Guwahati, Friday, January 6, 2012
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Consensus on new expert panel
Staff reporter
 GUWAHATI, Jan 5 – The agitation against transportation of construction materials will continue even as the first round of talks between the State Government and the groups protesting against construction of Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project LSHEP led to a consensus on seeking the advice of a new expert committee.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) will have another meeting with the representatives of the agitating groups and experts on February 14.

The GoM representing the State Government also expressed its inability to halt the project work during the discussion that went on for over seven hours at the Chief Secretary's Office.

The groups taking part in discussion include the All Assam Students’ Union, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva-Chatra Parishad, TMPK and MMK.

Immediately after coming out of the meeting, KMSS general secretary Akhil Gogoi said, “As the GoM did not agree on temporarily halting the work at the project site as per the recommendations of earlier talks among AASU, NHPC and the State Government, the discussion cannot be termed fully successful.”

“Apart from this, we reached consensus on all other issues including constitution of a new expert committee, which will submit its report in six months,” the peasant leader said.

He, however, maintained that the agitation will continue and no construction materials will be allowed to reach NHPC project site.

“We will discuss the matter with other organisations and the people of Lakhimpur and Dhemaji after which the future course of action will be chalked out,” he pointed out.

He also expressed his gratitude to the GoM for identifying with the concerns and apprehensions over construction of projects in neighbouring State Arunachal Pradesh and ensuring necessary steps.

The KMSS also suggested the Government take up the issue with the neighbouring State as per the Inter-State Water Sharing Dispute Act.

“The GoM also agreed that the members of the expert committee will be selected in consultation with various organisations," Gogoi said.

Later, chairman of the Group of Ministers set up by the State Government, Pradyut Bordoloi, said, “We cannot stop the work. We, however, appeal to the agitating groups not to take the law in their hands.”

“Once the new expert committee's report arrives, we will adhere to its recommendations. During the meeting, it was apparent that no organisation is against development. There are certain apprehensions on the safety of the project, which can only be allayed or confirmed by the expert committee. But for that to happen, a conducive environment must be facilitated,” Bordoloi said.

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