They fear it will cause environmental destruction

A cycle rally was taken out by activists at Kakching Khunnou in Thoubal district of Manipur against the proposed Tipaimukh dam. They submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, requesting him to revoke the Memorandum of Understanding reached among the State government, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited, (NHPC) Ltd. and SJVNL(Sutluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd.), for the construction of the Rs. 3000-crore dam at the trijunction of Manipur, Assam and Mizoram.

They carried placards saying that the dam construction would cause human, animal and environmental destruction.

The rally was organised by the Social Action Development Organisation and supported by a number of anti-dam organisations on Saturday.

Free of charge

Talking to journalists, the secretary of the organisation, Mandir Laishram, said the project envisaged 1500 MW power generation and Manipur would get 12 per cent of the power free of charge. It was expected to control recurring floods in the Barak Valley of Assam and irrigate vast agricultural land. It was hard to believe that the dam would generate so much power.

NHPC Ltd. had said that the Loktak project in Manipur would generate 105 MW and the State was assured of adequate power. However, the project generated hardly 50 MW and Manipur could not buy sufficient power, as all other northeastern States have to be supplied. While controlling floods in the Barak Valley, 311 sq. km of land in Manipur would be submerged in the dam waters. Besides nearly 30 km of NH 37 would be damaged. In all 25,822 sq. km of forest areas would be destroyed. Many exotic birds and animals in the forest and mountain areas in Manipur's Tipaimukh areas would lose their habitat, he said.

After taking the various factors into consideration, the Manipur Assembly had adopted a resolution opposing the dam construction. But later, the government wholeheartedly supported the dam construction.

It may be noted that several underground organisations are also objecting to the dam.

Some much smaller dams in Manipur could not be completed and commissioned because of obstructions by insurgents. There had been instances of killing of dam officials and torching of costly machinery.