GUWAHATI, July 6 – The joint agitation of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and the Takam Mising Porin Kebang (TMPK) in support of their demands for revocation of all the proposals to set up mega hydel power projects in the NE region, solving Assam’s flood and erosion problems and saving the largest inhabited river island Majuli, started today.
The leaders of the central committees of both the student organisations staged a two-hour sit-in demonstration near the Raj Bhawan here from 11 am in support of the above demands.
On the other hand, members of the Lakhimpur and Dhemaji district units of the student bodies blocked the road leading to the Gerukamukh site of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation’s (NHPC’s) 2,000-MW Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project (LSHEP’s) dam to prevent transportation of construction materials to the site.
The road blockade is to continue till July 11, said the AASU and TMPK leaders at a joint press conference here.
They also informed newspersons that their members would observe an 11-hour fast from 6 am of July 8 at the sub-divisional and district headquarters all over the State in support of the demands.
The student bodies called for urgent steps to implement the recommendations of the eight-man expert committee engaged to study the downstream impacts of the LSHEP. The expert committee was constituted as per the decision of a tripartite meeting held among the representatives of the NHPC, Assam Government and the AASU.
It needs mention here that the above committee, comprising experts from Gauhati University (GU), Dibrugarh University and IIT, Guwahati, said in its report, among others, that no mega-dam project should be taken up at locations south of the geological main boundary thrust (MBT) and in the close proximity of the foothill thrust (FHT).
It also called for steps to re-locate and re-design the LSHEP by sufficiently reducing its dam height. For, it argued that the present site of the project was not suitable for scientific reasons and the project needed to be redesigned because of its present design not meeting several of the structural and environmental safety parameters.
AASU president Sankar Prasad Roy, TMPK president Johan Doley and AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya said at the press conference that they also met the Governor today on the issue and handed over to him a copy of the report of the expert committee.
The Governor assured them that he would take up the issue with the Central Government and particularly with the Union Power Ministry.
A delegation of the AASU and the TMPK will also leave for Delhi soon to take up the issue directly with the Union Government. The Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh would also be met on the issue by a delegation of both the student bodies before July 20, said the AASU and TMPK leaders.
They resented the failure of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to take up the issue with the Central Government as soon as the expert committee submitted its report to the State Government. This was because of the failure of the Assam Chief Minister to muster courage for boldly raising the issues concerning the indigenous peoples of the State before the Central Government. The Chief Minister had ‘turned the office of the Chief Minister into a post office’, they aleged.
For, his only concern was to stay in power at the mercy of his Delhi bosses, alleged the AASU and TMPK leaders. They dared Gogoi to raise the demand for revoking all the proposals meant for setting up mega hydel projects in the NE region before the Prime Minister within the next 24 hours.
They announced their resolve to continue with their opposition to any hydel project that posed a threat to the civilizations of the indigenous peoples of the State. The agitation would continue until the recommendations of the expert committee were implemented in full, they declared.