[atp-news] Proposed Dam in NE India to Destroy Lives & Lands
Petra Bursee (Adivasi-Tee-Projekt)
petra.bursee at adivasi-tee-projekt.org
Mit Jul 14 14:23:10 CEST 2004
in diesem Text aus Indien (über die AKD) geht es um einen geplanten Damm und
seine Auswirkungen auf die Adivasi in Manipur im Nordosten Indiens.
Liebe Grüße, Petra
> Proposed Dam in Northeast India to Destroy Lives, Lands
> By Surajit Talukdar, OneWorld South Asia
> June 30, 2004
> Silchar (Assam) - A move by the government of the northeastern Indian
> state of Manipur to implement a dam project mooted in 1955 will
> displace at least 60,000 people and submerge hundreds of kilometers
> of forests and cultivable land, activists fear.
> The US $129.10-billion Tipaimukh dam project has been mired in
> controversy since it was conceived, with anti-dam lobbies accusing
> the government of not assessing the damage the structure could cause
> to lands and lives.
> Activists have threatened to launch a series of protests against the
> government if it does not shelve the project, which is likely to
> displace thousands of tribals in the districts of Churachandpur and
> Tamenglong in Manipur.
> The project, which ran into several implementation hassles over the
> years, was in the limelight again this month when Union Heavy
> Industries Minister (independent charge) Santosh Mohan Dev said the
> present Congress led coalition government at the center had expressed
> interest in constructing the dam and state officials were proceeding
> with its implementation.
> Said Dev, "I discussed the Tipaimukh dam issue with Finance Minister
> P. Chidambaram. The outcome of the talks was positive. He has
> expressed interest in proceeding with the project."
> A state government official reveals that in spite of the
> environmental problems the dam is expected to create, the North
> Eastern Electric Power Corporation (Neepco), headquartered in
> Meghalaya's capital Shillong, is implementing its construction.
> This multipurpose project envisages surplus hydropower generation,
> flood moderation, navigation, irrigation and pisciculture in the
> entire northeast.
> Asserts Dev, "The Central Electricity Authority already gave the
> techno-economic clearance in July 2003. Now, it's time to implement
> The proposed 390 meter-long and 162.8 meter-high earthen-rock filled
> dam will have a reservoir capacity of 15.5 billion metric cubes and
> will be located 500 meters downstream of the confluence of the Tuivai
> and Barak Rivers in Manipur's Churachandpur district, bordering the
> northeastern states of Assam and Mizoram.
> The project will have a 1,500 MW powerhouse. A Neepco engineer
> reveals, "The reservoir capacity of the dam would be 75 percent
> higher than the Bhakra dam in (the north Indian state of) Punjab, one
> of the biggest in the country."
> Neepco has been asked to consult the Geological Survey of India on
> ensuring the project can tackle large tremors.
> But independent experts like Dr R.K. Ranjan Singh, a member of the
> Manipur Association of Science and Society, caution that the project
> site is located on a major seismic zone that has already experienced
> five major earthquakes.
> Explains Singh, "A majority of earthquakes take place in these parts
> of Manipur. The higher the water column in a reservoir, the higher is
> the risk of reservoir induced seismicity (RIS). The dam's structural
> soundness in this geologically unstable area is questionable."
> The Manipur government, which had earlier rejected the project,
> signed a memorandum of understanding with Neepco last year to launch
> construction. Manipur is expected to get 12 percent free power.
> Hundreds of villagers had taken to the streets last year to demand
> the scrapping of the agreement. Construction was supposed to start
> last year but never did. There are likely to be several protests this
> year as well if the project takes off.
> Charges U. Nobokishore of the Center for Social Development (CSD) in
> Manipur, "The entire plan was made without consulting tribal people
> residing in the project area."
> The tribes of Zeliangrong Nagas and Hmar are likely to be the worst
> Apart from taking away tribals' lands and livelihoods, the surging
> waters of the dam are likely to destroy five lakes that are
> considered sacred by the Zeliangrongs because the sword of their
> national hero Jadonang is believed to be buried in them.
> Warns a tribe elder, "We cannot let that happen and will fight to the
> finish to stop it."
> The dam is also expected to submerge a river island called 'Thiledam'
> (meaning life and death), located upstream from the proposed dam area
> and sacred to the Hmar tribal, which believes the souls of human
> beings first go there after death.
> Says Aram Pamei, secretary of the Manipur based Naga Women's
> Association, "People in this region are mainly involved in
> agriculture and horticulture. But with the construction of the dam,
> more than 67 villages will be denied of their source of livelihood.
> Out of the 67 villages, 16 will be completely submerged, as will the
> low lying areas in 51 other villages."
> There are also apprehensions that higher water levels in the monsoons
> will submerge 60 kilometers of a national highway.
> Fears a farmer in Churachandpur district, A. Imo, "We will be left
> without anything as large areas under ginger cultivation will be
> submerged. In addition, the dam is likely to submerge parts of the
> highway through which we send our crops to Assam and Mizoram."
> Flora and fauna will suffer too because of the dam, warn activists.
> Points out the head of the ecology department of Assam Central
> University, Dr Abhik Gupta, "The dam will pose a serious threat to
> the ecology of Churachandpur, one of the 25 such bio-diversity
> hotspots in the world."
> The forests under threat are the habitat of several endangered
> species and rich in orchids, medicinal and herbal plants.
> But forget protecting the ecosystem, Manipur's government apparently
> hasn't even chalked out proper rehabilitation measures for tribals
> yet. A government official admits the displacement is a huge problem,
> adding that authorities haven't taken action on it.
> Neepco is said to be dragging its feet on investing an agreed amount
> of US $10 billion in compensation for the displaced.
> Estimates from the Indian Planning Commission reveal that 21.3
> million people were displaced by development projects between 1951
> and 1990. Researchers suggest the actual figure could be over 40
> million. Only 2.1 million are reported to have been rehabilitated.
> "Manipur will not be an exception to that reality," fears Dr Dhanabir
> Laisram of the Center for Progress of Manipuri
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