Taking the extension of the much contentious Loktak Hydro Electric Project for another 25 years as serious concern, people in the surrounding areas of Loktak Lake today convened for a day long public meeting and resolved to oppose the move.
The convention was held under the theme “Impact of Loktak Hydro Electric Project in Manipur” at Ikhai Wapokpi Public Ground under Bishnupur district. It was organised by the People’s Committee on Restoration of Loktak and its Associated Wetlands Manipur.
As a part of the programme, the meeting unanimously resolved not to accept extension of the Loktak Hydro Electric Project in Manipur which is owned by National Hydro Project Corporation (NHPC) Limited. The commitee said that project gives lots of detrimental loss to the environment of Loktak Lake and its ecosystem. They also decided to urge the state government to review the Loktak Protection Act 2006.
The committee also said that concerned authority such as Loktak Development Authority, department of Environment and Climate Change and state wetland authority should make the people aware about any initiative taken up by them so as to prevent extension of Loktak Hydro Electric Project.
Environmental Journalist Rajesh Salam eloquently detailed the phases of the Loktak Hydro Electric Project and underscored its profound impact on the local community, particularly emphasizing the enduring challenges faced by the fishermen in the Loktak region.
Rajesh further highlighted the challenges faced by Loktak's fishermen, citing insufficient water caused by the Ithai Barrage. In response, the government initiated the purchase of fish from external sources for local cultivation in Loktak, addressing the pressing concerns. However, the repercussions of the Ithai Barrage persist, causing significant issues for the public.
Moving into a critical perspective, Salam expressed that the cost-benefit analysis of the Loktak Project reveals its non-beneficial impact on Manipur, adversely affecting the state. Despite the state government and the public raising concerns, including those related to biodiversity, the National Hydro Project Corporation Limited (NHPCL) remains indifferent, being a central agency. This highlights a notable disconnect between the local and central perspectives on the project's impact and its management.
The distinguished panel, featuring luminaries like Ranjit Ningthouja, Writer; Rajesh Salam, Environmental Journalist; RK Birjit, State Coordinator, Manipur, Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN); and K. Jugeshwor, Retired Principal, Kumbi College, graced the event with their presence.
It may be mentioned that Loktak Hydro Electric Project has been executing in the state for the past 39 years. The actual tenure of project is 35 years, however it extended four years earlier. Yet again the corporation is projecting to extend for another 25 years. Sections of the society are strongly opposing this proposal.
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