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Imphal, April 10, 2017 (DIPR): Forest and Environment Minister, Shri Thounaojam Shyamkumar today inspected the periphery of the Loktak Lake, the largest fresh water lake in the North East India, in Bishnupur district. He was accompanied by the Principle Chief Conservator of Forests - Shri PN Prasad, Loktak Development Authority (LDA) Project Director -  Shri L. Bhagaton Singh along with other officials.

Minister Shyamkumar along with the Oinam MLA L. Radhakishwor Singh, officials of LDA and Forest Department visited Toubul Village in Bishnupur district and interacted with the villagers where the locals shared their grievances. From Toubul Village, the Minister along with the team headed towards Keibul Lamjao National Park, where the Minister spoke with the officials of the Forest Department. Later, the Minister and the team headed towards for Sendra Park and Resort in Bishnupur.

Speaking to the media persons at the Sendra Park and Resort, Minister Th. Shyamkumar said, he will take up the matter of development work along the periphery of Loktak Lake with Chief Minister Shri N. Biren Singh. He added, the local MLA along with subject experts will be consulted for the development work of the area.

 Expressing grave concern over illegal encroachment, Minister Th. Shyamkumar said, illegal encroachers pose a big threat to the Loktak Lake and Keibul Lamjao National Park. He said the issue of encroachment can be tackled only by creating income generating jobs for the locals. He said Rural Tourism is an excellent way to create income generating jobs for the locals under which, a tourist can enjoy the experience of daily lifestyle of the locals by staying in indigenously built huts along the Loktak Lake periphery, fishing at the lake and eating delicious local cuisines. The Minister was hopeful that developing Rural Tourism will boost the economy of the state.

Minister Shymakumar further said, the main objective of the inspection of Loktak Lake periphery along with the experts is to consult and discuss all the possible steps and projects which can be undertaken by each department. He said the problems can be easily tackled at the earliest if all the departments take simultaneous action. Apart from co-operation among various departments, there is a need for public awareness, the Minister added.

Speaking on the issue of pollution of the Loktak Lake, Minister Shyamkumar said, cleaning only the surroundings of the Loktak Lake will not solve the problem of pollution. The Nambul River carrying waste products, including hazardous materials made of plastic,  drains into the Loktak Lake, contaminating the lake. The Minister added, there is an urgent need to look into all the water sources which is polluting the lake. (DIPR)