IMPHAL | Dec 19 : The Centre for Research and Advocacy (CRAM) has expressed its grave concerns over the continued pursuance by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) for the construction of 66 MW Loktak Downstream Hydroelectric Project across the Leimatak River.
CRAM considers the NHPC’s pursuance as untimely and that it reflects a complete disregard for the indigenous peoples of Manipur who have long been demanding the review and decommissioning of the Ithai Barrage of the 105 Loktak Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project, said a release.
The said call of the people was made in light of the severe environmental impacts and its detrimental effect on the livelihood of communities living in and around the Loktak wetlands area, it added. That, the said Loktak project instead of its proposed irrigation of 50,000 hectares of land, had rather submerged massive agricultural land. Thus, undermining Manipur’s food sovereignty and reducing it to a food dependent state, the release related.
But in spite of these actualities, NHPC without assuming any responsibility for the loss of land and livelihood of the people, it is insistent on its path of accruing more profit, the release mentioned.
The release further stated that the construction and operation of the proposed project on Leimatak River would mean the continued operation of Ithai Barrage for another 50 years. But with no MoU or operating guidelines and the extensive devastation that it had incurred over four decades, Manipur cannot afford the operation of Ithai barrage any longer, it added.
Therefore, CRAM reiterates that the proposed construction of 66 MW Loktak Downstream Project is premature and should be withheld. That, it would only aggravate the woes and suffering of indigenous communities in Manipur, the release maintained.
Lastly, the Centre for Research and Advocacy demands the revocation of MoU signed between the government of Manipur and NHPC on September 26, 2008. It also further urged the central government as well as the state government to immediately initiate steps to decommission the Ithai Barrage, in empathy with the prolonged demands of the people of Manipur, the release concluded.
Source: Imphal Free Press