TODAY -

IHRA reaffirms boycott of AH-1 upgrade project work
Source: Chronicle News Service

Kangpokpi, July 12 2021: International Human Rights Association Manipur (IHRA) reaffirmed its boycott of the ongoing construction and upgradation of Asian Highway No 1 under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway in Tengnoupal district.

In press statement signed by its president Mark Thangmang Haokip, IHRA made it clear that it will not halt boycott of the upgradation of Asian Highway No.1 (AH-1) until a Memorandum of Understanding is arrived at between International Human Rights Association, Asian Development Bank, and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway.

It recalled that the association had on February 12, 2021, officially declared a boycott of the construction and upgradation of AH-1 after a two-month long investigation with the help of Asian Development Bank and the RTU and it officially reaffirmed its decision on Monday.

The association claimed that as per its investigation the strife between the affected landowners and the implementing agencies is one hundred percent instigated by corruption issues caused by responsible implementing agencies, including Tengnoupal district administration and third-party involvement, adding that it is an inhuman act and a corruption crime perpetrated by the implementing agencies besides the incompetent state government.

It has been 149 days (from February 12 to July 12) since the boycott began but IHRA hasn't received any positive engagement from the government to solve the imbroglio, rather the implementing agencies, the state government and the district administration are making several attempts to obstruct the intervention of the human rights body through some conspiracies, the association said.

IHRA alleged that the values and dignity of human rights are not honoured and respected as 'they' carried out different kinds of strategies to disturb and threaten those affected landowners in altered manners by serving force eviction notice against them.

"One IRB jawan had also been detained in police custody and then suspended from his service because his family members had taken part in the agitation for demanding fair compensation while other protesting villagers were threatened and arrested apart from detaining without proper reason", it alleged.

Meanwhile, IHRA strongly condemned the stand of Manipur government, NHIDCL and Asian Highway Land Affected Chairmen/Chiefs Association (ALACA) that there shall be no compensation for land acquired for highway concerning the 1963 survey of land for the national highways conducted by the government, which was published in the newspapers, and contended that it is not the accurate law in scheduled area/indigenous tribal land.

The association further said that the news also reported that such advice was given to them by a revenue commissioner, who does not have the knowledge about the non-revenue land/scheduled area/indig-enous tribal land.

The claim is totally against the rights of compensation on Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013, Indigenous Land Rights declared by United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous People, 2007 and the Constitutional Rights Article 371 (C) and it also violates ADB's safeguard policy, it added.

IHRA also said that the members of ALACA and the implementing agencies which are making such press statements are equally involved in mismanaging the funds for compensation to the affected landowners, adding that they carried out such an agreement for hiding the crime they had committed.

It then said that it is better to understand that the said ALACA committee does not represent the affected landowner and it is a fake committee created by those people who had caused the mismanagement of crores of compensation money.

IHRA is ready to welcome the finalization for bringing solutions to the imbroglio through signing a Memorandum of Understanding between IHRA Manipur, ADB and Ministry of Road Transport & Highway within monsoon, it added.

The association, however, said that it shall not accept any work schedule to be carried out by the state government before an understanding is arrived at between IHRA and central government.

IHRA also asked the state government and the implementing agencies to stop discriminating against the affected landowners by using police force, which is a first degree of violating fundamental human rights.


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