Patkar to lead Parliament gherao

Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Nov 3 – The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) headed by Medha Patkar, has announced its decision to gherao the Parliament on November 24 on the demand for dumping all the mega-dam hydroelectric projects of the NE region. On the other hand, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Bhubaneswar Kalita has postponed his South Africa tour today for taking up the matter of a high-power expert committee to study the mega dam issue with his party’s central leaders.

According to Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) secretary Akhil Gogoi, who is one of the national convenors of the National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM), said that about ten thousand members of the NAPM from all over the country would gherao the Indian Parliament on November 24 demanding scrapping of all the mega-dam projects of the NE region.

This is the first national level agitational programme of this size in support of the anti mega-dam movement of Assam, said the KMSS in a statement quoting Gogoi.

Besides, members and supporters of the KMSS today staged a dharna at Dhemaji Tiniali and held several roadside meetings at Dhemaji town today in protest against the LSHEP and the existing and proposed mega-dam projects of the NE region, said the KMSS in its statement.

Meanwhile, Gogoi has demanded immediate removal of the chairman of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for his alleged pro-mega-dam stand.

Gogoi said that several environment and people’s movement groups placed the demand for removal of the EAC chairman before the MoEF in June last alleging that his approach towards mega dams is a prejudiced one.

But the MoEF is yet to concede to this demand of the environment and people’s movement groups, said Gogoi.

But the EAC chairman with his act of inviting the NHPC only to attend the October 7 discussion on the expert group’s report on the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP), ignoring the members of the expert group who prepared it, has again revealed his true character, said Gogoi to substantiate the demand for removal of the EAC chairman.

Meanwhile, according to an APCC statement, APCC chief Bhubaneswar Kalita, reacting to the statement of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) president Chandra Mohan Patowary, said today that the APCC has laid special emphasis on formation of a high-power expert committee to study the mega dam issue.

Kalita said that special measures are to be taken to prevent adverse impacts of the mega dam projects in the downstream areas. The implementing agencies should also take proper measures to keep intact the environment and ecological balance of the region, said the APCC president.

Source: The Assam Tribune