The All Loktak Lake Areas Fishers Union, Manipur (ALLAFUM) on Saturday strongly condemned the “arbitrary move” of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited (NHPC) of seeking approval of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to lease fresh life to the Loktak Hydroelectric Power Project (Loktak Hydroelectric Multipurpose Project) for another 25 years.
NHFC allegedly failed to take into confidence the concerns of the state government and thousands of fisher and farmer families affected by the Loktak hydro project since it was commissioned in 1983, stated ALLAFUM in a release.
It questioned NHPC’s motive in not informing the Loktak Development Authority (LDA), the government and the Loktak fishing community as primary stakeholders for placing before the Centre on furthering the productivity lifespan of the Loktak Project without first addressing four decades of ecological and human disasters due to the functioning of Ithai Barrage “which has been the bone of contention between the project managers and the people for nearly forty years now.”
NHPC must clarify their stand to the public on how they propose to rehabilitate and resettle the thousands of human population impacted by the project and how they propose to bring back the near natural status of the Loktak lake, it demanded.
It reiterated its objection against the move asserting that the people have suffered extensively owing to the project. It added that the project cannot further exploit the lives of the lake-dependent communities for another two decades and more and also pointed out the suffering of the Loktak fishing community due to declining fish population in the lake.
It further highlighted the impacts of the project on Loktak including siltation, pollution, eutrophication and disappearance of native vegetation of food and fodder value. It urged the state government to redress the grievances of the affected people before considering the extension of the project.