Joint Press Note on 25th March 2018, Imphal

Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected Peoples (MDDAP)
Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected Village Level Committee (MDDAVLC) & Citizen's Concern for Dams and Development (CCDD)

The Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected Peoples (MDDAP), Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected Village Level Committee (MDDAVLC) and Citizen's Concern for Dams and Development (CCDD) strongly object to the arbitrary informal information disseminated by the IFCD department of the Manipur Government late in the evening of 24th March 2018 (Saturday) to some local youth clubs of the affected villages, immediately downstream of the Mapithel Dam that water will be released from the dam on Monday, 26th March 2018. No formal written notice was issued specifying the time of release, the quantum of water to be released and why the water should be released when there is no immediate danger of flooding or dam overflow.

The announcement has come at a time when the negative impacts of the impounding of water by the Mapithel Dam are being increasingly felt by dozens of villages both upstream and downstream since January 2015. Apart from flooding the blocking of Thoubal River by the Mapithel Dam has generated adverse impacts like loss of livelihood in both the upstream and the downstream villages. Downstream villages, in particular have been reeling with familyand social disorganisation and fragmentation due to the livelihood loss, in absence of any alternative arrangement or incentives as mitigation measures.

The Mapithel Dam has created a new generation of “Dam Widows” induced by a megaproject funded by Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) andthe StateandtheCentralGovernments of India in order to bring development to the people of Manipur. The project has been delayed for multiple reasons for the past almost thirty years. In the meantime the project has failed to fulfill any of its objectives. The loss of livelihood and land by the dam has resulted in the enforced migration of dozens of men from the downstream villages to look for work in remote lands including neighbouring country, Myanmar leaving behind increasing numbers of women headed households and drop out school children.

This step taken by the Government of Manipur is a criminally inhuman disregard of human safety, including the safety of women and children and their properties, downstream of the dam. It is a total and blatant abuse of authority. The informal announcement gives less than 36hours for the villagers to clear the area. Therefore, we strongly condemn this action being taken up by the government through IFCD. We call for an immediate withdrawal of this informal notification. Any human and property loss caused by the sudden release of the water including loss of human life will be the sole responsibility of the Government of Manipur.

This step taken by the Government of Manipur is a criminally inhuman disregard of human safety, including the safety of women and children and their properties, downstream of the dam. It is a total and blatant abuse of authority. The informal announcement gives less than 36hours for the villagers to clear the area. Therefore, we strongly condemn this action being taken up by the government through IFCD. We call for an immediate withdrawal of this informal notification. Any human and property loss caused by the sudden release of the water including loss of human life will be the sole responsibility of the Government of Manipur.

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