Advocating construction of the 2000 MW Subansiri hydro power project on the border of Arunchal Pradesh and Assam, Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region V K Singh today said most protests against the dam were not justified.
"We have problems of power in Assam. We are aware of the protests of Subansiri project, some are justified, majority are not justified ... Why should there be any problem?" Singh told the National Cold Chain Summit here.
People, he said, had not been told about the benefits of the project and that was why it was languishing for the last two years with a fear of down stream impact.
"It is run of the river project. My own assessment is that it is not going to cause any danger... People do not know that had there not been Tehri dam, Rishikesh and some other towns would have wiped out during the Uttarakhand flash flood. We have great advantages," the former army chief said.
Urging people to shed their inhibitions, he said the dam was going to be helpful and provide power to Assam as the 15 per cent free power could be distributed between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
Asked if he was willing to discuss the issue with the agitators, Singh said "Yes, everybody. I have got no problems in talking to anybody."
"North East has the highest potential of hydro power. It costs least. The region can reap the benefit by selling power to the rest of India and also to neighbouring countries," he said.
If the inter-dependence between the neighbouring countries increase, he said, then there would be no enmity and the relationship with Bangladesh and Myanmar would improve.
Singh's comment comes within days of Power Minister Piyush Goyal assuring the people that no construction would be undertaken till the matter was sorted out.
The project was located on the Lower Subansiri at Gerukamukh in Arunachal Pradesh, near North Lakhimpur on the border with Assam.
The cost of the project was initially estimated to be around Rs 6,285 crore and was scheduled to be commissioned in December 2012.
Construction has been stalled for over two years after protests by local people and groups fearing for safety and downstream impact.