GUWAHATI, Feb 26 � �There is no dam safety Act in place nor is there proper Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study, and not even a single argument logically supporting the need for big river dams in State � yet, persisting with its adamant attitude favouring mega dams, the Government of Assam is etching a very dubious image in the minds of people.�
Eminent Gandhian and coordinator of South Asia Network of Dams Rivers and People, Himanshu Thakkar, while participating in the State-level convention on mega dams, said that the State government has failed to justify its role as people�s representative.
The two-day convention, participated by various eminent citizens, political leaders, scholars and representatives of a number of public organizations was organized by Brihat Nadibandh Birodhi Nagarik Samity at Lakshidhar Bora Kshetra in Guwahati.
Countering the arguments given in favour of the big river dams, Thakkar said that not on a single point the Union Government could substantiate its claim that the dams are in favour of the common people. Nor were the people who stand to be affected by the dams consulted prior to starting the Lower Subansiri Hydro-Electricity Project.
�There are many examples in the country and abroad that wrong operation of big dams has triggered severe floods, and scientific studied have proved that hydro power is not a clean source of energy.
Journalist and one of the conveners of the Nagarik Samity, Ajit Bhuyan also rapped the State government saying that after the anti-dam movement gained momentum in the State when the government tried to derail it terming it as a terrorist/Maoist movement.
Another expert on dams and professor at the JNU Rohan D Souza, while addressing the convention, said that the people who live by the river should have a right to take part in any decision regarding the use of river water. �The river belongs to whom is a democratic question rather than a technical one,� he added.
Noted litterateur Hiren Gohain, who could not participate in the convention due to ill health, sent a letter expressing his solidarity with the anti-dam movement. Gohain in his letter read out by educationist Udayaditya Bharali, stressed that fact that when NHPC took the Lower Subansiri Hydel Project from the Brahmaputra Board, it converted the multipurpose project into a solely power generation project.
Former president of Asam Sahitya Sabha, Kanaksen Deka stressed the fact that the people of Arunachal Pradesh should be taken along in the anti-dam movement of Assam. Representatives of many political parties including BJP, CPI, AIUDF, UPF etc., took part in the discussion.