[ Prafulla Kaman ]
PASIGHAT, Jun 18: Assam’s leading peasants’ organization, the Krishak Mukti Sangram Somiti (KMSS), and the Asom Jatiyotabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) have resumed their movement against construction activities for the 2000 mw Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHP) in Gerukamukh near the Assam-Arunachal boundary.
The KMSS staged statewide protests in Assam on Monday and submitted a memorandum to the prime minister through the respective deputy commissioners, demanding immediate closure of the mega dam project in Gerukamukh for the safety of the people living in downstream Assam.
The agitation by the protesting organizations has resurfaced in the wake of the central government’s recent decision to restart mega dam works in Gerukamukh without having settled the issues pertaining to a mitigation policy for the project affected people living downstream.
KMSS leaders say the mega dam project in Gerukamukh would cause the ecosystem and the demography of Dhemaji, Lakhimpur and Majuli districts in downstream Assam to collapse. They allege that the state and the central governments, in spite of being aware of its disastrous effects, are forcibly trying to continue the project, ignoring the concerns of the people.
“The expert committee report on the cumulative impact of the SLHP revealed that the big dam is not being constructed at a suitable location, while the construction agency – the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation – does not have a proper mitigation policy against probable disaster,” said the protesters.
It may be recalled that the construction work at the Gerukamukh project site was brought to a halt in December 2011 after massive public protests in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The central government is trying to resume the construction activities at the project site without any settlement or effective mitigation policy for the project affected people living in downstream Assam.
“We are demanding that the authority close down the mega dam project in Gerukamukh. We will resort to rigorous movement against the government and the construction agency if our demand is not heard,” the protesters said.
Earlier, too, the KMSS and various student unions of Assam had staged protests against the hydropower projects in Arunachal’s rivers.
Recently, the AJYCP’s Dhemaji district unit also resumed its protest against the project.
[ Prafulla Kaman ]