Morung Express, Northeast India
Guwahati, Protesting against the Mega Dams in North East, more than 350 participants from various civil societies, people movements, students’ Unions from different parts of the North East Region have raised their voice against NEEPCO and other related institutions involved with the construction of mega dams in the region in front of NEEPCO Guwahati office on 15th October. People from different parts of North East including many activist and students gathered in unison under the aegis of ‘United Protest Against the Construction of Mega Dams in North East India.’ This massive protest was in response to the Ministry of Environment & Forest, New Delhi and NEEPCO attempt to clear environment clearance for the various projects in the region without gaining the free, prior informed consent of the local people.
‘Dams are the modern weapons of colonialism employed by the powerful against the weak that dole out as the root cause of uprooting the tribal and indigenous peoples, the most politically accepted means of snatching the traditional livelihood and means of survival, of dislocating the inhabitants and blatant violation of the people’s rights’ in a press statement issued by Kinderson Panmei, Committee Against Tipaimukh Dam and Keshav K Chatradhra, Peoples Movement for Subansiri Brahmaputra Valley, on Behalf of the United Protest Against Mega Dams Construction in North East India.
The statement further stated that they are against such socially, economically and environmentally destructive developmental project being planned and imposed upon our region without free consent, prior consent and informed consent of our peoples. The statement also accused the mega dam proponents of having imperialistic designs trying to denigrate the tribal and indigenous world views as primitive and undeveloped and of trying to destroy ‘the friendly and balance relationship with the natural world’.
Focusing on the Tipaimukh Dam which the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India is considering for clearance, the statement stated that ‘the people of Manipur have rejected this dam for more than 30 years, since its conception’. The protest warn of dire consequences ‘to the so called Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Basin and Hydroelectric Project under MoEF’, that the process conducted at NEEPCO Guwahati office today was not acceptable as it was insensitive to the wishes of the people.
The protestors questions how the MoEF can give clearance to some other dams when down stream study team is already there for the Lower Subansiri Dam. The statement further stated that ‘this has raised doubts in the mind of the people and showed that there is big conspiracy going on against the people of Assam and North East’.
The press handout appealed to all the people of the region to stand united against the authorities who are trying to implement things in the northeast without proper consultation with people.
The United Protest Against Mega Dams Construction in North East India consist of: Peoples Movement for Subansiri Brahmaputra Valley (PMSBV), Krishak Mukti Sangram Sammittee (KMSS), Arunachal Citizen Right (ACR), North East Affected Areas Development Society, Assam (NEADS),Citizens’ Concern for Dams and Development (CCDD) ,Committee Against Tipaimukh Dam (CATD), River Basin Friends (RBF), Assam State Dialogue Forum (ASDF), North East Dialogue Forum (NEDF), Zeliangrong Student’s Union, Guwahati (ZSUG) and Zelaingrong Student’s Union, Manipur (ZSUM).