Riha and Thiwa villages denounce rehabilitation programme on Maphithel dam

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IMPHAL, Sept 25: The Riha and Thawai village have denounced the government’s handling of rehabilitation and resettlement program of Mapithel dam affected villages asserting it as divisive strategy. 

A joint statement issued by the two villages said “We are witness to the government’s secret moves and strategies such as instigating and forming dubious committees and approving unfounded special packages even before the completion of the Expert Review Committee (ERC) on Rehabilitation and Resettlement”.

It pointed out that the Mapithel Dam (a component of Thoubal Multipurpose Project) was launched in May 1980. After 13 years, a Memorandum was reached between the government and the affected people on June 13, 1993. However, due to failures and delay in executing the memorandum, exploitative tactics on the part of state government in implementing within the stipulated time and acknowledging its incompleteness, the ERC was constituted on January 18, 2008, it said.

It elaborated that the ERC, which comprises of more than 20 government departments and representatives of Manipur University, Central Agricultural University, had several rounds of consultative meetings, field visits and deliberated various issues and concerns of the affected people.

As per the review reports of the 3rd meeting of ERC dated April 5, 2008, 7th ERC meeting of February 11, 2011 and a letter of acknowledgement from the government dated March 8, 2011 it is without doubt that both Riha and Thawai villages will be rehabilitated and resettled and additionally that “uniformity will be maintained for all the affected villages whether they are under submergence or not”, it further asserted.

It alleged the government of playing divisive strategies which is aimed at ending the Expert Review process, while the ERC is still going on. This is reflected in the Enhanced package 2008, Office memorandum of June 13, 2011, Recognition given to the defected Mapithel Dam Multipurpose Project Displaced Villages Committee (MDMPDVC), and Special package 2011, which was approved by the cabinet on September 13, 2011 meant only for Chadong and Lamlai Khunou Village.

It questioned why should the Government of Manipur act otherwise, conniving along with some vested group for selfish motive, thereby inviting ill-feelings, wastages and disintegration sidelining the problems of affected people.

The Riha and Thawai people urged the concern authority for rectification and seek that the legally established Expert Review Process be made to function besides appealing the ERC members to uphold the responsibility bestowed on them.

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