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Assam students’ bodies protest Arunachal dams
Published on 5 Aug. 2009 1:40 AM IST
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Strong protests have resounded in Assam against the big dam projects in Arunachal Pradesh as the former stands to be the worst sufferer of downstream impacts. The protests have threatened to take a more serious turn especially after the Assam government allegedly chose to ignore an interim report by an expert panel that had asked the stopping of construction work of the 200 MW lower Subansiri hydel project. According to UNI report, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Mishing Students Union (MSU), which had been leading the protests, have alleged that the Assam government and NHPC, which is building the dam, have failed to comply with the suggestions of a panel comprising experts from Gauhati University, Dibrugarh University and IIT, Guwahati. The panel, formed following a meeting between AASU, Assam government and NHPC to study the downstream impact of the dam, had asked for the stopping of work till the filing of the final report as the preliminary findings had pointed out that big dams were not feasible in the area. ‘’The government and NHPC have given the interim report no importance and almost 40 per cent work of the dam is complete,’’ AASU advisor Dr Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharyya said here yesterday. President of MSU Johan Doley said the two students’ unions, which had been protesting against the dam separately, would now launch an aggressive peaceful movement against it. ‘’As a part of the first phase, we are organising statewide Satyagraha on August 8,’’ Doley informed. Assam’s civil society organisations have been protesting the proposal for several big hydel projects in Arunachal Pradesh. As many as 168 potential projects have been identified in the neighbouring state, with the Arunachal government already inking MoUs for 103 projects. The AASU and MSU have demanded cumulative downstream impact study before the dams are constructed.

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