DIPR Manipur

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Published on Tue, 02 May, 2023 Both

Imphal, 29thApril, 2023 (DIPR): The Loktak Lake is revered as “Ima” by the inhabitants of the Manipur valley and is considered the lifeline of the State, Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate ChangeShri Bhupender Yadavsaid today, asserting the lake’s significance to Manipur.

Shri Bhupender Yadav was addressing a two-day Regional Consultative Workshop for Restoration and Integrated Management of Wetlands at Hotel Classic Grande, Imphal.

The Union Minister said it is a very prestigious natural gift to Manipur and acts as the largest source of fish, edible plants and fresh water.

Shri Bhupender Yadav called on every citizen of the country to join hands with the government to secure the wetlands eco-system of the country.

Asserting that the purpose of preserving the wetland is to also preserve the lives and livelihood of the locals, he said that without people participation it is not possible to conserve and preserve our wetlands.

Wetlands conservation and sustainable management are deeply interrelated, he added.

Shri Bhupender Yadav also said that today because of theexpansion of cities, consumption habits, over explosion of population, our wetlands are in danger. But despite all the difficulties, India achieved the significant milestone on its 75th year of Independence by declaring 75 wetlands as Ramsar sites. We are committed to increase this number and committed to increase more awareness of the wetlands, he added.

Further speaking on the importance of wetlands, the Union Minister said that the wetlands are vital for our food and water security and that it acts as the kidney of landscape.

Wetlands have deep connections with our beliefs and practices, he added.

The Union Minister also said that it is pertinent that wetlands are mainstreamed in the developmental agenda. This requires integration of conservation and sustainable development of wetlands at district level plans and programmes, prepared for different sectors such as tourism, disaster management, environment and others.

        The Union Minister also said that conservation of wetlands cannot be the government’s responsibility alone, wetlands are essentially societal assets with the government acting as trustee of these assets and unless the entire society participate, and partner in wetland conservation tangible change cannot be achieved.

        He also highlighted that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had launched Mission Life in October 2022 stating that that Mission Life puts individual and collective duty on everyone to live a life that is in tune with earth and doesn’t harm it.

The Union Minister also spoke on the importance of Amrit Dharohar Mission and said it will be implemented over the next three years to encourage optimal use of wetlands, and enhance bio-diversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism opportunities and income generation for local communities.

Chief Minister Shri N. Biren Singh said wetlands are one of the most valuable ecosystems onearth and are crucial for maintaining biodiversity, regulatingthe water cycle, and mitigating climate change, Chief Minister Shri N. Biren Singh.

He said despite their importance, wetlands are under threatglobally, with over 35% having been lost in the lastcentury alone.

One wetland that is facing particular challenges isLoktak Lake of Manipur, Shri N. Biren Singh said adding that efforts are on for rejuvenation of rivers falling into the lake to save the lake.

Loktak is also home to a diverse range of plant andanimal species, including the endangered Manipurbrow-antlered deer, also known as the Sangai, he added.

However, the ecological, economic, and cultural valueof Loktak Lake is under threat, he said adding that cabinet sub-committee has been formed in connection with efforts to fence the entire lake.

Over the last few decades, the lake has been heavilydegraded due to human activities such as pollution,overfishing, and encroachment, he said adding that the degradation of Loktak Lake has had severeecological consequences, including the loss ofbiodiversity, the spread of invasive species etc, the Chief Minister said.

Furthermore, Loktak Lake is also economicallyimportant for the surrounding communities, who rely onthe lake for fishing, agriculture, and tourism, he said adding that the cultural value of Loktak Lake is also significant, he added.

The Chief Minister said it isconsidered a sacred site by the indigenouscommunities living around the lake, who use the lakefor religious and cultural ceremonies.

To save Loktak Lake and other wetlands like it, there isan urgent need for effective management andconservation efforts, he said.

The Chief Minister also highlighted that one crucial step is to regulate human activities aroundthe lake, such as reducing pollution, regulating fishingpractices, and promoting sustainable agriculture.

Additionally, sustainable tourism practices can bepromoted to raise awareness about the ecological,economic, and cultural value of Loktak Lake and togenerate revenue for conservation efforts.

Loktak Development Authority (LDA) has been doing atremendous job in this regard, he said adding that the LDA over the years has grown into a professional lakemanagement organization through the experiencesgained and a systematic process of capacity building atvarious levels to effectively respond to the challenges ofmanaging Loktak Lake through integrated lake basinmanagement practices.

He further expressed hope that this workshop conducted under theSahbhagita Mission to conserve and manage thecountrywetlands will deal with the challenges that layahead of us in conserving the wetlands of our country.

As Sahbhagita Mission involves local communities inconservation efforts, it is only through participatoryprocesses that the Mission will succeed in creatingawareness about the importance of wetlands and theirservices, including water purification, flood control, andcarbon sequestration, he added.

A book “Cultural significance of Indian Wetlands” was also released during the session.

The session was also attended by Minister for Forest, Environmentand Climate ChangeShri Th. Biswajit Singh,Loktak DevelopmentAuthorityChairman, Shri M. Asnikumar Singh, officials of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, GOI andGOM, representatives from all States of the North Eastern region, experts, intellectuals among others.

During the session, Joint Secretary MoEF& CC Government of India Dr. Sujit Bajpayee briefed on the workshop while the respective moderators of the discussions presented the recommendations of the roundtable discussions.