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Updated: December 2, 2010 10:54 IST

Tribe fears Arunachal dam will extinct its people

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A file picture of an Adi tribe woman during an election rally in Itangar, capital of Arunachal Pradesh. The tribes fear of extinction of their livelihood and culture in the event of construction of a dam over the Siang river. Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar.
The Hindu
A file picture of an Adi tribe woman during an election rally in Itangar, capital of Arunachal Pradesh. The tribes fear of extinction of their livelihood and culture in the event of construction of a dam over the Siang river. Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar.

Three organisations, belonging to the Adi tribe, have said they would not allow Jaypee Arunachal power Limited (JAPL), a unit of Jaypee Associates, to execute a 2,700 mega watt hydro electric project on Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh, apprehending that it would lead to the extinction of the community.

Forum for Siang Dialogue (FSD), Siang Peoples’ Forum (SPF) and Adi Students’ Union (AdiSU) were opposed to the construction of a dam for the project saying it would affect 6,708 Adi households with a population of 34,911.

The entire Rs 13,000 crore Lower Siang Hydro Electric Project is likely to affect more than 50 villages in Upper, East and West Siang districts being inhabited by the Adi community people since time immemorial.

“No dams on river Siang at the cost of our extinction shall ever come up and we pledge that we shall fight to the finish for our pride, honour and survival,” SPF Chairman Ojing Tasing said in a joint Press conference here last evening.

The organisations were also apprehensive that 15,000 odd migrant labourers to be engaged by the company would jeopardise the existence of the tribal population in these districts with only 54 per cent indigenous population.

“There are also possibilities that some of the migrant population might be carrier of diseases like AIDS and hepatitis, hitherto unknown in the districts,” FSD general secretary Vijay Taram said.

The relief and rehabilitation package offered by the company to the affected families were not sufficient, he said adding there were environmental issues too.

Pongging and Godak villages in East and West Siang districts where the dam was to be constructed was an earthquake prone zone, Mr. Taram added.

The organisations further alleged that the company had hurt the sentiment of the Adi community by distorting fact about traditions, customs and practices of the tribe in its documents like Environment Impact Assessment, Social Impact Assessment and the recent Downstream Impact Assessment.

Mr. Taram said the documents published last month would enable the developer conduct public hearings and get environment clearance from the Centre to start the project.

The organisations said they would stop the proposed public hearing on the project from December 20 by any means.

“When Assam and Arunachal are opposing a dam at Tibet, why they are not doing it in Arunachal? The dams in Tibet and the State are going to be constructed on the same river with different names,” AdiSU Convener Obuk Gao said.


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