Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Plans to Revive Loktak Lake

People always ask me,” I heard that Manipur is so beautiful”, and whenever they do so, I remember my childhood visits to the Loktak lake a 236.21 sq km expanse of wetland. Of my school picnics to the tourist lodge, of my family visits, of the prawn pakoda’s on the way back at that small town market.

There are many more scenic spots in Manipur, more exotic, but the Loktak lake epitomizes the natural beauty of Manipur. I haven’t been there in a long time, and I heard it is polluted and weeds have overpopulated et al.

But I still remember those days, and even as a kid with very little knowledge of artistic beauty, It always enthralled me and you wanted to keep staring at the horizon across the huge Lake, and the small fishing boats and the floating island. In my arts class, whenever we were asked to draw Landscapes, or what we called scenery, we always drew a lake with small fishing boats and fisherman on them. I guess, Loktak Lake had similar impact on many of us.

I feel sad that the govt. takes so little care of the Lake and that many people are denied the beautiful Masterpiece of the Nature that Loktak Lake really is.

Imagine yourself standing on a Hillock, soft winds caressing your face, and hair, the weather not quite sunny and you are looking at a vast expanse of a lake almost still but with tiny ripples and you see small boats, not ones kept by the tourism department, or Shikhara for tourists, but small canoe like fisherman boats. You will also these small huts on small floating inlands, some just small enough to fit a Hut. (These people live in abject poverty and the Loktak is their home).

There largest floating Island houses a Sanctuary where one can see the brow antlered deer or Sangai, a species of the deer to be found only on this habitat. With its Majestic antlers, it is sad that the species is endangered.

So it was music to my ears, err I guess it was my eyes, when I read this :
The future appears brighter for Manipur’s sprawling Loktak lake with the state government planning a massive makeover to turn it into a tourist hotspot.

As part of its multi-pronged plan to spruce up this largest freshwater lake in eastern India, the Okram Ibobi Singh government had engaged an Australian consultant to formulate a strategy following suggestions from the Planning Commission.

A project has since been formulated at a cost of Rs 400 crore and it will be forwarded to the Centre for necessary funding. [link]

I just hope the plan remains just that a plan, and a report. It will boost the tourism industry to a great extent.

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