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Manipur villagers back power project

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  • Published 9.06.11

Imphal, June 8: There will be no more public hearings on Loktak Downstream project as villagers have expressed their opinion in its favour after the first and the only hearing was held at Thangal village of Tamenglong yesterday.

A statement was signed jointly by Tamenglong deputy commissioner K. Panmei and member secretary of Manipur Pollution Control Board K. Jagadisgwor Singh.

Panmei was the chairman of the public hearing panel and Singh was the convener of the public hearing.

“The meeting unanimously decided that this public hearing would be the last one for the project, as the local people were in favour of its speedy implementation, keeping in view the benefits that would be accrued from it,” the statement said.

The public hearing was required to get environment and forest clearance for the project.

The project is being implemented at Leimatak of Tamenglong district, nearly 85km from Imphal.

It is a joint venture of the Manipur government and National Hydro-Electric Power Corporation (NHPC) and a memorandum of understanding was signed between them on September 26, 2008.

The installed capacity of the Rs 867.77-crore project is 66MW.

The villagers will not be asked to relocate, since the land for the project is only required at the catchment area of 554 square km.

The Okram Ibobi Singh government hopes to improve the power situation in the state once the project is completed. The state’s requirement is 170MW during the peak hours. However, the government could procure only 80MW from power corporations.

The state’s power scenario is bad and the government at present can provide only four to five hours of power supply to the consumers. The dismal power scenario led to the filing of a public interest litigation in the Imphal bench of Gauhati High Court.

Three individuals, who filed the petition jointly, sought a directive from the court to the state government for giving at least eight hours of uninterrupted power supply to consumers daily.

The case is pending in the high court. The villagers, who attended the public hearing, were keen to know about the benefits to be accrued by them from the project. They demanded job in the project along with adequate power supply.

“I want to know about the benefits that will be given to the villagers. I also want to know about the job opportunities of the local people,” Katapou Pamei, general secretary of Loktak Downstream Peoples Welfare Association, told the panel members.

Shahid Ali Khan, chief (environment) commissioner of the NHPC, told the villagers the management plans to include basic amenities like education, health care, power and safe drinking water facilities.

The panel members assured the villagers that local labour would be utilised and only for jobs requiring specific skills labour would be hired from outside.