TODAY -

Tipaimukh Dam Plan and its Uncertainties

Jiten Yumnam *

 Barak river, where the Tipaimukh project is set to come up
Barak river, where the Tipaimukh project is set to come up :: Pix - Hueiyen Lanpao



The rejection of "Forest Clearance" for the proposed 1500 MW Tipaimukh Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project to be built over Barak River in Manipur in India's North East, by the Forest Advisory Committee, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India in July and August 2013 for forest loss in Manipur and Mizoram laid bare the serious contradictions in development decision making in Manipur.

The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), while recommending the rejection of "Forest Clearance" for the mega project in its meeting from 11 12 July and 13-14 August 2013, observed that the forest land required for the project is simply disproportionate to the power generation plan of the project and the per-megawatt requirement of Sixteen (16) hectares of forest land for the project is extra ordinarily high. The total forest area to be affected in Manipur, as claimed by the project authorities, the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited already contains 7.8 million trees and 0.27 million bamboo columns.

The project will also led to massive destruction of forest land and the livelihood of the Hmar people of Mizoram State. A total of approximately 14,634 trees including 11,306 trees below 60 cm girth and another 4.4 million of bamboo columns in 1063.4 hectares of bamboo forest will be permanently lost due to the project in Mizoram. The total loss of trees and bamboo groves in both Mizoram and Manipur due to the submergence by Tipaimukh dam is estimated at over 8 million trees and over 4 million bamboo groves, which is a disturbing and unacceptable figure by any count. Both Manipur and Mizoram falls in the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot , a globally recognized area with rich and diverse flora and fauna species and the Tipaimukh dam project will have direct impact on the extremely valuable and endangered faunal and floral species.

The "Forest Clearance" rejection for Tipaimukh dam also brought into focus the legitimacy of the "Environment Clearance", conceded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India on 24 October 2008 despite peoples' objections to Tipaimukh dam in all the five public hearings held from 2004 till 2008. The rejection of forest clearance also confirms that the "Environment Clearance" is based on incomplete assessment of impacts of forest loss and especially on communities livelihood dependence, with due and rightful participation of all affected communities.

The Government of India has been aggressively trying to construct the 162.8 meters high rock filled Tipaimukh dam, at about 500 meters downstream of the confluence of Barak and Tuivai Rivers, at a revised project cost of Rs. 8,138.79 Crores at September 2008 price level. In 2001, the Tipaimukh Dam Project was approved by the Governor of Manipur under President's Rule without peoples consent. On 28th December 2002, the Manipur cabinet approved the MoU signed between the Government of Manipur and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation. The then Power Minister of India, Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde laid the foundation stone for the project on 15 December 2006. Later, a revised MoU was signed with the Government of Manipur, the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation and Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited on 28th April 2010, reaffirmed on 22nd October 2011, without obtaining the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of all affected communities.

The FAC recommendations against "Forest Clearance" reaffirms the longstanding concerns of affected communities that the loss of more than Three Hundred (300) square kilometer of forest land for direct submergence and another Six Hundred (600) square kilometres for compensatory afforestation would not only threaten their survival but would also irreparably devastate a rich ecosystem. Forest is source of life, water, food, identify for indigenous peoples of Manipur and that nothing can compensate the loss of 7.8 million trees and bamboos in over 25,822 hectares of community land due to Tipaimukh Dam.

The FAC rejection also brought into focus the rationality of the formation of the India-Bangladesh joint technical survey team, in 2012 on Tipaimukh Dam. There are serious challenges as to whether the political decision makers would respect the recommendations of Forest Advisory Committee. Indeed, the Prime Minister of India, Mr Manmohan Singh, offered more stakes to the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Dipu Moni, on her visit to India in end July 2013 on the management of Barak River and also in the construction of Tipaimukh Dam even immediately after the FAC rejected Forest Clearance for the proposed Tipaimukh Dam. This is a clear disrespect of the rights, wishes and legitimate claims of all indigenous communities of Manipur, but also a desecration of the sanctity of the much hyped democratic polity of the Government of India.

A serious concern with the sub group formation and the processes thereafter is the blatant failure to ensure participation of indigenous communities to be affected by the proposed Tipaimukh Dam in Manipur. One wonders what transpired in the Sub Group on Tipaimukh Dam. It will be highly ludicrous for a decision on Tipaimukh Dam construction be decided only by India and Bangladesh as the land, rivers, forests and resources in Manipur belongs to indigenous peoples of Manipur, and hence, their rightful rights to involve in all decision making processes affecting their land.

The Forest Advisory Committee of MoEF already classified the proposed Tipaimukh dam as one of the most destructive projects in India as its forest submergence alone will be equivalent to 497 other hydel projects across India. One is left to ponder on the rationality of pursuing such highly destructive and unsustainable project. For India, the submergence plan of nearly thirty thousand (30,000) hectares of forest land negates the spirit of the Green India Mission and its commitments made at Rio+20 Global Conference on Environment and Development, Rio De Janeiro in June 2012.

The sub group formation between the Governments of India and Bangladesh on 28 August 2012 for joint surveys to assess the impacts of proposed 1500 MW Tipaimukh Dam over Barak River in Manipur should respect and adhere to the recommendations of the key observations and recommendations of the Forest Advisory Committee of the MoEF, Government of India. The two countries should refrain from taking any exclusive and arbitrary decision for Tipaimukh Dam construction. The people of Manipur cannot accept any secretive and compromise deals between India and Bangladesh for Tipaimukh Dam construction.

A holistic thorough assessment of the possible impact of the Tipaimukh Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project with the participation of the affected people both in Manipur, Assam and further down in Bangladesh should precede any decision on Tipaimukh Dam. The push for Tipaimukh HEP is amidst the absence of cumulative impact assessment on forest areas in the three districts due to proposed Tipaimukh HEP, proposed Oil Exploration, Trans Asian Railway and National Highway expansion all planned in the catchment area of proposed Tipaimukh dam. The decision making framework recommended by the World Commission on Dams, respecting rights of people, ensuring their participation, option assessment should guide the decision making process of Tipaimukh Dam.

The Ministry of Environment and Forest and the Government of India should desist from granting Forest Clearance for Tipaimukh Dam and should respect the respect the recommendations of the Forest Advisory Committee on Tipaimukh Dam not to accord "Forest Clearance". The Ministry of Environment and Forest should revoke the 'Environment Clearance' for Tipaimukh dam on 24 October 2008 as it is confirmed that there is inadequate appraisal of forest impacts. It is also high time that the Government of Manipur revoke the MoU signed with National Hydroelectric Power Corporation and the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited on 28 April 2010, reaffirmed on 22 October 2011.

The Tipaimukh Dam has been aggressively pursued to meet power shortage in Manipur and other parts of India's North East. However, the definition of Manipur's power needs by outsiders without their consultation is a clear cut case of violation of indigenous peoples' right to self determination, to determine their development rights based on their needs, wishes and aspirations. The Government of Manipur should now embark on an alternative model of power generation in Manipur, based on the needs, wishes and aspiration of the people and to minimize impacts on environment.

Manipur has long ceased to think for itself and rather serve as a loyal facilitator of wanton destruction of its natural heritages for the unscrupulous profit of corporations and their cohorts. It's time rife for the people and also the government of Manipur to start planning for itself and seek alternatives that should culminate into long term sustainability. Planners and those pushing for destructive, unsustainable development should be conscious that Manipur has people sensitive to the commitments and obligations of all concerned, for a sustainable world, centred on people and nature oriented development.

The Government of India and the Government of Manipur should take the Free Prior and Informed Consent of all affected peoples as recommended by the UN CERD Committee specific on Tipaimukh Dam in 2007. The Government of India should recognize the inherent rights of the people of Manipur to determine its right to development based on the needs, wishes and its aspirations. Any forced and arbitrary development pursued goes against principles of rights and sustainability.


* Jiten Yumnam wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
The writer can be contacted at mangangmacha[AT]gmail[DOT]com
This article was posted on October 15, 2013.


* 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
  • Imoinu @Yumnam Leikai :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Our Ailing Planet: My locality as a facet
  • Stop Oil Palm Plantation in Manipur
  • General election in hard times :: Poem
  • Being free from freedom
  • Roaring 40 in first list of Cong
  • Significance of Gaan-Ngai festival #2
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Wake Up My People Wake up :: Poem
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • A tribute to Athokpam Indrakumar Singh
  • Stunted fingerling- Replacement of fish seed
  • Training Program at Dimapur
  • Gaan-Ngai @Kakhulong :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Classical Language Vs ST for Meetei
  • The Great Green Walls, conserving nature
  • Webinar: The Birds and Bees Talk
  • Covid Booster Campaign at Tamenglong
  • IVF Centre in Guwahati
  • Easing curbs as cases spiral
  • Third wave is on!
  • Ecotourism Complexes @ Ramrei :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • No excuse not to end acute pandemic stage
  • Palm-oil in Manipur: Bad to worse
  • For sons and daughters :: Poem
  • Effective methods for facial hair removal
  • Subdued dissent over Sunday as poll day
  • Embracing the party hoppers
  • Gaan-Ngai @Iboyaima Shanglen #2:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Cultural Activists of Manipur honoured
  • Male infertility: What are the options ?
  • Is celebrating New Year Day really worth it
  • Third wave: State on record breaking spree
  • Compulsion of power politics
  • Imoinu Thouniba @Singjamei :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • O Jonga! O Jonga :: Poem
  • Grey market for election tickets
  • Some common weeds of Manipur #2
  • Lilong Haoreibi College awarded 'B' grade
  • State used as transport route of drugs
  • Possible post poll scenario
  • Significance of Gaan-Ngai festival #1
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Lunghar path in springshed conservation
  • Lament of love :: Poem
  • Career options in Lift Technology
  • Brief tale of one year COVID vaccination
  • Bickering among allies in coalition politics
  • Low vaccination coverage
  • NH-2 : Remember Khongnem Thana
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • O Kolhen! O Kolhen :: Poem
  • Program on POCSO Act at Thoubal
  • The Killing Fields (2013-22) :: News Timeline
  • A spate of 'defections' in UP elections...
  • High performing individuals work alone
  • Onus on ECI to avert crisis situation
  • Keeping people informed is key
  • Gaan-Ngai @Iboyaima Shanglen #1:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • The church is & must remain apolitical
  • Tamenglong Battalion celebrated Army Day
  • How prosperous NE India became backward
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni @ Koubru #1:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Read all about Gaan Ngai
  • Justice, Peace and Change :: Poem
  • Mass Surya Namaskar at Tamenglong
  • Padmanabha Swamy Temple
  • Overcoming vaccine hesitancy
  • Nothing grand about 'Grand Old Party'
  • Lainingthou Sanamahi Complex #1:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu
  • Some common weeds of Manipur #1
  • How to keep your hair healthy this winter
  • Third wave: Litmus test for NE states
  • High TPR, low vaccination
  • Maharaja Gambhir Singh
  • COVID-19 Status 12 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Rani Gaidinliu Open Air Lounge inaugurated
  • NAAC peer team visit for assessment
  • National Youth Day
  • Conservation Agriculture: intensified farming
  • Negligence galore as Covid cases rise
  • Back to the spike in three figures
  • How AFSPA undermines 'Act East' Policy
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • P Achevei : Mega Mister North East 2021
  • Stop Violence related to Election
  • Civil / Project Engineer @ R-Square
  • Business Development @ R-Square
  • Customer Representative @ Property Geo
  • No matter what :: Poem
  • Stealthy extension of AFSPA
  • Confiscating 'suspected heroin'
  • 188 Death Anniv: Maharaj Gambhir:: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) 20th Call
  • Kalum Kai (House of worship) #2
  • Account Assistant @ Amber & Arthur, Imphal
  • Business Dev @ Amber & Arthur, Imphal
  • The 5G Race :: Samarjit Kambam
  • Manipur elections not for the faint-hearted
  • Guns & violence in run up to polls
  • Climate Change in Ukhrul in last 50 years
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Are we able to break chain of transmission
  • 100 new Sainik School- opportunities for girl
  • Joyjeet Waikhom / Ksh Maradona: Mr India
  • Money flying in or out ?
  • Will partial lockdown help curb transmission
  • Voting during Covid pandemic
  • Food items @ Singjamei, Pishum :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Curfew : Measures to combat COVID
  • IMFP - Indian Made Foreign People
  • Happy 2022 to you !
  • Manipur Press Foundation Day :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Politician must practice, preach on COVID
  • Makeup routine during pandemic
  • Third wave threat no more a mirage
  • Queuing up for BJP
  • Thangal Lambi & Ima Keithel :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Before I sleep... II
  • Election Brawl :: Poem
  • Impact of Covid on Employer Branding
  • Chasing peace in Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Kalum Kai (House of worship) #1
  • The art of New Year's resolution
  • Cong struggling to keep its house in order
  • Manipur's place in the eyes of Delhi
  • Makru bridge, Oinamlong Waterfall : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Depression : A New Time Bomb
  • School & Student Championship Quiz
  • Concern over child labour
  • ECI on sluggish vaccination rate in state
  • Vaccination rate in hill districts
  • Fusion of contemporary dance & theatre
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 Crackdown on violators
  • AMAND, Pune released 2022 calendar
  • Rising poverty in Manipur
  • Sunset, the most memorable!
  • Election time season of plentiful promises
  • Interesting role of NPP, NPF
  • Pineapple @ Ngariyan Hills #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • kLlQtre :: Seireng
  • National Day for our feathered friend
  • Value of purposeful life
  • Homemade face packs for winter beauty
  • Dreadful start to New Year as cases spike
  • Manipur steps into Year 2022
  • Tarpon Katpa @ Loktak #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • OneHealth: towards pandemic preparedness?
  • Before I sleep...
  • Meitei ST demand & the opposition
  • Bye Bye 2021 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2021 #6: Gallery
  • Manipur : National Futsal C'ship 2021
  • 'Unlocking Locks Under Lockdowns' released
  • Baby corn cultivation for livelihood
  • Extension of AFSPA to Nagaland
  • Hoping for a better New Year 2022
  • Appeal of AMCO to Chief Minister
  • NK Sanajaoba- Star in Dark Sky of Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 30 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Danube Kangjam : Miss North East 2021
  • In search of Christmas party
  • Demise of Film Producer: Guruaribam John
  • Disturbed Area Act in Nagaland extended
  • Thyroid cancer- The Good, Bad & Ugly
  • Same old order to tackle most potent threat
  • Putting tighter restrictions in place
  • Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • January Calendar for Year 2022 : Tools
  • Carol on Christmas :: Poem
  • Formation of 13 Farmer Producer Orgns
  • Indian Army Inquiry Team visits site in Oting
  • Review home isolation rule or punish violator
  • Lining up for saffron party
  • Red Ribbon Manipur Idol, 2021 #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • curaNTbdi nYte AE :: Seireng
  • Marriageable at 25 not 18 or 21
  • IMA Manipur wins 7 awards at NATCON-2021
  • Impact of climate change in agriculture
  • Dual threat to state in election season
  • Another panel to study AFSPA
  • Indigenous under-utilized fruit crop Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Can we deliver on #HealthForAll
  • Business Executive @ Property Geo, Imphal
  • 13th Seniors National Futsal C'ship
  • National Curling Championship
  • Centre benevolence crucial for development
  • Taking the elixir of life to all village
  • Omicron now in town
  • Job-Fair 2021 @ Imphal : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Remembering great grandmothers :: Poem
  • Grand finale Mega Miss North East 2021
  • Kodo - A miracle food millet crop in Manipur
  • Preparing HCWs for long battle against Covid
  • Bid to arm twist the media
  • Christmas Eve @ Imphal : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • My idea of justice- For the old aged folks
  • Amit Shah holds conclave with Naga leaders
  • Horses - some tidbits
  • The best skincare routine for teenagers
  • Christmas Eve @ Churachandpur : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • My Christmas
  • Mary : The Unwed Mother
  • O Come, let us adore Him
  • Violence in election: Will it sustain?
  • Hymn on autumn :: Poem
  • Crackdown on liquor sale in election
  • Another Christmas comes
  • Red Ribbon Manipur Idol, 2021 #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Secy raises CCpur ambush with Myanmar
  • Gossiping with flowers, bees & butterflies
  • Careers with Migrants
  • Climate literacy to tackle climate crisis
  • Violence in AC with 2 fmr education minister
  • Heirok AC: Shooting to kill : Abhorrent
  • Of AFSPA, Manipur and NE States
  • The Price of Justice!
  • Seminar on 'Bioeconomy from Bioresources'
  • Shija: 1st Pvt medical college in NE
  • Water saving techniques in hill agriculture #2
  • Plight of women in land of brave-hearts
  • Not a question of If but
  • Heisnam Savitri (Legendary actress) #2
  • Painting: Tribal Freedom Fighter #1: Gallery
  • New Barak Bridge @Jiri highway : Gallery
  • Heisnam Savitri (Legendary actress) #1
  • RK Meghen tribute @ Nupi Lal : Gallery
  • Protest: massacre of Naga Brethen: Gallery