Friday, March 13, 2009


Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India
South Block
New Delhi

Honourable Prime Minister Sir:
For the past one year, we, the Idu Mishmis of Dibang Valley, have been subjected to a very cruel circus of development. Development that we understand very little, projects of national interest that do not evoke any interest within us, dreams that we know will remain unfulfilled.

The 3,000 MW Dibang Multipurpose Project along with more than a dozen other hydro projects are being imposed on us in the name of national interest and energy security. We have protested since we failed to be convinced that they will benefit us, we have submitted memoranda with the hope that we will be heard, and we argued against our destruction, the bleak future of our future generation, because we thought that we were the citizens of the world’s biggest democracy.

But, the events of the past one year, a sham process of forcible public participation to legitimize a project, a shoddy and incomplete environment impact assessment by a reputed public sector organization and repeated violations in organizing public hearings – all point to the fact that nobody is interested to listen to us – the governments, the bureaucrats or even our elected public representatives. Even you chose to inaugurate the Dibang Valley project early this year, some hundreds of kms away in Itanagar, without any consultation with our community.

We fail to understand how projects could be envisaged to be of national interest when their likely impacts are going to unleash destruction and devastation – destruction of our pristine forests, rich biodiversity, our land and livelihood, our sacred Taloh (as Dibang river is referred to by the Idu Mishmis) and its riverine ecology. Where an influx of 6,000 outsiders for a single project in a valley of fast diminishing 12,000 indigenous people is seen as a cultural integration and assimilation, submergence of our ancestral land and the only habitations in an otherwise hostile terrain is supposed to pave the way for a 43 km long reservoir, which will result in a ‘navigable waterway connecting the villages’, and destruction of land and livelihood is countered with generation of wage employment, all other arguments favouring the projects come to us as a cruel joke.

If these are mere apprehensions, let us also be clear that our apprehensions are still to be cleared beyond doubt. Instead, this genre of development, with the spectre of crores of rupees coming in to a mostly non monetised economy, dreams of an incomprehensible but quality life is dividing our small community and sowing seeds of divide and discord.

A future social conflict within our Idu Mishmi community could be self defeating and the Government of India will have to squarely take the blame.

Honourable Prime Minister Sir, a Public Hearing in New Anaya, Upper Dibang Valley has been again notified for March 27th, 2009, perhaps for the seventh or eighth time. This never ending circus has to end some where.

We don’t want any project in Dibang Valley, and
No further Public Hearings

This is the Will of the Idu Mishmis, the indigenous people of Dibang Valley. Your Government, being an important member of the United Nations, cannot violate the Convention on the Rights of the Indigenous People which your Government has ratified in September 2007.

We sincerely hope that our voice will reach you and your Government.

For Peace, Tranquility and Hope in Dibang Valley

Idu Mishmi Cultural and Literary Society
All Idu Mishmi Students Union
Dam Affected Citizens Committee

[as posted in Veracity - a local daily of roing ]


Anonymous,  9:44 PM  

sir... i read your article completely and i have a few doubts..
i have been to a few places in arunachal pradesh and i am a mechanical engineer by profession... i fail to understand how do you consider this dam dangerous because an exhaustive prior survey must have been conducted regarding the feasibility of this dam project considering the fact that entire himalayan region comes under high risk zone for earth quake...
because reading your article really makes me think that if all this is true the dam must not be constructed by i think this must have been "thoroughly" surveyed by the NHPC which was given the contract for this...
waitin for a reply

Rome Mele 1:11 PM  

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment... and also the concern shown.

I would say your assumption of NHPC having surveyed the feasibility of DAM in a seismically riskier place - very thoroughly is outrightly wrong.

Local people of Dibang valley has found the EIA ( environmental impact assessment )report as submitted by NHPC - unacceptable. They have pointed out the several flaws as identified in the NHPC, which is a self-indication of the Impact assessment being done just for the heck of it.

There are few posts of mine, wherein I had written so as to why Roing people are against the Dam. I shall update this post, with links on the previous articles and also a recently summarized pdf document about the flaws in the EIA report as uncovered so far.

( if possible try going through the postings under the label header "dams" here in this blog )


Anonymous,  3:28 PM  

hi Mr. Mele... i went through the whole label-Dams and read it... i got the economics and energy part of it (engineer), but didn't get the politics part of it coz not belonging to arunachal pradesh,i am not much into its politics... but all i got in a gist is that Arunachal pradesh does have a lot of hydroelectric potential but the people there don't want the dams to be built because they doubt its seismic feasibility...
but i think the approach being taken is a bit wayward dude...
you got to tell government the reasons why you think so. The NHPC has done a survey and given them a report... you have to point out the fallacy of the report... or if you people doubt the authenticity of the report you could ask for a survey by an international agency from UN or something... because man you can not deny the fact that this promises huge national interest. I totally empathise with you when you say you can't sacrifice one whole community for nations interest but at least we should be hundred percent sure that this dam is gonna harm the interest of your community.
a patriot!!

Rome Mele 1:55 PM  

Hi Anonymous,
Sorry for getting back this late... You said the "The onus of pointing out the fallacy of the report lies on us, we the people "... Well, thats what people have been doing all along. Even am an engineer and there are scores of unemployed engineers back home; and even we do understand the intricacies of the problem at the hand, which is a one big time opportunity for the local people to reap benefits of it.

The crux of the problem isn't just about the fear psychosis just on the ground of the seismic vulnerability of the place, infact there are numerous of them. One of the biggest problem I could identify is the lack of trust on the government and these private players, who are solely after the money they would mint out of these. Even I certainly don't think, it's the philantrophical policies of NHPC and other big power houses. And I also do understand, thats how the business works out. There has to pay-offs from both the parties.

But, for last few years...all people wanted was a decent report backed by experts not some copy pasted reports or reports based on intuitions of the report makers. And people have strongly objected to it all these while but to no avail. Never, in the history of "Public Hearing" for a mega project of such a scale has been postponed after postponements. Which is yet another indication that NHPC and government has failed to convince the people about the prospects of having these projects, not just for short term but for long term.

My only question to these players would be...why can't they try making smaller dams along with the people...and why does politicians always has to be in the picture? Ya, they do need govt's approval...but I guess, if they can get through the public they can easily have the govt's approval. Why are they so much hell bent on bending the rules of the game, which Arunachal people has always been frustrated of through their own home grown politicos?

Well... I certainly do not want to be affiliated neither our people - with such vague promises of developments which doesn't want to or fears to involve local people at the first place...

I hope this resentment wouldn't change the definition of Patriotism.
Jai Hind!

Anonymous,  10:49 PM  

it certainly doesn't :)
i can see your concerns and arguments... only if we had a few more concerned politicians... wish u luck in your venture!! and i myself will try whatever I can do to spread awareness in this regard :p


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