The suspension of Nungba public hearing following protests from the general people on oil exploration is certainly an eye-opener. It has shown the raw energy and the might of the people in the decision making process. Everyone knows the public hearings at Jiribam and Parbung was eyewash. The Jiribam hearing was off-limits to most of the protestors and the Jiribam ADC presided over officials and a few protestors and empty chairs. The Jubilant representative had made a power point presentation on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) to the small gathering on the technicalities of the oil exploration which was Greek to most of them including the officials. Even then, 31 village authorities and the Committee on the Protection of Natural Resource in Manipur had submitted objections to the proposed exploration. In fact, the people objected to oil exploration. While the Jiribam hearing was full of empty chairs, the Parbung hearing was crowded with villagers of the area. However, the issue is not of whether the hearing was crowded or not. What matters is whether an informed public was present at the hearings. The public needs to be properly informed of ramifications and possible consequences in an exploratory process and only an informed public would be able to give an informed opinion. We have earlier opined in this column that the time of conducting public hearing has not arrived yet. Only when the general public has become fully sensitized on the issue of oil exploration, such a hearing could be held. The Nungba people have once again shown the way of the limits public protests could be stretched and achieve a desired objective. The objective is stop oil exploration and drilling of wells in the state. Disbanding the public hearing is a step towards that objective. Nungba has spoken and they made a pledge that if the Jubilant Oil and Gas Pvt Ltd continue with the drilling and exploration, than the people will come out stronger. The people of Manipur must congratulate and support Nungba. As they said in Nungba, the land and resources in Tamenglong, Churachandpur and Jiribam belong to the indigenous peoples of Manipur and that any development initiatives affecting the land and resources should be with full recognition of the peoples’ rights over the land and resources and by prior informed consent. The Petroleum ministry of the Government of India and the Jubilant group had signed contracts for petroleum exploration and drilling in Manipur without informing or taking consent of indigenous peoples of the state. Instead they chose to take the people for a ride. We understand oil involves serious money and it could create an economic boom in the state which has been living on hand-to-mouth basis through central ‘grant-in-aid’. The prospective oil reserves of Manipur oil wells are calculated around 5000 billion cubic feet, which is much more that the Nagaland oil wells. In the state 30 potential locations have been identified in two exploration blocks located in Jiribam, Tamenglong and Churachandpur. Then why is the Manipur public protesting to it despite such bright prospects. The ministry and the Jubilant group must ponder on this question. The people of the state are more concerned with the environmental aspect and the possible loss of livelihood in the event of oil exploration. They do not consider it wise to take things at face value. They simply want to be convinced. At present, they are not yet convinced and they do not want to be taken for granted. The objective of the exploration is to determine the potential of the crude oil reserves, dig wells and testing and further decommissioning wells which do not have adequate reserves. But, the environmental impact assessment (EIA) has practically kept mum on the possible hazards in the exploration and drilling. The general public needs to be explained in layman’s terms of both the merits and demerits of oil exploration. Some of the hazards of oil drilling includes loss of well control resulting in blow out (crude oil erupting), fire, explosion and oil spills. The ONGC exploratory wells in Nagaland had devastated agricultural land, forests and water bodies.
Photography Credit and Copyright: Rashingam Ngoruh Siroi hills/ Shirui hills ranges in the Ukhrul District of Manipur, India, at an elevation of 1730m–2590m above sea level. Picture speaks itself the beauty of the Siroy Hill
Kankhui Cave – Sculpted by Nature – Ukhrul Manipur Photography Copyright: Rashingam Ngoruh Khangkhui Cave is a remarkable natural lime- stone cave located at Ukhrul, Manipur, India. The big hall in the cave is the darbar hall of the Devil … Continue reading
Unique Manipur Yaoshang Sports – Bor Keina Competition – 2013 Photography and Credit: Loyangamba Khundongbam All types of sports are held during Yaoshang Sports meet at Manipur or different parts of the world for women, men and children namely Chaphu … Continue reading
View of Manipur Valley during evening time Photography Credit and Copyright: Moirangthem Ranjit This is the valley where we live. Surrounded on all sides by mountains and hills, once upon a time, this valley was submerged underwater. All waters were … Continue reading
Manipuri Meitei Association Bangalore – Yaoshang Sports Meet – 2013 – Bangalore The Annual Yaoshang Sports Meet, 2013 at Bangalore organized by Manipuri Meitei Association Bangalore was held on Sunday, 24 March at Country Club Lakeside, Attibele Hobli. 350 plus … Continue reading