Standing tall on its demand, Siang Indigenous Farmers’ Forum (SIFF) has asked the Arunachal Pradesh Government and the executing agency of 10000 MW mega dam on Siang to back off.
Briefing reporters here at the Arunachal Press Club on Thursday, SIFF general secretary Tasik Pangkam said that Chief Minister Pema Khandu had earlier assured cancellation of the project within a month.
“It is very sad to know that around 15 hydro projects in the State have been cancelled. They do not include the Siang dam, as Right to Information reveals,” Pangkam said.
The Forum also asked State Power Minister Tamiyo Taga to apologise to the people of greater Siang for stating “no one should create obstacles in the construction of Stage-I, II and III of Siang Hydro Electric projects in the district”.
Taga said this while addressing the public at the general conference of Adi Bane Kebang on October 28 in Pasighat.
“How can a minister without consulting and organising public hearing on the hydro project easily ask the people not to create disturbance? He as a local representative should first seek public acceptance and know the real problems faced by the people,” Pangkam said.
“We have been agitating against the hydro project for many years and thus he (Tamiyo Taga) should seek public apology for his statement or we will go for a democratic movement that may impact his political career as well as image,” he added.
Asked if there is any political connection to the movement against the construction of dam, Pangkam said that there is no political agenda as 90 per cent people of the district are against the dam.
“The policy is good but the implementation of the said project is not,” he added.
Pangkam said the proposed 10000 MW project that has replaced the proposed Siang I and Siang II Hydel projects will not only submerge villages and displace the tribals, but also wipe out the entire civilisation.
On 1 per cent free power share which will be used for the local area development, Pangkam said: “We don’t trust the State Government on this part, as it has often made false promises.”
“The State Government should rather create a people’s forum from the district or engage heads of the villages for ensuring that the entire local area development fund is being disbursed to each individual on time and equally,” he suggested.
“Even if the Government accepts the suggestion, it will need public acceptance. But as of now we don’t want any dam construction in our district,” Pangkam said.