Patkar against construction of big dams in N-E
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Last Updated: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 18:26
Guwahati: Noted environmentalist and Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar today demanded that construction of big dams must be stopped in the North East to save the region from complete destruction.

Addressing a massive rally, organised under the aegis of the Kisan Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), at the Sonaram Field here Patkar said the rivers must be saved and "if we want to save the region from destruction, big dams must be stopped."

Earlier, "the government divided people on the lines of caste and religion but now they are taking the name of development," she alleged.

"We also want development but not at the cost of peoples' lives and livelihood. We want development of rivers, power, aquatic life and people of living on river banks and not just of corporate houses and a section of politicians ," Patkar alleged.

"Vikash Hobo, Vinash No hobo (We want development and not destruction)," she asserted in Assamese.

The construction of dams involved scams amounting to several thousands of crore and some corporate houses and politicians were allegedly involved in this, she claimed.

She also lauded the role of KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi for organising the rally and giving a voice to the farmers who would be the worst affected if dams are constructed on the Brahmaputra and its tributaries.

Patkar, later, fell ill and was rushed to a hospital, while leading a protest march from the Sonaram Field to the Kamrup (Metro) Deputy Commissioner's office but her condition was stated to be stable.

Meanwhile, tense situation prevailed near the Deputy Commissioner's Office when more than five thousand protestors gathered to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister through the Deputy Commissioner.

The district authorities declared the gathering illegal and asked the crowd to disperse within ten minutes.

KMSS leader addressing the protesters pointed out that they had applied for necessary permission for holding a dharna at the Dispur Last Gate but was denied following they had sought permission for holding a rally at Sonaram Field and a protest march which was subsequently granted.

"The people of Assam have lost all faith in the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government and will themselves take steps to stop construction of big dams," the KMSS leader claimed.

The activists dispersed after a novel style of protest by showing their back to the authorities, spitting symbolically at them and hurling their shoes.


First Published: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 18:26

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