Silchar, Mar 27 : The North East Dialogue Forum, a joint forum of more than 50 civil society organisations in the Northeast, along with the Community for People and Environment said it would not yield an inch in its fight against the government’s decision to build Tipaimukh dam.
Addressing reporters here today, the forum’s convener, U. Nobokishore, said the Centre and the Manipur government were moving ahead with their mission to construct the controversial Tipaimukh dam and lower Subansiri dam in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, regardless of the greater interest and safety of the people downstream.
“We will not step back from our fight against the construction of the Tipaimukh dam. We have an alternative. If the government responds, we will be happy, if not, we will continue our movement,” said Nobokishore.
He added that if the Tipaimukh dam was constructed, 25,822.22 hectares of forest land in Manipur will be affected, which, in turn, will lead to the felling of as many as 7.8 million trees.
He went on to say the destruction will not be limited to only the woods, as it would also have a severe impact on livelihood and would also induce radical climate change.
He also spoke of the adverse impact of the proposed dam on the people of the Barak Valley, as there would be an obvious alteration of the river’s flow.
He said the department of earth science, Manipur University, carried out a survey investigating the possibility of over 130 micro hydel projects on the river Barak.
He also raised the demand that the Centre and the Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh governments must realise the dire consequences of these dams on the community livelihood and scrap these dams at the earliest. Rather, the government should try to construct micro-hydel projects.
Also, the Forum demanded that the Loktak Hydro Power project should be handed over to the government of Manipur within a year.
Pijush Kanti Das, the general secretary of the Community for People and Environment, who was also the co-host of the news conference, echoed Nobokishore saying a dam at an altitude of 181.8 metres will submerge 300 square km area in no time. Also, at a mere distance of 300 nautical miles, the dam would be an easy target for neighbouring nation China.
Moreover, expressing solidarity with Irom Sharmila in her battle against the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act from Manipur, both NEDF and COPE strongly demanded that the Centre must implement the recommendations of Jeevan Reddy Commission, the Second Administrative Reformed Commission of India and UN Committee on Racial Discrimination and repeal the act with immediate effect.