GUWAHATI, July 23 � Taking exception to Power Minister Pradyut Bardoloi's comments during a press briefing on mega dams, the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) today accused the State Government of not implementing the recommendations of the committee on the Lower Subansiri dam comprising experts from IIT-Guwahati, Gauhati University and Dibrugarh University.
The AASU also demanded that work on the Lower Subansiri dam be kept in abeyance pending submission of the report of the proposed expert committee comprising scientists from abroad.
In a statement, the AASU said that the Government was against implementing the recommendations of the expert committee as its findings went against the Government's stand.
"Even though there is no need for another expert committee, yet we feel that there should be a discussion on the issue at a panel comprising experts from foreign countries as well as our own in the greater interest of the State. But pending submission of the findings of the new expert committee, work on the Lower Subansiri dam should be stopped," AASU president Sankar Prasad Rai and general secretary Tapan Gogoi said, adding that such a step alone would prove the Government's sincerity on the matter.
The AASU leaders further said that the student body had been opposing the construction of mega dams in the region since 2001 and it had also been pressing for a study of the cumulative impact of 168 proposed mega dams in Arunachal Pradesh.
"The AASU was the first to detect the conspiracy of constructing big dams in the North-east while grossly undermining the interests of the people and the environment. We drew the attention of the Government to this in 2006, following which the tripartite meet between the AASU, and the State Government and the NHPC took place on December 8 under the presidentship of the Power Minister himself, with the meet deciding on having the expert committee comprising faculties of the two universities and IIT-Guwahati," it said.
Asserting that its stand on big dams was clear and in the best interests of the State and its people, the AASU said that the Government should discard its plan of constructing big dams on the geologically and environmentally fragile eastern Himalayan region.