Against Oil Exploration in Tipaimukh, Manipur

15th November, 2012

The Hmar Inpui (Hmar Supreme House) and the Village Authority Association of Tipaimukh Sub Division, Churachandpur District, Manipur are seriously concerned with the manner in which oil and gas exploration has been pursued in Hmar areas. They are not provided with free, prior information and therefore the on-going exploration did not bear the consent and knowledge of the Hmar people.

It is shocking to learn that the total area granted for oil exploration is 3850 Sq. Km. which is almost one sixth of the total geographical area of Manipur. The drilling sites will be located in the following Hmar villages: Parbung, Parvachawm, Sipuikawn, Tipaimukh, Taithu, Lungthulien, Damdiei, Tinsuong, Sartuinek, Patpuihmun, Kangreng and Lower Kharkhuplien. Comparatively, the Hmar dominated areas will be most impacted by the project.

Under the Eight Round of New Exploration Licencing Policy (NELP-VIII) the Government of India have signed one production sharing contract on 19th July, 2010 at New Delhi for on-land oil block in Manipur code-named ‘AA-ONN-2009/I’ with the Jubilant Oil and Gas Private Limited. The oil and gas tycoons have also secured the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) with the Government of India and a Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) with the Government of Manipur on July, 2010 and November, 2010 respectively.

The MoUs are merely dictated rubber stamp imposed by the Government of Manipur and its colluding partners without informing or engaging the Hmar peoples in any of the decision making processes. The conclusion of this bureaucratic formality is nothing but an exercise to implement vested interests and to fulfil the narrow political ends of the dictating partners.

The MoUs are but tools to fragment our land and our peoples, with blind adventurism and unrealistically optimistic assumptions of “profit” and “development”; they are insensible to the peaceful and stable livelihood system of the people and their rights and therefore wholly unjustifiable. The MoUs are discriminatory and suppressive and highly injurious to the democratic and citizenship rights of the Hmar peoples for which the State and other implementing agencies should immediately tender an apology. Till today, the MoUs are made without the knowledge, consent, confidence, and approval of the Hmar peoples, the biggest stakeholder, in whose land the project is implemented.

The on-going oil and gas exploration is severely a covert project that fails to be transparent in all its processes. All information that are supposed to link, inform and educate the people who will be affected did not reach them. The entire secretive practice is a negation of India’s own Right to Information Act. Moreover, the project is anti-people. Despite the high-risks the proposed projects entail, the players so far not only failed to inform the threatened peoples about the possible adverse impact, but also failed to obtain their consent. In short, the project did not take into consideration the existence of the indigenous peoples and their rights.

In the absence of any democratic process and the failure to obtain the consent and approval of the Hmar peoples, the State actors as well as its colluding partners are merely institutionalising injustice. The players completely ignored the presence of the indigenous peoples whose existence is threatened by the project. The project, therefore, remains an imposed one. It is shocking to realize that the social, economic, and environmental cost of the controversial project is poorly accounted. Worst, the communities who will be affected have no idea about the possible adverse impacts of the oil and gas exploration. Moreover, the proposed projects appraisals are based on unrealistically optimistic and adventurous assumptions and failed to account for the direct and indirect costs of negative environmental and social impacts.

In the absence of any informed terms and conditions with the implementing agencies, the communities at risk cannot be made to compromise with their land, resources, livelihood system and rights. The absence of objective statement, guidelines for involvement by governments, private sector, and non-governmental organizations as well as public participation has created a serious vacuum for the threatened communities whose future is at stake. Moreover, there is no attempt, on the part of the implementing agencies, to include broader credibility and consent of the threatened communities other than the mere requirements for bureaucratic licensing that were aided by the threatening presence of heavily equipped security forces during the public hearings.

Therefore, in the interests of securing democracy, security, just peace, rights, our land and resources, we sincerely demand that:

1. The Government of Manipur and Jubilant Oil and Gas Private Limited responsibly withdraw all its exploratory efforts before ushering human crisis.

2. The Government of Manipur and Jubilant Oil and gas Private Limited declare all the MoUs as null, invalid and void.

3. The Government of Manipur immediately put a moratorium on the on-going exploratory projects.



United Committee on Protection of Natural Resources, Tipaimukh

Mission: To safeguard the Earth’s natural resources and defend its endangered people, plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends and work to foster the fundamental right of all people to have a voice in decisions that affect their environment. We seek to break down the pattern of disproportionate environmental burdens borne by threatened indigenous people groups and others who face social or economic inequities. To establish sustainability and good stewardship of the Earth as central ethical imperatives of human society. We strive to protect nature in ways that advance the long-term welfare of present and future generations.

* This info was sent by Lalremlien Neitham who can be contacted at lalremlien(at)gmail(dot)com
This Press Release was posted on November 14, 2012.

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