Decrying the alleged unauthorised extension of the Loktak Power project by another 25 years by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), People for Animals, PFA Manipur on Thursday accused that the company failed to hold consultations with the state government regarding the same and raised a series of questions to the company.
PFA Manipur has filed an RTI application via online demanding concrete answers to the questions raised, stated a release. The questions include whether the company consulted the Loktak Development Authority (LDA), State Forest department on renovation and modernisation (R&M) of the project when extending it for another 25 years, it mentioned.
It questioned if environmental impact assessment was conducted when the project was launched, and sought the copy reports of the impact assessment, if conducted. It also questioned whether the company paid any mitigation cost to the state authorities to make amends for the impacts on the Keibul Lamjao National park and Sangai, it stated.
It asserted that the Loktak power project which was commissioned 35 years ago completed on May 31, 2023. However, the works to extend the project for another 25 years was carried out by the NHPC without consulting the state departments, it alleged.
It highlighted the adverse environmental impacts unleashed by the project including phumdi proliferation, endangering Sangai and other wildlife and birds, massive displacement of the Meitei people, effects on the ecosystem, which raised public concerns. It added that the public have been pushing for decommissioning the project.
It expressed discontentment that the NHPC allegedly attempted to extend the project amidst the impacts the project has caused to the people and the environment without apprising the LDA and state Forest, Environment department.
It mentioned that LDA chairman M Asnikumar repeatedly wrote to the Ministry and PMO regarding the issue, following which the Ministry convened a meeting on November 23, 2023. It added that the Chairman and Manipur PCCF cum Chief Wildlife Warden, S Chhabra condemned the unauthorised renovation and modernization of the project, all the while thanking them for raising their voice.
PFA Manipur is awaiting NHPC’s answers to their questions and asserted that it will launch actions along with the people to save the endangered Sangai and Loktak lake, it added.