TODAY -

MDAVO denounces Ministry's approval
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 11 2014 : Following the CCDD way, the Mapithel Dam Affected Villagers Organisation (MDAVO) while denouncing the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), Government of India's approval for the final Stage II Forest Clearance for Mapithel Dam construction in Manipur under fraudulent conditions on Dec 31, 2013, demanded the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest to revoke its letter to the Government of Manipur conceding final stage II Forest Clearance for Mapithel Dam to ensure social and economic justice in the land.

The MoEF should insist on its recommendations to the Government of Manipur to apply the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and to take the consent of the traditional institutions of the affected communities and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs should rather promote the interest and rights of tribal peoples affected by Mapithel Dam in Manipur and should recommend the full compliance of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 in the case of Mapithel Dam, a statement issued by the chairman of MDAVO, R Sakathan demanded.

It further urged the Manipur Government to stop construction of Mapithel Dam till the consent of all affected communities are taken with.

The matter of forest diversion of 595 hac does not come to the knowledge of the affected land owners till today.

The compensatory Afforestation planned over twice the area to be submerged is also not informed to the affected communities.

MDAVO is left at a lurch as to how the forest diversion and compensation afforestation etc will take place without informing and taking consent of the communities affected by Mapithel dam.

Registering strong objection to the grant of forest clearance without proper Impact assessment on environment, ecology, social, economic, cultural, health perspective of the project by the implementing authority /agency, the statement said that the de-recognition of tribal Forest dwellers rights on forest, based on the FRA 2006 is a straight violation.

As such, it strongly condemned MoEF and demanded revocation of the Forest Clearance grant to the State Govt.MDAVO also considered the act of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) conceding extraordinary 'exceptions' to the application of "Forest Rights Act, 2006" in the case of Mapithel Dam construction and exempting the Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Government of Manipur not to implement Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA, 2006) for the project as a clear disrespect and an act of discrimination against the tribal people who will lose their land.

Endorsing the Manipur Government's reference to the 1993 agreement for Rehabilitation as semblance of 'consent' under FRA, 2006 by the MoEF and MoTA is unacceptable as the agreement is marred with serious and continuing violations, it said that the payment of land compensation to be done in 1994-1995 according to the agreement is not fulfilled till today.

The same matter is under review in the Expert Review Committee process formed in January 2008 .

The insistence on 1993 agreement as receiving 'consent' taken from the village Chiefs to claim exemption from Forest Rights Act, 2006 by the Manipur Government is not acceptable as the same was confirmed to be defective and immature by the state itself in 2003 and further the Village Authorities in the affected area are not authorised to sell their tribal forest land, even under the 1993 agreement.

No forest land is acquired under the 1993 agreement as it was just a condition or terms for the deed.

Beside, the villagers under Catchment Area for the Mapithel Dam Multipurpose project, strongly objected the planned acquisition of 565 sq km of their forest land without their consultation and consent .

The affected villagers also maintained that any occupation of their forest land not through the FRA, 2006, is a straight challenge to their traditional forest rights.

MDAVO also questioned the MoEF as to how it cleared Forest Clearance without any applicable Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for Mapithel Dam and how the MoEF and MoTA refers to 1993 as compliance of rules.


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