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Etalin hydroelectric project in the Dibang valley, AP, India

Protests as the government of India deliberates on granting forest clearance for a massive dam project in the biodiverse rich forests inhabited by the Idu Mishmi tribe in Dibang valley, Arunachal Pradesh, India.


Dibang valley is the largest district in the north east Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. With a population of 8,004 (according to the 2011 census data), it is the least populated district, with the major inhabitants being the indigenous community of Idu Mishmi. The valley is named after the Dibang river, which is a tributary of Brahmaputra. It is considered one of the most biodiversity-rich regions in the world, reported to have 430 bird species- according to a biogeography study conducted by independent researcher Shashank Dalvi, along with endangered mammal species like tigers and clouded leopards [2] [18]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Etalin hydroelectric project in the Dibang valley, AP, India
State or province:Arunachal Pradesh
Location of conflict:Dibang valley district
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Water
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Hydel project is a run of the river project and consists of two dams to be built over the two tributaries of Dibang river (which is a tributary of Brahmaputra river) named Dri and Talon. The dam on Dri river near Yuron village is envisioned to be 101.5 metres high and on Talon river to be 80 metres each, with ten underground powerhouses of 307 MW each. The total power generation capacity is 3097MW.

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Project area:1,165.66
Level of Investment for the conflictive project3,300,000,000.00
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:1500-2000
Start of the conflict:28/03/2017
Company names or state enterprises:Jindal Power Limited (JPL) from India
Hydropower Development Corporation of Arunachal Pradesh Ltd from India
Relevant government actors:Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Ministry of Environment and Forest
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Kera-aa Initiatives for Cultural and Ecological Security (KICES)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
indigenous community of Idu Mishmi
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Strengthening of participation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:This is an ongoing conflict, which has a lot of mobilisation while the government (Forest Advisory Committee) is deliberating on granting the forest clearance to the project.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Forest clearance form of the project, 2014.
[click to view]

Peer review of the Wildlife Conservation Plan for Etalin project by Wildlife Institute of India.
[click to view]

Forest clearance form of the project
[click to view]

5. 270k trees to be felled in Dibang, plans for compensatory plantations at 25 sites. Jayashree Nandi, 26 April 2020, Hindustan Times.
[click to view]

1. Birds vs hydropower project in Arunachal Pradesh: Who will win? Mayank Aggarwal, 7 November 2019, Mongabay.
[click to view]

2. Fresh biodiversity study of proposed dam sought. 26 November 2019, The Hindu.
[click to view]

3. Road blocks mar Jindal Power projects in Arunachal. Siddhartha P Saikia, 3 June 2013, The Hindu Business Line.
[click to view]

4. Jindal to Seek Investors for $3.3 Billion India Hydel Project. Rajesh Kumar Singh, 8 May 2020, Bloomberg Quint.
[click to view]

6. FAC recommends subcommittee on Etalin HEP, says 2017 recommendation not complied with. Tongam Rina, 8 November 2019, Arunachal Times.
[click to view]

7. Etalin project: WII Skips Multi-Season Study, Cheats Its Way to Compile Plan. Tongam Rina, 5 May 2020, The Wire.
[click to view]

9. Public Pressure to Scrap Destructive Etalin Project Mounts. April 2020, Sanctuary Asia.
[click to view]

10. Climate Change and Seismic Hazards in the Dibang Valley. Chintan Sheth, 27 April 2020, Sanctuary Asia.
[click to view]

15. Conservation Scientists Oppose Etalin Hydro Electric Project. April 2020, Sanctuary Asia.
[click to view]

11. Geographer Warns FAC of Natural Hazard Risks in Dibang Valley. April 2020, Sanctuary Asia.
[click to view]

12. Idu SBWL Member Opposes Etalin Project. May 2020, Sanctuary Asia.
[click to view]

13. PAFs favour early construction of Etalin HEP amidst questions on devious studies. Karyir Riba, 7 May 2020, Arunachal Times.
[click to view]

14. ´Etalin Hydro Project Threatens Our Existence’: In Conversation with an Idu Mishmi. Ananya Singh, 1 May 2020, The Citizen.
[click to view]

16. WII Rebuked in Peer Review of Etalin Report. May 2020, Sanctuary Asia.
[click to view]

18. Ornithologist Underscores Bird Diversity in Dibang Valley, April 2020, Sanctuary Asia
[click to view]

17. #SaveArunachalBiodiversity trends as citizens protest Etalin hydro power project. Prem Taba, 10 May 2020, The News Mill
[click to view]

17. #SaveArunachalBiodiversity trends as citizens protest Etalin hydropower project. Prem Taba, 10 May 2020, The News Mill.
[click to view]

17. Ornithologist Underscores Bird Diversity in Dibang Valley, April 2020, Sanctuary Asia
[click to view]

8. India's Covid-19 lockdown is failing to protect people and the planet. Brototi Roy, 6 May 2020, Open Democracy.
[click to view]

20. Environment Ministry Defers Clearance for Etalin Hydel Plant, Seeks Detailed Cost-benefit Ratio Analysis. Nikhil Ghanekar, 12 May 2020, News18.
[click to view]

19. FAC abdicates responsibility, dumps Etalin HEP in power ministry’s lap. Tongam Rina, 12 May 2020, Arunachal Times.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Reject forest clearance for the Etalin Project. Let India Breathe campaign.
[click to view]

Dibang Valley Must Be Saved from Destruction — Act Now! Conservation India
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Brototi Roy
Last update04/05/2020
Conflict ID:5037
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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