LAKHIMPUR: On the day of Kati Bihu festivities on Saturday, the activists of the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) were compelled to take to the streets against the Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHP), the big river dam, which is being constructed by NHPC at Gerukamukh in the Assam-Arunachal border area belonging to Dhemaji district.
The members of the Lakhimpur district units of the AASU and AJYCP, by staging sit-in on NH-15 at Dolahat, blocked a total of seven vehicles carrying SLHP construction materials to Gerukamukh by NHPC. These vehicles were laden with turbines and transformers to be used in SLHP. The organizations initiated the stir from 2 pm and it continued till the time of filing this report though the district administration and the police department asked the protesters to withdraw their demonstration and to release the blocked vehicles.
Notably, NHPC has been constructing the SLHP, which had been in halt from November in 2011, taking advantage of the COVID-19 and lockdown situation while ignoring the massive protest programmes continuously initiated by a number of anti-big river dam organizations. Continuing the construction work in the highly seismic zone, NHPC has violated the recommendations of the expert committee, Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal. At present, the BJP-led governments at the Centre and the State have taken a stand in favour of the big river dam while taking a U-turn from their previous stand.
Lakhimpur AASU president Pulok Borah and general secretary Dhnamoni Dutta became vocal against Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in this regard. Criticizing the silent attitude of the Chief Minister, who once opposed the SLHP, they asked him to clear his stand on the issue.