Thursday, June 13, 2024

Loktak fishermen threaten agitation against eviction


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IMPHAL: Hundreds of dejected fishermen residing in and around the frame of Loktak Lake in Manipur, the biggest fresh water body in the North East region on Monday urged the State Government of Manipur to withdraw its plan to evict them from their floating huts built on the Phumdis (floating bio-mass) of the lake and threatened to launch intense agitation if the demand is not considered by the Government.

Ningthoujam Rameshwor, secretary All Loktak Lake floating Dwellers Progressive Committee said a few months back, the Government of Manipur served notices to the residents living on the banks of Loktak Lake that an eviction drive would be taken up from November 16 after their compensations are paid informing them to shift to other places.

Noting that thousands of people are depending on the lake for their livelihood, Rameshwor said the attitude of the Government is inhuman in nature, he said they are calling upon the Chief Minister to reconsider the decision and save the lives of the people residing in the lake as well as in its vicinity. The fishing community will not take the compensation but they will protect their huts and a mass suicide agitation will be launched very soon if the Government does not withdraws its decision within a short period of time, Rameshwor warned.

A memorandum was also submitted to the Chief Minister in the regard in which the committee said the Government should revoke the order of eviction and evacuation at the areas, alleging that the move of the Government is akin to forcibly taking away the stomachs of the fishing community. According to an official data, there are around 53 settlements around the lake in Bishnupur, Imphal East and Thoubal districts. Around 12 per cent of population of the three districts is living in the 236.21 sq. km lake.

Out of a total population of 1,977, mostly fishermen, around 733 are residing on Phumdi huts built on the lake and 84 per cent of them are permanent dwellers, according to the 2001 census conducted by the Government. (NNN)


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