Impact of HEPs on Biodiversity in Tawang River Basin, AP

Impact of HEPs on Biodiversity in Tawang River Basin, AP

Question: Development without sustainability is not in the interests of the nation. Assess the impact of hydroelectric projects in the Tawang River Basin in AP.

- A study carried out by the NE Hill University has indicated that HEPs located 3200m above sea level should be rejected

- 13 proposed hydroelectric projects on the TRB/Tawang River Basin in AP will have the following adverse impact, according to the study:

- Project will affect unique biodiversity and pristine forests

- It will adversely impact the cultural diversity of TRB

- It will also have a detrimental impact on the endangered flora and fauna

- Study has also requested that each project proponent should be able to frame a comprehensive mitigation scheme specific to the region where the flora and fauna are being impacted

- Report has also said 40% of the main length of Tawang river and its tributaries should be free flowing and without any projects constructed on them whatsoever

- The report has also said 66% of the total geographical region of the river basin must remain under forest cover

About Tawang River Basin

- Tawang River Basin is the homeland of the Monpa community and the famous Tawang monastery

- Report has recommended that TRB should not have a population of more than 57,474 persons which is 15 percent greater than 49,977(current population)

- Report also talks about protecting the demographic and ethnic balance of the region

- TRB is home for threatened species of birds, plants and animals

- Scientists have recorded 171 resident bird species and 71 migratory species in TRB

- Included in this are black neck crane which is considered the reincarnation of the 6th Dalai Lama of Monpas

- The place where the HEPs are coming up is the site of the black neck cranes apart from the endangered Arunachal macaque monkey and vulnerable species of red panda

Facts and Stats

- 13 HEPs will be constructed on Tawang river’s main stem and tributaries-Tsa Chu-I, Tsa Chu-I lower, Tsa Chu-II, Thingbu chu, New Melling, Mago Chu, Nykcharong chu, Rho, Tawang-I, Tawang-II, Nyamjung Chhu, Paikangrong Chu, and Jaswantgarh stage

- They will cut into 249 ha of forest and total installed capacity of 2809.10 MW

- Two of the HEPs are located 3200m above sea level

- TRB is located within the Himalayan Biodiversity hotspot also listed among the 200 most important global eco-regions

- It also falls within the highly active seismic zone V with proximity to glacial lakes and represents a specific Eastern Himalayan landscape prone to landslides as well as soil erosion
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