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Facts about the first Bird Sanctuary of Manipur to be established at Thinungei village in Bishnupur district

1.The proposed area, as per the Government notification, is 103.10 hectares (1.031 sq. km) which comprises of 13.93 hectares of swampy area, 35.37 hectares of floating biomass (phumdi) and 53.80 hectares of open water.
2. As per the independent study, the total State land in the eastern side of Thinungei adjoining Loktak Lake is 84.3 hectares out of which only and only 13.93 hectares will be covered under the Bird Sanctuary. The remaining 70.3 hectares is being encroached by individuals with their own fishing business. On the northern side of the proposed sanctuary area, 32 hectares is being encroached and on the southern side 38.3 hectares hectares is being encroached.
3. One of the claims of the agitators is that they do not have sufficient area for fishing. Their claim is true because most of these swampy areas have been encroached by the self interested people. The real fisher people are not allowed to even enter these encroached areas. So, automatically the fishing areas of the fisher people have reduced dramatically. This needs the intervention of the state government.
4. Still these fisher people have not protested against the illegal activities of the few encroachers till date. They are now protesting against a small area of just 13.93 hectares of swampy area, which is to be used for the development of the whole village.
5. Moreover, the whole area of 103.10 hectares (1.031 sq. km) is such a small area for a bird sanctuary. They have enough areas for fishing outside this area. It is also a fact that these fisher people do not only fish in this area but go far and wide even upto Mayang Imphal. So their claim that their fishing space has been reduced and their livelihood has been strangled is a faulty proposition.
6. Many in the agitation are not real fisher people. There are so many fake fisher people who have their own vested interest which will be prevented by the proposed Bird Sanctuary. In fact many of them are encroachers and they are spearheading the agitation by misleading and misinforming the innocent and real fisher people.
7. Encroaching illegally in the shoreline area of the core zone of the Lake in the name of fisherman in this Ramsar Site, a wetland of International importance, is a total gross violation of the National Wetland (Conservation & Management) Rules, 2017 and Manipur Loktak Lake ( Protection) Act, 2016.
8. Many of these so called fisher people are also engaged in fishing by electrocuting, poisoning and poaching of waterbird. These activities are against the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and Environment Protection Act, 1986.
9. These agitators have been spreading misinformation and has even collected signatures, mostly with coercion, from the unsuspecting villagers, to serve their ulterior motives.       

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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