By- Correspondent | Date- July 20, 2011
The Assam government has declared to stand firm with the Lower Subansiri mega dam project, the biggest hydro-electric project in the country so far. Assam State power minister Pradyut Bordoloi made a PowerPoint presentation on the progress of the project. He also gave an update to the house about steps taken to defy the downstream impact of the project, which has been concerned as a big issue by various organisations. He also stated that this 2000MW hydro-electric project is likely to be completed in 2014.
However instead of presenting solid reasons and scientific explanations regarding the safety of the dam, the minister was seen backing the project mostly with blames and counter attacks to other political parties. In his speech and presentation, the power minister went on to make several remarks against some of the parties and people opposing the dam, such as:
• He said the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and Prafulla Kumar Mahanta led-AGP government in the state had, on at many times in the past, urged the Centre to construct a dam on the Subansiri.
• It was stated that the permission to construct the project was granted when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was at the Centre and AGP government was in the state.
• BJP Lok Sabha MP from Assam Bijoya Chakraborty was the Union minister for water resources when the project was cleared.
All that Bordoloi was able to suggest as a solid reason was that the Planning Commission has constituted a committee of technical experts, comprising former secretaries of ministry of water resources and Central Water Commission C.D. Thatte and M.S. Reddy, to look into the structural and seismological aspects of the project.
The minister was not seen much importance to the fact that the eight-member panel of experts, jointly constituted by NHPC, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and the Assam government, had found several inadequacies in its design and construction of the dam. According to the panel of experts, the site selected for the mega dam of the present dimension was not appropriate in such a geologically and seismological sensitive location. The expert group, comprising experts from IIT Guwahati and Gauhati and Dibrugarh universities, was set up to study the downstream impact of the project.
On the other hand, the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) has promised to oppose all the river dam projects being set up in the North East region at any cost. It also called upon all the nationalist organizations of the State to unite on the issue and accused the centre that the dam projects as another example of colonial rule on the region by the Centre.