GUWAHATI: With work on NHPC Ltd's 2,000-MW Lower Subansiri hydro power project restarting after a wait of almost eight years, anti-dam organisations led by the All Assam Students' Union (Aasu) and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) vowed to launch an intense resistance movement to stop further construction of the project.
Aasu, in a statement, alleged that work on the Lower Subansiri project at Gerukamukh along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border has been started 'treacherously', risking the lives and property of people living in the downstream areas. The influential students' body, which spearheaded the mega-dam movement that brought work to a standstill in 2011, said a scientific study on the possible impact of the dam in its downstream areas besides a cumulative impact study must be completed before expediting work at the dam site.
"Due to the Centre's injustice and Assam government's compromising attitude, the NHPC could indulge in the ploy of restarting work at the Lower Subansiri dam site. The state and central governments have also decided to form a special task force to crush the democratic movement against this dam," Aasu president Dipanka Kumar Nath and general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said on Wednesday.
Aasu said when talks were held between the Centre and anti-dam groups from Assam, the then Union power minister, Piyush Goyal, had promised that work would only resume when experts come to a scientific conclusion after studying various technical aspects. The students' body, however, accused the government of 'betraying' the anti- groups' trust.
KMSS adviser Akhil Gogoi said NHPC's announcement to resume work on the Lower Subansiri dam is not acceptable. "If the NHPC doesn't stop the work, we will be forced to launch an agitation. In 2011, work at the Lower Subansiri project site was brought to a halt after several dam experts from Assam raised concern over its design. The NHPC is going ahead with its previous plan to construct the dam without even a dialogue with all the stakeholders," Akhil said, cautioning the NHPC and government to not play with lives and property of the people of Assam.