Arunachal Pradesh postpones public hearing as anti-dam protests get violent

In Assam, activists block road leading to Gerugamukh project on Assam-Arunachal border

By Anupam Chakravartty
Published: Friday 20 April 2012

With the anti dam stir gaining ground in Arunachal Pradesh, the state government has postponed the public hearing for the third phase of a hydroelectric project on the Siang river.  
The 2,700 MW Lower Siang project by J P associates will be built in Rottung near Aalo town of East Siang district in the state.

According to Forum for Siang Dialogue, about 100 people, mainly belonging to Adi community, staged protests before the public hearing at Jeying in the district on April 16. The community blocked way of officials from Arunachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) and J P Associates while they were going to attend the hearing. Police had to resort to firing to disburse the crowd, injuring several people.

Angry over the incident, about 300 people, burnt the platform to be used for the hearing and damaged vehicles of APPCB and company officials the next day. One official from JP associates was critically injured. “Keeping these incidents and safety of the state officials as well as dam proponents, we have decided to postpone the public hearing,” says Amjad Tak, deputy commissioner of West Siang district. 

Meanwhile, protests against mega dam projects have intensified in Assam, too. Activists from Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, a farmers’ body, have blocked road leading to the
National Hydroelectric Power Corporation’s Gerugamukh project on the Assam-Arunachal border. “We have been blocking the roads for transportation of materials to the project site at Gerugamukh in opposition to dam project as it will affect the people downstream. We will continue to protest till a cumulative impact assessment for all the dams planned in Arunachal Pradesh as well as Assam is conducted by a competent authority,” says Bedanta Laskar, assistant general secretary of the farmers’ body.

The two states continue to be focal point of anti-dam stirs in northeast India. Experts are yet to conduct a cumulative impact assessment on the river Brahmaputra as 800 big and small hydroelectric projects are proposed upstream.



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