The opposition to the project has been renewed following reports that the Centre would take a decision on giving clearance to the project in the next few days.
Sources said the forest advisory committee of the ministry would consider clearing 300 square km of forest land for the project in its next meeting, which is likely to take place this week or next week.
The project proposal placed before the committee, if cleared, will submerge 227 square km of prime forest land and destroy 82.47 lakh trees. The committee had planned to send a sub-committee of experts to review the project last year, but the visit never materialised.
Anti-dam activists in Manipur said the project would affect 25,822.22 hectares of forest land, leading to felling of 7.8 million trees and bamboo, which would destroy community livelihood and rare flora and fauna.
“The project area is home to endangered flora and fauna. No compensatory action would help mitigate the adverse impact on forest land, bio-diversity, flora and fauna and on the livelihood and culture of the affected people,” R.K. Ranjan Singh, an environmentalist said.
Manipur NGOs campaigning against the dam like the Citizens’ Concern for Dams and Development, Committee on Land and Natural Resources, Committee on Protection of Natural Resources in Manipur and the North East Dialogue Forum will hold a public consultation on Tipaimukh dam and forest clearance here tomorrow.
The meeting is expected to take a strong stand against giving forest and environment clearance for the project.
“We will deliberate on the Union environment and forests ministry’s plan to consider clearance for the project tomorrow,” Jiten Yumnam, one of the organisers, said.
“The environment and forest ministry should not clear the project as neither the Manipur government nor the Centre has carried out proper assessment to know the actual impact of the proposed project,” U. Nobokishore Singh, secretary of United NGO Mission, Manipur, said. He alleged that the project was being taken up on consideration of profit and not for the development of Manipur.
The Rs 8,138.78-crore hydel project, having an installed capacity of 1,500MW power generation, has always been dogged by controversy with Bangladesh and anti-dam activists in Manipur opposing it. The project is planned on the confluence of the Barak and Tuivai in Churachandpur district at the trijunction of Manipur, Assam and Mizoram.