Manipur: Loktak authority to develop Champu Khangpok as heritage floating village
Manipur's Loktak Development Authority is working to develop Champu Khangpok floating village as an iconic heritage village with the support of the state and central governments. The village, located on Loktak Lake, is made up of floating huts and is home to around 330 residents. The authorities plan to improve sanitation, establish healthcare facilities, and clean the lake. The village was also recently granted electoral status, and a government primary school will be set up. The promotion of Champu Khangpok as a heritage village was included in the Bharatiya Janata Party's election manifesto in 2022.
Manipur’s Loktak Development Authority (LDA) is taking up steps to develop Champu Khangpok floating village as an iconic heritage floating village as a collective effort of both the state and central governments.
“As a collective effort of the governments,we will try all possibilities to improve and convert the floating village as an ideal iconic heritage village considering its highly unique traditional and heritage value,” said LDA chairman M Asnikumar. “We’ve already formed a committee in this regard for conservation and management of this unique village in the lake with scientific inputs.”
The floating village conservation & management committee includes ten floating hut dwellers, including five women,district level officers and LDA officials.
The village, made up of floating huts called Khangpok, is located on the oval-shaped Loktak, which is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India. A wetland under Ramsar convention, located about 45km south of Imphal, it has around 330 hut dwellers, including 312 electorates, whose main occupation is fishing.
The majority of dwellers live on floating huts called Khangpok, built on what is locally known as Phumdis, which is usually a 2-metre thick mass of aquatic vegetation in the lake, formed over a period of time. It is said that an approximate 150 square metres free-floating phumdis can support a hut for five-six people easily.
The Election Commission of India had approved the electoral list and polling booth for the floating village at Loktak lake on November 11, 2020. The authorities are going to set up a government primary school so that it can also be used as a polling booth at the floating village.
“Not only this, the first step is to improve their sanitation by providing necessary infrastructure, establishment of basic health care facilities apart from cleaning the river mouths at lake etc with scientific interventions,” LDA chairman said.
LDA, which had once removed the athaphum (circular fish culture pond), hut or house on phumdis within the premises of Loktak Lake excluding Champu Khangpok last year, has a new mandate which include ecological approach with community participation.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (NBJP) had announced promotion of Champu Khangpok floating village- the only natural floating village in India and possibly in the world- as a heritage floating village in its election manifesto in 2022.