Political parties promise to conserve environment in Manipur
Imphal, Feb. 24 (EMN): Unlike the past, political parties in Manipur made promises to conserve the environment and more importantly, the natural resources, forest and Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in eastern India in their manifestos.
In its election manifesto, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promised to ensure the protection and preservation of rich and unique natural resources of Manipur and strictly monitor illegal felling of trees in all protected forest, reserve forest and open forest and to mass campaign for the preservation of forest fire.
In a 30-page manifesto having 20 key promises, the saffron party, which fielded their candidates in the entire 60 assembly constituency, promised to formulate a comprehensive action plan/policy to safeguard the endangered species and flora and fauna of the state and a strict ban on the usage of single use plastics.
Promising to preserve, develop and maintain the state’s iconic gem, the Loktak Lake taking into consideration all the key ecological parameters, it also promised the overall development of the lake by restructuring Loktak Development Authority for comprehensive conservation and management of lake and its associated wetlands.
Assuring to revisit the state water policy for overall improvement of water resources in the state, the BJP also promised “to convert Champu Khangpok floating village at Loktak Lake to Heritage floating village to conserve and promote the local heritage.”
On the other hand, opposition Congress, which fielded 54 candidates also promised “to create State Forest Development Corporation and Loktak Lake Research and Training Centre” besides forming Manipur state energy policy if they are voted to power this time.
In its 30-page manifesto with 30 promises and 11 goals in 37 different sectors, released on February 4, the grand old party promised Mountain economy for an integrated development of the land and people of the hill districts besides promising to introduce sustainable forest certification to identify and label genuine sustainable forest, recognise ‘village authority’ including ‘Thoubei’, a village implementing body as stakeholder in forest development and sustainability schemes in the hills.
The congress also promised to provide fuel wood economy cooking stoves and technology to the hills and its adjacent rural areas to reduce deforestation, smoke borne disease, and pollution and also to prohibit environmentally hazardous economic plantation in forest and non-forest areas.
Notably, most of the political parties included the opportunities and challenges of Loktak Lake in their election manifestos.
For instance, the National People’s Party (NPP), a key ally of the ruling BJP led coalition government in Manipur, in its 25-paged manifesto promised “to review Loktak Protection Act of 2006 and amend the legislation to make it more scientific and people centric and align it with Ramsar convention and the national wetlands rules 2017.”
It promises to work towards enactment and enforcement of legislations to protect wetland systems and ensure proper management of inland water systems in municipal areas with the specific aim of curbing pollution.
On climate change sector, NPP, which was the first political party to release the election manifesto for the elections promised to review, re-draft and update the state action plan on climate change according to the changing needs, work towards better public transport systems and pedestrian friendly township to reduce carbon footprint besides scientific review of neo-liberal policies such as the Manipur Hydroelectric Power Policy 2012.
Other parties such as Janata Dal (United), which also fielded 38 candidates, promised to promote Geographical Indication (GI) status of local species and grow them extensively in the state as GI tags have great potential to play a major role in trade, while the Nationalist Congress Party, which nominated eight candidates, promised that the ‘aged old woods’ would be preserved for a healthy environment.
Interestingly, Communist Party of India, a pre-poll partner of Congress in the ensuing elections, promised to take special steps to protect and preserve forest to face global climate change. It also plans massive tree plantations at the catchment areas of the major rivers in the state. Besides, it targets to promote horticultural crops in the waste lands.
Naga People’s Front, another BJP ally in the coalition government which fielded 10 candidates mostly in hill constituencies, is yet to release its manifesto.