INDIA’S FIRST FLOATING SCHOOL OPENS AT MANIPUR’S LOKTAK LAKE

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Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the country, has now become home to first of its kind Loktak Floating Elementary School. Situated about 50 km from Imphal, the school has been inaugurated at Langolsabi Leikai of Champu Khangpok village in Manipur.

The Loktak Lake is referred as the ‘Lifeline of Manipur’ as it is highly productive and many lives depend on the lake for endurance. The lake is also an Important Bird Area as it is a potential breeding site for waterfowl and is a staging site for migratory birds.

This ancient lake serves as a source of water for hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply. The lake is also a source of livelihood for the rural fisherman who lives in the surrounding areas and on phumdis, also known as “phumshongs”.

Now the Loktak Lake has added a feather to its cap by supporting the first of its kind Floating Elementary School. It aims to provide education to drop outs students, who were rendered homeless due to the recent evacuation of phumdis.

“As most of us are uneducated and mostly depend upon on fishing as a meagre source of income, we are unable to send our children to school to another place. So, looking at the current scenario, we decided to set up a primary school here initiated by All Loktak Lake Fishermen’s Union in collaboration with People Resources Development Association,” said Oinam Rajen Singh, a local.

“Once the programme is successful and provides quality education to students, we will expand our project and increase the classes as well. Based on the government’s drive on free education to all, we will increase the class up to 8th standard so that opportunities are also given to the drop-out students,” he added.

The school will not only cater to the need of the children but for the illiterate adults as well. The school will be accommodating around 25 students and two teachers from the community.

The honorarium of the volunteers will be sanction by the PRDA, under the project called ‘Empowering vulnerable local communities for sustainable development’, which is funded by Action Aid India.

It is worth mentioning that the Loktak Development Authority had removed more than 700 floating huts as part of clearing the lake after the introduction of Loktak Lake (Protection) Act 2006.

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