To: Prime Minister of India
“Let the AHU run Free”
CANCEL THE TIPAIMUKH DAM
14 March 2007: International Day of Action against Dams and For Rivers, Water & Life
MEMORANDUM TO DR. MAN MOHAN SINGH
PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA
ACTION COMMITTEE AGAINST TIPAIMUKH PROJECT (ACTIP)
ZELIANGRONG UNION (ZU)
Nungba Area Village Authority Chairmen’s Association (NAVACA)
Zeliangrong Students’ Union Manipur Nungba Zone (ZSUM Nungba Zone)
Tipaimukh Dam Affected Villages Committee (TIDAVCOM)
Respected Man Mohan Singh
The 1500 MW Tipaimukh Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project (Tipaimukh Dam) has been a long time coming. We the petitioners signing this Memorandum wish to recall that over the past years, since the late 1980s, many suchlike Memorandums have been received by the Prime Minister of India drawing the attention of the highest executive office of the government of India to the people’s deep apprehensions, displeasure and unequivocal rejection of this scheme on the international Ahu (Barak) River.
In a great modern democracy, Sir, such as INDIA, development must be for the people, by the people and of the people. The common good of the Nation must include, foremost, the good of those who are called upon to make the greatest sacrifice. The Peoples’ Affirmation of the AHU (Barak River) was observed in the historical Puiluan (Kombirol) on the Ahu, about 20 km from Nungba Sub-Division HQ, Tamenglong District in Manipur, India for the 10th anniversary of the peoples’ International Day of Action Against Dam and for Rivers, Water and Life, on 14 March, 2007. The unanimous verdict of the Peoples’ Affirmation unanimously was that the Tipaimukh Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project is NOT for the people, by the people or of the people.
The people who were gathered from far and near at this Affirmation of our beloved River Ahu remembered our legendary heroes and Zeliangrong elders, Pou Jadonang and Lu Rani Gaidinliu who were born at Puiluan Village. The legendary elders stand for the self-determination of the people. Pou Jadonang was a warrior and spiritual leader of the Zeliangrong, deeply revered by the people of Manipur. Lu Gaidinliu has been honoured by the government of India for her courageous struggle against the colonial British regime. Today, they inspire and lead us in our great efforts against all forms of oppression, including the oppressive anti-people and anti-Nature development programme of the Tipaimukh Dam!
The 900 Km long Ahu (Barak River) is a constant source of the socio-political, economic and cultural sustenance for the indigenous Zeliangrong and the many communities, indigenous and non-indigenous, who live along its course in India and Bangladesh, and are today, who they are because of this river. The mega-dam proposed at Tipaimukh (Ruonglevaisuo to the Hmar people) will smother this river; change its age-old knowable and reliable nature; and drown us all in sorrow forever! The project is not ‘for the people’.
The project, which has taken decades of apparently careful development and appraisal by many technical professionals including engineers and scientists, has been repeatedly proven to be an “Un-Planned” destructive dam in Manipur. The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests, New Delhi has twice considered the application by the project proponent, the North East Electric Power Corporation Ltd. (NEEPCO) for Environmental Clearance (EC), first on 25th November 2006 and then re-considered on 22 February 2007. The EAC has found the application by NEEPCO deeply flawed, and containing many errors, omissions, gaps, lacking in scientific rigour and falling far short of compliance of normative standards set by the scientific and academic community in India and the world. The EC has not been granted and the many pertinent questions raised by the EAC clearly show that the project is not ‘by the people’.
In spite of the fact that you, Sir, had declined to do so; in spite of the legal and statutory truth that the two Public Hearings in Manipur were conducted in highly militarised and violent settings to the orchestrated exclusion of the affected people; and in spite of the proposal not granted Environmental or Forest Clearance by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, a Foundation Stone was laid in great urgency and isolated from the people’s eyes, on 16th December 2006, by the Union Minister of Power, Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde in the company of the Union Minister of Heavy Industries, Mr. Santosh Mohon Deb; the Chief Minister of Manipur, Mr. Okram Ibobi; and high officials of NEEPCO. This act was a flagrant assault on long-established decorum and propriety of development projects that are established for the benefit of the people. It was also an illegal and aggressive act on the peoples’ sentiments and aspirations. The project is not ‘of the people’.
Under the circumstances, we, the signatories of this memorandum, and all the villages and people to be sacrificed for this “Un-Planned” project foisted upon us, express our strong objections to the special interest exhibited by the office of the highest executive office of the government of India to promote this Dam as a fully funded central project. Your office, Sir, must reflect seriously upon the will of the people and do deeds to fulfill the people’s expressed wants and aspirations.
As our elders say, “We cannot eat electricity.” How long must we wait, while our fundamental and basic rights are denied? When will we see you come to us to ask us what we really want for our future, for our land, and not just to tell us what we must sacrifice and what is good for us? Cancel the Tipaimukh Dam, let the Ahu run free and be with us to make the right choices for ourselves, for our future generations and for our natural heritage.
14th March 2007
Puiluan (Kombirol) Village
Ahu (Barak River)
Tamenglong District, Manipur