Environmental and anti-big dam activists are planning to give a tough time to the BJP-led Assam government this year, and are planning to start with the upcoming budget session of the Assam assembly which will begin onFebruary 6.
It will be almost a month long session, and anti-dam activists are planning to hold demonstrations and rallies at Guwahati during the course of the session, to put pressure on both the state government and the central government.
“Last year we were in for a big surprise when all the political parties in Assam, declared support for big dams in the state. It felt like a betrayal, as in 2016 all the major political parties in the state had said that they will oppose big dams in the region and will only focus on smaller hydro power projects which are sustainable,” said Keshab Chatradhara, an activist associated with the People’s Movement for Subansiri and Brahmaputra valley, an organization which is opposing the big dams in the region.
In the run up to the 2016 Assam assembly election, all the political parties contesting the elections in the state had tried to target the anti-big dam voters, and in their manifesto all the political parties had stated that they are concerned about the adverse impacts of the big hydro power projects in the State.
In its election manifesto, the BJP had promised that it would focus on smaller dams that have minimum impacts on the environment, and the AGP had said that they will support building of smaller dams.
The Congress party had also said that it will not support any projects that would damage the environment.
However, all the political parties back-tracked on their promises soon after, and last year all the political parties pledged support to big hydro power projects in the region, citing need for power and growth.