ENVIS Centre, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India

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Discourse on 'Sustainable Development' organised

Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, November 21 2021: Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur (CRA) organised a consultation programme on Sustainable Development at Gangluan (Nungleiband) Part IV village on Sunday to promote the protection of land, river, forest and natural resources in Manipur.

A press statement issued by CRA informed that the consultation was marked by resource sharing by social activist Gunrei Kamei, CRA secretary Jiten Yumnam and JNU faculty member Dr G Amarjit.

Gunrei Kamei stated that sustainable development is crucial for the indigenous people depending on the land, forest, rivers and other natural resources for their livelihood.

He also expressed concern that the rivers in Noney and Tamenglong areas have been targeted for construction of large dams, oil exploration, railway works, etc.

Indigenous people need to be fully conscious of these development projects that will entail loss or destruction of forest, land and water and to ensure that all development decision and interventions uphold the survival and safeguard human rights for all coming generations.

In his presentation, Jiten Yumnam said that Leimatak River is one of the most important rivers of Manipur and it has been targeted for construction of large dams.

He maintained that the natural flow of the Leimatak River has been affected due to direct discharge of water from Loktak Power Station of 150 MV Loktak Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project, consequently curtailing villagers' dependence on the river for fishing, sand quarrying, etc., besides claiming the lives of scores of people residing along the river.

The proposed construction of the 170 MW Nungleiband Dam and 66 MW Loktak Downstream Hydroelectric Project will submerge land, forest and other livelihood sources.

It is crucial to rescind all plans to construct large dams over Leimatak River and call for decommissioning of the Ithai Barrage of Loktak Project to avoid all social, environmental and climate impacts in Manipur, the release queted him as saying.

Gangluan Part IV Women Society member Haothaaoliu Panmei shared that the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation operating the Loktak Power Station discharge water from the station to Leimatak River daily from around 7 pm.

This has affected the villagers' reliance on the river for fishing, sand collection and in accessing the river.

The sudden release of water from the Loktak Power Station has resulted in drowning of several villagers including children from villages namely Thangal and Toushang, etc, she recounted.

On the other-hand, Dr G Amarjit stated that dam building causes much conflict within communities.

Dam building is marred with lack of transparency, accountability and lack of detailed impact assessment.

Dam building is not sustainable, given the adverse impacts on people, environment and climate.

Studies have confirmed that dam building benefits corporate bodies while impoverishing communities with the submergence and destruction of their land and resources, he maintained adding that it is high time to question whose development large dams are for.

The statement further informed that participants of the consultation agreed on the importance of ensuring the free and unhindered flow of Leimatak River and to call for a review of the proposed Nungleiband and Loktak Downstream Hydroelectric projects proposed over Leimatak River.

The participants also called for decommissioning of Ithai Barrage of the 105 MW Loktak Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project and also stressed that land, forest and river represent life of indigenous people.