A community consultation on “Protection of Land, Forest and Rivers” was held at Sibilong Village and Phaitol Villages on 25th and 26th May 2017 respectively, which was jointly organized by the Zeliangrong Students Union, Manipur, Sibilong Village Authority, Phaitol Village Authority, Committee on the Protection of Natural Resources in Manipur and Peace Core Team, Manipur. The community meet was organized to promote communities rights and defense of their land, forest and rivers amidst aggressive push for extractive industries and large infrastructure projects in Tamenglong District and other parts of Manipur.
The participants of the community meets resolved to defend their land and resources from any exploitation and plunder by oil companies such as the Asian Oilfield, Oil India Limited, Jubilant Energy, Alphageo etc. The participants also resolved to endorse the positions of previous public consultations on Oil exploration to reject any form of surveys and direct oil exploration and drilling from Manipur by the oil companies.
In the Community meet at Siguilong (Sibilong) on 25th May 2017, Chairman of Siguilong Village Court, Keibammang Kamei shared that the Asian Oilfield came to the their village seeking No Objection Certificate (NOC), which the Village Authority refused and company even brought some kilos of Sugar and Milk to convince the villagers. Namdriguang Kamei, Secretary, Village Authority of Chingkhuangloung Village, Tamenglong District shared that their village will support all effort the land and resources in Manipur.
Jahouitue, Women President, Oinamlong Zone, Tamenglong District, shared the people of Tamenglong make clear position against oil exploration in Tamenglong as asserted in the public hearing on oil exploration conducted by Manipur Pollution Control Board and Jubiliant Energy in the year 2012 at Nungba town, Tamenglong Town, Jiribam etc. The position still remains the same and there is no discussion to accept the renewed attempt by Oil India Limited to carry out Oil exploration in Tamenglong and other parts of Manipur.
Aram Pamei, Co-Convenor, Peace Core Team, Manipur shared that land, water and forest are crucial for livelihood and inter-generational survival of indigenous communities of Manipur. She also shared Tamenglong and other areas of Manipur is gifted with rich biodiversity and resources and asserted that Oil Companies are trying to exploit Oil and other natural resources without peoples’ consent. She contended that oil exploration will also lead to widespread contamination of land and intense militarization with subsequent human rights violations and emphasized the importance to defend our land and resources from oil companies.
Participants of the community meet on Protection of Land, water and Forest at Phaitol Village on 26th May also shared the impacts of both surveys and direct exploration and drilling of Oil in the community and also expressed concern with the failure of the Asian Oilfield to recognize communities rights over their land and resources and to take their free, prior and informed consent. The participants later urged upon the Oil India Limited, Asian Oilfield, the Government of India and the Government of Manipur to reveal all documents related to oil exploration in Manipur and to stop all related surveys and direct drilling and exploration.