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Protestors stall Assam's mega dam project

By K Anurag
September 12, 2011 19:05 IST
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The on-going mass agitation against the construction of 2000 MW Subansiri lower hydroelectric project along the Assam-Arunachal border has intensified. Anti-dam protestors have resisted the movement of two turbines meant for the mega dam project that is being constructed by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation at Gerukamukh at the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh.

Activists of the anti-dam brigades, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity led by RTI activist Akhil Gogoi and the All Assam Students' Union have stopped further movement of the two turbines that were off-loaded by two Bangladeshi vessels at Jogighopa port on Bramaputra River at Lower Assam.

The KMSS and AASU agitators have vowed to even sacrifice their lives to stall the NHPC project apprehending catastrophic downstream impact of the mega dam project in Assam plains.

The police were forced to fire rubber bullets, tear gas shells on protestors on Sunday, as they laid siege to the road to Jogighopa Port. The protests forced Bongaigaon district administration to stop further movement of the off-loaded turbines till the government takes a decision on its transportation.

Earlier, an expert group comprising experts from Indian Institute of Technology (Guwahati), Gauhati University and Dibrugarh earlier recommended against construction of the mega dam the NHPC at Gerukamukh along Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary in view of geological and seismological sensitivity of the area.

The expert committee in its recommendations on the feasibility and the safety of the dam says, "The selected site for the mega dam of the present dimension was not appropriate in such a geologically and seismologically sensitive location.

The seismic design parameter is not properly chosen for the project. Therefore, it is recommended not to construct the mega dam in the present site."

Assam government maintains that it is opposed to construction of the mega dam project unless NHPC gave an assurance to take proper measures to mitigate downstream impact of the project. However, the ministry of environment and forest had long back given clearance to the project.

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