Jorhat, Oct. 8: An independent flood relief mission by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) to Majuli was blocked today by Takam Mising Porin Kebang (TMPK) activists who barred four vehicles carrying the materials from crossing the Brahmaputra in Lakhimpur.
TMPK publicity secretary Dilip Pegu said three Tata Mobile vehicles and one truck were stopped from being loaded onto a ferry at Dhunaguri ghat in Bihpuria under Lakhimpur district. The goods were bound for Phelekghat on the river island of Majuli.
Pegu said they were opposed to the construction company’s attempt to garner public support for the big dam project by such cheap means.
“The people of the whole state are opposed to the big dam, which the NHPC, backed by the government, is trying to construct. The hydropower company is trying to worm its way into the hearts of the people by using these means. We will never allow this, especially when the government is there to provide relief to the people with a separate disaster relief management department constituted for the purpose,” he said.
The kebang, a Mising organisation, has been opposing the construction of the big dam at Gerukamukh in Dhemaji district along with the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and other organisations.
Pegu said NHPC had been working in the region for the last 10 years but till today, it had never come out to provide relief to disaster-affected people of the state.
Lakhimpur deputy commissioner A. Choudhury said he had been informed of the matter and added that NHPC was wrong in trying provide relief to the Majuli flood affected people on their own. “There was no law and order problem here and if they were proceeding to Majuli, they should have contacted the Jorhat district administration under which Majuli falls.”
Choudhury said from what he had heard, the amount of relief materials NHPC was planning to distribute was insufficient for the affected population of Majuli and this, too, might have led to some problems on the island. “The material should be distributed in certain small pockets and we will see if this can be done in Lakhimpur itself.”
There were reports from Majuli that members of TMPK had also gathered at Phelekghat on the island to block any goods coming from NHPC.
Majuli has a sizable Mising population opposing construction of the dam tooth and nail on grounds that it was being built in a seismically active zone and any damage to the dam wall could result in annihilation of Majuli.
The proposed dam on the Subansiri river near the Arunachal-Assam border is supposed to be 116-metre-high and the reservoir will hold 1,365 million cubic metres of water at crest level and the flood discharge will be 21,230 cubic metres. This could wipe out a number of districts like Lakhimpur and Dhemaji and important areas like Majuli and Kaziranga National Park.