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INCIDENT:  Displacement and survival threats of indigenous peoples in Manipur due to forceful moves to commission Mapithel dam by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Government of Manipur.           

PERPETRATOR:  Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Government of Manipur

VICTIMS IDENTIFICATION:  Tangkhul Naga, Kuki and Meitei of Manipur    

INFORMATION SOURCE: Mapithel Dam Affected Villages Organization, JAC for Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected Peoples, Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur, Human Rights Initiative  

EVENT DESCRIPTION:  The Irrigation and Flood Control Department (IFCD), Government of Manipur commenced blocking the Thoubal River and filing up of the Mapithel Dam Reservoir from January 2015 onwards in a forceful attempt to commission the Mapithel dam of the Thoubal Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project. The filling up of Mapithel dam reservoir already submerged an extensive portion of the agriculture land, grazing ground, forest areas of villages of Chadong, Lamlai Khunnou, Riha and several other villages along Mapithel Valley and Hill range.

The filling of the dam reservoir without addressing the plights of affected communities and in an absence of holistic impact assessment of the Mapithel dam has already led to mental harassment and insecurity over the livelihood and survival of affected communities, belonging to the Tangkhul Naga and Kuki people. Chadong village is one of the most affected as more than 100 homes were already submerged by the rising waters. The Churches and Schools of Chadong village were already submerged.        

Villagers will lose their livelihood as their agriculture land, forest areas, grazing grounds were submerged by the rising Mapithel Dam waters. The Mapithel dam will have serious economic, social and cultural impacts on indigenous peoples along Mapithel Valley and along the Thoubal River.

The blocking of Thoubal River for filling up of Mapithel dam also led to enormous hardship and harassment to villagers in Downstream areas of the dam, such as in Tumukhong, Itham, Moirangpurel villages and further down in Thoubal District. The villagers of immediate downstream villages, belonging to the Meitei people, are worried of dam break as the IFCD commenced filling up dam reservoirs without completing the dam construction and in violation of applicable processes.  

The water leaks that appeared in freshly filled portion of the dam compelled villagers of Tumukhong, Itham and Moirang Purel to abandon their homes and seek refuge in higher grounds. Nearly 400 people including women, children and aged sought refuge in relief camps in higher grounds near Tumukhong Village. The Mapithel dam construction is still fraught with absence of downstream impact assessment and preparation of any alternative livelihood. The rehabilitation and resettlement of downstream affected communities is completed ignored.

The villagers in both upstream and downstream can no longer fish and collect sand stone brought down by the Thoubal River. The ongoing filling up of the Mapithel dam reservoir is accompanied with full scale deployment of security forces of Government of India while subduing all affected peoples’ democratic call to desist from blocking the Thoubal River.

 The ongoing effort to finalize Mapithel dam construction is a clear violation of India’s own forest laws and also despite the fact that the National Green Tribunal is still considering the violation of Forest Rights under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and the Forest Rights Act, 2006. In clear procedural violations, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), Government of India accorded final Stage II Forest Clearance for Mapithel Dam only on 31st December 2013 after more than thirty years of project approval in 1980 without conducting any site visits into affected areas.The ongoing move to complete Mapithel dam construction is amidst controversial and manipulative rehabilitation and resettlement process that has caused confusion and division among affected indigenous communities' rights.

The Mapithel dam today represents a clear symbol of development injustice in Manipur. The IFCD and other corporate bodies, such as Progressive Construction Limited, involved in violations of indigenous peoples’ rights in the dam construction, continue to remain without any justice delivery.

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is preparing to finance a water supply scheme for Imphal Town from the Mapithel dam. JICA’s support will only facilitate human rights violations on communities affected by Mapithel dam. The future of affected communities is uncertain as the project authorities continue to fill the Dam Reservoir with militarization of their land and suppression of their democratic rights.

Demands: The Mapithel Dam Affected Villagers Organization, the JAC for Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected People, Human rights Initiative and the Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur would like to urge upon the Government of India and the Government of Manipur to:

  1. Stop blocking the Thoubal River and filling up of Mapithel Dam reservoir
  2. To stop Mapithel dam construction and Commissioning till all rehabilitation and resettlement process of affected communities with their free, prior and informed consent.
  3. Resume the Expert Review Committee set up in the year 2008 by Government of Manipur
  4. Conduct Downstream Impact Assessment.
  5. Urge the Japanese International Cooperation Agency to desist financing Water Supply Scheme to draw water from Mapithel dam for Imphal.
  6. All militarization related to Mapithel dam construction should be halted and repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958
  7. Stop all involuntary displacement of indigenous peoples by Mapithel Dam as per UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples Rights, 2007
  8. End all forms of Development Injustice in Manipur

Please write to the following officials of the Government of India, Government of Manipur & Japan International Cooperation Agency.     

Honorable Prime Minister
South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110011
Phone +91-11-23012312/+91-11-23012312
Fax +91-11-23019545/23016857

Mr. Okram Ibobi Singh
Chief Minister of Manipur
New Secretariat Building, Bapupara, Imphal, Manipur INDIA
Fax + 91 385 2451398

Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg,
New Delhi – 110001.
Fax: + 91 11 2338 4863

Governor of Manipur,
Raj Bhawan, Imphal 795001, India
Fax: +913852441812

The President,  Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Nibancho Centre Building 5-25 Niban-Cho, Chiyoda – KU
Tokyo, Japan 102 8022. Tel – 81 3 5226 6660 / 61 / 62/63        

Today: jiten is counting on you

jiten yumnam needs your help with “honorable prime minister, Mr. Okram Ibobi Singh, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission, The President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA): NO TO MAPITHEL DAM ! LET THE THOUBAL RIVER FLOW FREE! END DEVELOPMENT INJUSTICE IN MANIPUR”. Join jiten and 99 supporters today.