Arunachal Tribes Demand Promised Roads, Jobs as Compensation for Hydropower Project

Reported by

Yaniam ChukhuLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

May 14, 2021

Location of Conflict

Kimi

Khuppi, Buragaon, Yayung, Bichom

West Kameng

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Hydroelectric Project

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

2467

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

Starting Year

2018

State

Arunachal Pradesh

Sector

Power

The Kameng Hydro Electric Power Project in West Kameng district is a runoff water scheme that will directly utilise the water flow from the Bichom and Tenga rivers to generate 600 megawatt of electricity. The project is being undertaken by the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO). The total cost was initially estimated at INR 2,496 crore but was later revised to INR 7,927.34 crore. According to a memorandum submitted to the chief minister on November 26, 2019, by the Aka Elite Society (AES) , people in five villages Bichom, Buragaon, Kimi, Khuppi and Yayung comprising more than 500 families, have lost their agricultural lands to the project site and to the Power House Complex without any compensation. This, the AES claims, is on the pretext of the land falling under reserved forest. The memorandum states that the land has been under the possession of our ancestors since time immemorial. In lieu of money, the members of the Hrusso Aka and Bugun communities, the dominant tribes in the affected villages, had put forth two demands to NEEPCO: good road connectivity from Pinjoli village to Bichom (92 kilometres) and Grade C and D jobs under the Central government. Neither demand has been fulfilled till date. When LCW spoke to the projectaffected people (PAP), they said they did not oppose the project in the hope of better road connectivity, education and healthcare, as promised by NEEPCO officials. We were promised good roads long ago. We do not have any issue with heavily loaded trucks transporting material for the project, but it has made our roads nonmotorable. Who will take responsibility? Neither the state nor the NEEPCO officials are responding, a resident of Buragaon told LCW. The memorandum claims that every time the PAP asserted their demand for jobs, NEEPCO responded by saying that the Ministry of Power and the Supreme Court have banned recruitment. The foundation stone of the project was laid in 2002. In the past 18 years, there have been multiple rounds of dialogue between the PAP and both NEEPCO and the state government, but the primary demands of the people for roads and jobs have remained unfulfilled, even though NEEPCO did build rehabilitation and resettlement colonies. The AES has been leading negotiations and protests and raising awareness among the PAP about the promises made by NEEPCO and their right to fair compensation. On February 10, 2020, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, which has been tasked with operating the turbine, officially started operations of two units of 4x150 megawatt of the hydroelectric project. It is reported to be the largest unit rating (150 megawatt) for hydropower generating sets in the state. Not only were the units launched amidst ongoing protests but the PAP also did not know about its operations. In January 2021, the plant was fully commissioned with the commissioning of its third unit, after units 2 and 3 were commissioned in June and July 2020.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for promised compensation, Demand for rehabilitation, Demand for employment

Road connectivity

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

7927.34

Type of investment:

Investment Expected

Year of Estimation

2019

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Environmental Laws, Land Acquisition Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

  1. Environmental Impact Assessment, 2006

    Schedule I, Item 1(c): [This project comes under category A, which would require mandatory environmental clearance]

  2. Indian Forest Act, 1927

    Section 3: [The state government has the power to reserve forests]

  3. The Scheduled Tribes And Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006

    Section 3(1)(a): [Right to live on forestland and engage in self cultivation]; Section 4(1): [Vesting of forest rights with traditional forest dwellers]; Section 4(2)(e): [Consent of gram sabha required for rehabilitation and resettlement]

  4. Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

    Section 27 [Determination of amount of compensation]; Section 41 [Special provisions for ST communities to include consent of gram sabha and payment of one-third of compensation before land is taken ove]

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Controversial land acquisition by the government , Non-rehabilitation of displaced people, Violation of free prior informed consent, Non-payment of promised compensation

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials , Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Ministry of Power

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO)

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

No

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Yaniam Chukhu

Reviewed By

Yaniam Chukhu

Updated By

Yaniam Chukhu

Edited By

Yaniam ChukhuLand Conflict Watch
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