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Anti dam protest greets Jairam Ramesh in Guwahati

A vociferous protest against big dams reaches its crucial stage when union environment minister Jairam Ramesh was greeted with protest as he was arriving in Guwahti for a public hearing on the NHPC owned big dam in Arunachal Pradesh.

As the Union minister started the public hearing at Machkhowa, ITA, hundreds of local organizations and political parties approached him to register stiff protest again the on going construction of the big dam in Gerukamukh by NHPC in the name of the lower Subansiri hydel project. Citing the expert panel report, these parties and organisations have told the minister that the big dam might spell an ecological disaster for the people in down stream areas.

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--Lame Excuse by NHPC CMD S.K. Garg-- Despite strident protests in Assam with environmental concerns over construction of mega dams, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Chairman-cum-Managing Director S.K. Garg says that the project builders plan to commission three units in March 2012 and the remaining five units by December 2012. This is because Rs 4000 crore of the Rs 9000 crore project has been utilized. That means 40% of the expenses have been made. But is this a reason enough to sacrifice environment and the population of downstream areas which cannot be compensated even if the Indian central government bring all the riches in the world. When land is lost, existence is lost. When existence is lost, the very right to our natural habitat is lost. In the devastating floods caused by the Tehri dam in Uttarakhand, the central government has promised a package of Rs 500 crore to the state government. That means every year there will be floods, the Indian government will dole out Rs 500 crore. So, within 8 years, Rs 4000 crore will have to be shelved out. If this is the economics involved, Rs 4000 crore is nothing for a rich country like India where many politicians and ministers have pocketed hundreds and thousands of crores. So, the justification of Rs 4000 crore by S.K. Garg sounds to be a lame excuse to keep the industrial corporations who fund the elections happy and satisfied.

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