Imphal, September 02 2017: A one day consultation on “Protection of Land and Natural Resources in Manipur” was organized at Manipur Press Club today by Loktak Project Affected Areas Action Committee, Mapithel Dam Affected Villagers Organization, JAC, Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected Peoples, Loktak Fisheries Welfare Association, Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur and Committee on Human Rights .
Speaking at the function, Jiten Yumnam, secretary, Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur, stressed on the need for effective protection of land and natural resources of Manipur.
He said that most of the development processes, both policies and projects, are introduced without the consulting the people and without obtaining their consent, and are often incom- patible and against their development wishes and aspirations .
Pantiliu Gonmei, secretary, Rongmei Lu Phuam said that the ongoing effort to drill oil in Tamenglong areas and build dams over the Barak River are big concerns .
She opined that indigenous communities of the State need to strive collectively for protection of land and resources in the State .
Panmei Tingenlung, CPNRM, expressed concern with the ongoing push for oil exploration in Manipur without the consent of the indigenous people and without conducting proper assessment of possible impacts on the land and the eco system .
Gopen of Irabot Foundation, deliberated that the Loktak Project has led to loss of agricultural lands and stressed on the need to asses its economic impacts .
Chairman of Committee on Human Rights, Phulindro Konsam, stated that international financial institutions like the Asian Developmental Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency are facilitating loot and plunder of the State’s land and resources through their road and railway projects as these projects failed to recognise communities’ rights over their own lands .
Advisor of AMESCO, Brojen, shared that projects like the 105 MW Loktak Project is intended to undermine the food sovereignty of Manipur and foster dependency on outsiders .
Haobijam Kumar, president of All Loktak Area Fishermen Union, pressed for the repeal of the Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006, and decommissioning of the Ithai Barrage of Loktak Project .
He alleged that the NHPC remains irresponsible and unaccountable for the destruction of agricultural lands and the suffering and hardship caused to the people .
The Ithai Barrage is clearly a curse for Manipur and the recent announcement of the Environment Minister to evict encroachers from Loktak wetlands and its peripheral area is a clear concern.
Any development processes impacting Loktak needs to consult and take the consent of the communities, he added .
Majabung Gangmei, speaker of Zeliangrong Baudi, stated that development policies like the Manipur Hydro Power Policy, 2012, was formulated proposing around 10 dams all over the river of the State and this policy came despite the failure and under-performance of many of the dams built in Manipur .
Many other attendees also shared their views and ideas during the consulation programme .
Seven resolutions were also adopted at the programme .
The resolutions included decommission of Ithai Barrage, stopping the commissioning of Mapithel dam and ensuring free flow of Thoubal River, stopping oil exploration in Manipur and revocation of all licences, contracts given to Jubilant Energy, Oil India Limited and Asian Oilfields, scrapping and repealing of all developmental policies like the North East Hydrocarbon Vision 2030, Manipur Hydro Power Policy, 2012 and the Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006 .
Source: The Sangai Express