NHPC facing public ire over compensation issue

 ITANAGAR, Feb 9 – The 2000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project, being developed by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited (NHPC), has been swimming in troubled waters with the people of Gengi and Siberite villages in West Siang district, under the banner of Subansiri Lower Project Affected Village Action Committee (SLPAVAC), announcing to launch a phase-wise strike starting from February 10 in protest against the NHPC authorities’ undue delay in conceding their various demands.

The SLPAVAC, which was formed to safeguard the interests of the 2000 MW hydel project-affected people in some belts of West Siang district, has declared to launch a phase-wise agitation, slated to start from February 10 with a peaceful dharna in front of NHPC general manager’s office at Gerukamukh in Lower Subansiri district, followed by a dawn-to-dusk bandh call in project affected areas on February 12 and indefinite strike from February 14 next.

Earlier, on January 6 last, the SLPAVAC had served a 23-day deadline to the NHPC, urging the Corporation to meet its various demands within the timeframe fixed. The Committee has been insisting on its three-point demand: early compensation to project-affected villagers for their relief and rehabilitation, early start of development works and creation of employment opportunities for the locals.

Despite the expiry of the 23-day deadline, the project authorities, much to the dismay of the affected villagers, hardly showed any willingness to look into the demands put forward to them, said Tari Hai, general secretary of the Committee.

The Committee further claimed that instead of providing adequate compensation to the genuine beneficiaries affected by the power project in accordance with an agreement reached between the NHPC and the project-affected villagers in the year 2001, the Corporation has only provided relief to the people who were not at all affected, thereby depriving the genuinely affected people.