Etalin HEP: PAPF demands disbursement of pending compensation

[ Karyir Riba ]

ANINI, 21 Jun: The Project Affected People Forum (PAPF) of the 3,097 MW Etalin Hydroelectric Project (HEP) in Dibang Valley district, undertaken by SJVN Ltd, has demanded immediate disbursement of the pending compensation to the affected people, and has requested to “recall the minutes of the 4th steering committee meeting for the hydropower project allotted to SJVN Ltd in Arunachal Pradesh.”

“The next steering committee should focus on compensation disbursement,” it said.

The PAPF has also requested the PCCF, the state government and the central government to resolveany compensatory afforestation (CA) issues tofacilitate smooth progress of this major project. It has demanded that the PCCF and the Dibang Valley DC and the DFO should resolve the pending CA issue within a month.

In a letter to the adviser to the state government, the hydropower commissioner, the PCCF, the land management secretary, the union power ministry, and the union CEA director, dated 19 June, the PAPF clearly mentioned that “considering it has been over 13 years since the initial issue arose, if these requests are not accepted, we will resort to democratic protests and halt all activities in the project and its nearby areas, and force stop the setup of SJVN colony to vacate.”

The PAPF said, “Our primary demand is the immediate payment of compensation without further delay. We will not allow any activities within the project-affected areas prior to the payment of compensation as per the LARR Act, 2013. Any officials executing activities prior to the payment will face FIRs for contravention of various provisions of the Land Acquisition Act and atrocities against the ST community under the SC/ST Act. The land acquisition award has long been approved by the GoAP and forwarded to SJVN Ltd for deposition. The Dibang Valley deputy commissioner had also directed the SJVN to deposit the compensation; however, the SJVN cited restrictions from the state government, based on the aforementioned minutes of the meeting. All necessary formalities have been completed; however, the compensation remains pending due to reasons best known to the authorities.

“Citing reasons such as forest clearance, PIB, and CCA for the non-deposition of compensation is unwarranted. As per the LARR Act, 2013, there are no provisions inhibiting the payment of compensation, which should be paid prior to land acquisition. Delaying of compensation may lead to legal actions, which would not benefit but rather bring disrepute to the executing agency. Further delays would accrue additional interest liabilities,” it said.

The Etalin HEP has acquired land measuring 833.51 ha, 113.60 ha, and 208 ha.