Stop Dibang Valley Hydropower Project: Indigenous lawyers to Centre

The lawyers’ body alleged that the Dibang valley project will divert 1150.08 hectares of land, fall over 2.7 lakh trees, rare flora and fauna.


By Debananda Medak

Guwahati, June 5: The Indigenous Lawyers Association of India on Friday urged the Centre as well as the state government of Arunachal Pradesh to scrap the Dibang Valley Hydropower project.

The 3097 MW Dibang Valley Hydropower project will be developed by Etalin Hydro Electric Power Company Limited, a joint venture between Jindal Power Limited and Arunachal Pradesh’s Hydro Power Development Corporation.

Talking to Time8, association coordinator Dilip Chakma said, “At a time when the destruction of nature has been blamed for upheavals in the world including pandemic and green energy is being increasingly promoted, construction of outdated hydroelectric projects by destroying the nature must be abandoned.”

Chakma stressed that the Dibang valley project will divert at least 1150.08 hectares of land, fall over 2.7 lakh trees, rare flora and fauna, and will further destroy the culture and heritage of local indigenous communities, particularly, the Idu Mishmi tribes in the region.

According to Chakma, apart from the Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary being the habitat of the tigers including snow tigers, in 2017, the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) had recorded that project location preserves luxuriant forests and a plethora of flora and fauna, and about six globally threatened mammal species out of which three are endangered and three are under the vulnerable category.

‘About 680 bird species were recorded, which is about 56 per cent of total bird species of India. Out of the 680 bird species, 19 are globally threatened, 10 near threatened, four critically endangered, two endangered, 13 vulnerable species and three very rare restricted range endemic bird species.’

The area is critical for the conservation of globally threatened bird species and the entire region falls under “the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management categories III and IV, Endemic Bird Area, Global Biodiversity Hotspot, and Key Biodiversity Area indicating its importance at a global scale.”

“There are attempts to re-write the findings of the FAC of 2017 which must be condemned. The Dibang Valley project must be abandoned to save the mother earth,” he added.

This year, World Environment Day is being celebrated on the theme,  ‘Time for Nature’.