The project which consists of Maphou (Mapithel) Dam was constructed against the wishes of upstream dwellers according to villagers. With construction almost completed, water from Thoubal River has inundated all farm lands, residential areas, forest and private lands which belong to Chadong villagers.
Even though the State Govt has approached the villagers for providing relief, no packages of relief and resettlement programme were accepted by the villagers, stated headman of Chadong village, Wungnaoyo Kasar in an interaction with media persons this morning at the village.
The main purpose of the multipurpose dam was to provide irrigation, generation of electricity and water supply system. But as of now the dam has failed to serve its purpose, he said. Though villagers have been protesting the construction of the dam right from the beginning, the State Government allegedly constructed the project without any due consent from villagers.
The so called ‘development’ has forced hundreds of innocent villagers out of their homeland which is more of human rights violation rather than development, Wungnaoyo added.
With prime agricultural lands of Chadong measuring 595 hectares including forest covers after being completely inundated, villagers are now forced to exploit nearby virgin forests to meet their daily needs.
Reaffirming their stand not to take the compensation, all the villagers of Chadong are still fighting for their rights unless the State Govt takes up adequate steps to put out their misery.
Moreover, compensation for private forest lands which accounts for more than Rs 75 crore debited against the CAMPA account has not yet reached the rightful land owners, he added.
Villagers have been demanding the State Govt to accept the recommendations of the Expert Review Committee which was constituted in 2008. “The Government adopted forceful methods to construct the dam like using military might and divide and rule policy among the affected villagers”, Wungnaoyo added.
With the dam water covering school and health care centre, the villagers are facing a series of inconveniences. With little or no transportation facilities available, any emergency cases could lead to disastrous consequences.
Villagers are mentally, emotionally and morally harassed by the alleged uncaring attitude of the State Govt and its agencies.
“The way Maphou Dam has been constructed raises serious question on how well will it perform as many multipurpose project in the State have failed in the past to give their rightful purpose,” stated Wungnaoyo.
Mention may be made that there is a pending case against the State Government for constructing the project from the High Court of Manipur and the National Green Tribunal.
As a sign of unwillingness against forceful blocking of Thoubal River, militarization in the area and destroying the livelihood of the people, villagers continue to show their protest against the State Govt till today.