The Holy Grail of Khuga Dam : Promises vs Plight

Paojakhup Guite
Contd from previous issue
“Wind of Change”
Unanimity in political will from the concerned 3 MLAs-Shri Paolienlal Haokip of Saikot A/C, Shri LM Khaute of Chura-chandpur A/C and Shri Chinlunthang of Singnat A/C has come to the fore. Spearheaded by the Saikot MLA, the three legislators inspected the dam in presence of Water Resources Minister, Shri Awangbow Newmai on May 10. The multi-purpose Khuga Dam is affecting farmers in particular and the public in general of the three Constituencies.
Saikot MLA Pu Paolienlal Haokip took a noble initiative in inviting the Minister. The two concerned MLAs were also receptive of the initiative, that they all together had joined the inspection of the dam with the Water Resources Minister.
This is the latest development taken so far for restoration of the dilapidated structure of the dam esp. like spillway and irrigation canals.
With the coming of the Minister also comes a “wind of change”, the pet slogan of the sitting Saikot MLA. The slogan was conceptualised in the electioneering of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly election held earlier this year.
During his visit, the Minister was accompanied by department officials including Chief Engineer Robindro Sharma, Additional CE Remmei Alimmei, SE (KPC) Rohit Ahanthem, EE B Govind Sharma, EE Md Tafsir Alam and C Sangluaia. He inspected various sites of dam like spillway and irrigation canal.
They also assessed the irrigation canal at Bohlui area where the river bank had collapsed some years back and a makeshift pipeline was laid to pave way for supply of water for irrigation to nearby farmlands.
Awangbow visited to inspect some portions of the dam which remained defunct and repair the same so that people of Churachandpur get water from the dam.
There are some technical problems which local engineers could not solve and experts from outside are required to plug it. To repair it, a DPR has been prepared and an expert firm from Mumbai has studied and given a preliminary report.
A whooping Rs 115 crore have been borrowed from World Bank. It is believed that with this amount of money all the structural irregularities would be solved. Apart from this, Pu Paolienal Haokip has chalked out an ambitious plan of a pipeline system rather than the canal system. Due to the contrasting nature of the contour of the area, a canal cannot be dug out in a desired way. This is capital-intensive. The meticulous design of Pu Haokip includes extension of a pipeline to carry sufficient water for agriculture till Saihenjang village of the constituency proper. The land contour lies sloping from this village, from where a canal of desired ones can be easily dug out to carry water till Twikuol area. Mention may be made of paddy fields which lie uncultivated last year in the area due to scanty rainfall. The Constituency MLA is so much concerned of this unfortunate incident. These are the most touted changes that are likely “blowing like a breeze” from the waters of Khuga Dam in days ahead.
The stakeholder communities of the Khuga Multi-Purpose Hydroelectric Project are looking forward to positive developments happening sooner or later. The State Government has also shown its interest and concern for the long neglected irrigation facilities in Churachandpur district. Restoration of the dam will accrue significant revenues and agricultural produces to the State. It will lead to cultural developments as well. The dam has a great potential as a tourist hub. Constructing a proper Approach Road may be done to attract more tourists. The Tourism Department could also work on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode for tourism development. Loktak Lake is not far from the dam. Therefore, Khuga Dam and Loktak Lake have a potential of drawing tourists. Lastly, but not the least, it is advisable to provide accommodation quarters to all employees of the dam from engineer to peons in the Churachandpur town only.
(The writer is pursuing an MA in Media Studies at the Central University of Hyderabad. Currently, he is undergoing a media internship with Imphal Review of Arts and Politics. He may be contacted at [email protected])