Guwahati, March 4: The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) today dared chief minister Tarun Gogoi to make public the report on the downstream impact of Lower Subansiri hydroelectric power project, prepared by a two-member technical expert committee of the Planning Commission.
The KMSS, which claimed to be in possession of the report, said the panel had stated that implementation of the project was not viable and would have an adverse impact on the ecology.
KMSS general secretary Akhil Gogoi told reporters here that though the report was submitted to the Centre in July last year, the government has not made it public fearing negative and far-reaching repercussions.
He said the report gives broad hints that the apprehension of the people of Assam that the project could have adverse downstream impact was not unfounded. “After going through the report, we can draw the conclusion that the technical expert committee has made it clear that execution of the Lower Subansiri project is not scientifically and technologically viable at its present site at Gerukamukh in Dhemaji district along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border.”
Chandrakant Damodar Thatte, former secretary of water resources ministry who heads the committee, and M.S. Reddy, the other member of the committee, visited Gerukamukh and collected relevant data on the 2000MW hydro-electric project being executed by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC). They held discussions with local experts on the project’s technical aspects, including their apprehensions about the safety of the dam.
The committee was constituted in January 2011 by the Planning Commission to look into the concerns raised by Assam over seismic threat and the possible adverse impact of the project on the downstream areas in the state.
Neither Thatte nor Reddy could be contacted.
Akhil claimed that he had received a copy of the report from a “very reliable and highly placed” source and had sent copies to chief minister Tarun Gogoi, his press adviser Bharat Narah and power minister Pradyut Bordoloi.
“I challenge the chief minister to verify and check the recommendations of the report with the central government and the Planning Commission. The Group of Ministers constituted by the Congress government has been saying it would accept the report of the technical expert committee. Now it is time for the Tarun Gogoi government to accept the same and immediately shelve the Lower Subansiri project,” he said.
Akhil claimed that the Thatte and Reddy committee observes that the project totally ignores the flood management aspect, including the adverse downstream impact on the Brahmaputra valley.
“The Planning Commission’s report observes that the Lower Subansiri project was conceptualised by the Brahmaputra Board in 1982 with the sole intention of flood and erosion management. But when the project was taken over by the NHPC in 2002, the original objective of the project was totally diluted and it was converted into a scheme to generate electricity, ignoring its adverse environmental impacts,” Akhil said.
Dharna: The KMSS today also staged a dharna at Dhekorgorah block office in northwest Jorhat against alleged corruption at the panchayat level under the block.