Public Consultation on Oil Exploration in Manipur at Heirok Part II Devi Mandap

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The consultation was organized by Social and Youth Progressive Org Heirok A/C, Divide Nongpok Youth Club Heirok Part II (DNYVH), Chaokhat Khongthang Semgat Nupi Lup Heirok (CKSNLH) , Heirok Dev Association Meira Paibi Lup (HDAMPL) and Environment Conservation Network, Manipur.

The Program was graced by Ms. Kh Gunamani (President CKSNLH), Mr. Th. Dhamendra (Pradhan Heirok Part II GP), Ms.M Gambhini (President HDAMPL), Mr. L Bungo (Secy DNYVH), Mr. Th Ashokumar (Lecturer Heirok Hr Sec) and also Mr. Dhanabir Laishram (Social Activist) and Mr. Jenison (Member NEDF) were also present as a Resource person.

The program was attended by Youth of the area, Meirapaibis, Elders, Community Leaders etc.

Mr Dhanabir Laishram Highlighted the Following few points:

1) Demographic Impacts: There are also worries that oil Exploration and drilling and creation of necessary infrastructure, such as roads and railways would increase the influx of illegal immigrants and outside population in Manipur and undermine indigenous populations and affecting other social and cultural impacts.

2) Cost and benefits and Corporate profits (the politics of royalty): There are claims by the Government that oil exploration will bring in limited royalty to the coffers of Manipur Government and foster industrialization. However, Assam is a prima case of how exploitation of its oil resource for more than a century has only fostered more inequality and impoverishment and conflict in the state. Indeed, Assam continues to languish as one of the poorest state in India[1]. The legacy of 105 MW Loktak Project is of false promises and devastation of Loktak Wetlands and of peoples’ livelihood and survival rights and of unaccountability of NHPC.

3) Water Contamination: The principal sources of water pollution resulting from oil exploration and production operations are “produced water”, “Drilling fluids”, “Cuttings and well treatment chemicals”, “Spills and leakages and cooling water” etc. In exploratory drilling, the main liquid effluents are drilling fluids and cuttings. In production operations – after the development wells are completed – the primary effluent is produced water. The high pH and salt content of drilling fluids and cuttings poses a potential impact to fresh-water sources. Other leakage and discharge of drainage waters will result in pollution of ground and surface waters[2]. “Produced Water”, which is coming out from oil reservoir and separated from the oil and gas in the production facility is one of the largest waste products of Oil drilling. As “Produced Water” is directly discharged to surface waters without properly treated in a situation of improper or lack of monitoring, there is huge concern with the oil exploration in Manipur. The heavy metal concentrations of these waters will negatively impact the health of the people of Manipur for depending on such water.

Mr. Jenison highlighted the Following few points:
1. Impact of Gas Flaring: Gas flaring or burning of gas is widely used to dispose of natural gas liberated during oil production and processing where there is often no infrastructure to make use of the gas.[3] These flaring will be the essential and key component of oil exploration and drilling in Manipur. Atmospheric contaminants from gas flaring include oxides of Nitrogen, Carbon and Sulphur particulate matter, hydrocarbons and ash, photochemical oxidants, and Hydrogen Sulphide, which are very acidic. The flares also contribute to acid rain, thus acidify the soil, thereby causing soil fertility loss and damaging crops. Gas flares also contain widely-recognized toxins, such as benzene, which pollute the air. There will be rise of asthma and bronchitis among communities. Gas flaring will also lead to emissions rich in carbon oxides, nitrogen oxides, Sulphur oxides and soot. High temperatures around the gas flare also have substantial negative impact on the crop production. Additionally, communities around gas flaring sites in Niger Delta, Nigeria are inconvenienced with the roaring noise and intense heat from the flares and continuous illumination. Oil companies and the Government of India have been silent on the potential hazards of such waste and impact on soil and water and subsequent impacts due to oil exploration plan all over Manipur.

2. Violation of India’s Own Laws: The Asian Oilfield and the Oil India Limited have violated India’s Environment Protection Act, 1986 and EIA notification, 1994 by failing to take Environment Clearance and Forest Clearance for the project. The lack of accountability of oil companies is evident even before the project comenced operation.

Resolution of the Meeting:
1. Will not sell Manipur to the Oil companies.
2. To stop coming in of Multinational companies in Manipur.
3. Will fight to protect Manipur.

This Press Release was sent by Mr. Laishram Shintha, President of the Social and Youth Progressive Organisation (SYPO), and can be contacted at youthforum(dot)humanrights(at)gmail(dot)com.

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