Imphal Airport Expansion, Manipur, India

The state Government of Manipur planned to expand its airport, that will become the first international airport of the North East. The government notified to acquire land from land currently allocated to agriculture.


The Prime Minister of India announced special package for the North East including Manipur. With the economic assistance from the Central government, the state Government of Manipur planned to expand its airport, that will become the first international airport of the North East. With India looking at Myanmar and at expanding trade relations with South East Asia, Manipur's airport gains much more strategic relevance.

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Basic Data
NameImphal Airport Expansion, Manipur, India
SiteTulihal; Imphal
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Ports and airport projects
Specific CommoditiesLand
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsImphal International Airport located in Imphal the Capital of Manipur, the North Eastern Indian State. The airport is about 8 Kms from Imphal. The historic Tulihal Airport, first established as an Allied Air Force base during World War II in Imphal.

The state government had proposed to acquire about 466.67 acres of land around the airport for the expansion. The government also proposed to compensate the residents of the five villages to be affected [2, 3]. Official sources said the government had decided to acquire 690 acres of land to expand facilities in the airport including night landing [5].
Project Area (in hectares)207
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population10,000
Start Date2008
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Manipur
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersJoint Action Committee (JAC) against the Acquisition of Land for Airport Expansion
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Noise pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Specific impacts on women
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Development of AlternativesJoint Action Committee (JAC) against the Acquisition of Land for Airport Expansion has organized state-level seminar to gain support from people of various corners against the airport expansion plan [1].

Committee on Airport Expansion, and demanded that the government's plan to acquire land for the airport's expansion be first made public before any further action on the project [5].

The committee arranged an 'open dialogue' on the issue on October 17, 2008. In that meeting many prominent personalities of Manipur said that instead of going in for expansion, the existing facilities could be improved and more facilities added [5].
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The northeastern state Manipur is mainly hilly region and cultivable land comprise only about 10 percent of the state's area. The capital Manipur is already overcrowded and rapidly expanding. So, transforming farmland into real estate in the name of development is opposed by many. The farmers, depends on the yields of their fertile soil by their products. With this their livelihoods are secure. They do not want to give up their land for the sake of an airport [1].

According to JAC although the number of displaced in not much (about 250-odd families, or 10,000 people), in the expansion plan, in real terms, the human cost would be monumental, ranging from loss of ancestral property and secure livelihoods to ecological imbalance and impoverishment [1].

About 80 percent of state’s population depends on Agriculture and allied activities like animal husbandry, horticulture, forestry and fishery. The livelihood of these people is at stake with the latest development plan of the state government. Apart from the macro issue of marginalization of agriculture at a time when a global food crisis looms large, the most important concern at the micro level in Manipur is scarcity of cultivable land. [1]

There are also many previous expansions in 1950, 1960, 1970 and 1991. During that plans the government had acquired cultivable lands, ponds and fishing farms displacing many people without proper rehabilitations [5].
Sources and Materials

The Land Acquisition Act, 1894
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The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Allotment of Land) Rules, 1962
[click to view]


[3]Airport Authority of India
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[2] Clash over airport land in Manipur
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[4] Plans for International Airport Evicts Local Families
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[5] Locals opposing Manipur airport expansion plan
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[1] Manipur resists land alienation
[click to view]

Developmental challenges : Airport & University expansion
[click to view]

Imphal Airport expansion hits green hurdle
[click to view]

Locals protest airport expansion
[click to view]

Airport Expansion in North-East India Forcibly Evicts 17 Families
[click to view]

Media Links

Plans for International Airport Evicts Local Families-IndiaUnheard
[click to view]

IndiaUnheard:Voices of Dissent in Manipur Challenge the Govt.
[click to view]

Forced Eviction Destroys 17 Manipuri Families-IndiaUnheard
[click to view]

Other Documents

Women from Malom, Manipur staged Protest against Airport Expansion Plan Picture Courtesy :: Jinendra Maibam; Source :
[click to view]

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ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra
Last update24/08/2018