Threats of land grabbing discussed

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IMPHAL, January 31: The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur, organised a consultation on “Land Grabbing in Manipur” at Manipur Press Club on Friday.

The consultation, attended by communities affected by Mapithel Dam, Loktak Project, Heirok Canal Branch, Lamphel Yaipha Leikai, Tipaimukh Dam and the oil exploration plan in Manipur, was moderated by Dr RK Ranjan, senior environment.

Y Mani Khuman, president All Manipur United Clubs Organization,  Nganbi, JAC Against the eviction of Lamphel Yaipha Leikai attended as presidium members of the consultation.

Jiten Yumnam, secretary, Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur, provided the keynote address on the trend of land grabbing in Manipur and the challenges.

The consultation, organized to assess the existing and emerging pattern of land grabbing in Manipur was also attended by representatives of Asian Peasant Coalition, AGRA, MONLAR from countries such as Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines and Nepal, who shared their experiences on some of the key process of land grabbing and its impact on agriculture in their respective countries.

The consultation assessed the ongoing process of land grabbing caused by mega development projects, urbanisation, expansion of infrastructure projects, militarisation and possible threats and impacts on the food sovereignty of indigenous communities ofManipur.

Oinam Deben of All Loktak Lake Areas Fishermen Union expressed apprehension on the proposed Loktak ring road on the fishing and farming communities dependent on the  lake.

He appealed to repeal the Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006.

Thanmi Kashung of the Mapithel Dam Affected Villagers Organization expressed concern saying that the mega dam will submerge more than 1000 hectares of prime agriculture land along the Thoubal River and another 595 acres of forest land due to Mapithel Dam and the various impacts on their livelihood and ecology.

Laishram Mandir, spoke on the impacts of Mapithel Dam, proposed Heirok Canal branch, especially their access to water resources for agriculture.

Tongbram Gunadhor also spoke on the hardship inflicted by the forced eviction at Lamphel Yaipha Leikai.

Pangambam Tomba, president, Committee on Protection of Agriculture Land, Heingang also spoke on how agricultural land are targeted for forcible acquisition without consulting the land tillers.

Rajesh of Sekmai Protection Committee spoke on impact of sand mining along Sekmai River, the loss of farm land due to creation of Qllts Bottling Plant and militarization etc. The representatives from the Asian peasant Coalition, Roda, Budi, Lakpriya, and  Poudel drew similarities of experiences of land grabbing and impacts between the people in other parts of Asia and Manipur.

They expressed their reservation on the promotion of neo liberal policies in the increasing globalized world which has caused loss of means of production of the small scale Farmers, fishing communities, indigenous peoples etc across the world.

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