A section of people living in and around the Loktak Lake in Manipur have taken a strong objection to the proposed construction of a ring road around the lake. The affected populace have urged the government to take their consent before moving ahead with the project.
In addition, they stated that the government must refrain from using force in any endeavor to safeguard Loktak Lake.
The people whose paddy lands, fish farms, and other structures would likely be impacted by the proposed ring road were present today at a public discussion program at Oinam Mamang Leikai near Water Supply.
Thoudam Herena, one of the Khoijuman Mayai Leikai attendees, stated that the government's decision to construct the ring road has unnerved those who live near Loktak Lake because "they already have been affected greatly by Ithai Barrage of Loktak Hydro Electric Project."
She added that they have already sent their resolution to the Governor and the Chief Minister, and that they have unanimously decided to convince the government to decommission the Ithai Barrage before building the ring road.
She demanded that the government engage in dialogue with the villagers first and refrain from using brute force, despite the fact that the construction of the ring road is absolutely necessary for the protection of Loktak Lake.
Herena also pleaded with the government to make some alternative arrangement for the affected people to earn their livelihoods first before building the ring road, stating that the majority of those living in the areas adjacent to Loktak Lake are either fish farmers or engaged in agriculture-related work.
She continued by asserting that the government failed to fulfill its promise to construct the Ithai Barrage, which was supposed to facilitate double cropping, provide electricity, water for irrigation, and create jobs.
Herena urged the government to proceed with the ring road project while acknowledging the feelings of those impacted and not cutting off many families' means of subsistence.
Oinam Ibopishak from Oinam Mamang Leikai, claimed that the Loktak Lake area, which was only about 100 square kilometers before the establishment of the NHPC in 1983, has grown to 236.21 square kilometers since the Loktak Project was put into operation.
He asserted that as NHPC increased the water volume of Loktak Lake to generate 105 Mega Watts of electricity, many land areas have been submerged. Additionally, he claimed that many people have already lost their paddy fields, forcing them to take up fish farming instead.
He pleaded with the government to decommission the Ithai Barrage first, claiming that the majority of fish farmers would be left with nothing if the ring road were constructed without making any arrangements for the villagers who would be affected.
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