IMPHAL, Sept 15: The Mapithel Dam Affected Villages Organization (MDAVO) has decried the recent state cabinet approval of Rs. 58 crore for compensation to the people of Chadong and Lamlai Khunou affected by Thoubal Multipurpose project s illegal and goes against the process of the Expert Review process set up by the state government.
A release of MDAVO stated that the state government set up the Expert Review Committee (ERC) for Rehabilitation and Resettlement on January 18, 2008 which comprised of more than 20 governemnt departments, Manipur University, Central Agricultural University experts and affected people representativies. The review was to conduct a comprehensive and extensive research, prepare a report and ultimately implement the same. Till date the ERC has sat only 7 times and very little progress is made. The Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Review is yet to be finalized till date.
However, the Government and the Irrigation and Flood Control Department (IFCD) is now trying to scuttle the Review process as they may by now have realized that resettling and rehabilitating Mapithel Dam affected people is cumbersome, costly and most importantly requires sensitivity to sufferings that affected people go through. This is not what civilized governemnts do to affected people. There are already international and national policies that safeguard affected people and ways and means that resettle people in a humane way, and we affected people of Mapithel Dam thought that the government of Manipur understood when they formed the ERC, the release stated.
The organization further appealed to the authorities concerned not to take up any project that might hamper the lives of the common people.