Image: Northeast Now

Landslide due to heavy rain in the foothills of eastern Himalayas on Assam-Arunachal boundary in Lakhimpur-Dhemaji districts has created panic among people living on the downstream areas of the Subansiri river since May 26 last.

On the next day, people living in the inter-state boundary of the two districts were alarmed as the landslides took place around 200 meters away on the right side from the under-construction mega structure of the 2,000-MW Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP) dam at Gerukamukh.

Cracks were also developed on the hills near the construction site as heavy rains lashed the area for almost a week.

Landslides also took away a portion of the road leading to the view point of the dam 300 meters away from the construction site.

However, the road has been in abandoned condition as movements to the view point of the dam were closed in 2019.

The outcry in the downstream areas following the landslides in hills close to the LSHEP dam prompted Lurinjyoti Gogoi, the general secretary of All Assam Students Union (AASU) to visit the affected areas on Thursday.

After inspecting the landslide hit areas the AASU leader said, “The erosion proves the fragility of the hills in Gerukamukh in which it was extremely wrong to construct a mega dam in that area”.

Gogoi also said the warnings made by experts from Assam over the issue had become a reality now.

He also said, “If only rains bring down huge portions of the hills, what will occur in case of an earthquake?”

The AASU leader further demanded to halt the construction work of the LSHEP dam by NHPC until ensuring the safety and security of the people living in the downstream areas.

He also asked the executive director of NHPC-LSHEP to stop dam work until the resumption of talks with various stakeholders of the issue and warned him of stiff opposition.

In his reply, Sanjeev Bhatt, the ED of the LSHEP said that 55 per cent of the project work had been completed so far with the cost of Rs 10,000 crores.

He also informed that the dam would be functional with 500 MW by August, 2023.

Bhatt also clarified that it was the prerogative of the State Government to decide on stopping or halting the work of the LSHEP project which had resumed from October, 2019.

The LSHEP ED also dismissed the fear on the safety of the dam following the landslide.

Farhana Ahmed

Farhana Ahmed is Northeast Now Correspondent in North Lakhimpur. She can be reached at: