Saturday, June 27, 2009

Naga bodies demand scrapping of Tipaimukh project

Senapati, June 26 2009: Frontal Naga based organisations in Manipur have fervently demanded for the scrapping of the Tipaimukh Project immediately.

Aram Pamei who is the convenor of the the Committee on Land and Natural Resources (COLNAR) termed the move of the Central and the State Governments as insensible.

COLNAR is a body constituted by the United Naga Council (UNC), Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), Naga Women Union, Manipur (NWUM) and All Naga Students Association, Manipur (ANSAM).

COLNAR today reiterated the call for the total cancellation of the Tipaimukh Hydroelectric (Multipurpose) Project that has been proposed to be constructed in Barak river at Tipaimukh village.

"COLNAR seriously expresses the insensitivity of both the Central Government and the Government of Manipur for refusing to recognise the inherent rights of the indigenous peoples over their land and natural resources.

The process towards the Tipaimukh Mega Dam has been a history of violations of all established national and international norms and standards for development projects including human rights violations, procedural and legal defects in gaining environmental clearance, etc," Aram Pamei pointed out.

The voice and desire of the people to control the use of their land and natural resources and to determine their own ways of development in accordance with their wishes and aspirations were clearly conveyed during the five public hearings on Tipaimukh Dam, aside from sending hundreds of representations to the Central and State Governments and project proponents, COLNAR reminded.

"Instead of honouring the wishes of the people, the project authority and Governments have taken many undemocratic measures including the use of force (the Assam Riffles, a state paramilitary wing deployed in North East India for counter insurgency operations now extensively provide security for the project) that have resulted in more rights violations and militarization of the area," COLNAR alleged.

"The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in its 70th session (CERD/C/IND/19) observed in relation to the Tipaimukh Dam Project to seek the free, prior and informed consent of the affected people.

Again on August 15, 2008, the Chairperson of CERD requested the government of India to report back on the steps taken by it in this regard, however, the Indian government failed to do so.

Again on March 13, 2009, CERD expressed concern with regard to the construction of several dams and its impact on the indigenous communities of the India's North East region," the COLNAR cited.

The committee then appealed the Governments at the Centre and of the State to lend ears to the voice and inspiration of the common people who have been demanding for the cancellation of the Tipaimukh Hydroelectric (Multipurpose) Project and to stop the "militarisation of the area, and also to end all efforts that will ruin the indigenous peoples lives and their land by constructing the proposed Tipaimukh Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project".

Source: The Sangai Express / Newmai News Network

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