Other States

Arunachal villagers oppose IAF firing range proposal

Local organisation submits memorandum to Chief Secretary not to give NOC

An organisation representing people of more than 30 villages under two circles of Arunachal Pradesh’s East Kameng district has opposed a proposed high-altitude firing range of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The Pipu Gyawepurang Social Organisation (PGSO), comprising the villages under Pipu and Gyawepurang circles, in a memorandum to State Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar on Wednesday requested the government not to issue the no-objection certificate to the IAF for undertaking firing and bombing exercises from June 8.

The PGSO said the proposed area of Lali Ane, also called Dafla Hill, was historically important for the Nyishi community for being the main migration route of most of its clans.

“The mountain range has been an inseparable part of our socio-economic life and considered as a sacred mountain to which we are culturally and emotionally attached. The mountain range unifies and binds the Nyishi people inhabiting the districts of East Kameng, Kurung Kumey, Kra-Daadi, Papum Pare and Lower Subansiri (districts),” the memorandum said.

‘Storehouse of rich flora and fauna’

The PGSO pointed out that the mountain range was a “storehouse of rich flora and fauna” and any damage to it would directly affect the villagers who were directly or indirectly dependent on the jungles.

“It is also the main source of major rivers such Pachi, Pacha, Pania, Papu, Pakke and Laching, whose waters are likely to be contaminated in case of bombardment. Besides causing damage to aquatic life, downstream villages will also be severely affected,” the organisation said in the memorandum.

The PGSO affirmed its stand by the IAF’s concern for national security and the need for honing the skills of the fighter pilots “but not at the cost of losing our streams, rivers, flora and fauna upon which our entire river valley civilisation is dependent and has evolved”.

Besides, it added, the local people were not taken into confidence about the proposal and no public hearing was conducted by the district administration as mandated by the Arunachal Pradesh Land Acquisition Act.

Neither the State government nor the IAF reacted to the local people’s opposition to the proposed firing range.

Last week, a row erupted over the Tripura government’s bid to divert 15 hectares from a proposed Border Security Force firing range for the rehabilitation of the displaced Brus from Mizoram. A group opposed to the rehabilitation programme wants the BSF to establish the firing range while pro-resettlement organisations are against it.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 11:07:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/arunachal-villagers-oppose-iaf-firing-range-proposal/article31746666.ece

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