Affected villagers oppose Thoubal project
Source: Manipur Mail

Imphal, March 14: The Thoubal Multipurpose/Mapithel project now under construction under heavy security personnel has been opposed by those affected by the project.

The 390 crores project aims to provide water and power and an earthen dam at Maphou is now under construction.

The dam will be 66m high and 1074m long.

Forty percent of the dam is now completed with the work undertaken by ANSAL and Progressive.

The Citizens Concern for Dams development (CCDD), an open forum since 1999 comprising of People's Movement, Association and organizations and individuals from different communities in cooperation with the International Rivers Network (IRN), celebrated for the 2nd time in Manipur on the 7th International Day of Action for Rivers, water and life, which falls on the 14th March 2004 as a part of the celebration at Louphong a village displaced in 1991.In the year 1991 Louphong villagers were forcibly uprooted & displaced without given proper time to arrange their new houses and were forced to stay in their temporary constructed tent houses.

Rehabilitation and resettlement were done without following the approval rehabilitation and re-settlement programmes and policies of the government of Manipur.

Construction of houses, granary, latrine etc, were done by the affected and displaced people themselves.

Completion reports of rehabilitation and re-settlement in respect of Louphong village submitted by IFCD is not correct.

Muster roll employees who have been serving more than 10 to 20 year are still not regularized.

Compensation for land and standing properties were paid unfairly on installment basis.

The initial investigation, survey and proposal for the construction of Mapithel dam-Thoubal Multipurpose project were done without the knowledge and prior consent of the affected villagers.

When the dam is completed, 6 villages will be completely submerged while another 3 villages will be partially affected.

The initial investigation, survey and proposal for the construction of Mapithel dam-Thoubal Multipurpose project were done without the knowledge and prior consent of the affected villagers.

Foreseeing the possible impacts on their livelihood and culture, the local people bean to protest, but the then government totally ignored and subdued the genuine claims and protest.

After much protest, the government and some people's representatives, on 26th June 1993 and signed 'A memorandum of agreement, terms and conditions for rehabilitation and resettlement programmes' for the affected villages and the rate of compensation for the lands affected by the construction of Mapithel dam-Thoubal multipurpose of the government and the effected villagers.

A look at the signed agreement will prove that it was a compromised position on the part of the villagers as the rehabilitation packaged will not be able to restore their previous livelihood base, however as a way make way for the dam the document was signed.

Without due recognition of this sacrifice, the government has failed to be transparent and helpful to the affected people and instead violently and in a piecemeal fashion breached the agreement till now.

It is to be noted that the cost escalation of the dam has gone up from the initial 47.25 crore to more than 400 crore now, though the compensation to be paid to the affected people has not been even raised since 1993.It is now resolved that since the government has failed to fulfill the earlier agreement it will agreed memorandum of 1993 is reviewed and a new re-agreement is made.

Further, it is sought that the new re-arrangement with the government should follow the recommendation of the world commission of dams recommendations.

The demand of the affected people of Mapithel dam is not new.

In Manipur we have seen the large scale destruction of not only the environment but also the livelihood of fishing families and agricultural farmers as a result of the Ithai barrage built for the Loktak Multipurpose project.

Despite these experiences the government is still continuing with its destructive dams and other developmental projects.

About 1181.62 ha of land will be submerged.

The meeting held today at the Louphong church attended by large numbers of people from the affected areas resolved to demand a white paper from the side of the government.

It further demanded to review the whole project as it is not acceptable.

Solomon the village chief said the government has given false promises to the people of the area.

The livelihood of the people will be taken away if the land is taken away.

Jonathan Jajo, Chairman South Tangkhul said the issue is not of any particular community.

As the people will be displaced a complete demographic change will take place.

Salam Rajesh said even in the case of Loktak lake which was completed long ago compensation problem is not solved.

The people should be consulted before taking any project he said.

NC Khuman Gen Secy, AMUCO said the people are hypnotized by giving false hopes.

Joseph Hinar said the people are not benefited by the dam.

Loktak and other dams in the state are conspicuous by their failures.

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