Monks protest against dams on Feb 14, local MLAs promise support

By NL Team

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While most people were in a dilemma whether to celebrate Valentine’s day, Bhagat Singh’s Shaheedi diwas or Matri Pitri pujan diwas on February 14, in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, a different set of problems were being discussed.

On Tuesday morning, around 100 representatives from the Save Mon Region Foundation organisation (SMRF) and the locals of Tawang met the Deputy Commissioner, Sang Phuntsok. The meeting was also attended by Tawang MLA Tsering Tashi and Lumla MLA Jambey Tashi.

Monks protest against dams on Feb 14, local MLAs promise support

“The result of the meeting was that both the MLAs accepted that the people are not in favour of NHPC projects I and II,” Jampa Tsering of SMRF said.

The monks of Tawang have been protesting against the proposed hydropower projects on Nyamjang Chhu river in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh since 2012. The locals, the majority of whom are Monpa monks fear that the projects will threaten the very existence of the community.

“We only have this land to cultivate for survival,” said Lobsang Gyatso, General Secretary, SMRF.

“They want to acquire the land around the river for the dam, but we can’t afford to give that away. We’ve already given away a lot to the defence and district administration. Anymore and our survival will be in danger,” he added.

“Both the MLAs declared to the public that if people are not in the favour of the project …then the project will be null and void and a government document will be made for the same,” Tsering said.