Imphal, Jan 30:
The Youth’s Forum for the Protection of Human Rights (YFPHR) has appealed to the State Government of Manipur to halt plans for the establishment of a POL Depot by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited. The YFPHR insists that the government must obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of the community before proceeding.
According to a statement by the YFPHR, the Revenue Department of the Government of Manipur published a gazette on October 26, 2022, announcing that the Governor of Manipur had issued an order to lease an area measuring 2.60 acres at Kangchup foothills, under Kharang Koireng village, to Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited for a period of 30 years.
The Forum highlights that various local clubs, organizations, and women’s associations have already expressed their concerns and opposition to the proposed construction of the oil depot, even before the government officially announced the matter.
The affected areas include a well-maintained playground, club office, pond, market shed, and some residential houses. The YFPHR argues that the construction of an oil depot in a residential area requires a comprehensive impact assessment, which the government has failed to fulfill.
“Besides the issue of affecting the community, we are deeply concerned that due to the ongoing conflict, the proposed oil depot will pose a serious threat to the right to life of the inhabitants of Kangchup Chingkhong, Phayeng, and other adjoining villages. It is important to note that during this ongoing conflict, the opposing party has used various means and opportunities as weapons of conflict. This was witnessed in Leimakhong, where Kuki militants deliberately contaminated water sources by blasting the power station, and the same may occur in the proposed area, which is in the red zone,” stated T Shadishkanta, the secretary of the YFPHR.
The YFPHR urges the State government to respect the rights of the people and obtain their free, prior, and informed consent before implementing any projects or activities. It also calls for proper Environmental Impact Assessments, Human Rights Impact Assessments, and Cumulative Impact Assessments to be conducted before undertaking any projects in residential areas.