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Public consultation opposes Tipaimukh dam
Sobhapati Samom
 IMPHAL, May 8 - A public consultation here has strongly opposed the move to build the controversial Tipaimukh multi-purpose project on Barak River in Manipur-Mizoram border.

The consultation has also drawn the attention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) towards the human rights and environmental concerns involved.

The consultation was jointly organised by the Citizens’ Concern for Dams and Development (CCDD), North East Dialogue Forum (NEDF), Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur (CRAM) and People’s Action for Development (PAD) under the theme, “Tipaimukh Dam and Indigenous Peoples Rights”, here recently.

Jiten Yumnam, an activist, claimed that the proposed Tipaimukh Dam project is not viable as the negative impact of the project is huge as compared to its benefits while president of All Tribal Students Union Manipur Joseph Hmar, who is also the leader of Hmar Students Association, said the real motive behind the proposed dam is still not clear even as the public have been strongly opposing the project.

The total loss of trees and bamboo groves in both Mizoram and Manipur due to submergence by the proposed project is estimated at more than 8 million trees and more than 4 million bamboo groves apart from a huge biodiversity, which is a disturbing and unacceptable figure by any count.

Meanwhile, Speaker of Zeliangrong Baudi, Majabung Gangmei has expressed the need to discuss about people friendly sustainable development. Phulindro Konsam of Committee on Human Rights, Ashen of People Action for Development and North East Dialogue Forum representative U Nobokishore also reiterated that there can be no Tipaimukh Dam without the free and prior informed consent of the people who are going to be affected.

The public consultation also called upon the government to abide by the recommendations of the Forest Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) in its rejection of forest clearance for Tipaimukh Dam HEP project in July and August 2013, instead of the Environment Clearance given in October 2008. It further urged that all MoUs signed between the Manipur Government with NEEPCO, NHPC and SJVNL, etc., with regard to the project should be revoked and any negotiation between Bangladesh and India should not be held without the participation of the indigenous peoples of Manipur affected by the project.

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