GUWAHATI, March 10 - The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) today said that it has been taken aback by yesterday’s decision of the State Assembly on the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project (LSHEP). The decision is an insult to the people, the State’s expert committee and Assembly Committee, said the students’ body. It has demanded revocation of the said decision.
The students’ body said in a statement here that it considers the discussion on the issue on the floor of the State Assembly as illogical and hence this is not at all acceptable for it. On the issue, it has sent a demand charter to Assembly Speaker Hiten Goswami and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
In their communiqué to the Assembly Speaker and the Chief Minister, the students’ body has informed them of the stand taken by it and the 28 organisations of the State’s ethnic groups on the issue of the hydel projects being built in Arunachal Pradesh.
The decision of the State Assembly on the issue yesterday is one-sided and it does not conform to democratic principles. The members of the Assembly are aware of the stand of the majority of the State’s people on the issue, it said.
Construction activities of the LSHEP were started without undertaking a proper study. The AASU could come to know it and hence under pressure from it the State Government had to hold a tripartite discussion involving the government, the project proponent National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and the AASU. The tripartite meeting formed the expert committee involving experts from Gauhati University, Dibrugarh University and IIT Guwahati.
This expert committee suggested that the project should not be built at its present location for the location is prone to earthquakes. Moreover, there should not be any hydel project in the earthquake-prone areas of Himalayan foothills. The existing height and generation capacity of the LSHEP should be reduced and it should be redesigned.
The State Assembly also constituted a panel in 2009 involving its members cutting across the party lines. This committee also submitted a preliminary report suggesting that the construction activities of the main dam of the LSHEP should be kept in abeyance until the final report on the project is submitted by it. Both the government and the NHPC did not honour the suggestion of this panel.
An eight-member committee comprising four experts from Assam and as many experts from other parts of the country was also formed by the Central Government as a fallout of the discussion held among the Central Government, State Government and AASU and 28 ethnic organisations of the State in New Delhi on December 10, 2014.
However, because of the differences of opinion between the experts from the State and other parts of the country, this committee has not come out so far with a unanimous report. The experts from the State have submitted a report, while the other experts have submitted another report on the issue.
The State Assembly’s decision yesterday has come in such a situation, said the students’ body.