About 2.7 lakh trees are supposed to be fallen for the Etalin Hydropower Project in the Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh. This area is one of the biodiversity hotspots in the country and the forest destruction is quite troubling news for environment specialists.
Hydropower Project, The Etalin Hydro-electric Power Company Limited hasn’t received the approval of the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Environment Ministry. It’s supposed to be a joint venture of the Jindal Power Limited and the Hydropower Development Corporation of Arunachal Pradesh.
ISSUES WITH THE PROJECT LOCATION
According to the National Herald reports, “The proposed 3097 MW Etalin Project and the approved 2880 MW Diband Multipurpose Project has been planned on the same limb of the river and will together result in the destruction of a major chunk of the Dibang Valley.” According to a report of the Hindustan Times, A Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has documented about 413 plants, 113 spiders, 159 butterflies, 31 reptiles, 14 amphibians, 230 bird and 21 mammalian species living within the project area. This project falls under the richest Himalayan bio-geographical area and one of the mega biodiversity hotspots in the world. The FAC itself has recognized the project location as a home to outstanding biodiversity.
The project was supposed to have compensatory plantations made in about 25 different areas in the same valley in the Anini Town. However the environmentalists and the locals (Idu Mishmi community) are concerned about the compensatory plan and whether it would create equal ecological value since it’d be done on a fragmented piece of land and would be an artificial plantation.
On April 23, the FAC met to discuss the forest clearance but hasn’t released any update on the decision yet.