Committee on People and Environment opposes Barak Dam
SILCHAR, April 7: Committee on People and Environment (COPE) in a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh of Manipur expressed its deep concern at the construction of Tipaimukh Dam despite opposition from naturalists and environmentalists of Northeast. There have been protest demonstrations by NGOs in Manipur, Mizoram and Barak Valley of Assam, besides that of in Bangladesh. According to Piyush Kanti Das, general secretary of COPE, the dam when completed would spell doom in the region concerned.
Specifying the impact, Das said it would have adverse effect on the bio-diversity since the proposed dam lies at the confluence of Indo-Burma, Indo-Malayan and Indo-Chinese hotspot zone. These areas are marked by the presence of a large species of plant and animal which are now on the verge of extinction around the world. A large number of them have been enlisted as endangered on the IUCN Red Data Book and the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
Moreover, he pointed out many of the tribal people who include Hmar, Kuki, Mizo, Zeliangrong and others who have been living for generations in the area would be displaced, raising question about their rehabilitation. Besides, the dam being located in the seismic zone-V, in the event of quake and crack, vast population along with their hearths and homes would be badly affected. The age old Barak-Surma culture will be lost forever in the abysmal of history.
The memorandum at the same time focus on other important impact issues of flash flood, water scarcity, crop cultivation, navigation, siltation, ecological imbalance, pollution, extinction of aquatic forms of life as well as livelihood change.
In view of the extensive downstream environmental impact, a scientific study should be jointly conducted by experts from NGOs dealing with nature, IITs, NIT and universities from the dam site to sea mouth. It should be done at the initiative of the Government of India and Bangladesh. It should assess the possible detrimental impact on the environment and life of inhabitants along the catchment areas at large. COPE apprehends if the dam comes up, it will play havoc with greenery as well as people both in India and Bangladesh.
Around two hundred people from different communities and tribes took part in a demonstration against the construction of dam before the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar today. The agitationists were addressed by Pavitra Daimari, executive president of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Jayanti Singh, president Maira Paibi, Pantinglong Rongmei, president Tribal Sangha, Aminul Haque, advisor AASU, advocate Babu Singh, Nirmal Das, general secretary Assam Mazuri Sramik Union, Dr Shanti Kumar Singh, president and Pijush Kanti Das, general secretary COPE and SAVE and others. The memorandum was also addressed to the President, Prime Minister as well as Joyram Ramesh, Minister of Forest and Environment. THE SENTINEL