Last Updated: Tuesday, 02 September 2014, 13:52 GMT

India: No place to go for forcibly evicted lake dwellers

Publisher Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Publication Date 25 November 2011
Cite as Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), India: No place to go for forcibly evicted lake dwellers , 25 November 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ed37b072.html [accessed 3 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Authorities in the north-eastern state of Manipur forcibly evicted over 3,000 residents of floating islands (Phumdis) in Loktak Lake between 15 November and 22 November, according to the Telegraph of Calcutta. The huts were burned and the residents lost all their belongings, including essential items such as fishing equipment, school certificates and valuables.

The evictions were carried out under the Loktak Lake (Protection) Act of 2006, which prohibits settling on Phumdis and fishing in the core area of the lake, and were justified by the authorities as a measure to protect the lake's ecosystem. The evicted people were offered Rs. 40,000 (about $800) as compensation, but no land to settle on. They took shelter in a stadium, which the police then forced them to leave.

However, the environmental protection aims of the authorities may have masked other reasons for the evictions, including their effort to drive insurgents out of the area. The deterioration of the ecosystem of Loktak Lake has mostly been the result not of human settlement, but of hydrological changes introduced by the Ithai Dam commissioned in 1983. The lake has also been reported to be polluted by urban waste coming from the rivers that pass through Manipur's cities.

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