Proposed Tourism Infrastructure in Manipur puts Loktak Lake Residents at Eviction Risk

Reported by

Thokchom Seema

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

September 14, 2016

September 14, 2016

Updated on

September 14, 2016

Location of Conflict

Moirang, Sendra, Ithing

Bishnupur

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Tourism

(

National Park

)

People Affected by Conflict

5280

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

16200

ha

Starting Year

2011

State

Manipur

Sector

Industry

Loktak Lake in Manipur is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India, marked by floating islands of biomass called _phumdis _by the local people. The lake is spread over 286 square kilometres, and the largest floating island on it, Keibul Lamjao, is the world's only floating national park, home to the endangered Sangai deer. Families living around the lake and on the _phumdis _depend on the lake for their living. In fact, about 12 lakh people in the state are said to be indirectly or directly dependent on Loktak Lake. The state government introduced the Loktak Lake Protection Act in 2006 to conserve the lake and develop the area for tourism. The Act stated that "no person shall without the previous approval of the Authority obtain any lake resources and also prohibited people from constructing houses on phumdis. Following this, in 2011, the houses of around 777 families in the _phumdis _were burnt down. Some moved to the side of the lake to continue fishing while some others shifted to other areas in the district in search of livelihood after they received some compensation from the state. Others refused to accept the compensation. Today, hardly 200 houses remain on the phumdis, and the residing families live in constant fear of eviction. On August 3, 2016, authorities from the Loktak Development Authority (LDA) evicted several families around Sendra ground after the club of the ground wrote to the local administration in December 2014 seeking permission to open a parking lot for tourists. After a field survey in January 2015, officials asked the families to move, claiming that the land was government property. When they refused, they were forcefully evicted. The fisherfolk have complained of a fall in the number of fish in the lake due to ecological damage. Several families are now moving away from the lake because of the dwindling supply of fish and the threat of eviction. Activists argue that a newly proposed plan called Loktak Manipur: An Integrated Plan for Wise Use (20202025) by Wetlands International South Asia and the LDA could be "ecologically disastrous and socially disruptive."
In 2020, the High Court of Manipur allowed the Government of Manipur to proceed with the implementation of the integrated plan. On January 23, 2021, Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren sought intervention from the Centre to facilitate funding from the World Bank for the Loktak Lake EcoTourism project.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Refusal to give up land for the project

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

1350

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Environmental Laws, Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection) Act, 2006
Sections 5 [This section prohibits access to the lake and its resources without the prior approval of the Loktak Development Authority]; Section 6 [This constitutes the Loktak Development Authority by whom compensation is owed]; Section 24 [This section provides for the setting up of the Loktak Development Fund from which any payments of compensation owed by the Loktak Development Authority would be paid]
Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017
Rule 5(h) [This rule requires the State Wetlands Authority to consider continuation and support to traditional uses of wetlands which are compatible with conservation]
Guidelines for implementing Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017 dated 2020
Chapter XIV [This part of the guidelines requires stakeholder impact to be considered while preparing an integrated management plan for conservation of wetlands]
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3(1)(i) [This section vests in communities the right to conserve resources which they have traditionally been conserving, including wetlands]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Non-payment of compensation/promised compensation

Incorrect estimation of compensation

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Torching of houses

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

In 2011, the LDA burnt around 700 huts on the Phumdis, providing little time and compensation to the people to evacuate.

Date of Violation

November 15, 2011

Location of Violation

Loktak Lake

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Refusal of compensation

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Loktak Development Authority, Gram Panchayat

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Public private partnership for tourism(Sendra Park and Resort by The Classic)

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur, Indigenous Perspectives, Sendra Youth Club, Wetlands International South-Asia

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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