Students staged protests across Assam on Wednesday against the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation’s (NHPC) move to carry turbine parts to Gerukamukh in Lakhimpur district for the construction of lower subansiri hydroelectric power project (LSHP).
The students burnt the effigies of chief minister Tarun Gogoi and shouted slogans against the state government and the NHPC for “betraying” the people in the state. The LSHP, which aims to generate 2010 MW of power, ran into trouble ever since the submission of a report by an expert committee. The committee, constituted by the state government, advocated that a dam of such magnitude should not be constructed in an area that was tectonically-unstable. It is alleged that the project was approved without any proper study of the geotectonic and seismic conditions.
Fearing severe downstream impact, several organisations in the state asked the government and the NHPC to address the concerns of people before going ahead with the project. Later, the NHPC during its meetings with the organisations agreed that it would refrain from carrying construction materials to the project site till a solution was arrived at.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which staged the protests on Wednesday, and the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti alleged that the NHPC breached the agreement by bringing in the turbine parts in two ships, which have now been stationed near India-Bangladesh border in Dhubri district of Assam.“By bringing the equipment and trying to carry them to the project site, the state government and the NHPC have betrayed the people in Assam,” AASU president Sankar Prasad Roy told DNA. The organisations warned that they would not allow the ships to move to the project site, no matter what the consequences could be.
Meanwhile, chief minister, who is in Delhi, assured of fresh discussions with the protesting organisations.