By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Jan 9: After the commission of the Mapithel Dam had completely sub-merged their original settlement under water, Chadong villagers are now facing water shortage even though it is not far from the dam.
Their new settlement, Chadong village in Kam-jong district is about 45 Kilometres from Imphal. When a team of media persons visited the village today, Ahao Cachhar, chair- man of the village authority said the locals are facing water shortage and they lack basic needs.
The original settlement of the villagers was completely submerged under water in 2014 after the Mapithel Dam was constructed and commissioned. Many of the villagers are scattered across Manipur in different places, like Imphal, Senapati and Yaingangpokpi etc and they are not able to return, said the village chairman.
Ahao further said that road connectivity in the village is pathetic and the condition worsens during rainy season. During the rainy season, the roads are slippery and knee-deep with mud causing accidents to commuters. During the dry season, the roads are filled with dust causing health hazards to the commuters. The villagers on the eastern and the western banks of the water body are connected via boats, but this mode of transport is a problem to women and children.
On drinking water provision, Ahao said there is no system or infrastructure to provide drinking water to the villagers.
“Even though there is a large water body in the vicinity, the villagers are buying drinking water. 500 litres of water costs Rs 250,” Ahao said adding that the water body is about 3 Kilometres from the village and is difficult for women and children to fetch water.
Successive Governments have failed to implement and honour the agreement that was reached between the villagers and then Chief Minister Rishang Keishing regarding the Mapithel Dam. The Government had promised infrastructure development, livelihood and source of income for the villagers, Ahao said.
In 2014, there were about 450 households but now it has increased to more than 500. Before displacement, the villagers in the original settlement were able to reap benefits of the fertile soil of the river banks. The villagers successfully tilted land and agriculture flourished earning the villagers huge and substantial income. But now the villagers are unable to grow most of the crops other than ginger and banana plants on the hill slopes.
“Rs 1 lakh was promised per one acre of land and the Government has been paying the total amount on instalment basis. The Government has paid upto 8th instalment,” Ahao said.
On education sector, Ahao said the original settlement had a Primary School built under a 1993 scheme which could have been upgraded to High School level.
Even though a new Primary School (under the 1993 scheme) has been constructed at the new Chadong village but it still has not been inaugurated yet. The school should be inaugurated at the earliest and upgraded to high school level to cater to the needs of the locals, Ahao said, adding that the Primary Health Sub-Centre and Anganwadi Centre of the village are also lacking in all fronts.
The villagers need to have access to the basic needs of a society. They need proper schemes and sources of livelihood to improve their lives that have been displaced by the Mapithel Dam, Ahao said, urging the Government for all possible assistance.