Twenty different organisations held a meeting against the MoA in North Lakhimpur on Saturday. The meeting which was chaired by Bikul Goswami pledged to continue the anti-dam protests even by sacrificing lives.
Subansiri Hydro Electrical Power plant
Barely a day after the signing of the draft Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed between public sector National Hydro-electrical Power Corporation (NHPC) and Assam government on the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Hydro Electrical Power plant (LSHEP) last Friday, August 23, widespread protests broke out in North Lakhimpur against the agreement.
Per a report in the Assam Tribune, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU)’s Lakhimpur district union burnt the effigy of Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal in North Lakhimpur on Saturday in protest against the MoU. In a press release, the Lakhimpur AASU led by its president Pulak Borah and secretary Dhanmani Dutta condemned the chief minister for his role in supporting the hydro-electrical dam over the Subansiri river. They termed Chief Minister Sonowal as a liar and betrayer for the cause of the safety and security of the people of Assam living on the downstream areas of the river. The Lakhimpur unit of the AASU expressed strong opposition to the MoA between NHPC and Assam government.
The AASU also expressed strong resentment over the issue of non-implementation of the report of the expert committee formed after the tri-lateral meeting among the students’ body, the NHPC and the Assam government. The expert committee was supposed to take the opinion of experts from Assam and the local people living on the downstream areas of the river, said the press statement. The AASU leaders said that the State government had signed the MoA by keeping the public in dark. The silence by Lakhimpur MP Pradan Baruah over the issue was also criticised by Lakhimpur AASU.
Meanwhile its not just the AASU who is protesting. Twenty other organisations held a meeting against the MoA in North Lakhimpur on Saturday. The meeting which was chaired by Bikul Goswami pledged to continue the anti-dam protests even by sacrificing lives. Leaders from various organisations like MASS, TMPK, AKRASU, ATASU etc., attended the meeting and expressed their opposition to the MoA. The meeting also formed a platform LSHEP Birodhi Sangram Okya Manch to launch an anti-dam fortnight protest programme in Lakhimpur district.
Declare Deepor Beel, Sanctuary Eco-Sensitive Zone: NGT
Even as the National Green Tribunal (NGT), New Delhi has ordered the Assam Government to declare Deepor Beel, including its adjacent sanctuary, an eco-sensitive zone. The Tribunal has stopped forthwith the ‘change in land utilization character from railway gate number 273 to the starting point of northern alignment of railway track and Azara railway crossing at Segunbari, Mikirpara and Matia elephant corridor’ in order to ensure that the elephant corridor is kept free for elephants’ access to the Deepor Beel and also to avoid man-elephant conflict.
On solid waste management, the Tribunal said that it would be appropriate for the State to plan a decentralized processing plant at a suitable location in the city as a support system for the proposed integrated solid waste management plant. The Tribunal has also told the State government to incorporate the old waste of the existing dumping ground at Boragaon in the proposed comprehensive solid waste management plant.