The public meeting was attended by Mr. M Ibomcha (Pradhan Phubala GP), Mr. T Rajen (Upa Pradhan, Phubala GP), Ms. Premila, (Member Phubala GP Ward no: 8), Mrs. N Manitombi Devi (President NCTLS), Mrs. N Leibak Leima (Secretary, ICS), Mr N Naba (Secretary, SCSAL ), Mrs. Th Kavita (Secretary, IMASML ), women folks, youths and elders of the community have participated the meeting.
Mr. Jenison, Member, North East Dialogue Forum was also present as a resource person and highlighted the following few statements. The oil exploration plan in Manipur simply constitutes a height of Indian imperialism and colonization process rooted in the plunder and expropriation of our land and resources in Manipur. With this new aggressive development, one wonders if the new development venture really help Manipur, or will it further reduce Manipur into a warp of dependency to outsiders, by destroying its land and resources and the social and political fabric of its people. The indigenous peoples of Manipur need extra care to respond to the dubious designs of the neo-liberal forces to usurp the land and resource of the people of Manipur and to annihilate their future. The efforts to explore and drill oil in Manipur involve disrespect of the people of Manipur and a clear non adherence of human rights based approach to development.
The Government of India and all oil companies should recognize that the oil and all resources in Manipur belongs to the indigenous peoples of Manipur and that they have exclusive rights to define and decide how to use, control and manage their resources. The Oil India Limited, Jubilant Energy, Asian Oilfield should stop all Oil Exploration & Drilling in Manipur. The Government of India should repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 and demilitarize Manipur and further should adhere to indigenous peoples’ human rights as outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 especially on the recognition of their right to self-determined development over their land and territories.
Mr. MK Saroj Khan, Member, Youth’s Forum for Protection of Human Rights and Co Convenor Committee on Voting for Change the resource person highlighted the Non Recognition of Indigenous Peoples Rights: Land, water and forest are crucial for the livelihood and inter-generational survival of the indigenous peoples of Manipur. By pursuing oil exploration related works without the consent of the indigenous peoples of Manipur, oil companies like Oil India Limited, Asian Oil Field, Jubilant Energy etc and the Government of India has failed to recognize that the land and all resources belong to the people of Manipur and they have self-determined rights over it. The Survey works for oil exploration by Alpha Geo Company and Asian Oil Fields in Manipur commenced without taking peoples consent in the year 2011, 2012 and 2017. The oil companies have failed to provide relevant information related to oil exploration, both on positive and negative impacts.
The Detailed Project Report, Environment Impact Assessment, Social Impact Assessment, Production Sharing Contract, the Petroleum Exploration Licensing agreements entered between the Government of India, Government of Manipur and the oil companies are not provided to the people. People are not aware of the conditions laid down in the agreements and on how the people in Manipur would benefit from oil exploration.
The survey for oil exploration by Alphageo and Jubilant Energy commenced without adhering to traditional decision making processes. Fines were imposed by Village Authority of Balongdai Village, Tamenglong District on officials of Alphageo Company for conducting oil surveys without informing the village authority in the year 2011. The effort to circumventing the traditional and community oriented land ownership practices is a clear cut case of undermining indigenous rights over their land and resources and a source of tensions.
Resolution of the Public Meeting
1. To Support in all the activities related to STOP the OIL EXPLORATION in Manipur.
2. Warned the Asian Oilfield Service Ltd, Oil India Ltd and other profit making companies to GO BACK and NEVER COME BACK TO MANIPUR.
3. No Means NO to OIL EXPLORATION as the people of Manipur have already suffered the false promises of the Developmental Projects like the people inhabited in Loktak Lake.
This Press Release was sent by Ms. T. Nomita, President of Youth Forum Human Rights, and can be contacted at youthforum(dot)humanrights(at)gmail(dot)com.