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Downstream villagers want dam scrapped to free Thoubal river

  Downstream villagers want dam scrapped to free Thoubal river

Downstream villagers want dam scrapped to free Thoubal river

Source: Imphal Free Press.

IMPHAL | Apr 2 : A one-day community meet on protection of Thoubal River and peoples’ livelihood was organised today at Nungbrung village, Imphal East. The community meet was organised by Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected People (MDDAP) and Citizens’ Concern for Dams and Development (CCDD) with Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected Village Level Committee. It was organised under the theme “Protection of Thoubal River and Peoples’ Livelihood” and to consider the multifaceted implications on the livelihood and survival of several indigenous communities depending on the Thoubal River and also to protect the ecosystem and the health of the river. Speaking on the occasion, member of Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Pradip Keisam said people of downstream area were not aware the effects of construction of Mapithel dam. But the people now have been affected physically and mentally by the construction of the dam. Considering its effects, the dam can be aptly named as “Widow Dam,” he said. Before the construction of Mapithel dam, the means of work was production of sand from the river. After its construction, most of the essential works have been stopped immediately, but for the sake of livelihood most of the males go to different villages in search of jobs for making an income. As most of the adults have gone jobless, taking advantage of the situation, some imposters made promises that they will give jobs with big salary to children and the females at different state and abroad. In some cases, the children and females have become victims of organ trafficking and human trafficking. People of the villages will fall victims to such horrendous cases if the state failes to manage an alternative means of earning for the livelihood of the villagers, Pradip added. One of the meira paibi leaders of Nungbrung said people of the downstream area are facing a critical situation. With the construction of dam, the state has snatched away the livelihood of the people. The villagers welcome the development works of the state but if an alternative means of earning is not given then the villages of the downstream areas will be doomed in the next few years. Meira paibi leaders of Laikhong, Kumuching, Leirongthel Bitra, Tumukhong, share their opinions on the impact of dam and the hardship faced by the people. President of Elders Council, Centre for Organisation Research and Education, Debabrata Roy Laifungbam, secretary of CRA, Jiten Yumnam, vice president of Irabot Foundation, Kh. Gopen and others took part at the meet as resource persons. Later, people chanted slogans such as  ‘let the Thoubal river flow freey’, ‘ Remove Mapithel Dam’ against the construction of Mapithel Dam and to save the environment.