STAFF REPORTER BISHNUPUR, 6th Nov: Decrying alleged failure of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited(NHPC) to provide benefits and opportunities assured to the local residents, Ithai Barrage Bazar Development cum Cooperative Society organised a sit-in at Ithai Community hall and later took out a mass rally on Monday.
Setting deadline of 90 days’ time for translating the assurances into action, the society has also announced its decision of closing the barrage indefinitely in case of failure.
Talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the protest demonstration, society secretary M Shanta recalled that the Society had earlier submitted a memorandum to the team engineer of Loktak Power Station on September18, 2014. The demands enumerated in the memorandum included giving preference to Ithai residents in case of any vacancies at NHPC; repairing of the road from Khuga to Imphal river; construction of crematorium shed from CSRSD fund; instalment of solar street lamps on roads along Ithai barrage; extension of the community hall and the bazar shed; construction of two concrete rooms of the society; expansion of NHPC area and construction of a garden atop the barrage near the community office along with a library near the community hall.
Shanta said that the society had repeatedly requested the area MLAs and Panchayat to repair the roads, but they declined by saying that the expenses cannot be given from state funds and it is NHPC's responsibility. However, NHPC has not repaired the roads either, thus making the area inaccessible.
He added that the construction of the barrage started in 1979 and was commissioned by NHPC in 1983 but the project has failed to ameliorate hardships of the people living around Ithai. As a result, taking November 6 as the first day, they have given an ultimatum of 90 days to rectify the problems. If the NHCP fails to meet the deadline, their officials will not be allowed to enter Ithai and the barrage will be closed indefinitely, he warned.
During the protest cum rally, the participants carried placards with slogans such as, "We Want Job from NHPC"; "Go back NHPC, No Meaning of Ithai Barrage"; "We demand 1 Family 1 Job", etc.