By- Staff Reporter | Date- February 24, 2012
The anti-dam movement in Assam took a booster yesterday with National Activist Medha Patkar, of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) fame joining in and addressing a huge mass gathering against the construction of big dams in the region.
Patkar, addressing a mammoth public rally at Sauldhuaghat in Lakhimpur district stated that the construction of mega dams must be stopped at any cost and that construction of mega dams must be considered a national crime. The rally was organized by six organizations, including the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), TMPK, AJYCP and AAMSU (R) which are opposing the construction of a mega dam over the Subansiri River at Gerukamukh by NHPC.
Patkar stated that Big dams are usually taken up to indulge in corruption by the Centre and big companies who exploit the resources for their own self benefit ignoring the impact of these projects on common people. The movement against the Lower Subansiri Hydro-electric Project will not remain confined to Assam alone. On March 19, there will be a national meeting against big dams in New Delhi, and I will take up this issue there, – said the fire brand activist.
Patkar appreciated the efforts made by KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi and others to start this movement when the State was found to be following only the interests of the corporations.
Akhil Gogoi of the KMSS, on the other hand pointed out that gathering of twenty thousand people in the rally itself proved that the State Governments claim of Anti-dam protests not supported by people but only by few organisations was completely false.
Asjin Tasing of Siang People Forum, Arunachal Pradesh, also addressed the rally. He stated about the Dollar Money Politics concept in his State and concerned about the exploitation of its natural resources such as rivers. He accused that the State government as well as organizations had been offered money funded by international agencies like the IMF, World Bank and ADB for the interest of the corporate sector.
Also present at the public rally were, TMPK president Johan Doley and AJYCP president Manoj Baruah who spoke with vigor against the mega dam project.
After the meeting, the people gathered walked down into the river waters and more than 20,000 people together vowed on the River Subansiri to save their river and the lives of lakhs of people who might otherwise be affected by the dam project. The people vowed to either give their own lives or to stop the dam project.