Imphal, Oct. 30: The Mapithel Dam Affected Villages Association has opposed the Okram Ibobi Singh government’s move to order a recount of people in two villages of Chadong and Lamlai Khunou in Ukhrul district who, once displaced, would be entitled to relief and rehabilitation packages.
The district revenue department issued a notification on September 9 announcing that the verification would be carried out in the two villages.
“The notification and fresh move to carry out verification in the two villages is in clear violation of the formation of an expert review committee on January 18, 2008. The committee comprises teachers from Manipur University, representatives of affected villages and officials from various departments,” R. Sakathan, chairman of the affected villages association told reporters here today.
The protest came after the government carried out verification at Lamlai Khunou yesterday and today. The government also plans to carry out the recount in Chadong village from tomorrow for the next two days.
The verification in Lamlai Khunou went off peacefully. However, Chadong village may face stiff opposition from the villagers affected by the dam.
The Rs 715.8-crore project was taken up at Mapithel, trijunction of Thoubal, Imphal East and Ukhrul districts. The project will irrigate 21,000 hectares of paddy field, provide 10 million gallons of drinking water daily and supply 7.5MW of power.
The Ibobi Singh government is approaching Japan for funds for providing drinking water to Imphal city from this dam.
Sakathan said Chadong and Lamlai Khunou were not the only villages affected by the dam. Many villages at the downstream and upstream were affected and verification process for all the affected villages should be carried out under the expert committee.
“The affected villages are looking forward to completion of the process and we will not accept any verification process outside the purview of the review committee,” the chairman said.
The association also threatened to move court if the recount is carried out in only two villages.
“Altogether six villages have been affected. The move to verify only two villages smells of an attempt by government officials to siphon off funds provided for rehabilitation of the affected villagers,” an anti-dam activist said.