IMPHAL, June 17: A media team visiting Chadonang Village in Ukhrul district had to use boats to wade through the water which had already started submerging large parts of paddy fields in the village.
Large parts of paddy fields in the surrounding area have been submerged in water reportedly ever since the Mapithel Dam Watergates were closed on January 15 this year.
Villagers of Chadonang, Thawai, Riha and Ramrei convened a public meeting today at Chadonang Village wherein the villagers also resorted to sloganeering and demanded `Don`™t evict us by force,` `Review Mapithel Dam first, construct later,` etc.
In the name of development, the government has cut off the livelihood of the villagers, lamented Chadonang Village chief Wungnaoyo.
He said the paddy fields which provide the villagers who are mostly farmers with their livelihood are already submerged in water and it is very likely that water would soon enter the houses.
Wungnaoyo also said that the villagers are not against the construction of the Mapithel Dam, but are against the fact that the expert committee formed to determine the compensation for the affected people is yet to submit its report. The committee is suppose to determine the compensation to be paid for the affected homesteads, land, forest, paddy fields, etc. he said.
At the same time, a case against the construction of the Mapithel Dam is still pending before the Manipur High Court and the National Green Tribunal, he continued.
We are not against developmental works, but the affected villagers should be properly compensated, he continued.
`Treat us like humans,` Wungnaoyo lamented before adding we are also people of the land.
Deteriorating livelihood in the name of development is a serious issue noted Citizen Concern for Dam and Development, CCDD Convenor Yumnam Jiten and said that previous dams constructed in the State all have failed drastically in their purposes.
He said Mapithel Dam will submerge more than 595 hectares of land.