Dam: V K Singh sees vested interests

“There are various kinds of interests involved, but I will talk to all such groups,” he said.

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati | Published: July 13, 2014 2:35 am

Work on NHPC’s 2000-MW Lower Subansiri hydero-electric project has remained in a limbo for the past two-and-a-half years because of propaganda mounted by some groups with vested interest, V K Singh, minister of state for Development of North-eastern Region (DoNER), said during his maiden visit to the region here on Saturday.

“There are various kinds of interests involved, but I will talk to all such groups,” he said.

Singh said he was determined to resume work and complete the project as early as possible, and he would go all out to convince the people that it (the hydel project and the dam) would do good for Assam.

“There has been a lot of propaganda that the project is harmful and unsafe for Assam. I know the groups who have been resisting completion of the project. I know the interests involved. What is immediately needed is to put the correct facts out for the people to understand,” Singh said at a press conference.

When reminded that the BJP, during the election campaign had supported the protests and promised to take necessary steps only after holding urgent discussions involving the Centre, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh at both political and experts level, Singh said he was not aware of that.

“I don’t know what exactly the BJP said on Lower Subansiri hydel project during the election campaign. I have not seen the expert groups’ report. But having discussed with NHPC and the power ministry, I am aware of the ground realities,” he said.

The 2000-MW Lower Subansiri hydel project, where work has remained shut since December 2011, had returned to headlines two weeks ago when Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said work in the project would resume within a week. While this stirred a hornet’s nest in Assam, Goyal had to change his mind and put the resumption on hold especially after the state BJP unit reminded him of the promise the BJP had made during the election campaign.

Lower Subansiri project is located at Gerukamukh on the Assam-Arunachal boundary, and work has remained closed after several pressure groups, including the All Assam Students’ Union, expressed fear over the dam’s safety as also over downstream impact. An expert committee set up by the Assam government had suggested major changes in the design, but the Centre has not accepted it.

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