Public consultation resolves to oppose construction of more big dams in State

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IMPHAL, May 3: A Public Consultation on Tipaimuk Dam and Indigenous People Rights was organised by the Citizens Concern for Dams and Development (CCDD); North East Dialogue Forum; Centre for Research and Advocacy at the Manipur Press Club today.

The participants of the consultation resolved eight points, including to appraise the NHRC (National Human Right Commission) officials during the visit to Manipur to meet all the communities affected by the Tipaimuk Dam project and their representatives and highlight the human rights concerns.

Other resolutions are: Tipaimukh Dam project should not be build over the Barak River due to its enormous scale of impacts on the flora and fauna, natural heritage of Manipur and the threats to the livelihood, survival and human rights of Indigenous people depending on Barak River.

It also said the Government of India should fully abide by the recommendations of the Forest Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) in its rejection of the Clearance for Tipaimuk dam project in July and August 2013;

Further it said MoEF should revoke the Environment Clearance Granted for Tipaimukh Dam in October 2008 taking into account the stern objection by the affected communities in all the five public hearings from 2004 to 2008.

It also said any negotiation on Tipaimuk Dam between India and Bangladesh should not be held without the rightful participation of Indigenous people of Manipur affected by the project.

It also further affirmed that Indigenous people`s self-determination rights over their land, forest and resources and to develop and define all development priorities in Manipur as also outlined in the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples Right 2007, should be respected.

During the function, the Chairman of the Mapithel Dam Affected People, Dominic, appealed the people of Tipaimuk not to compromise on money matter, and this will be the verdict on the integrity of Tipaimuk villagers.

He continued that the people of Chadong still regrets having said `yes` to the fraudulent promises that their village and villagers will be developed after the construction of Mapithel Dam.

The village has been affected by flood and still the local MLA, Government and other leaders have not yet come to enquire about the abysmal condition faced by the people.

He said the Government has not even conducted a medical camp but some NGOs and CSOs extended help and conducted medical camps.

He said the village had been vandalized making the villagers homeless, food deficient and today parents find it hard to bear the schools fees of their wards.

Moreover, he said the villagers are prone to malaria and fear several other diseases will come to affect them shortly.

He alleged that the government deceived the people by chanting false promises to get their project complete.

Chairman of COHR, Phunindro Konsam reiterates that the Tipaimuk Dam project will lead to extensive submergence of agricultural land and forest, destroy fishing ground, cultural sites and other livelihood means of indigenous people of Tamenglong and Churachandpur. It will also adversely impact on the rich biodiversity of Manipur, he added.

The proposed Tipaimuk Dam project will involve felling many trees and other plants without proper and comprehensive impact assessment, which will ultimately lead to enormous hardship befalling the indigenous people of Manipur, threatening their very survival.

He said that the high seismicity of Manipur poses dangers to the constructed mega dam reservoirs.

Tipaimuk dam which the government is planning to construct is against humanity as well as against the environment, and the Government should build it only after getting the approval of the people, he added.

Phunindro Konsam said that the people will not oppose any developmental project but the Government should provide proper resettlement and also consider measures for sustainable development.

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