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Anna to join anti-dam crusade, leader ends fast unto death

By Anurag Kashyap
May 28, 2012 18:38 IST
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Gandhian Anna Hazare on Monday persuaded Right To Information activist and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader Akhil Gogoi to end his fast unto-death against the construction of mega dams on rivers in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh without making a cumulative downstream impact study.

Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal who arrived in Guwahati on Monday to visit Gogoi at the Guwahati Medical College Hospital arranged a telephonic conversation with Hazare. 

Extending his support to the anti-mega dam movement spearheaded by the KMSS leader in the northeast, Hazare requested him to end his fast. "Your health is more important for the sake of spreading the movement against mega dams not only in Assam but also across the country," Hazare told Gogoi. 

Gogoi has been on a fast since May 19 demanding an immediate halt to the construction of mega dams in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to avoid catastrophic environment impact. He was forcibly admitted to the Guwahati Medical College Hospital by the Assam police on May 25.

"The Assam government's move to forcefully end Gogoi's fast was not only inhuman but also an attack on the Constitution of India, which allows every citizen the right to peaceful protest and demonstration," Kejriwal said.

"Annaji has asked Gogoi not only to end the fast but also spread awareness against mega dams in the northeast and create a nationwide mass movement. He has asked Gogoi to fix a date to launch a massive anti-dam movement across the country. Annaji himself will sit on an indefinite fast along with Gogoi," said Kejriwal.

Kejriwal also questioned the transparency behind allotting power projects to various corporate houses. He also appealed to the Arunachal Pradesh government to stop the construction of mega dams.

He aired apprehensions that competitive bids were not invited before allotting those projects and accused both the Assam and Arunachal Pradesh government of being hand in glove with these corporate houses.

"We are not against dams. We want electricity too but that should not be at the cost of the lives of the local and their properties and the environment," Kejriwal said.

Meanwhile, work on 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Hydroelectricity Project of the National Hydropower Corporation at Gerukamukh in Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary has been stalled since December last year because of the anti-dam agitation in Assam. The agitators have blocked the flow of construction materials to the dam site.

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