Subansiri dam — boon or bane?Massive tree felling draws flak

Massive felling of trees by the two companies — L&T and Suma — engaged by the NHPC in the project has drawn flak from the people of Dhemaji district.

In spite of the order of the Deputy Commissioner of Dhemaji district against tree-felling, the NHPC has shown no sign to stop such illegal activities, people here alleged. It may be noted here that the Supreme Court had put a ban on tree felling in the region.

Due to the massive deforestation by the NHPC in the surrounding areas of the project, the nearby hill tops have become barren. Experts say that irresponsible activities of the NHPC, besides affecting the local people in various ways, will threaten the project itself as massive landslides are likely to occur.

It is also learnt that the NHPC has not taken the necessary permission from either the district administration or the State Forest department to cut down trees in the project area.

Environment groups of the district have also raised concern over the large-scale tree-felling in the Lower Subansiri project area and warned that it would harm the biodiversity of the entire area. They pointed out that due to lack of buffer forest the movement of the wild animals of the area will get restricted.

\\"Jiadhal, Kamatia, Subansiri rivers will not be able to take the load of the entire water released from the dam during the rainy season and thus the whole district will get inundated\\", people here said.

\\"While many NGOs and even the Government of Arunachal Pradesh protested the construction of the dam on Subansiri, the State Government, in spite of knowing the threat posed by the dam to the people of Dhemaji district, has remained silent so far\\", they lamented.

The people also urged all the environment groups of the State to study the case and highlight the threat posed to the biodiversity of the area by the project.

(The Sentinel,30/08/2005)