Saturday, April 19, 2008


- G. Tallo

Arunachal Pradesh is going to be the ‘power-house’ of India.” The people of Arunachal Pradesh, in general, love to repeat this statement with some pride. Trend is- one with better educational background and in good position use this statement more often. Our leaders use it the most times. Even leaders and dignitaries from New Delhi, whenever they visit Arunachal Pradesh, make it a point to incorporate this statement in their public speech or in their briefing to the press. A sure shot to impress the leaders and public of the state.

And, it is no surprise the Government of Arunachal Pradesh hurriedly made a wholesale deal of state’s hydropower potential.

When local people and students body of Dibang basin stage a protest against Dibang Multipurpose Project, braving scorching summer heat, at Itanagar, the July last, the onlookers looked confused. A friend of mine wondered why these people wanted to be roadblock when some developments are finally taking place in the state. He was, as most of us are, in a state of delirium. It was pleasing to our ear when Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said, while laying foundation stone of the project during his recent tour to the state, that Dibang Multipurpose Project alone will earn revenue to the state in tune of Rs. 300 crore a year. We forget to enquire at what cost this paltry 12% share of power in form of water royalty the state will get.

I know the environment issue should not always come in the way of development. Then again, it should not be ignored altogether either. I learnt from some sources that the accuracy and validity of EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) and DPR (Detailed Project Report) of some projects like that of Subansiri Lower and Dibang Basin came under scanner of some experts. It is really a cause of worry. We cannot afford to overlook the flawed EIA and DPR. Besides, the projects in magnitude of that of Dibang Basin, Subansiri Lower and others bound to have an impact on the environment. And the consequences arising out of it is to be faced by the local populace. In event of mishap occurring to the dam due to technical reason or natural calamity like earthquake, again it is the local populace, who will suffer the brunt. Also we shall not forget, some years ago a sudden rise in water level of Siang river caused trail of destruction from Yinkiong to Pasighat. The water stored in mega dam can be even more devastating in case the dam collapsed.

My gut feeling is that the paltry 12% so-called free power to the state is not justifiable. The State government should have contended with utmost 2-3 mega projects for time being and reserve the rest for future which could have been executed by the state Power Department itself or executed in partnership in order that the state have greater stake of power share.

Going by the numbers of mega projects proposed to be executed by various PSUs and private players, it is quite probable that Arunachal Pradesh indeed would become ‘power-house’ of India in days to come. But, big question here is- if it is going to benefit the state and its people. And, do our leaderships have the vision and foresight to use the surplus power to the advantage of the state and its people?


  • speechmaker

    looking at the ability of our ministers to broker deals of this magnitude, i would say hiring an external consultant (names like PwC which specializes in advising government agencies) would be great for the state. Not only will it help in getting a better valuation of Arunachal's share in the revenue but also help to convince us youths of the validity of the deals made.

  • chak-de-phatte

    I went to a friend of mine few days back. It was a small get together, rather a routine one. Months back he was upbeat about his preplanned trip to our state-Arunachal, post trip- all those thrills had suddenly vanished!
    "Its nothing different- north east sab ek shaman hai!"
    As a Ph.D student of environmental studies from DU ,he got this chance of visiting the state to study the environmental hazards those dams could pose in future.Amazing revelations- politicians as usual, were in hurry to pocket whatever they could even before putting in time to make quality scientific assessment of the projects viability.The contractors on their part weren't leaving any stones unturned either.AND Now, this high pitched cacophony of hoots.

    This gentleman was also the part of a team who with his professor had earlier submitted some papers on tehri project.Of all that he said,and that i understood, If Tehri would collapse- the water would be gushing at this speed of 260 miles an hour. Delhi would be under three feet water.The russians who are in charge of those projects wouldn't care.and what about the government and its official who are in hurry to crack those coconuts,doing justice to the tradition,pocketing!
    May be we our state is indeed headed the same way.As the himalayan rivers carry a lot of sediments and deposits it at the bottom of those dams, they say increasing pressure with time could perhaps reduce the 100 years warranty dam to half of its life expectancy-what after that??
    At least i won't bet on a sick cow even if the seller would guarantee me 50 liters of milk daily.
    Am going back to my friend and perhaps this time i will attempt at knowing more about this litters in the state....

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