ITANAGAR/NEW DELHI: The Indigenous Lawyers’ Association of India (ILAI) on Friday urged the Centre and Arunachal Pradesh government to scrap the proposed 3,097-MW capacity Dibang Valley hydroelectric power project to protect the environment and wildlife in the region. The 3,097 MW capacity power plant proposed to be commissioned by Etalin Hydro Electric Power Company Limited, a joint venture between Jindal Power Limited and Arunachal Pradesh’s Hydro Power Development Corporation.
The New Delhi-based ILAI in a statement said that at a time, the destruction of nature has been blamed for upheavals in the world including COVID-19 pandemic and green energy is being increasingly promoted, construction of outdated hydro-electric projects while destroying nature must be abandoned.
ILAI Coordinator Dilip Chakma said that the Dibang Valley project would divert 1,150.08 hectares of land, fell over 2.7 lakh trees, destroy rare flora and fauna, and would further destroy the culture and heritage of local indigenous communities, particularly, the Idu Mishmi tribes in the region.
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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 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,” Chakma pointed out.
He said 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 ILAI said that the proposed 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 on the global scale. The Forest Advisory Committee, the apex body of the Union Forests and Environment Ministry had also stated in 2017 that “the land on which the project is proposed is in pristine forests with riverine growth that once cut cannot be replaced.”
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“There are attempts to rewrite the findings of the FAC of 2017 which must be condemned. The Dibang Valley project must be abandoned to save the mother earth,” Chakma added. (IANS)