BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Aug 10: One of the key planks on which the BJP campaigned in Assam before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was its opposition to mega dam projects in the State. This was endorsed by almost every top leader in the party, including Rajth Singh who attended a protest rally, opposing the 2,000 MW Lower Subansiri mega dam project at Gerukamukh on the Assam-Aruchal Pradesh border.
However, things dramatically changed when the BJP-led NDA assumed power at the Centre. The party is now talking in support of damming up the rivers and telling the people that they should support building dams as it would end the power crisis in the State. Now, the present BJP-led government at Dispur is also singing a similar tune on the issue, completely deviating from its earlier stand.
During the cut motion on the Water Resources department in the Assembly on Wednesday, BJP MLA Ashok Singhal openly supported building of dams for power generation and expressed his disappointment, saying that a section of "emotiolly-charged" people with a Leftist mentality starts protesting against the construction of dams as soon as the issue crops up. According to Singhal, these people don't have valid reasons behind their opposition and start conspiring against such development projects in the State.
Singhal said such opposition ultimately halts development of the State. He further said some organizations and a section of the populace even start making noise alleging that some people/organizations have come from outside to loot the State and its resources.
Citing an example of ongoing opposition by several organizations against the auctioning of 12 oil fields in Assam, the BJP MLA said, "If the situation remains like this, nobody will come here to invest. We must extend help to such organizations/people so that they build dams and other development projects in the State," he added.
Singhal went on giving an example of Chi where dams of all sizes are coming up at regular intervals. He also put stress on introducing water magement in Assam through river linking process, an issue which the Central government has taken seriously. "India has many States which are facing water crisis. But Assam, despite having been blessed with several rivers and streams, is facing shortage of potable water," said Singhal.
During the cut motion, Independent MLA Bhuban Pegu informed the House that some dams would be built in the State for which Rs 5 lakh crore would be invested. But he warned that there would be downstream impact after those dams are built, and Rs 50,000 crore should be kept aside to tackle the downstream impact.