Consultation on 'Development, Displacement and Indigenous Rights in Manipur'
- 10 November, 2022 -


 Consultation on 'Development, Displacement and Indigenous Rights in Manipur'
Consultation on 'Development, Displacement and Indigenous Rights in Manipur'

The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur organized a Consultation on "Development, Displacement and Indigenous Rights in Manipur”, at Youth Hostel, Imphal on 10 November 2022. The consultation reflects on the development processes and pattern of displacement in Manipur.

Mr. Jiten Yumnam, Secretary of CRA, Manipur, in his key note, shared that Manipur has been subjected to pursuance of unsustainable development processes, energy projects, extractives industries, oil exploration, Trans Asian Railway and Highway projects under India’s Act East Policy. These intensify the pattern of displacement, loss of community land, environment damage etc.

Mr. Yumnam continued that the 1500 MW Tipaimukh dam, 190 MW Pabram dam, 66 MW Loktak Downstream project and other dams, pursued also in pretext of mitigating climate change, will unleash widespread displacement. International financial institutions, viz, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency etc are financing unsustainable projects that will worsen displacement in Manipur.

Ms. Pantiliu Gonmei, Rongmei Lu Phuam shared that unsustainable development projects caused widespread social and environment impact, displacement in Manipur. The 1500 MW Tipaimukh dam threatens to submerge extensive tract of forest and agriculture land, besides displacing thousands of indigenous communities in Manipur. The pursuance of ADB financed Imphal Town Ring Road project threaten to displace from their homestead land and livelihood sources.

Pamei Tingenlung, Convenor of the Committee on Protection of Natural Resources in Manipur, shared that unsustainable development pursued as for “public purpose” & “national development”, also intensify conflict within communities. The challenge is Government have no clear plans to address the displaced peoples. Another worrying trend is the silencing of human rights defenders and civil society organizations promoting community rights in Manipur.

Space for civil society, such as freedom of expression and association has been curtailed. Mr. Pamei addressed the importance of defining development alternatives with the participation of all indigenous communities of Manipur.

Boipu Koireng, Social Worker shared that community forest are increased targeted for conservation measures and for declaration of reserve forest and protected areas. Forest are primary source of livelihood and culture for indigenous communities in Manipur. However, the forest conservation efforts of the Manipur Forest Department in the pretext of mitigating climate change, undermined the traditional community management and efforts for forest conservation, while also promoting exotic tree species that are harmful for the soil, people and the environment.

The Government need to take the free, prior and informed consent of all communities depending on their forest land for survival. Policies like the Environment Impact Assessment, 2020, Forest Conservation Rules, 2022 has been introduced to promote corporatization and privatization of development, while undermining indigenous peoples rights.

 Consultation on 'Development, Displacement and Indigenous Rights in Manipur'
Consultation on 'Development, Displacement and Indigenous Rights in Manipur'

Ms. Bimola Kh, President, Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected Village Level Committee shared that the Mapithel dam undermined the livelihood of thousands of communities in the downstream areas. The dam already unleashed widespread displacement from their livelihood and subsequent impoverishment. The villagers who used to fish, collect sand and stone from Thoubal River and worked in agriculture field nearby are deprived of their livelihood due to the blocking of Thoubal River.

Mr. Rakesh of Sekmai Protection Committee shared that the Government has been targeting the Forest, River and land in Sekmai for conservation and for expansion of military base. Unsustainable development intensify militarization process and alienate community from their land and livelihood sources.

Mr. Themson Jajo, Environmentalist elucidated the policies that facilitate eviction and displacement in Manipur, viz, Manipur Public Premises (Eviction Of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1978 etc, Forest Conservation Act, 1980, Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006, Land Acquisition Act, 1896 etc. He also shared how the Mapithel dam construction had caused displacement of several thousands of indigenous communities from their homestead, agriculture and other livelihood sources. Mr. Themson shared that indigenous peoples self-determined development and consent need be taken before introduction of any development processes. Development should be just and should not inconvenience communities.

The consultation adopted a general recommendation to urge the Government of Manipur to

All development processes should respect the self-determined rights of indigenous peoples over their land and resources and to take their consent before any development processes. The Government of Manipur should stop all forms of forced eviction pursued without their consent in Manipur.

Unsustainable projects pursued in pretext of development should desist from causing displacement of communities. Decommission 105 Loktak multipurpose hydroelectric project, the Khuga dam, Khoupum dam etc and return land to the affected communities to ensure their livelihood and survival.

All climate change solutions should not cause social and environment hard, but rather promote just development and climate justice. International financial institutions should desist from financing unsustainable development projects that aggravate displacement of indigenous communities, biodiversity loss and climate change.

Promote development alternatives to respect community rights and protect integrity of environment.

Repeal of ensure human rights compliance of laws, such as EIA Notification, 2020, Forest Conservation Rules, 2022, Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006, Manipur Hydro Power Policy, 2012, North East Hydrocarbon Vision 2030, Land Acquisition Act, 1894, LARR Act, 2013.

Respect and uphold the rights of all human Rights defenders striving for just development, climate justice and land rights for indigenous peoples in Manipur and across North East. Stop targeting human rights defenders. Implement the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, 1999.

 Consultation on 'Development, Displacement and Indigenous Rights in Manipur'
Consultation on 'Development, Displacement and Indigenous Rights in Manipur'

(Sanaton L)
Centre For Research And Advocacy, Manipur
Jupiter Yambem Centre,
Paona Bazar, Imphal, Manipur 795001

* This info was sent to by Centre For Research And Advocacy, Manipur who can be contacted at cra(DOT)manipur(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on November 11, 2022 .

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