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Protests against public hearing on Dibang dam
Reporter
 TINSUKIA, March 4 – Although protests have been going on since 2007, it is alleged that the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has again disregarded the opinion of the general public of Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts regarding their participation in the public hearing on March 11 at Roing, organised in connection with the proposed Dibang dam– reputedly India’s largest dam and the world’s tallest concrete gravity dam standing 288 metre (945 ft)tall, at Munli, located in the Lower Dibang Valley district in Arunachal Pradesh that is expected to provide up to 3000 MW of hydroelectric power.

The AASU here has expressed its deep concern over the adverse effect of this Dibang Valley Multipurpose Project on the bio-diversity as well as life and livelihood of people living in Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, including Majuli. AASU also strongly voiced against the forthcoming Public Hearing on March 11 called by the Arunachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board and demanded its cancellation, as concerned experienced public, local organisations, student unions of Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts are deprived from participating in the hearing, stated Pulak Chetia, publicity secretary, AASU central committee in a release.They even threatened to launch a stir in the future days if the concerned public were neglected in this way in this regard, added Pulak Chetia.

It is notable that Dibang Multipurpose Project (3000 MW) is being conceived on Dibang river which originates from the snow-covered southern flank of the Himalayas close to the Tibet border at an altitude of more than 5000 metres. The river emerges from the hills and enters the sloping plain area near Nizamghat in Arunachal Pradesh, from where the river flows a distance of 50 km to meet the Lohit river. The total catchment area of Dibang up to the dam site is 11276 sq km which lies entirely in India. The project is located in the Lower Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh. The project after construction will be one of the biggest projects in terms of generation of power in India. The project headquarters is proposed to be at Pathar Camp on the right bank of Dibang river approximately 6 km downstream of the dam site. The project has a poor connectivity from the railhead and the nearby towns (viz., Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Pasighat, Itanagar, Tezpur etc.) The project is about 43 km from Roing which is at a distance of 110 km from Tinsukia the nearest railhead.

Talking to this correspondent, Chetia further said that at the time when Dibru Saikhowa National Park, being the centre of endemic avian species of Assam, home to endemic birds of the State such as Black Breasted Parrot Bill, March Babbler, Manipur Bush Quail,White Winged Duck, Large Whistling, Griffon Vulture, Grey Heron are also going to be affected greatly by this dam. Thus the Pollution Control Board of Arunachal Pradesh is obliged to assess the advice of local people living in these downstream areas.

It needs to be mentioned here that the Dibang Anti-Dam Committee in protest against this construction observed Lower Dibang Valley District bandh on February 28 and also demanded declaration of the cancellation of Public Hearing publicly before March 7.

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