GUWAHATI, Feb 27 � �Any dam on any river kills the river to some extent and cast adverse impact on the livelihood of people living downstream, alters the water quality, reduces the capacity of the river to clean itself, affects the biodiversity and water recharging process.�
Ramaswamy R Iyer, former secretary Water Resources, Government of India while throwing light on the general trend throughout the world on the necessity and impact of big dams observed this at the State-level convention on big dams at the Lakhidhar Bora Kshetra here today.
Iyer, who was the initiator and principal draftsman of India�s first National Water Policy in 1987, also said that if it becomes imperative to interfere with the rivers to tap the water resources for development, it certainly has to be very minimal. A supporter of highest priority to water management at local level, Iyer, also the author of Water and the Laws in India, said that big projects on rivers should be the last resort for development.
The two-day convention organized by Brihat Nadibandh Birodhi Nagarik Samity concluded today. Noted environmentalist Neeraj Vagholikar, warned that once the Lohit, Dibang and Siang projects are completed, the water level would fluctuate seven feet downstream in Assam.
In his address, AASU adviser Samujjal Kr Bhattacharyya said, �We are not against development, but when the electricity requirement of the region can be met with small projects, there is no need to destroy our environment through big dams to send power to the other parts of the country.� He also demanded a white paper from the Government with details of all the big, medium and small dams coming up in the region.
Educationist Dr Deba Prasad Barua, former bureaucrat Dr Rohini Barua and president of All Assam Matak Students� Union Nikeswar Saikia said that the State Government should think about the welfare of the people rather than playing at the hands of the corporates.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader Akhil Gogoi said that for the first time, the issue was raised in front of a number of leading environmental bodies besides top bureaucrats of the Ministry of Environment and Forest.