Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tipaimukh Dam Ignores Environmental Norms

The controversial construction of mega Tipaimukh Multipurpose Hydroelectric Power (HEP) Project on Barak river in Manipur disrespects the calls of the people from both upstream and downstream (Barak valley) for seeking their consent and to adhere to existing environmental and social norms and notwithstanding the Opposition from people living in downstream in Bangladesh, North East Dialogue Forum has asserted.

In a statement, Co-ordinator of the Forum S Dhanabir contended that the project proponents of the Tipaimukh HEP is yet to conduct a detailed and independent Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), which is required under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 of India and its amendment of 1994, where data should encompass information collected over a period of at least one year of all seasons to bring out the likely impact of the project on the ecology, environment, human and wild life population at the site itself and both up and downstream.

The Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for formulating, implementing and monitoring environmental protection measures during and after the project commissioning and concrete Rehabilitation and Resettlement Plan for people to be affected is also absent.

For this reason, people from upstream and downstream, both in Barak Valley and Bangladesh, protesting the construction of Tipaimukh dam for ages.

It is a fact that there is shortage of power in Manipur, but it would be meaningless to perceive that this shortage would be made up by the proposed Tipaimukh Dam as there would be immense ill-impact on the environment, the Forum observed, and suggested that the government can plan some micro-hydel projects on the Barak river to solve the problem and at the same time saves the environment from mass degradation.

The Forum pointed out that the Earth Science Department, Manipur University has already carried out a rough survey to investigate the possibility of micro-hydel projects on Barak river and the study explored the possibility of more than 130 such projects.

If these projects were taken up, there would be equal area development with people's participation and automatically clean development mechanism from the grassroots level would be upheld.

The UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination has also urged the government of India not to construct Tipai-mukh Dam in its concluding observation of the seventieth session from February 19 to March 9, 2007 and in its special communications made on August 15, 2008; March 13, 2009 and September 23, 2009, the Forum further pointed out and urged authorities concerned to follow free, fair and prior informed consent of the people under ILO Convention 107 .