The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur (CRAM) has extended their deepest condolence and heartfelt grief to all those who lose their lives in the 4 January Earthquake in Manipur with epicentre
close to Noney in Tamenglong District. In a statement, CRAM shares the grief and suffering of all those families who lose their near and dear ones in the recent Earthquake and also to those whose homes were destroyed in the tremor.
The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur also expressed serious concern over several mega structures, especially those built for public purposes by the Government of Manipur with Corporate bodies,
have fallen apart or have developed cracks, including the famed women’s market, sacred temples at Kangla, the lone flyover etc all in Imphal Town. It is highly concerning that Singda dam close to the epicentre of the tremor, had also developed cracks as had reported by nearby villagers. Further, there are reports of some of tunnels of Trans Asian Railway in Tamenglong and the towers of World Bank funded High Voltage
Transmission lines had caved.
The inability for these mega development structures to withstand the Seismic activity on 4th January at 6.8 Richter scale indicates the seismic aspects and impacts, especially in Manipur which is juxtaposed in high and active seismic zone, within the folds of Himalayan Mountain range, has either not been considered or disregarded. There’s also an additional issue of low quality of works and aspect of fraud and corruption of the construction works by corporate bodies involved in the construction works.
The epicenter of the January 4 tremor in Tamenglong District should be an occasion for due consideration and sensitivity to the repeated assertions from academicians, the technicians, civil society organizations, that Manipur’s proximity and location in very high seismic zone 5, requires a cautious and inevitable consideration of seismic aspect and impacts in all development planning and processes.
The proposed plans for building Tipaimukh Dam, Pabram and Irang Hydel projects and other mega dams under the Manipur Hydro Power Policy, 2012, the proposed Oil Exploration Plans in Tamenglong and
Churachandpur districts, the extensive tunneling and construction works for both Trans Asian Railway and Trans Asian Highway and multitude of other large scale development projects within Manipur need serious introspection for their feasibility and rationality in places like Manipur. There should be clear review of the existing mega development structures like Mapithel dam, the Singda dam, Khuga etc for their compliance or due consideration of Seismic impacts. This natural calamity should also led to a development decision based on rightful participation of all indigenous communities and all those concerned with a just and a sustainable development in Manipur.