Assam – KMSS condemns Jayanti Natarajan for wildlife clearance given to Lower Demwe Project

February 15, 2012

Guwahati: 14th February 2012

In a press statement of released today Akhil Gogoi, secretary and Raju Bora of president of KMSS says that despite protest from the people of Assam and the concerns raised by the Assam government the MOEF has finally given wildlife clearance to the Lower Demwe project citing the need for development. This has again proved how insensitive the Indian government is and also how helpless the Assam government is. The KMSS reacts to this and says that nowhere in the ministry’s order the concern of Assam has been mentioned and sincerely addressed.

The KMSS laments that the Assam government can only protest. The Assam government has been unable to bring justice. Mrs. Jayanti Natarajan, country’s Minister of Environment who has never visited the chars in Assam now claims that the dam will have only minimum impact. She also claims that the animals learn to live in the new situation and hence no need to worry. She virtually condemns the Dr. Asad Rehmani of Bombay Natural History Society, who earlier highlighted how disastrous this project would be for Assam, for not understanding this issue. It must be mentioned here that Dr. Rehmani submitted a full length report on the Lower Demwe citing massive ecological damage in the downstream. In the 24th meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Board of Wildlife which met on 13th December 2011 all the non-official members supported Dr. Rehmani’s proposal for rejection of this project. Dr Rehmani also suggested for additional studies in the coming years. The report especially mentioned the formation of an independent consortium of scientists to review the project. The Ministry’s order simply ignores these critical issues. The KMSS condemns the fact that the Ministry also forgets to mention that people also live downstream.

The KMSS claims this again proved how the Assam is the worst victim of the present hydro-power policies. The Indian government completely ignored the presence of Assam in downstream of this project. Not only that the government gives clearance to the project by strongly saying that the IIT Roorkee will only study any future environmental study for this project. The KMSS condemns the fact that the Ministry’s position that any such study will begin only after construction begins.

The KMSS says that this order of the Indian government finally proved the issues raised by it for long. That in the name of development and dam building Assam is not going to get anything and Assam’s problems cannot be solved unless policies are changed. The KMSS demands that the Assam government must immediately protest against this. The KMSS reiterated that the government of India must stop this mockery and engage with sincerity about the concerns of the people of Assam.