Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Economy [Paper-II]: Infrastructure in Indian Economy, Inland Waterways
- Ministry of Shipping gave approval for the development of Loktak Inland Waterways Improvement Project in Manipur under the central sector scheme.
- The estimated cost of the project is Rs 25.58 crores.
- The project will give a boost to the development of inland water transport connectivity in the North-eastern states and will also boost the tourism sector.
What is Inland Waterways?
- It is defined as a stretch of water, not part of the sea, over which craft of a carrying capacity not less than 50 tonnes can navigate when normally loaded.
- This term covers both navigable rivers and lakes (natural water-courses, whether or not they have been improved for navigation purposes) and canals (waterways constructed primarily for the purpose of navigation).
About Loktak Lake
- It is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India and is located at Moirang in Manipur.
- It is the only floating lake in the world due to the floating phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters at various stages of decomposition) on it.
- Keibul Lamjao National Park located on the Loktak Lake is the last natural habitat of the “Sangai” (Rucervus eldii eldii), the dancing deer of Manipur.
- Keibul Lamjao NP is the only floating National Park in the world.
- This ancient lake plays an important role in the economy of Manipur. It serves as a source of water for hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply.
- The lake is also a source of livelihood for the rural fisherman who lives in the surrounding areas and on phumdis, also known as “phumshongs”.
- Considering the ecological status and its biodiversity values, the lake was initially 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.
- According to All Loktak Lake Areas Fishermen’s Union, Manipur (ALLAFUM), implementation of the Loktak Inland Waterways project will destroy the lake’s environment and biodiversity.
- According to them, using motor boats at the lake will cause immense harm to the aquatic animals/lives in the lake.
[Source: All India Radio, northeasttourism.gov]