Assam’s concerns on big dams: PM to be told

September 10th, 2010 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Guwahati, Sep 10 (IANS) Union Minister of State for Environment Jairam Ramesh Friday said he would apprise Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about concerns of the people of Assam regarding the construction of big dams in adjoining Arunachal Pradesh.
“I would let the prime minister know about the apprehensions of the people of Assam regarding building of dams in Arunachal Pradesh. This is not just the issue for Assam, this has been an issue for the entire nation,” the minister said.

Ramesh was here to participate in a daylong consultation with various civil society and environmental groups on the issue of dams in the northeast.

“Big dams would lead to catastrophic environmental hazards in downstream areas in Assam. We shall launch a mass movement if the projects are allowed to continue,” Samujjal Bhattacharyya, advisor of the All Assam Students’ Union, said.

“Let the government immediately scrap permission for construction of dams in Arunachal Pradesh,” Akhil Gogoi, a farmers’ rights leader, said.

The Arunachal Pradesh government has signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with several private firms for 10 major hydropower projects to generate an estimated 30,000 MW power in 10 years time.

The state, bordering Myanmar and the Tibet region, has the potential to generate an estimated 50,000 MW of hydropower. Among the major projects currently being executed in the state are the Ranganadi Project, the Subansari Project and the Taloh Power Project.

However, the Arunachal Pradesh government is adamant on continuing with the construction of dams.

“Those who are opposing the move are doing so with some vested interests. There are no environmental issues as experts have cleared the proposals,” Arunachal Pradesh MP Takam Sanjay said.

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