation exercise in the presence of top Government officials under police protection.

The official from the LDA stated that some of those who obtained fake and genuine pattas are influential persons who often argue with the patta holders while carrying out their duties.

To appease the locals, PHED Minister L Susindro and LDA Chairman Moirangthem Asnikumar held a dialogue with the protesters and promised to consult with the Chief Minister N Biren to give alternative sources of livelihood to fish farmers.

The Revenue Department has also been processing to cancel some of the land pattas given for settlement at Loktak Lake. In addition, the Government has sent a proposal to the Asian Development Bank to start an eco-tourism project at the lake.

Representatives of the Asian Development Bank have assessed the situation of the lake and advised the Government to start with ecological restoration and livelihood projects first.

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