ADB-financed Imphal Town Ring Road And Violations Of Rights
Article written by IPMSDL Regional Coordinating Council member Jiten Yumnam from Manipur, Northeast India. Jiten is a staunch Indigenous Peoples and human rights defender, environmentalist and writer. He is the Secretary General of Centre for Advocacy and Research-Manipur (CRAM), member of IPMSDL.
Indigenous peoples of Manipur need development, but it should not be at the cost of their survival, identity and culture. The development process in Manipur needs to respect the needs and rights of affected villagers.
The health and social crisis unfolding amid the Covid-19 pandemic situation during 2020 and 2021 in Manipur is also accompanied with aggressive push for large infrastructure and energy projects in Manipur, such as the Imphal Town Ring Road project financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the 66 MW Loktak Downstream Hydroelectric Project, envisaged for financing by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Forced eviction during Covid-19 pandemic is an obvious reality in Manipur, which heightened the risks of community infections. Indeed, at least 66 Kuki households were evicted by the Deputy Commissioner of Tengnoupal District, Manipur from November 3 to 13, 2020 in villages along M Chahnou village till the Integrated Check Point, Moreh to construct the Moreh Integrated Check Point (ICP) ByPass Road as a component of ADB-financed Imphal to Moreh road.
The Imphal Town Ring Road project caused wide controversy in Manipur with threats of forced eviction, again amid the Covid 19 pandemic. Villagers of Tharon village were forced to organise a protest amid the Covid-19 on June 26, 2021, when the daily Covid-19 cases stand close to around 700 cases, a high number given Manipur’s low population density. The Sub Divisional Order, Lamphel, Imphal West District, Manipur issued an eviction order on August 27, 2021 under the Manipur Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1976 to establish the project corridor for the Imphal Ring Road Project.