GUWAHATI, Feb 27 � The Brahmaputra has the potential to emerge as the medium of peace and development in this part of the globe involving China, India and Bangladesh. But, it has become a bone of contention due to the Government of India�s sticking to the idea of first user�s right to counter the Chinese bid to construct dams, instead of initiating effective dialogues with the Governments of China and Bangladesh on the issue.
This is the observation of Dr Rohan D� Souza and Himanshu Thakkar, the two leading activists of the country�s movement for meaningful democratic development. They were talking to this correspondent on the sidelines of the State level convention on the issue of mega dam projects at the Lakhidhar Bora Kshetra here today. The people of Assam have been arguing for such an approach for quite a long time, they said.
Both of them were of the view that the different regions of the country should have different development models to suit their divergent conditions. They regretted that in the country, the issue of development has been kept outside the domain of democratic process and left to the domain of the experts. This has been affecting both democracy and development in the country.
In India, those who are opposing the Government development schemes have been dubbed as foreign agents, Maoists etc as has been seen in the case of the activists of the movement for meaningful democratic development who are opposing plans for indiscriminately damming the rivers.
By doing this, the state is in fact creating conducive atmosphere for the growth of Maoist or subversive forces, they maintained.
Now the rulers have brought the draft water policy of the country with some sinister designs to hand over water to anyone who has the capacity to pay. Thus, an essential public good has been sought to be turned into a profit making commodity. The bill is anti-livelihood for majority of the country�s people, they said.
The authorities need to assess the needs of the people and go for prioritization of the needs, option assessment and selection of appropriate options. Only after all these, the implementation of the schemes will come, said the activists of the movement for meaningful democratic development.