Accordingly, from early morning the journey for Tipaimukh started again. During the ride, we came to notice that road stretch along the highway which connects up to the Tipaimukh village is in a sorry state. As there was no other options available, the team had to proceed further despite the bad condition. Since the time was rainy season, the road condition was very muddy with lots of pot holes. Moreover, with the huge number of vehicles and convoys passed through the way prior to us, the condition of the road was already bad. The convoys include of VIPs officials and DC, Churchandpur, who had arrived to attend the public hearing. After facing some difficulties along the way, somehow, our team also managed to reach the place.
Just after reaching Tipaimukh, members of the team started murmuring to each other on about the place. From it, one can see a beautiful river passing through the area. Since the day happened to be a cloudy one, the aesthetic site of the river could not be seen vividly. For reaching the village from Imphal, the team was compelled to spend two nights in between the journey. As of it, members of the team experience exhausted and tired. Moments after reaching the place, I could not see beautiful things of Tipaimukh. And at that point of time, I kept asking myself the question that how come Tipaimukh looks beautiful as told by many people especially from my media fraternity friends.
On the other hand, at the place of public hearing one witnessed tight security deployment. It was attended by Suman Singh, the then Deputy Commissioner of Churchandpur; Superintendent of Police, Churchandpur; village chiefs along with officials of North Eastern Electric Power Co-operation (NIPCO), Shillong, company entrusted with the work of construction of Tipaimukh dam.
For the construction project, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was brought about between government’s officials and NIPCO for the construction of Tipaimukh Hydro Electric (Multipurpose) Project on January 9, 2003. Accordingly, the proposed project would generate 1500 megawatts (6 units X 250 MW) and the projected Tipaimukh dam would be 390 metres in length and 162.8 metres in height. Again in a new MoU which was inked in 2010, further construction work was assigned to National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) which is still valid.
Talking about Tipaimukh, it is known as “Ruonglebaisuo” in Hmar dialect. Tipaimukh is considered as “Irong”, meeting point between the Tuivai and Barak rivers. It is situated at the adjoining border area of Assam, Manipur and Mizoram States. Geographically, it is located between latitude 24*14’ degrees North and longitude 39* 1.3’ degrees East.
Honestly speaking, I am not an expert on the subject matter. But I do remember a legitimate statement made by a professor during a meet held at Manipur Press Club where he said, “ When India planned for generating electricity in the north eastern region, it always come up with setting up of hydroelectric project. In doing this, vast cultivable land were led immerse in the water thereby effecting the environment and biodiversity. Instead of this hazardous move, they should have taken up nuclear power plant in the said region which is a far better option. The bid to implement the project forcibly by threatening with heavy security deployment if it get opposed is a deliberate attempt to erase the history and identities of various ethnic groups settling in the region since earlier times”.
Regarding the public hearing, it seems that some members of the organisers were took by surprised when they came to know that certain activists along with a media team have arrived to attend the gathering. There was also a scuffle broke out between the activists and security personnel on the issue of entry for the meet. The team reached Tipaimukh at around 8 am. Since the meet was scheduled at 10 am there was a discussion took place among our team members concluding that we shall see site of river as there was enough time left. Afterwards, we altogether halted at a house for having tea. And, at that juncture I suddenly recalled the word told to me by Gautam (Boby), Poknapham newspaper proprietor’s son where he had said that I should not forget in taking shots of foundation stone of Tipaimukh project. So, I went alone and click the pictures of foundation stone happened to be located on top of a hill where I had captured it in hurry after asking the location to villagers whom I met along the way. For capturing the photos, I had done in quick time because there was in my mind thinking that my other colleagues would have gone for seeing the river which we had planned it earlier. But luckily I found that they were still at the place and we all together were all set for the trip.
The site happened to be situated not too far from the place where the team halted for a while for having tea. Then, after moving some steps members of the team witnessed the bank of Tipaimukh River which is formed resulting from the meeting point of Tuibai and Barak Rivers. At first sight itself, everyone was enthralled seeing at it with its captivating huge boat station. For me, it was the first time that I am noticing a boat station.
Should I believe it or not! I mean why I have not known earlier that a worth watching boat house is also stationed at the river and thinking this it really stunned me.
Though the boat house looks small in size, it wins hearts of every member of the team. Apart from it, the bank of the river also produces aesthetic view with sand and stones filled inside it. We also witnessed 3-4 waiting sheds built side by side on the bank of the river. As noticed at that time, the sheds happened to be used by people who have come down from Phulton, Silchar mainly for business purposes where it sells products like clothes, eatable items etc brought from Silchar. Shortly putting, the place can be considered as a small market. Also, in this place “Hidinga” (people who do business riding in boat) from Silchar and Jiribam used to come for doing business.
To be continued…
Translated by Rakesh Lourembam @ Manipurtimes