GUWAHATI: The leader of the Opposition in Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, has demanded a special assembly session to discuss hydel power projects and security of women issues.
Saikia’s demand came after the flash flood created havoc in Lakhipur and Dhemaji districts due to release of excess water from NHPC’s Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project in the last week.
“Three districts in North Assam are on the verge of destruction due to the mistake of the government. When a mass movement started against the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric project during the Tarun Gogoi government in 2010, a committee was formed and tasked with submitting a report on the destructive effect of such projects on the Brahmaputra and other rivers. The committee had recommended following the CD Thate and Reddy committees, with the observation that a big dam should not be constructed on the proposed site. The Sonowal government, however, signed a memorandum of understanding with NHPC in 2019 without implementing the recommendations of the bipartite agreement of 2014, which goes against Assam and leads to less electricity for the state. Arunachal will receive 200 megawatts of electricity solely due to the reason that the power house and reservoir are located in that state while Assam will receive only 25 megawatts despite the possibility of destruction here,” he said.
“Late Tarun Gogoi had not signed the agreement but Sonowal did so only to please Delhi. Now, water is flowing above the 115 metre dam in the Lower Subansiri hydro project, posing a big threat to the districts of Dhemaji, Lakhimpur and Majuli. A specialists’ committee had warned against building the dam at the present site in 2010 as the hill is composed of soft soil and poses a big threat to downstream areas as Assam is located in an earthquake- prone region,” Saikia said.
“But the government did not heed the warning and completed 75 percent of the work, ignoring the protests by individuals and organizations in the state… We are not against big dams but we only demand that adequate protection measures are taken and concern for the environment should be kept in mind while constructing such dams,” he said.
Saikia also said women in the state feel insecure during the rule of the current BJP government. A girl student in Dhemaji was attacked with a machete, leading to her death, in broad daylight. This is very unfortunate. Crimes against women have increased exponentially in the last 5 years of the BJP government. The rate of conviction in such cases is a mere 5.5 percent while the rate of acquittal is 93.2 percent, he said.
Due to this, questions have been raised regarding the role of police and administration. It is sad that nearly 9 incidents of such crimes occur daily in the state. Assam heads the list in crimes against women. Many have not received justice in such cases, with the courts giving dates after dates, he added.
“I demand a special session of the assembly to discuss the issue and pass a special law for the security of women,” he said and added that a special task force should be created in Assam police, with a lady IPS officer, and branches in every district.
Saikia also demanded that All Women police stations be set up in every sub- division so that women can come freely to report crimes. He also demanded Fast track court trials for disposal of cases within 48 hours.