Stop construction of Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHP), demands AASU
AASU members assembled in front of the main gate of the SLHP site and demonstrated human chain covering an extensive area
LAKHIMPUR: Over three thousand people, led by the All Assam Students' Union (AASU), rocked Gerukamukh of Dhemaji district on Saturday by staging a massive protest against contentious Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHP) following the recent devastation that has been taking place in the mega-river dam project site more violently than before since September raising the apprehensions afresh regarding the safety and feasibility of the dam.
The protest programme was initiated under the auspices of the Dhemaji and Lakhimpur district units of AASU with the full support and participation of the people living in the downstream of Subansiri River covering both districts. To take part in the stir against the controversial mega-river dam project, thousands of AASU members from nine districts of the State, like Majuli, Biswanath, Jorhat, Sivasagar, Charaideu, Tinsukia and Dibrugarh, including Lakhimpur and Dhemaji, led by the district presidents and the general secretaries, and the central committee dignitaries of the AASU arrived at Gerukamukh. Then they assembled in front of the main gate of the SLHP site and demonstrated human chain covering an extensive area. During the course of the protest, the AASU members and the people rent the environment of Gerukamukh by shouting number of slogans demanding to stop construction of the mega-river dam project with 2000 MW installation capacity which is being constructed by NHPC Limited on the Himalayan foothills made of soft-sedimentary rock, located in a highly seismic zone.
Leading the protest, AASU general secretary Sankar Jyoti Baruah said, "We, along with the people of the State, have known well about the adverse impacts of the SLHP. We are not against the development. But ensuring future development, the mega-river dam project at present has posed as tremendous threat to the life and properties of the downstream people living under Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Majuli and Biswanath districts. People are in fear. Despite such circumstances, the governments at the Centre and in the State as well as the NHPC Limited have expedited the construction works of the project by adopting the policy of dominance and temptation. Taking the advantage of the curfew, night curfew imposed during the agitation against Citizenship Amendment Act, COVID-19 pandemic waves and incapability of people to come out then, the governments have progressed the construction of the project by 70 per cent insulting the public protest, sentiment against it. But the most unfortunate thing is that BJP leaders Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh had protested the SLHP for their political benefit arriving at Pasighat and Gerukamukh before they gained power. After gaining power, the controversial mega-river dam project turned beneficial for them. They and other BJP leaders have forgotten their responsibility for the public", Sankar Jyoti Baruah said while expressing vehement resentment over the river dam issue and BJP government's U-turn regarding the same.
He also made a scathing attack on Congress in this connection. "At present, we have seen that the Congress party has been opposing, protesting the SLHP. Congress should not forget that the controversial river dam was set up during their regime without taking any precautionary measures. Turning a deaf ear to the public protest, Congress also propelled the construction works of the project. Now, Congress will gain nothing by showing the 'international purity of character' regarding the issue," Sankar Jyoti Baruah added.