PASIGHAT, Jan 23: “We don’t want Arunachal Pradesh and Siang basin to become another desert,” said Pasighat West lawmaker Ninong Ering in his inaugural address to a national seminar on “Geopolitics and significance of water resources of Arunachal Pradesh: Special reference to Siang River” and stressed on urgent Indo-China collaboration.
Addressing the two-day seminar, organised by Man and Environment Society (MENS), Itanagar in collaboration with geography department of Jawaharlal Nehru College here, he said that the issue should be taken up at international platform as Siang basin future is not only of local but a national interest. He also called for evolving sustainable development plan to restore balance between economic interest and ecological imperatives in tune with socio-cultural principles.
RGU finance officer Prof. Otem Padung, in his keynote address on “Water resources of Arunachal Pradesh: A boon or bane (Special reference to Siang River)” said that Siang River flows through heart of Arunachal Pradesh and its .basin occupies a special place for Adi society. Highlighting the pros and cons of hydroelectricity project on Siang River, he said there is dire need of power in the region as all economic-developmental activities are directly or indirectly related to hydroelectricity. But he warned that hydroelectric project could displace local community, make them landless, insecure and alienate them culturally. He also highlighted tourism prospects that could make various avenues.
During panel discussion, Prof. Sarsing Gao, of NERIST (Electrical Engineering), speaking on “Alternative hydropower generation scheme”, said that environmentally friendly, technical feasibility and sustainability have become indispensable to tap hydropower potentials.
Advocate Vijay Taram of Saing Dialogue voiced concern of the people, saying that Siang is mother of emotion. “We don’t oppose small dams, but let’s not disturb the spirit of water, let’s not kill the River.
“We cannot sacrifice our land for the sake of national interest. Before constructing any major project, people must be informed and transparency of the project maintained,” said All Arunachal Pradesh Student Union GS Tobom Dai.
DNGC assistant Prof (Anthropology) Dr. Ratna Tayeng, was assistant organizing secretary of the seminar.
The MENS is represented by state professional geographers, economists, sociologists and anthropologists, according to a JNC release.