IMPHAL: The Committee on Protection of Water Catchment Ukhrul District Manipur has demanded a rethink on the proposal of mining of chromites, lime stone, nickel, copper, malachite, azurite, magnetite and various platinum group elements from Lunghar, Singcha-Gamnon, Koth, Hundung, Phungyar and several villages in Ukhrul, Tengnoupal and Chandel districts.
In a press release signed by the secretary of the committee K. Blessingson, it was said that the people in Ukhrul, Tengnoupal and Chandel districts in particular and in Manipur in general are shocked to hear the information that the governments of India and Manipur have leased out the land which are mainly mountains for mining to many companies like Sarvesh Refractory Pvt. Ltd, Balasore Alloys Ltd, Anand Export Ltd etc by signing MoUs between the companies and the governments.
“The villagers are not aware about any feasibility study by any representatives from the concern companies along with Government of Manipur and India. The above mentioned villages where the mining activities are proposed to begun are the villages on the mountains with deep natural forest. More than 10,000 families are dependent on this forest for the livelihood by collecting fire wood, fruits, vegetable, and fishing from the rivers and streams which originate from these mountains,” the release stated.
The committee requested the Union and state governments and any third party involved in such projects to ensure that proper consultations with the villagers whose land is going to be taken away for mining are conducted before mining activities are planned.
“Prior consent of the people should be ensured before the mining start; our villages requested Union Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change to conduct environmental impact assessment, cumulative impact assessments and other assessments before granting the forest and environment clearance to avoid any complexity like we experience any natural calamity to the comparison of the huge burning of oil in Bhagajan in Tinsukia in Assam in May 2020,” the association cautioned.
The association further requested all the companies which are under MoU with the government to make public their report of respecting human right while operating their mining activities. Almost all the companies which are in the list for mining in at the proposed area in Ukhrul, Tengnoupal, Chandel are having serious record of human right violation and also of guideline of Working Group on Business and Human Right.
It has categorically instructed that this report should be in local language or dialect.
We strongly demand for the rehabilitation and resettlement of the villagers who are going to be displaced from our accessorial land prior to the project because we have the experience of Mapithel Dam and recently by the villagers in Bhagajan areas of Tinsukia, Assam. The villagers are not rehabilitated. We sincerely expressed our worry that we the innocent people cannot continue to suffer from such human right violation committed by the companies specially mining companies. We, the villagers request our government not to take up any mining activities until all the safe guard measures, rehabilitation of the people are set in perfect order. Once the companies began mining the minerals, our mountains and forest will disappear for forever. It will not come back. For climate change and green economy we and the world need our forest for the future generation, said the committee in the release.