Locals protest airport expansion

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Locals holding a sit in protest on Wednesday against the construction of a boundary wall around the acquired lands for Imphal Tulihal Airport expansion.
IMPHAL, May 9: Locals and JAC members against the expansion of the Imphal Tullihal Airport today staged a sit in protest at the Ningombam Awang Leikai Community hall.

The sit in protest was jointly organised by the Human Rights Alert and Citizens Concern for Dams and Development in protest against the construction of a border fencing around the recently acquired lands meant for the expansion of the airport.

The demonstrators also held a public meeting and discussed the present issue regarding the government’s plan of expansion of the airport and its effect on the displaced locals.

Speaking to media persons, on the sidelines of the meeting, JAC convenor Dinesh lamented the acquisition of private lands in the name of development in the state as it adversely affects the displaced locals. Even if the government has to do so, it should consider the rehabilitation and resettlement issues of the displaced families before undertaking the said project, he added.

Further speaking to media persons, he expressed that the government had already assured providing rehabilitation for the displaced families at Heibokching at the earliest, however there is no visible construction at the site for the rehabilitation of the families at present.

Without considering the sorry plight of displaced families including small school going children, elders among others, the government should not have undertaken the construction of the border fencing, he added.

He further expressed that the said site at Heibokching has no provision for electricity, drinking water or any other basic amenities for families to settle.

He added that in such a scenario it is wrong for the government to undergo with its plan of expansion of the airport and leave the families at their own.

He expressed that if the government could consider their sorry plight and provide with the basic amenities needed for settlement at Heibokching, the displaced locals would be more than happy to shift there without any complains.

However, if the government fail to consider their plight and go on with its plan without any consideration for the displaced families, the JAC has its own series of agitations lined up, he warned.

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