| Nabam Tuki |
Guwahati, Dec. 15: Arunachal Pradesh appears unfazed by the launching of a 10-day KMSS-led blockade of all supplies to NHPC’s under-construction Lower Subansiri hydel project located on the Assam-Arunachal border. The stand is similar to the tough line adopted by the Assam government which is seeking a say in all power projects coming up in the region, particularly Arunachal.
Arunachal chief minister Nabam Tuki, who also holds the hydel power portfolio, said the state’s stand was very clear. “We have no issues if the Centre helps Assam in any way possible to tide over any adverse impact of hydel projects but we would not like to be dictated to by anybody on how to utilise our own resources. We have our own people to answer to and look after. We will discuss the issue with the Centre as and when it crops up.”
Without sounding confrontationist, Tuki made it amply clear that there would be no reversal of policies and even questioned the timing of the protest even though Assam and its people would “benefit more” than his state once the power projects started functioning.
“We really don’t understand why this hue and cry when the NHPC project is nearing completion. We have records dating back to over two decades to prove Assam had only backed the setting up of such projects to help control floods in its downstream areas. The Brahmaputra Board was set up on their initiation and so is the ongoing NHPC project, which has been set up after several years of impact assessment. Assam would benefit more from the projects coming up in our state. We will be getting only 12 per cent free power from the NHPC,” Tuki said.
Assam power minister Pradyut Bordoloi had yesterday asserted that Dispur had moved the Centre seeking a say before clearance of power projects in the interest of the downstream areas.
He also indicated that Dispur would not hesitate to seek legal remedy to protect the state’s national interest even though it wants power.
Bordoloi, meanwhile, has said that the NHPC has offered only 25MW free power to Assam, which amounts to one per cent of the 2,000MW project. “We want half of the free 12 per cent,” he reiterated today.
KMSS assistant secretary Bedanta Laskar said from Lakhimpur today that thousands of anti-dam protesters would block supplies to the NHPC project site if its construction is not halted immediately.
According to Laskar, everyday over 350 vehicles carry cement and rods, among others, to the project site.
“However, other vehicles will be exempted. If nothing happens, we will extend our blockade,” he said. The NHPC today asserted that the dam was “fully” safe.