TODAY -

Hearing held amid public protest
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Daniel Kamei

Tamenglong, November 07 2012: Public Hearing for environmental clearance of exploration Block AA-ONN 2009/1 and AA-ONN 2009/2 was held at Indoor Stadium, Tamenglong today under tight security and amidst public protest.

Police Commandos, IRB, 5th MR and Tamenglong police including VDFs were deployed in and around the Stadium in Tamenglong.

The public hearing organized by Manipur Pollution Control Board (MPCB) was held in two sessions for AA-ONN 2009/1 and AA-ONN 2009/2(codenames of the Production Sharing Contract signed between GoI and JOGPL) respectively.

Even as the public hearing was going on, a protest rally against oil exploration in Manipur and the Public hearing was staged in the district headquarter.

All shops and other business establishments remained shut down for the day to protest the public hearing.

The rally which began from the public ground ended at Jadonang Park where a public meeting was also held.

The protestors numbering around 500 people participated in the rally holding placards inscribed with slogans like 'Stop Oil Exploration in Manipur", "Go back Jubilant Energy", "Let the Oil be kept beneath the Earth", "We Will Decide Our Future", "Withdraw PSC contracts and PEL licenses awarded to Jubilant Energy", etc.



Public Hearing  held at Indoor Stadium, Tamenglong
Public Hearing held at Indoor Stadium, Tamenglong


On the other hand, as Chairman of the Panel Members, the hearing was presided over DC of Tamenglong C Arthur W.Environmental Engineer of MPCB T Mangi, Asset Manager Manipur of Jubilant Oil and Gas Pvt Ltd(JOGPL) Tejinder Singh and Member Secretary of MPCB K Jagadishore were other members of the panel.

In the first session (AA-ONN 2009/1), Ajay Bisen on behalf of Jubilant Oil and Gas Pvt.

Ltd., NOIDA, made a power point presentation in English about the salient features of the proposed project.

This presentation was also explained in local language (Rongmei) by Joseph Pauline, Addl.

DC, Tamenglong.

Just after the presentation representatives of various civil organizations expressed their strong opposition to the oil exploratory and drilling activities reasoning that the natural resources belong to the indigenous people.

They raised questions and views like why jubilant energy is so interested in working in Manipur despite repeated objection of the people to oil exploration and why Govt and Jubilant did consult the local people as required by the UN resolution on Indigenous Peoples and protection of their natural resources.

The representatives of the Jubilant Energy and Panel members did not provide adequate and clear responses to the queries.

Altogether, fifty representations against Oil exploration in Manipur were submitted by various village authorities, community organizations and other civil bodies to the Panel members.

To a query on the ownership rights of land and its sub surface resources and the non relevance of the production sharing contract raised by one of the local participants, the chairman of the panel assured that the issue will be discussed by the district administration with the state Government.

On another query seeking revocation of the NOC for seismic surveys, the company representative pointed out that the same has been received today and the company will honor that.

During the hearing, president of All Zeliangrong Students Union, Assam Manipur Nagaland, Pamei Tingenlung exhorted the gathering that whoever opposed to the oil exploration should rise.

In response, the entire participants excluding the panel members and security forces rose and voiced their strong opposition against the said project.

The participants also displayed banners with slogans like "NO TO OIL EXPLORATION IN MANIPUR" inside the public hearing hall.

Talking to mediapersons on the sideline of the public hearing, President of All Tribal Students' Union Manipur, Muan Tom Bing said that the land belongs to tribals and without the consent of the rightful owners of the land, the oil company and the government should stop all oil exploration and drilling activities in Manipur.

It may be recalled that indigenous communities of Jiribam, Churachandpur and Tamenglong have objected to the conduct of public hearings for oil exploration organized by MPCB at Jiribam, Parbung and Nungba on 31st July, 8th August and 17th August 2012 respectively.

The Public Hearing at Nungba was forced to be cancelled to due to stiff community objections and protest.


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