Minister junks weaving shed, floating dispensary plan

IMPHAL, 25th Nov: Forest and Environment Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar has cautioned government departments and private individuals from taking up any construction work in and around Loktak Lake, the largest fresh water lake in the entire North East region, while urging all concerned to dismantle the already existing/completed structures.
Addressing media persons at his New Secretariat office here Sunday, Shyamkumar said that no construction, whether by the government or by private entities, is allowed in and around Loktak Lake. If any such construction has already been completed, it must be dismantled as soon as possible as all these activities are adversely affecting the ecosystem of the largest fresh water lake in the entire North East region, he stated.
As such, the weaving shed set up for Handloom & Handicraft must be removed, and the plan to build a floating dispensary should be scraped as well. If any illegal construction is found to be taken up in and around Loktak Lake without getting clearance from the authorities concerned, the minister said, the Forest Department would initiate legal action against them and demolish the said structures as well.
The minister appealed to all concerned to dismantle all illegal constructions including hospital, schools at the earliest, while firmly stating that there can be no development at the cost of the environment. He further appealed to the locals and others to stop any illegal construction and activities, which could harm the ecological balance of Loktak Lake.
Shyamkumar further stated that no unconventional method of fishing in and around Loktak Lake using battery and other electronic devices that are damaging the eco-system of the lake are allowed. However, he clarified that the conventional method used by local of Loktak Lake for livelihood is allowed including boating, agriculture and tourism, considering the hardships faced by them. The minister appealed to all concerned to adhere to the laws of the land.
Prior to announcing his displeasure over plans to undertake structural constructions on the fresh water body, minister Shyamkumar oversaw signing of a tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA); Diocesan Social Service Society (DSSS), Imphal and Riverbeki (OPC) Private Limited, Guwahati for exporting organically produced 15 MT (metric tonne) of dried ginger and turmeric.
The MOA was signed by Riverbeki (OPC) director Prajnan Kumar Roy; DSSS, Imphal director Avince Anthony Dilbung and MOMA Project Director K Debadutta Sharma.
Addressing media persons in this regard at his New Secretariat office here, Shyamkumar, who also holds the portfolio of horticulture and soil conservation, said that the tripartite MOA has been signed for exporting organically produced 15 MT dried ginger and turmeric. He hoped that the initiatives of MOMA under the aegis of Horticulture and Soil Conservation Department would benefit the organic farmers of the State.
Encouraging organic farmers of the State to continue working hard to increase the production output, he said that the farmers need not worry to find a market to sell their produces/products and assured full support from the department.
Stating that the buyers will export the products of Manipur to Europe and other countries, Shyamkumar said that the State would try to export more quantity of products in the near future, while also maintaining the quality of the products.
He further said that various initiatives have been taken up by the Horticulture and Soil Conservation Department with the mission of transforming Manipur into an organic state.
Pointing out that the products produced in the State have a unique taste, the minister hoped that the buyers and consumers would spike the demand of the products; thus, helping in the economy of the State. He then appealed to all stakeholders including the farmers to extend their full cooperation in making Manipur a chemical free state and place it on the global map with regard to the production of organic produces/products.
The minister also announced that an e-auction of organic produces will be done under the Ministry of Steel within next month and appreciated the higher authorities of the Horticulture and Soil Conservation Department for their cooperation with MOMA.
MOMA project director K Debadutta Sharma said that the MOA signed on Sunday will benefit around 2,000 ginger farmers and 2,500 turmeric farmers of the state. He expressed confidence that the initiative would surely encourage the organic farmers to increase their production and boost their morale.
Speaking on the technical issues, he said that earlier, the organic farmers of the State used to face problems in finding a market place to sell their organic produces/products. Although, the department is presently lacking in infrastructure such as grading of the organic produces, sorting out of organic produces, cleaning and packaging of the products, he said that the state could easily export the products worldwide once the infrast

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