Protesters pressure Govt to Postpone LSHEP Public Hearing in Arunachal Pradesh

LSHEP public hearings postponed yet again Protestors burn down Jaypee camp


PASIGHAT, Apr 17: Yielding to unprecedented pressure and opposition by the people opposing 2700 MW ower Siang Hydro Electric Power, proposed by Jaiprakash Arunachal Power Limited (JAPL), the Arunachal Pradesh
State Pollution Control Board was forced to postpone the public hearings at two places today. The first one was supposed to be held at Jeying in Upper Siang today and second one at Rottung in East Siang on Wednesday.

The DC Upper Siang said that roads were blocked by the protestors at several points and situation was not conducive to conduct the proposed hearing while his East Siang counterpart Talem Tapok said that he recommended postponement due to apprehension of break down in law and order.

The next hearing is slated at Gumin Kine in West Siang on April 20. It is unlikely that the hearing would be conducted as there is stiff opposition there too.

Activist Vijay Taram hailed the postponement of the public hearings. He said that government should respect the demands of the people and should not force the mega project on them. He warned the government and the Pollution Control Board that any attempts to conduct hearings in future would be resisted. It is reported that police has issued arrest warrants for at least 35 people. Such an action could further anger the people, who are already opposed to the coming of the project.

This is the fourth time that the public hearings were notified and postponed because of the protests. In Jeying, it is reported that only four people came up for hearing apart from the employees of the JAPL. When the district officials and APSPCB officials arrived with police at the scheduled time for conducting the hearing, almost no one had arrived from the neighbouring villages at the spot. Then on the request of the protestors gathered, the officials cancelled the hearing. Around 10 vehicles of JAPL were destroyed and few people, mostly employees of JAPL were manhandled by the anti-mega dam protestors when they were leaving from Jeying to Pasighat after the cancellation of the public hearing.
Earlier this morning, the dam protestors numbering more than 300 burnt down the stage constructed for the public hearing and destroyed the furniture and materials put up at Jeying. On their way back to Pasighat, the protestors venting their resentment against the LSHEP burnt down the Jaypee camp situated around 4 kms
from Bodak village on the Pasighat- Mariyang road. ‘Go back Jaypee, No to Siang dam’ echoed in the air for long while the two large godowns and two barracks were completely razed down. However, the situation was peaceful in Pasighat town and neighboring areas and no incidents were reported. Few vehicles were witnessed
plying between the Pasighat- Pangin road.
According to sources, two companies of CRPF personnel were stationed at Jeying alone for the hearing further angering the protestors. There has been palpable tension since last month after the notification of the public hearing for the 2700 MW LSHEP. The prolonged protest and voices against the LSHEP by the people of
Siang valley has been growing while the authorities in retaliation have brought intimidating number of police and para-military forces into the three Siang districts.
Apart from numerous village level organizations, Siang Peoples Forum, Adi Students Union, Forum for Siang Dailogue, All Mebo Students Union, Paktu Ao Welfare Association, Dam Affected People of Sirit- Siyom, Siang Bachao Federation, and Eastern Adi Students Union are the front runners opposing the mega power projects. Youths, middle aged and old people enthusiastically ensured that the public hearing was cancelled.

Arunachal Times, 18 April 2012


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