News & Information From Northeast India

Assam peasants’ body opposes NGT ruling over Lower Subansiri mega dam

Krishak Mukti Sangra Samiti (KMSS), an influential peasants’ body of Assam has opposed the verdict of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) regarding its clearance on the 2000-MW Lower Subansiri Dam being built by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC).

KMSS advisor Akhil Gogoi said that they are shocked to see the verdict which can bring doom to the entire state. Several other organizations too have objected to it.

Earlier on July 31, the NGT had dismissed the plea of the anti-dam activists’ plea by describing it as ‘far-fetched’ and holding that there is no material on record justifying their plea of bias.  It had further said that the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) has conducted the appraisal and the NHPC can go ahead with the construction.

Akhil Gogoi on August 1 also demanded Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal for a tri-partied meeting with the Centre on the Lower Subansiri Dam at the earliest.

“We are shocked at the verdict of the NGT. It’s against the people of Assam. As we have been reiterating, if the dam is built, the future of the state is doomed. The committee of experts from Assam which was set up earlier has clearly mentioned the deadly impact of the dam construction. We just can’t accept the verdict of the NGT,” Akhil told reporters here on Thursday.

He also said that if the NHPC tries to resume their work at the dam site before the meeting, they will have to face the fury of the people. Akhil also alleged that it’s a ploy of the Centre to help the NHPC to secretly help them by clearing the hurdles in completing the dam.

“For the NHPC, now, no legal hurdle is left. They have even got the fresh environment clearance from the union ministry of environment and forest. There was a case pending at the Supreme Court against the three member expert committee formed by the NHPC and under such circumstances how can they get the clearance to set up a water bomb on our head?” said Akhil.

Akhil also alleged that the NHPC didn’t complete the Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) in a proper way by doing the field study on a scientific note. “It’s shocking and unfortunate that the NHPC had just completed the CIA report sitting in Delhi itself. There was a understanding during a tri-partied meeting with the then power minister Piyush Goyal and then sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal that no work would be initiated before this CIA report. But it’s not being followed properly,” he alleged.

KMSS, All Assam Students Union (AASU) and other organizations have been opposing the construction of the mega dam citing the environmental hazards as the region is under seismic zone V which is highly vulnerable to earthquakes.   Slamming the development, AASU said that it may intensify the democratic agitation in protest against the Centre’s adamant behaviour.

Asom Songrami Mancha (ASM), another body of the state too has slammed the verdict saying that the Centre wants to kill the people of the state for the sake of selling the electricity to the other parts of the country.

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