Project Croak
Mishmi hills snow trekking dibang valley Arjun Kamdar

URGENT: Stop the Etalin Dam in the Mishmi Hills

The draft of the email that you can send – and the list of email id’s of the power ministry and National Tiger Conservation Authority members.

Email id’s to send the email to:

Dr Anup Kumar Nayak,
Member Secretary, NTCA,
ms-ntca@nic.in

Dr Amit Malik
Inspector-General, NTCA,
ig-ntca@niclin

Dr Vaibhav Mathur,
Assistant Inspector General, NTCA
aig3-ntca@niclin

Subject: Reject the Etalin dam clearance

To whom it may concern, 

I am aware that the Forest Advisory Committee has sought the input of the NTCA on the proposed Etalin Hydro Project in the Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh. As a concerned citizen of India, I urge you to reject this ill-planned project.  If the project is approved it will cause the destruction of nearly 2,80,000 trees in the rich community-owned forests of the Dibang Valley. As you are aware, these community-owned forests harbour a genetically unique population of wild tigers, as well as a multitude of other threatened flora and fauna. This biodiversity has been undermined in the WII report submitted to the FAC. A peer review by 29 reputed scientists found gaping deficiencies in the WII report and stated that “incomplete and inaccurate data lead to an erroneous and inadequate assessment of the impact potential of the proposed HEP on biodiversity”. It is also a fact that the WII itself has found camera trap evidence of tigers in the same community-owned forests within 10 km. of the proposed project site. Ten km. is a negligible distance for a tiger; individual tigers have been known to travel distances in excess of 400 km. Furthermore, young, dispersing tigers in search of new territories are known to travel many times such a distance. There is no doubt that these prey-rich, low-lying community forests are vital to the long-term survival of Dibang’s unique tigers. Scientists from WII have stated that the “Mishmi Hill ranges are now documented to have more tigers than other designated tiger reserves in Arunachal Pradesh”. Biodiversity concerns aside, experts have warned that the Etalin Project is proposed in a seismically active zone that is at risk of earthquakes and landslides. It has also been noted that rapid glacial melt caused by climate change is likely to stall the production capacity of the hydro project. The Dibang Valley is the ancestral home of the Idu Mishmi community, and if approved, this project will forever change the ecology, geography, demography and cultural traditions of this region. Across the world, big dams are being dismantled because of the social and ecological devastation they cause. Hydro projects are no longer considered renewable energy projects. As a member of India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority it is your duty to protect and conserve the country’s tiger populations, habitats and dispersal corridors. I count on you to uphold the integrity of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change by rejecting this destructive mega dam project in the interest of tigers, people, and the nation’s ecological security. 

Yours truly

Mishmi hills snow trekking dibang valley Arjun Kamdar
The Mishmi Hills in the winter

Additional links:

The science behind opposing this dam – penned by four top wildlife scientists and social scientists who have been working in the region: https://www.sanctuarynaturefoundation.org/article/conservation-scientists-oppose-etalin-hydro-electric-project

Explainer on the several consequences of the proposed dam: https://www.youtube.com/embed/hqXp4hQ6BJ4

https://www.sanctuarynaturefoundation.org/article/public-pressure-to-scrap-destructive-etalin-project-mounts

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/2-7-lakh-trees-to-be-felled-for-hydropower-project-in-arunachal-s-dibang-valley/story-i0GVuHt8nHF4JbxeM4birM.html

On the unique conservation story of the Mishmi Hills by an ecologist – anthropologist: https://www.sanctuaryasia.com/magazines/cover-story/10911-tribal-tigers-how-a-shamanic-community-has-saved-tigers-in-the-dibang-valley-of-arunachal-pradesh.html

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/more-scientists-write-to-fac-about-treading-carefully-on-hydropower-projects-in-dibang-valley/story-ikGnHIt843sVrLI1aAtmlJ.html

Article in Mongabay on the issue
A short-video of the Dibang Valley ecosystem
This resistance has not been new; this video is 10 years old – and was in protest to the Dibang Multipurpose dam (2880 MW) which is to be built on the SAME river. This protest was stifled and clamped down on by a series of human rights violations; as pointed out in the Scroll article below.

Scroll article by Manju Menon on how ‘consent’ was threatened and obtained for the Dibang Dam- https://scroll.in/article/931504/how-consent-for-dibang-dam-was-manufactured-by-terrorising-the-people-of-arunachal-pradesh

How making this dam could exacerbate natural disasters in the region: https://www.sanctuarynaturefoundation.org/article/climate-change-and-seismic-hazards-in-the-dibang-valley
With the full technical report here: https://github.com/monsoonforest/dibang-glaciers/raw/master/Sheth-2020-Dibang-Natural-Hazards-full-report.pdf

Article on how due process was not followed (4th May, 2020) https://indianexpress.com/article/india/north-east-hydroelectric-project-study-tigers-wii-6392556/?fbclid=IwAR38Ny9Jbm9vQTyqGblRIRgvOuDwPGrWhXkSqdwSRFNCkq4NuBrxCeLw8j0

A local grassroots NGO writes a strong 20-point letter asking for the project to be rejected. https://www.sanctuarynaturefoundation.org/article/dibang-based-ngo-appeals-to-fac-to-reject-etalin-project

Shashank Dalvi, an ornithologist par excellence writes to the FAC showing that 430 species (of India’s 1346 species) are found in the region. https://www.sanctuarynaturefoundation.org/article/ornithologist-underscores-bird-diversity-in-dibang-valley

A comprehensive toolkit by Sanctuary Asia that compiles a list of all available literature on the dam. https://www.sanctuarynaturefoundation.org/article/etalin-campaign-tool-kit

Our peer-reviewed report by 26 scientists from 16 different institutions highlighting the deficiencies in the wildlife conservation plan (pdf download here): https://www.conservationindia.org/wp-content/files_mf/Updated-Peer-Review-of-the-Wildlife-Conservation-Plan-of-the-WII-Etalin-Hydropower-Project-Dibang-Valley-Arunachal-Pradesh-5-May-2020.pdf

An executive summary of the same (with lovely illustrations by Poorva Goel) can be found here: link to 7 page summary download pdf

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *