Guwahati, Feb. 22: The KMSS today rejected the Group of Ministers’ (GoM) report on the impact of the Lower Subansiri hydroelectric power project, while questioning the efficacy of “piano key weir” technology.
The group had recommended that the NHPC should examine the introduction of the “piano key weir” concept to minimise any possible adverse downstream impact of the project.
KMSS general secretary Akhil Gogoi alleged that the recommendations made by the GoM did not address all concerns of the people living in downstream areas. “We also urge other organisations and people of the state to reject the report,” he said. Akhil questioned the effectiveness of the “piano key weir” technology and expressed doubts about how far it would work in a seismologically and geographically sensitive region such as the Northeast.
Piano key weir is a low-cost solution that claims to help resolve submergence problem in dams by placing piano key-like features on the dam’s crest to regulate flow of water.
The concept was suggested by IIT professor Nayan Sharma to break the deadlock triggered by sustained protests by KMSS, AASU and the AJYCP, among others, against the project coming up at Gerukamukh on the Arunachal Pradesh-Assam border. The protests have stalled the project since December 2011.
The AASU today said the recommendations of the GoM had proved that it’s movement against construction of big dams in the ecologically fragile Northeast was based on logic and conviction.
“The GoM has also acknowledged the gravity of the situation and that’s why it suggested introduction of piano key weir concept to minimise any possible adverse downstream impact of the dam. We will have to study the report further to see whether the measures suggested by the GoM would actually reduce the downstream impact,” an AASU communiqué said.
In contrast to the AASU’s cautious reaction to the GoM report, the KMSS went all-out against power minister Pradyut Bordoloi, describing him as an “agent of private power companies”.
Akhil alleged that Bordoloi had surrendered before the Centre and private power companies by stating that the state government would act on the findings of the Thatte-Reddy committee constituted by the Planning Commission to study the possible adverse downstream impacts of the Lower Subansiri project.