Imphal: Chairman of Loktak Development Authority (LDA), Asnikumar Moirangthem along with MLA of Hiyanglam A/C Dr. Yumnam Radheshyam and LDA officials Sunday conducted a thorough inspection and assessed the present condition of Pumlen Lake.
During the inspection, Asnikumar said that besides our mother Loktak Lake, Pumlen Lake is an iconic lake of Manipur. It is the second largest lake of the state (next to Loktak Lake) situated in Kakching district under Hiyanglam Assembly Constituency. But, unfortunately, this historic lake is on the verge of extinction with the Loktak Hydel Project being its predator.
On top of it, there is the greed and lack of awareness of the dwellers of Lake, who over the years have encroached on a vast tract of the lakeshore for their own farming purposes. Also, the lake has been the main source of income of the people living around it and it lies between Mondum ranges in the South, Khoidum and Lamjao in the North, Burma- Sugnu Road in the East and Imphal River in the West. Chingjao, Chingkok, Chingmei and Hapcha are important islands of the lake.
The lake with a total area of 22 sq km approximately, has been deteriorating gradually since the construction of Ithai Barrage as part of the Loktak Project in 1983 over the Imphal River. With the Ithai Barrage obstructing the weeds of the lake from flowing down, 80% of the lake has been covered under thick weeds leaving almost no space for the fishermen to earn their livings, he added.
He further said that this lake is home to many rare migratory birds like Meitingu, Surit Nganu, Umu, Chongkhu, Ushai, Tharoichabi, Uren, Thembi, Uthum and storks visiting the lake these days. He also said that earlier, the villagers used to catch plenty of fishes like Pengba, Sareng, Ngakra, Khabak, Ngaton and Porom. But, they are now able to catch only a few like Porom, Ngachik, Ngamu, Ukabi, Katala, Ngapai, Ngapemma and Muka Nga.
The Chairman also said that Chaithe lake has witnessed an irregular dramatic increase in weeds since 2003-04. If the dramatic increase of weeds remains unchecked at its rate, it would not be long for the lake to get extinct from the surface of the world and this is a very serious concern of our state government led by our CM N. Biren Singh who has already called for conservation of environment, forest & wetlands of state for the present and future generations. We have also witnessed that most of the shore area of the lake dries up in the winter season and it leads to the less production of Yellang, Loklei, Pullei, Komprek, Thangjing and Thamchet, which the lake was producing in plenty in the past; and this has affected the livelihood of the dwellers of this lake, he added.
Chairman LDA urged that the LDA will examine and find a feasible mechanism to conserve this threatened lake from extinction in consultation with all the concerned stakeholders at the earliest possible time. He also said that with a long term vision, LDA will adopt the mandate of ‘Wise Use Policy’ for this endangered lake. Restoration and conservation of our state’s wetlands is an important facet of the Hon’ble Chief Minister’s Environment Agenda for Manipur
MLA Dr Y Radheshyam also appealed to the dwellers of the lake for their active and valuable contributions in the conservation mission. He stressed on the dire need for conservation; restoring the lake’s ecological balance as well as ensuring that economic avenues of the lake dwellers are protected.
As part of the inspection, the team also visited the surrounding areas of Pumlenpat including the 13 channels/streams that flow into the lake, namely: Thongyai Khong, Thongjin khong, Natek Khong, Kakyaiachouba Khong, Kakayaimacha, Maramba Maril, Khongman Maril, Khongjao maril, Dhabalo khong, Ningol khong. Chowdar khong, Laishram Khong and Thounaojam khong.