By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Lala Mudra Flores-Aguilar
MANILA, Philippines-Farmer groups from different parts of South and Southeast Asia spearheaded a global campaign against what they called as destructive dam in East India.
The Manila-based Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) urged the Indian central government in New Delhi to revoke plans to build Tipaimukh dam in Borak River East India.
“We denounce the Government of India for pushing the construction of the proposed 1500 MW Tipaimukh Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project (HEP) across Barak River in Manipur. and within 100km of Bangladesh border.
All of the five public hearings on the project held between 2004 and 2008 have ignored the voices of the indigenous Hmar and Zeliangrong communities violating their right to participate in the decision-making processes and the right to their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC),” remarked Fathima Burnad, APC Chairperson and concurrent leader of the Tamil Nadu Women’s Forum (TNWF).
For his part, Badrul Alam, vich chairperson of APC for external affairs, insisted that the construction of the dam when completed would bring about a major disaster for Bangladesh, virtually drying up the Surma and the Kushiara Rivers in winter season, which water most of the North-Eastern regions of Bangladesh.
The Bangladeshi peasant leader, also the President of Bangladesh Krishok Federation argued the dam would hit the people badly.
The APC noted a large number of Zeliangrong and Hmar people in India will be displaced permanently with the submergence of about 311 sq. KM covering 90 villages, affecting an area of nearly 2000 sq. KM.”
It asserted the project has put at stake the rights of the affected communities to their lands, territories and resources, including their livelihood, traditional knowledge, cultural values and identity.”
Both leaders added that, “ the construction work of the Tipaimukh Dam was postponed in March 2007 due to protests from different parts of Bangladesh and India. We can do it again! Let us intensify our action against the construction of Tipaimukh Dam.”
The APC calls on the Government of India and the Government of Manipur to:
1. Revoke the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Manipur in India and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and SatlujJalVidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL);
2. Fully adhere to the recommendations of the World Commission of Dams and UNDRIP – particularly regarding FPIC – before proceeding with the dam;
3. Conduct holistic Impact Assessment, such as on the socio-economic, environmental, cultural, health and human rights impacts due to the proposed Tipaimukh Dam, oil and petroleum exploration in the Barak River Basin in Manipur , Mizoram, Assam and Bangladesh with due participation of all affected peoples; and
4. Stop all forms of development aggressions and militarization. #