The government of Arunachal last Saturday announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) for developing two hydroelectric projects with a combined generating capacity of 210 mw power. The projects to be developed are the 120 mw Nafra (West Kameng) and the 90 mw New Meting (Tawang) hydroelectric projects. The NEEPCO was the first PSU to take up a hydro project at the Panyor river near Yazali. It has two more projects over the Pare and the Kameng rivers, respectively. Earlier, the NEEPCO had announced plans to take up projects over the Kurung and the Siang rivers. The status of these two projects is still unknown.
The state government has been very supportive of the hydro projects being taken up by the NEEPCO in the state. Successive governments have extended all possible support to it. The local people have also always supported the NEEPCO and created a congenial atmosphere for them to execute the projects. However, it is seen that the NEEPCO has been reluctant to provide job opportunities to the people of Arunachal. Even though the majority of the projects of the NEEPCO are being taken up in the state, the number of people employed by them is very less. In comparison, the NEEPCO is filled with people from Assam, West Bengal, etc. Even at the Pare project, the locals have to repeatedly resort to protest to seek jobs. Therefore, the state government should be very careful while allowing the NEEPCO to take up projects in the state. It is using the resources of Arunachal. It is the people of the state who suffer and get displaced when hydropower projects are taken up in the state. The locals deserve to be treated with respect by the NEEPCO.