Even as the mandatory public hearing for the massive 2,700MW Lower Siang hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh was postponed in the face of vociferous protests by local tribes, the Arunachal government seems hell-bent on building the controversial network of 168 dams.
From 2005 to January 2012, the Arunachal Pradesh government collected Rs 1,333 crore for as many as 199 projects as upfront premium and processing fees. The amounts were paid by different private companies engaged in building a controversial network of dams in the hilly state.
'Upfront Premium' means one time non-refundable commitment fee to be paid by the intending power developer which is not part of the project cost.
The network of 168 dams aiming at generation of more than 63,300 MW of power, is reported to being built in brazen disregard for environmental, seismic, socio-economic and cultural issues. In seismic terms, Arunachal Pradesh lies in the Very High Damage Risk Zone, having seen 87 major and minor quakes in 67 years (1929 -1993).
More than 160 memorandums of understanding (MoU) and memorandums of agreement (MoA) have been signed between the Arunachal government and the dam builders.
A clause in one the bipartite MoU copies that is with HT, absolves the dam builders of any responsibility .
The state government is also absolved of all responsibility and accountability in a clause notified in a 2008 Arunachal government gazette.
“The State Government shall not be responsible in any manner for any losses arising out of the force majeure situation such as earthquake, flood, fire, external invasion, civil commotion; landslide etc and no claim on such accounts by the developers shall be entertained by the State Government,” the notification says.