‘The Dihang Dam violates the rights of Rights of Indigenous Peoples’


    UN Committee on Racial Discrimination asserts

    IMPHAL: The UN Committee on Racial Discrimination and Dibang Dam, a joint campaign organised by North East Dialogue Forum, People’s Platform Secretariate, Village Women Coordinating Committee, People’s Action for Development, Social Action Committee etc has termed “The Dihang Dam Project” in Arunachal Pradesh as a “Racial Discriminatory project to the people in North East”.

    Condemning the activities of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) on the project, the committee in a press note issued its secretary, U Nobokishore asserted that the project in its present form clearly violates UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    Quoting media report, the Committee stated that nearly 5022.842 hectares of forest has to be cleared for the proposed project and will submerged large areas of Mehau Wildlife Sanctuary, a home to endangered birds of the State such as Black Parrot Bill, March Babbler, Manipur Bush Quail, white Winged Duck, Large Whistling, Griffin Vulture, Grey Heron.

    “The total catchment area of Dibang Dam up to the Dam site is 11276 Sq ft which lies entirely in Arunachal Pradesh. So the indigenous people like Idu Minsmi may disappear from their traditional land, Forest, river, etc”, the press note maintained.

    According to the committee, the project launched in January, 2008 by erstwhile Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, is supposed to be the “highest Concrete dam in Asia and expected to provide up to 3000MW of hydro electric power and also assist in flood control in the Dibang Valley upon its completion. However, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) rejected the project’s application by NHPC in 2013, but the Ministry has issued Environment clearance for the project upon its re-submission though it is not been officially intimidated, stated the press note.

    “It is clear to everyone that the dam is to be financed by the World Bank. It is a fact that what banks do is to work for the profit. Then, the question arise here is why the indigenous people like Idu-Mismi should sacrifice for the profit of banks who finance dam construction”, it added claiming that, the dam is strongly opposed by local and international bodies considering its potential negative environment impacts and forced relocation.

    In this context, it informed that since 2007, people in Upper Assam like Tinsukia and All Assam Student Union (AASU) has been vehemently protesting against the Dibang Dam and its potential impact to the People in downstream, however they were not allowed to take part public hearing at Roing regarding the project.

    “This is the clear violation of Free, Fair and informed Consent manifested by UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ILO convention -107”, it asserted.

    Charter of Demand

    • Formation of a High level Internal Expert penal to investigate against NHPC and Construction of Dibang Dam.
    • India should respect and protect the Rights of the indigenous people to use their land, forest, water as part of their self-determination to decide what kind of development people want to have.
    • A thorough research on social, economic and cultural impact on the Upstream and Downstream of the Dibang Dam by engaging neutral Expert from University in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam or Manipur
    • Implementation of “FREE, PRIOR, INFORMED CONSENT” under the guide lines of the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous People
    • Establishment of Special Investigation Team to investigate against the Government of Arunachal Pradesh and NHPC on the “planning procedure” of the project.

    Source: Morung Express News