MDAVO demands govt to halt Mapithel Dam construction

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IMPHAL, January 10: The Mapithel Dam Affected Village Organisation (MDAVO) stated that the government should revoke its plan to construct a cofferdam and to resume the construction of the Mapithel dam only after meeting their demands.

Talking to media persons at a press conference today, MDAVO chairman RS Sakadhen said the construction which has been started forcibly must stopped, alleging that the State is devoid of proper governance as the government doesn`™t pay any heed to demands made by the public until there is no violent agitations.

Stressing that the dam shouldn`™t be commissioned until the consent of the affected communities is taken, he said that the piecemeal approach in rehabilitation that divided people should end and the government should conduct detailed impact assessment for rehabilitation and resettlement through the Expert Review Committee of 2008.

The civil body also condemned the ongoing efforts of the government to resume the construction of the dam under the Thoubal Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project from today, including the construction of a cofferdam.

Sakadhen said the purpose of building a cofferdam at the Mapithel dam site over the Thoubal River to complete the dam construction before bringing an amicable solution with affected people will submerge agriculture land and forest areas in the up-stream villages of the project and displace the villagers.

There are plans afoot to resume the dam construction despite the fact that the National Green Tribunal is still studying the matter to decide whether it`™s in violation of Forest Rights under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and the Forest Right Act 2006, he added.

The construction of the Mapithel dam has violated several laws ever since the project was first approved in 1980. The Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) is being carried out in a piecemeal and divisive approach. Beginning from multiple violations of the 1993Terms of Agreement for Rehabilitation with affected communities, the government has failed to conduct a holistic impact assessment sought by communities.

The construction of Mapithel dam is still fraught with the absence of a detailed impact assessment on communities with their rightful participation, especially impact on forest land and other livelihood sources further down the downstream portion of Thoubal River.

The MDVO chairman said even though various agitations were launched, the government remains silent and hasn`™t compensated the villagers of four affected villages.

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