Govt notifies LADF for hydropower projects-affected people; faces opposition from PAFs

[ Bengia Ajum ]

ITANAGAR, 26 Jun: The state government has issued a notification, dated 15 June, notifying the creation of ‘local area development funds (LADF)’ for the hydropower projects-affected people of the state.

As per the notification, the hydropower projects are being divided into two sections – the first being those above 25 mw, and the second being those below 25 mw.

For projects above 25 mw, 2 percent of the sales proceeds from power generation will be placed under the LADF, and for those below 25 mw, the developers will pay an amount worked out at the rate of one paisa per unit of power sold during every financial year to the state government.

In order to meet some of the infrastructure and developmental needs of the local population, a special provision for creating LADFs has been made in the National Hydropower Policy-2008 and the state hydropower policy.

The funds are to be used to carry out developmental activities in the areas affected by hydroelectric projects, “so as to ensure visible additional benefit to local communities in the project-affected areas,” the notification read.

The projects will be implemented through local area development committees (LADC). “The project-affected families (PAF), both partially and fully affected families, in all cases shall be declared by the concerned deputy commissioner,” it read.

The LADF will be used by the LADCs constituted for specific hydropower electricity projects. The deputy commissioners will be the chairpersons of the committees, which will have ZPCs, ZPMs and district-level officers as members. Representatives of the project developers will be member secretaries.

Hydropower (Monitoring) Chief Engineer RK Joshi informed that the LADF will be implemented in all the existing as well as new projects.

“We have combined government of India guidelines with those adopted by hill states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. However, the guidelines for Arunachal have been modified, keeping in mind the interests of the local areas,” said Joshi.

He said that the LADF will be implemented by a state-level committee headed by the hydropower commissioner. “But the DC, along with project-affected people will decide the kinds of projects that need to be taken up at the ground,” the CE said.

He added that the feedback received from the DCs of districts like Lower Subansiri and Papum Pare, which are affected by the Ranganadi and the Pare hydroelectric projects, were taken into consideration while preparing the guidelines.

Meanwhile, the Ranganadi Hydroelectric Project MoU Demand Committee (RHEPMDC) has rejected the constitution of the LADC. The RHEPMDC claimed that, as per the NHPP-2008, Clause 10.1 (h), “the LADC must compose of a district collector as chairman, the head of the project as a member from power developers, one male member from PAF as a member from PAF family, and one female member from PAF as member from PAF family.”

“We object to the inclusion of different HoDs of the districts concerned as they have no connection to the aspirations of local PAFs and are against the spirit and provisions of the NHHP-2008. We also object to the inclusion of PRIs as 2 percent LADF is exclusively for project-affected areas (PAA). The inclusion of these bodies will only politicise the fund meant for the land donors,” the RHEPMDC stated, reacting to the notification.

It further said that “the government must understand that PAF members in LADC will be the only link between power developers and PAFs and the LADF is exclusively meant for PAAs.”

“We strongly object to this composition of LADC. This is discriminatory in nature and goes against the promise made by CM Pema Khandu in 2017. After waiting for five years, we are very much hurt by this one-sided discriminatory act of the state government,” the RHEPMDC added.

The RHEPMDC also warned that, in case the government neglects its concern, it would “take the next course of action as a guardian of aspirations of PAFs of the state’s first 405 mw mega hydro project.”