GUWAHATI, Nov 15 – The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) today alleged that the State Government has been sticking to a pro-mega dam stand obstinately only to appease big capitalists and the Nehru-Gandhi family. The party also announced its resolve to continue with its anti-mega dam agitation. While daring the State Government to engage in an open debate on the issue.
Moreover, the mega dam issue is not an engineering science-related issue only. It has many more aspects like the ones linked with environment and society. The issue requires participation of the local people and the civil society organisations, too, for well-accepted solutions to the problems originating from it, said the party.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary alleged that the State Government was taking recourse to half-truth to justify its pro-mega dam stand and also to besmirch the AGP.
Its Power Minister projected Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of the country, as a proponent of the mega-dam projects. But in fact, Nehru on November 17, 1958 described the tendency to go for mega dam projects as a ‘disease of gigantism,’ while addressing the 19th annual meet of the Central Board of Irrigation and Power, said Patowary.
Similarly, the Health Minister and Chief Minister of the State also resorted to half-truths during the November 11 debate on the mega dam projects. The Government claimed that in all, 3,82,000 people, at the rate of 6,000 per project, would be able to secure appointments at the upcoming dam projects of the region. But it has concealed the fact that 39 lakh fishermen would lose their sources of livelihood if these projects come up, Patowary claimed.
The Chief Minister is also silent on the renewable energy sources and his support to the assertion of Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma that India is not a socialist country is contrary to the spirit of the Indian Constitution, which has described India as a welfare country. Moreover, India is still pursuing the principles mixed economy, said the AGP president.
Apart from the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP), the AGP never supported the other mega dam projects proposed in the region. Moreover, there is no reason as to why the party cannot change its stand on the issue, if the Congress can change its stand on the issue of internal emergency, he said.
He regretted that the Speaker of the State Assembly behaved in a biased manner on November 11 to prevent the AGP from securing clarifications from the Government on all the above points.
AGP general secretary and former MP Sarbananda Sonowal alleged that while Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal ihas maintained that Assam is located in the most sensitive seismic zone, the Assam Government is advocating for mega dam projects on the contrary.
He alleged that the Assam Government is taking this pro-mega dam stand only to defend the investment of thousands of crores of rupees made by big capitalists in such projects.