CCDD appeals to Manipur Minister to stop dam construction work

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Imphal, May 18 (UNI) The Citizens Concern for Dams and Development (CCDD) has expressed apprehension that the Thoubal dam, now 60 per cent complete, was not safe as a big crack could be seen near the spillway.

It also appealed to Manipur Irrigation and Flood Control Department (IFCD) Minister Nongthongbam Biren to look into the matter.

The Minister assured the organisation of looking into the matter and ensuring safe construction of the dam.

R K Ranjan, Chairperson, Aram Pamei, Co-Chairperson of CCDD, said any development projects introduced without considering the welfare of the affected villagers and civil societies would undermine its purpose and alienate the people.

''Any structure created as an essential part of the dam developing cracks untimely is in itself a very clear indication of sub-standard quality of work, naturally a reason rife to assess the quality of work of the main dam as well,'' Mr Ranjan said.

''The cracks appeared should be an eye-opener for the IFCD to review the quality of all construction components of the dam as the people of Manipur have already lost trust and confidence with IFCD with the quality of the dam because of the massive cracks,'' he said.

He alleged that the quality of the construction of the main dam was seriously questionable as the Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) Report, dated March 31, 2004, clearly mentioned that the Progressive Construction Limited (PCL), constructing the main Mapithel dam, was being criticised for failing to install two important quality monitoring apparatus ever since the Mapithel Dam construction started in 1989.

The CAG report further mentioned that the failure to install these two important equipment was detected in October, 1999, and was not installed.

Meanwhile, people residing in the downstream areas of the dam had already expressed their apprehension citing similar reasons.

''The IFCD Minister should uphold all democratic processes and practices and take all necessary steps to allay the apprehensions of the people by calling for a thorough review of the Mapithel Dam and investigating causes of the cracks and prosecute all those responsible for the cracks and other substandard work,'' Mr Ranjan stated.

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