Who Owns Manipur’s Natural Resources? News Of Oil Exploration Revives Old Debate In The State

Who Owns Manipur’s Natural Resources? News Of Oil Exploration Revives Old Debate In The State

Majabung Gangmei was agitated. “Let them try and do it,” he said. “You ask the minister how he plans to.”

Gangmei, an environmental activist from Tamenglong, one of the tribal hill districts in Manipur, was referring to a news report in the local daily People’s Chronicle last monthIt quoted the state’s commerce and industries minister, Thongam Biswajit Singh, as saying that he had approved exploration for oil and gas deposits in the state.

Oil and the ownership of natural resources, especially in tribal areas, has been a lightning rod for protests in Manipur. In 2012, Gangmei led a protest against Jubilant Energy that was carrying out a seismic survey in the district, usually a prelude to oil and gas exploration.

The protests had forced the company to retreat. “The Indian state thinks it can do what it wants to, but we showed them their place,” he said. Read More…

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