India: AIPP, NPMHR demand decommissioning of Mapithel dam
Imphal, August 02 2015: Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) submitted memorandum to the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi demanding a halt to the construction of Mapithel Dam and immediate decommissioning of the project.
A joint statement issued by AIPP Secretary General Joan Carling and NPHRM Secretary General Neingulo Krome said the construction of Mapithel Dam under the supervision of the Government of Manipur directly affects and threatens the several scheduled tribes in the affected districts whose sources of income are land and agriculture.
The government has violated their rights.
The statement further demanded to immediately withdraw security personnel and stop militarization, respect the right of the people who have expressed their opposition to the dam construction and urged to immediately supply relief materials to the affected villagers.
It may be mentioned that the Mapithel Dam was approved by the Planning Commission of India in 1980 and it was originally scheduled to be completed in 1987.When it is commissioned the dam would affect over 8,000 people in 22 villages.
The statement alleged that the construction of the dam is done in the backdrop of the widespread militarization of the area.
The people who have been defending their rights against the construction of the dam are subjected to torture and illegal detentions.
This has given rise to insecurity and fear among the villagers.
The construction of the dam started only in the 1980 and in clear violation of procedural and statutory requirements, the state government sought the forest and environmental clearances only in 1998 .
They further alleged that while seeking the clearance, no proper assessment was done and none of the affected villagers were consulted as mandated by law.
Despite the glaring irregularities, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF) has given final clearance without any site assessments or visits to the affected areas.
Under the forest rights act and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, diversion of forest land without recognition of rights and consent of the villages is a crime, the statement added.