Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Monday informed the House that the government will go ahead with its stand to construct Sangai Ethnic Heritage Park at Moirang Khunou while expressing concerns to save the natural habitat of endangered Sangai.
He was responding to the calling attention motion raised by opposition MLA, K Ranjit Singh during the ongoing second session of 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly on Monday.
Raising the calling attention motion, opposition MLA K Ranjit Singh informed the House that there are reportedly only about 260 Sangai in Keibul Lamjao. To protect the Sangai the state government has deployed some forest guards, however, locals of Keibul and its surrounding villagers have been protecting Sangai for years, he said.
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Following the decrease in numbers of the Sangai, Keibul Lamjao was declared as a World Wildlife Sanctuary in 1966 and later declared as a National Park by the India government in 1977. Since then, the villagers of Keibul have been affected as they are restricted from entering the site where they use to get floras found in the ‘Phumdis’ of Loktak lake for their living, MLA Ranjit pointed out.
He appealed to the House to shift the construction of Sangai Heritage Park at Keibul so that the locals who had been suffering for years could get an alternative source of income from the tourists.
Leader of the House replied that the government, while launching the Sangai Festival, had organised a curtain raiser event in connection with the festival at Keibul Lamjao in 2017. He further informed that the government had announced earlier that Sangai Heritage Park will be constructed at Keibul.
However, after discussion with the officials and experts, it was found that construction of the park at Keibul will face disturbance to the environment of Sangai deer and hence, the government decided to construct the park at Moirang Khunou which is nearly about 2-3 kilometre from Keibul beyond disturb zone, CM Biren said.
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CM said he visited the site of Keibul where the park was to be constructed. It will bring a huge inconvenience while organising Sangai festival. Moreover, the noise during the festival will give a huge problem to the natural habitat of Sangai, he added.
The aim for organising ‘Sangai Festival’ was to promote Sangai and to save the deer and if the festival is going to harm its natural habitat then there is no meaning for organising the festival, he said.
Concerning the locals of Keibul that had been suffering for years, Biren assured the House that the government will find alternative measures so that the locals can get their income. He said he might be leaving for Delhi to meet Central leaders on August 8 and assured that after his return he will call the locals of Keibul for a meeting regarding the issue.