IMPHAL | July 26
The people of Manipur can live better without the Loktak Project. But we cannot develop without the Loktak. The Loktak Hydro Electric Project and Ithai dam have been disastrous projects and they must be decommissioned.
This was stated by M. Asnikumar, who is the vice chairman of Manipur Infrastructure Development Agency (MIDA) and also the state vice president of BJP Manipur unit in a statement handed out to the media.
The statement continued that Ithai dam has been the main reason for flash flood in an around the Loktak lake. Since the commissioning of Ithai Barrage in 1983, there have been disastrous flash floods in and around the lake. These floods have severely affected the socio-economic life of the people of Manipur, it said.
Since the construction and commissioning of this dam, there have been drastic overnight changes in the hydrological path of Loktak that have in turn adversely affected the environment and socio-economic condition of the people of Manipur, Loktak dwellers being the most affected, it added.
The statement further said the dam has blocked the course of Manipur river that drains Loktak Lake. This blockage has brought irreversible losses to the health of this rich fresh water lake in the Northeast, it said, adding many flora and fauna have become scarce and on the verge of extinction. These are evident by the dwindling varieties of native endemic species, including fishes, edible plants like heikak yelli, heikak, Taothabee paddy, etc, it said.
Another major threat to the health of the lake is the uncontrolled use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the catchment areas of the lake. Within minutes of use, these toxic chemicals poison the water body and affect all who depend on it, the release maintained.
Moreover there has been excessive deforestation in the catchment areas of the lake, dumping of plastic and other non-degradable objects in the lake directly or through its tributaries. The distortion has caused excessive eutrophication causing unprecedented pollution of the lake, it added.
The fact that the lake is systematically being destroyed is proven beyond all reasonable doubts by now. In just 34 years, the destruction of the lake has brought untold sufferings to the people, it said.