GUWAHATI, Feb 14 � The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) today condemned the clearance of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to the 1,760- MW Lower Demwe Hydroelectric Power Project on the Lohit river ignoring the protests from the people as well as the Government of Assam. The MoEF accorded wildlife-related clearance to the project.
In a statement, KMSS president Raju Bora and general secretary Akhil Gogoi said that this act of the MoEF has again proved the lack of keenness of the Central Government towards the wellbeing of the people of Assam and also the helplessness of the Assam Government. The Ministry has failed to mention the concerns expressed by the people and Government of the State on the issue, said the KMSS leaders.
Union Environment and Forest Minister Jayanti Natarajan has by this act of approving the Lower Demwe Project, condemned the noted environmentalist Dr Asad Rehmani of the Bombay Natural History Society, who objected to the project observing that it would be disastrous for Assam.
In his report, Dr Rehmani has cited the possibility of massive damage to ecology in the downstream areas of the project. His view that presently the project should be shelved was supported by the other non-official members of the Standing Committee of the National Board of Wildlife which met on December 13 last. The report of Dr Rehmani suggested formation of an independent consortium of scientists to review the project.
But the Ministry�s order simply ignored these critical issues. The assertion made by the Ministry that the project would have no adverse impacts on its downstream areas is also not true as the downstream impact of the project on the Assam side is still going on as part of the environment clearance condition. Hence, its impact on the downstream areas is yet to be ascertained, said the KMSS leaders, adding, the MoEF clearance to the Demwe Project makes it obvious that the Union Government has refused to learn any lesson from the popular revolt in Assam on the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project.