Imphal (DIPR): An appeal was made to Union Minister (Power, New and Renewable Energy), Government of India, RK Singh (IAS Retd), by Chairman of Loktak Development Authority (LDA), Government of Manipur M. Asnikumar Singh.
The appeal was made with regard to 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.
A copy of the appeal was also sent each to the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India.
The appeal emphasised 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 (DPR) that addresses these concerns was also emphasised in the appeal and proposed adequate financial provisions for effective implementation of necessary measures.
In the letter of appeal, the LDA Chairman stressed that the rehabilitation and modernisation of the Loktak Hydel Project by NHPC Ltd. must prioritise sustainability, the well-being of local communities, and public interest. The cultural, traditional, and economic importance of the 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, Government of India, reached out to the Chairman and Managing Director of NHPC Ltd. Faridabad (Haryana) with a letter emphasising the lake’s importance for Manipur and as a national heritage site on August 11, 2023.
Furthermore, in response to the appeal, the Wetland Division of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, has made reference to the directive given to NHPC regarding prior approval from the ministry for the proposed modernisation of the Loktak Hydel Project. This directive was conveyed through a letter dated May 5, 2023, to the Chairman cum Managing Director, NHPC Ltd. Faridabad (Haryana).
As a result, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India has directed necessary action to be taken promptly and has apprised the Chairman of the Loktak Development Authority, Government of Manipur, with intimation to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, in a letter sent on September 9, 2023.
The Chairman said that such development underscores the commitment of both the State Government and the Central Government authorities in safeguarding the Loktak Lake and its vital role in Manipur’s heritage and the nation’s natural legacy for future generations.