India’s first floating elementary school inaugurated on Manipur’s Loktak Lake
India’s first floating elementary school named Loktak Elementary Floating School was inaugurated at Langolsabi Leikai of Champu Khangpok floating village on Loktak Lake in Manipur.
The first of its kind school aims to provide education to drop outs students as well as illiterate adults. Currently it will provide education to around 40 children from Class I-III by engaging two local teachers.
It was opened under the initiative undertaken by All Loktak Lake Fisherman’s Union with the support of an NGO People Resources Development Association (PRDA).
The school was established to arrest the sudden high dropout rate of children living in the Champu Khangpok floating villages who were rendered homeless due to the recent evacuation of phumdis. More than 700 floating huts were removed by Loktak Development Authority as part of clearing encroachment in the lake under the Loktak Lake (Protection) Act 2006. It had resulted in displacement of the fishing community and their children who were forced to discontinue their education.
About Loktak lake
- Loktak lake is the largest freshwater lake in northeast India. It is referred as the lifeline of Manipur and plays an important role in the economy of Manipur.
- The ancient lake is famous for the phumdis (also known as “phumshongs”), the heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic matter at various stages of decomposition floating over it.
- It serves as a source of water for irrigation, drinking water supply and hydropower generation for the local people. It is also a source of livelihood for the rural fisherman.
- Keibul Lamjao National Park is one of Phumdis in the lake. It is only floating national park in world and is last natural refuge of endangered Sangai deer.
- It was designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1990. Later it was also listed under the Montreux Record in 1993.
- It is also an Important Bird Area as it’s a potential breeding site for waterfowl and is a staging site for migratory birds. In recent times human activity has led to severe pressure on the lake ecosystem.