Arunachal Pradesh: Farmers’ Body Opposes 10,000 MW Hydropower Plan On Siang

Arunachal Pradesh: Farmers’ Body Opposes 10,000 MW Hydropower Plan On Siang

Peasants' organisations Siang Indigenous Farmers' Forum (SIFF) and the Indigenous Rights Advocacy Dibang (IRAD) have vowed to organise large-scale protests if the project is not abandoned.

ITANAGAR: In Arunachal Pradesh, two organisations have requested that the state government renounce a deal for carrying out the 10,000 MW hydroelectric project on the Siang River.

Peasants' organisations Siang Indigenous Farmers' Forum (SIFF) and the Indigenous Rights Advocacy Dibang (IRAD) have vowed to organise large-scale protests if the project is not abandoned.

Siang, one of three rivers that join to make the Brahmaputra downstream in Assam's Tinsukia district, flows from Tibet. According to the two parties, the Arunachal Pradesh government signed an MoU with the National Hydropower Corporation (NHPC) for the large project without consulting the state's residents.

According to SIFF president Tasik Pangkam, the Adi community in the Siang River belt "would never accept the gigantic project that would jeopardise their existence and render them landless."

He used the Chakma and Hajong people as an example, who were uprooted by the Kaptai Hydroelectric Project in 1960s-era Bangladesh and were compelled to seek asylum in India.

"The 10,000 MW project will have an irreversible impact on neighbouring Assam in addition to drowning villages downstream and displacing the tribal population in Arunachal Pradesh."

The Hindu cited Pangkam as adding, "We have been fighting against megadams for 13 years and won't give up easily."

Before moving forward with the project, he claimed the administration ought to have held public hearings and conducted consultations with the populace. Pangkam claimed that at the United Nations Sought Asia Conference on Business and Human Rights event conducted in Nepal a few days ago, he asked for assistance from international environmental organisations in order to put pressure on India to abandon the Siang project.

Ebo Milli, an attorney and IFAD member, criticised the state government and NHPC for withholding the results of the cumulative impact study for the 2,880 MW Dibang Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project, another proposed dam.

He cautioned the populace against falling for the government's tactics of seizing control of the land and promoting environmentally hazardous enterprises by designating a forest area as a wildlife reserve or protected area.

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