Against ring road plan

The Sangai Express, 3 December 2020

Against ring road plan : 03rd dec20 ~ E-Pao! Headlines (

Imphal, December 02 2020: The JAC against the construction of ring road connecting Ipum Mapal Khurai Konsam Leikai has warned the State Government of intense agitation if the proposed ring road plan is not withdrawn immediately.

Pic: Proposed Route – Imphal Ring Road Project

During a press conference held today at Manipur Press Club, convenor of the JAC which is formed by three affected leikais, Yaikhom Biken said that the proposed ring road plan of the State Government is set to affect densely populated localities filled with structures and houses.

With the State Government incorporating the road connecting Ipum Mapal in the ring road project, the State Government is set to vacate houses and also fill parts of historically significant Ipum part, he said while adding that the residents of three affected leikais strongly oppose the State Government’s plan.

The SDO at Porompat issued an order today to vacate the only community hall of three localities, a meira shang and YOSC club in line with the ring road project, he said. The order informed localities that the State Government will initiate eviction, he said while adding that the order further apprised them to vacate houses in the second phase.

He also suggested the Government to drop Ipum Mapal road from the proposed plan to connect Heingangkhong with Pangei Road to Ipum Mapal towards South before linking Ukhrul road in the North.
It would be better and length of the road will be shortened if the Government considers connecting Pangei road directly with Ukhrul road via paddy fields between the said points instead of displacing properties and structures along Ipum Mapal road, he suggested.

Appealing to consider another route, he urged the State Government to reconsider its decision of incorporating the Ipum Mapal road in the ring road project. If the Government fails to pay heed to their appeal and withdraw their proposed plan, the JAC is set to launch agitations from December 2-December 3 midnight onwards, he continued.

Imphal River bears brunt of deforestation, pollution

The Sangai Express / Nando Waikhom, the 17 December 2020

Imphal River bears brunt of deforestation, pollution : 17th dec20 ~ E-Pao! Headlines (

Imphal, December 16 2020: Like other households at Pebiya Pandit Leikai, Naoroibam Gyaneshore’s family buys water for daily utilities throughout the year. Even though the locality is situated along the bank of Imphal River in Imphal East district, locals are no longer able to reap the benefits of the river since the past many years due to increasing river water pollution.

PIc: Imphal River (Source: E-Pao.Net)

Some 25 years ago, the locals could use the water from the river, said 45-year-old Gyaneshore.
The Imphal River was much bigger, deeper and beautiful at that time. People used water from the river for drinking, cooking, bathing and other daily purposes. “The voluminous clean water that ran almost throughout the year, directly fed thousands of people residing alongside the Imphal River”, he said.

The residents also echoed that the condition of the Imphal River has drastically changed since the past many years. Recounting his association with the Imphal River, another 67-year-old resident, Waikhom Nageshore maintained that the Imphal River had been closely associated with the lifestyle of the people residing along its banks.

“The Imphal River was a part of life of those who reside along its banks. People used to take baths in the river. Men and women fetched water from the river to be used for cooking, drinking and washing clothes. It was a common sight to see women in numbers going to the river in the morning to fetch water for household use,” Nageshore said.

He said Imphal River was so clean at the time that locals used to Consume the water directly without any chemical treatment. Meanwhile, experts observed that variation in the rainfall pattern, ever increasing level of deforestation and contamination among other reasons as the main causes for the fading identity of Imphal River. Manipur University Professor (Geography) Dr Kh Prdeepkumar pointed out that the destruction of forest on large scales in hills has led to rainwater from the hills flowing into rivers without much filtration. He explained that trees and vegetation play a major role in holding rainwater and releasing them in a gradual manner.

Disturbing this natural process as a result of mass deforestation leads to occurrence of flash floods. As there is not much trees, plants and vegetation to trap and hold the sediment brought down by rain water, the sediment along with other minerals enter the river system and pollute them. This also leads to fill ing up of the river bed with sediment (siltation) and drying up of the river during non-rainy seasons. The water holding capac ity of rivers in the State has decreased a lot from the past due to siltation.

Increas ing level of soil erosion in hills and siltation of the river beds is an important factor for rivers becoming shallower. Elucidating the point, he said that a large amount of soil, particularly clay and silt particles are carried down by the water from deforested areas in hills and deposited in the river beds.

This phenomenon has been taking place on a large scale for many years and as such rivers like the Imphai River are getting shallower, he added. Not only the people of Pebiya Pandit Leikai, but thou sands along the banks of the Imphai River and many more in the Greater Imphai area are suffering the brunt of defor estation and other human interference which violate the natural ecosystem.

With most of the rivers including Imphai River and Iril River flowing at a very low level during the dry season, water supply schemes are not able to function properly, forcing people to buy drinking water. Once beautiful and pure, Imphai River is now only a shadow of what it was some 30/40 years back.

This decadence is a result of climate change and deteriorating ecosystem, said an elder of Pebiya Pandit Leikai. This feature was written under 2nd State Level Media Fellowship on Climate Change Reporting of the Directorate of Environment & Climate Change, Manipur 2020-2021 .

Bring sustainable development without violating indigenous rights: CRAM

The Imphal Free Press, 11 December 2020

Bring sustainable development without violating indigenous rights: CRAM (

Rights of indigenous people should not be violated while bringing sustainable development in the state, Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur (CRAM) secretary Jiten Yumnam said on the occasion of International Human Rights Day 2020 on Thursday.

CRAM observed Human Rights Day by screening documentaries followed by interaction on indigenous people’s rights and sustainable development in Manipur at Manipur Press Club in Imphal.

Many development works were carried out in Manipur without taking into account violation of human right

“Due to the failure of assessment and impact studies, many development works are turning into matters of conflict between the state government and people. It is mandatory for the state government to study the resources of the state and its impact on human beings,” Yumnam said.

Documentaries such as ‘Wall of injustice: Mapithel dam’, ‘Turbulent waters of Loktak wetlands’, ‘ADB road financing and concerns in Manipur’ and ‘Oil exploration: Boon or bane in Manipur’ were screened during the session. 

ALSO READ: Put human rights front and centre of COVID-19 response: UN chief António Guterres on Human Rights Day 2020


Jiten Yumnam


DAC HLM 2020: The High-Level Meeting (HLM) of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development held virtually from 910 November 2020, despite high hopes, has been marred with overt focus on private sector role and failing on commitments for urgent issues addressed, viz, Covid 19 Pandemic, climate crisis, economic crisis etc.

Covid 19 response: Reflecting on the Covid 19 pandemic, DAC members agreed that the pandemic reversed development gains in partner developing countries and further exacerbated hunger, poverty and inequality. DAC members deliberated Covid 19 response exerted tremendous pressure on scarce resources and emphasized the need for effectiveness of ODA in development cooperation and pandemic responses.

During the HLM, DAC members confer that given the COVID-19 and challenge of sustainable development financing, DAC need to ensure ODA work harder, to leverage more resources with better use of the resources of the multilateral development banks, funds, national development banks etc. In the HLM communique, DAC members committed to mobilize more official and private resources, including the controversial ‘blended finance’, towards “building back better and greener” to overcome the Covid-19 Pandemic and economic crisis and to realize Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

DFIs focused on the need to provide grant-based finance, including technical assistance, to help companies mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on their business operations. However, evidence testifies that DFIs serve donor and corporate interests. The International Development Association of the World Bank used its Private Sector Window to mitigate impacts of Pandemic by providing concessional financing to bail out companies in financial distress[1]. As of June 2020, around 50 per cent of International Finance Corporation’s Covid-19 supported companies were either majority owned by multinational companies or were international conglomerates. The UK’s CDC provided guarantees to medical suppliers, such as BASF, to increase access to medical supplies in developing countries[2].

Climate Change: The deliberations onClimate Change during the HLM indicates positive suggestions to avoid financing that harms the environment. Several DAC members insisted on a fossil fuel free economy, suggested to desist using ODA to subsidize fossil fuels, notorious for emitting greenhouse gases. The suggestions are key to avoid impacts of fossil extractions on people and environment.  

However, suggestions from DAC members to tackle climate crisis, through innovative financing, such as Blended Finance caused much concern with civil societies. Members suggested using ODA to mobilize private sector financing in climate crisis and further to use ODA to share risk with Development Financial Institutions (DFIs). ODA has been promoted as mere guarantees for private finance to advance commercial objectives of profit seeking corporations undermining ODA objectives. 

Questions persists if the solutions propounded for financing climate response through Blended Finance focusing on private sector will solve and reverse climate crisis. The financing of large dams, geothermal, coal fired power plants etc through Blended Financing using ODA to mitigate climate change such as Trishuli I Dam in Nepal, Olkaria Geothermal Stage V etc in Kenya[3] etc. caused displacement of indigenous communities, besides inflicting massive environmental impacts. Large dams, denounced in many EU countries, and confirmed as one of major emitter of GHGs continues to be financed with ODA, often referring to one of solutions to combat climate change. The 140 MW Tanahu hydropower project in Nepal and several large dams and related infrastructures across North East India are financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and European Investment Bank (EIB).[4]The investment on renewables need be socially and environmentally appropriate. The enormous infusion of ODA, mostly as loan will also lead to indebtness of countries.[5]

Private Sector Focus: The HLM communique indeed committed to working with partner countries, the private sector and multilateral organizations to improve business environments, share risks and rewards fairly when collaborating with businesses investing in developing countries. The effective use of ODA seems to be interpreted as effective mobilization of private finance for SDGs using ODA. The concessional ODA has now reduced as amplifier of private finance. There are concerns if private finance is mobilized enough for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The causes and factors as to why private finance moves to Middle Income Countries with high prospect for business and profit like Kenya, South Africa in Africa and India, Indonesia in Asia and not to LDCs has been ignored.

The liberalization of policies for an enabling environment to attract private finance, will only reinforce the existing development model that fostered inequality, hunger and poverty. Tied aid, policy conditionalities continues to be a major challenge, as major DAC members continue to insist on tied aid to the detriment of the rights and economy of partner countries. The pursuance of infrastructure and energy projects with financing by DFIs and private financing has led to implications on the people, environment, and unaccountability of the corporate bodies and indebtness of partner countries, besides facilitating extraction of natural resources in indigenous land[6]. Private sector accountability is critical.Development Effectiveness: A key highlight of the HLM is the renewedcommitment to the Busan principles for effective development co-operation – country ownership, transparency and accountability,

[1] (2018, November 17). IDA and the Private Sector Join Forces to Fight to Pandemic in the Most Fragile Countries.  World Bank Press Release IDA and the Private Sector Join Forces to Fight the Pandemic in the Most Fragile Countries (   

[2] Jan Van, P. (2020, November). Development Finance Institutions and Covid-19: Time to reset. Eurodad Briefing Paper.

dfi-and-covid-nov05.pdf (

[3]  Shiloh Fetzek. (2015 November 2). Geothermal expansion and Maasai land conflicts in Kenya.


[4] (2013, May 8.) EIB lends €55m for Nepal hydropower plant.’ Water Briefing.

[5] Prithivi Man Shrestha. (2020, April 14.) ‘Nepal among nations to receive debt relief from International Monetary Fund.’ The Kathmandu Post.

[6] Yumnam, J. (2019, July 22). IFIs & Blended Financing in a Changing Context in Asia. CRA, Manipur

[6] Yumnam, J. (2019, July 22). IFIs & Blended Financing in a Changing Context in Asia. CRA, Manipur

From Loktak to rented place in Imphal : Survival story of displaced fisherfolks told

The Sangai Express / Ng Liklaileima Arambam, The 30th November 2020

From Loktak to rented place in Imphal : Survival story of displaced fisherfolks told : 30th nov20 ~ E-Pao! Headlines (

Imphal, November 29 2020: When a plant is uprooted from its natural habitat and planted in an alien environment, it will surely struggle to survive or wither, if not strong enough to stand the change.

Such is the case to a couple who once had abundant resources given by the Loktak lake to feed their family and children but are now facing harsh conditions of city life just to survive.

Chandrakumar and Pramila, the couple from Thanga Heisnam Liekai now have a very different life today at a rented place at Keishampat with their two children. Few years ago, Chandrakumar would sail the Loktak lake and catch fishes and Pramila would sell them (fishes) at Ningthoukhong bazar.

The couple would thank ‘Loktak Lairembi’ (Goddess of Loktak) and they would feed their family, send their children to schools. Fishing was all Chandrakumar was very good at and for many years it was enough for the family to meet ends.

But all changed when the Loktak Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project came and deprived him of his only means of earning income and feeding his family. His floating farm hut in the middle of the lake along with several hundreds were razed to ground and phumdis (floating biomass), which held the fishes were removed.

All these changed their course of life and forced the couple to move to the city in pursuit of a new life. The magnificent Loktak lake in Moirang, Bishnupur district is about 52 kilometres from the capital city Imphal.

After construction of the Ithai Barrage, the Loktak Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project was commissioned in the year 1983 and subsequently, the Manipur Loktak Protection Act 2006 was enforced. The Loktak lake was divided into two zones – ‘Core Zone’ and ‘Buffer Zone’.

The core zone was further subdivided into ‘No Development Zone’ and ‘Totally Protected Zone’ . The Loktak Development Authority, starting from November 15, 2011 burnt down as many as 777 floating farm huts which fall under the Core Zone.

More than 80 Phumdis (floating biomass) which were used by the farmers to farm fishes were removed. Above this, the Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006 also restricted use of fishing equipment when farming inside the Core Zone.

All these had affected Chandrakumar and Pramila and hundreds of other local farmers who were dependent on the lake for their survival. Hundreds of people who were skilled fishermen were turned into unskilled labourers and forced to move out to other areas and cities in search of jobs.

Expressing how the’ family is surviving in the city, Pramila, 55, told The Sangai Express that they have been staying at rent in Imphal since the past 8 years. “As fishing was no longer possible, we searched for other jobs.

Before moving here, for a short period of time, my husband used to work at a dam construction site. He had no skills other than fishing. Life was hard and we moved to Imphal with hope to find jobs.

Through one of his friends, my husband is now working as a construction worker. But due to coronavirus, he is not working at present,” Pramila said.
Pramila added she sells fish at Khwairamband bazar to earn extra money and help feed the family and send their children to school.

Her daughter is pursuing BSc Nursing (final year) and her son has finished three years engineering in Electronics after clearing Class XII. Recounting the past, she asserted that they never received any compensation for their farm hut, which was burnt down.

“We are poor. We couldn’t afford to sit idle waiting for the compensation money. We have to work daily else we would starve,” she said.

“Even though we were struggling, life on the lake was somewhat easy for us as we were raised there. We knew how to fish. We would catch all kinds of fish and I would sell them in the market,” she said, adding that the city life is hard to cope with everything ‘moving fast’ .

Selling fishes at Ningthoukhong bazar is different from selling fishes at Khwairamband bazar, she said recalling that her mother used to sell fishes at Khwairamband bazar and she would accompany her.

Loktak Fishery Welfare Association, secretary, Heisnam Chaoba said even though the Loktak Lake Protection Act 2006 aims at protecting the water body, it is an ‘aggressive’ Act against the farmers. The burning down of the farm huts and restrictions in place have robbed the livelihood of hundreds of locals.

Many were displaced and moved out of the villages and they are now staying in rents at Imphal and other places in search of jobs. As they are unskilled, they could not find good jobs.

Many are now driving auto-rickshaws, pulling carts and engaged in construction works, he said adding that the Government has not yet compensated the farmers (owners) for the Phumdis (floating biomass) it removed.

Centre for Organisation Research and Education, president, L Debbrata Roy said displacement of people due to development projects is increasing in Manipur. The Loktak Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project and the Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006 had forced many to move to urban areas in search of livelihood as unskilled labourers.

Such development projects not only displace the people but affect their lifestyle, means and way of earning income and drag them down below poverty line, he said.

This is report is filed under the fellowship of the Khelen Thokchom Trust .

TNL calls to desist from mining in Manipur

The Sangai Express, 28th November 2020

TNL calls to desist from mining in Manipur : 28th nov20 ~ E-Pao! Headlines (

mphal, November 27 2020: The Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) expressed its grave concern on the ‘signing of MoU by Government of Manipur (GOM) with several extractive industries for mining of chromite and limestone in the State’ during the North East Business Summit held at Imphal from November 21 to 22, 2017 .

Pic: Mining and Destruction by Freeport – Mcmoran Cooper and Gold mining in Indonesia

A press release issued by TNL said that the MoUs include chromite explorations and mining with M/S Sarvesh Refractories Pvt Ltd, Rourkela, M/s Rourkela Minerals Pvt Ltd, Rourkela, M/s Kotak Resources, Mumbai, M/s Gulf Natural Resources, Gurgaon, M/s Visa Steel Ltd, Odisha, M/s Manipur Mines and Mineral Pvt Ltd, M/s Balassore Alloys Ltd, Odisha etc and for limestone exploration and mining and to establish cement plant with M/s Super Ores, Guwahati, M/s Gulf Natural Resources, Gurgaon, and M/s Ramung Enterprises, Imphal.

The release also strongly objected to the plan for mining in the State saying that these MoUs contracted with the companies by Government of Manipur are done in secrecy and violates the rights of the indigenous communities.

The tribal body stated that this act undermined Article 371C of the Indian Constitution by bypassing the consent of the Hill Area Committee (HAC), as matters affecting land, water, forests and tribal customs are within the purview of the HAC. It also raised questions of claim over these areas as categorized unclassed Government land, because these are community land used for livelihood activities.

The TNL also questioned the soundness of the pre-feasibility study report (PFR) prepared by the mining company stating that Shirui (mentioned as Sirohi) and Lunghar is devoid of any forestland or agricultural land along with Shingcha-Gamnbm area and other villages listed for mining.

In ground reality, Shirui-Langhar hill range is one of the most forested and eco-sensitive zones – a habitat to important wildlife including rare and endangered lily species Lilium mackliniae (Siroy Lily), vulnerable Plyth’s tragopan, Phoebe hainesiana (State tree of Manipur), endangered insects and amphibian species and the only water source that supply the entire Ukhrul town and neighbouring villages.

Stating that the proposed areas for mining fall under the Indo-Burma global biodiversity hotspot zone, which is an asset for global common, the release continued that mining in such forested areas with rich biodiversity will undermine Sustainable Development Goals.

The Government should know that development through mining is not the answer to uplift the State economy as experienced in other parts of India and across the world, it said adding that extractive industries are the source of conflicts everywhere and it will only intensify multifaceted conflicts and human rights violation in the State.

The limited royalty through mining Cannot commensurate with deepening poverty, loss of land, exploitation of cheap labour, depleting resources and inequality among the already marginalized indigenous communities to satiate a few people’s hunger for more profits. TNL maintained and demanded the Government of Manipur to desist all mining plans and to respect rights to self-determined development of the indigenous communities.

Allegations, audit point to large-scale misuse of CAMPA fund in Manipur

By Babie Shirin

The Imphal Free Press, 28 November 2020

Allegations, audit point to large-scale misuse of CAMPA fund in Manipur (

Pic: Forest and Residential areas of Chadong submerged by the Mapithel dam

Serious allegations and an audit report point to large-scale irregularities of CAMPA fund in Manipur. It has been alleged that the state forest department has failed to execute extensive afforestation work under the CAMPA scheme. And the fund duly sanctioned by the Central government has been misused in the name of developing infrastructure and other activities, according to an audit report.

It may be noted that the Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority or CAMPA was introduced in the country by the Environment and Forests Ministry following the Supreme Court order to manage the fund. And the CAMPA Act was passed in 2016.

Following the Supreme Court order, Manipur received CAMPA fund of Rs 309 crore from the Central government on August 29, 2019, to undertake afforestation activities to conserve the state environment. The then state Forest and Environment Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar received the cheque amount from Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi.

The CAMPA fund is to be utilised for compensatory afforestation, wildlife management, forest fire-prevention, soil and moisture conservation works in forests, voluntary relocation of villages from protected areas, management of biological resources and biodiversity, research in forestry and monitoring of CAMPA works and activities mentioned in the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Rules, 2018.

The CAMPA fund for Manipur to compensate for the loss of forest areas caused by development work was remitted by the state CAMPA to Ad hoc CAMPA, which released the fund and the expenditure was incurred in 2006-07 and 2011-12.

In compliance with the Supreme Court order, six per cent of the total compensatory afforestation funds remitted by the State CAMPA to Ad-hoc CAMPA was released in 2009-12. Of the Rs 2.09 crore released against Annual Plan Operations (APO), four per cent remained unutilised. Reportedly, crores of rupees of the fund have been misused in the name of developing infrastructure, construction of nurseries and carrying out afforestation activities.

April 2013 Audit Report reveals misuse of CAMPA fund in Manipur

The 2013 audit report stated that the CAMPA funds should not be used for creating infrastructure at state forest headquarters and ecotourism. However, a test check revealed that expenditure was incurred on construction of community hall, assistance to a local club, distribution of sewing machines and development of eco-tourism etc, the report stated.

The Environment and Forest Ministry stated in the April 2013 audit report that expenditure was incurred on activities related to wildlife protection and management. But no separate account under the corpus fund was maintained for a sum of Rs. 5.04 crore received from user agency for diversion of 10.00 ha of the protected area of forest land for Reconnaissance Survey and Track Clearance works. Further, the state CAMPA utilized ` 0.11 crore out of ` 5.04 crore on wildlife conservation works without the approval of Ad-hoc CAMPA. The ministry stated in April 2013 that audit observation had been noted for future reference in similar cases and opening of separate corpus fund would be discussed with the State CAMPA to comply with guidelines.

Further, in two forest divisions (Senapati & Eastern), an expenditure of ` 0.28 crore on 172 ha land during 2004-11 by Senapati forest division and expenditure of ` 0.18 crore and their maintenance on 63 ha land during 2004-08 by Eastern forest division were incurred on plantations and maintenance. However, no records of plantations and their maintenance were maintained by these divisions, the report stated.

The Ministry also stated (April 2013) that audit observation regarding maintaining of records of deforestation and felling of trees had been noted for compliance in future.

Irregularities in land management

The audit report revealed non-maintenance of record by state forest division, as during the period 2003-12, 1,207.89 ha forest land was diverted involving deforestation/felling of trees. However, no records of deforestation/felling of trees and the number of trees required to be planted in lieu of were maintained by the state forest divisions.

The state government made a proposal for diversion of 491.67 ha of forest land within the jurisdiction of the DFO, Tamenglong, DFO Jiribam and DFO Northern Forest Divisions to the MoEF in June 2012. Cross verification of records maintained by the Commissioner of Taxes, Manipur, however, disclosed that the said project had been taken up by the User Agency namely NF/NE Railways, Imphal since 2010.

The report stated that as many as 404 families residing in the forest land were displaced from their residences as a result of the diversion of forest land of 595 ha in 2009-10 for taking up the Thoubal Multipurpose Project with the consequential effect of infringement of the right to hold and live in the forest area for habitation or for self-cultivation. No action was taken by the forest department for the resettlement of affected families.

Ministry stated (April 2013) that responsibility of providing rehabilitation and resettlements to the affected families was of the state government and not of the forest department. The fact remains that the Ministry did not take up the matter of rehabilitation of affected families with the state government.

As per the state CAMPA guidelines issued by MoEF, the accounts of state CAMPA were to be audited by the Accountant General at such intervals as may be specified by him. However, State CAMPA did not prepare its annual accounts for the years 2009-10 to 2011-12 in the prescribed format. The financial statements for the years 2009-10 and 2010-11 were prepared by the Chartered Accountant on cash receipts and disbursement basis. Further, State CAMPA did not reconcile the amount deposited with Ad-hoc CAMPA. Further, as per State CAMPA guidelines, the state government and the MoEF had the powers to conduct special audit or performance audit of the CAMPA scheme in the state. However, no such audit was conducted.

Further, the CAG report of 2017-18 reported that two divisional forest officers (DFOs) selected ineligible sites for proposed Compensatory Afforestation (CA) work, incurred irregular expenditure of ` 3.73 crore on the treatment of selected area without any plantation work and excess expenditure of ` 0.79 crore was made as plants planted were less than the norms set by APCCF (State CAMPA).

The report stated that scrutiny of records in June 2017 in the office of DFO, Kondagaon (South) for the year 2016-17, revealed that Additional PCCF (State CAMPA) sanctioned (January 2017) ` 3.95 crore for the first year of ANR work in 4,940.130 hectares under the state CAMPA. The sanction was conditional as the work was to be executed in coupes where felling work had been carried out in 2014-15 and before the commencement of work; it was to be ensured that the same work had not been sanctioned under other heads.

However, the DFO incurring an expenditure of ` 3.97 crore in 2017-18 from CAMPA funds executed ANR work in 27 coupes where felling work was carried out in 2008-09 and 2009-10. Further scrutiny revealed that these coupes had already been treated with natural regeneration work in the years 2009-10 and 2010-11 with an expenditure of ` 38.36 lakh under Departmental Head as well as the sixth year of cleaning work had already been carried out in above coupes in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Thus, the DFO not only violated the conditions stipulated in the sanction order but also, incurred an irregular and avoidable expenditure of ` 3.97 crore. This needs to be investigated further by the state government.

The report has also revealed that the amount sanctioned by state CAMPA for plantation in 841.929 hectare area, the expense of `2.31 crore on treatment without plantation in 319.676 hectare area was irregular. Further, only 4,59,565 plants were planted by the DFOs in 522.253-hectare area instead of 5,74,478 plants in as much area which resulted in excess expenditure of ` 0.79 crore due to plantation of 1,14,913 lesser plants in said area.

Allegations of improper fund utilization and geotagging:

The CAMPA scheme was launched in Manipur to promote tree plantation in various parts of the state, including hill districts to preserve and conserve forest areas and the environment. However, the Central government scheme for every state in the country has not been executed according to the norms given by the central government and all the utilisation certificates appear to be made on the table only and no work has been executed physically, social activist Momo Tantanga from Tengnoupal district said.

Even geotagging photographs furnished through RTI from different forest divisions are not in conformity with the form of GPS/geotagging which are mandatory for implementation of any the central scheme which may be visible from any part of the country, he added.

In view of it, Momo filed before the High Court of Manipur that sanctioned and released money amount under CAMPA was misappropriated. Without executing the plantation in the state, 30-year-old fully grown trees were shown as plantation done under CAMPA scheme, he stated.

Momo stated that the photographs received through RTI from the forest divisions of different districts show no such plantation have been executed under CAMPA scheme. According to the norms of CAMPA scheme, the photographs should be taken under global positioning system but photographs are not taken through geotagging. Furnished photographs through RTI showed fully grown trees with more than 30 years mentioned in signboards of CAMPA scheme. But CAMPA scheme was made effective in Manipur only from the year 2017, he pointed out.

The RTI petitioner said the released fund for the annual plan operation (APO) for 2017-18 was released. However, while visiting some of the spots, including Kasom Khullen, Lambui, Lamlai Chingphei, Phalee-II, Ukhrul-I, Mongkot Chepu-II, Lambui-I and Kaso-II, hardly any trees were planted against the released fund for APO, 2017-18 for Ukhrul and Kamjong forest divisions.

Village headman of Ramva (Lambui) the village said that plantation of saplings in Ramva village covering an area of about 9 acres of barren land in 2017-18 meaning thereby the forest department has planted trees in about 9 acres land only whereas the released fund for APO 2017-18 for Ukhrul forest division have been shown as 50 hectares of land in Lambui-I. The money has been misappropriated by competent authorities without properly planting trees at the villages, the petitioner stated.

Ringsing Rural Development Kuirei Village, BPO, Nungbi, Ukhrul district president said that trees have been planted in 7- 10 hectares maximum against the areas shown by competent authorities such as Mongkot Chepu (200) hectares, Chepu Yaolen (200) hectares, Somdal (100) hectares, Ramva (100) hectares, TM Kasom (100) hectares, Talui (190) hectares and Tungou (300) hectares.

Allegation against former forest minister:

The petitioner also stated in the petition that the sanctioned amount of Rs 309 crore received In 2019 from the Central government by then forest minister Th Shyamkumar by way of cheque from Union Minister Prakash Javedkar appears to have been misused by the forest department. It appears that the forest department has misappropriated huge amount of the fund without executing tree plantation to be done under CAMPA scheme, Momo stated.

The petitioner stated that hardly maximum plantation has been done in the mentioned areas. Trees were planted on not more than two to three hectares at the maximum in the areas with a distance of 10 ft between the two trees under the CAMPA scheme. Moreover, all the nursery plants have been kept not less than four years in order to show the plantation for every year till it reaches four years. Maximum plantation has not been done after making nurseries which remains for not less than four years. The same nurseries are repeatedly shown for at least four years. The expenditure for one lakh nurseries, amounting to not less than Rs 7,00,000 approximately for preparation of the nurseries were shown. 

The petitioner alleged that forest department failed to execute the plantation under CAMPA scheme and the money duly sanctioned by the government of India for CAMPA scheme has been misappropriated by doing collusive actions in connivance with the then forest minister Th Shyamkumar by carrying out table made reports and without going to the worksites of respective areas.

There’s a dire need to conduct an investigation to check misappropriation of funds and government should ensure proper use of the scheme and funds. The Manipur High Court has directed the state government represented by the state chief secretary and the commissioner of forest and environment, to examine whether the CAMPA fund amount has been properly utilised. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the state, the High Court direction is in the table process, said forest officials, who declined to be named.

Eviction-Demolition Drive in Moreh: 66 villagers wait for rehabilitation, compensation

The Imphal Free Press, 6 November 2020

The Moreh Integrated Check Post Bypass Road Land and Structure Committee (MICPBRSC) has alleged that forceful eviction of villagers without adequate compensation and rehabilitation amounts to serious violation of liberty and their physical and mental wellbeing, especially during the COVID-19 time. It said that authorities have failed to compensate and rehabilitate around 66 villagers in Tengnoupal district of Manipur.

MICPBRSC chairman Holkhopao Baite told reporters that the order of the deputy commissioner, Tengnoupal district on September 11 directed all the landowners in the villages along Moreh ICP Bypass Road to leave up to 100 feet wide of their lands for eviction within September 12 to 25 under the National Highway Act, 1956. But the notification for eviction has been a failure of project authorities of the Moreh ICP Bypass Road which is financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), he added.

“The authorities have failed to compensate and rehabilitate of around 66 villagers from the villages of M Chahnou, SL Gamnan, NG Moulom, Lhangnom Veng, Gangte Veng, Haijang Veng, T Yangom, New Moreh ward no 9, Shijang Veng, Moreh ward no.1 and T Tonglhang villages in Tengnoupal district for impacts on their homestead land, houses and other commercial enterprises. The entire villagers of T Tonglhang village have been excluded from compensation,” said Baite.

He further said that the affected villagers are concerned with the irregularities in compensation of the villagers affected by Moreh ICP Bypass Road by the project authorities. While several villagers were provided compensation, many households affected by the proposed road expansion were excluded from compensation by the deputy commissioner of Tengnoupal and ICP Bypass Road Committee, he said.

The failure to rehabilitate the affected villagers indicates the failure of the project authorities to adhere to the resettlement and indigenous people planning framework prepared by ADB under Safeguard Policy 2009 for Imphal Moreh Road in June 2020, Baite added.

The Committee has been launching a democratic movement for compensation and rehabilitation for their houses and homestead land affected by the eviction of Moreh to ICP bypass road since the eviction order was issued.

The committee submitted memorandums to the DC of Tengnoupal and deputy general manager of National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), PMU, Churachandpur to rehabilitate the affected villagers based on a survey in October 2018. However, there has been no positive response so far, said Baite.

The MICPBRSC has lodged a complaint petition to the Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) on October 26. The commission has directed the commissioner (Revenue), Government of Manipur, deputy commissioner of Tengoupal district, deputy general manager, NHIDCL and BO-Imphal to submit reports on or before November 9. But the DC of Tengnoupal district has taken the eviction proceedings. MHRC further directed to keep in abeyance his eviction proceeding till his submission of report on November 9 without fail.

Eviction drive along Moreh ICP bypass road; locals decry ‘forceful eviction’

The Imphal Free Press, Moreh Correspondent, 4 November 2020

The Tengnoupal District Administration carried out eviction drive along Moreh ICP bypass road on Tuesday while the affected residents expressed their resentment and anger against the authority concerned, saying they have not been given any compensation. The eviction was done in the presence of Tengnoupal deputy commissioner M Rajkumaar, SP, Th Vikramjit, SDO of Moreh, I Dinesh Kumar and ADC of Moreh, L Manikanta Singh.

Locals, who claimed to have not received any compensation, have been attempting to stop the eviction since the last many days but they dispersed themselves from the protest site following stern warning from the police force. The eviction was carried out after the protestors left the protest site.

Residents were allowed to take out their belongings as eviction was done after the lapses of several deadlines served by the district administration and ultimatum from NHIDCL after referring the 2016 survey reports. Around 18 houses were dismantled in M Chahnou village and LS Lhangnom village.

eviction drive in moreh

Speaking to media persons, chief of T Tonglhang village, Onkhosei Baite said that there are lots of discrepancies in compensation amount. The compensation amount given to him and his villagers is inappropriate with the area affected by the bypass road. There are 26 households in T Tonglhang village and it is one of the largest affected villages but they received only Rs 1 crore as compensation while the less affected villages got more than Rs 4 crore, he added.

PIc: Eviction along Moreh-ICP road on 3 November 2020

“I have already put up the matter to the DC of Tengnoupal but failed to get any positive response. I was the secretary of the bypass road committee but I resigned after I discovered several discrepancies and inequality in compensation amount,” said Baite.

He also said that he and his villagers will continue to oppose the eviction in T Tonglhang village and they are ready to give up even their lives if the authority concerned attempts to evict the villagers by force.

Stating that they are evicted from the area by force without giving appropriate compensation, the Moreh ICP Bypass Road Structure Committee said that they had already sent an RTI application seeking details information on the Joint Survey Report of ADB and NHIDCL, 2/10/2018 and other related documents. A complaint was also filed to Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC), it added.

The MHRC has also directed the DC of Tengnoupal to provide the required details on or before November 9, however the district administration has carried out the eviction before furnishing the details, said the committee.

On the other hand, the Tengnoupal district administration said that based on NHIDCL survey report 2016, the authority had already given compensation amount to all the eligible residents. An order to remove illegal construction along the bypass road was also issued by the DC of Tengnoupal in 2018.

Since it is a time-bound project, the DC recently issued another order asking the residents to remove illegal structures and compensated structures within September 25. The district administration is compelled to remove the structures and carry out eviction drive along the bypass road after lapses of several warnings, it said.First Published:Nov. 3, 2020, 11:48 p.m.

MHRC inspects gate sites at Ithai barrage

The Sangai Express, 18 October 2020

Bishnupur, October 17 2020: After it halting the process of installing motorised gates by the NHPC (National Hydroelectric Power Corporation) on major roads surrounding Ithai barrage, the Manipur Human Rights Commission inspected the sites of the gates today.

PIc: The Ithai Barrage of the 105 MW Loktak Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project at Ithai area, Manipur

Bishnupur police, SDO/SDM Moirang subdivision accompanied the members of the Commission and its Chairperson, Khaidem Mani during the field enquiry today. It may be noted that Pumlen Pat Khoidum Lamjao Kanba Apunba Lup and the Rising Star Club had filed petitions with the MHRC seeking its intervention on October 13 .

They had alleged that construction of at least four motorised gates on main roads surrounding Ithai barrage would restrict free movement of people thereby denying them their right to life. Taking note of the petitions, the MHRC had directed the Deputy Commissioners of Kakching and Bishnupur district to halt the construction of the gates and sought reports on or before October 27.The MHRC had also stated that it would conduct a field enquiry today.

Inspecting the sites, the Commission’s Chairperson opined that the construction of the gates on the main roads may restrict free movement of people which may exploit their rights as Indian citizens. He further continued that even though the Indian Constitution gives free movement of people within the country, there are certain reasonable restrictions depending on the law and order situation.

Even as the NHPC has cited security reasons for the need to construct the motorised gates, the Commission has no knowledge whether there had been a public notification for the same. The Commission will work to know the exact reasons for construction of the gates. As the NHPC is under the Central Government, the Commission can recommend the State Government to write to the Centre to know the need for the gates. The gates will only be constructed when an amicable solution is there.

People of the region should not panic and worry, he said. On the other hand, there was a mass sit-in protest at Ithai barrage community hall today. Locals of Kumbi, Sugnu, members of clubs and Meira Paibis took part in the protest against construction of gates on main roads. MHRC Chairperson Khaidem Mani, core group members U Nabakumar and W Basanta and United Committee Manipur (UCM) president Sunil Karam attended and spoke at the event.

Speaking to the protesters, UCM president Sunil Karam stated that the construction of the motorised gates by the NHPC will restrict free movement of people and affect their daily businesses and livelihood.

The gates will add more to the woes of the people who are suffering as a result of the Ithai barrage, he said. If the gates are a result of the 2017 report of the Intelligence Bureau, it is against the people, he said adding the security reason cited for construction of the gates could have been justified if the gates were constructed before 2010.The law and order situation has improved significantly in the region and as such the gates are not needed, he added.

He also sought the attention of the Government to understand the plight of the people and take up appropriate action. If the Government fails to act in time, the situation may trigger severe outrage and agitation by the people, he said.