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Village submerged by dam, helpless Chadong people seek action from Manipur Governor

UKHRUL (NNN): The villagers of Chadong in Ukhrul district, Manipur are today waiting for the attention of the government after their village has been submerged by the Mapithel Dam/ Thoubal Multi-Purpose project constructed to harness the water of Thoubal river for providing irrigation facilities, power generation, augmentation of water supply to Imphal city and to reduce substantially the chances of flood damage in the downstream. The project was sanctioned by the Planning Commission, Government of India in May, 1980 and is monitored centrally through the Central Water Commission and by the state through the State Planning Department and implemented by the IFCD, Government of Manipur.

According to the Joint Action Committee on Rehabilitation and Resettlement of Chadong Village (JAC-RRCV), the village has been completely submerged by the dam water since June, 2015 and the paddy fields and agricultural lands have been inundated since May, 2014 totally displacing the villagers and forcing them to seek shelter in the neighbouring villages and towns without proper provisions for Rehabilitation and Resettlement programs. The JAC-RRCV said they are left without any alternative means of livelihood. “There is acute shortage of food and other essential commodities in the village and the dam has become a big threat to the future of the poor tribal villagers of Chadong and the neighbouring villages,” it added.

According to the JAC, the dam is set to be commissioned in the month of September, 2016 completely ignoring to rehabilitate and resettle Chadong Village. The new village site has not been properly developed. The transportation of building materials to the site is not possible due to bad road condition. There is no electricity and water supply. Basic amenities are totally not available making it impossible for new settlement, the JAC stated.

In this connection, the JAC-RRCV in a memorandum appealed to the Manipur Governor Dr Najma Heptulla to look into the matter “so that the poor tribal villagers who have sacrificed their land and livelihood in the larger interest of the state are not victimised and turned into refugees in their own land by the construction of this Mapithel Dam”.

The Chadong village JAC demanded from the Manipur Governor that the following points are considered by the state and put them in letter and translate them into action to ensure that the villagers get a chance to start a new life with hopes of a better future and that their rights are protected.

1.    To declare Chadong village as ‘Mapithel Dam affected/displaced village’.
2.    To develop Chadong as a smart model village and one of the tourist destinations of the state by developing all necessary infrastructure and trainings.
3.    To provide alternative means of livelihood through various state and centre schemes or project particularly in the field of pisciculture/fishery, organic farming, horticulture, animal husbandry, handloom, handicraft, carpentry, etc.
4.    To develop a Trade Centre/Marketing Centre to enhance trade and commerce.
5.    Water Rights and Fishing Rights to be entitled to the villagers.
6.    Suitable jobs to be provided to the villagers at the project site during the development and maintenance stage and job reservations in the various departments of the state.
7.    All land and forest to be returned to the original land owners i.e. the villagers after the life of the project.
8.    Free electricity for a period of at least ten years for the displaced villagers.
9.    Construction of the following building /infrastructure:
– Baptist Church and church office
– Catholic Church and church office
– Church Guest House (2)
– Church Granary (2)
– Community Hall
– Youth Club Hall + office
– Christian Youth Society Office (2)
– Student Union Office
– Clan Office (4) + granaries (4)
– Women Union Office
– Elder/senior citizens’ park
10. Compensation for:
– Irrigation canals
– Horticulture
– Forest
– Private schools
11. Special Package of Rs. 10,00,000 for orphans.
12. Road connection to the farmlands and fishing sites and possible tourist spots/parks.

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