Accepted Paper:

Endangered North East India: development vs displacement in tribal lands  


Sweta Banerjee

Paper Short Abstract:

The Himalayan provinces of northeast India with rich biodiversity & ethnic tribes are facing displacements due to aggressive dam building denying their rights. Submerged forest land, flood, & dried river beds are leading to end of traditional livelihood. .

Paper long abstract:

The Developers of India are now targeting North east Himalayan states of tribal lands. The area is mostly hilly with fragile ecosystem and very less flat land. Ethnic tribes are integral part of the nature and ecosystem. Till date they preserve this biodiversity which is the very basis of their survival as they depend on river, forest & wildlife. About 135 tribes live here with unique culture, tradition and identity of its own. The Brahmaputra river with major and minor river basins are the basis of hydro projects which may have very little or no benefit for the native tribes but will surely benefit the rest of India through huge power generations. The submergence of flat land, grazing land, community land and compensatory regeneration of forest by developers will also costs flat land of the tribes.

The Environmental Impact Assessment is done without considering downstream impact. The clearance is completed on papers; no prior mandatory public hearing takes place. One province already took huge advance from private developers and partial release of information shows 116 dams are coming in five river basins.

An interdisciplinary dedicated research team is needed to impartially survey the situation. A group of Anthropologists are also necessary to communicate with diverse ethnic tribes. Already they are facing challenges of illegal immigrants in their land - How ethical is it to take their livelihood and outnumber them with influx of skilled and unskilled workforce from outside and finally displaced?

Panel LL-AS03
Ecological refugees: movements of people from marginalized regions due to environmental problems [Commission for Marginalization and Global Apartheid and Commission for Anthropology and Environment)