LAKHIMPUR: The AASU (All Assam Students' Union) has resorted to stir demanding the closure of all mega river dam projects including the controversial Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHP), being constructed by NHPC Limited at Gerukamukh in Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border area. In this context, the Lakhimpur district unit of the organization protested on Monday by initiating a protest programme to reiterate its demand to close the construction of the SLHP.
The excess water in the catchment areas of the mega river dam project, rolling over the main dam for consecutive seven days from August 26, inundated an extensive area in the downstream of the Subansiri River and affected more than 1,40,000 people. Moreover, the rapid surge of overflown water also reportedly collapsed the guard wall which was constructed to protect the main dam of the project. Jam of big trees being washed away by the river turned one of the eight main diversion tunnels of the project completely non-functional on August 26
Responding to the instruction of the Central Committee, the Lakhimpur district unit AASU activists led by conveners Sanjib Konwar, Simanta Neog, Faridur Rahman, staged the protest programme at Tyag Kshetra. The organization demanded the immediate closure of the contentious river dam project which has at present been apprehended to be an alarming cause for future catastrophe in the downstream area of the Subansiri River covering Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Majuli and Biswanath districts of North Assam. Staging the agitation programme, the organization cleared its stand that it would never approve of NHPC, Union and State Governments' move to complete the construction work of the controversial big river dam which had been underway by ignoring the sentiments of the State people and the report submitted by the Assam Experts' Committee.
"Though NHPC declared that it had implemented downstream protection schemes in the Subansiri River, there is not any evidence of such implantation. NHPC is always misleading the people regarding the sensitive issue. We will carry on agitation and strong fight against the SLHP and NHPC. The Union and State Governments must pay importance to the public opinion regarding the issue. We are not opposing to the development in the real sense. But security to the lives and properties of the downstream people must be ensured from the devastation to be caused by big river dam being set up in fragile hill located in the Highly Seismic Zone- 5. So, construction of the SLHP must be closed," AASU State executive member Dhanmoni Dutta said in front of the mediapersons taking part in the stir. The organization issued a warning to the NHPC Limited demanding to stop the construction works of the project.
Further, the organization demanded the Union and State governments to make the Expert Committee Report on the SLHP public immediately. The Expert Committee was constituted as per resolution taken in the tri-partite meeting held among AASU, NHPC and the State Government in 2014.
"The Expert Committee, constituted by the Union Government on the SLHP must accept the opinions of the Assam's experts and the people of the State regarding the issue. We vehemently condemned the one-sided decision taken by the government to complete the project ignoring the security issues of downstream people of the Subansiri River" Sanjib Konwar, the convener of the Lakhimpur district AASU said.