Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Akhil sounds warning on Subansiri

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti today reiterated its demand to scrap the stalled 2,000MW Lower Subansiri hydroelectric project on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border in view of the devastating earthquake in Nepal.

By A STAFF REPORTER in Guwahati
  • Published 29.04.15
  •  
Akhil Gogoi addresses the news conference on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, April 28 : The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti today reiterated its demand to scrap the stalled 2,000MW Lower Subansiri hydroelectric project on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border in view of the devastating earthquake in Nepal.

The Samiti has been opposing construction of big dams in Assam since it lies in a highly seismic zone. The KMSS has claimed that the foundation stone of the lower Subansiri project is weak, friable (land which can easily break into smaller pieces) and semi-consolidated sandstone and thus will not be able to withstand an earthquake like the one in Nepal.

Though the NHPC, which is constructing Lower Subansiri, has claimed that the dam for the power project built at Gerukamukh in Dhemaji district is designed to withstand earthquakes, the KMSS has been rejecting the claim.

Agitation by different organisations, including the KMSS, All Assam Students' Union (AASU), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) and Takam Mising Kebang Porin, has stalled the project since December 2011.

"The Nepal quake has only 'strengthened' our case. So it is high time we unite by letting go of our egos, prejudices and different perception and start a united movement to scrap the lower Subansiri project. The devastation in Nepal should be an eye opener for everyone in Assam and there should not be any compromise on opposition against construction of big dams in the region in the name of generating electricity," KMSS adviser Akhil Gogoi told reporters here this afternoon.

Quoting a study of Roger Bilham, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado, US, Akhil said any segment of the Himalayas could generate a great earthquake. The population of India in the foothills has increased by 10 times since the 1905 Kangra earthquake, which killed 19,500 people. Biham has predicted that at present some 50 million people will be at risk from any big earthquake in the Himalayas, he said.

Akhil, quoting another study, said the Himalayan Frontal Front (HFF) is the most vulnerable seismogenic fault for future earthquakes. He said the HFF roughly runs along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border, which is also the site of the Lower Subansiri dam.

The KMSS adviser accused governments both at the Centre and Assam of being indifferent to the earthquake hazards of the project owing to their own "nasty" compulsions.

The Union power ministry has said further project delays would increase the already enhanced cost of power in Assam and may even make it unviable.

Akhil said the KMSS is not against development. "But we strongly feel that construction of big dams must not be allowed under any circumstances. We favour construction of small dams," he said.

He warned that Guwahati, Assam capital, would face a major disaster in case of an earthquake. Quoting a report of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, Akhil said 35 per cent of the buildings in the city are unsafe.