Itanagar, March 15: The All Idu Mishmi Cultural and Literary Society and the All Idu Mishmi Students Union have threatened to boycott the proposed public hearing for the 3,000MW Dibang Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project in Lower Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh.
The general secretary of the students’ union, Tone Mickrow, today said the union along with the Society, spearheading the anti-dam movement in the district in protest against the decision of the Centre and the state governments to go for the project undermining the interests of about 10,000 Idu Mishmi population, would boycott the proposed public hearing slated for March 27.
Mickrow alleged that the state government had accepted money from the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), the executing agency, and was championing its cause without consulting the local population.
“We want to see an end to the never-ending circus called public hearing for the project. We have the people’s support and there will be a mass boycott of the public hearing as before. We submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit on January 31 last year, demanding immediate scrapping of the project which once comes up will push the 10,000 population of Idu Mishmi tribesmen living in the district to the brink. Singh laid the foundation stone of the mega project on that day in Itanagar, more than hundreds of kilometres away from the actual site fearing public outcry. Our associations will not budge an inch from our stand come what may,” Mickrow said.
Echoing him, the general secretary of the Society, Mite Linggi, demanded that Lower Dibang Valley be declared as “ecologically-sensitive zone” according to the provisions under Section 3 of Environment Protection Act, 1986, claiming that the district had the highest forest cover in Arunachal Pradesh besides two wildlife sanctuaries and was part of the Dihang-Dibang Biosphere Reserve.
He said Dibang Valley was also considered part of one of the 25 global biodiversity hotspots of the world nurturing rare and endangered flora and fauna and dense forests.
At least 17 mega hydro power projects have been proposed in Dibang Valley district to augment the hydro power potential of the country.
“How can an influx of 6,000 outsiders as labourers and workers for a single project in a valley of fast diminishing 10,000 indigenous people be seen as cultural integration and assimilation? This is a cruel joke,” Linggi said.