• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

AASU’s human chain protest seeking halt in construction of 2,000-MW Subansiri dam 

ByRajib Dutta

Oct 15, 2022 #AASU

Amid a string of mishaps at the construction site of the 2,000-MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHP) in the Assam-Arunachal border, the All Assam Students’ Union (Aasu) on Saturday staged a human chain protest at the project site seeking halt in the construction process. Aasu general secretary Sankor Jyoti Baruah led the protest which witnessed the participation of hundreds of Aasu members from Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Charaideo, Biswanath and Majuli districts. The Aasu activists displaying banners of “NHPC go back”, “Stop mega dams” raised slogans against the BJP government seeking immediate halt in construction activities.

The 2,000-MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project being constructed by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) is on the last leg of construction having attained 88 per cent physical completion. In the past one month, there has been three incidents of mishaps at the construction site. First, a guard wall of the mega dam’s powerhouse collapsed due to rising water level of the Subansiri river followed by a collapse of an under-construction tunnel roof. Very recently a massive landslide took place near the diversion tunnels in the catchment area of the mega dam.

Terming the Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project as a ‘ticking water bomb’ Aasu general secretary Sankor Jyoti Baruah said, “We are not against development but we are concerned about the dangers posed by the Subansiri dam to the people living in the downstream areas. We have recently witnessed several mishaps at the project site which is at an earthquake-prone zone. If the mega dam collapses due to nature’s fury, people living in the downstream districts like Lakhimpur, Dhemaji and Majuli will have to face terrible consequences. The NHPC must stop its construction.”

The Aasu leader also accused the BJP of maintaining a double standard in the construction of the Subansiri mega dam.

“We have seen how Rajnath Singh when he was the BJP president visited Gerukamukh in 2010 and protested against its construction. Similarly in 2014 while campaigning in Pasighat (Arunachal Pradesh), then prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had opposed the construction of the dam. However as soon as they came to power, the construction of the mega dam became very important for them. Similarly the Congress supported the construction of the mega dam when they were in power but as soon as they lost power they start opposing it. But we have been steadfastly opposing the project from day one and we will continue our agitation in a democratic way. We are also thinking of taking legal action to stop its construction.”

The Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project popularly known as the Subansiri dam is a run-of-the-river dam. Unlike conventional dams, these type of dams do not have huge reservoirs but generate electricity by harnessing the energy of flowing water. 

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