Pothashang News Service: Imphal, March 25, 2018: The Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected People, Mapithel Dam Downstream Affected Village Level Committee and Citizen’s Concern for Dams and Development have strongly objected to ‘arbitrary informal order’ served by the irrigation and flood control department (IFCD) that dam water will be released on Monday.
The information was served on Saturday late evening to some local youth clubs of the affected villages. No formal written notice was issued specifying the time of release, the volume of water to be released and the reason of releasing the water when there is no fear for immediate danger of dam overflow.
Citizen’s Concern for Dams and Development executive member, Debabrata Roy said people will stage protest on Monday at the downstream riverbed and warned that the state government should be the sole responsible if any human live or property is loss by the sudden release of water.
The announcement to release water has come at a time when the negative impacts of the impounding of water by the Mapithel Dam are being increasingly felt by dozens of villages both upstream and downstream since February 2015.
Mapithel dam has generated adverse impacts like loss of livelihood in both the upstream and the downstream villages. Downstream village in particular have been reeling with family and social disorganisation and fragmentation due to the livelihood loss, in absence of any alternative arrangement or incentives as mitigation measures said Debabrata.
“This step taken by the state government is criminally inhuman disregard of human safety, including the safety of women and children and their properties, downstream of the dam. It is a total and blatant abuse of authority”, he added.
The informal announcement gives less than 36 hours for the villagers to clear the area. Therefore we strongly condemn this action being taken up by the government through IFCD. We call for an immediately withdrawal of this informal notification. Any human and property loss caused by the sudden release of the water including loss of human life will be the sole responsibility of the state, said Debabrata.
The Mapithel Dam is a megaproject funded by Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the state and the Central government. The project has been delayed for multiple reasons for the past almost 30 years. The project has also failed to fulfill any of its objectives. The loss of livelihood and land by the dam has resulted in the enforced migration of dozens of man from the downstream villages to look for work in remote lands including neighboring country, Myanmar living behind increasing number of women headed households and drop out school children, added Debabrata.