Mawsynram MLA Himalaya Shangpliang has urged his constituents living in Thieddieng to welcome a proposed hydroelectric dam project, which he said would bring massive development to the whole constituency by improving roads, employment and other areas.
The Mawphu hydro project, now named for Wah Umiam, was sanctioned 12 years ago but work on it has yet to begin.
“The survey by the office of the Deputy Commissioner should have started in February 2020 but owing to the Covid-19 pandemic the survey was halted,” Shangpliang told reporters today.
He informed that a meeting at Thieddieng was held in November in the presence of the officials from NEEPCO, DC’s office, Public Works Department and other departments where the public was enlightened about the project.
“Thieddieng village now has access to a road built through [a central government] scheme that has eased the plight of the villagers immensely and I want our people to be brave and welcome big projects like the Wah Umiam hydroelectricity project for the overall development of the entire Mawsynram,” he added.
The first and second stages of the project fall under Mawphu village, with the third stage coming under Thieddieng. The first two stages, to be executed by NEEPCO, have been cleared by the government, so “it becomes useless to object to stage three,” the Congress MLA said.
He allayed fears for the possible loss of land under the waters of the dam, saying that the damming of the river under stages one and two will reduce the amount of land under Thieddieng that will be submerged. Any property that is lost to the waters will also be compensated for by the government, he promised.
Villagers have, in the past, opposed the project and accused local village officials of ignoring their objections to the dam. Shangpliang, though, is of the opinion that some of the groundwork should at least take place and claimed that only a small minority of 30 to 35 households out of 250 are opposed to the project.
“Without assessment and survey how will we know how much of the land will be lost owing to submersion and how much compensation they will receive?” he said. “The survey should be allowed and if it’s found that too much land will be lost then let the people of the village decide.”