CRAM against projects posing threat to villagers

IMPHAL, 5th Oct: Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur (CRAM) has expressed concern over the impact of Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded Kangchup to Tamenglong Road project claiming that it severely affecting the villages of Phalong (Bhalok), Diluan, Khebuching and nearby areas.
In a release, CRAM described as unfortunate over alleged lack of accountability on the part of corporate bodies and the government officials involved in the project and pointed out that direct dumping of soil, rock and other debris from excavation activities have destroyed agricultural lands and water sources which serve as the main lifeline of the villagers. It also highlighted that 64 acres of agricultural land in Phalong village have been severely affected, giving a hard blow on the food security of the village. Moreover, the project has caused extensive damage to Duigathok and Atithok streams, threatening the aquatic habitat and perishing entire fish and crab population among many other species. Further, CRAM maintained that the major concern of the villagers of Bhalok is the direct impact of the project to their quarters, and nearly 70 houses in Bhalok Part-III are being demarcated for dismantling as the government plans to acquire at least 60 feet of land on each sides of the road median which runs through the village. The villagers are also facing challenges due to the lack of adequate rehabilitation and the government failed to provide full and adequate compensation to all the affected villages except for some selected few, CRAM said.
It urged the state government and project authorities to not allow the displacement of villagers of Phalong and Diluan without their consent and to properly dispose the excavation debris without damaging the environment and agricultural lands.
It also asserted that authorities should give adequate compensation to the affected villagers along with asking the project authorities to ensure full compliance to the ADB’s safeguard policies to improve the lives of the affected communities and to minimise impacts.

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