Updated 28 Jul 2022, 5:14 am
The Loktak Floating Homestay Association and the Apunba Loktak Ngame Sinmi Cooperative Society on Wednesday urged the Loktak Development Authority (LDA) to revoke the order issued for the removal of all homestay facilities on the phumdis (floating biomass) at Loktak lake and threatened to launch intense agitations.
LDA which is in charge of preserving the Loktak Lake had issued a notice on July 18, stating that all homestay facilities on the phumdis should be removed within 15 days.
During a press conference held at Manipur Press Club on Wednesday, the Apunba Loktak Ngame Sinmi Cooperative Society secretary Ningthoujam Raghu said that the LDA’s notice was a step towards expelling phumdi dwellers from the lake itself.
The notice also stated that the homestays have also become a social issue as they are operated without proper regulations and they will have to be dismantled within 15 days from the publication of the notice, failing which the LDA will take appropriate steps without further notice, said Raghu. These are charges against the fishing community of Loktak and the homestays, he alleged.
He recalled that in 2011, using provisions of the same Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection)Act, nearly 800 houses on phumdis were burnt down after their occupants refused to vacate them following a similar notice.
Further, the state government had tried to expel the people of Loktak from the lake, he further said, cautioning that the notice issued by LDA should be withdrawn, failing which a strong agitation will commence.
Ranjan said that the representatives of the association met LDA officials at least four times and discussed the need for regulations. A meeting held between LDA and the association concluded to form the association on May 26 and on May 29 the Loktak Floating Homestay Association was formed, he recalled.
On June 4, the association created a ‘dos and don’ts’ chart as the LDA does not create such and share it with them, he added.
Further, on July 8 the representatives of the association met with the deputy commissioner of Bishnupur along with LDA, he continued.
“The DC appealed for removing the homestay for the time being until a map will provide under time bound. The association accepted the DC’s appeal,” Ranjan said.
Surprisingly, the LDA issued notice for removal of homestay on July 18, he said.
“We expect the state government to support the development of homestay as the Sangai festival is coming. We are running these homestays for a livelihood and have no intention to damage the lake,” he added.
Homestay at Loktak was inaugurated in 2018 and for many months runners of homestay were lost, he recalled. At present, many tourists started coming to homestay and the state government is blocking the way of living, he added.
It may be mentioned that the notice issued by LDA project director L Bhagaton Singh stated that the action was being taken up as the state government is striving hard to rejuvenate the ecological condition of the Loktak Lake and delist it from the Montreux Record.
The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
The notice stated that there has been an exponential rise in the numbers of Athaphum, Houses (Home-Stays) and Huts constructed on Phumdi and these have “put the lake at risk impacting the natural environment adversely”.
The LDA also claimed that the home-stays have also become “a social issue as these are operated without proper regulations”.
First published:28 Jul 2022, 5:14 am
loktak lakehomestayLoktak Floating Homestay AssociationlDA