Urgent call over Loktak

Imphal: An appeal was made to Union minister (Power, New and Renewable Energy), RK Singh by Loktak Development Authority chairman M. Asnikumar Singh in regard with the concerns about the environmental impact of the Loktak Hydel Project, commissioned in 1984, that has raised serious concerns about its long-term environmental and socio-economic impact, necessitating a comprehensive review.

Copies of the appeal was also sent to the Prime Minister’s office in New Delhi and the ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

The appeal emphasizes the significance of Loktak Lake, which holds immense cultural, traditional, and economic importance in Manipur, apart from its ecological value. The lake serves as a vital water source for irrigation and household use and has played a pivotal role in the socio-economic fabric of the region for centuries.

The appeal also highlighted the key concerns that includes the need to consider changes in hydrological patterns that have developed over the past 39 years, address the deteriorating ecology of Loktak Lake and its catchment area, and mitigate the impact on the socio-economic conditions of the communities dependent on the lake and its associated wetlands. The importance of a revised Detailed Project Report that addresses these concerns was also emphasized in the appeal and proposes adequate financial provisions for effective implementation of necessary measures.

The chairman stressed that the rehabilitation and modernization of the Loktak Hydel Project by NHPC Ltd. must prioritize sustainability, the well-being of local communities, and public interest. The cultural, traditional, and economic importance of Loktak Lake to Manipur is immeasurable, making it a collective responsibility to protect and preserve this invaluable natural resource for future generations.

In response to the appeal, Sanjeev Sanyal from the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, reached out to the chairman and managing director of NHPC Ltd. Faridabad (Haryana) with a letter emphasizing the lake’s importance for Manipur and as a national heritage site on August 11.

In response to the appeal, the Wetland division of the ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has made reference to the directive given to NHPC regarding prior approval from the ministry for the proposed modernization of the Loktak Hydel Project. This directive was conveyed through a letter dated May 5 to the chairman cum managing director, NHPC Ltd. Faridabad (Haryana).

As a result, the ministry has directed the necessary action to be taken promptly and has apprised the chairman of the Loktak Development Authority, with intimation to the ministry, in a letter sent on September 9.

The chairman said such development underscores the commitment of both the state and Union government authorities in safeguarding Loktak Lake and its vital role in Manipur’s heritage and the nation’s natural legacy for future generations.

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