The group of Organisations, Forum for Siang Dialogue (FSD) Siang Peoples’ Forum (SPF) and Siang Indigenous Farmers’ Forum (SIFF) those that have been spearheading the movement against the Mega Dams proposed on river Siang, vehemently opposed the proposal of NITI Aayog for constructing a Multipurpose River Valley Project for Siang River, yesterday at New Delhi.
The organisations opposing the proposal of the Multipurpose River Valley Project or Dam has declared the proposed project estimated to be a 300 metre high Dam with power generation capacity of 10000 MW as a mad rush and weird dream of making money by intentionally designing to displace the indigenous people by killing their livelihood along with killing of the river and environment in and around Siang valley.
The organisations challenged the statement of the Niti Aayog that with construction of the Multipurpose River Valley Project the flood and erosion of soil will be moderated in the downstream river reaches but, the fact will always remain that, once the natural life of the river is disturbed and killed, the water stored in the dam and released during heavy downpour of monsoon rains create more havoc and devastate and even kill people and cause immeasurable soil erosion and the tall claim of Niti Aayog on moderation of annual floods and erosion by the proposed Multipurpose River Valley Project is like a Grandma telling a fairy tale to her grandchildren, which is nice to the ears and seems all real till the child grows old enough to realise that it was just all a nice story and never a reality as in the fact everyone is well aware of the last month’s flash flood at Lakhimpur, Assam areas, when the dam waters of Ranganadi Dam had to be released due to heavy downpour of the rains to protect the bearing capacity of the Dam. So, No human being is a fool anymore anywhere, in any part of the world to be convinced with the predicament that Dams mitigate flood and soil erosion. Add to this,, the said proposed Multipurpose River Valley Project is going to affect more than 25 villages and two towns in the upstream and more than Thirty villages in the downstream and lot many towns in Assam before it affects Bangladesh.
The organisations questioned the Niti Aayog with the statement that the Dam will benefit the local area to the contrary fact that, if the Dam is constructed for 300 metre height, all the cultivated and cultivable agriculture and horticulture fields/lands and dwelling places of all the Upper Adi tribe villages will be submerged under the dam reservoir and how does evicting out people of their land and livelihood contribute to the development of the local area???
As the land topography is rocky and mountainous in the Siang Valley, the present agriculture and horticultural fields and the present dwelling places once submerged by the ill intention of the Governments, where will the indigenous people of Siang valley shift? To China, Tibet or Delhi? And the organisations appeal the NIYTI Aayog not come out with KuNiti ideas and advises.
The Organisations also welcomed the statement of the Chief Minister Pema Khandu in urging the NITI Aayog to come to the ground and meet the, to be affected people and to know the nature of the opposition to the project but, rejected to the statement that the opposition to the Dams are due to vested political interests and cautioned him not to interfere with nature too much as the nature has a unseen mighty titleholder who always do and will always do justice to the trespassers who are hell-bent on going against the nature to the extent that it is not controllable by nature itself.
Reacting to the statement of the Dy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, the Three Organisations requested him to donate his properties that he has made so far like land and buildings to the state government for establishing schools and colleges and other infrastructures before asking people to sacrifice their properties that have been inherited from their forefathers but not from any governments or by corrupt ways and means.
Further the organisations rejected the statement of NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr. Rajiv Kumar’s accord to depute a central team to interact with local people to convince them about the benefits of the project respecting the fact that, when the locals don’t want to part away with their agricultural and horticultural fields/gardens and their respective houses in the villages, the question of any negotiation does not arise.
It is to be stated here that, sometime in the year 2012, the Spokesperson of FSD, Shri Vijay Taram along with Shri Akhil Gogoi and renowned Activist Smti Medha Patkar had met the then Leader of the Opposition Smty Sushma Swaraj, who is the present External Affairs Minister in the Modi Govt for reviewing the Mega Dams in North East India as whole and particularly the Mega Dams on Siang River, to which Ms Swaraj had assured to extend her all support and co-operation if her party comes to power in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections AND it is also to be reminded to the NITI Aayog that, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi had proclaimed at Pasighat town of Arunachal Pradesh in his election campaign in the year 2014 that he agrees to the opposition of Mega Dams by the local people and promised that, if voted to power, ,his Government will not construct any Mega Dam which is opposed by the locals and suggested that the Govts should go with small hydro projects to save the land, rivers, forests and environment and most importantly, the livelihoods of the poor farmers who have been living in this border region bordering china, even before India was an independent country and even before India was a republic with a written constitution.
It is made clear to the NITI Aayog and the Govt of Arunachal Pradesh that the FSD, SPF and the SIFF does not have any opposition to the rest Mega Dams out of the more than 40 Mega Dams proposed in the Siang Valley, but, opposition is only to the Mega Dams proposed on river Siang And NO DAMS small or MEGA will never be allowed to be constructed on river Siang, till a last life is standing tall to protect the livelihood and life of the great Adi tribes who had fought the mighty British Army in the pride to live life with dignity and protect the land rivers and for
sts from the intruders.
For niore information contact -Vijay Taram
Forum for Siang Dialogue
Mobile Number: 8974009696/9436292432
E mail: [email protected]