Stop foisting HEPs on indigenous people

Just days after the Siang Indigenous Farmers’ Forum (SIFF) informed that they will launch a stir “if the 10,000 mw hydroelectric project (HEP)” is not shifted from Siang district, the state cabinet on Wednesday approved the MoA to be signed with central public sector undertakings for development of hydropower in the state. As per the statement of the cabinet, this move will pave the way to unlocking the potential of 5 HEPs, with an installed capacity of 2,820 mw, and will spur huge investment in the state and generate employment. Hydropower continues to deeply divide opinions of the people.

There are many, especially those part of the ruling establishment, who see it as the best way to make the state financially sound. However, a large section of the population is bitterly opposed to large hydropower projects in the state. The resistance to hydropower projects has been there for the last many years. Successive governments have always used various means to try to suppress it. Many of the anti-dam activists have been successfully wooed by the government and have now become proponents of big dams. However, the pocket of resistance still continues and their views have to be respected by the government. The state government should stop trying to foist hydropower projects on the people who don’t want it. For example, the Siang Indigenous Farmers’ Forum has for long opposed the construction of a large dam in the Siang basin. The government needs to respect their sentiment.