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KMSS smells foul play on dam

- Expert struck a deal, says Akhil

Guwahati, June 11: The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti today alleged that an expert from Assam had compromised the state’s interest by suggesting the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) to go for a cosmetic change of the height of Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project.

The KMSS, however, did not disclose his identity.

KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi told the media that the suggestion was given at a recent meeting between NHPC officials and an eight-member expert committee comprising scholars from Gauhati University, Dibrugarh University and IIT Guwahati.

For more than 900 days work for construction of the 2,000MW project in Gerukamukh on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border was stopped because of agitation by different organisations, including the KMSS.

“According to our information the NHPC had already prepared a Dam Height Optimisation Report which will be examined by Central Water Commission and then discuss the matter with experts of IIT Guwahati. While NHPC has no intention of reducing dam height, an expert suggested it to go for cosmetic change,” Akhil said.

According to the KMSS, such a suggestion on the much-debated subject was akin to compromising Assam’s interest with the NHPC and demanded the expert committee to make its stand clear to the people of the state.

Akhil said the experts of Assam earlier held that the peak ground acceleration value (measure of earthquake acceleration on the ground) to erect the dam should be 0.50g instead of present 0.38g, but three professors of the civil engineering department of IIT Guwahati said that the dam was safe going against the experts’ view.

Akhil appealed to people to ponder about the kind of devastation to be triggered by the proposed more than 168 mega dams in Arunachal Pradesh with combined power generation capacity of 1,00,000MW.

He also urged to learn from the deaths of 24 students by water released by 126MW Larji hydropower project in Himachal Pradesh.

“In 2008, water released from Ranganadi hydel project in Arunachal Pradesh killed 11 persons of Assam, destroyed 51,220 houses and 23,000 hectares of agricultural land. But it did not get coverage of national media because it happened in the Northeast,” Akhil said.


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