Manipur Villages Not Keen to Welcome Railway Project, Demand Compensation, Rehabilitation

Reported by

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

May 10, 2021

Location of Conflict

Marangjing

Kambiron, Noney and Khumji villages

Noney

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Railways

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

682

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

55

ha

Starting Year

2017

State

Manipur

Sector

Infrastructure

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 Land Acquisition 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 Khumji2 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, Forests 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 communityowned 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. In June 2019, Pame's office refused to respond to RTI applications regarding sale deeds and compensation beneficiaries list. In 2020, Kambiron village chairman Dinrei Gangmei said that memorandums to the district commissioner of Tamenglong had been submitted for the resettlement of the villages. The only promise of employment also remains precarious because the local residents, so far, have only been temporarily employed in the construction companies so far.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for more compensation than promised, Demand for rehabilitation, Complaint against procedural violations, Opposition against environmental degradation

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest, Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

12524

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

2019

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Acquisition Laws, Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Environmental Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

  1. Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, and Environment Protection Rules, 1986

    Section 11 [This section provides for the power to take samples of air, water or soil and the procedure that must be followed]; Rule 6 [The rule provides detailed procedural requirements on taking samples]

  2. The Railways Act, 1989

    Section 20A [This section empowers the Centre to issue notification to express its intent to acquire land for special railway projects]; Section 20(O) [This section states that the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007, would be applicable for project-affected families]

  3. Forest Conservation Act, 1980

    Section 2 [This section restricts the allocation of reserved forest area by the state government to any party for non-forest purposes, except with the prior approval of the Central government]; Para 4.2 of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change

  4. Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2003

    Rule 6 [This rule requires every user agency seeking to use forest land for non-forest purposes to submit a proposal to the Central government for approval]

  5. Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

    Section 105(3): [R&R for acquisition done under the exempted statutes in the Fourth Schedule to be paid in accordance with the provisions of the LARR Act, 2013]

  6. Section 105(3): (R&R for acquisition done under the exempted statutes in Fourth Schedule to be paid in accordance with the provisions of the LARR)

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?

Yes

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people, Incorrect estimation of compensation, Violation of LARR Act, Violation of environmental laws

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Yes

Name of the adjudicatory body

National Green Tribunal (Eastern Zone)

Name(s) of the Court(s)

National Green Tribunal (Eastern Zone)

Case Number

Original Application No. 76/2017/EZ

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

North East Frontier Railways, Manipur State Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

No

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Bharatiya Infrastructure Private Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

No

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Aditi Patil

Reviewed By

Aditi Patil

Updated By

Aditi Patil

Edited By

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch
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