Manipur’s pressure on dams threatens the local environment and communities.


“Ngamu, pengba, ngaton or khabak, ngakra ” is the name given to the species of fish that have become extinct in the last 40 years. A gay resident of Thanga, an island village inside Loktak, the largest freshwater lake in northeastern India in the state of Manipur, has seen the lake area change. “Moirang phou, kakching phou, chimlei, Tao thabi,” he continues, talking about the varieties of rice that have disappeared from the lowlands around the lake. To be fair, the lowlands disappeared in the first place.

In one of the legendary times, Poubi Lai, the giant temple, the dragon-headed dragon, who lived under the waters of Lake Loktak , ate a man every night, until King Kabui Salang Maiba killed him with a trick. Is a myth For centuries, Poubi Lai Loktak has been a symbol of destruction at the community level for the people.

Then, four decades ago, in 1983, the catastrophe came in the form of a hydropower project, locals say – the Ithai Barrage on the Manipur (or Imphal) River, which uses Loktak as a reservoir. As of March 2022, Loktak Multipurpose Project is the only active hydropower project in Manipur, with an installed capacity of 105 MW (MW), and is the main source of power in Manipur.

A Ramsar site, or wetland of global importance, was declared in 1990, listed in the Montreux Records in early 1993, indicating that “Ramsar sites where changes in environmental character have occurred. Are happening or are likely to happen. ”

For three decades since then, there has been no shortage of stories that illustrate the dirty side of clean energy.

“Tao thabi(a type of rice), in particular, was a great source of energy; it was a favorite of local athletes; “Once found in abundance, it is becoming increasingly rare,” Ahongjao told Mongabay-India.

Among the fish he named are ngamu Chana / Snakehead, pengba Osteobrama belangeri, Ngaton or khabak Labeo Bata and ngakra Catfish, by other names.

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