The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has asked for revised proposal for diversion of 1165.66 ha (including 91.331 ha underground area) of forest land for the construction of the 3,097 mw Etalin Hydroelectric Project in Dibang Valley district by M/s Etalin Hydroelectric Power Company Limited, a joint venture of the Jindal Power Limited and the Hydropower Development Corporation of Arunachal Pradesh Limited.
During a meeting in Dec last, the FAC said that the proposal had been sent in 2014, and that “it is imperative to review the facts and figures presented by the state, especially with regard to number of trees which are required to be felled.”
“The original proposal was sent by the state government way back in 2014. It is imperative to review the facts and figures presented by the state government, especially with regard to the number of trees which require to be felled,” it said, adding that Arunachal has a poor record of forest clearance compliance.
The Arunachal government offered to provide the actual number of trees to be felled, once the project commences.
The FAC suggested making a “robust empirical estimate,” and said that “the state government may seek consultation with the FSI in this regard.”
It said also that “concerns regarding the biodiversity and protection of wildlife needs further assessment and safeguards,” adding that “the sub-committee headed by Dr Sanjay Deshmukh had observed that the multi-seasonal replicate biodiversity study may be carried further to include multi-seasonal replicate study as desired by the FAC earlier.”
It also suggested conducting a cumulative impact assessment, considering other hydropower projects in the Dibang valley.
The FAC also took note of the large number of representations against the project. It suggested to the state government to form a high-level empowered committee to look into various concerns raised in these representations.
The FAC said also that the state government has a poor record of compliance with regard to the conditions stipulated by the FAC in the approval accorded for the earlier projects.
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