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Fishermen Rolls Up Sleeves To Defy Act

IMPHAL, Apr 26: Contending that the provisions of Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection) Act, 2006 is a direct challenge to their rights, fishermen who depend on Loktak Lake for livelihood have threatened to launch intense agitation if the said Act is not abolished.

A joint meeting of the fishermen held at Ibudhou Khuman Pokpa community hall at Karang today and adopted various resolutions pertaining to protection of the rights of the fishermen.

During the meeting, a forum under the name of All Loktak Lake Catchment Areas Fishermen Protection Forum was also formed and N Chaoba president of the All Manipur Thanga People’s Welfare Association was elected as the acting chairman of the Forum.

Those who spoke at the meeting asserted that it is not the fishermen but the Ithai Barrage, which blocks the natural water flow of Loktak, that has contributed to the deteriorating condition of the lake. However, the Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection) Act, 2006, which the Government of Manipur has drawn up in the name of protecting the lake has posed a challenge in the livelihood of the fishermen. So, the said Act should be abolished.

After thorough deliberation on wide ranging issues including the impact of commissioning of  Loktak Hydro Electric Power Project by NHPC in 1984, creation of Takmu Fishery farm at Loktak lake by enforcing Fisheries Act, 1988, extension of Wild Life Protection Act at Keibul Lamjao National Park and implementation of Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection) Act, 2006, the meeting resolved that strong pressure should be exerted to ensure abolition of Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection) Act, Loktak Project should be reviewed, the sluice of Ithai Barrage should be lifted in the interest of protecting Loktak lake, to stop further expansion of Keibul Lamjao National Park in view of the fact that the State Government has not been able to ensure protection of the existing Park area.

Furthermore, it has been decided that fishermen would abstain from taking the compensation to be given by the Government for removal of the huts construction on the floating bio-masses of Loktak.

Organized jointly by All Manipur Thanga People’s Welfare Association, Loktak People’s Forum, Loktak Fishing Workers’ Association, Karang Island Development Organization and All Loktak Lake Floating Hut Dwellers and Fishermen Progressive Committee, today’s meeting was presided over by Oinam Iboton, who is an elderly citizen of Karang Island.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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