Imphal, May 9,
Right activists in the state today threaten intense agitation if the ongoing NF Railway project has not been stopped.
Speaking at the one day Public Consultation on the impact of Trans Asian Railway project held at Manipur Press Club, rights activist Kiran Thokchom, while highlighting the impact of the NF railway project to the people and the villagers, said that intense agitation will be initiated if the railway project and its companies don’t leave the state.
The public consultation on the impact of Trans Asian railway project was organised jointly by the affected villagers, Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur, Youth Forum for Protection of Human Rights, Environment Conservation Network, Young Peoples for Social Reform and Youth Action Committee for protection of Indigenous People.
Kiran Thokchom, who is a member of the organiser said that the railway project has affected the lives of the people and the surrounding villages drastically. Not only the agricultural lands water resources are also greatly affected, he added.
He further said that the available water bodies were again polluted by the cements used in the construction causing various diseases to the people living in and around the area. He also said that they will take a firm stand to fight against such environment degradation and the violation of right to water by the authorities.
“It seems like they have a hidden agenda on the construction of the Railway Project” Kiran said and added that the main objective of the railway project was to extract the resources from the state.
Manipur has huge natural resources and is a virgin state. Crude oil were searched by companies at various places using bombs and many others.
He said that the main aim of the consultation was to give awareness to the people highlighting the agenda of bringing the railway project.
Kiran stressed that the authority has violated the rights to free prior information and added that social impact assessment and environmental impact assessment were done at their own will by the authorities. He strongly condemned such actions and act by the authorities.
Highlighting the negligence of the government towards its people Kiran added that no proper rehabilitation or resettlement for the affected families have not been provided till now.
He warned that if appropriate steps were not taken up by the government than they will halt the railway project and also the NF railway project along with coastal companies should leave the state. He reaffirmed that intense agitation will be done if they fail to left the place.
Social activist Asingpao Kamei said that various aquatic animals and also many habitats were lost due to the project. He said that the project has affected both the hill and valley.
Asingpao further said that even though few compensation were given to the affected villagers adequate compensation were not given till date which violates the right to fair compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement act.
Highlighting the need of public awareness, Asingpao added that the affected villagers still suffer but the wealthy companies get benefitted from it.
He also said that we need to find out the ways to mitigate the harms done to the environment and affecting the people in their socio economic life.