NHPC moves HC against disbursement of compensation; DMPAAC vows to continue agitation

[ Karyir Riba ]

ANINI, 23 Dec: The Dibang Multipurpose Project Affected Area Committee (DMPAAC) has expressed shock and anguish over the interlocutory application (IA) filed by the NHPC Ltd at the Gauhati High Court against disbursement of compensation to the project-affected families (PAF) of Dibang Valley district.

Despite the compensation amount of Rs 640 crores having been deposited into the Dibang Valley district administration’s account on 25 November, the disbursement process was kept under wraps from the PAFs due to reasons unknown.

The PAFs had earlier demanded immediate disbursement of the compensation money. However, in the latest development, the construction giant has filed an IA at the HC’s Itanagar bench (listed on 23 December, 2021), praying for non-disbursement of the compensation amount deposited to the Dibang Valley DA.

This act of the NHPC has drawn flak from all quarters, especially from the PAFs.

Reacting to this turn of events, the DMPAAC said, “It pains us to see that the beneficiaries of the DMP have been time and again repressed, manipulated and coercively made to sign affidavits illegally without any legal validity, depriving the legitimate rights as mandated by the law of the land. The NHPC has not only deprived us of our rights, it has also defied the high court’s order to disburse the compensation to the PAFs.”

DMPAAC chairman Nogoro Melo said, “Any project proponent, after deposit of any compensation amount to the disbursing authority, no longer has the rights to intervene/object in the disbursing process. However, the NHPC has tried to stop the authority from disbursing compensation in Dibang Valley, which is totally illegal and state motivated act to suppress the affected people, deprive their legitimate rights and to sabotage the beneficiaries from making any future claims.”

The DMPAAC also claimed that the NHPC’s submission before the court, claiming that the compensation matter was amicably settled, was also false. “The fact is, there was no settlement as such, whereas there was always opposition from day one to such illegal settlement in the name of unofficial 11 parameters as placed by the administration,” said the DMPAAC.

It further said that “many beneficiaries who had signed the affidavit in favour of 11 parameters are now regretting and wondering how their compensation amount has been reduced to the lowest. It can be mentioned here that the NHPC and state government had tried to create misunderstanding between the beneficiaries in this context too.”

The DMPAAC also criticized the Dibang Valley DC, saying that he “failed to comply with the court order to disburse the compensation.”

“The DC seems to be waiting for approval from the state government, whereas there is no provision to seek approval from the state government or any requiring agency, once the amount is deposited, as per the LARR Act, 2013,” it said.

The DMPAAC stated, “We will continue to fight against ill vested leaders, commissioner land management, Dibang Valley DA and the NHPC by way of democratic movement for disbursement of our rightful compensation. This comes with a clear message that, if any untoward incident happens in line with our fight, the NHPC Limited will be solely responsible for it, along with its supporting agencies.”