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

Reported by

Yaniam ChukhuLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

February 8, 2021

Location of Conflict



Khuppi, Buragaon, Yayung, Bichom

West Kameng

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Hydroelectric Project



People Affected by Conflict


Land Area Affected (in Hectares)



Arunachal Pradesh



The Kameng Hydro Electric Power Project (KHEPP) in West Kameng district is a run-off 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 2,496 crore but was later revised to 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 of 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 Land Conflict Watch spoke to the project-affected 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 non-motorable. Who will take responsibility? Neither the state nor the NEEPCO officials are responding, a resident of Buragaon told Land Conflict Watch. 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 of the PAP with 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.

Region Classification


Type of Land


Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):


Type of investment:

Investment Expected

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):


Starting Year


Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Promised jobs under the Central government and road connectivity

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

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

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?


When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

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