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United stand against dam

A dam that was built without the consent of the local villagers in Manipur seems to have posed a serious threat to a huge area. Experts believe that the days are not far when the Mapithel Dam would eclipse the Chadong Village in Ukhrul district.. Speakers after speakers at a public meeting in the district on Saturday pledged to go all out against the dam that has already submerged a huge area of agricultural areas.

Organised by several local organizations on the occasion of the International River Day, the people stood united in protest against Mapithel dam. The organizers told Assam Times that Mapithel dam was constructed forcibly without taking the free prior and informed consent of affected communities. The government adopted forceful construction of Mapithel dam with militarization of their land and resources and further adopted divide and rule tactics among the affected communities, they rued.

In his address, Thanmi Kashung, Advisor, expressed concern that the government started blocking the Thoubal River to complete the Mapithel dam construction by March 2015. According to him, the blocking of Yangwui Kong (Thoubal River) already led to submergence of prime agriculture land and forest areas in Louphoung and Chadong village. He expressed concern that the Mapithel dam will submerge Chadong village in Monsoon season.

Another speaker Aram Pamei shared how the government is insensitive to the land rights and intrinsic livelihood and survival dependence of the indigenous communities on the Thoubal River and their land. Ms. Sumshot Khullar of Naga women Union shared how the affected communities affected by large scale development projects should remain united to resist all development injustice introduced in Manipur.

Mr. Jiten Yumnam deplored that the Mapithel Dam construction already set a nightmarish example for indigenous communities of Manipur. Phulindro Konsam, Chairperson of Committee on Human rights shared how the human rights of indigenous peoples affected by Mapithel dam should be recognized and given the range of violations, the Mapithel dam construction should be stopped. The participants of the observation resolved to urge upon the Government to stop the Mapithel dam construction, to stop blocking the Thoubal River and to let the Thoubal River flow free, and further to resume the Expert Review Committee.

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