Protest against the construction of the Umngot mega dam is imminent as villagers and farmers have rallied up to attend public hearings to register their protest against the project.
The Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB) has scheduled two public hearings for the 210 MW Umngot mega dam project at Siangkhnai under Mawkynrew block in East Khasi Hills district on April 8 and at Moosakhia under West Jaiñtia Hills district on April 9.
A network of villages and farmers on the banks of the Umngot River called Ka Kynhun Ki Nongrep Harud Wah Umngot, will attend the public hearing at Siangkhnai to protest against the project while the Elaka Darrang has issued a press statement informing that tourist spots around Darrang, Shnongpdeng and Dawki will be shut on April 9 and asked its residents to attend the public hearing at Moosakhia to show their protest.
Daloi of Elaka Darrang, Pyrwa Lymba said the project will have an adverse impact on the livelihood of the people in the area.
It may be mentioned that the project to set up the 210 MW Umngot mega dam was terminated by the State government in August last year. The original memorandum of understanding with M/s Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited signed with MeECL was terminated by the State government since it failed to implement the project in 13 years due to financial problems.
However, the Meghalaya government decided to revive the project, which was planned by the MeECL since 2007.
The dam will be built on the same site planned earlier, i.e in the Siangkhnai village. Thirteen villages located in West Jaiñtia Hills and East Khasi Hills, are likely to lose some 296 hectares of land to submergence according to the project documents.
Records show that seven villages whose cultivated lands are in the submergence area such as Umsawar, Mawdulop, Mynsang, Jatah Nonglyer, Ksanrngi, and Mawsir.
Meanwhile, the Umsawwar Youth Club in Mawkynrew has also written to the pollution control board and the Forest Department demanding immediate halt of the project.
The youth club said that the project will adversely affect not only farming but disturb the flora and fauna in those areas. “We will stand against this project because we don’t want to lose our future,” the youth club in the representation said.