This gallery contains 2 photos.
Themson Jajo *
Media consultation on ‘Mapithel dam and its Commissioning Plan’ at Manipur Press Club on 17 April 2017 :: Pix – CRAM
The Mapithel (Apeesii) Valley along the Yangwui Kong/Thoubal River, flowing through the Imphal East district, Thoubal District via Mapithel valley before joining the Imphal River at Irong Ichil which is originated at Shiroi Hills and Hoome that joined at Lamlang Gate in Ukhrul district, is a permanent home to thousands populace of Tangkhul, Kukis, Vaiphei and Meitei communities over generations.
Besides the beautiful natural environment, rich fertile land, river, forest resources and varied kinds of flora and fauna with seasonal fruit and food produces that sustained the people, there has been an environment of peace and tranquilities, mutual trust, cordial relationship, solidarity in many ways, high spirit of co-existence among the villages and communities in this valley since olden days. There were no serious villages and communal confrontation and hostility among the settlers in the valley for thousands of years.
The Thoubal River (Tangkhul name it Yangwui Kong), has been the key agent for an inseparable solidarity among the thousands of populace in the Mapithel valley which played cardinal roles in the inter & intra personal, families, villages and communities relationship since time immemorial. The Thoubal River indeed acts as a unifying factor for all communities settling in the valley.
There were free accesses of fishing, recreation and exchange of agriculture labors among them irrespective of villages or communities etc. The Mapithel valley along this river owned an impressive unique feature of both hills and valley. The aged-old serene Mapithel valley was turned into the most un-dreaming horrible place ever since the construction of the devastating Mapithel dam of Thoubal Multipurpose Project was incepted in 1990.
Among the multiple negative impacts of the Mapithel dam project, impacts on social perspective is the severest negative blows the affected communities suffered who have been infected with deadly parasite in every level of socio-communal lives.
The construction of Mapithel dam has led to social turmoil in the upstream areas and was inflicted with irreparable social disintegration, chaotic under doubt, confusion, mutual distrust, hatred, group-ism, disunity and social division in the villages since the beginning of the dam project.
Chadong village in the Ukhrul district is the living example where local settlement has been segregated into three or more sections willingly or unwillingly. Phayang Kuki village had been totally uprooted from the planet and some are displaced permanently. Thousands of populace of six villages have been scattered to different parts of the state due to compelling situation of the dam.
The project has also incited marathon of case litigation and land dispute against each other to some villages till date. Mutual distrust, interest contestation, social divisions, workers migration and culture of early marriage, family disintegration are also rampant in the downstream villages too in the post dam era.
Another major social impact of the Mapithel dam is creation of permanent socio-communal rift by dichotomizing the Thoubal River valley into two with the term upstream and downstream. Since construction of the dam was started, those Tangkhuls in Ukhrul and Meiteis in the Imphal East districts seemed to have been divided like Line of Actual Control (LAC) of the Thoubal River which they had been enjoying like common ownership in terms of fishing, recreation etc. Today, they have been set apart into different world to each other, forced them cut off the intrinsic chain of relationship they had among them since their forefathers.
The sporadic common and unrestricted living of the different community people through the gift of the Thoubal River, have been totally drained out today. The aged-old socio-communal fabric of close friendship, inter-village thorough-fare, acquaintances, solidarity, feeling of being neighbor etc. have been brought to a grinding halt due to the dam.
It is indeed a woeful chapter that, those different community people in this valley who used to come across each other every now and then as matao-mangai have been curtailed today. There has been instance of communities’ un-cordiality arising out of inevitable dependency of safe drinking water by the Meitei communities upon the neighboring Tangkhul villages. Imposition of high rate of yearly water taxes enhanced hardship of the Meitei communities coupled with insecurity and unreliability which defeats the spirit of long time inter-communities’ co-existence.
Observing the unfolding complex social impacts, it is compelling to question whether the Mapithel dam project is really a boon or a block for citizens of Manipur. The Mapithel dam project is being targeted for well-being of the public whereas, the affected communities are thrown upon with a socially havoc, shattering all the affinities, friendly relationships, instilled perennial enmity and hatred that characterized their social life depriving their mutual trust and peaceful co-existence, even creating a wide socio-communal rift among the hill-Valley people beyond repair.
The people living in this valley region have to bear the burden of internal feuds that is deeply rooted as long as the dam project survives with no hope of the lost chain of old friendship being restored. Vivid history of involuntary social displacement, dispersal of loving families and relatives and anguish of vanishing local settlement of their forefathers will continue to haunt through generations.
The said to be project developers are responsible for creating such history of night-mere for the people living in the Mapithel valley region. It is undeniable to maintain that the multi-layered negative social impacts including socio-communal rift are so caused due to unscrupulous, insincere divisive policy, unsystematic, unaccountability and absence of transparency kind of development intervention of the state govt.
Hope, it is high time to review the mega developmental projects of Manipur like the Mapithel dam in particular, and other failed and underperforming projects in general which had induced irreparable damages to the social ethos and fabric of socio-communal in the state.
* Themson Jajo wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on May 13 , 2018.
The Imphal Free Press, 9 June 2018
JIRIBAM | Jun 8 : A public meeting on ‘Oil Exploration and Drilling in Manipur’ was held today at hill ghat community hall under Jiribam district, jointly organised by Protection and Preservation Committee Manipur(PPCM) , Committee on the Protection of Natural Resource in Manipur (CPNRM) and Jiri United Committee(JUC), Jiribam.
The occasion was attended by convenor, (CPNRM), John Pamei, chairman, committee on Human Right (COHR), Phulindro Konsam, activist, former member, (CPNRM), Majabung Gangmei, convenor, PPCM, Nongthombam Bimol, chairman JUC, Mutum Maipaksana singh as resource persons.
The speakers in the meeting asserted that the natural resources of Manipur belong to the people of the state and it should be utilised by its own people.
The occasion today was attended by the people of Jiribam, CVOS, public leaders and students. A rally was also organised by different representatives of CVOs in Manipur. Placards that read ‘Stop oil drilling in Manipur’, ‘Go Back Company’ etc were displayed in the rally.
The Imphal Free Press, 16 May2016
TAMENGLONG | May 15 : Despite of repeated memorandum submitted to the authorities concerned by the farmers of Phalong (Bhalok) regarding the on-going road construction of Imphal-Kangchup-Tamenglong road (IKTR) that affected the wet lands, the voices of the farmers are left unheard.
Pic: Paddy field in Phalong village, Tamenglong areas affected by ADB financed Kangchup – Tamenglong Road
In an exclusive interview, chairman of Paddy Field Affected Association Phalong village, Ramliamang Panmei disclosed that under the project funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB), at least 25 paddy fields were destroyed by mud and stones carried down by running water since July 26 last year. Another 10 paddy fields were again destroyed this year.
Apart from destruction of wet fields or paddy field, orange, pineapple, banana, litchi and other farms were destroyed by mud and other materials due to flowing down of muddy water into in the village. Consequently, fishes, crabs and snails are no longer found at Duiga and Atibak streams due to the on-going project at Phalong village, added Ramliamang.
Phalong (Bhalok) village is located some 9.4 km from district headquarters in the eastern side of Tamenglong.
He recalled that on September 16 last, SDC team had surveyed and found that 25 paddy fields of 63.6 acres were damaged and cannot be cultivated again. However, the contractors engaged in the construction work offered to give Rs. 10,000 per acres as compensation for their damaged wet fields. However, the farmers affected by the project turned down the offer, he added.
He continued that the projects affected families want the work agency and government to understand the ground reality that how the poor cultivators have depended on the paddy field since the time of forefathers. He further said that the whole villagers welcome the road but the authority silent concerned should also take the issue seriously which has created confusion among the villagers.
While appealing the authority concerned to immediately compensate and other entitle benefit as per the relevant provision in accordance with the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RFCTLARR) Act 2013, Paddy Field Affected Association of Phalong village has warned to carry out different forms of democratic agitation and stated any unwanted incident should be responsible by the project agency and government.
The Imphal Free Press, 14 May 2018
India’s Neoliberal Policy and IFIs: The government of India adopted an aggressive neo liberal economic framework, in 1990s leading to significant changes in India’s politico-economic framework. The geographical advantage of Manipur in India’s North East has generated massive focus, especially to expand trade and investment cooperation between the countries and dominant economies of South Asia and South East Asia. Indeed, the Government of India, while signing Free Trade Agreement with ASEAN countries at Ventianne in Laos in November 2004 also subjected the North East region as gateway to South East Asia for Trade and investment. There has been an aggressive move to connect the region with South East Asia, as evidenced by the aggressive construction of the Trans Asian Highway and the Trans Asian Railway, all passing through Manipur.
After the post 1991 phase of economic liberalization, International Financial Institutions (IFI’s) intensified their presence and reach in Manipur and across the region as part of larger move to integrate India economically with the larger economies of Asia Pacific region with expanded activities in trade, finance, transport, information, tourism etc. The Asian Development Bank’s 2003 Country Strategic Plan for India includes a special emphasis on India’s North East region and the plan outlined that the region offers a strategic location to promote cross-border regional cooperation with several neighbouring countries in South Asia and South East Asia. ADB is also directly involved in preparing Vision 2020 for the region without participation and consultation of indigenous peoples of the region and also something, that envisioned privatization and commodification of their land and development processes.
The IFI’s focus in the NE region is evident from the large number of projects in a range of sectors, infrastructure, energy, tourism, urban development, agriculture, water management and subsequent policy reforms etc. The IFIs also targeted NE in their sub regionalization process, including the region in its South Asia Sub Economic Cooperation (SASEC) to complement and integrate the similar initiatives, the Greater Mekong Sub Region (GMS). ADB argues that SASEC has massive energy potential, vast resources of minerals, oil, forest, livestock, fertile agriculture land, important ports and cheap skilled labour. The World Bank conducted a study on Water and Natural Resources Management in India’s North East in 2006 with an aim to promote private sector investment and participation in water and natural resources management in the region. ADB also project North East as gateway to South East Asia for trade and investment and to integrate South Asia economies with South East Asia. The ADB maintains that a missing and crucial element for trade creation in the SASEC region and subsequent progress and development of the region is the development of the private sector infrastructure, particularly the market, trade, finance and information infrastructure along physical corridors etc.
IFI’s and road projects in Manipur: International Financial Institutions (IFIs), primarily the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation are increasingly synonymous with Manipur’s so called ‘development’, with their tacit financial and technical supports on range of sectors, viz, roads, tourism, power, governance etc. While the Governments of India and Manipur projects such facilitation as inherent to reduce poverty, inequality and to eliminate all forms of barriers of its under-development, there’s tacit silence on undeniable aspect of such financing, the need to adhere to best international development norms, including the safeguard policies of these IFIs. Deep controversy persists in project financing by these IFIs across Asia and the long terms implications of their financings are often overlooked.
Road projects in Manipur financed by Asian Development Bank (ADB) pursued under the North East State Roads Investment Program (NESRIP) through its South Asia Sub Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Regional Road Connectivity project, already lands in controversies. Several communities affected by the ADB’s Imphal Ring Road plan already expressed vehement objections and concerns as basic information were denied to them. Communities affected by ADB financed road project in Kasom Khullen in Ukhrul District, Manipur already challenged ADB’s violations and impacts in Manipur High court. The ADB is also preparing to finance the Asian Highway 1 passing through Manipur with its multifaceted impacts.
The Japan International Cooperation Agenda is also preparing to finance the infrastructure development for water supply for Imphal Town from the controversial Mapithel dam built over the Barak River. The key components of the Integrated Water Supply Project (IWSP) will be co-financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Government of India, while the project implementation is mostly by the Private corporate bodies. The Ministry of Urban Department, Government of India envisaged funding the tunneling works while JICA envisaged focusing on the component of upgrading existing infrastructure and creation of new infrastructures for the Imphal Town Water supply. The project is under process for financing by a Japanese ODA Loan to be provided by JICA, expected for final approval in the year 2016. JICA has indeed prepared a preparatory survey for the “Imphal Water Supply Improvement Project”, which is a pre-Feasibility report completed in March 2015. The report was prepared by three Japanese Consultancy companies, the NJS Consultants Co. Ltd, Nippon Koei Co. Ltd, Sanyu Consultants Inc. with JICA for PHED, Government of Manipur. As per the Pre-Feasibility report, the project financing and implementation is envisaged for completion on 31st December 2022.
One of the significant impacts of JICA financed Imphal Water Supply Project (IWSP) and the French financed Imphal Sewerage Project (ISP) is the impact on the right to life of indigenous Communities of Manipur. The impoundment of waters of Thoubal River for the water supply project and subsequent creation of infrastructures, including tunneling works, laying of pipelines, creation of water treatment plants (WTP) and disposal of treated affluent in Lamphelpat wetlands will have significant impact on the livelihood of indigenous communities. There is clear violation of their community ownership of land, such as forest areas in Mapithel valley and in Lamphelpat wetlands. The submergence and destructive of agriculture and forest land, both by Mapithel dam and the tunneling works will impact on Indigenous peoples livelihood.
ADB financed Imphal Ring Road Project in Manipur: The ADB financed Imphal Ring Road ignites wide controversy with its massive land acquisition moves and lack of consultations with affected communities. The proposed Imphal Ring road, which will be 46 Km long and width of 30 metres, is planned to be constructed within a period of five years at an estimated cost of around Rs. 346 Crores Indian Rupees, with expenditures envisaged at 8.17 Crores Rupees for each kilometre . The project proponents reasoned pursuance of India’s Look East Policy and trade expansion with South East Asian countries, will enormously increase traffic volume and deepen problems and hence the need for Imphal ring road. The Public Works Department, Government of Manipur issued tender notice on 10 September 2014 inviting Consultants to take up feasibility study and preparation of Detailed Project Report for the project. A team of experts from the EGIS International, France led by Transport specialist Eyan Jennings already inspected the condition of roads and crossings in Imphal town on 6 November 2014 to support the project . Representatives of Mr. MK Mohanty, Resettlement Specialist, appoint as consultant by ADB for the project commenced surveys for rehabilitation in Kongba, Langthabal, Langjing, Langol and other areas . Affected communities objected to the survey due to unilateral survey process, lack of consultation, limited impact assessment and the prospect of undervaluing their assets, as had happened in ADB loaned road project in Kasom Khullen in Eastern Manipur.
Officials of the Revenue and Settlement Department of Government of Manipur already commence surveys and collection of land records in villages along the Langol foothills and other areas affected by the plan in outskirts of Imphal Town. Earlier, the project director, NESRIP, Public Works Department, Government of Manipur already wrote to the Deputy Commissioner of Imphal West and Imphal East Districts on 5 May 2014 to commence land acquisition.
The Imphal Town Ring Road project will affect residential areas in Kongba Nandeibam Leikai, Langthabal area, Langol area, Kairang Village in Imphal West and East Districts. The total number of families and agriculture land area to be affected by the project is yet to be fully ascertained. More than Sixty household in Langjing Achouba area will be uprooted completely. An initial assessment indicates that project will affect more than 1000 acres of prime agricultural land in Kongba, Bashikhong, Langthabal, Langol, Lamphel etc in Imphal West and East Districts. Around 500 families will also be affected in the villages of Tharon, Thangmeiband, Tarung, Laimanai, Neikanglong, Grace Colony, Vaiphei Enclave etc, inhabited by various communities, such as Vaiphei, Paite, Meitei, Rongmei etc . The project will destroy part of sacred Langthabal, Langjing, Chingmeirong Cheiraoching and Langol Hills and adjoining forests, which are associated with the history and folklores of Meitei and other indigenous peoples. Many families depending on Lamphelpat wetlands for agriculture and fishing will also be affected. Community grounds, water bodies, forest areas, rich vegetation and other religious structures will also be affected.
One of the serious concerns is the feasibility of the Imphal Ring Road plan with its route concentration right in Imphal City areas itself. One wonders how a Ring road cuts through the new Manipur Secretariat and the Manipur High Court Complex, located right in the middle of Imphal town. Strange route demarcations criss-crossing in zig zag pattern and oddly circumventing narrow conspicuous strip of land in Mantripukhri area left many bewildered? There are concerns the routes are crafted specially to accommodate the concerns and to exclude properties or localities of those rich and privileged few with well connections and patronages of those in power. Hence, any development process that benefits few elites and corporate bodies while victimizing communities at large is simply anti people and cannot be construed as real development. Such development process that victimized communities and destroy their livelihood sources will only foster inequality.
The involvement of private consultant firms and private developers and International Financial Institutions necessary does not mean development and efficient service. The French Government support Imphal Sewerage Project in Manipur has been condemned widely for its extensive delays, environmental impacts and human casualties. The project still remains incomplete and already claimed several lives in accidents due to the multiple holes left uncovered and unattended. The Manipur Sericulture Project financed by the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is also laden with failure and wide corruption aside from other controversies.
Several affected communities already publicly expressed objections to the road widening plan given its alarming multi-faceted scale of impacts. The Kongba Makha Nandeibam Leikai development committee in a meeting on the proposed eviction plan held a meeting on 21 September 2014 last strongly opposed the project as the project implementation and subsequent land acquisition process failed to take their consent. They already sacrificed their land for road construction along the Kongba River banks. And to additional acquire 30 metres at a stretch will only extinguish their habitation space and undermine their identity. Further affected communities of Langthabal submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister of Manipur to reconsider the Ring road alignments and to consider alternative routes . Residents of Langjing Achouba and Langol foothills areas from Tharon to Lanthungching also expressed objections. Despite community objections and submissions, project authorities and ADB failed to consult and discuss alternatives to the project with affected communities. Indeed, the Asian Development Bank through the Public Works Department convened a meeting on 15th January 2015 for communities affected by ADB financed Imphal Ring Road project. However, affected communities were not officially informed for the meeting. The Affected communities resorted to make an open submission to the media establishments of Manipur, urging the Asian Development Bank to desist from financing the Imphal Ring Road Project.
The area demarcated for land acquisition in Kongba, Langthabal, Langol and Langjing etc lies along the flood plains of Kongba River and the Nambul River.
ADB financed Kasom Khullen Road project in Manipur: In the case of 47 Km Kasom Khullen road project financed by ADB, six villagers of Thoubal and Ukhrul Districts will be affected by the road project. The affected villagers have filed a legal petition against ADB on 11 August 2014 on the violation of communities rights . The Public Works Department, Manipur and other units implementing the road project have begun constructing the road. The project authorities of the ADB financed Kasom Khullen road project still failed to conduct a detailed impact assessment of the road project, on which the rehabilitation and resettlement is premised and also to apply its safeguard policies, especially related to indigenous peoples. The ADB funded road project also failed to conduct a detailed Environment Impact Assessment and Management Plan in accordance with the latest safeguard policies of the Bank.
ADB financed Asian Highway 1: One of the affected areas of the Asian Highway 1 in Manipur is the farming communities residing along the Yaithibi Loukon, a prime agricultural land in Thoubal District, Manipur. At least One Hundred (100) Acres of prime agriculture land will be affected by the proposed road expansion plan of the existing highway to the tune of 100 feet for a Four Lane road. The proposed Asian Highway 1 in along Yaithibi Loukon will affect several indigenous communities of Manipur. The communities affected by the ADB’s Ring Road project will also be affected by the proposed construction of the National Sports University at Yaithibi Loukon, which will seriously undermine the survival of small scale farmers. That the ADB’s Asian Highway project will lead to acquisition of homestead land in Sora Village and Langthabal Village in Thoubal River. Around Seventy (70) household and small scale business establishments will be acquired and affected. The acquisition of the agricultural and homestead land will render the villagers homeless and landless and further will further subjected them to impoverishment. The proposed site at Yaithibi Loukon is already envisaged for construction of the Trans Asian Highway under India’s Look East policy to connect with South East Asian Countries. The heavy traffic and congestion envisaged along the Trans Asian Highway route will never provide conducive environment for the healthy growth of sports in Manipur. The communities with further land acquisition by Trans Asian Highway will extinguish the survival of affected communities.
ADB’s involvement in Road Projects and Violations: The Imphal Ring Road project will seriously undermine food sovereignty of Manipur by conscripting huge prime agriculture land and foster food dependency from outside. The project is also marked by absence of detailed socio, economic, health and environmental impact assessment and to define clear options with affected communities.
The failure to consult and take, free, prior and informed consent of affected communities is a significant violation of indigenous peoples’ rights outlined in UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007. Affected communities are worried that surveyors from ADB’s consultants and Government revenue department intrude in their villages without consulting them. There have been no efforts on the part of the Government, ADB and their consultants to reach out to affected communities and to inform details of the project and all possible implications on their rights.
The government of Manipur and ADB also failed to apply its Safeguard Policy Statement of 2009. The ADB, cannot under any circumstances, exempt implementation and violate their own safeguard policy Statement for the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights and environment etc in Manipur.
The Government of Manipur has failed to consult and take the free, prior and informed consent of communities affected by the Asian Highway 1 project in Langthabal and Sora villages in Thoubal District. The Government of Manipur also failed to apply ADB’s Safeguard Policies Update, 2009 on conducting Environment and Social Impact Assessments, on preparing the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Plan and also on preparing Indigenous Peoples Action Plan etc.
Many communities who eke out their livelihood through farming, fishing and small scale economic activity in areas affected by ADB’s Imphal Ring Road project, the Kasom Khullen Road project and the Asian Highway 1, will lose their livelihood and constitute a clear violation of right to life, as guaranteed both by the Article 21 of Constitution of India, Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Failure to complete the rehabilitation and resettlement for the land acquired for the road project, also constitute a clear disregard of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007.
The Asian Development Bank is obliged to furnish all project documents, conduct a holistic impact assessment and to prepare indigenous peoples development plan based on its latest safeguard policies covering rehabilitation and resettlement, environment impact assessment and safeguarding indigenous peoples rights, wherever they are affected by projected supported by them. The ADB safeguard policies, widely condemned for its limitations, are not even applied in Manipur.
World Bank Financing in Manipur:
Conclusion: It’s high time to ponder if Manipur ever will ever leap to meaningful progress with credit financings of ‘development’ projects by IFI’s. Will it ever led to reducing poverty gaps and increased inequality within Manipur itself. The marked rise in inequality in concentration of wealth is an alarming reality in Manipur and with ADB’s thrust for private sector involvement, corporatization of development by destroying the fundamental livelihood source of communities, such division will worsen further.
The direct implication of increased loans in Manipur, of increasing debt of Manipur and its people to IFIs has never been discussed. The Government of India had already withdrawn the Special Category State Status from Manipur in early 2015, which will entail the State Government meeting at least 50% of development financial expenses from its own coffers. With limited resource avenues, Manipur will be compelled to borrow from the International Financial Institutions. The increased involvement of IFI’s is not only coincident but also a clear indication of the pattern of development financings in Manipur, more of seeking conditional loans.
With Manipur listed as one of the most corrupted state with limited resources, the increasing investment from IFI’s will only lead to imposition of more tax and debt servicing from its people. With a range of loan and financings by IFIs, Manipur is simply destined to be trapped in a vicious circle of debt and conflict and an uncertain future. In addition to seeking increased loan from IFIs, Manipur will also be compelled to mortgage its own resources, water, oil and gas, forest, minerals etc to unscrupulous exploitation and destruction by corporates bodies, for a mere loyalties and minimal taxes.
The ADB financed Imphal Town Ring Road, the Kasom Khullen Road, the Asian Highway 1 project, other rural roads and other large scale infrastructure projects should not be constructed without the free, prior and informed consent of all affected communities in Manipur. The Government of Manipur and the Asian Development Bank should provide all the necessary and related information on the plan, viz, the DPR, Impact Assessments, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Plan.
Any forced displacement by ADB’s road and other projects in Manipur will only constitute a violation of Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and provisions of UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007. The impact of displacement will spiral into other large multifaceted impacts. A clear accountability framework is crucial for ADB projects in Manipur so that affected communities can seek redressal and justice.
The project authorities should consider and accept the alternatives suggested by all affected communities. There should be no forceful acquisition of agriculture land, residential areas, wetlands, forest and hills of Manipur for the project. The UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples Rights, 2007 should guide all development decision concerning Imphal Ring road plan and other road projects financed by ADB and other IFIs in Manipur. Given ADB’s road financing pattern, there’s tell-tale evidences that IFI financed projects will lead to widespread impoverishment, reinforce inequality and social conflicts and undermine self-determined development for indigenous peoples of Manipur.
The Imphal Times, 14 May 2018
One day consultation program on “Challenges of Asian Development Bank Financing in Manipur” organised by The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur and United Action Committee and Affected Pattadars from Lilong to Wangjing was held today at Manipur Press Club, Majorkhul, Imphal.
The consultation programme was organised amidst the increased involvement of Asian Development Bank (ADB) in financing development process carried out in Manipur, which are mainly of infrastructure projects such as the reform of power sector, roads, etc. in Manipur.
General Secretary of United Action Committee for Affected Pattadars, Lilong to Wangjing, Md.Islam Makakcha in his keynote address express that there are numerous lacks of uniformity in the land acquisition processes in Imphal to Moreh road as well as the survey works and the land acquisition from Lilong to Wangjing Bazar which focused on residential areas.
Whereas, the additional land acquisition for Service Land has further led to additional pressure on the land affected by ADB financed Imphal to Moreh road projects, due to such pressure, villagers are anxious of manipulative and corruptive activities in the land acquisition process.
In this regard, concern government should stop the ongoing effort to acquire land through direct purchase, Md.Islam Makakcha continued.
Phulindro Konsam, Chairman, Committee on Human Rights; Aram Pamei, Co-Chairperson, Citizens Concern for Dams and Development; Panti Gonmei, President, Rongmei Lu Phuam; W Ibopishak, President United Action Committee for Affected Pattadars, Lilong to Wangjing; T Rameswar, Working President, United Action Committee for Affected Pattadars, Lilong to Wangjing and Kangjam Maharabi, Langthabal, Ring Road Affected chaired today’s consultation.
Sharing the problems faced due to the involvement of ADB in the financing development process in Manipur Panti Gonmei, President, Rongmei Lu Phuam shared that ADB financed Imphal Town Ring Road project has threatened communities settled in Langol areas, Patsoi, Langthabl and Kongba, etc.
while the project authorities tried to acquire land without informing details of the project and without the consent of the affected villagers which is very unfortunate.
Even the Ring Road has been pursued without a detailed impact assessment and rehabilitation and resettlement plan, whereas the affected villagers will be improvised due to the forced acquisition of their land, agriculture areas and homestead land without providing alternative livelihood options, she added.
Phulindro Konsam, Chairman, Committee on Human Rights shared that the ADB financed road projects in Manipur has affected the livelihood of affected communities and the projects authorities has failed to consider the survival impact and challenges of the affected communities.
Since the government has failed to conduct detailed impact assessment and to consult and take the consent of the affected villagers, ADB and Government of Manipur should desist from forcibly acquiring land for the ADB financed road projects from Imphal to Moreh.
Any forcible development of the project which gives huge impact on people can be stated as anti-people, Phulindro asserts.
One Chalamba from Wangjing, affected by the ADB financed Imphal to Moreh road also shared that affected people are worried of forcibly acquisition of their lands.
ADB and the Government should end the non-uniform, partisan and divisive acquisition of land, suh as 50 feet to 62 feet at different locations from Lilong to Wangjing stretch, he added.
Chalamba also shared that the project proponents should stop undervaluing the land and peoples relationship with their land in any rehabilitation process and the project will be improvised affected communities and the land rehabilitation should be carried out in due consultation with the land owners and pattadars.
Meanwhile, participants in today’s consultation expressed concerns that the infrastructure support provided by ADB and other financial institutions in Manipur will further facilitate the expropriation of land and natural resources in Manipur, in such ADB should review and rescind all financing and facilitation of corporate bodies in the plunder and expropriation of land and resource in Manipur.
ADB and other International Financial Institutions should strictly adhere to all development as per the human rights norms, especially indigenous people’ standards, such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 in Manipur.
Multinational companies, like Jubilant Energy Pvt Ltd, Oil India Limited, Asian Oilfields, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, NEEPCO are now competing to expropriate the land, river, forest for oil & gas, dam building, road & railway construction with State patronage & funding by Financial Institutions
The Irang River in Tamenglong Areas of Manipur has been subjected to plans for hydroelectric projects, such as 60 MW Irang dam & another at Mukti village.
The Imphal Free Press, 4 May 2018
IMPHAL | May 3 : Centre for Research and Advocacy (CRAM) has expressed its concern with the increase trend of financing for development in Manipur by Asian Development Bank (ADB), especially in infrastructure projects.A release said that ADB has failed to adhere to the best development standards, its own safeguard policies and other applicable human rights laws, such as for advancing the rights and role of indigenous people’s rights in all development processes affecting their land.
CRAM is further concerned that ADB has failed to respect indigenous people’s rights in infrastructure projects financed by the bank such as Imphal to Moreh road, Wangjing to Khudengthabi road and others, for which communities have raised concern on arbitration of rights. ADB and other financial institutions should uphold the right to self-determined development of indigenous people and should stop all forms of forced displacement in the state due to their respective project financings. All ADB financed projects that affect the communities’ rights such as Imphal Ring Road Project should be stopped, said the release.
The release further stated that ADB should review and rescind all financing and facilitation of corporate bodies in the plunder and expropriation of land and resource of Manipur. The bank should stop pursuing the agenda of privatisation or corporatisation in Manipur and across northeast region. ADB and other international financial institutions should strictly adhere to all development of human rights norms, especially the indigenous people of Manipur, in terms of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007.
The Imphal Free Press, 28 April 2018
IMPHAL | Apr 27 : One-day consultation on unfolding impacts of Mapithel Dam in downstream area held today at Manipur Press Club, Majorkhul resolved that the state should conduct a detailed impact assessment of communities affected by Mapithel dam in downstream areas in consultation with the villagers.
It demanded to prepare a detailed rehabilitation and resettlement and alternative livelihood means for the villagers affected by the dam in downstream. The gathering also took the resolution that the dam should either be removed or Thoubal river should be allowed to flow free till rehabilitation and resettlement for downstream affected communities are provided. State should urgently ensure the right to education of all the children affected by the dam and should establish adequate educational infrastructure, adequate numbers and others. Manipur government should conserve Thoubal river and promote its natural flow.
Speaking on the consultation programme convenor of fact finding team for Mapithel dam, Gopen Luwwang said around Mapithel dam a fact finding team was created on April 6 and visited the dam affected area in the villages. According to the data collected from the fact finding of the surrounding villages of the dam, the consultative meeting held today made the resolution, he added.
Joint secretary of Mapithel dam downstream affected village level committee, Nameirakpam Ibetombi said, since the blocking of Thoubal river by the dam from January 2015, many villages in downstream areas have been experiencing wide suffering and survival challenges.
She said the major impacts after construction of dam are loss of livelihood such as before the construction of dam sands and stones are brought down by the river flow but due to the dam construction the phenomenon has been changed. The construction of dam represents a symbol of destruction and miseries for the people along the downstream, she added.
Once, before the construction of dam, people have no financial crisis though they do not get government jobs. But after the construction business of collecting sand and stones from the river bed cannot be done as the dam had changed the natural phenomena of Thoubal river, she added.
With the construction of Mapithel dam people cannot run their houses in every ways including children education as the parents failed to afford the expenses, Ibetombi said.
She further said the construction not only affects the families’ economy but also it gives bad impact to agriculture, health as well as security for safety of children and youths have been lost.
People of downstream not only get the various bad impacts but also they have a fear if the dam breaks down in any moment with the poor quality of its construction. She appealed the state to immediately give an alternative way for their livelihood so that the grievances of the villagers be lessened. If the state fails to meet the appeal of the villagers then the dam must be dismantled to get back the former village life, she asserted.
The meeting was organised by joint JAC of Mapithel dam downstream affected people, Mapithel dam downstream affected village level committee, all Manipur Women Voluntary Association, Committee on Human Rights, Irabot Foundation, Manipur, Centre for Research Advocacy,, Manipur, Thoubal River Nung Leingoi Workers Association, and Thoubal River Conservation Committee. And the joint JAC submitted a memorandum to the chief minister hghlighting the resolution they took in the meeting.
Source: The Sangai Express / Newmai News Network
Imphal, April 30 2018: Committee on the Protection of Natural Resources in Manipur (CPNRM) has expressed its “concern and condemned the recent statement” of Commerce Minister, Thongam Biswajit Singh “in the media that oil and gas exploration has started in various parts of Manipur, including Jiribam”.
According to CPNRM, it considered the “ongoing efforts” of the Government to facilitate the oil and gas exploration and drilling by “Oil India Limited and Jubiliant Oil and Gas Private Limited as a clear disrespect and insensitivity to the long standing call and demands of the various indigenous communities of Manipur and the civil societies to stop all forms of oil exploration and drilling in Manipur”.
CPNRM also expressed its “concern and condemnation” to the Oil India Limited and the Asian Oilfields “for carrying out 2D surveys forcibly for related oil exploration and drilling” in various parts of Manipur. “Such forced surveys constitute disrespect to the community resolutions and petitions which urged the Government and oil companies to desist from oil exploration in Manipur,” stated CPNRM.
According to the Committee, the oil exploration works are pursued by oil companies without recognizing indigenous peoples’ rights over their land and resources and also their right to free, prior and informed consent before oil exploration.
It expressed that that oil exploration “will unleash multifaceted impacts”, including environment, social, cultural, economic, health impacts etc. According to CPNRM, multinational companies and the Government have been trying to “exploit natural resources without considering” the livelihood dependence of communities over their land and resources over generations.
“Oil exploration will unleash not only environment and social impact, but also multifaceted conflict among and within communities while undermining inter-generational survival,” it added.
CPNRM reiterated its call to the Government and oil companies to stop all forms of oil exploration and drilling works in Manipur.
“The Oil India Limited, Asian Oilfield, Jubilant Oil & Gas Private Limited should immediately stop all surveys and blasting activities related to oil exploration and drilling in Manipur,” it asked.
The Committee also stated that all production sharing contracts and Production Exploration Licenses signed by the Government of India and the Government of Manipur with oil companies like Jubilant Oil and Gas Private Limited and Oil India Limited etc should be revoked.
“The Government of India, the Government of Manipur and oil companies should recognize indigenous peoples’ rights oyer their land and resources and to fully respect their right to self-determined development before pursuing any unsustainable projects in their land and territories,” it stated.