January 5th, 2012
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Subansiri Hydroelectric Project: Protest intensifies


Dispur: Protests in Assam against the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project in neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh entered its sixth day. Subansiri Lower 2,000 MW HE Project is the biggest hydroelectric project undertaken in India so far and is a run of river scheme on river Subansiri. The Project is located near North Lakhimpur on the border of Assam and Aruncachal Pradesh.

Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) chief Akhil Gogoi has been spearheading the anti-dam protests since December 16, 2011. The protesters have blocked national highway-52 near North Lakhimpur on the Assam-Arunachal border indefinitely. Activist Akhil Gogoi led-Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), the Takam Mising Porin Kebang (TMPK), the Mising Students Union and 55 other organisations of Assam are taking part in the protests. The 6285.33 Crore project which is scheduled to be completed by December 2012 will displace hundreds of thousands of people.

According to Ranoj Pegu of TMPK, hundreds of thousands of people belonging to the Mising community, a Scheduled Tribe comprising fisher people and farmers would be displaced if the dam is constructed in the upper reaches of the Subansiri, a tributary of the Brahmaputra River.

The Assam power minister said a group of ministers would be meeting the agitators on January 5 for talks. The group of ministers would meet the leaders of these organizations and look into the demands of people protesting against the construction of the dam the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, which activists say will displace hundreds of thousands of people.

“Roughly 40 per cent of the works are complete, and Rs 5,200 crore has been spent, and the foundation of the dam was being laid when we started the blockade on December 16,” said Gogoi. The agitation that began on December 16, 2011 was called off on December 27 when ministers expressed reservations on holding talks while the agitation was on. Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi had said that they will not be intimidated by anybody when it comes to national and state interest. He also had demanded for a proper atmosphere for talks.

However, all 57 organizations resumed their stir on December 30 the government showed little interest in holding talks. The ongoing economic blockade against Arunachal Pradesh includes blocking construction material for the dam.

“Some officials told us that talks are slated for January 5, but we are yet to get a formal invitation from the government of Assam. We have not called off the stir,” said Ranoj Pegu of TMPK.

Malayalam News




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