Adi community opposes dam over Siang
Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh

Itanagar: The Siang Indigenous Farmer’s Forum (SIFF) on Thursday said that the Adi community of Siang district will never accept the proposal of a 10,000 MW dam over the Siang River.

Addressing a press conference at the Press Club here, SIFF representative Bhanu Tatak said that the Adi community has been opposing the proposal for over a decade, as it would submerge almost all areas and villages of the community.

The Forum also condemned the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for 13 GW hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh by Power Minister R K Singh and Chief Minister Pema Khandu, which are reportedly scheduled to take place during the last week of April.

Tatak questioned why the state government was pursuing non-renewable projects like mega hydropower projects when renewable projects like solar and wind energy were being promoted.

She also appealed to both the state and central governments to cancel the MoUs signed for the mega projects in order to secure the future of the Adi community.

Tatak further informed that the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) has been conducting survey activities forcefully, despite stiff opposition from the dam-affected farmers and SIFF. She also claimed that SIFF members were being harassed by the district administration and threatened with the use of Army and Paramilitary forces.

SIFF has submitted a report to the Chief Secretariat and plans to submit it to the governor and the Minister of Power, Government of India, in the coming days. The forum hopes that the United Nations will take up the issue with the Government of India, Tatak said.

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Tatak also highlighted SIFF’s efforts to oppose the 10,000 MW dam project, including writing letters to the Chairman and Managing Director of NEEPCO Ltd., the chief minister for the cancellation of MoUs signed, and the then minister of Water Resources River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

SIFF had also filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) at the Guwahati High Court (HC), Itanagar Permanent Bench in 2014.

The case was disposed of in favour of the petitioners and the court instructed the state government that in the future, consent and consultation must be sought from affected locals for any such dam project. However, Tatak claimed that the authorities were not following the HC order.

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