Manipur Government Orders Eviction of 25 Villages from Pumlen Pat Wetland

Reported by

Anurag Das

Published on

January 13, 2022

January 13, 2022

Updated on

January 13, 2022

Location of Conflict

Kakching

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Environmental/Ecological Damage

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

3200

ha

Starting Year

2020

State

Manipur

Sector

Land Use

On March 23, 2021, the Kakching district administration issued an eviction order of ‘unauthorised occupation and activity within the Pumlen Pat wetland’. The ‘encroachers’ were given 30 days to vacate the land. The administration explained that the eviction drive was an attempt to “preserve the wetland of vital importance”.

According to the government, wetlands in the state have been facing ecological deterioration for the last three decades because of illegal settlements. Pumlen Pat is a shallow, weed-infested lake situated 55 kilometres from the capital, Imphal. It is also the second-largest lake in Manipur, with two-thirds of its water covered with phumdi (floating biomass). According to the 2011 Census, Pumlen Pat has a settlement of 25 villages.

People living on the wetland and local organisations have strongly opposed the government’s move. According to them, their traditional way of living is interconnected with the wetland ecosystem and they depend on the lake for their livelihood and sustenance.

Vishal Aribam, who works with a local non-profit, told LCW that 'the notification has created a dire sense of insecurity in the minds of thousands of people whose lives are traditionally dependent on the wetland'.

A local organisation representing the 25 villages, Pumlen Pat Khoidou Lamjao Kanba Apunba (LUP), has termed the eviction order in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic ‘inhuman in nature’. LUP Secretary Salam Joy told the media that the residents have been living on the wetland for generations. “The failure of the state in acknowledging our rights to live here, or any law that claims we are trespassers, is blatantly unconstitutional and against the fundamental principles of humanity,” he said, adding that the definition of ‘encroachers’ in the context of Pumlen Pat residents is ‘vague’ and that encroachment ‘cannot be equated with the degradation of land claimed by the government, which is in reality being caused by the inundation of the Ithai Barrage’. The LUP has also demanded the government to declare Pumlen Pat a Community Conservation Area and a Biodiversity Heritage Site.

The organisation wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Biren Singh and to the district administration stating that the eviction order violates the fundamental right to life and livelihood enshrined in the Constitution. It asked for immediate withdrawal of the order.

Meanwhile, a remote sensing survey report found that Pumlen Pat is among the highly degraded lakes in Manipur and is almost on the verge of extinction due to the Loktak Lake Redevelopment Project.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

1) To withdraw the eviction order 2) To declare Pumlen Pat wasteland as a ‘Community Conservation Area’ and a ‘Biodiversity Heritage Site’

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960
Section 11 [All public lands, rivers, water courses, etc. which are not the property of any person are considered to be the property of the government]; Section 13 [Deputy Commissioner may set aside any land belonging to the government for pasturage of village cattle/forest reserves or any other purpose]; Section 15 [Any person occupying government land without lawful authority will be regarded as trespasser and may be evicted]
Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017
Section 4 [Prohibited activities in wetlands to include conversion for non-wetland uses, setting up industries and constructions of a permanent nature]
Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection) Act, 2006
Section 36 [Union government is responsible for identifying and monitoring areas rich in biological resources and to take immediate measures for protecting such areas]; Section 37 [State government to declare biodiversity heritage sites in areas of biodiversity importance in consultation with local bodies]
Biological Diversity Act, 2002
Section 36 [Union government is responsible for identifying and monitoring areas rich in biological resources and to take immediate measures for protecting such areas]; Section 37 [State government to declare biodiversity heritage sites in areas of biodiversity importance in consultation with local bodies]
Constitution of India, 1950
Article 21 [Fundamental right to life with dignity, and includes the right to livelihood]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Violation of free prior informed consent

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Violation of environmental laws

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Protests/marches

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Kakching district administration

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Pumlen Pat Khoidou Lamjao Kanba Apunba (LUP)

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Vishal Aribam

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch
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