Public hearing held on Ring Road Project Proposed project divides affected folks

Imphal, April 19 2022: A public hearing was held today at Bashikhong and Kairang Chingya Khunou for the implementation of Imphal Ring Road Project under the funding of Asian Development Bank (ADB) .

The first hearing was organised by the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) unit formed under the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change at Shin Shuba Shanglen at Bashikhong.

Joint Director of Directorate of Environment and Climate Change Dr T Brajakumar, Bashikhong Gram Panchayat Pradhan Binolata Ningombam and Kyamgei Gram Panchayat Pradhan K Subhash attended the programme as presidium members while social activist BB Sharma, Professor E Bijoy and Abdul Salam were the resource persons.

The hearing was also participated by different landowners affected by the Imphal Ring Road Project from Kyamgei, Bashikhong, Kongba Nandeibam Leikai and Wangkhei Loumanbi.

As per the draft report of social impact assessment of SIA unit, the Imphal Ring Road Project was approved by the Cabinet in 2013 while the Department of Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Finance sent a proposal to grant 122 million dollar for the project on February 24, 2020 .

The project which will be about 47.765 km long affects the land of 707 households in 25 villages of Imphal East district.

Reportedly, the Government has to acquire 28.20694 hectare of land from Imphal East for the project.

The draft report which has 38 pages mentioned the benefit which will be given by the project to the people of Manipur and the recommendations which have to be used while acquiring land for the project.

During the hearing, some landowners expressed their support for the project while others disagreed.

Some land related issues were also brought up during the public hearing.

A woman from Kongba Nandeibam Leikai rejected the project, claiming that the project will cover her entire house and at the same time expose her family to noise and other forms of pollution while Moirangthem Rajen from the same locality gave his consent to the project in the larger interest of the State despite affecting his land.

Rajen, however, urged the Government to consider relocating the people affected by the project first.

Many other people also raised the misunderstanding regarding acquisition and urged the Government to clear it first.

After hearing the matters raised by the gathering, Dr T Brajakumar said that the SIA unit has no knowledge regarding the misunderstanding on land acquisition and other technical specifications.

He also said that the work being done by the SIA unit is based on the 1974 land record provided by the Revenue Department.

Saying that he along with the other officials have taken in the matters raised by the affected landowners, he urged the gathering to submit a complaint to the DC concerned if there is any land issue and submit the copy of the same to them.

Brajakumar further stated that there is no ban on procuring land or changing the owner’s name unless a consent form is submitted to the Government.

Furthermore, the project has a provision for compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement, he informed and maintained that the affected landowners have the liberty to choose either a land or money for compensation.

He further said that a grievance cell will be set up to hear the complaints of the affected landowners.

The report of the SIA unit will reflect the sentiment of the people, Dr Brajakumar added.

Though the Government officials tried to persuade the people to implement the project without any hindrance, many of the affected landowners aired their grievances and opposition to the project.

People from Tharon, Langthabal, Kongba and Khurai also staged a demonstration opposing the project using a banner.

Ring Road Joint Action Committee, Kongba area also responded the same.

Later, the same public hearing was held at Kairang Chingya Khunou.

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