As part of the Central governments Act East Policy, the first broad gauge railway line in Manipur for freight and passenger transport – spanning 111 kilometres – will connect Indias Northeast to ASEAN countries. Construction of the railway line began in 2010 without forest clearance, even though it is required under the Forest Conservation Act of 1980. In 2012, construction companies began excavations to build tunnels and bridges. Over the years, several families in the villages of Kambiron, Noney and Khumji in Noney district have been displaced without any resettlement or rehabilitation packages.
In a consent of undertaking that was signed in June 2014 by land owners from six affected villages, the district forest official had stated that 23 houses in Khumji village, where the Tupul station is being built, will be affected by the railway project. However, 29 families were displaced from their homes in 2015 immediately after the compensation was paid. The Manipur government submitted claims that no families were displaced and, hence, formulated no plan for rehabilitation. The displaced farmers have been pushed to take up masonry. Meanwhile, construction activity has polluted the Ejei river, which has severely affected the livelihood of communities dependent on it.
In July 2016, the district commissioners office issued a notice stating that the scheme of rehabilitation and resettlement under the 2013 Act is not applicable and, therefore, may be exempted in this particular sense of land acquisition. No explanation for the exemption was offered.
Since 2017, the residents have protested against the poor compensation they have received from the North East Frontier Railways (NFR), which is constructing the railway line, for their farmland and their subsequent displacement from their homes. The protesters were from Khumji, Marangjing, Kambiron villages in Noney district.
According to K. Athuipou, chieftain of Khumji-2 village, the compensation ranged from INR 70,000 to INR 5 lakh. "It took time and money to rebuild our lives and the compensation was just not enough," he was quoted as saying in a news report.
In 2017, the chairperson of the Ejei River Development Committee filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal (NGT). In the petition, the committee contended that the Ejei river was undergoing severe environmental and ecological damage due to the illegal discharge of dangerous untreated effluents and pollutants. This, they alleged in the petition, violated the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974, the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981, and the Code of Practice for Ready Mix Concrete (RMC) Plants. At least 10 cows have reportedly died from drinking the river water and several people have fallen sick. The Manipur State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB), Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) and the Ministry of Railways denied these charges. The petition is still pending with the NGT. The NFR, railway ministry, MSPCB, the Manipur Directorate of Environment and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had each requested for more time to file their responses. The scheduled hearing in December 2017 did not take place since the vacancy for judges in the Eastern bench had not been filled. In March 2018, people from Tamenglong and Noney districts burnt an effigy of Tamenglong district Deputy Commissioner Armstrong Pame in the village for his alleged role in siphoning off the compensation money to two former residents of the village, who claim to be private owners of community-owned land. LCW could not confirm Pame's ties to the two individuals, but according to local sources, he has been implicated in several such cases.
The same year, the railway project was interrupted for an entire month due to protests. Even though a date for a public hearing was advertised in the local newspapers, it did not take place.
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
North East Frontier Railways, Manipur State Pollution Control Board, National Green Tribunal, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Bharatiya Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd
Legislations Involved in the Conflict:
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Name(s) of Court(s)
National Green Tribunal (Eastern Zone)
Original Application No. 76/2017
Nature of Protest
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Reported Details of the Violation:
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?