Aasu slams government on power crisis

GUWAHATI: All Assam Students' Union (Aasu) on Monday lashed out at the state government for 'failing miserably' to meet the state's power requirements.

A day after Assam power and industries minister Pradyut Bordoloi accused Aasu of halting development in the state, the students' body refuted the charges levelled by the minister. Addressing a news conference, Aasu adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said Assam had gained from Aasu's relentless struggle and the union had contributed to landmark projects like the Numaligarh refinery and IIT-Guwahati.

Ridiculing Bordoloi's statement, Bhattacharya said, "Due to inaction showed by chief minister Tarun Gogoi and power minister Pradyut Bordoloi, Assam is reeling from a power crisis today. Their proposed power generation plants never materialized and the power generation capacity of existing plants decreased," Bhattacharya added. He demanded that the state power and industries department must come up with a white paper on its work.

He said if the power generation capacity of the Karbi Langpi, Namrup and Lakwa power plants were enhanced and the Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station (BTPS), the coal-based power plant in Margherita and the plant in Chandrapur near Guwahati started functioning, Assam's power generation would increase beyond 1,000 MW.

Aasu president Sankar Prasad Rai said, at a time the state required 1,200 to 1,500 MW during peak hours, Assam could generate only between 325 MW to 350 MW power from its plants. This had made the state dependant on other states and agencies for power, he said.

General secretary of Aasu Tapan Kumar Gogoi said the students' body would continue to oppose the construction of big dams in the highly seismic upper reaches of the Brahmaputra if the government went ahead with its projects to meet power requirements. He said Aasu wanted the government to initiate small but safe projects on rivers.

"Aasu is not against development, but we do not want development which will destroy lives and property," Gogoi said.