IMPHAL: Expressing a serious concern on the fear of losing land, identity and culture of indigenous peoples of Manipur due to the proposed Mining of Chromite, Limestone and other minerals across Manipur particularly in Urkhul, Kamjong, Tengnoupal and Chandel Districts of Manipur, the Youth’s Forum for Protection of Human Rights (YFPHR) have called for withdrawal of memorandum of understanding signed by the government and various companies.
The mining will destroy large scale hill range covering large scale forest which have been securing livelihood for the Indigenous Peoples of Manipur, it stated.
The steps taken to initiate mining process without the consent of its people by the Government and signing MoUs with the profit making companies for chromite exploration and mining with M/s Sarvesh Refractories Pvt. Ltd, Rourkela, M/s Rourkela Minerals Pvt. Ltd, Rourkela, M/s Kotak Resources, Mumbai, M/s Gulf Natural Resources, Gurgaon, M/s Visa Steel Ltd, Odisha, M/s Manipur Mines and Minerals Pvt. Ltd., M/s Balassore Alloys Ltd, Odisha etc in 2017 and also for limestone exploration and mining and to establish cement plant with M/s Super Ores, Guwahati, M/s Gulf Natural Resources, Gurgaon, and M/s Ramung Enterprises, Imphal etc are the steps to deprive its own people from participating into the decision making process for development, the forum stated.
By destroying the forest, destroying the free flow of rivers due to construction of dams, destroying the hills for railway lines by disappearing streams which the Indigenous Peoples are dependent, polluting the environment and water bodies, filling up of wetlands, etc cannot be termed as a “Development Process” but a violation of Right to Life, Rights to clean Environment, Right to Livelihood, etc. the YFPHR stated. Indian Bureau of Mines have already confirmed that Manipur has 6657 Tonnes (Sixty Six Lacs Fifty Seven Thousand Kilogram) of Chromite and various tonnes of other mineral deposited and if mining initiated there will be no hills, no water on the river for survival and will remain as a barren land with no source of habitation which will have a serious impact on the Indigenous Peoples of Manipur, it added.
Therefore, we would like to request the Government of Manipur to withdraw immediately the MoUs signed with the Profit Making companies which is set to mine and destroy 37 sq.km in Limestone Mining and 38.96 sq.km for Chromite Mining in Urkhul, Kamjong, Tengnoupal and Chandel District of Manipur and other parts of Manipur and protect and secure the lives of indigenous peoples of Manipur, the YFPHR appealed.
We further would like to request the Government of Manipur to obtain thorough consent from the people of Manipur before initiating any projects in the state which are always said to be development for the people, it stated.