A public meeting to welcome the announcement of Manipur’s first bird sanctuary at Thingungei village under Bishnupur district was held under the aegis of United Committee Thingungei (UCT)at Thingungei village, about 40 km south of Imphal on Sunday.
Most of the speakers including locals, nature loving persons, environmentalists, including officials have expressed the need to have a bird sanctuary to have a better environment friendly sustainable future for the people living around Loktak, the largest freshwater lake in north-eastern India.
Loktak and its associated wetlands in Manipur becomes stopover site of many birds including rare migratory birds mostly waterfowls during winter and Thinungei, a village on the western side of the lake, becomes one of the most important place after the experts detected the large number of waterfowls at the proposed Thingungei sanctuary site during winter since the beginning of bird census on Loktak in 2011.
According to the functionaries of UCT, a conglomeration of 13 organizations of Thingungei area said that proposed area, as per the government notification, is 103.10 hectares (1.031 sq km) which comprises of 13.93 hectares of swampy area, 35.37 hectares of floating biomass (phumdi) and 53.80 hectares of open water.
The total state land in the eastern side of Thinungei adjoining Loktak Lake is about 84.3 hectares. Of which only 13.93 hectares is under the bird sanctuary and remaining 70.3 hectares is being encroached.
Similarly there are also reports of encroachment in northern and southern side of the proposed sanctuary.
They said encroaching the shoreline area of the core zone of Loktak Lake, Ramsar Site, a wetland of International importance, is a total gross violation of the National Wetland (Conservation & Management) Rules, 2017 and Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection Act, 2016.
Besides fishing by electrocuting, poisoning and poaching of waterbird are also against the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and Environment Protection Act, 1986.
Regarding the allegation of reduction of the fishing areas due to the proposed sanctuary, the UTC members said this needs the intervention from state government.
Informing that the whole area of 103.10 hectares (1.031 sq km) is such a small area for a bird sanctuary, it also claimed that majority of villagers of Thinungei supports the establishment of bird sanctuary.
People for animal Manipur also welcome the move to develop bird sanctuary at Thinungngei,according to a release.
Meanwhile Joint Action Committee(JAC) formed against the Announcement of Bird Sanctuary demanded to revoke the the government notification. Holding festoon against the proposal of bird sanctuary, members of the JAC including womenfolks also staged a silent rally at Thingungei area while the public meeting welcoming the initiative was on Sunday.