Loktak Inland Waterways Project

The Shipping Department has given approval under the centralized sector scheme for the construction of the Loktak Inland Waterways project in Manipur. The scheme has been approved on the basis that it will not cause any harm to the environment and its flow will not affect the natural resources.

Significance:

The project cost is estimated at Rs 25.58 crore. The project will develop the Inland water transport connectivity in North East states and give a boost to the tourism sector as well. 

Ecological concerns:

In and around Loktak Lake area, the fishing community has strongly objected to an Inland Waterway Project that destroys its biodiversity and the livelihoods of fishermen. Use of motorboats might affect the breeding of fish and disturb the annual migratory birds that visit the lake.

Loktak Lake:

  1. The Loktak Lake is the largest fresh water lake in North-East located at Moirang in Manipur.
  2. It is known for its floating surface phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation , soil and organic matter in several decomposition phases).
  3. Keibul Lamjao National Park, the only floating national park is located on these phumdis.
  4. The park is home to the endangered Sangai or Manipur brown-antlered deer. It is also the state animal of Manipur.
  5. Loktak Day is celebrated every year on the in the month of October.
  6. Loktak lake has been designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1990.
  7. In 1993, it was also listed under the Montreux Record of sites whose ecological character has changed, is changing or about to change.

 

Inland waterways:

Inland waterways is an extensive network in the form of rivers, canals, backwaters and creeks. Inland waterways in India include – Ganges – Bhagirathi – Hooghly rivers, the Brahmaputra, the Barak river, the rivers in Goa, the backwaters in Kerala, inland waters in Mumbai and the deltaic regions of the Godavari-Krishna rivers.

Inland waterways are fuel-efficient, cost-effective, environment-friendly transportation.

Inland Waterways Authority of India:

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the statutory authority responsible for the development and regulation of Inland Waterways for shipping and navigation.  It was constituted under The Inland Waterways Authority Of India Act, 1985.