Several organisations, village unions of Pumlen and Loktak and agriculture based Lousal have demanded for repeal of the Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection) Act, 2006 and to replace it with the National Wetlands (Management and Conservation) Rules, 2017.
On Saturday, several organisations of the village of Pumlen and Loktak including LOUSAL gathered and discussed the issues surrounding wetlands management in the state. particularly Loktak and Pumlen.
The discussion resolved to demand scrapping of the controversial LDA and constituting a new body or bodies having scientific temperament and focused on sustainable livelihoods of the local communities.
The meeting further reiterated that the state government must respect the rights of the fishing community living in Loktak and Pumlen Pat wetlands in accordance with the United Nation Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples and as outlined in the guidelines of the National Wetlands (Management and Conservation) Rules, 2017.
The meeting also resolved to appeal to the state government to desist from violating the rights of the local communities while planning development projects, wherein the pre-existing rights and privileges of local communities must be respected by the state in any forum of development agenda.
The meeting also demanded that there should be only one chairperson for all wetlands and not separate chairs for LDA and other wetlands. These should be cohesion in the functioning and implementation, the meeting resolved.
The meeting also resolved to demand that a series of open, inclusive and public consultations be held before notifying any wetlands. It is mandatory under wetland rules, 2017.
The meeting was attended by representatives from Upokpi Khunou, Bishnupur, Champu Khangpok, Ishok and Pumlen Pat of Loktak and Sarik, Nongmaikhong, Arong villages of Pumlen wetland region including civil society organisations from Imphal.