All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) on May 31 once again demanded the governments at the Centre and in Assam, to stop construction of big dams in the region after a guard wall of the NHPC hydro-power plant in Gerukamukh developed cracks.
Resuming construction of the 2000 MW NPHC Lower Subansiri Hydel project at Gerukamukh by “bulldozing” the safety concern of downstream people has been criticized by the pressure groups.
On May 31, AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharjya, while demanding the work to stop, tweeted: “Guard wall of Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project collapsed due to landslide. The opinion by Expert Committee-Assam, state experts stands vindicated. construction of big dam & implement recommendations of expert groups from Assam. @PMOIndia @CMOfficeAssam @MinOfPower.”
AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi earlier had issued warning after a spot visit to the dam site after a guard wall along the approach road to the dam site collapsed on May 27.
The development has fuelled concern among locals and people downstream who, along with leading organizations like AASU, KMSS, AJYCP, are against construction of the dam without proper study and safeguards. Widespread protest had stalled constriction of the dame in December, 2011. Construction resumed on October 2019.
Gogoi said if just three days of incessant rain can damage the guard wall, one should think what will happen if there is continuous rain for 10-15 days or there is an earthquake.
He further said, “If they go ahead with the construction without holding discussions with local populace and major stakeholders, they will have to face the consequences if anything untoward happens to the people.”
An official said a small crack of about one metre has developed and water is seeping in from the hills. The guard wall was built to prevent landslides. NHPC sources said that there was “partial sinkage due to a cavity but there is no threat to the dam as it is 300 metre away.”
Dhemaji DC N Pawar, who along with SP P Ghanawat, had visited the site too said there was nothing to “worry”.
“One part of the guard wall on the left bank of Subansiri river damaged due to the diverted follow which was initially planned for seven years and it is not a part of the main dam. It is not a major problem and construction is going on uninterrupted on the right bank,” Pawar had said.