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India's energy crisis (INFOGRAPHIC)

The nearly 150 dams planned for the sparsely populated state of Arunachal Pradesh would together fill India's current energy gap. But they will also devastate dozens of indigenous tribal peoples, wipe out thousands of acres of breathtaking forest and do away with some of the world's best whitewater.

Map of dams planned for Arunachal Pradesh

Credit: Sanctuary Asia (adapted from map of Dept. of Hydropower, Government of Arunachal Pradesh). Click on the image for a larger version of the map.

Photos: Arunachal Pradesh tribal people

Part 4: Adventure alternative

PASIGHAT, Arunachal Pradesh — “You see that spot in the river there?” asks Tajir Tali, a rafting, trekking and fishing guide with Donyi Hango Tours & Travels, a locally owned firm. “That's where Roland flipped last time he was here.”

Part 3: Cultures in danger

ROING — Not long ago, the tribal denizens of the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh cautioned their drinking buddies: “Don't piss too hard, or the government will come along to set up a hydropower project.”

Part 2: The threat to the environment

PASIGHAT, Arunachal Pradesh — From the middle of a hanging bamboo bridge over the Siang River, the distant village of Pongging is barely visible. A light rain has been falling all morning, shrouding the village in mist. One day soon, Pongging won't be visible for a very different reason. The Lower Siang hydroelectric project, one of the many controversial dam projects planned for Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India, will submerge the village along with vast lands belonging to the Adi, one of the largest of the state's roughly 20 indigenous tribes.

Part 1: How many dams can one state hold?

ARUNACHAL PRADESH — From the service road above the Lower Subansiri Dam, in northeast India, the river below looks deep and still, a dark forest green. On the bank opposite, a mammoth conveyor carries silt and gravel from a quarry half a mile away. Upstream, brilliant red cranes tower over the 380-foot wall of concrete and steel — nearly completed — which will soon submerge some 8,500 acres of land. The Lower Subansiri Dam is just one of more than 150 dams proposed in the state of Arunachal Pradesh that threaten to wipe out thousands of acres of breathtaking forest, dozens of fascinating tribal cultures and some of the world's best whitewater for adventure tourism.
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