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Land Or Water Surface, CI-Ops Ready For Takeoff, Hovercrafts Inducted To Sanitize Loktak Lake

Chief Minister O Ibobi inagurating the induction of the hovercraft

IMPHAL, Mar 7: With Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh handing over the three hovercrafts acquired for counter insurgency operations at Loktak Lake to the police formally today, Manipur police has become the first State police force in the country to be equipped with hovercrafts for counter insurgency operations.

The three hovercrafts have been procured from USA at an estimated cost of around Rs 5 crores. The fund has been provided by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs as part of the police modernization program.

Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh formally handed over the hovercrafts to the State police during a function at Sendra today.

Speaking at the occasion, Ibobi observed that Loktak Lake is gift bestowed to the people of Manipur by Mother Nature. But it is unfortunate that some anti-social elements have today come to influence the local people who traditionally depended on this lake for sustenance.

Despite the best efforts of the Government  to save the lake, these anti-social elements have been able to find a foothold to carry out subversive activities after forcefully occupying the floating huts built by local fishermen for shelter.

The Government has no objection as such to fishing activities of the local people. But these anti-social elements need to be flushed out from the lake.

As part of the steps being made to protect Loktak Lake, the Government would demarcate the lake area meticulously and a machine costing around Rs 3.5 crores has been purchased for dredging the shallow portion of the lake.

The said machine has reached Kolkata and is expected to be brought to Manipur within the current month, the Chief Minister informed.

The Chief Minister further informed that the Government has given away a compensation amount of Rs 10 crores to those who grew Phumdis on the lake and other necessary rehabilitation measures for those who lived on the lake have already been taken up.

Apart from counter-insurgency operations, the three hovercrafts, which have been inducted in the Police Department from today, would also be used in the protection of the lake, and if needed more such hovercrafts would be procured and inducted, the Chief Minister said, adding that there is now a Loktak Protection Force with a total strength of 200 personnel headed by a DSP.

The Loktak Protection Force would be deployed at three designated places and make functional very soon, he assured.

DGP Y Joykumar, who accepted the three hovercrafts on behalf of other personnel of the Police Department, recalled that the Union Home Ministry was at first not   willing to accept the proposal of inducting hovercrafts for counter insurgency purpose, when it was pointed out that use of hovercrafts is essential for flushing out UGs from Loktak Lake. With the Ministry accepting the proposal and induction of the hovercrafts finally, Manipur Police has become first State force among other States as well as among other Central Paramilitary forces to induct hovercrafts for counter insurgency operations, the DGP said.

Explaining that the model of the three newly inducted hovercrafts that would travel at the speed of 64 kms per hour is known as Hover Guard 1000, the DGP informed that the hovercrafts have been procured along with spare parts at a total estimated cost of Rs 5 crores from the USA based Hover Technique Inc.  Experts the company would be in Manipur till March 14 to impart training to the police on the operation of the hovercrafts, the DGP added. Though the Chief Minister did not climb on board the hovercrafts, other accompanying Ministers and MLAs boarded them for inspection at the time of handing over to the police.

Security Advisor to the Chief Minister Gopal Sharma and other top officials of the Army and the police were present at the occasion.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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