Forest minister calls for people’s participation environment conservation

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Imphal: Forest, environment and climate change minister Awangbow Newmai on Tuesday inspected the periphery of Loktak lake, Keibul Lamjao National Park, Sendra, ongoing projects at the vicinity and to examine the feasibility of upcoming projects in the near future.

Awangbow told reporters that the state is fortunate to have water body like the Loktak lake which is the largest freshwater lake in the entire North East region. Stating that people of Manipur have tremendously benefited from the Loktak lake, he said, “We firstly need to understand that there is a need for collective effort to save the lake.”

Stating that the government is not against anybody, he said in order to save the lake collective effort is necessary. He said the huts built in the phumdis in the surrounding areas of the lake are polluting the lake, so it is needed to be removed. He said Manipur’s future lies in the status of the Loktak lake whether it is for developing tourism, livelihood for fishermen or other avenues.

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He appealed to the public to support the Government in conserving and saving the Loktak Lake.

Regarding the Keibul Lamjao National Park which is home to the endangered state animal Sangai, he said killing of Sangai should be stopped immediately, rather people should come forward to conserve it.

He emphasised that the Government alone cannot undertake the conservation efforts and needs the cooperation of the public.

The minister also stated that one need not always depend on the Centre for help or assistance and opined that the people of Manipur can utilise the abundant resources the nature has provided to earn revenue without destroying it. He said it is time for the public to come out and support Government and help it to plan for a better future.

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He said that in the near future a new act will be introduce to prohibit fishermen from using electric currents for fishing and the act will introduce stringent punishment for such unconventional method of fishing.

Regarding the cleaning of phumdis, he said cleaning process will begin full swing in the month of July with procurement of new machines. Presently 20 per cent of cleaning of the lake is underway.

He also informed that cutting process of phumdis has started at Maibam Phumlok where phumdis are 14-15 foot in thickness. He said a proposal will be sent to the government to clean phumdis near the park either by flushing out or by gathering it near the park to increase/thicken the phumdis for the endangered Sangai.

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