Skip to main content

BJP won Assam polls on anti-dam plank, new government promises to "honour" commitment to people

Site of Subansiri hydro project in Arunachal Pradesh
By Our Representative
Have India's well-known anti-dam activists led by Medha Patkar and her Narmada Bachao Andolan has found an unusual ally in the new BJP rulers in Assam? A multi-country site, claiming to focus mainly on Asia's water crisis and its relationship with climate change, has revealed that the Assam government has vowed to oppose big dams.
While it is not known how would Prime Minister Narendra Modi entertain such a view, as he is known to be a great supporter of big dams like the controversial one being built on Narmada, the site reports that “in a region dotted with large dam projects and public protests against them, the state’s water resources minister says big dams ruin environment.”
The site says, “Environmental issues seem to have played an important role in the recently concluded assembly elections in the Indian state of Assam. The alliance led by the BJP focussed a major part of its campaign on these issues, and these have worked in its favour, possibly signalling the first time in India when an election hinged on the environment. ”
It quotes the newly appointed Water Resources minister, Keshab Mahanta as telling thethirdpole.net that the new government is “opposed to big dams as those will damage the environment.” Mahanta adds, “We will push for micro and mini hydro power projects, to make the state self-sufficient in power.”
Author of the article Amarjyoti Borah on the site says, “The BJP’s election manifesto promised that it would focus on smaller dams that have minimum adverse impacts on the environment. On the large dams in and around the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh, it had promised that the suggestions of the expert committees will be taken into consideration – many of which have recommended caution against the construction of mega-projects.”
Borah quotes Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam’s chief minister, as repeatedly saying during the election campaign that, if voted to power, he would “take steps to curb the problem of flooding in all the urban and rural areas in the state, and we will also take steps to dredge the Brahmaputra river so that the depth of the river increases and flooding decreases.”
Borah believes, “The party’s promise on dams may have helped the BJP led alliance win a record 33 seats out of the 38 in the upper Assam districts of Sonitpur, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Jorhat, Sibsagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia. All these districts are likely to bear the brunt of big dams being built or proposed in the region, and besides this are heavily flood affected districts.”
Borah also says, “The BJP had recognised the importance of environmental issues in the run-up to the 2014 general elections when it promised a relook into the big dam projects in the North East. At an election rally at Pasighat, in Arunachal Pradesh on February 22, 2014, Narendra Modi said that honouring the sentiments of the region’s people against large dams, he would prefer smaller hydro power projects in the region. ”
The article quotes a research on relationship between environment and the Assam polls, by the Guwahati-based Centre for Environment Social and Policy Research's (CESPR's), which found that. unlike earlier elections when most people were focussed on issues of security and roti, kapda aur makan (bread, clothes and housing), “now voters also wanted politicians to speak about environmental issues as well.”

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Across the board, among Muslims, Hindus, there's enormous fury at Delhi Police: Report

Counterview Desk
A quick report, prepared by Delhi's concerned citizens, "Let Us Heal Our Dilli", based on one-day visit (February 27) to several areas and mohallas of North East Delhi affected by the riots that gripped the country's capital -- Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Chaman Park, Shiv Vihar, Main Mustafabad (including Bhagirathi Vihar and Brijpuri) -- has said everywhere there is "zero trust" towards that the police.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.