Guwahati, Friday, January 6, 2012
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AASU seeks white paper on mega dams in NE
Staff reporter
 GUWAHATI, Jan 5 – The All Assam Students' Union and its ally organisations today demanded a white paper on all the underconstruction and proposed mega dam hydel projects of the NE region. They also threatened fresh agitational programmes if the construction materials are transported to the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project (LSHEP) during the process of the ongoing dialogue between the State Government and the anti-mega dam agitators.

The organisations further demanded suspension of construction of the LSHEP maintaining status quo on the issue until the State's experts and the experts of national and international repute come up with a conclusive decision on the mega dam issue. The Government should solve the entire mega dam tangle through dialogue, they maintained.

They further pleaded that cumulative impact studies of the region's all underconstruction and proposed mega dam hydel projects should be carried out in a comprehensive manner.

They also made an appeal to the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) to suspend construction of the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project (LSHEP) and movement of construction materials for the project honouring the ongoing dialogue process on the mega dam issue.

The organisations expressed the belief that the State Government is positive in its approach towards solving the tangle amicably through dialogue.

The dialogue on the issue started here today between the State Government and the agitating organisations after about one month of constant anti-mega dam project agitational programmes in the State.

Addressing mediapersons at the Uzanbazar Swahid Nyas Bhawan here, Mising Mimag Kebang (MMK) president Dr Ranoj Pegu said a twelve-member delegation of his

organisation and the Takam Mising Porin Kebang (TMPK) met the State's Group of Ministers (GoM) on the issue.

The delegation demanded a tripartite meeting with the involvement of the Central Government, State Government and the agitating organisations on the issue.

AASU adviser Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharyya said his organisation had demanded implementation of the recommendations of the State's eight-member expert committee, which had studied the mega-dam issue, more particularly the LSHEP.

Moreover, Assam should get 12 per cent power from the underconstruction and proposed mega dam hydel power projects of the NE region and the authorities should adopt measures that ensure end to the flood and erosion havoc in the State.

On the issue of downstream impact studies, the AASU, MMK and TMPK called for steps to cover the entire length and breadth of the rivers on which the mega dam projects are coming up.

However, Pegu and Bhattacharyya said the GoM had assured them to take up the issue with the experts before finalising its stand on it.

The GoM hinted the likelihood of formation of amateur expert team on the mega dam issue.

The GoM further assured the AASU that the State Government would not allow the LSHEP to be commissioned and it would also refrain from signing the MoU with the NHPC until there is a consensus on the issue.

Meanwhile, the GoM assured the AASU that it would hold discussions with the other members of the 26 ethnic organisations, which have been spearheading the anti-mega dam agitation jointly with it, by January 20.

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