People First, Project Next!: Landowners lock down DMP project sites


NAHARLAGUN, Nov 21: The land owners of the 3000 MW Dibang Multipurpose Project in Lower Dibang Valley district have ‘stopped’ all activities of the project.

Atleast 300 project-affected people went down to the three project sites viz. Pathar Camp, Panjabi Camp and Munli Camp last Sunday and asked all the NHPC staff to vacate the sites immediately. All the quarters were then locked and a banner with the slogan ‘People First, Project Next’ was put up on the site by the project-affected families (PAF).

The land owners are unhappy with non-payment of land compensation for the last three years for which they have submitted various representations to the power developer, NHPC. In October last, the PAF had also given an ultimatum to the NHPC GM to cease all kinds of project works until the issue of the land compensation was resolved.

PAF member Kotosi Menda said that the community people have waited for three years ever since the land compensation award was made on December 15, 2017. “The NHPC claims that the project land does not belong to the community and hence belongs to the government so they do not owe us any land compensation. This claim is an insult to us since we have owned this land for generations,” he said, while adding that unless the compensation is paid, the project will not be allowed to continue.

It may be mentioned here that the project, touted to be the largest in the country, faced much opposition by the locals during its initial stage as well as rejection by the Forest Advisory Committee twice as it would submerge vast tracts of biologically rich forests.

“After much opposition, we had finally agreed to the project as we had hoped that it would bring prosperity to our people. We had such high hopes but now again we are being forced to go against this project,” Menda further added.