KMSS leaders from Guwahati stage a protest against the shipment of dam machinery in Dhubri on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos
Guwahati, Nov. 28: The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) today said it had no intention to take equipment to the project site unless the issues confronting the project get resolved.
“We respect the sentiments of the people and will not do anything which will go against them,” executive director of Subansiri projects, NHPC, Rakesh, said at a news conference here today.
Officials of NHPC were in New Delhi yesterday for talks with the Centre and the Assam government on taking this project forward and had to come back to the state to clear the “misunderstanding” among the people.
Rakesh said the equipment had to shifted as they were lying at Calcutta port for more than two years. They were asked by the port authorities to take the equipment, failing which these will be auctioned.
Rakesh said there had been no work at the project site since December 16 because of protests. “The loss is Rs 8 crore daily and it is a big loss to the nation. Hydel power is the cheapest power and people should realise this,” he added.
He said the NHPC is for the people and there is no question of going back. “Wherever we go we get associated with the people and the project,” Rakesh said.
A team of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) led by publicity secretary Kamal Kumar Medhi staged a dharna and shouted slogans against shipment of machinery for Lower Subansiri hydel project at Jogomaya ghat in Dhubri today.
Medhi, accompanied by KMSS office secretary, Mukut Deka, Guwahati Mahanagar secretary, Abdul Wahid and the president of Student Mukti Sangram Samiti, Hussain Mohammed Shajahan, will go to Hatirchar tomorrow where the equipment is lying.
Earlier in the day, the Tezpur unit of AASU staged protests at Borgula Chariali against the NHPC’s alleged attempt to transport its machinery to its lower Subansiri dam project site. The protesters also burnt an effigy of chief minister Tarun Gogoi.
They said the NHPC and the government were breaking the commitment made earlier of not taking the consignments related to the project. Rakesh said the state government and the Centre are serious on starting work at the project site and the Centre had already written to the state government in this connection.
“Nobody should be bothered about the safety of the project as it has been vetted by numerous experts and agencies,” the official said. The project’s cost has escalated from Rs 6,285.33 crore to Rs 10,799.63 crore. The corporation has already spent Rs 5,383.24 crore with more than 50 per cent of the work complete.
The NHPC today said everything is being done to safeguard the interests of people staying in downstream areas. “The project is not only for power generation but would also reduce the impact of floods,” the official said.
The project would get commissioned by 2017 if work resumes now.