TODAY -

E-Pao! Opinion - Khuga Dam: Reality check

Khuga Dam: Reality check

By: Thangkhanlal Ngaihte *

The visit to the Khuga Dam by a team of ministers and Manipur officials last October was just one of many VIP visits that the project has seen over the last four years. But with one difference: On this visit, the visiting party, which included the state's fisheries minister N Mangi Singh, released 100,000 fish into the lake that had formed behind the dam.

It was an act that signifies that the long wait is over and the Khuga Dam is set to bear fruit. There is no doubt that the pace of construction of this dam, about eight kilometres south of Churachandpur in Manipur, accelerated under the present Secular Progressive Front (SPF) government. I have lost count of the number of times the chief minister came visiting.

The project, started in the early 1980s, has cost more than Rs 200 crore and its original estimate? All of Rs 15 crore. The major construction work at the dam ~ the walling off of the river ~ was completed last year. Under heavy monsoon rain, the water surged and at least 17 villages upstream were evacuated and relocated in eight "grouping centres" built by the government.

The villagers apparently never imagined that the water would ever rise to this level. They were forced to dismantle their houses in driving rain and shift to makeshift shelters with the dam water lapping at their feet. There was widespread chaos as part of Teddim Road, which links the district headquarters with Singngat and Mizoram beyond, was submerged. The diversion road, more of a dirt track, had to be cleared of weeds and boulders.

With the Assembly elections next month, the Congress-led Secular Progressive Front government in Manipur is touting the Khuga Dam project as one of its major achievements. The 2007 wall calendar produced by the government's directorate of information and public relations (DIPR) eulogised it as "a dream come true project of Manipur".

Under the memorandum of understanding signed between the state government and Central authorities, the former is to complete all remaining works in the project by March. But a look at the ground reality shows that this promise by the government is going the same way as other such promises: nowhere.

It is clear that the construction will not be complete by the due date, unless, there is a miracle. The Khuga Dam, like most other river valley projects, has three main purposes, namely, provision of drinking water to Lamka town and its surrounding villages; irrigation of agricultural land; and generation of electric power.

As of now, none of the three components are ready. It is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. There is no explaining how the main dam was first built ~ submerging large expanses of fertile farm lands and settlements which otherwise could still have been saved and used ~ while the people languish.

There are two irrigation canals which are incomplete and dilapidated. One of the canals simply releases its load into the Mata stream flowing nearby, while the other takes an about turn and disgorges at the Tuitha (Khuga) river from where it came!

The executive engineer, Mr H Ginzathang, said a small lake is still to be first built next to the dam to regulate the water's flow before it enters into the canals. As for the power component, the project's Power House was supposed to have been completed by now (the latest due date for its completion was 15 November, last year).

As it is, construction is yet to start in earnest. It is being stalled every step of the way by reasons ranging from shortage of cement and iron to strikes by the Dam Action Committee (DAC) which has been agitating against the dam. There is no knowing when the project will start generating power.

The water supply component has a different story. Pipes were first laid around 2000, during President's rule. But pipes made of inferior quality burst at frequent intervals when water flowed through them. So it was abandoned. Now the Construction and Design Services (C&DS), UP Jal Nigam, has undertaken the project as part of the overall water supply scheme for Lamka town in coordination with the state's PHE department.

Pipelines are being laid and the treatment unit is under construction but it is not known when it will be completed. So, what we have is a huge water body that has submerged our fertile lands, roads, crops and gardens, roads, cemeteries and places of work; a mass of water that blocks us from reaching our fields and worksites.

All the costs that the dam is to incur have been incurred. But there is simply no corresponding benefits. The only consolation for local people, most of whom have never seen such a huge water body, appears to be the fish that the minister released last October. And perhaps, an enchanting view of the glistening waters in the sunset!

But even that is not to be: fishing and photographing are banned at the dam site. Take a trip up the dirt road and visit any of the resettlement sites. See the tiny huts, made of thatch and bamboo and twisted metal, which clustered together in a heap along the dust-filled roads. Watch the ill-clad children loitering in the company of pigs and fowls. Take a look at their water supply which generates all of a bucketful in two hours.

Listen to their tales. The Manipur government said it is a dream coming true. For the impoverished people here though, it is a nightmare realised.




* Thangkhanlal Ngaihte, researcher and freelance writer, wrote this article for The Statesman. He is also a regular columnist of The Sangai Express. This article was webcasted on January 23rd, 2007 .


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Tribes, Art & Soul of India #1: Gallery
  • Rally against Mob Lynching #1: Gallery
  • 'Sahnit' an honour or a disgrace
  • Irabot : Socio-Political Challenges
  • Training employees for better governance
  • Blue Ocean :: Poem
  • Sextortion: Making money from shame
  • Condemn murder of Neiphretuo Metsie
  • Social lacunae
  • BJP on poll drive at Imphal, Kohima
  • Mary Kom lost 2 kg in 4 hours
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #2
  • Felicitation of Sportsperson: Gallery
  • ICJ: Investigation of Extrajudicial Killing
  • Legal profession as career option #2
  • Loktak Down Stream HE Project (2x33MW)
  • Protest against mob lynching at DU
  • Ripples of Music :: Poem
  • Memo submitted to CM over lynching
  • Poems of Peace, Resistance ...
  • Helicopter Schedule for Imphal-Jiri
  • Mirabai recommended for Khel Ratna
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #3: Gallery
  • Manipur State is still winning..
  • Gazetteer of North-East India :: Book
  • Sunfeast Cup Football Tournament
  • Trip down memory lane
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Folk Song :: Poem
  • The Endureres at Dwarka Half Marathon
  • Main accused in cop slaying nabbed
  • Naga talks not confined to Nagaland..
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #1 : Gallery
  • Rest in Peace Humanity
  • Ph Banti's artwork 'Trafficking of children'
  • Cry of a Dying River - 45 :: Poem
  • Buddhism is not a religion
  • Jobs at R-Square Design
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Candle Light at DU over lynching
  • Society as a reflection of govt
  • Mobocracy : Shame on Manipur
  • Kuki Black Day @CCpur : Gallery
  • miAoIbgi pNTuH :: Seireng
  • Apikcha, Apaiba, Tinilung :: eMing
  • An opinion on Tharoijam killing
  • How Manipur lost internal autonomy, Kabaw
  • Admission for PhD at Tripura Univ
  • Meefam ST at Nambol, Khangabok
  • Importance of Forest & Environment
  • Deep social divide: Two different folks?
  • Kuki Black Day: Kukis Will never forget
  • R & V Art House's First Art Fest 2018
  • Celebrating International Literacy Day, 2018
  • Born a Kuki, die a Kuki :: Poem
  • History of North East India :: Book
  • Will SimpliciTB make TB treatment simpler
  • Meefam chathaduna ST gi issue..
  • Dipankar Talukdar- Mr Model of World Star
  • System error- who will fix Broken Window
  • Reshuffle Talks : Say No to Yes Me
  • India negotiating vehicle pact with Myanmar
  • Chalwa Village, Kangpokpi #2 : Gallery
  • Thien & its downfall in Zeliangrong #2
  • Is FA a self exposed daylight robbery?
  • Nation Needs Small Farmers
  • Who is programming you ?
  • Bandhs as dissent & survival of laziest
  • Looking for Raju :: Poem
  • The cry of the 2nd class citizen
  • Bharat Bandh in Imphal
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #1
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #2 : Gallery
  • Naga-Kuki conflict: Search for definitions
  • Mega Marathon Manipur : Download Form
  • Legal profession as career option
  • Guv felicitates 5 JAK RIF for flood relief
  • Stored Anger :: Book Review
  • On stepping into the 20th year of TSE
  • Sept - month which reinstated our courage
  • Krishna Janma @ISKCON #2 : Gallery
  • Empty :: Poem
  • Lets beat littering - plastics pollution
  • NEHU Seminar : Urbanization in India
  • Jobs at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • Declaration of Naga Collective Spirit [Sep 8]
  • Akanba Khongjangidamak Yathokpa Loire
  • Support for STDC from UMA, Assam
  • 'Deplorable power supply in Nagaland'
  • Tryst with destiny - Should we accept ?
  • Stand off at MU : Impact on LS Poll
  • Exploring the enthralling Tuilha Kol
  • Kamesh Salam : Outstanding Green Activist
  • The Valley Of Brahmaputra :: Book
  • Development of road database
  • The inner page story :: Poem
  • Kakching WW-II Memorial Run 2018
  • STDC public meeting at Langathel Keithel
  • Maibi Jagoi at Sangai Fest : Gallery
  • My poll without prejudice to anyone
  • MEETAC - Mission for streamlining TK
  • Conditions leading to Marxism
  • Heart Camp at Khelakhong, Thoubal
  • Cyber bully: Crime that follows you home
  • Bhupen Hazarika : Tribute at London
  • AEP & Importance of Myanmar & NE
  • Political pandemonium
  • Students central to MU issue
  • Landscape from Koubru #2 : Gallery
  • Leishangthem Robert for Mr. World 2018
  • Oinam Shilla Chanu at Mrs India Earth
  • North-east Frontier Of India :: Book
  • Thien & its downfall in Zeliangrong #1
  • Cry of a Dying River - 44 :: Poem
  • JRF Post at Mizoram University
  • Honours to Bamboo; a ubiquitous gift
  • Case of hunter now being huntedr
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #3 : Gallery
  • Women Empowerment & judicial Activism
  • Narin Chenggum - wild edible mushroom
  • Flying Star at your lips :: Poem
  • Out of the box thinking
  • Call centre fraud: Vicious vishing attack
  • Changing India & its impact on Manipur
  • MU stand off gets uglier
  • Tikendrajit : The Lion of Manipur #4
  • Krishna Janma @Mahabali #1 : Gallery
  • Eastern Frontier of India :: Book Review
  • Remembering Radhakrishnan ..
  • Moments to cherish :: Poem
  • Glimpse of the Buddha's teaching
  • NH7 Weekender Express Editions
  • Rejoinder to NDPP from NPF [05 Sep]
  • Mental equation
  • Are teachers teaching ? Apt, timely poser
  • Sirarakhong Hathei Phanit @Ukhrul : Gallery
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #1 : Gallery
  • Globalization, Act East Policy & Manipur
  • Review on anthology of Parthajit Borah
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Child Friendly Police Stations proposed
  • ADBU Goes Green with Solar Energy
  • Convocation of Assam Don Bosco
  • Fetal Echocardiography - Seminar held
  • Rejoinder to NPF from NDPP [04 Sep]
  • Divide, divert and rule will not work
  • FA, MU crisis : Issues before LS polls
  • Krishna Janma @ISKCON #1 : Gallery
  • Komrem Student Day @Bangalore : Gallery
  • September Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • The Coils of Pakhangba :: Book
  • Physics Program in Don Bosco, Tura
  • Condemns MU VC's vindictive stance
  • 'Policy of India to suppress people'
  • NDPP congratulates Abu Metha
  • Pandey back at MU! Violating spirit of MoA
  • Exhibition @ Art College #2: Gallery
  • AMWJU Sit-In-Protest : Gallery
  • Shri Krishna Janmasthami :: Book
  • Life's heck :: Poem
  • Environment & lung health are vital
  • Innovation for the common man
  • Humanitarian crisis with NRC in Assam
  • Rejoinder to NDPP from NPF [02 Sep]
  • Jangou Rah : eRang Classic
  • The Story of 40 Pineapple Suckers
  • Rebirth of Manipur Human Rights Comm
  • Yumkhaibam Nanao Eramdam Yaourakhre
  • Lecture: Governance & Public Services
  • X-rated poem :: Poem
  • Ningol Chakkouba Celebration in Delhi
  • Baton changes hands at IGAR (South)
  • Rejoinder to NPF from NDPP [01 Sept]
  • A Wake-up call
  • Lok Sabha polls : More crucial for BJP
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #2: Gallery
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #2 : Gallery
  • The World of Kuki People :: Book
  • Effects of the Burning of Meitei Puyas
  • Soil Technician required at MaolKeki
  • Jr. Mr. India 2018, Gyanendra Thokchom
  • Rejoinder to HTC & allies' statement
  • Consensual sex..Does it amount to rape ?
  • Need for all to keep their sanity
  • Sanagi Tenawa :: Funga Wari
  • MU: Den of Insurgents or Den of Ideas?
  • Can NRC Update save Assam and NE ?
  • Victim of Enforced Disappearances
  • Admission for Ph.D. at Tripura University
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #1: Gallery
  • Physics Program in Don Bosco College
  • Resolution: Right of Human Right Defender
  • Advancing rights of Human Right Defender
  • Dolaithabi Dam , Senapati : Gallery
  • Eid-Ul-Adhaa Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #1 : Gallery
  • 47th Nagas Annual Meet at Mumbai
  • Transcending Patriots' Day(s) #4
  • Sangai Fest: Fashion Show #2 : Gallery
  • Tikendrajit : The Lion of Manipur #3
  • Dr. Jodhachandra Sanasam : Sahitya
  • Architects announces 1st MADE 2018
  • Expedite FA Rally #2 : Gallery
  • Billie's Book by Ranjeeta Mayanglambam
  • Shougrakpam Bijaya :: A Profile
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Disputed Myanmar Border Pillar : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #3: Gallery
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS