NORTH LAKHIMPUR, Aug 1 – The general secretary of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Akhil Gogoi has called for a mass movement in Lakhimpur and Dhemaji district against the construction of mega dam over river Subansiri by the National Hydro-electric Power Corporation in Gerukamukh. He made this call while addressing a massive public meeting organized by Suraksha, an NGO on Right To Information Act in Panigaon HS School, 10 kms south of North Lakhimpur on Friday.
The national award winner said that the RTI was such a law empowers every common citizen and its objective was to facilitate the participation of the which common people in the policy making of the State. The peasant leader asked the public to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to information without any fear and without being bogged down by intimidation, flattery, bribery and other unfair means.
While creating awareness among the gathering on RTI, Akhil Gogoi presented a comprehensive overview of the rampant corruption prevailing in various public service
departments and the nexus of politicians, administrators and traders in siphoning public funds and other services off from the deserving poor of the society.
He spoke about the irregularities in departments like Rural Development, PDS and other essential services and said that there was not a single PDS store anywhere in Assam that provides five litre kerosene and other commodities like rice and sugar in fair price. The PDS stores also do not provide wheat to the public and the entire wheat consignment is sold in the market in which Rs. 100/- commission per quintal is often pocketed by contractors, GP office bearers, the Food & Civil Supplies officials, Deputy Commissioners and the concerned minister.
The charismatic leader also explained in plain words the political economy of price rise where the producer of crops, receives only a meager amount of money whereas his own farmland is sold in lakhs at the stock market by others which Akhil Gogoi attributed to the amendment of the Foreword Contracts Regulation Act of 1952 in 1998. In his two-and-half-hour long marathon speech Akhil Gogoi also explained the three-tier strategy followed by his KMSS in raising various social issues of the poor villagers and peasants. He said that in the first phase they get information through RTI, in the second phase it is social auditing and finally a mass movement is taken out if nothing is expedited.
Notably, on the issue of mega dams in the North East region, Gogoi called for a mass movement to thwart the operations of NHPC in their hydro-electrical plant of Gerukamukh. Since most of the works has been completed at the project site, he urged the public to block the vehicles that carry machinery and other materials of NHPC to Gerukamukh. He also called upon the public to thwart the Power Grid Corporation of India in installing power cable towers in Assam as the only remaining option to convincingly oppose the mega dam over Subansisri. In his speech Akhil Gogoi was critical of the corruption by state Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma and its silent nod by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. However, he wished speedy recovery of the Chief Minister in the meeting who was undergoing treatment outside Assam.
The meeting was chaired by Kushal Dutta, and objective explained by its secretary Prasanta Kumar Modak. Earlier the meeting was also addressed by AJYCP leader Brajen Saikia, MASS leader Pankaj Lahkar, AAKRASU leader Prasanna Borah and others.
Later Akhil Gogoi attended a meeting organized by the Human Rights Cell of Lakhimpur Girls’ College in association with Green Heritage on mega dams as chief guest.