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Divide Manipur into two union territories, say MPs from Northeast

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New Delhi: As Manipur continues to simmer over the passing of three landmark bills by the state government in a special assembly called by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, tribal parliamentarians from the Northeast have suggested that the “creation of two union territories” out of existing Manipur is the only solution to the prevailing impasse that has claimed the lives of eight civilians in the recent clash.

The parliamentarians, who are considered to be veteran tribal leaders of the Northeast, have also stated that if the governor gives the assent to the bills, then the clashes that Manipur will witness will be far more extreme than what it has witnessed in recent times.

credit: www.topnews.in
Meiteis in Manipur credit: www.topnews.in

“It has been proven that the tribals and the Meiteis of Manipur cannot co-exist peacefully in the same state. If the governor gives the assent for the bills that have been passed, the tribals, including Kukis, Hmars and Nagas, will start revolting, which will be far more extreme than what Churachandpur has witnessed recently. However, if the government doesn’t give the assent for the bills, then the Meiteis will go on hunger strike and commit suicide. So, it’s a complete deadlock for the government,” Khekiho Zhimomi, veteran Naga leader and the lone Rajya Sabha member from Nagaland, told.

The 70-year-old leader who has fought for the cause of the Naga tribes residing in the northeastern states has asserted that by creating two union territories out of Manipur the central government can look after both the territories directly.

“In the form of good neighborhood the three laws can be appreciated or else the three bills will become the bone of contention in case the two communities are asked to stay together. This is for the satisfaction of both the groups. The solution needs to be balanced and concrete,” Zhimomi said, and added that the tribal communities and the Meiteis being compelled to stay together would be an artificial solution.

Tribals in Manipur credit: thealternative.in
Tribals in Manipur
credit: thealternative.in

The tribal belts of Manipur comprising five districts — Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong, Chandel and Churachandpur – constitute 75 percent of the state’s area and have a population of 500,000 to 600,000, while the valley part of the state dominated by the Meiteis has a population of more than 1.4 million and an area of only 5.5 sq km.

The rift between the Tribals and the Meiteis has existed for decades. However, it intensified on August 30 after the Congress-led Manipur Government passed three bills — Protection of Manipur People Bill 2015, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Bill 2015, and Manipur Shops and Establishments Bill 2015 – of which the tribal population has taken exception to the Manipur Land Reforms Bill which ostensibly brings all land under the Manipur government and makes sale to outsiders difficult.

Even if the dominant Meitei community of Manipur has been demanding the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) to restrict the entry of outsiders or “mainland Indians”, the tribal population of the state has not been a part of this agitation considering that the ILP agitation is a Meitie ploy to gain Scheduled Tribes status, setting the already marginalised tribal population back further.

The fear is also that the land will be taken away by the state, that the chieftain’s power (the custodian of tribal land) will be eroded and made redundant, and that the tribal population will be pushed out and marginalised further.

Speaking over the issue, Thangso Baite, MP from Manipur, said, “Creation of two union territories out of Manipur definitely can be a possible solution; however, the sequence of events happening in the states needs to be observed a bit more closely before making the final decision.”

“I will take up the issue with the central government very soon and let’s see what the central government has to say about it. Commenting on all this at such an initial stage might be problematic for the state, but let’s see how things can be taken up,” Baite told.

Baite, who happens to be a Kuki, became a victim of the recent violence when his house in Churachandpur was burnt by the protesters after the three bills were passed.

(Rupesh Dutta IANS)

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Loktak Lake: World’s Only Floating National Park

Loktak Lake is a beautiful stretch of water that resembles a miniature inland sea

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Currently, Loktak faces problems due to the construction of a barrage at the only outlet of the lake. Wikimedia Commons
Currently, Loktak faces problems due to the construction of a barrage at the only outlet of the lake. Wikimedia Commons
  • Loktak Lake is famous for the Phumdis floating over it
  • These Phumdis are inhibited by around 4000 people
  • Loktak faces problems due to loss of vegetation cover

Located near Moirang in Manipur, Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the Northeastern pars of India. The lake is famous for it’s ‘Phumdis’; located on the largest Phundi, the Keibul Lamjao National Park, is the last refuse of Sangai (an endangered animal, also the state animal of Manipur). Currently, Loktak faces problems due to the construction of a barrage at the only outlet of the lake.

ALSO READ: ONGC and Unesco Join Hands to get India’s Largest Coastal Lagoon ‘Chilika Lake’ the World Heritage Site, Tag

Loktak Lake Phumdis

loktak lake phumdis, Local people construct their huts on Phumdis for fishing and other livelihood uses. Wikimedia Commons
Local people construct their huts on Phumdis for fishing and other livelihood uses. Wikimedia Commons

Phumdis are a series of floating islands that cover a substantial part of Loktak lake area. They are heterogeneous masses of vegetation, soil and organic matter, in different stages of decay. The largest single-mass Phumdi covers an area of 40 km2. Local people construct their huts on Phumdis for fishing and other livelihood uses. Loktak Lake Phumdis are inhabited by about 4000 people.

Loktak Lake Tourism And Conservation

The Loktak Lake is designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on March 23, 1990. It was also listed under the Montreux Record on June 16, 1993, “a record of Ramsar sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur”.

loktak lake tourism, 55 rural and urban hamlets that surround the lake have a population of 100,000 people. Wikimedia Commons
55 rural and urban hamlets that surround the lake have a population of 100,000 people. Wikimedia Commons

Loktak Lake is a beautiful stretch of water that resembles a miniature inland sea. You can catch an aerial-type view of the lake from Sendra. The Sendra Tourist Home with an attached Cafeteria is a sought after tourist spot. Boating and other water sports are organized here at Takmu Water Sports Complex.

ALSO READ: Taj Lake Palace: Floating Palace in Udaipur is the Ultimate Destination for a Romantic Break

Loktak Lake Map

Loktak Lake map, Loktak Lake and location of a multi-purpose Hydropower Project. Wikimedia Commons
Loktak Lake and location of a multi-purpose Hydropower Project. Wikimedia Commons

Loktak gains its waters from Manipur river and several other tributaries. It’s the only outlet is ‘Ungamel Channel’. The five major rivers with an indirect catchment area of 7,157 km2 (2,763 sq mi) are the Imphal (also called the Manipur River), the Iril, the Thoubal, the Sekmai and the Khuga.

Though hydrological data on river basin has not been adequately monitored, the Department of Earth Science, Manipur University has in its report of 1996 assessed the average runoff of Manipur River as 519,200 ha·m (4,209,000 acre·ft; 5.192 km3) from a total catchment area of 697 km2 (269 sq mi) at the Ithai barrage. The groundwater potential has been assessed estimated at 44 hm3 (36,000 acre⋅ft) per annum.