Image: Chandan Kumar Duarah on the bank of Siang during his study
Known as the Yarlung Zangbo in China, the Brahmaputra enters Arunachal Pradesh near Gelling from where it is known as the Siang. The total length of the Siang River is 294 km until it meets the Dibang and Lohit rivers at Sadia in Assam. Since Assam too is affected, civil society groups and individuals have been opposing the construction of big dams there as well. Their appeals to different authorities not to give environmental clearances for the dams being built in the four districts of Siang, East Siang, Upper Siang and West Siang have gone unheard.
The Siang People’s Forum (SPF) and Lower Siang Dam Affected Peoples’ Forum (LSDAPF), who have been spearheading the anti-mega dam movement in the Siang valley, had appealed to the previous central government, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), and also to its chairperson, Sonia Gandhi. They have now appealed to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and in a memorandum to the Prakash Javadekar, who was then the minister of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC), the SPF declared that the four districts would not compromise on their demand of scrapping all mega dams over the Siang river.