Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India
Honourable Prime Minister Sir:
For the past one year, we, the Idu Mishmis of Dibang Valley, have been subjected to a very cruel circus of development. Development that we understand very little, projects of national interest that do not evoke any interest within us, dreams that we know will remain unfulfilled.
The 3,000 MW Dibang Multipurpose Project along with more than a dozen other hydro projects are being imposed on us in the name of national interest and energy security. We have protested since we failed to be convinced that they will benefit us, we have submitted memoranda with the hope that we will be heard, and we argued against our destruction, the bleak future of our future generation, because we thought that we were the citizens of the world’s biggest democracy.
But, the events of the past one year, a sham process of forcible public participation to legitimize a project, a shoddy and incomplete environment impact assessment by a reputed public sector organization and repeated violations in organizing public hearings – all point to the fact that nobody is interested to listen to us – the governments, the bureaucrats or even our elected public representatives. Even you chose to inaugurate the Dibang Valley project early this year, some hundreds of kms away in Itanagar, without any consultation with our community.
We fail to understand how projects could be envisaged to be of national interest when their likely impacts are going to unleash destruction and devastation – destruction of our pristine forests, rich biodiversity, our land and livelihood, our sacred Taloh (as Dibang river is referred to by the Idu Mishmis) and its riverine ecology. Where an influx of 6,000 outsiders for a single project in a valley of fast diminishing 12,000 indigenous people is seen as a cultural integration and assimilation, submergence of our ancestral land and the only habitations in an otherwise hostile terrain is supposed to pave the way for a 43 km long reservoir, which will result in a ‘navigable waterway connecting the villages’, and destruction of land and livelihood is countered with generation of wage employment, all other arguments favouring the projects come to us as a cruel joke.
If these are mere apprehensions, let us also be clear that our apprehensions are still to be cleared beyond doubt. Instead, this genre of development, with the spectre of crores of rupees coming in to a mostly non monetised economy, dreams of an incomprehensible but quality life is dividing our small community and sowing seeds of divide and discord.
A future social conflict within our Idu Mishmi community could be self defeating and the Government of India will have to squarely take the blame.
Honourable Prime Minister Sir, a Public Hearing in New Anaya, Upper Dibang Valley has been again notified for March 27th, 2009, perhaps for the seventh or eighth time. This never ending circus has to end some where.
We don’t want any project in Dibang Valley, and
No further Public Hearings
This is the Will of the Idu Mishmis, the indigenous people of Dibang Valley. Your Government, being an important member of the United Nations, cannot violate the Convention on the Rights of the Indigenous People which your Government has ratified in September 2007.
We sincerely hope that our voice will reach you and your Government.
For Peace, Tranquility and Hope in Dibang Valley
Idu Mishmi Cultural and Literary Society
All Idu Mishmi Students Union
Dam Affected Citizens Committee
[as posted in Veracity - a local daily of roing ]