IMPHAL | MAY 27: Activists in Manipur are spending sleepless nights these days giving series of awareness programmes to the villagers as several oil companies begin to carry out surveys to drill oil.
In the past few days several awareness programmes have been organised both in the valley and in the hills by the concerned groups and activists.
Noted activist Aram Pamei told NNN today that the villagers are firm in their stand not to allow any company to drill oil in their lands. “When we interact with villagers in Nungba, Sibilong, Oinamlong and Paitol areas the villagers expressed their unhappiness that these oil companies do not respect their rights.”
According to Aram Pamei, the villagers told them (activists) that few days back a company sent their engineers/officials to carry out a survey to Oinamlong but the villagers sent them back saying they would not allow such survey.
Aram Pamei also said that villagers told them (activists) some company engineers were planning to come to Puiluan (Kombiron) village for survey on oil “but till date they have not come so far.” The noted activist said that the government and oil companies are violating the rights of the villagers.
Another noted activist, Jiten Yumnam expressed apprehension that there have been “renewed efforts” from the oil companies to drill oil in Manipur. “These companies see only profits while ignoring the welfare of the people,” lamented Jiten Yumnam. He said that the authorities concerned and companies should consider the negative environmental effects and loss of the community because of their interests.
Meanwhile, a two-day community consultation on “Protection of Land, Forest and Rivers” was held at Sibilong village and Phaitol villages under Tamenglong district on May 25 and 26 respectively, which was jointly organized by the Zeliangrong Students Union, Manipur, Sibilong Village Authority, Phaitol Village Authority, Committee on the Protection of Natural Resources in Manipur and Peace Core Team, Manipur, according to a joint press release from the organizers.
“The community meet was organized to promote communities rights and defense of their land, forest and rivers amidst aggressive push for extractive industries andlarge infrastructure projectsin Tamenglong district and other parts of Manipur,” it stated.
The release said, the participants of the community meets resolved to defend their land and resources from any exploitation and plunder by oil companies such as the Asian Oilfield, Oil India Limited, Jubilant Energy, Alphageo etc. The participants also resolved to endorse the positions of previous public consultations on oil exploration to reject any form of surveys and direct oil exploration and drilling from Manipur by the oil companies, it added.
Further the statement continued that Jahouitue, women union president, Oinamlong Zone, Tamenglong district, shared that the people of Tamenglong district had made their position clear against oil exploration in the district as asserted in the public hearing on oil exploration conducted by Manipur Pollution Control Board and Jubiliant Energy in the year 2012 at Nungba town, Tamenglong town, Jiribam etc. “The position still remains the same and there is no discussion to accept the renewed attempt by Oil India Limited to carry out Oil exploration in Tamenglong and other parts of Manipur,” she added.
Jahouitue contended that oil exploration will also lead to widespread contamination of land and intense militarization with subsequent human rights violations and emphasized the importance to defend our land and resources from oil companies, the joint press release added.
Source: Imphal Free Press