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Consultation prog held on saving land, river, forest

Source: Chronicle News Service

 

Imphal, November 15 2021: A consultation cum awareness programme on "Protection of Land, Rivers and Forest in Leimatak Area" was held at Luangjeng (Thangal) village on Sunday.

In a release, Centre for Research and Advocacy (CRA), Manipur president Sanaton Laishram informed that the programme was attended by environmentalist Gunrei Kamei, social activist Themson Jajo, CRA secretary Jiten Yumnam and JNU faculty member G Amarjit as resource persons.

Speaking at the programme, Gunrei Kamei shared that land, forest, rivers and other resources are source of livelihood and culture of the indigenous peoples of Manipur.

Land sustained their inter generational survival.

The pursuance of unsustainable projects such as dam building, mining, infrastructure projects, etc, have led to loss of land, he pointed out.

Gunrei Kamei highlighted that many villagers along Leimatak river are highly vulnerable to losing their agriculture land and forest due to the proposed 66 MW Loktak Downstream Hydroelectric Project.

Meanwhile, Jiten Yumnam observed that many rivers flowing in Manipur, such as Irang river, Leimatak river, Barak River, etc, are being targeted for building of dams, including 66 MW Loktak Downstream Hydroelectric Project, 70 MW Nungleiband Dam, 190 MW Pabram Dam, 60 MW Irang Dam, etc, which will lead to submergence of forest and agriculture land, besides disturbing the natural flow of these rivers.

Large dams have been controversial in Manipur for their failure, for undermining food sovereignty, failure to rehabilitate affected communities, for causing climate change and human rights violations.

Dams are proving unviable and environmentally unsustainable.

The plan for 66 MW Loktak Downstream project need a comprehensive impact assessments and review of their viability and rationality, he emphasised.

Speaking at the event, Themson Jajo explained how the Mapithel Dam has displaced thousands and destroyed the livelihood of communities in Mapithel valley by submerging their land, forest, etc, and stressed the need for revision of the plan to construct the Loktak Downstream Hydroelectric Project and the Nungleiband Dam over Leimatak River for their multifaceted impacts and feasibility.

On the other-hand, G Amarjit explained that development should serve the needs, priorities and interest of the people.

Dam building economy tends to serve the interest of corporate bodies while impoverishing communities by destroying their land and resources.

The state and project authorities of dams should share allinformatiori on planning and dam building including survey reports with the people, he added.

The CRA release also informed that documentary films, 'Wall of Injustice' and 'Dams and Discontents' were screened during the programme.

The youth participants of the consultation emphasised the importance of land, forest, river as source of inter-generational survival for communities.

The participants also stressed the need for free flow of Leimatak River and rethinking on unsustainable development processes.

The participants also stressed the need for transparency and accountability from project authorities of the proposed 66 MW Loktak Downstream Hydroelectric Project and to provide project documents, namely detailed project report, rehabilitation and resettlement plan, social and environment impact assessments to affected communities, the release conveyed.