GUWAHATI, June 9 � Asserting that the design of the Lower Subansiri Hydro-electric Project can be modified if necessary for strict adherence to safety norms, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said that work on the project cannot be stopped in the face of �unreasonable� protests.
Addressing a press conference, Gogoi said that the State Government would facilitate a broader discussion on the project involving international as well as local experts to assuage popular apprehensions on its adverse fallouts.
�Protests may be on but those cannot be allowed to stall work. We will provide required security for the NHPC workers�it is for the NHPC to execute the project, and whether or not it does that is not my headache,� Gogoi said.
On the perennial problem of erosion, the Chief Minister said that for the first time the State had been able to convince the Centre about the gravity of the situation, and the result was a Rs 1500-crore anti-erosion (with 50 per cent irrigation component) fund.
�We have been able to convince the Centre about the need to combat erosion on a war footing for the first time, and we are getting Rs 1,500 crore for the purpose -- half of which will be for irrigation development,� he said.
The Chief Minister revealed that the State Government was also seeking international expertise for replicating the best anti-erosion practices followed elsewhere.
Gogoi also said that the State Government was seeking more subsidies from the Centre on diverse fronts to expedite the State�s industrial process.
Countering AGP leader Prafulla Mahanta�s charge that the State Government was getting little Central grant compared to many other States with smaller populations, Gogoi said that under the last ten years of Congress rule the State was well into the path of progress.
�The two AGP regimes were the worst in the State�s history, and putting the collapsed economy back on the rails is a big achievement. The AGP was not able even to pay salary to the employees,� he said.
Gogoi said that Assam was progressing at a commendable 8.42 per cent growth which was the seventh best in the country as per Planning Commission assessment.