Worldwide Save Loktak Lake Campaign

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25+ Cities in 3 Continents

On 7th March, 2010, the North East Centre for Environmental Education & Research (NECEER), Imphal in partnership with more than 20 organisations across the globe, launched a worldwide campaign to Save Loktak in 25 Cities (23 Indian Cities; New York and Washington, U.S.A and London, U.K.) and 5 Towns across the globe. Save Loktak Lake: Lifeline of Manipur was the theme of the campaign.

First Phase

In the first phase of the campaign (7th March 2010), the campaign was organised in 5 cities of the country – Imphal, Delhi, Guwahati, Silchar and Shillong. The campaign is a three long awareness programme initiated by NECEER, Imphal for the conservation of Loktak Lake. More than 600 volunteers, 32 city Coordinators, Publicity Coordinator and 1 Worldwide Co-ordinator are involved in organizing this campaign. The campaign is to create awareness about the conservation of Loktak Lake, the largest fresh water lake in Northeast India. The lake was recognised as Ramsar site in 1990. Keibul Lamjao, the only floating national park in the world is situated at the south west part of the lake. It is home to the endangered Manipur brow antlered deer „Sangai‟ - Cervus eldi eldi and many endangered species.

The lake has been a main source of income and sustenance for inhabitants of the area. For the last few decades the lake has been facing all round destructions due to both natural and anthropogenic activities. Rapid expansion of „Phumdis*’, siltation, pollution, agriculture and adverse effect from Loktak Hydropower Project are some of the main problems which had led to an alarming destruction of the lake. Involvement of youth and mobilization of public for the conservation of Loktak Lake is the main objective of the campaign. The campaign is supported by more than 20 international and national organisations. The campaign will conclude next year with a grand campaign at the vicinity of the Lake by involving the local inhabitants, local NGOs and Government officials.

Imphal Campaign

Campaign at Imphal was organized by NECEER, Imphal in association with Legend Studio, Manipur at Central Hall of D.M. College of Science from 10 am to 5 pm. The event was graced by Thounaojam Ibobi Singh, Project Director, Loktak Development Authority (LDA) as Chief Guest Dr. RK Ranjan Singh, Manipur State Coordinator, IBCN (Bombay Natural History Society); Dr. Naorem Iboton Singh, Dean, College of Agriculture, CAU, Imphal; Koijam Brojen Singh, Joint Secretary/Publicity & Library Secretary, All Manipur Bar Association and Dr. Kh. Shamungou Singh, Former Lecturer, DMC of Science, Imphal as Guest of Honours.

Chief Guest (Imphal Campaign), Thounaojam Ibobi Singh, Director, Loktak Development Authority (LDA) speaking at the event.

Environmentalist Dr. R.K. Ranjan expressed concern over the deteriorating condition of the lake and need for urgent action for the conservation of Loktak Lake. He also highlights the problems that the lake is now facing vix. rapid expansion of weeds (phumdis), siltation, pollution and effluents from Loktak Hydro electric power project. Renowned Wildlife biologist Dr. Kh. Shamungou spoke on the rich biodiversity of Loktak Lake and its importance in the ecological balance of the region. Highlighting the cultural and economic importance of the lake, Dr. Iboton call upon the people of Worldwide Save Loktak Lake Campaign Manipur to save Loktak - the ancient cultural centre of Manipur. Conservation Activist, Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh, Managing Trustee of NECEER, Imphal and Worldwide Co-ordinator of the campaign spoke on the role of youth and local people in the conservation of fragile ecosystems of Manipur. He emphasized his lecture on the motivation of youth and their involvement in the protection and conservation of rich biodiversity of the state.

Prior to the seminar, a cycle rally was organised at 10 am from Kids Foundation, Ghari to DMC of Science followed by a painting competition for school students on topics- “Save Sangai”, “Save Loktak” and “Conserve nature for better future”. Imphal Campaign was coordinated by Mohen Naorem.

Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh, Managing Trustee, NECEER, Imphal distributing prizes.

Manipuri Actress Bala taking part in the cycle rally at Imphal Campaign (UB Photos). Eastern Chronicle.

Delhi Campaign

Delhi Campaign was organized at Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Smiti, Delhi. The event was graced by Dr. Th. Meinya, Member of Parliament, Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency as Chief Guest and Dr. Irfan Qureshi, Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi as Guest of Honour.

Dr. Thokchom Meinya, MP (Lok Sabha) speaking at the event.

Speakers delivered lectures on the need of conservation of this natural heritage. Manipuri Cultural Dance, Street play and interaction programme were also organized at the venue. Co-ordinator of the Delhi Campaign was Ms. Mehnaz Nasreen.

Street play by Centre for Media Studies, GGS Indraprastha University, Delhi

Manipuri Cultural Dance at Delhi Campaign

During the interactive session, the youth had a series of questions and queries on the status of environment in Manipur, conservation strategies and government initiatives.

Guwahati & Silchar Campaign

Guwahati and Silchar Campaigns were organized in association with Environ, Assam at Guahati University, Guwahati and Women‟s College, Silchar respectively. Mr. Kripaljyoti Mazumdar was Co-ordinator of Guwahati and Mr. Chinmoy Choudhury was that of Silchar.

Vice Chancellor, Gauhati University inaugurating the „Save Loktak and Deepor beel Campaign‟, Guwahati.

NECEER, Imphal and Environ, Assam in association with Abhiyatri and Panchatava also organised a campaign to save Deepor Beel, another Ramsar site of Northeast India. The event was chaired by former PCCF of Assam, M. C. Malakar. In order to mobilize the youth, a Quiz competition was organised during the pre-event programme of the campaign at P. Dutta Seminar Hall, Gauhati University and Art competition in Parijat Academy, Deepor Beel.

Students during the Quiz competition at Guwahati.

Shillong Campaign

Shillong Campaign was organized at Police Bazaar. 32 volunteers took part in the campaign and created awareness to the public by distributing pamphlets and interactions. Rajkumari Jashmi was the city Coordinator.

Volunteers at Shillong campaign

Prior to the launch of the campaign, several pre-event programme were organised. An awareness programme was also organised at India Gate on 29th November 2009 with the help of students of GGS Indraprastha University, Delhi. In the month of February 2010, lecture and interaction programme were organised at DMC of Science, Imphal College and Modern College to create awareness and to involve the youth in the campaign. Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh, World-wide Co-ordinator and Rajkumari Jashmi, Shillong Co-ordinator during their interaction with college students call for the active involvement of the youth and academicians in the conservation of this natural heritage.

Second Phase

Second phase of the campaign started at Kolhapur, Maharashtra on 11th April, 2010. The campaign was organised at four places in Kolhapur: 1. Bhavani mandap, 2. Mahalaxmi temple, 3. Rankala lake and 4. Bindu Chowk. Mr. Lulel Sagolsem was Campaign Co-ordinator.

Volunteers at Kolhapur campaign

As part of the second phase, NECEER, Imphal in association with Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and E- Worldwide Save Loktak Lake Campaign Con, Mumbai organised the campaign at BNHS, HornBill House Kalaghoda, Mumbai, Maharashtra on 22nd May, 2010. Among the list of speakers were Sachin Singh, Area Manager - DD Greenpeace India, Ganesh Nochur, visiting faculty of TISS, former campaign director of Greenpeace India with 20 years of experience in Environment related fields, Anand Pendharkar (Founder SPROUTS Environment Trust) - Wildlife Biologist & Educator and James Mc Mayengbam founder E-con and coordinator of the Mumbai Campaign. The Seminar was attended by approximately forty individuals from different backgrounds.

On the very day, a campaign in association with Indreni Pariwar was also organised at South Sikkim and Darjeeling. Mr. Puran Giri was the Campaign Coordinator.

Speakers at Mumbai Campaign