Pic: The health of the Taret Lok River in Eastern Manipur & livelihood of communities depending on the River need be protected with increased logging in its catchment areas and plans to dam the River
The E-Pao.Net , 29 April 2021
29 April 2021
A Consultation on Environment Protection and Sustainable Development was organized by the Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur (CRA) and the Rilram Area Maring Organization (RAMO) on 27th April 2021 at Saibol Village, Tengnoupal District. The consultation was organized in the context of increased environmental degradation and the increased targeting of land and natural resources for unsustainable development processes that worsened the social and environment impacts in Manipur.
Mr. Modar, Executive member of RAMO, presenting key note address, expressed concerns with the plan for extractive industries, specifically plan to mine Chromium and Limestone in Eastern areas of Manipur. He stressed the need to take the free, prior and informed consent of all indigenous peoples for policies or projects pursued in the pretext of development. The harmful effects of mining in other places should be careful studied. He also shared that RAMO, considering the multiple adverse impacts of mining, had already resolved against mining activities in RILRAM areas in Eastern Manipur.
Mr. Jiten Yumnam, Secretary, CRA deliberated on Sustainable Development and Challenges in Manipur and shared large dams, mining and other infrastructure projects will undermine sustainable development and cause hardship to coming generations.
The Taret Lok River should be protected from unsustainable development. Mr. Themson Jajo, Environmental Activist shared that the Mapithel dam and Khuga dam, displaced thousands of communities caused hardship and impoverishment of communities by submerging their forest and agriculture land. Such projects cannot be considered as Sustainable development.
The participants affirmed that the Land, Rivers and Forest are life for them and called for recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights over their land and natural resources. The participants affirm that any mining activity and energy projects like large dams should not be pursued in RILRAM areas without the recognition of rights and free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities.
The participants resolved to protect the land and natural resources and advance sustainable development in Manipur.
Consultation on Environment Protection at Saibol Village, Tengnoupal
The Imphal Free Press, April 25, 2021
Ithai Barrage (Photo IFP)
Wetlands – Pumlen Pat and Kharung Pat – located in Kakching district of Manipur have been facing ecological deterioration for 30 long years. Now, the wetlands are fast getting submerged by the water released from the Ithai Barrage. In view of the devastating situation posed to the people living in the villages situated in the wetlands, the state government is now making an attempt to salvage the situation and preserve the wetlands.
In the effort “to preserve the wetlands of vital importance”, the Kakching district administration on March 23 issued an eviction order of “unauthorised occupation and activity within the wetlands”. The “encroachers” were given 30 days to vacate the land. The dateline for eviction was April 23.
Aggrieved by the eviction notification, villagers strongly voiced against the government’s decision.
Pumlen Pat with settlement of 25 villages is the worst affected.
Opposing the eviction drive, a village organisation Pumlen Pat Khoidou Lamjao Kanba Apunba Lup said the eviction notification issued by the Kakching deputy commissioner in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is “inhuman in nature”.
The Pumlen Pat Khoidou Lamjao Kanba Apunba Lup represents residents of 25 villages situated in Pumlen pat area.
The 25 villages in Pumlen Pat area are Nongmaikhong, Arong Khunjao, Arong Khunou, Tokpaching, Sarik, Hiyangkhong, Konuma, Sekmaijin Khunou, Sekmaijin, Khoidum Lamjao, Tera Pisak, Hiyanglam, Hiranmei, Lamjao, Langmeidong, Thounaojam, Yangdong, Elangkhangpokpi, Thongjao, Waikhong, Komnao, Langoipung, Yangbi, Kakching Khunou and Thongam.
Speaking to this Imphal Free Press reporter, Salam Joy, secretary of the Lup, said that the DC notification is “highly objectionable”.
“The residents here have settled and been associated with the wetland since decades, generation after generation,” Salam said.
The definition of “encroachers” in the context of Pumlen residents is vague and cannot be equated with any land issues as it pertains to inundation by Ithai Barrage for more than 30 years and that in some areas, wetland rules seem to be more appropriate than just mere MLR and LR Act of 1960, he said.
“We have lived here since time immemorial. This is the land of our ancestors. We want our children and their children to continue living here as we are now in peace and tranquility and one with nature,” said Salam.
Salam said that if anything has to go, it is such laws that have been enacted which attack the rights of the indigenous people of Manipur.
“Our traditional ways of living with wetland ecosystems as fisher folks and farming communities benefits not merely Manipur, but the entire Northeast region,” he said.
Salam also said, “The failure of the state in acknowledging our rights to live here, or any law that claims we are trespassers is blatantly unconstitutional and against the fundamental principles of humanity”.
Meanwhile, the Pumlen Pat Khoidou Lamjao Kanba Apunba Lup has sent a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh as well as the district DC stating that issuing such an order under Section 11 of Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act of 1960 is a fundamental violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution which guarantees the Right to Life and Livelihood to communities, including those of Pumlen Pat.
Responding to DC Kakching notification which mentioned whole areas of Kharung Pat and Pumlen Pat under Kakching district, the Lup sent a response, seeking withdrawal of notice with immediate effect on April 22.
“We are not occupiers. The whole area of Pumlen Pat is being notified for eviction of encroachers or occupiers. It should be withdrawn,” said Salam.
Salam added that it is not ascertained on what basis the DC is referring to encroachers in the context of Pumlen Pat residents. This Lup objects to the terminology adopted as undemocratic processes such as “non-consultation with the village authorities and the bypassing of Panchayati Raj Institution responsible for local self-governance in the area”, he said.
Environmentalist Ram Wangkheirakpam, convenor of Ngamee Lup, told the Imphal Free Press that when COVID-19 pandemic is raging across the country and governments along with healthcare authorities are struggling to control the spread of the disease, such notification for eviction is “totally arbitrary law in nature and totally inhuman act”.
“The eviction notice to the settlers in the areas is “mental harassment”; it shows no respect to people,” the environmentalist said.
On behalf of the villagers, the Pumlen Pat Khoidou Lamjao Kanba Apunba Lup has asked for immediate withdrawal of the notification issued by the Kakching district administration. It stated that the notification has spread fear among the villagers. The deputy commissioner must bear all responsibilities for loss of life, damage and trauma caused as a result of the notification and for any action taken up by the DC, it added.
Pumlen Pat, situated about 68 km south of Imphal, is considered the second largest lake in Manipur after the Loktak Lake.
According to reports, the wetland has a total area of 32,26 square kilometres with a different catchment area of 127.75 sq km and indirect catchment area of 335.45 sq km. It is a conjoined lake formed by Khoidumpat in the North, Lamjaopat in the Northeast and Pumlen main basin in the south.
It is associated with around 26 different lake basins from all sides. Of the total lake area, 58 per cent is covered by Phumdis (floating biomass), 41 per cent by open water area and one per cent by islands. The lake receives water from precipitation, surface runoff from the northern agricultural fields, indirectly from Sekmai and Manipur rivers.
According to several studies, the lake has a rich biodiversity in terms of flora and fauna. The flora species consists of 194 species (95 marginal/marsh species, 15 floating leaved species, 14 emergent, 10 free-floating, nine submerged species and 52 species that colonised the phumdis) and about 244 faunal species (46 invertebrates and 198 vertebrates) are found in the lake, according to studies of sustainable management of wetlands in the central valley Manipur conducted in 2007.
Unfortunately, a remote sensing survey report stated that Pumlen pat is among the highly degraded lakes in Manipur. The fate of the lake with historical significance is on the verge of extinction due to the resulting consequences of the Loktak lake project.
A total area of 32.26 square km has been deteriorated since the construction of the Ithai Barrage as a part of the Loktak Lake project started in 1986 over the Imphal River. With the Ithai Barrage obstructing the weeds of the lake from flowing down, 80 per cent of the lake has been covered under thick weeds, leaving almost no space for the fishermen to earn their living. It may be mentioned that fishing is a way of the life of the villagers and they depend on fishing alone for their livelihood.
It may also be pointed out that the Manipur Forest Department plans to translocate a section of the rare species of the endemic and endangered brow-antlered deer Sangai to Pumlen Pat, which is close to its only existing habitat in Loktak Lake area.
Arun RS, state deputy conservator of forest (park and sanctuary), was quoted in a media report in 2015 as saying, “Our objective is to have another set of population of the deer. We have identified Pumlen Pat for translocation as it is also a Phumdi and also has small hillocks for shelter. The proposal would be ready and within two-three years they would start the process of translocation”.
He also stated that the big task is to acquire land for the project as the wetland is encroached by fisherfolk and local villagers.
Further, the Manipur State Wetland Authority announced Pumlen Pat as a conservation area and the second home for Sangai, which is found only in Manipur and is the state animal of Manipur. Following it, the Centre for Research and Advocacy (CRA), Manipur raised serious concern on announcement of wetland as a conservation area by the Manipur State Wetland Authority “without consulting the stakeholders”. It said the government’s move would be infringing upon the rights of the locals.
The CRA also stated that the area in Pumlen Pat demarcated for conservation and setting up of second home for Sangai in Pumlen Pat is vast and it will impact the livelihood of the villages and several others in the periphery of the wetland.
The DC’s notification of March 23 stated that “to preserve the wetlands of vital importance in Kakching district, any unauthorized occupation or activity within the wetlands under the schedule of the whole area of Kharung Pat and Pumlen Pat should not be taken up by an individual or group without prior approval of the concerned authority”.
“Further, any person who occupies or continues to occupy any land within the area of Kharung and Pumlen Pat without lawful authority should be regarded as a trespasser under Section 15 of Manipur Land Revenue and Land Records Act, 1960 and maybe summarily evicted therefore any building or construction erected or anything deposited on the areas of the land, if not removed within 30 days that means April 23, should be liable to be forfeited. And such trespassers should also be liable by way of penalty to pay a sum which may extend to six times the annual assessment of the land”.
Since the construction of Ithai Barrage, villagers’ dependence on Pumlen Pat has resulted in a decrease in residential and agricultural land and increase in dependence on ataphum (floating fish ponds) to avoid the continuing high-water levels. The barrage has already affected the ecosystem and livelihood of the indigenous villagers living in the surrounding area. Now, the eviction order has added to the woes of the villagers.
Speaking to the Imphal Free Press, deputy director of the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, T Brajakumar said that Pumlen Pat is yet to be notified under wetlands for conservation. The process for notification has been started. Notice has been sent to the revenue department for identifying areas, encroachers, etc. Even if it is notified as a conservation area, activities may be taken up according to National Wetland Rules, 2017.
The Third Pole, 21 May 2018
About sixty village chiefs of Churachandpur district in the Indian state of Manipur gathered at Lamka on May 12, 2018 to deliberate upon a notification about the Kailam Wildlife Sanctuary[i]. The village chiefs unanimously resolved to object ‘tooth and nail’ against the move the Manipur government, and formed a Joint Action Committee to take forward their move. The gathering also featured a seminar on “Forest rights in Hill Areas of Manipur state”
These are only the latest moves in a long dispute. In June 1997, the government of Manipur issued a gazette notification stating that – in exercise of powers conferred by sub-section (I) of Section 18 of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 – the Governor of Manipur had declared an area of 187.50 square kilometres in south Manipur as a wildlife sanctuary on account of ecological conditions, fauna, floral, geo-morphological features of significance. The gazette notification declared that the area would be called “Kailam Wildlife Sanctuary”.
At that time the area included 17 villages within its boundaries. In August 2015 the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change issued a draft notification declaring the surrounding area as “eco-sensitive” covering an additional 48 villages in an area of 734 square kilometres.
According to the village chiefs there are approximately another 40 villages that are not mentioned in the list covered under the proposed core area of the sanctuary and the eco-sensitive zone. Thus a total of 105 villages will be affected, and their residents displaced to make way for the proposed sanctuary.
In response to the 1997 gazette notification five village chiefs filed a written objection. The 2015 notification was objected by the Thanlon sub-division Village Chiefs Association in October 2015. Moreover 8 village chiefs field a writ petition in the High Court of Manipur challenging the proclamation of the sanctuary. The said writ petition was closed since the government did not take further steps.
Some of the key reasons cited for the objection include the infringement upon the rights of the Chiefs, being uprooted from their ancestral lands, taking away their right to land and forest resources, and the deprivation of livelihood.
The village chiefs claimed that the move to declare the sanctuary came as a shock, and they were unaware of any such move by the government until the gazette notification came to their doorsteps. Only 5 village chiefs filed their ‘objection’ to the 1997 notification and that too only in 2001.
Thiankholian Guite, the chief of Songtal village, explained why the response had been so delayed. He said that the gazette notification in 1997 came at a time when there was largescale inter-community conflict in the district, so much so that Churachandpur district came to standstill for more than a year. Again in 2015, when the notice for declaring the eco-sensitive zone came, the district was seeing intense upheaval against three contentious bills had been passed in the state assembly. At least eight people were killed in the ensuing violence, and the district came to a standstill for almost two years. Guite asked, “Is the government taking advantage of such socio-political crisis in the district?”
The village chief of Kaihlam, which is at core of the proposed sanctuary, Kaizamang Naulak stated that, “We are not aware of any survey or information regarding the proposed sanctuary”. The same sentiment was echoed by the chief of Maite village, Lianminthang, who said, “We have to oppose it. Else we will be wiped away. Either we leave the village for good or fight it with any possible means.”
The chiefs also disputed the core rationale for their being moved out of the area: the preservation of flora and fauna. Guite said that village chiefs had been preserving the forest since generations, “We have been strictly monitoring the forest – in terms of restricting cutting of trees and exploiting resources of the forest.” He asked, “Are animals in the forest far more precious than the forest dwellers?” Adding, “We (chiefs) must protect our ancestral land and its people.”
Kaihlam Hills – locally known as Kaihlam Taang – is a popular hill range in Churachandpur district. A great deal of history, culture, folk tales, and beliefs are woven around them. Geographically located at 93o 25.00′ E longitude and 24o12.00′ N latitude with an altitude ranging from 500 – 2,018 metres above sea level, the proposed / notified Kailam / Kaihlam Wildlife Sanctuary falls under the Indo-Burma region of the biodiversity hotspots as declared by Conservation International.
According to a research study by Thangsuanlian Naulak at the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, the proposed area of the sanctuary is home to five species of hornbills: Tickell’s brown hornbill, rufous-necked hornbill, great hornbill, wreathed hornbill, and the Oriental pied hornbill. Apart from this the area plays host to leopards, the golden cat, the serow, the Hoolock gibbon, the stump-tailed macaque, the Asiatic black bear, the Chinese pangolin, the Eurasian otter, and the Chinese ghoral. There are 135 species of trees, 119 species of herbs, 80 species of shrubs, as well as a combination of 68 grass and bamboo species.
The study also mentions that – as per the gazette notification – the District Magistrate is required to publish notifications in the regional language in every town and village in the neighbourhood of the area regarding the situation and limits of the sanctuary, as well as determine the rights of those displaced. However the notification has not been published in any vernacular language and no settlement of rights has been carried out so far.
According to forest officials in Churachandpur the final notification is yet to be made, while the acquisition of forest lands for the sanctuary is yet to be made by the district administration. The officials stated that due to opposition from village chiefs further action cannot be taken up at present.
There is fear, anxiety, and uncertainty among the people dwelling at Kaihlam Taang forest and the vicinity of the proposed sanctuary and the inhabitants of Churachandpur district at large. Various public discussions, deliberations and consultations have been held by civil society organisations and traditional bodies (without government participation).
One of the issues discussed is that if there were reasons for the sanctuary to be declared – such as poaching – why so no information shared with the people there, especially the village chiefs? The dismissal of village chiefs and tribal communities as mere ‘collateral damage’, is deeply resented.
For the many indigenous groups that lives in these villages – the Paite, Hmar, Gangte, Vaiphei, and Thadou – it is about identity, rights, livelihood, history, and culture. They may be a small number of people living in an isolated part of the country, and fear that in the formulation of large policy decisions they are, once again, ignored as their lives are turned upside down.
[i] The official notification calls it “Kailam Wildlife Sanctuary” based on the name of the village at the centre of the area, but locals use the spelling “Kaihlam”. In this article “Kailam” is used throughout where the proposed sanctuary is named, but the local name is used otherwise.
By Phurailatpam Keny Devi | 22 February , 2021
The Imphal Free Press
Villagers settling around the periphery of Jiri Makru in Manipur might have different opinions about the state government’s decision to declare the forest area as a wildlife sanctuary. It was on September 22, 1997 that the state had given the initial notification to declare Jiri Makru forest area as a wildlife sanctuary. But the villagers living within the jurisdiction and nearby places located within Tousem sub-division of Tamenglong district strongly condemned such decision till today, citing the government’s failure to give prior information to them.
Manipur is a state with vast forest areas. According to a report of the Forest Survey of India, three-fourth of the state’s geographical area is recorded under forest. Considering the purpose of protecting and promoting their ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural and zoological significance, the state government had proposed seven forest areas to declare as sanctuaries located at different places. Of the seven proposed wildlife sanctuary, only Yangoupokpi Lokchao Wildlife Sanctuary at Tengnoupal district with an area of 184.80 square km was declared a wildlife sanctuary.
The list of sanctuaries which are yet to be given final declaration are Jiri-Makru Wildlife Sanctuary at Tamenglong, Kailam Wildlife Sanctuary at Churachandpur, Zeilad Wildlife Sanctuary at Tamenglong, Buning Wildlife Sanctuary at Tamenglong, Khongjaigamba Ching Wildlife Sanctuary and Thiningei Bird Sanctuary.
The proposal was made in different years under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
About 198 square km in size, Jiri Makru is located at a distance of around 68 km from Tamenglong Headquarters. The region which was once thickly forested is now deteriorating and facing deforestation. During a recent visit to Phoklong village, hardly any wildlife could be seen. Village chairman Nampuiteung Pame said, “People of this village has attachment to the forest land emotionally, socially and economically. Starting from livelihood to settlement, villagers depend on this region. As such, not informing anything to the villagers and issuing an initial notification as a proposed wildlife sanctuary is unfortunate”.
“The concerned department should give proper information about the initial proposal to declare Jiri Makru as wildlife sanctuary. However, such step was not done anything and this has resulted us zero knowledge about its declaration till date. Being an inhabitant within the jurisdiction of the forest, at least the government should give prior information. It is through media we came to know,” he condemned.
Stating about the people living in and around sanctuary, he said there are around 167 households with a population of around 1,800 in Phoklong. Almost all the people carry out agricultural activities as the main source of livelihood since time immemorial. The people are highly apprehensive that declaration of sanctuary would snatch their livelihood by disallowing them to access the forest land.
“Not only our village is denying to declare as wildlife sanctuary. Even the neighbouring village which falls within and nearby of the sanctuary such as Katang, Katiang, Tegoram and New Magulong are also unwelcome with such step to announce as sanctuary,” he informed.
As most of the villagers are illiterate, the government should describe them what is sanctuary all about. However, not a single awareness programme is being conducted so far even after 24 years of its initial notification, he condemned.
The villagers are not only denied of the state government initiation to declare their place as sanctuary but also lost their trust to the state government.
“The government didn’t say anything before its notification. Then how will we trust them if they asked to shift our village with an assurance to provide compensation,” he said, while stating the villagers wouldn’t agree to shift their settlement if any such situation arises. He complained that the village doesn’t have proper basic facilities till date.
There is no health centre, higher secondary school and water supply. As such, it is highly questionable whether the state government would provide proper infrastructure when the village is being relocated. On top of this, the village still practice the system of land ownership. Therefore, villagers are highly apprehended that the government would provide compensation only to land owner, he added.
When asked whether hunting is still continuing within the sanctuary, the village chief said that hunting is a part of their culture. As such, despite knowing the decreasing population of faunas, hunting couldn’t be stop completely. However, villagers are taking initiative to control hunting within the sanctuary as they started realising the significance of preservation of forest and wildlife.
Jiri Makru forest area has the significance of being a virgin forests of catchment areas of Jiri and Makru rivers with varieties of flora and fauna. The forest department reported the presence of hoolock, gibbon, spotted linsang, bear, barking deer, sambar, leopard, jackal, pangolin, wild boar, jungle cat, flying squirrel, yellow throated martens, fishing cat, large Indian civet cat, pythons, clouded leopard, slow loris, hog badger, serow, pied and great Indian Hornbill, tiger and seasonal migration of elephants from Assam etc in the Jiri Makru Wildlife Sanctuary.
CRA co-organized community consultation on sustainable development & Environment Protection at Leibi Village in Eastern Manipur, 22 March.
Extensive logging in Tamei Sub-Division poses threats to livelihood of communities and health of Rivers
The Imphal Free Press, 24 March 2021
By Thomas Ngangom |Updated on: March 24, 2021, 4:24 p.m.
People in urban areas of Imphal valley may face drinking water crisis in the next one month if annual monsoon is delayed as water level in Singda Dam has reduced to an alarming stage, said Ksh Tombi, state executive engineer water supply project construction division, public health and engineering department.
Speaking exclusively to the Imphal Free Press, Tombi said the water level of Singda dam has fallen to 8.96 metres, which is an alarming stage.
Water level of Singda dam is divided into three level. Of the total dam level of 34 metres, the first level is marked at 10 metres from the top of the dam and another 10 metres at the second level and the last level is marked with 14 metres. If the water level is reduced below the second level, it is considered as alarming stage, Tombi explained.
Tombi also said that Singda dam supply drinking water mainly in urban areas. It usually supplies 18.16 MLD (million litres per day) but with the reduced water level of the dam, only 9.5 MLD is supplied, that also in roster system.
A joint press statement issued by the public health and engineering department recently mentioned that “due to the drastic reducing of water level at Singda dam and drying up of Leimakhong river, which are the main source of raw water, the treatment plants at Singda, Kangchup and Kangchup Extension (WTPs) are unable to produce optimum quantity of treated water.
Taking precautionary measures by the department concerned, the areas covered by these water supply projects namely Phayeng, Lamsang to Naoremthong, Langjing area, Uripok, Nagamapal, Lamphel, Langol area, Sagolband area, Tera Sayang, Nepra Menjor supply zone, Thiyam leikai supply zone, Sangaiprou supply zone, Irom Pukhri zone, Haobam Marak zone, Chingtham leikai zone, Babupara, Keishamthong, Keishampat zone and Paona bazaar area will be highly affected, it added.
Th Pika Singh, EE Maintenance division, said the three treatment plants normally supply around 23.6 million litres of drinking water on daily basis to the commercial hub. Of the total, Over 9 million litres water are supplied through Singda plants and over 14 million litres through Leimakhong extensions. However, with the Leimakhong river almost dried up around we are rationing just over 6 million litres of dringking water through Singda after three days gap, said Pika Singh.
In view of it, Tombi appealed to the people in urban areas to use water for domestic purpose cautiously and to conserve drinking and domestic use water. If such practice is not carried before the monsoon rain arrives, then each household will have to start fetching water from far-flung areas and may face acute water crisis.
Officials from Porompat water supply department reported that they are supplying water for drinking and domestic purpose from the Iril and Imphal river. About a total of 80 MLD water is being supplied to the public, security forces including CRPF, BRTF, and for VIPs by getting token from the officials with the payment of Rs 12 per 1,000 litres of water.
On a daily basis, Porompat water supply delivers about 7/8 Tata DI water tanker; 22 security water tanker trucks and five Tata trucks for the public.
The Porompat water supply official appealed to the general public residing near Imphal and Iril river to stop blocking of running river water and using of private water pump sets.
Private water tankers with the capacity ranging from 1000 litres to above has increased the charge of water. On normal days, a private water tanker with the capacity of 2,500 litres reportedly charge Rs 450 per trip. However, the charge has increased to Rs 900 per trip recently.
If the annual monsoon rainfall is delayed the state may face water crisis not only for drinking but also for domestic and irrigation purpose.
To prevent drinking water scarcity, there is need for cooperation and understanding among public and cooperation from the concerned department related to environment and climate change, Tombi asserted.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Tuesday (March 23, 2021) chaired an emergency meeting called to review the present problem of water scarcity in urban areas of Imphal–Uripok, Thangmeiband, Keisamthong, Sagolband, Wangkhei, etc, due to the repairing works taken up in the Singda Dam and the drying up of other water sources.
According to T. Brajakumar, deputy director, directorate of Environment and Climate Change, experiencing shortage of water at this time of year is normal due to deficit in pre-monsoon rainfall. However, the severity has gradually increased over the past few years. This year too, he said, major catchment areas like Tamenglong, Churachandpur, Imphal West and East among others has witnessed over 90 percent pre-monsoon rainfall deficit.
During the meeting, it was decided that a Sub Committee would be constituted which would be headed by Administrative Secretary (Water Resources) with PCCF, Administrative Secretary (PHED), Engineer-in-Chief (Water Resources), Chief Engineer (Water Resources), Chief Engineer (PHED), Director (MAHUD) Executive Engineer (PHED-Maintenance Division-II) and DIG Range I as members.
The committee would conduct a survey of water scarcity areas and recommend and monitor steps for meeting the shortage.
It was also decided that Imphal Barrage would be shut down until water situation improves; water from Dolaithabi Barrage would be released to Iril River; dredging of riverbeds/dams would be taken up by Water Resources Department; PHED would deploy adequate number of water tankers by hiring from private agencies, etc.; commissioning of Chingkheiching Water Supply Project would be expedited; Water Resources Department would examine feasibility of constructing multiple low-level barrages on Imphal River, Iril River, Thoubal River and Kongba River; feasibility of conserving river water during the monsoon through more effective engineering mechanisms such as interlinking of rivers, etc. would be explored and scope for utilising the water of Barak River would also be explored. The chief minister further instructed all concerned to take up the matter on top priority.
The E-Pao.Net, 14 March 2021
14 March 2021 :
A weeklong celebration of the International Day of Action for Rivers 2021 was organized by the Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur and the JAC against Pabram Dam from 10th till 14th March 2021.
A community meeting along the Barak River in Nheng (Langpram) Village on 11th March and community awareness visits in several villages in the catchment areas of Barak River and Irang River in Tamei areas of Tamenglong District from 12th till 14th March marked the international River day celebration.
The International River Day celebration has been organized considering the increased threats to the free flow and health of the Rivers in Manipur, due to large dam construction, removal of boulders and sand using heavy machineries, destruction of forest in catchment areas of Rivers, increased pollution of Rivers, and other unsustainable practices like using explosives, chemicals, invertor batteries for fishing etc.
During the Community meeting held along the Barak River at Nheng Village on 11th March, Mr. Enoch Newmai of the JAC against Pabram Dam shared that the Barak River has been targeted for construction of large dams.
He shared that the proposed 190 MW Pabram Hydroelectric Project and 67 MW Khongnem Chakha dam over the Barak River will entail widespread submergence of forest and agriculture land in villages like Luangdi Pabram, Nheng, Khunphung, Piulong, Dikiuram etc in Tamei areas. This will entail livelihood loss, destroy the fish species of Barak River and caused climate change in Tamenglong areas.
Mr. Jiten Yumnam of CRA, Manipur also shared that Rivers of Manipur are targeted for large dam construction, such as the Khongnem Chakha Dam, Pabram Dam, Irang Dam, Tipaimukh dam etc. Commissioned dams like Khuga dam, Mapithel dam, Loktak hydroelectric project already entailed much hardship to indigenous communities.
Removal of boulders and sands using machines and destruction of forest in catchment areas of major rivers already affected the free flow and health of Rivers of Manipur. The community meeting at Nheng called for the free flow of the Barak River and to stop the building of 190 MW Pabram Dam, 67 MW Khongnem Chakha dam, 1500 Tipaimukh dam etc over the River.
The community awareness visits in several villages noted with concern the widespread logging of forest areas in the catchment areas of Irang River and Barak River in Tamenglong areas. The River day Celebration is marked by call for free flow of all Rivers, to abandon dam building and stop unsustainable practices affecting the health and life of Rivers and further to protect the forest in catchment areas of Rivers and to uphold indigenous peoples’ intrinsic relationship with Rivers, land and forest in Manipur.
Stop Building Dams in Manipur – Let the Rivers Flow free – River Day 2021 at Nheng (Langpram) Village, Manipur