Gogoi’s version of report distorted: AASU

GUWAHATI, Oct 24 – Countering Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s stand on the construction of big dams, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) today alleged that the former, on Friday, has deliberately presented a distorted version of the expert committee report to mislead the people of the State.

Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya, adviser, AASU, said that the Chief Minister had deliberately skipped the first two recommendations of the expert committee where the experts had categorically voiced concern against construction of big dams citing their hazardous impact on the life and property of the people.

“Such an attitude on the part of the Chief Minister reflects his inefficiency,” alleged Dr Bhattacharya.

Gogoi, on Friday, supported construction of mega dams as a way to solve the flood and erosion problem.

The recommendations given by the committee, comprising experts from the Indian Institute of Technology, Gauhati University and Dibrugarh University, in its first two recommendations stood against construction of the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project and any mega hydropower project in the Himalayan foothills, south of MBT on the strength of geological, tectonic and seismological grounds.

However, in the third point of the recommendations of the feasibility and safety of the dam, the expert committee had recommended redesigning of the project by sufficiently reducing the dam height and production capacity (micro dam).

Asked on their stand on the construction of micro dam, Dr Bhattacharya said, “ We are not against development but the recommendations of experts has to be taken into consideration before going ahead with any project.”

Members of the AASU today hanged effigies of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and the Members of Parliament (MPs) representing Assam at Delhi in all the district headquarters of the State. In Guwahati, the effigies were hanged at Panbazar and Dispur Last Gate areas.

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), while echoing similar concern, stated that the Chief Minister is misleading public on flood moderation by Lower Subansiri as going by NHPC’s own claim, the flood moderation component in Lower Subansiri is negligible.

“This was admitted by NHPC before the members of the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife in December 2008 when the project was being examined by them for clearance,” a press release stated.

Our Dibrugarh Staff Correspondent adds: The district unit of the AASU today hanged effigies of the Prime Minister, Chief Minister and of 10 MPs of the State in different parts of the city in protest against their position with respect to the upcoming mega hydel project and construction of dams.

Our Silapathar Correspondent adds: Activists of AASU and Takam Mising Porin Kebang (TMPK) blocked the main road of Silapathar town at 11 pm today in protest against construction of mega dams.

The activists also burnt the effigies of the Prime Minister, Chief Minister and Members of Parliament of Assam for their stand on big dams construction.

Our Tinsukia Correspondent adds: The Tinsukia district AASU unit too hanged the effigies of the Chief Minister, Prime Minister and 10 other Congress Members of Parliament from Assam at Zero Point in Tinsukia today.