High Court steps in to conserve state’s Ramsar Convention Site; Two amici curiae tour Loktak lake
A two judge bench of the court comprising acting Chief Justice N. Kotiswar and Justice Kh. Nobin initiated a suo motu public interest litigation and appointed on February 5 two amici curiae, asking them to submit a report on the Loktak.
The amici curiae are Kh. Samarjit and D. Julius Raimei. The duo were asked by the high court to submit a report on Loktak situation by February 28.
The high court took up the suo motu litigation after the Supreme Court directed high courts across the country to monitor management of the Ramsar Convention Sites in their respective states till there is some visible improvement of these wetlands.
India has 26 Ramsar sites including two in the Northeast. The other wetland of the Northeast included in the list is Assam’s Deepor Beel.
The amici curiae duo today made a tour of the lake, which claims to be the largest fresh water lake in the Northeast, meeting fishing community, seeing the phumdis (floating bio-mas), vegetations, lake water, phum-huts and living condition of the lake dwellers.
They interacted with general secretary of All Loktak Area Fishermen Union, Manipur, O Rajen and other lake dwellers to get a first hand account of the lake environment.
“We are here to collect information from stakeholders on the lake. We are not here to pass any judgement. As directed by the high court we will submit a report based on your comments and suggestions,” Samarjit explained to the lake dwellers the purpose of their visit.
The team accompanied by some environmentalists was taken to the middle of the lake in a boat by the fishermen from Liklai Karong, the confluence of Nambul river and Nambol river.
The lake dwellers, who live by fishing in the lake, welcomed the visit expressing their hope that since the court has intervened the conservation activities will be intensified and eco-system of the lake will improve.
The amici curiae urged the fishermen union to submit in writing their comments and suggestions to them without further delay in view of the fast approaching deadline. They also appealed to other stakeholders to give their comments to them.
Before the day’s visit the duo had met officials of the Loktak Development Authority, a government agency looking after the lake. The chief secretary and three others are respondents in the case.
The high court also invited opinions of the public, experts and NGOs working in this field so that it may have a clear picture. The forest department and water resources department were directed to submit their afffidavits within three weeks from the date of the passing of the order.
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