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Jiribam says no to oil exploration in Manipur
Source: The Sangai Express, 31 July 2012
Jiribam, July 30 2012:People of Jiribam today expressed stiff opposition to the proposed oil exploration in Manipur in a public hearing held here at Jiribam Town Hall. The pulic hearing, organised by Manipur Pollution Control Board (MPCB), was held in relation with Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report on Exploratory Drilling Activity At AA-ONN 2009/2 Block I and II, Manipur. AA-ONN 2009/2 is the code name of Production Sharing Contract signed between the GoI and the Netherland based Jubilant Oil and Gas Pvt Ltd (JOGPL) on July 19, 2010 in New Delhi. Addittional District Magistrate, Jiribam Y Iboyaima, who was also Chairman of the panel members was greeted by half empty chairs of the hall as the public hearing proceeded.
Ajay Bisen on behalf of the JOGPL Noida made a power point presentation about the salient features of the proposed project in English and the same was presented to Manipuri and Bengali through the help of interpretors. Ajay highlighted Draft EIA Report on Aa-ONN 2009/2 which has been prepared by SENES Consultants India Pvt Ltd for JOGPL.
But just after the presentation, when views and comments from the public were solicited, the few participants of the hearing voiced strong opposition against the proposed project. They flashed banners with the inscription, "No Petroleum Exploration and Drilling in Manipur" apart from raising slogans. The police tried to pacify the protestors by snatching their banners before the MPCB officials intervened and allowed them to express their comments later. Secretary of Jiri Ima Meira Paibi Apunba Lup (JIMPAL) said that the project proponents only mentioned the benefits of it but no demerits have been mentioned in the presentation. She expressed strong objections against the project.
While opposing the project, Village Authority Chairman Council of Tousem sub-division, Tamenglong district, G Isaac said that the project has been finalised without the consent of the people. Former Chairman of Jiri Municipal Council, Tahenmang Panmei expressed reservations with the project as it would affect the flora of the region and suggested that the project proponents to undertake further studies on the impact to the local environment.
It has been reported that a total of 32 representations were submitted by 31 village authorities including one from Committee on the Protection of Natural Resource in Manipur. Convenor of the panel members of the public hearing was Member Secy of MPCB K Jagadisor and the members are Sr Enviromental Engineer, MPCB NMinaketan, Dist Forest Officer, Jiribam Forest Div, WYaiskul Vice President (Projects) Apoorva Ranjan, Addl SP,Jiribam OMenjor were also present at the function as Special Invitees.
Meanwhile a protest rally was held here against the proposed oil exploration project in Manipur.The rally organised by Committee on the Protection of Natural Resource in Manipur starts from Jiribam Hr Sec School and proceeded upto the venue of the public hearing.School students and people from different communities participated in the rally which was blocked by the police near Jiri Town Hall. To protest against the public hearing, shops and business establishments, schools and college remained shut till the rally was over.
It may be mentioned that a public discussion held in Jiri on Sunday resolved to oppose the public hearing on the said Project. In the second session of the hearing held at the same venue in the afternoon, the same power point presentation was made by Ajay Bisen of JOGPL Noida. During the proceeding, Majabung Gangmei of lashes out against the JOGPL on the alleged nexus with non-state actors.
But michrophone from Majabung was snatched by the organisers and told him to speak only about the environmental matters.The next public hearings is scheduled to be held at Parbung in Churachandpur district on August 8 and at Nungba in Tamenglong district on August 17 .