CRA expresses concern over ADB funded road project


The Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur has expressed concern regarding the impact of Kangchup to Tamenglong road project, funded by Asian Development Bank, especially the multifaceted impacts on the indigenous communities of Phalong (Bhalok) and its neighbouring villages such as Diluan, Khebuching and other nearby villages and the lack if accountability of the corporate bodies involved, the Government officials concerned and the ADB that financed the project.
A press release issued by president of the centre has urged the State Government and the project authorities not to displace the villagers of Phalong and Diluan without their consent.
It further expressed concern that the project authorities has unleashed direct dumping of earth, rocks and other debris from excavating the earth and rock cutting work taken up by the construction company, Hindustan Construction Limited (HCC) at Phalong village section, destroying their agricultural land and water sources for cultivation.
CRA urged the authorities concerned to desist from direct disposal of earth, rocks ad debris from road cutting in their agricultural land, forest and water sources.
64 acres land belonging to at least 25 paddy fields owners have been irreparably affected, undermining the food security of the villagers, alleged CRA.
The direct dumping of earth rocks and debris has also impacted Duigathok and Atithok streams, causing death of fishes, crabs and other aquatic species, it asserted.
Water sources and canals leading to terrace fields have been destroyed leaving the villagers concerned for their future.
Continuing that a major concern of the villagers of Bhalok is the direct impact on their homestead land, it added that almost 70 houses in Bhalok part-III will be displaced by the road project.
All the houses have been demarcated for dismantling while the Government plans to acquire at least 60 feet on the opposite sides of the road from the median, passing through the heart of the village, claimed CRA.
It went on to state that the villagers had requested the project authorities to make alternate arrangements but no measures have been taken up till date.
Lack of adequate rehabilitation is another challenge which has been sprung up as a result of the project, it said and added that compensation was given only to some selective persons for causing extensive damage of land by the project.
However, the real impacts and damages remain unaddressed till today, it asserted and added that the villagers are rather worried that the project is no longer a sustainable development.
Its said that the Government should rehabilitate and adequately compensate all the affected villagers and seek consent from them before the work commences.
CRA said that a grievance mechanism should be clearly established to address the impacts of the villagers and the authorities should ensure full compliance to ADB's safeguard policies to improve the lives of the affected communities.