A 'One-day Stakeholders Consultative Meeting on the Loktak Lake’ was held on Monday at the Conference Hall of IWT Building, Lake Front Garden, Sendra, Bishnupur District. The Consultative Meeting was organised by Loktak Development Authority (LDA) and Manipur Technology Innovation Hub in collaboration with University of Nottingham, UK.
M Asnikumar Singh, chairman, LDA, Manipur while giving the inaugural address in the meeting, stated that the Loktak Lake is one of the main cradles of Manipuri civilisation/culture and a main source of livelihood (direct and indirect) for a plethora of households since centuries. He added, “The ecological value of the Loktak wetland complex is truly vast; it plays a huge role in the overall ecological context. Sadly, the lake is under serious threat from anthropogenic activities such as encroachment, pollution, and various unplanned developmental activities in and around the lake.”
He highlighted that the Manipur government is determined to make the Loktak Lake an iconic wetland site in the global context. He also stated, “Under the visionary leadership of PM Narendra Modi and guidance of Chief Minister N Biren Singh, the Loktak Development Authority (LDA) is moving ahead with community participation, research, policies and conservation activities to fulfil the mandate of conservation and sustainable management of the lake”.
He also added that LDA has constituted an Expert Advisory Committee to address the issues related to the fast-changing ecological status and their impact on the socio-economic condition of the communities dependent on them, the report of the advisory committee is on course to be released soon.
He also mentioned that LDA has already drawn up an Integrated Management Plan (IMP) in consultation with WISA, and the same is technically evaluated by IIT Roorkee. In this regard, an approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, GoI has already been sought. Regarding the same, a high level meeting chaired by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change was held in New Delhi recently and during the meeting, positive signs had been given by the ministry for a quick approval.
Asserting that the state government under the personal supervision of the chief minister is also working on a long-term plan to conserve and preserve the Loktak wetland complex, he stated that it has already approached the Asian Development Bank with a detailed project report to rejuvenate the ecology of the lake and improve the livelihood of those dependent on the lake for sustenance.
Stressing the importance of local community participation and cooperation from the general public as crucial factors to ensure success in the conservation mission, he appealed for participation, cooperation and active support from the local communities (settled in and around the lake) and general public of the state.
He added, “Such consultative meetings are the need of the hour. Wetlands experts engaging in thorough interactions with the communities/dwellers of the Loktak wetland complex is invaluable in the conservation mission.” On behalf of the LDA, he extended heartfelt gratitude to the faculty members of Nottingham University, UK and Manipur Technology Innovation Hub, Imphal for initiating such a meaningful meeting for loktak and appealed to them for extending all possible assistance and sought cooperation for such workshops in the future. He added, “The LDA looks forward to organising more such meaningful stakeholder consultation meetings/workshops in and around the Loktak wetland complex in the near future”.
Virginia Panizzo, Associate Professor and National Geographic Explorer, University of Nottingham deliberated on “Lake and River Ecosystem Response to Pollution and Climate Change Impacts: recent evidence from sites across South East Asia, Ng Sanajaoba Meetei, SE/Wetland In-charge, LDA on “Threats and Challenges in Conservation and initiative of LDA in Conservation of Loktak Lake, K Jugeshwore Singh, Environmentalist and Honorary Wildlife Warden, Bishnupur on “Importance of Waterbirds in the conservation of Loktak lake”, Hamish Duncalf -Youngson, British Geological Survey on “Understanding Human and Climate Change Impact on Loktak Lake using lake sediments”.
An Interaction session of stakeholders was also conducted as part of the meeting.
The meeting was attended by Dr Rajiv Kangabam, Lead, Manipur Technology Innovation Hub, representatives from community based organisations of the Loktak lake & catchment area, Scientist of LDA and members of Manipur Technology Innovation Hub, Imphal.