Seeks release of arrested anti-mega-dam protesters, seeks public consensus on all projects
Right to Information activist and Team Anna member Akhil Gogoi began an indefinite fast at the Lakhidhar Bora Khetra here on Saturday demanding an end to the alleged repressive measures adopted by Assam on anti-Mega dam movement activists. He also demanded a halt to the construction of all mega river dams in the northeast till an assessment of the impact of the under-construction and proposed dams is done and a consensus arrived at through wide consultations with the people, the primary stakeholders.
Mr. Akhil Gogoi protested the eviction of anti-mega dam agitators who had set up a monitoring camp at Ghagar in Lakhimpur district to prevent arrival of construction materials at the site of the 2,000-MW Lower Subonsiri hydropower project. He demanded that the camp be allowed to be set up again at the Ghagar.
Leader of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), a peasants' rights body, Mr. Akhil Gogoi demanded immediate and unconditional release of those arrested during the agitation in Lakhimpur. Opposing the construction of mega dams on the rivers of the northeast, the RTI activist demanded that people of the region be given rights to the waters of the rivers flowing through the region. He told The Hindu that Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi called him and expressed their solidarity.
Political motive: CM
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who was out on an inspection tour of the city localities, accused Mr. Akhil Gogoi of having a political motive. The Chief Minister told journalists that Mr. Akhil Gogoi had been adopting contradictory positions and pointed out that on the one hand he was opposing the construction of mega dams on the ground that it would cause ecological destruction and on the other hand he was demanding settlement of encroachers on the city's hills and wetlands.
Mr. Akhil Gogoi recently announced his plans to float a non-parliamentary political party by 2016. The next Assembly elections are scheduled for 2016. The activist said his party would not be taking part in electoral politics, but would spearhead people's struggle towards achieving Gana Swaraj.