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KMSS launches movement against mega dams

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Oct 20 � Voluntary organization Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) today announced beginning of an agitational programme from today with a signature campaign against the upcoming NE mega dam projects. The campaign is designed to secure the approval of one lakh people to the memorandum being submitted to the Prime Minister on the issue after a week. The agitation may also go to the extent of sealing the electoral prospect of the Congress in the State, it warned.

The organization will start direct action plans with effect from November 1 next and it will culminate into a �vigorous�, movement.

Disclosing this at a press conference here, KMSS' secretary Akhil Gogoi said that the agitation is designed to be developed into a joint one with the involvement of all sections of the people and democratic organisations of the State and even the anti-dam peoples' movements of the neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh. It will not spare anyone siding with the mega-dam lobby and will also prevent drawing of the power grid line through Assam's territory, he warned.

He also demanded that the Congress-led Assam Government should spell out its stand on the mega- dam issue within a week's time. If the Assam Government's stand is found to be going against the interest of the State's people, the agitation will make it an electoral issue to ensure defeat of the Congress in the ensuing Assembly elections, he said.

For, Gogoi said, the latest statement made by Assam Chief Minister on the issue at a press conference in New Delhi exposes his mega-dam bias.

The KMSS secretary described the attitude of the Central Government on the issue as a 'neo-colonial' one. The Central Government is flagrantly violating the constitutional provision that made water a state subject. This stance of the Central Government is meant only to benefit the power lobby and big capitalist he alleged.

He also denounced the stand of the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister on the issue as anti-people. The present Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister 'has come to power with the help of the power lobby and hence he is to abide by its diktats,' alleged the KMSS secretary.

The mega-dam projects like the Ranganadi and Kopili in NE region and even a smaller dam Kurichu located in the neighbouring country Bhutan, have damaged habitations in the Assam districts of Barpeta, Nalbari, Baksa, Kamrup, Morigaon, Nagaon and Lakhimpur, among others.

All these dams were given clearance by the Union Government without considering their adverse impacts on the environment and economy of the downstream areas, Gogoi alleged.

He demanded that the structures of the under construction Lower Subansiri Hydroelectic Project should be demolished and an independent commission be engaged to study the impacts of the existing hydel power projects of the region. This committee should comprise experts from Assam as well as from foreign countries, he said.

He warned that if the situation so demands, the anti-dam movement of the Assam people would be compelled to go for an economic blockade against Arunachal Pradesh as the 'last resort' to mount pressure on the Arunachal as well as the Central Government for amending their respective stands on the issue in favour of the people of Assam.

However, the KMSS secretary clarified that his organization is not against hydel power projects. It wants the hydel projects to be micro-dam ones and run by the communities in a sustainable manner.

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