GUWAHATI: NHPC’s 2000-MW Lower Subansiri hydro-electric project is likely to face more resistance in the coming days, with hundreds of anti-dam activists resolving on Thursday to launch a total blockade of all construction materials for the project. The agitators took the pledge in the presence of Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar.
The firebrand activist, addressing an anti-dam public rally in Lakhimpur district’s Chawldhuwaghat, said the “relentless” people’s movement against the Lower Subansiri project has become an all-India struggle against large dams.
“I salute your persistent agitation against large dams to save the Subansiri river. It is not only your movement. It is an all-India movement. The people of the Narmada and Brahmaputra valleys are united in the struggle against large dams,” Patkar said, amid thunderous clapping from the crowd.
During the rally, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) general secretary Akhil Gogoi announced that the next phase of the stir would start from March 10, and would entail a total blockade of all construction materials for the project.
Akhil told the crowd, “The next phase of the movement will be a tougher one. Be ready to face the bullets. We are going to stop the movement of construction material by any means. We will prolong our movement till the rainy season. Once the rainy season starts, work at the project site will stop automatically.”
The crowd, also comprising a sizeable number of women, cheered in chorus as the KMSS leader announced the next phase of the movement. Later, the anti-dam supporters took a pledge at the Subansiri river that they would not allow the construction of the hydro-electric project.
Work at the project site virtually came to a halt following a series of agitations by anti-dam groups since December 16 last year. The new phase of agitation indicates that the builder of the Lower Subansiri project, NHPC, will face even stiffer opposition in executing the work of the project. The project’s date of commissioning has already been postponed to 2014.
Senior citizens and the intelligentsia have also called a meeting on the issue of large dams and their impact on Assam here on February 26 and 27.