Singh calls for promotion of adventure and eco-tourism
ITANAGAR, Aug 02: Arunachal Pradesh Governor Gen JJ Singh underscored the need for
efforts to make Arunachal burst into the national scene in adventure and eco tourism.
He said this while participating at a hiking expedition organized by Muskan Society
in collaboration with department of Tourism at Banderdewa Area in Papum Pare district
today. Interacting with the participants, Gen Singh said that the state is blessed
with God gifted bounties while adding that it is one of the few biodiversity hotspots
in the world and has huge potential for adventure and eco tourism.
It is our bonded duty to preserve our green gold for our future, the Governor said
while stressing against deforestation and destruction of flora and fauna.
Large numbers of hikers, including thirty–five students from VKV Banderdewa and other
schools, teachers, members of Muskan Society, including its member secretary Mamta
Riba, senior officers of tourism and sports departments along with offers and personnel
from Police Training Center, Banderdewa took part in it.
Led by Secretary to Governor Amit Singla numbers of Raj Bhavan officials also participated.
Acknowledging the initiative of the Muskan Society which will go a long way in bridging
the gap of the people with nature, Gen Singh said it is the first experimental effort
by the Society in its promotion of eco and adventure tourism in the State. He expressed
his hope that it will open the floodgate of such activities in the State. Ace adventurer
himself, he gave some hiking tips to the participant. The Governor also exhorted
them to avail maximum enjoyment from the nature, while respecting the ecosystem.
Urging the participants to march towards exploring rich flora and fauna amidst breathtaking
natural beauty of the State, the State first lady and President Muskan Society, Anupama
Singh, who flagged off the expedition said this was a small endeavour of Muskan Society
to inculcate the spirit of adventure, appreciation for nature and care for our environment
and mother earth.
Students of different schools have also been made to participate in the event because
these values must be impressed upon young minds at tender age. Our State of Arunachal
Pradesh has huge potential for adventure tourism. Regular organizing of such events
will go a long way in promoting adventure tourism in our State, she added. The first
lady profusely extended gratitude to the department of Tourism and PTC, Banderdewa
in making the event successful.
Later interacting with media persons, she said that Muskan is an NGO, which is working
for the cause of women empowerment, child care, health, education and uplift of socially
deprived people. She added, as it first initiative, Muskan has contributed in setting
up of the Toy Train in Itanagar.
Tourism Director A.K. Singh highlighting on adventure tourism in the State informed
that the State Government is promoting aero sports, like para sailing, para gliding,
micro-light and ballooning along with aquatic sports like river rafting, kayaking
and angling. Among the terrestrial sports, he said, it is promoting trekking, rock
climbing, camping and mountaineering in addition to bird watching and wildlife safari
within identified wild life sanctuaries like Namdapha and D.Ering.
Tourism Director called for identification the Hiking and trekking routes in the
State to promote it in a big way.
The hiking started off from the PTC firing range, touched forest, several hillocks,
slippery tracks, and culminated near the Mandir. Making it more interesting, singing
and other activity competitions amongst the students where conducted by Gen Singh
The Governor had a lesson or two for the hikers who were throwing away plastic wrappers
and bottles. If we don’t stop it now, we will be leaving an environment full of plastic
wastage for out future generation, who had been advocating for a plastic free Arunachal.
Personnel of PTC led by the Principal, Police Training Center, Banderdewa Chuku Appa
arranged refreshments and rest points for all.
The Governor made some cash contribution towards ‘Bara Khana’ for the personnel and
a trophy of Mishmi Pipe for the institution. (PRO to CM)
Arunachal Charity Home’s mission to lessen the suffering
ITANAGAR, Aug 02: Is it possible to wipe off the tears of sick and suffering people
of Arunachal Pradesh? One may find it difficult to say ‘yes’. Nevertheless, Jobang
Modi, with his strong will power and sheer determination has managed to lessen the
pain of many.
Modi, 35, an inhabitant of Bolung under Roing circle, Lower Dibang Valley district
made up his mind and dedicated his life for the cause of sick people of the state.
The determined soul embarked upon a mission and set up Arunachal Charity Home (ACH)
in Dibrugarh to guide and help the needy people who come for treatment of many ailments.
‘There are many hospitals and primary health centers in our state, but many fails
to provide satisfactory investigation or treatment due to either lack of medical
equipment or expert medics. There are places where medical staff and medicines never
reach due to inaccessibility.
The patients find no other option but to travel all the way from the far-flung areas
of Arunachal Pradesh to Dibrugarh and other places of Assam for better medical treatment.
It is observed many a time that unscrupulous persons are exploiting the illiterate,
poor and hapless patients of Arunachal Pradesh in Dibrugarh. Be it in hospital, pharmacy,
hotel, auto or peddle rickshaw, the patients and their escorts have to face exorbitant
and unreasonable fare, he says.
Modi who is now the Managing Director, who got bitter experiences in Dibrugarh during
treatment of his mother who was suffering from Cancer, said, most pathetic and worst
situation, comes when a patient dies in a hospital in Dibrugarh. Instead of drawing
sympathy, it becomes an opportune moment for the greedy and dishonest persons.
An unimaginable and unexpected amount is charged in the name of the ambulance and
ferry fares from the hapless relatives of the deceased.
In order to help the poor and ignorant patients to overcome all these difficulties,
Modi, said, a group of educated youths of the state with kind cooperation from well-wishers,
friends from Dibrugarh established the ACH, at Paltan Bazaar and it was inaugurated
by then MP Tapi Gao in May 1, 2007. It is an unit of Tribal Development Agency, Roing.
However all was not well. ACH began to pass through rough weather due to paucity
of fund. Modi within a year realized that good beginning is not at all half done.
The Charity Home stood up to the expectation till last quarter of 2007, but the
trouble began when the house owner of the charity home threatened Modi of dire action
if he did not pay the rent (near a Rs lakh) for housing the ACH.
Helpless Modi decided to sell one of his kidneys to manage house rent.
To his pleasant surprise Modi had discovered a helpful soul in one Oyin Paron (now,
ACH secretary). Paron extended a handsome amount enabling him to pay the house rent.
“Paron was God sent”, beaming Modi says.
However, the ACH management decided to shift to a new house for which they needed
Rs 50,000 in advance.
As they say god helps those who help themselves, Modi came to know that he won Pulsar
bike after winning a lottery!
Needless to say, he sold the bike and paid the advance for housing the ACH in a new
building in June 2008.
I found a Good Samaritan in my friend Probin Boruah (ACH coordinator) and his friend
Prabhat Chetia (chief advisor), a police officer to start the Charity Home.
But fund still is a major problem in running the ACH, says its MD.
The ACH provides food, lodging and kitchen facility at the most nominal rate; it
always tries to guide the patients to right doctors and hospitals and ensure that
patients get right treatment at nominal rate. It also provides ambulance service
to the patients free of cost. In case of eventualities, the Home makes arrangement
of transportation of corpses.
He shares that the Home has come so far because of donations from fellow Arunachalees.
We usually take donation to make ends meet, says the man who has found inspiration
from his own tragedy.
We are grateful to former MP Tapir Gao for donating a Maruti Van as ambulance and
a Tata Sumo (through Oil India Ltd) and former retired IAS officer Jomin Tayeng for
donating an ambassador at the initial stage.
In fact, we are grateful to Chief Minister, many ministers, MLAs, officers, well-wishers
and friends for their financial support, Modi says.
Till date we have extended our help to around 2,000 patients. Not only our Arunachalees,
the people of other states of the North East also approach us for help and we help
them, he says.
The service is not yet over. Modi plan to expand the service in the Capital Complex,
Guwahati and Vellore.
People appreciate our endeavour and want us to continue the humanitarian service.
But without the financial help and support from the Government and humanitarian agencies,
it is near impossible to run the Home round-the-year. Of course, many well-wishers,
dignitaries have assured us to bail out from financial crisis. MP Ninong Ering also
gave his commitment for upgradation of the Charity Home. However, we are pursuing
the Govt to help us and extend financial grant, the MD says and hopes to overcome
ACH secretary Paron, an energetic young man from Ruksin circle, East Siang said,
‘ACH is like God’s gift for us. We are determined to sail the ship in any adverse
Onyok Sitang, an unemployed engineering graduate of Yagrung village, East Siang said,
“I have been at the ACH for one month for treatment of malaria and typhoid. I found
in ACH, people from the different tribes from different districts sharing their problems
In fact, ACH instills a sense of communal harmony among the fellow Arunachalees.
Patients are recuperating at ACH at nominal fees after getting treatment at hospital”
he adds .
They are unique people. They dedicated their lives for the cause of suffering people
of the state. Everyone should extend financial support to ACH management, said Geten
Panggeng, a youth leader from Upper Siang district.
Make Nari-Koyu constituency a model for Arunachal: Dabi
Itanagar, Aug 02: Arunachal Pradesh Water Resource Development Minister Tako Dabi
has exhorted the people of his constituency to strive hard to bring development in
the area so as to make it a role model in the state.
“Make Nari-Koyu the best developed constituency in the state with all-round development”,
he said while addressing the officials and public leaders during a function organized
at Hotel Arun Subansiri here Saturday evening.
While urging the people to come above petty interests, he stressed on the need to
rise above materialistic outlook.
“We must work with honesty and sincerity for all-round development of the state”,
he said, adding the people were intelligent and sincere enough in promoting Arunachal.
Highlighting the various achievements of his constituency during his last four consecutive
terms as elected representative, Mr. Dabi claimed that he is a simple man rather
than a politician.
Elaborating his future plans, the minister disclosed that he had several plans stored
in him and the first was to give due recognition to those leaders who have contributed
lot for the state’s development.“I am planning to construct buildings in memory of
late Baken Pertin and Tomo Riba who are considered as fathers of modern Arunachal”,
Rejecting the frequent bandh culture by various students’ bodies in the state, Mr.
Dabi suggested that bandhs never yield good results but destroys students’ career.
“Youths should focus more on education than on bandh and their education should be
based on knowledge and not on emotion”, he added. UNI
ATSU resents meager SSA quota
ITANAGAR Aug 02: All Tagin Students’ Union (ATSU) expressed shock and resentment
against the quota allotted for Upper Subansiri district for recruitment of teachers
The district has received only 12 posts for JT and not a single post has been allotted
for AT where as the district is in genuine need of teachers, the union said.
ATSU further alleged the Education Department of the district has failed to perform
its duty and has failed to inform the concerned authority of the crisis faced by
the students in the district due to shortage of teachers.
ATSU demanded that immediate advertisement for the remaining AT quotas of the district
be published within 15 days.
ASHA trainings at Kurung Kumey
ITANAGAR, Aug 02: District Health Mission Society Kurung Kumey conducted modules,
II, III and IV ASHAs training at Palin, Nyapin, Koloriang CHCs and PHC Sangram.
Speaking as Chief Guest, ADC Chuku Takar appreciated the district health mission
society for their hard work to uplift the health scenario of the district and advised
the ASHAs to deliver better services while implementing VH&SC and JSY Schemes and
assured all possible help.
District RCH Officer cum CEO DHS Kurung Kumey District Dr. Tale Gongo briefed on
aims and objectives of the training and JSY guidelines and expressed un-happiness
at the performances of VH&SC and VHND.
District Medical Officer Dr. Higio Tama assured to provide free medicine to the trained
and expert trainees from the module II and IV and advised the trainees to get involved
in NID, SID, DDT spray and other health activities.
ZPM Nangram Nanie, MO in-charge CHC Koloriang Dr. Boni Tuluk and MO in-charge PHC
Parsi-Parlo Dr. Tana Tath also spoke on the occasion.
Various officers, Panchayat members, ASHAs trainers, medical staff and ASHAs attended
the inaugural function.
Ethical education need of the hour: Brig Mehta
Tezu, Aug 02: Brig. Manjeet Mehta, SM, Commander of the 82 Mountain Brigade called
upon the teachers and elders in the society to impart sound moral lessons in the
formative period of the children and urged them to guide the young learners and the
future generation on the sound foundation of ethical and moral values.
Stressing the need of ethical education Brig. Manjeet Mehta said that “children will
only learn what they are taught. Therefore it calls upon us that we should have an
impeccable character.” Remembering his school days guided by Padmashree and Padmavibhushan
Awardee Principal Mr. J.K. Kate the Commander added that if wealth is lost nothing
is lost, if health is lost something is lost and in case the character is lost then
everything is lost. Brig. Mehta in his speech said that Arunachal is one of the
largest states of this country and that it is very much an integral part of this
big nation that is India. He said that it is very encouraging to see children growing
in the right direction imbibing right values systems, excellent ethics and learning
to shoulder responsibility for the nation.
Appreciating the young Apnes he added that it is greatly satisfying and strengthening
to see children performing and having a national flavour in all their acts. The commander
also lauded the hard work put in by the teachers and staffs and the good tradition
of the school.
While gifting school bags sent for the Apnes by Maj. General B.S.Sachar, the GOC,
2nd Mountain Division Brig. Mehta informed the Chairman ASSET that Dolly Sachar,
President, AWWA of the DAH division is keen to promote tour and visit programs for
the rural children to provide them the needed exposure for learning. The commander
also assured that the DAH division of the Army is always willing to support institutions
imparting quality education and other welfare programs.
The Commander presented the “SANSKAR” book series with CDs by Maa Purnananda of
New Delhi to the VT-AWIC libraries of the Apna Vidya Bhavan and Medo.
Mamuni Gogoi the ASSET library coordinator received the books from the Commander
in the presence of Sri Satyanarayanan Mundayoor the VT-AWIC coordinator. The SANSKAR
series by Maa Purnananda of the Sree Guru Swami Chinmayananda Sewa Nidhi, New Delhi
is published by S.CHAND. The books were sent as gifts by Manoj Jalan of Murleidhor
Jalan Foundation, Jalannagar , Dibrugarh district of Assam.
The Chairman, Anu Shiksha Seva Trust expressed his gratitude to Brig. Mehta for
taking out time to personally gift the school bags sent by the GOC. He further thanked
him for addressing the urgent need of promoting ethical education. The Chairman ASSET
said that the association of such leaders who care to extend love and affection to
the young growing children will immensely contribute in building a healthy society.
He also added that the quality time spent by leaders in extending love and care will
keep these young minds inspired and motivated. The Chairman also thanked Maa Purnananda
for bringing out the SANSKAR series and expressed that these books were excellent
for imparting moral lessons to children in a simple and interesting way.
He also thanked Mr. Manoj Jalan for mobilizing supporting and sending the books while
congratulating the publisher S.CHAND & Company of New Delhi for publishing the series.
ASSET has procured more sets of the series to be gifted to other government run schools
for the benefit of the students of the area.
Demwe dam: riddled with conflicts
By Neeraj Vagholikar and Himanshu Thakkar
Two public hearings are scheduled to be held for the 1750 MW Demwe Lower project
on August 11th and 12th in Tezu and Anjaw respectively. This hydroelectric project
is one amongst at least 10 hydroelectric projects planned in the Lohit river basin
with an installed capacity of around 8200 MW of electricity. Six of these projects
are mega hydroelectric projects, all going to be built within a distance of just
86 km. On the main Lohit river: 1750 MW Demwe Lower, 1800 MW Demwe Upper, 1250 MW
Hutong - II, 588 MW Hutong – 1200 MW Kalai – II and 1450 MW Kalai – I. The Demwe
Lower and Demwe Upper projects are being developed by Athena Energy Ventures Private
Ltd. (AEVPL), which is jointly promoted by PTC India Ltd. (PTC), Infrastructure Development
Finance Company (IDFC) and Athena Infraprojects Private Limited (AIPL).
A major conflict-of-issue which has emerged for the Demwe projects is that Mr. P.Abraham,
a Director on the board of PTC, was the Chairman of an environment ministry committee
which took crucial decisions favouring the Demwe projects! PTC has already invested
Rs. 30 crores in AEVPL and has committed to invest Rs. 150 crores. For over two
years, Abraham was the Chairman of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on River
Valley and Hydropower projects appointed by the Ministry of Environment & Forests
(MEF). This committee plays a critical role in deciding the environmental and social
viability of dams and hydroelectric projects and recommending whether to grant or
reject clearance to such projects. Mr. Abraham is on the board of a number of power
companies that are involved in the power sector in general and hydropower in particular.
Therefore, he was sitting on judgment of projects promoted by his own companies!
This is a very serious conflict-of-interest and is unacceptable as per basic principles
of good governance.
On June 12 this year, a group of civil societies from across the country wrote to
Mr. Jairam Ramesh, the minister of state for Environment & Forests, asking him to
sack Abraham as the Chairman of the EAC on dams. In his two years as Chairman, several
projects of companies he was associated with came before the EAC for clearance. Due
to the prompt action taken by Ramesh, Mr. Abraham resigned as the Chairman of the
EAC on June 26 this year. While this is a welcome step, serious concerns still remain
about decisions taken by Abraham as Chairman of the EAC in favour of companies he
was associated with. Abraham claimed that he had abstained from the discussions
in which his companies were involved. But that claim is false. In certain instances,
such as the Demwe projects, he very much chaired the decision-making on the dams,
even though he is a Director of PTC, a promoter of the project. Importantly, some
very questionable decisions were taken by the Abraham committee in favour of the
For example, an issue which was repeatedly brought to the notice of the Abraham committee
is the crucial issue of ‘downstream impacts of dams.’ Recent times have seen grave
concern being expressed about the poorly studied downstream livelihood and ecological
impacts of large dams in both Arunachal Pradesh and neighbouring Assam. The concerns
include loss of fisheries, changes in beel (wetland) ecology in the flood plains,
agricultural losses, increased flood vulnerability due to massive boulder extraction
from river beds and sudden water releases from reservoirs in the monsoons. For example,
in Arunachal Pradesh people downstream of the proposed 1000 MW Siyom project (West
Siang district) and people downstream of the proposed 3000 MW Dibang Multipurpose
project (Lower Dibang Valley district) have raised concerns about the lack of downstream
impact studies. People in Assam have raised concerns about the above mentioned projects,
as well as downstream impacts of projects such as the 405 MW Ranganadi Stage –I project
and the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri project. In a publication on ‘Perspectives for Planning
and Development in North East India’ published in 1998, Dr. Vincent Darlong (a scientist
who has worked for the Northeastern regional office of the MEF in Shillong), authored
a piece on impact assessment of dams in the region. Giving the example of the 405
MW Ranganadi Stage – I project, he said that the EIA report had not considered any
aspects downstream of the dam site. He also noted that the construction work, which
was at an advanced stage then, had also led to heavy sedimentation in the river and
that “the impact of sedimentation is visible 100 km. downstream of the river in form
of decrease in fish population, which in turn is affecting a dependent fishermen
community.” While the downstream impact of the Ranganadi project after commissioning
is better known to all of us, its downstream impacts during the construction phase
is less publicised. This is an important angle to consider while looking at impacts
and risks of other dams under construction or proposed in the region. Downstream
studies are therefore absolutely necessary while deciding whether a project should
be granted a green signal or not.
In spite of the above mentioned examples being available before the Abraham committee,
it chose to ignore downstream impacts. It asked the Demwe project authorities to
restrict the downstream impact study to 10 km. downstream of the project, even though
it was aware that a large part of the Lohit district, including its headquarters
Tezu, lies downstream of the dam. In fact, as per the Environment Impact Assessment
(EIA) report, the actual analysis of the downstream impacts is restricted only between
dam and powerhouse! The only study which goes beyond 10 km. is the mandatory ‘dam-break
analysis’ which analyses what the flooding downstream will be if the dam breaks.
But there are many downstream impacts other than dam-break, both during construction
and during operation of the dam. These have not been studied at all. The dam-break
analysis has also been done assuming partial breakage and as such does not forecast
the worst case scenario in which maximum flooding will take place downstream. Other
than the impacts on people and habitation downstream which have been ignored, crucial
ecological impacts have also been ignored. For example, the chapories (riverine islands
and tracts) of the Lohit river have been found by scientists to qualify as a potential
Ramsar site – a wetland of international importance. This area has also been identified
as an ‘Important Bird Area’ as per international criteria. Even though this fact
had been brought to the notice of the Abraham committee, it did not ask for a study
of the impacts of the Demwe projects on these areas downstream. We believe this
casual approach by the committee is clearly linked with Mr. Abraham being a promoter
of the dam himself. In the public hearing scheduled in Tezu on August 11th, how
will people give well-informed inputs and comments, if the downstream impacts of
the project have not been studied at all? The current approach is assuming that
the project is a fait accompli and public consultations seem to be only a formality.
This is a serious cause of concern.
As mentioned earlier, 10 hydroelectric projects are planned in the Lohit river basin
and six on the main Lohit river itself in a distance of 86 kms. It is not only important
to know the impacts of individual projects, but also what will be the cumulative
impacts of these projects. For example, the ten projects will involve a cumulative
influx of at least 60-70,000 labour which will stay over a long period of time as
these are mega projects which take time for completion. The National Environmental
Appellate Authority (NEAA), a special environmental court, in an April 2007 order
has observed that it feels the need for advance cumulative study of series of different
dams coming up in a river basin. This is in order to assess the impacts of projects
not only on an individual basis but also on a collective basis. The Abraham committee
in its February 2008 meeting did prescribe a river basin level study of the Lohit
river basin since six mega projects are coming up on the main Lohit river. However,
it was shockingly decided that: “The Environmental Clearance to Demwe Upper and
Lower HE Project should not be linked with the completion of basin studies.” It was
therefore decided to de-link the environmental clearance of the Demwe (Upper and
Lower) projects from the river basin study, even these two projects constitute 44%
of the hydropower proposed to be generated in the river basin! This was a clear
bias in favour of the Demwe projects which had emerged because of the conflict-of-interest
issue. What is the use of doing a full river basin study when the clearance of individual
projects is not linked with the river basin study?
The Lohit river basin study was earlier planned to be a detailed two year study but
was arbitrarily reduced to a much shorter (and diluted) nine month study! This will
clearly raise a big question mark about the adequacy of the study. Moreover, the
study consultant, WAPCOS, has had a very poor track record on such studies and awarding
such an important study to such an organisation without any credible process of selection
of the right organisation means that credibility of the outcome is already in doubt.
The study was commissioned on 26th March 2009 and is to be completed in nine months.
As per the terms of reference they are supposed to also suggest if certain development
activities are to be avoided keeping in mind the overall sensitivity of the Lohit
river basin. However, the full study will only be completed by the end of the year.
What is the use of this river basin study if the public hearing and assessment of
one of the largest hydroelectric projects in the Lohit valley, 1750 MW Demwe Lower,
takes place five months before the study is completed! Since the public hearings
are scheduled for August 11th and 12th, the project is likely to be submitted for
final environmental clearance by the end of August itself. The Abraham committee
has ensured that they have made a farce of the environmental governance process by
taking decisions in favour of the Demwe projects. Such projects cannot be acceptable
to anyone, least of all the people of the Lohit basin in particular and the people
of the North East in general, who have no say in any of these decisions.
A mega project like the 1750 MW Demwe Lower project will have serious social and
environmental impacts (we have not got into details in this article as we were focussing
on the conflict-of interest issue). Everybody would agree that crucial decisions
on the social and environmental impacts of such mega projects, which are supposed
to be taken by independent experts, should not be taken by the project promoters
like Mr. P. Abraham. To ensure that credibility is restored into the decision-making
process of the Demwe projects and other projects in the Lohit river basin, we feel
it is extremely important to urgently do the following:
* Cancel the public hearings scheduled for August 11th and 12th in Tezu and Anjaw
* These public hearings should be held only after completion of the full river basin
study of the Lohit river basin. Additional Terms of Reference (ToR) and time should
be added for the full river basin level study in consultation with local people (in
upstream and downstream areas) and truly independent experts. The results of the
study should be open for public scrutiny and debate.
* Till the full river basin level study is being completed, additional ToR should
also be prescribed to study the individual impacts of the 1750 MW Demwe Lower project.
For example the full social impact assessment, comprehensive options assessment and
downstream impact assessment studies which have been shockingly ignored.
* Have a credible, empowered and participatory mechanism for all decision-making
on these dams.
We hope the state and central government give these issues the utmost importance.
A failure to address these issues right now will mean that the interests of big project
promoters are being allowed to trample the social and ecological security of the
people of Arunachal Pradesh in general and those of the Lohit valley in particular.
Neeraj Vagholikar is a member of Kalpavriksh, an environmental action group (email@example.com).
Himanshu Thakkar is with the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Abo Tani football gets underway
By Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Aug 02: The third edition of the Abo tani State Level Club football got
underway today. Later, in the opening match Capital Complex Football Club (CCFC)
beat Model Village Football Club (MVFC) with a solitary goal. Ligang Bongo scored
in the 15th minute of the game.
The talented sportspersons could not be identified due to various reasons in the
state said MLA Nikh Kamin while addressing the opening ceremony of 3rd Abo tani cup
as Chief Guest at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Naharlagun today.
He however, acknowledging the hidden talents and sportive nature of the youth, advised
the players to exhibit the spirit of games and sports in the field and carry forward
their talent and bring laurel to the state.
Guest of Honour MLA Takam Sorang highlighting the importance of various games and
sports said that people in India give prior importance to cricket only. In the context
of Arunachal Pradesh due to lack of sponsors, Games and sports activities is lagging
behind other states of the country.
He further advised the youth to gives equal importance to dance, music and singing.
Both Kamin and Sorang donated Rs 50,000 each to the organizing committee.
Organisations express concern at national water mission and action plan on Climate
ITANAGAR, Aug 2: Several organizations from across the country have written to the
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh expressing concern at the National Water Mission
under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
The concerns by the organizations could have come at a better time as PM’s advisory
Council on climate change is meeting with the agenda of Passing National Water Mission,
National Solar Mission and Nation Mission for sustainable habitat, among others on
It said that there was no participatory or transparent process in formulation of
NAPCC or even the specific mission plans. When this issue was raised before the joint
secretary, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in September 2008, he said that
participatory process should be taken up during formulation of the mission plans,
but that too has not happened. This cannot be an acceptable situation in any democracy.
The Indian government rightly says that they have no obligation to reduce GHG emissions,
following the ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ as described in the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The question is, why should the same
principles of common but differentiated responsibility and equity not be followed
The NAPCC has no targets for emission reduction for India, except saying that India
will not exceed the levels of emissions of the developed countries. India would be
suffering greater impacts of climate change than US, Europe or even China. Within
India, the worst sufferers would be the most vulnerable sections depending on the
natural resources for their daily needs, including the adivasis, the coastal communities,
the mountain communities, the rainfed farmers, the land less and the marginal and
small farmers, the dalits, the women and the poor. The contribution of these vulnerable
sections of our population is very little or negative. It is in the name of development
of these people that Indian government is saying we need to be allowed to increase
In principle the claimed benefits from CDM projects and carbon trade projects are
suspect. Therefore, our government should dissociate itself from it as soon as possible.
But as long as it continues
as part of the Kyoto Protocol, some minimum steps need to be taken to bring it under
public scrutiny. Firstly, most projects that have entered the CDM (Clean Development
Mechanism) projects pipeline from India can not be described as part of sustainable
development, nor do they deserve CDM credits. It is noteworthy that most of these
are controlled by corporate bodies that are responsible for lion’s share of India’s
corporate emissions. While the practice of giving single window clearance to such
projects must stop, we need to make the host country clearance process transparent,
accountable, participatory and credible. Moreover, at least 75% of the credits from
the credibly certified projects should go to local development projects.
THE WATER SECTOR Some important recommendations in this sector by the organizations
* Opportunity to reverse wrong policies The climate change has provided us a unique,
once in a century kind of opportunity to assess, review, reflect on our current policies
and reverse them where we have gone wrong. This opportunity must not be allowed to
go waste. We have a water crisis on our hands even without the climate change, with
vast populations still not able to get water for basic human existence. More areas
are slipping into problem zones as we are not able to ensure source sustainability,
because of the wrong kind of priorities we have been following in water sector. Unfortunately,
the National Water Mission and the NAPCC largely is a collection of business as usual
projects, dominated by the misguided and wrong agenda of more big dams, more big
surface storages, more large hydro projects, interlinking of rivers and so on.
* Participatory process for NWM As noted above the proposed NWM has been formulated
through a completely non participatory and non transparent process. A time bound,
participatory process for formulation of National Water Mission, National Mission
for Sustainable Agriculture and other missions should be taken up immediately. Credible
panels can be set up for taking up this exercise.
* Knowledge Base Our knowledge base on the issue of impacts of climate change on
water sector is poor. Immediately, we need to come out with a report on the state
of the knowledge in this sector and we need to have annual updates of this report.
* National Water Security Act We urgently need an act from 3 perspectives: Human
Right perspective, including health perspective, ensuring provision of clean water
required for drinking and domestic water use for all as a right; from the livelihood
perspective, ensuring the water required for livelihood for all and from the ecologic
perspective, ensuring protection of rivers, wetlands, lakes, water bodies, etc.
* Review and Reform Water Law There is an urgent need to review prevailing water
related laws in India from the perspective of environmental sustainability and social
justice. Current laws are totally devoid of an ecological, integrated approach and
do not reflect the basic principle that water is a common good and a precious natural
resource. The reform process needs to be undertaken in a highly participatory, decentralized,
and democratic way.
* Common Property Resource Water is essentially common property resource, the state,
where it has a role, is supposed to act as a trustee of this resource, in the interest
of the people’s basic needs, in a democratic manner, which is not the situation today.
The proposition in NAPCC and NWM proposal for developing “new regulatory structures,
combined with appropriate entitlements and pricing” and also the urban water regime
seem more like a push towards privatization of water resources, which is not helpful,
appropriate or acceptable.
* Governance The fundamental problem plaguing this sector is lack of democratic governance.
We urgently need to set up legal and institutional mechanisms to ensure bottom up,
participatory, accountable governance for rivers, for pollution control, river action
plans, for groundwater, for environment management, irrigation systems, lakes, rivers,
wetlands, embankments, canals, pipelines, and other related water infrastructure.
Such project/river specific committees should be statutory bodies with powers to
make necessary mandatory orders with respect to the functioning of the projects.
* Reservoir Operation Committees To ensure proper & optimum functioning of the existing
and under construction reservoirs in the interest of the people, each reservoir should
have a reservoir operation committee, in which at least 50% members should come from
the local communities. As a step in that direction, the reservoir operation rules
& actual reservoir operation details (inflows, outflows, levels, capacities, & anticipated
inflows) should all be made public suo moto on daily basis for each large dam.
* Irrigation Efficiency The objective of increasing the irrigation efficacy is much
needed and laudable, but such attempts in the past has not succeeded because of the
top down, unaccountable governance systems. Such attempts have left the governance
of the larger systems outside the reach of the water users. Unless this is changed
fundamentally, such attempts won’t succeed.
* Groundwater We need to understand that groundwater is India’s national water lifeline
and will remain so for many years to come for all sorts of water use. If we want
to ensure sustainable existence of this lifeline, we need work on three fronts: Firstly,
ensure the sustenance of the existing groundwater recharge systems including local
water systems & their catchments, wetlands and rivers; secondly, give top priority
to creation of more such systems and thirdly, put in place credible, legally enforceable
community led regulation. At the same time, the government needs to promote greater
access of groundwater to the underprivileged, particularly dalits and other backward
* Rivers, wetlands and water bodies Indian culture and religions are supposed to
value Rivers, but our governance system has no value for rivers flowing with freshwater
all round the year. To bridge this serious lacuna, we need a law for ensuring that
perennial rivers have freshwater flow all round the year, sufficient for various
purposes including groundwater recharge, social and environment needs. Similarly
we need law for protection of wetlands, water bodies and catchment of water bodies.
We also need to declare some of the river/ tributaries in each state as NO GO zones,
where no dams/ barrages/ hydropower projects are allowed.
* Given the link between forests and fresh water flows in rivers, there is an urgent
need to take up catchment area eco restoration of at least the highly degraded river
basins as a long term strategy, such restoration would also help the cause of climate.
* There is also a need to have comprehensive, credible assessment of basin wide potential
of water resources development through watershed development, groundwater recharge,
local water systems. Such systems are efficient in harvesting rainwater, in ensuring
groundwater recharge and are in fact more appropriate from employment generation
point of view. Such an assessment does not exist for any basin, it can be started
with say Ken and Betwa rivers basins. In the context of climate change, such options
should have top priority.
* Local water systems are efficient in harvesting rainwater, in ensuring groundwater
recharge and are in fact more appropriate from employment generation point of view.
Such systems, through examples like Hirwe Bazar in Maharashtra, Laporia in Rajasthan
and numerous other places, have shown that they are the best adaptation measures
even in the climate change context.
* Agriculture Organic farming practices must be incentivised, chemicals based farming
dis-incentivised. Increased organic matter in soil will also increase the water security
for the rain-fed farmers, since it will help increase the moisture holding capacity
of the soils, in addition to having mitigation effect from climate perspective. Water
saving, high yielding and low input requiring practices like the System of Rice Intensification
should be taken up in right earnest at all the appropriate locations, including North
West India. In fact, SRI can be of immense help in the current situation of uncertain
monsoon rains as it would help spread the limited irrigation water over long distances,
reduce the crop maturing period and reduce seed requirements by upto 90%. Water intensive
crops and cropping methods should be discouraged.
* Urban areas Big cities are increasing going farther and farther away for tapping
water resources for its seemingly insatiable thirst. This is not sustainable, equitable
or climate friendly. Cities must be made to use its available local sources, including
rainwater, local water bodies and groundwater in a sustainable way, the waste water
must be treated to recyclable level and a cap must be put on how much water they
can get. The massive Renuka dam on Giri River in Himachal Pradesh, being proposed
for the water requirement of Delhi, is an example of inappropriate water project
for an already water rich city. For example, the Planning Commission document Integrated
Water Management Policy and Actions dated May 2009 says, “Delhi, for instance, has
more water per capita than Paris.”
* Decentralised waste water treatment Decentralized waster water treatment facilities
should be the norm. The decentralized systems would also be less energy intensive,
less cost intensive, more efficient and is actually likely to lead to more recycling
of the treated water.
* Mainstreaming Climate Change The environment impact assessment and decision making
process of the water reservoirs in India should include an assessment of the possible
impact of climate change on such projects and also the possible contribution of such
projects to climate change, including the assessment of methane emission from such
projects. On this last issue, India should take up a study of methane emission from
existing reservoirs. In the decision making process, relative carbon footprint of
different water options should also be an issue of consideration.
* Approach The approach towards water must not be a purely supply side response,
in any case not through more large projects. Equity and access to water for all
through rights based regime and democratic, bottom up, management must be a central
plank for any plans.
* National Water Policy For the formulation of a new NWP, a detailed participatory
exercise should be started immediately. The NAPCC recommends such review only in
consultation with states, but this has to be a bottom up, participatory process.
* Priority for Maintenance of existing infrastructure Make available adequate funds
in the budget as a first priority to maintain the existing water related infrastructure
before spending money on new schemes. For example, there is a need to ensure that
water bodies, reservoirs and canals do not get silted up and therefore there is a
need to make adequate investments for catchment area treatment of existing large,
medium and small dams and also for regular desilting of canals and smaller systems.
Similarly maintenance of the canal infrastructure to ensure optimum use of created
infrastructure should be given a top priority. To ensure that all this actually gets
done in a transparent and accountable way, the governance in water sector will have
to be changed so that the local people have decisive say in planning, decision making,
implementation and operation of the systems.
* Weeding out unviable ongoing projects There are a very large number of ongoing
big irrigation projects, many of them are non viable or amounting to zero sum game
as the basins or sub basins where they are situated are already over exploited. They
are a drain on the economy & there is a need for a credible, independent process
to ensure that unviable & undesirable projects may be weeded out or scaled down appropriately.
* Environment Impact Assessment Our EIAs are notorious for numerous fundamental failures,
including blatant plagirarism, falsehoods, and inaccuracies. Firstly, the EIAs must
be made available to local people in their languages. Secondly, all large dams, irrigation
projects, flood management projects, hydro projects above 500 KW must go through
the EIA and public hearing process.
Lack of integration across NAPCC There is no attempt to ensure cross sectoral integration
across the various parts of NAPCC, missions and development path. Thus while the
mission for Himalayan ecosystem talks about the vulnerability of millions in mountain
environs, the ongoing and proposed initiatives on hydropower projects and the infrastructure
that comes along with it is not only threatening the lives and livelihoods of these
people, it is also hastening the process of glacier melt through direct impacts,
through change in climate in the mountains and also through some local positive feedback
mechanisms. Similarly, the initiatives on thermal power projects and mining (including
coal, bauxite) proposals are threatening the water resources at numerous sites. The
inappropriately undertaken massive agenda of road construction in mountains is cutting
of local water streams, which are local people’s lifeline. Inappropriate mining is
destroying both surface and groundwater. There are no policies for appropriate citing
of industries, considering the situation of land, water, forests, climate implications.
Likabali bandh withdrawn
ITANAGAR: Joint Action Committee chairman Sengo Taipodia informed that 108 hours
Likabali bandh has been withdrawn at 1900 hrs on August 1.
The bandh was withdrawn after the Deputy Commissioner Amhad Tak promptly revoked
his feasibility report on the proposed new district ‘Lower Siang’ with Basar as its
The committee further thanked the DC for upholding the recommendation made by the
previous Deputy Commissioner Huzar Lollen.
Socio-economic & Political discourse at Chambang
ITANAGAR: ZPM Upper Chambang and Chambang Youth Forum organized a Chambang area socio-economic
and developmental meeting and political discourse from July 29-30 at Chambang.
The meeting was attended by Panchayat leaders, Gaon Burahs, NGOs, youth, women leaders
and intellectual including Secretary Donyi-Polo Mission Tassar Sanjay, former AAPSU
President Byabang Taj, President ACF Khyoda Apik,Secretary DCCI Byabang Jagat, 35
ASMs, 2 ZPMs and 3 Anchal Chairperson and MLA Balo Raja as invitee.
The house appreciated Balo Raja for all the developmental works initiated and completed
under his tenure and appealed him to initiate more development work in the region.
Testing time ahead
The recent general election witnessed the panoramic view of how our 'adored' and
iconic leader Kiren Rijiju was grounded by a political 'strongman' Takam Sanjoy.
Some claim the "weapon" used by the 'strong man' was incredibly strong beyond the
democratic warfare. Like any other student, studying outside the state I was horrified
to know that Rijiju was declared "defeated". It did not matter who won but it mattered
to me who lose. After all, he was the youth icon of the state; indeed a warrior.
Lets say that’s a past...a history two months old!!
Now the new journey starts from here...after the election, it is time to see how
our Mr. 'Strongman' can live up to the expectations of the people and how our 'adorable'
leader can dust off the little setback and keep up the spirit for a better Arunachal.
Sanjay has to fill the huge vacuum left by his predecessor and prove that the people
of Arunachal are not a big-mouthed fool to barter him for a veteran. And in some
extend he is on his way. He has been raising some key issues pertaining the state
and hopefully will get the central government's ear to hear him.
This is a testing time for both the leaders to maintain there "lustre" and keep shinning
for a better Arunachal.
Thrissur Medical College, Kerala
Continuous bandh call meaningless
Being the common man, I would like to apprise the readers and all common men, especially
the leaders of APPSU that continues bandh call is meaningless, they should talk to
the authority. As we read in Arunchal Times that relatives of the victims family
is not in the interest of conducting bandh, and also they don’t want APPSU to take
part in this unwanted event, then why this is all about?
Somehow, in our state the biggest virus eating all of us is political interest (PI).
This PI virus didn't spare even strong student union like APPSU, otherwise what is
the interest of all the students in Arunachal Pradesh to fight for the victims? Why
should not we wait for CBI’s report without harassing the common people?
Er Rajen Pudur,On Email
Govt should not neglect people’s voice
The Arunachal Govt is neglecting the people’s outcry against the hydro-power projects
in the state, it is a sign of political giants wrapping themselves in tune with the
corporates which is shocking as well as a frightening since the trend is sure to
lead to the creation of a corporate’s Govt rather than people’s Govt.
Further, rather than piling up of memorandums of the people against such anti-people
schemes, the Govt must work on it to bring out an amicable solution to the dam issues.
Moreover, without ever vigilant public, the system in a democratic state will cease
to function properly and the very right of the people will sure to die out in the
years to come.
Therefore, I on behalf of the Adi Among Autonomous Kebang (AAAK), would like to appeal
to the people of the state to look into the problems engulfing the state with a broader
perspective of the area or the community it belongs from. The problem of an area
or a community will soon become the problem of the state if these problems are not
attended on time.
AAAK wholeheartedly supports and will carry out the bandh called by the Adi Students’
Union on August 6 for 12 hours in the Adi dominated areas of the state. We appeal
the people to support the bandh call to make it a grand success.
My name was dragged in by some individuals for allegedly trying to disrupt the tendering
process in Tezpur of a project by CPWD on July 23 last. It was carried in your daily
under Readers Forum that after failing to negotiate the withdrawal from tender process,
I engaged SULFA men to snatch away tender papers from other contenders.
It came as a shock to read the allegations.
The item published is misleading and false with an intention to damage my reputation
and hamper my good relations with the people of the state and to lower my dignity
among the people of the Arunachal.
I fail to understand why an FIR was not lodged at the nearest Police Station or complaint
lodged with the CPWD authorities if there was any truth in the allegations.
The allegations are defamatory in nature and necessary actions are being taken against
those who misused my name in the newspaper with an intention to malign my reputation.