Developer asked to expedite Arunachal hydro project

ITANAGAR, June 11 – The Arunachal Pradesh Government has asked the GMR Energy Limited to resolve “all pending issues” for early start of the 225 MW Tallong-Londa Hydro Electric Project over river Kameng in East Kameng district of the State.

The directive came from Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Forests Kumar Waii. He had a coordination meeting with the representatives of GMR, district officials and would-be-affected people of the area at Seppa on Thursday last.

He said the coordination meeting was imperative in the backdrop of the hydel project not making any headway despite the passing of five years after the GMR’s inking of MoU with the State Government.

The infrastructure major, GMR, is apparently confused over the issue of rights of compensation in respect of land with significant forest cover in the submergence zone which is about 195 hectare out of the total 485 hectares.

While the Forest authorities are citing laws in support of their claim on right of compensation against all land with vegetation, irrespective of the customary ownership of the villagers, on the other hand, the representatives of the ‘project affected’ families argue that since the submergence zone does not fall under any reserved or notified forest area, all benefits derived from saving trees on their lands should directly go to the respective owners.

“The villagers must have land possession certificates (LPC) to claim ownership of such lands; otherwise they all belong to us. Moreover, we will not issue NOC for LPC if the said land is covered with forest,” said G Nima, DFO of Seppa Forest Division.

The Parliamentary Secretary clarified that the Forest department is not denying the rights of villagers to compensation against their land but the standing trees. “The compensation received against the trees will come back to the villagers through CAMPA,” he said adding that he is in favour of the villagers.

S Kannan, senior manager of GMR, supplemented Waii by stating that villagers would nevertheless get ‘rights and privileges’ against such where they are not getting direct compensation.

East Kameng DC Tope Bam, who chaired the meeting, assured that the district administration would expedite the works of formal acquisition of land. Regarding issue of LPCs, he assured that it would be hassle-free after conducting the joint survey of land management involving officials, GMR and public representatives.