22 Assam organizations protest against NHPC Project starting Sep 20

Over 22 Assam-based organizations have threatened to join a collective movement against the massive 2,000 MW hydropower project, which is being built by the state-owned National Hydroelectric Power Corporation. It will be located along the Arunachal Pradesh–Assam border starting September 20.

Palash Changmai, leader of Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad, (AJYCP), said Monday that more than 22 organizations have announced they will launch a series protests against the NHPC, including blockade at the project site.

On Saturday, the AJYCP, an antiBharatiya Janata Party organization, organized a public meeting in which various experts, including hydrologists and geologists, highlighted a threat to Subansiri’s downstream areas. According to the leader of the AJYCP, work on the project was resuming without consulting 965 villages in four districts downstream from the hydroelectric plant.

These eastern Assam districts are located in the vicinity of Arunachal Pradesh and include Majuli, Dhemaji (and Lakhimpur), Majuli, and Dhemaji. The 22 opposition groups include the All Assam Student’ Union and the All Assam Adivasi Student’ Association, whose leaders attended the Saturday meeting.

In 2006, the Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project at Gerukamukh was commissioned. However, work was stopped in 2011 due to protests claiming ecological damage and loss.

Construction of the power plant worth Rs 20,000 crore had been resumed over a year ago after the Covid-19-induced lockdown. The NHPC suffered enormous losses due to the delay in its completion.