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CM Commissions Watermaster Classic III

IMPHAL, Apr 19: An ultra modern multipurpose machinery which can be operated both on land and water was formally commissioned today at Takmu by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi.

The machinery known as Watermaster Classic III was purchased from Finland based company Aquamec Limited at the cost of Rs 3.5 crores for cleaning and dredging Loktak Lake.

After commissioning the machinery, Chief Minister O Ibobi stated that the Watermaster Classic III was procured for cutting phumdis and dredging the bed of Loktak Lake whose depth was decreasing every year.

Saying that the Loktak Development Authority alone cannot save the lake, Ibobi called upon all the people to work collectively for the preservation of the lake.

Noting that Loktak Lake is a source of livelihood for a large number of fishing families, Ibobi asserted that it would be more convenient for fishing once the phumdis covering large parts of water surface are removed.

Cleaning the lake would in no way affect fishermen or their activities.

Even as the Government was planning to develop an eco-tourism park at Takmu with a grand objective of making it a prime tourist spot, around five acres of land were found acquired by some individuals along with pattas including many from Imphal.

Subsequently, the Government decided to take over the land of which estimated value was Rs six crores. Now, the Government has started payment of compensation to the previous owners, Ibobi informed.

Stating that efforts were one to develop a regional water sports complex at Takmu, Ibobi said that Takmu was once a dumping site for phumdis removed from Loktak lake.

But now the phumdis would be dumped a little distance away at Chingei ground which would also serve another purpose of land development.

Inspite of all the efforts to remove phumdis and reeds from Loktak Lake, it is losing its depth every year.

Taking all these into account, the Government decided to purchase the Watermaster Classic III for clearing phumdis even from the central portions of the lake.

This machinery can be operated both on land and water including canals and rivers.  Just shouting to preserve Loktak would not be enough; it demands commitment and concerted efforts from the people as well. Eco-system of Loktak Lake got deteriorated all the more because of UG cadres and anti-social elements taking shelter in its different portions, he asserted.

As much clearing of phumdis is crucial for preservation of the lake, it is also equally important that there should be a proper maintenance system.

The original plan of the Government was to purchase two Watermasters but later it was decided to purchase only one on trial basis to check its efficiency and utilities.

Watermaster can be used in dredging Nambul River too. However, Jammu and Kashmir has also already procured three similar machineries.

Declaring that Loktak Lake is a priceless asset of the nation, Ibobi further called upon the people to protect and preserve wetlands.

The Government’s plan to develop Sendra to a four-lane road has been changed. The same road would be made a six-lane road in view of the Eco-Tourism Park which is coming up in the area.  As for those whose lands are affected by the proposed road expansion, a sum of Rs two crores has been already set aside. Necessary process would be initiated soon to pay out compensation to all the affected people.

He also assured that the road development work would be completed as soon as possible.

Forest and Environment Minister Th Debendra asserted that the present generation should preserve and develop Loktak Lake which is closely associated with the history of the land.

Observing that Loktak Lake constitutes an eco-system, Debendra underscored the paramount importance of preserving the lake.  He further noted that procurement of the Watermaster machine was very timely.

The machinery consumes 8 liters of diesel in one hour and weighs 70 tonnes.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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