Setting the alarm bell ringing over the proposed geological survey to be conducted at 15 villages in the district, Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) on Friday wrote a missive to the respective headmen/chairmen of the villages asking them not to cooperate with the survey team.
Interestingly, on 10 December, Ukhrul DC notified a proposed survey to be conducted by a group of Geological Survey of India (GSI), NER Shillong in the district’s 15 villages and urged the village headmen/chairmen of the villages to extend full cooperation during the survey from December 10-17.
The villages are Hungpung, Khangkhui Khullen, Paorei, Sihai Khullen, Sihai Khunou, Khamasom, Peh, Huishu, Shangshak Khullen, Shangshak Khunou, Gamnom, Hunphun, Tallui, Ramva and Shokvao.
“We have written to all the village headmen and chairmen asking them to stay away from such survey which smacks of an ulterior motive and not to extend any cooperation,” TNL President, Hopingsong A Shimray informed Ukhrul Times over the phone.
According to Shimray, the government has flouted the norms wherein it should consult all the stakeholders, village headmen and land-owners and share with them all vital information including the purpose, benefits and effects, if any, before starting any survey.
However, the government has not only failed to do the needful but also did not serve prior information to TNL and all the concerned Village Authorities regarding the proposed survey, he said.
“Our tribal lands are not no man’s lands and there is no reason why the government should conduct the survey without the consent and knowledge of the rightful land owners,” he contended.
Meanwhile, in the missive, TNL General Secretary Varenam Gachui stated that as per TNL Constitution’s Yanret 2015, Akhum-9 Section 26 clause (i) to (iv), the right to protect the ancestral lands and forests of the villages are strictly vested with the apex customary body and the respective villages. He then urged the village authorities concerned for upkeep of the customary stipulations in the face of any aggression.
Earlier in November, TNL had slammed the state government over secretive MoU’s it allegedly signed with different mining companies during the North East Business Summit held at Imphal on 21-22 November 2017, for extraction of natural minerals like chromite and limestone in the district.
It had mentioned that among the mining companies for chromite explorations included M/S Sarvesh Refractories Pvt. Ltd, Rourkela, M/s Rourkela Minerals Pvt. Ltd, Rourkela, M/s Kotak Resources, Mumbai, M/s Gulf Natural Resources, Gurgaon, M/s Visa Steel Ltd, Odisha, M/s Manipur Mines and Mineral Pvt. Ltd., M/s Balassore Alloys Ltd, Odisha etc, while those contracted for limestone exploration and mining and establishing cement plants are M/s Super Ores, Guwahati, M/s Gulf Natural Resources, Gurgaon, and M/s Ramung Enterprises, Imphal.