India: Media consultation urges Manipur Govt to desist Mapithel dam commissioning

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    Media consultation on 'Mapithel dam and its Commissioning Plan' at Manipur Press Club on 17 April 2017

    MAPITHEL DAM AFFECTED VILLAGES ORGANIZATION
    JAC-MAPITHEL DAM DOWNSTREAM AFFECTED PEOPLES
    CENTRE FOR RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY, MANIPUR

    The Mapithel Dam Affected Villagers Organization (MDAVO) the JAC-Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected Peoples (MDDAP) and the Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur (CRAM) jointly organized a media consultation on “Mapithel dam and its Commissioning Plan” at Manipur Press Club on 17 April 2017. The consultation is organized in the context of the recent announcement of the Minister of Irrigation and Flood Control Department (IFCD), Government of Manipur on 1 April 2017 to commission Mapithel dam within Twenty (20) days, i.e on 20th April 2017. A resolution against commissioning of Mapithel dam was also adopted at the end of the media consultation.

    Mr. Yumlembam Thoiba, JAC-Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected Peoples, Mr. Laishram Mandir, Heirok Loumi Kanba Lup, Mr. Dominic Kashung, Chairman, Mapithel Dam Affected Villagers Organization (MDAVO) and Mr. Ph. Deban, President, All Manipur United Clubs Organization (AMUCO) graced as dais members of the media consultation.

    Yumlembam Thoiba, President, JAC Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected Peoples shared Tumukhong villagers in the immediate downstream and in Zero Kilometer of Mapithel dam are now living in constant fear of dam break due to poor quality of dam and the seepage of water from the dam. The villages of Tumukhong, Itham and Moirangpurel etc earlier provided sand and stone for construction in Imphal and beyond. However, the blocking of Thoubal River by Mapithel dam already lead to impoundment of sand and stone, undermining and threatening the livelihood of villagers such as Tumukhong, Itham, Moirangpurel etc. The Government should provide alternate livelihood for all Mapithel dam affected communities.

    Ph. Deban Sharma, President, AMUCO at ‘Mapithel dam and its Commissioning Plan’ at Manipur Press Club on 17 April 2017

    Ph. Deban Sharma, President, AMUCO shared all development processes, including dam construction should carefully consider the adverse and long term implications on communities and environment, which they depend for their survival. Mr. Deban said that the Mapithel dam should not be commissioned without fulfilling the demands of affected communities and considering the larger implications.

    Ms. Chingakham Ibemhal, Women Section, JAC, MDDAP, shared how women are subjected to extreme suffering due to Mapithel dam. The worst fear among villagers is the arrival of Monsoon as many are worried of dam break and the unpredictable water release. Many are worried their children will be washed out by the sudden water release from the dam reservoir. The livelihood impact of the dam has impacted children’s education and other needs as villagers can no longer depend on Thoubal River.

    Mr. Dominic Kashung, Chairman, MDAVO shared how the Mapithel dam wreaked havoc and multifaceted impacts on villages such as Chadong, Thoyee, Riha etc in upstream of Mapithel dam. Besides loss of agriculture land, forest, grazing ground and other survival sources, the Mapithel dam has affected the community’s traditional way of life, leading to much tension and conflict within the village, due to manipulative and divisive policies of the Government.

    Ms. Laishram Ibemcha, Itham Wangma Leikai lamented that the Mapithel dam is intended to annihilate the survival of communities in downstream of Mapithel dam. The villagers will be compelled to resort to extreme steps to defend their lives and land if the Government insisted on forcible commissioning of Mapithel dam. It is highly unfortunate that the Government of India is more concerned with protecting the rights of animals, but subduing the rights of communities affected by Mapithel dam.

    Media consultation on ‘Mapithel dam and its Commissioning Plan’ at Manipur Press Club on 17 April 2017

    Mr. Laishram Mandir, Heirok Loumi Kanba Lup shared that the proposed commissioning plan of Mapithel dam is despite the non-construction of the canals and other key components of Mapithel dam. The proposed plan to construct a branch canal of Mapithel dam in Heirok is opposed by villagers of Heirok for its impact and irrationality. The Mapithel dam will not serve its purpose even if the dam is commissioned. Mapithel dam is good only for corrupt officials and corporate bodies and as such, the corruption aspect of Mapithel dam should be thoroughly investigated.

    Basanta Wanglemba, President, Tumukhong Village Authority shared the most important impact of Mapithel dam is the livelihood of affected communities of Mapithel dam. Further, the divide and rule policies of the IFCD and the Government of Manipur is creating much chaos among the villagers. It is condemnable that the Government has failed to formulate a clear rehabilitation and resettlement for the affected communities, both in upstream and downstream areas. The proposed move to commission Mapithel dam in disregard of the demands for rights and for a rehabilitation and resettlement process acceptable to affected communities constitute an undemocratic forms of development.

    Resolution: The participants of consultation on Mapithel dam and Commissioning Plans” hereby resolved the following:

    • The Mapithel dam should not be commissioned without fulfilling the demands of affected communities both in the upstream and downstream portion of Mapithel dam, for their rights, including for their rehabilitation and resettlement.
    • An expert team should conduct a detailed assessment of the safety of Mapithel dam, considering the ongoing water leakage from Mapithel dam, with due information to all communities.
    • The corruption aspect of Mapithel dam should be thoroughly investigated.
    • Affected communities will reject and resist all efforts of the Government of Manipur to forcibly commission the Mapithel dam without peoples consent.
    • Communities affected by Mapithel dam in both upstream and downstream of Mapithel Dam will jointly strive and struggle to stop commissioning of Mapithel dam and to achieve their demands.

    (Mr. Dominic Kashung)
    Chairman, MDAVO

    (Mr. Thoiba Yumlembam)
    President, MDDAP

    (Sanaton Laishram)
    President, CRAM

    Source: E-PAO