Guwahati, Saturday, December 29, 2018
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Conspiracy alleged in NE dam construction
 GUWAHATI, Dec 28 - The Union government has hatched a conspiracy to facilitate construction of the proposed big and mega hydel dams in the NE region by throwing all legal norms to wind, alleged advocate Tularam Gogoi, a litigant in the case concerning the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP).

Gogoi has by this time moved the Supreme Court on the LSHEP issue.

Gogoi said in a statement here today that the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) did not bother to wait for the judgement of the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in a case filed by him (Execution Application 23/2018) on the impartiality of the three-member expert committee constituted by the Union government to assess the quality of construction of the LSHEP dam.

The final hearing on the case was slated for December 14, 2018, but the MoEFCC made the expert committee hold its meeting on December 12, 2018 and to arrive at the final decision.

Significantly, at the December 12 meeting of the expert committee, Dr Bhagawat Pran Duarah and Dr Chandan Mahanta, the two members of the Project Oversight Committee, pointed to several technical shortcomings of the LSHEP structures. But the Chairman of the expert committee, Dr Prabhash Pandey maintained that “a well conceived and carefully designed, constructed and nurtured major developmental scheme needs to be seen as an opportunity for growth and not as a threat to survival of the local people. The population residing in and around the SLHEP site, particularly in the downstream areas, needs to be assured about their safety aspect.”

The above observation of the Chairman of the expert committee is indicative of the attitude of the Union government and the expert committee towards the safety issues concerning the LSHEP. The Chairman is more concerned with the completion of the project rather than the wellbeing of the people living in its downstream areas.

The NGT Principal Bench rejected Gogoi’s pleas on the expert committee and this has given rise to the doubt that the Union government was able to get the idea of the stance of the NGT on his pleas, Gogoi said.

Challenging the NGT order, Gogoi moved the Supreme Court on December 24, 2018.

Gogoi said to facilitate a favourable atmosphere for holding public hearings involving the people living in the downstream areas of the LSHEP and also the experts of the State and other parts of the country, among others, he has moved the Supreme Court so that veritable ways could be found for removing the shortcomings in the structures of the project through extensive popular involvement.

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