Organisations oppose Dibang project

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Itanagar, Feb 1 (UNI) Several civil societies and students' unions have launched fresh protests against the various power projects being set up in Arunachal Pradesh.

Even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the foundation of the 3,000 MW Debang Multipurpose Project, several hundreds kilometers from the actual project site at Indira Gandhi Park here yesterday, various societies, including representatives of Downstream Anti-Dam Committee on Debang Multipurpose Project(DSADCDMP), Arunachal Citizen Rights(ACR), All Idu Mishmi Students' Union(AIMSU), Upper Dibang Valley Idu Welfare Association (UDVIWA), Elopa Land Development and Protection Society(ELDPS) Associates for Progressive Economy(APE) Idu Mishmi Cultural and Literary Society(IMCLS) and districts students' unions of Debang Valley and Lower Debang Valley voiced their protests.

The organisations, in separate representations to the Prime Minister's Office claimed that the project proponent National Hydroelectric Power Corporation(NHPC) did not consult the local people before going ahead with the proposals and was yet to obtain environmental and forest clearances, which were mandatory for construction of any power project.

The protestors claimed that the public of Lower Debang Valley district had overwhelmingly rejected the proposal during a public hearing on January 29 last at Roing. The second public hearing, scheduled for yesterday at New Anaya, one of the villages affected by project, could not be conducted due to bad weather and disruption in road communication.

''The laying of foundation stone of the project, before the public consultation process was completed, is a forceful imposition of the will of the government,'' complained DSADCDMP.

The AIMSU, in its representation, alleged that the government's actions have proven that mandatory clearances on environmental and social viability were just formalities for the government and the issue of downstream impacts of the project in Assam also needed to be studied, it added.

ACR and other civil societies, in a joint statement, asserted that according to the Environment Protection Act, 1968, the Environment Impact Notification 2006 and the Forest Conservation Act 1980, the said project cannot be deemed "passed" for construction unless requisite clearances were accorded by the concerned ministry.

UNI UPB LL RD 1241

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