The National Green Tribunal’s nod for restarting construction of the 2,000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project at Gerukamukh on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border has triggered a string of protests.
Tribal organisations in Assam such as the Takam Mising Porin Kebang and All Assam Chutia Students’ Union have stepped up their anti-mega dam movement with hydropower major NHPC planning to begin work from October.
Work on the mega project across river Subansiri was started in 2006 but halted in 2011 owing to various local issues, including submersion fears in the downstream areas. NHPC officials said 65% of the work was done at the time and the remaining work would take less than four years.
The hydropower major has been losing an estimated ₹10 crore per day on the project, estimated to cost ₹20,000 crore on completion.
“Our prime concern is people’s safety. Unless the government takes adequate measures to ensure safety and livelihood of the affected people, along with protection of biodiversity, there is no question of restarting construction,” the organisations said in a joint statement.
The Subansiri Lower project has not met with any resistance in Arunachal Pradesh, but people in the State have expressed concern over the 2,880 MW Dibang hydroelectric project estimated to cost ₹28,080 crore. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had cleared the project in July.