The Impgal Free Press | March 15, 2008

Five hurt in anti airport expansion protests near Imphal airport
By : A Staff Reporter 3/15/2008 2:03:04 AM

IMPHAL, Mar 14: At least five persons including an MR personnel and three women agitators were hurt during a brief clash between security men and the villagers of Malom Ningombam at the village this afternoon when the villagers under the aegis of the JAc against the expansion of Imphal airport made attempts to enter the airport complex on the last day of their three-day airport closure strike today.

Around 500 villagers of Malom Ningombam made attempts to enter the airport complex from 1.30 pm this afternoon to gherao all main entrances of the Imphal airport, but with the presence of heavy security deployment at all exit roads from Ningombam village the agitators were unable to carry out the demonstration.

The villagers finally collected in a huge gathering near Ningombam water supply tank and made a final attempt to proceed towards the airport complex as a result of which the state security forces present there started firing tear gas and used water canons to disperse the mob at around 3.15 pm. The action resulted in injuries to three female protestors.

In the meantime, after the security forces’ first onslaught was over the villagers of the Ningombam gathered at the same location again and made another attempt to proceed towards the airport complex. The security forces which had also been heavily reinforced by then were able to disperse the mob into their localities this time too. The angry public thereafter pelted the security forces with stones and fired catapults at them as they approached their village. A personnel of the Manipur Rifles was hurt on his head during the clash.

Earlier, the agitators during their demonstration held placards with slogans like ‘Don’t militarize the innocent public of Ningombam in the name of airport expansion’, ‘We are human beings not animals’, ‘Where are we going to stay if we are driven out of our lands’, ‘Ibobi construct aiport in your land, not at our land’ and ‘Enough is enough’ etc.

The agitators finally retreated this evening around 5.50 pm as heavy reinforcements of security kept a watch for any forms of demonstration in and around the airport.

On the other hand, a spokesman of the JAC during a short press briefing at Ningombam this evening mentioned that some of the police commandos who were deployed in and around their village made a mockery of the womenfolk of the village this afternoon by banging on the local electricity posts, as usually done by the women folk to call attention in case of any emergency in the village.

The police foolishness created another tension in the area as the local meira paibis decided to carry out another mass protest against the police commandos this evening.

The spokeman also further mentioned that their future line of action would be decided tomorrow at a public meeting and there was clear indication that the agitation would continue.


Nominations for RS polls likely to be filed today
By : A Staff Reporter 3/15/2008 1:57:52 AM

IMPHAL, Mar 14: As many as nine persons had obtained application forms for the election to the lone Rajya Sabha seat of the state till Friday.

The last date of filing nominations is tomorrow (Saturday), as per the election notification issued on March 8 last.
So far none of the candidates have submitted their nomination papers but as many as nine persons including sitting MP, Rishang Keishing who was declared the Congress nominee obtained the nomination forms today.

With regard to the IFP report on the Rajya Sabha election in the March 14 edition, it is clarified that the name of ex-chief minister Md Alimuddin, who in fact is no more, was wrongly mentioned as a candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls.

What the report wanted to convey was that the MPP would be lending support to a candidate from a minority community to bring parity among the communities. It was with this objective in mind that party had projected former chief minister Md Alimuddin twice as chief minister. The IFP sincerely regrets the error.

Others who obtained the forms were ex-minister C Doungel, ex-Speakers of the Manipur Assembly Md. Maniruddin Sheikh and L Jatra Singh, ex-MLA AS Arthur, BD Behring, Chaltonlien Amo, Abdul Salam and Waikhom Manimohon Singh.

The nomination form for the sitting MP Rishang Keishing was obtained by Francis Ngajokpa as indicated by the signature put on the receipt form.

T Joute, secretary Manipur legislative Assembly is the returning officer, RO while M Megharaj and L Ibotombi are the assistant ROs for the Rajya Sabha election in the state.


Public meeting calls for rethinking on Tipaimukh dam
By : A Staff Reporter 3/15/2008 1:43:18 AM

IMPHAL, Mar 14: A public meeting was held today at Kuki Inn in Imphal in connection with the “International day of action against dams, for rivers, water and life” organized by Action Committee Against Tipaimukh Project (ACTIP).

Th Mangi, president, United People’s Front (UPF) Manipur, Kakomlunglu Kamei, president, Kabui Mothers’ Association (KAMA), Prof. RK Ranjan, Manipur University and assistant professor S Ibotombi, Manipur University graced the meeting as presidium members and resource persons. Four resolutions were taken over the controversial construction of Tipaimukh dam on the occasion.

Prof. RK Ranjan pointed out that the day is observed every year to remember the public meeting held in Brazil, in 1997 which was participated by 300 people from 62 countries.

He said the Tipaimukh multipurpose hydroelectric project was one of the most contested developmental issues in Manipur. While the project proponent, the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), a government of India undertaking hailed the project as bearing immense potentials and economic benefits for the people of Manipur, the legitimate concerns expressed by the project affected villagers living in the upstream and downstream portion of the Barak river and trans-boundary and issues raised by those in Bangladesh also remained unresolved.

Within these realities of destruction and impoverishment and amidst state’s failure to resolve development related challenges (Loktak project, Mapithel dam for instance) and serious lack of accountability of the project authorities, the Tipaimuhk dam project has been conceived for introduction in the state.

All possible implications due to loss of land, of culture, of way of life and the irreparable destructions to forest, loss of biodiversity, flora-fauna, demographic impact due to migrations of non-locals, impact of materialization etc and the project benefits to the people etc remain unaddressed, he noted.

He also said that the benefit from the Tipaimukh dam remains uncertain with the state envisaged to receive only 5% of the total power output of the project, which even falls below 40 MW at the envisaged generating capacity project at 350-450 MW.

The question emerged why the people of Manipur should sacrifice such enormous land rich in biodiversity for so little benefit. The long term demographic impact will be enormous with the laborers and the workers manning the projects and the Indian military guarding the project will be mostly outside from the state.

Therefore, the government of Manipur and NEEPCO should put everything before the public and accountability and transparency is required if they want to construct it in a proper way, he further noted.

While reacting about the construction of the dam, Th Mangi, president, United People’s Front (UPF) stated that the initiation and subsequent introduction of developmental projects in Manipur is the failure of the state authorities and project authorities to recognize the inherent rights of the indigenous peoples over their land and resources and subsequently their mandatory right to be consulted and their approval taken for any initiatives affecting their land, rivers and other resources.

He further maintained that the project proponent has often failed to recognize that the livelihood and survival, in both physical and spiritual terms, of indigenous people of Manipur revolves around the sustainable use and dependence on their natural resources and that any forced break down of such interrelationship would only lead to impoverishment and perennial hardship to them.

The resolution taken today by members of ACTIP are that NEEPCO and the government of Manipur must cancel Tipaimukh high dam and in the connection to the public meeting today people should stand against the construction of any mega dam in the north east.

The committee also took the resolution that any project taken up by the state government or Central government should take prior consent of the people for the construction.

The public hearing called by the Manipur Pollution Control Board on coming March 26 at Kamai is opposed by the committee, it said.

A mass rally will be organized on March 31 in Imphal, said the committee.


The Imphal Free Press


About Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi Delhi

Zou Students' Association Delhi Branch
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