IMPHAL September 20: The Mapithel Dam Affected Ching Tam Organization (MDACTO) fighting for the affected villages downstream of Mapithel dam is deeply saddened by the Manipur Assembly cabinet approval on September 13of Rs. 58 crore for compensation for the people of Chadong and Lamlai Khunou affected by Thoubal Multipurpose project.
Letsie Mate, coordinator of MDACTO in a release stated that the body consist of more than 16 villages living downstream of Mapithel Dam (Thoubal Multipurpose Project) and this representative organization has been party to the Expert Review Process set up on January 18, 2008, by the governent of Manipur in order to re-assess and resettle the affected villages as a result of the construction of Mapithel dam. Inclusion of downstream villages in the review process is seen in many circles as positive and progressive in dam building for the very fact that the downstream impacts have been completely ignored in most dam building activities.
It further stated that, in the expert review process, MDACTO has not only been participating in the meetings but the review team has visited several downstream villages and assessments of affected areas have begun.
Downstream villages have voiced their anger against the dam in the past.
It further stated that Lungmila Elizabeth who was injured in a rally is still lying paralyzed in her house in Louphong village. “If our problems are ignored we will have to come back to the street once again to fight for our rights. While we know that this dam is dangerous for us, we are willing to sacrifice for others in the state. However, the impact that we are going to face must be assessed and justly compensated and rehabilitated. We had given our faith in the Expert Review Committee and what we need is a comprehensive review, the release said”, it stated.
It further said that the cabinet approval is divisive and ill-motivated and is designed to divide the villagers. ‘This is not what we expected when the review was put in place. We still would seek the government to come to its sense and revive the Expert Review Committee. Any other process other than the Review will harm our trust in the government’, it said.