Assam farmers protest Arunachal mega dam project

PTI

Effigies of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorji Khandu were burnt in Assam by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti volunteers protesting his alleged “pressure” on the Centre to carry on the proposed mega dams in his state.

The farmers on Friday burnt Khandu’s effigies in front of the Secretariat here at Dispur and in different districts forcing the police to arrest several protestors across the state, official sources said. The demonstrators with banners and placards also shouted slogans accusing Khandu and his MLAs and MPs of putting pressure on the Centre.

According to KMSS general secretary Akhil Gogoi, following a recent public hearing in Guwahati on the issue, Union Environment minister Jairam Ramesh had written a letter to the PM urging a review of the mega dam project in the N-E region and a moratorium on further clearances for hydel projects in Arunachal Pradesh, saying these were bound to be the subject of agitation in Assam..

Khandu had submitted a memorandum to Singh appealing that the decision for construction of mega dams in Arunachal should not be revoked, Gogoi asserted.

Sending a memorandum to the PM for revoking the decision for mega dams there, he threatened to launch an economic blockade against the neighbouring state and also stop the transmission line of the Lower Subansiri Hydel Project.

The KMSS also threatened to observe November and December as ‘Brihat Nadibandh Birodhi Andolonor Mah’ (protest months against mega dams) if Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi failed to clarify his stand on the issue by Monday.

The Arunachal dams have evoked protests from other quarters also with prominent Assam intellectuals, including Gnyanpeeth awardee Indira Goswami and Sahitya Akademi honour recipient Prof Hiren Gohain, calling for their review. The intellectuals on Tuesday had appealed to the Prime Minister to review the government decision predicting that they would have enormous downstream impact on their state.

In a memorandum to Singh, the intellectuals and academics asserted that the Lower Subansiri Hydel Dam construction was started with the most “perfunctory environmental impact assessment and its viability from seismological point of view was decided on an old 1983 report.”

Meanwhile, according to sources, a delegation from Arunachal Pradesh is said to have met External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to protest Jairma Ramesh’s stand. The delegation led by Lok Sabha member Takam Sanjoy called on Mr Krishna in New Delhi and sought his intervention warning about the impact on Arunachal Pradesh if development and exploitation of its natural resources was halted.

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