Friday, March 20, 2009

Bandh called against March 27 public hearing of Dibang Multipurpose Project

The public hearing for Dibang Multipurpose Project fixed on March 27 at New Anaya is again being asked for cancellation. This time it’s the organizations from neighbouring Assam that has stepped in demanding for scrapping of Dibang project and hence no public hearing. Demanding cancellation of the public hearing, the Sadiya Mohokma Suraksha Samiti, All Tai Ahom Students Union and various political parties from Sadiya have given a bandh call on March 21. The All Assam Students Union has also extended support to the strike call given. Following the bandh call, the Assam organizations have further declared to intensify its agitation by putting complete ban on vehicular movements towards the state of Arunachal Pradesh into the district of Lower Dibang Valley starting March 23 till the day of public hearing. The decision for the strike and vehicular blockade was taken in a meeting held on March 15 between All Idu Mishmi Students Union and the representatives from the organizations of Assam held in Chapakhowa. The representatives in the meeting have decided to target the NHPC vehicles and to prevent it from entering Arunachal. Besides Assam organizations, the Dibang Valley Students Union led by Anduwa Mihu has also given its clear stand on Dibang Project and reiterated its earlier stand of no dam. The DVSU supporting AIMSU and ICLS call for No Dam has also decided to call for bandh in the Dibang Valley district demanding cancellation of public hearing. The union said that the public hearing fixed few weeks before the parliamentary elections will influence the decision of the local affected people. The people during the election time will be influenced by their political affiliations and hence there will be no true opinion aired during the hearing.

The public hearing for the Dibang project have been so far cancelled for ninth time and besides repeatedly demanding for cancellation of public hearing, AIMSU and ICLS had written earlier to MoEF not to accept application for environmental clearance without the conduct of public hearing. It is evident that neither the govt of Arunachal Pradesh nor the organizations opposing the dams in Dibang basin will concede to their stand on Dibang Multipurpose Project. The community based organizations in Dibang have also called for declaring Dibang Valley as ‘Ecologically sensitive Zone’ which as per the provisions in the Environment Protect Act can put halt to all huge infrastructural projects. Having used all means and strategies in effectively preventing the public consultation process to complete, the ICLS along with AIMSU have come up with a 16 page report to make up a case in invoking the concerns that attracts the provisions under Section 3 sub section (2), clause (v) of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. The Act provides safeguards to ecologically sensitive fragile areas from industries, operations, processes and activities inimical to the conservation and protection of the environment of such areas. The provisions of the act have been used time to time in certain parts of country prohibiting operations of industries and processes.

In a separate statement, AIMSU General Secretary Tone Mickrow has demanded for a college in Roing. The union says that besides the anti dam movement in Dibang, it will also focus on demand for a college. The union puts it that a college is a development project that involves community participation and unlike dam it does not involve any risks. “College can be the best development project that the govt of Arunachal can give to people of Dibang”, said Mickrow. With AIMSU and ICLS demanding to stop the never ending circus of development, the protest in Dibang seems never ending.

5 comments:

  • Rome Mele

    Haha...
    Thanks god...i checked your blog updates before posting on mine or else I would have posted the same. :)
    Roing is sandwiched between this fight for-n-against the dams. Now that there are more parties involved hopefully government will have tougher time implementing things which otherwise they take it for granted.
    Hope our struggle against the Dams give a lesson to people who've looted arunachal for all these years.
    Way to go...

  • Anonymous

    suppose the project is done, does anyone know what the outcome would be like, would it be disastrous or a beneficiary uplift on the progress of the state ?...

  • AG

    @Rome,

    Ha ha...I beat you to the post.

    @anony,

    Good point to debate. What other's has to say on this? I'm waiting...

  • wiian

    I was always for the dam.. but the persistence of project affected peoples has forced me to think otherwise. If only someone could give me pointers on how bad people are really affected (maybe some rough nos. on percentage of population/ no. of villages/ land submerged) by the Dibang project.

  • Rome Mele

    @Anonymous
    No one can foresee what would happen if the project is done. One of the primal anguish behind the protest is the lackadaisical approach of the government toward the public opinion and if they hold any. We know, Arunachal politicians owns the God damn state and starting off projects without the consent of Public has always been a ritual, caricaturising the very essence we look upon everyday. But, lets hope this protest will give them a lesson on why sensitizing themselves with the issue pertinent to the very people they grew up with is a yet another interest they should look forward to rather than bimbooing with NHPC.

    @Wiian -
    It's quite natural that you were always for the dam and infact almost all of my friends, who aren't from dibang ( roing ) keeps the same view. The idea of Dam has always been about the developments and so is the idea of communism or democratization with rules that keeps people at bay. Such is the rhetorical implication of the ideal Dams that has been forced upon the local people. Regarding the pointers, I would be unable to give figure as of now, but maybe you can go through the link provided by AG in previous post pertaining to "Declaring Dibang as Eco sensitive zone".

    Even am not totally against the Dam and so are the people back home, just that people who have been neglected all these years wants to be heard this time and be included in things that would shape or destroy their life - but to which Govt still hasn't paid a heed.

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