Pro-dam activists demand cancellation of hydropower MoUs

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 29 Apr: The Pro-Dam Movement of Arunachal Pradesh (PDMAP) has demanded immediate cancellation of as many as 142 memorandums of understanding (MoU) signed by the state government with several private power companies, claiming that by failing to commission any of the hydropower projects so far, the terms and conditions of the agreements have been completely breached.

Addressing media persons at the press club here on Thursday, PDMAP president Taw Paul informed that the organization submitted a memorandum to the chief minister on 28 April, seeking termination of the MoUs, and also placed its request for the state government to consider the 13 other demands related to hydropower projects in the state submitted by the PDMAP.

Disclosing that Rs 1,495.73 crores was collected from various power developers, both public and private, as upfront costs for the hydropower projects in the state, the PDMAP sought a white paper on all the details of expenditure incurred on the projects.

“The state government should come clean on this and reveal to the public every detail of the expenditures incurred on the projects. While the government continues to collect upfront costs in crores, the status of the projects on the ground speaks something else,” Paul said.

He also called for exploring possibilities to enter into a joint venture with central PSUs and state agencies like the Indo-Arun Hydro Power Corporation Ltd, “so that both mega and micro hydro projects could be harnessed and thereby create employment opportunities for unemployed youths.”

Paul also sought a white paper on the revenue obtained at 12 percent from the already commissioned hydropower projects like the 40 mw Ranganadi hydroelectric project (HEP), the 110 mw Pare HEP, and the 600 mw Kameng HEP.

“The state government should bring into the public domain all the details about the investment/expenditure made from the revenue collected from the commissioned hydro projects. As a welfare measure and in the interest of the denizens of the state, provision should be made by the government for free distribution of electricity from the power generated from these hydroelectric projects,” the PDMAP president said.

Disclosing that the state government had in 2007 taken a loan to the tune of Rs 225 crores from the NHPC Ltd at 9 percent interest per annum to revive the Apex Bank, Paul said that the money has not yet been returned in full to the NHPC.

“The Apex Bank authority is saying that they received only Rs 180 crore out of the total Rs 225 crore borrowed from the NHPC Ltd. What about the balance? What are the modalities adopted to repay the loan amount?” he questioned.

Further claiming that illegal logging and deforestation activities are going on in Dollungmukh area “in the name of submergence area of Lower Subansiri HEP,” Paul said that illegal logging activities are carried out mostly outside the notified submergence area of the project, thereby causing random loss of flora and fauna.

“The remedial measures taken by the state government should be highlighted in the general interest of the public concerned,” Paul added.

The PDMAP has also sought “clarity on total amount received by the state government towards net present value (NPV)/Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) from various power developers.”

Meanwhile, seeking reservation of jobs for the educated youths of the state in the power companies and projects, Paul said that, as per the existing rules of the MoA/MoU signed with the various hydropower developers, “there is no reservation kept for Groups A and B category of jobs.

“This a major setback for our indigenous educated youths. Needful amendment in MoU clause should be incorporated for getting at least 40 percent job reservation in Group A and B jobs. There should be complete 100 percent reservation for the recruitment to Groups C and D category of jobs, while examination for the same should be conducted under the supervision of the state government,” Paul said.

The other demands raised by the PDMAP include rechristening of Ranganadi HEP as Panior HEP; establishment of the NHPC regional director’s office in Itanagar; shifting of the NEEPCO’s corporate office from Shillong to Itanagar; establishment of the NEEPCO’s executive director’s office for projects in the state; and a functional office of the Lower Subansiri HEP in Kulaptukar in Kamle district instead of in Gerukamukh in Assam.

Informing that the PDMAP has submitted several representations to the state government on its series of demands, Paul threatened to launch a democratic movement if the government fails to fulfill the demands within a month.