IMPHAL, May 3 (Newmai): The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur (CRAM) has expressed its concern with the “increased trend of financing for development” in Manipur by the Asian Development Bank, “especially” in infrastructure projects. The CRAM also said that it is concerned that the ADB has “failed to adhere” to the best development standards, its own safeguard policies and other applicable human rights laws, such as for advancing the rights and role of indigenous peoples’ rights in all development processes affecting their land.
The CRAM also expressed its concern that the “ADB failed to respect indigenous peoples rights in infrastructure projects financed by it such as the Imphal to Moreh Road, Wangjing to Khudengthabi Road etc, where communities have raised concern on arbitration of their right to free, prior and informed consent, the failure to conduct a detailed impact assessment and the lack of adequate rehabilitation and resettlement plan for communities losing their land and resources”.
According to the CRAM, there is lack of uniformity in conducting surveys and also undermining the rights of affected communities in land acquisition processes as evident in the ADB financed Imphal to Moreh Road.
“There are also concerns that the infrastructure support provided by ADB and other financial institutions in Manipur will further facilitate the expropriation of land and natural resources, such as dam building, oil exploration and mining operations in Manipur,” the CRAM stated. “The direct support of ADB in mining operations in Lafarge in Meghalaya already led to wide environmental impacts, social contestation and lack of accountability of the State and the French Cement company, Lafarge,” it added. According to the CRAM, the ADB has been promoting intense privatisation of development processes across Manipur and such as ongoing power sector reform, privatisation of water supply and in the extractive industries.
“ADB and other financial institutions financing in Manipur should uphold the right to self-determined development of indigenous peoples and their right to free, prior and informed consent in all development processes affecting their land and resources,” the CRAM also said, adding, “The ADB should stop all forms of forced displacement in Manipur due to their project financing”. All ADB financed projects that affect communities’ rights such as Imphal Ring Road Project should be stopped, it demanded.
The CRAM then demanded that the ADB should review and rescind all financing and facilitation of corporate bodies in the plunder and expropriation of land and resource in Manipur. It also demanded that the ADB should stop pursing the agenda of privatisation and corporatisation of development in Manipur and across North East region. A clear accountability mechanism should be established for accountability of states and corporate bodies involved, it also said. “The Asian Development Bank and other International Financial Institutions should strictly adhere to all development human rights norms, especially indigenous peoples’ standards, such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 in Manipur,” it further demanded.