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Etalin Hydroelectric Project

Context:

The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has recently asked the Arunachal Pradesh Government to review the Etalin hydropower project.

Relevance:

GS III: Infrastructure

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Etalin Hydroelectric Project (EHEP)
  2. Forest Advisory Committee (FAC)
  3. Idu-Mishmi Tribe
  4. Dibang River

About Etalin Hydroelectric Project (EHEP):

  • A 3,097 MW hydropower project planned in the Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh
  • One of the largest hydropower projects in the country in terms of installed capacity
  • Proposed to be developed as a combination of two run-of-the-river schemes
  • Involves the construction of concrete gravity dams on the Tangon and Dri rivers, which are tributaries of the Dibang river
  • Located in the “richest bio-geographical province of the Himalayan zone” and “one of the mega biodiversity hotspots of the world”
  • The project area is dominated by indigenous population belonging to Idu-Mishmi tribes.

Forest Advisory Committee (FAC)

  • Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) is a Statutory Body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
  • FAC was constituted by the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
  • It plays an advisory role in questions on the diversion of forest land for non-forest uses such as mining, industrial projects, townships and advises the government on the issue of granting forest clearances.
Idu-Mishmi Tribe:
  • They are the sole inhabitants of the Dibang Valley district in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • A major sub-tribe of the Mishmi group.
  • Mongoloid race with a distinct dialect of the Tibeto-Burman language.
  • Distinctive hairstyle, customs, and artistic patterns on their clothing.
  • Traditionally follow animism.
Dibang River:
  • Flows through Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in India.
  • An upstream tributary of the Brahmaputra.
  • Originates near Keya pass on the Indo-Chinese border in the Upper Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Major tributaries include Sisar, Mathun, Tangon, Dri, Ithun, and Emra.
  • The Mishmi Hills are found along the upper courses of the Dibang River.

Concerns Raised Around the Etalin Hydel Project:

Environmental Impact:

  • The construction of a large dam on the Dibang River would submerge a significant area of forest and wildlife habitat.
  • This could lead to displacement of local communities and significant impacts on the region’s biodiversity.

Displacement of Local Communities:

  • Thousands of people would be displaced from their homes and livelihoods, many of whom are indigenous communities who rely on the Dibang River.

Impact on River Ecosystem:

  • The project would change the natural flow of the river and affect fish migration and breeding, negatively impacting local communities who rely on fishing for their livelihoods.

Geological and Seismic Risks:

  • The South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) highlighted geological and seismic risks and threats to biodiversity in 2015, when environmental clearance (EC) was underway.

Recent Development of Issue:

  • The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has asked the Arunachal Pradesh government to resubmit the project plan.

-Source: The Hindu


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