In a joint meeting held on November 23 at the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt of India, Paryavaran Bhawan, New Delhi, M Asnikumar Singh, Chairman of the Loktak Development Authority (LDA), championed the need for a comprehensive environmental and social-economic assessment for the ongoing renovation and modernization of the Loktak Power Station.
The meeting, a response to a DPR proposed by NHPC for the modernization of Loktak Hydro Project without consultation with LDA & Forest & Wildlife Deptt, Manipur, Ministry of EF&CC, Govt of India, follows multiple letters by Chairman Singh to concerned Ministries, including the PMO. Addressing the challenges emerging since the project's commissioning, Chairman Singh emphasized the intricate link between the Loktak Hydro Electric Project and the local ecosystem.
Concerns were raised about alterations in water flow patterns adversely affecting the Ramsar site's flora and fauna, as well as the displacement of communities relying on Loktak Lake for their livelihoods. Chairman M Asnikumar stressed the urgent need for a holistic assessment, considering both immediate and long-term environmental and social repercussions. The Chairman highlighted the commitment of LDA to collaborate with relevant authorities and stakeholders to ensure a meaningful dialogue incorporating diverse perspectives.
Acknowledging problems related to water quality, siltation, and the ecological balance of the region, Chairman Singh expressed a commitment to responsible and sustainable modernization efforts. He asserted that Manipur can live without Loktak Hydro Project, but it cannot live without Loktak Lake. The Chairman proposed incorporating changed hydrological patterns and recommendations from the Expert Advisory Committee to address environmental and social challenges.
Pr CCF cum Chief Wildlife Warden Manipur, Shri S Chhabra IFS, underscored the critical ecological status of Keibul Lamjao Floating National Park and the alarming situation of its biodiversity, including the world-famous Sangai deer species. He recommended a reconsideration of the modernization plan to avoid further adverse impact.
Chairman LDA conveyed the Manipur government's commitment to conserving and effectively managing Loktak Lake and its associated wetlands. He extended an invitation for a Chief Minister-level joint meeting in Imphal, aiming for in-depth discussions and collaborative solutions. The Chairman expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India, for organizing the crucial meeting.
The meeting was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Water Resources (Jal Shakti), Power, Govt of India, Central Water Commission, NHPC Ltd, WISA, Pr CCF, Manipur & PD, SE (wetland), LDA.
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