Akhil ends fast; vows to strengthen anti-dam movement

Gogoi launched his fast-unto-death May 19 to protest building of dams in the northeastern region.

Guwahati: Assam`s farmer leader and anti-dam activist Akhil Gogoi ended his 10-day-old fast Monday evening following an appeal from Anna Hazare.

Extending his support to Gogoi, social activist Hazare urged him to end his fast and said his good health was important to continue the movement against the construction of mega dams. Hazare spoke to Gogoi over telephone after team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal arrived here Monday.

Gogoi launched his fast-unto-death May 19 to protest building of dams in the northeastern region.

"Anna ji asked me to end the fast, but this only means that we are going to launch the movement against mega dams in a more stronger way," Gogoi told the media after ending his fast by taking juice.

Earlier, Kejriwal met Gogoi at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), where he was continuing his fast after being "forcibly" admitted by the government since May 25. He also addressed a public rally at the Lakhidhar Bora Khetra, where Gogoi had started his fast.

"Anna ji has asked Akhil Gogoi not only to end fast but also to spread awareness against mega dams in the entire northeast and in the country, and create a nationwide mass movement against the mega dams. Anna ji has also asked Gogoi to fix a date on which a massive anti-dam movement can be launched across the country," Kejriwal told media persons.

"Anna ji will himself sit on an indefinite fast along with Akhil Gogoi," he added.

"Akhil Gogoi is only demanding a cumulative assessment of the mega dams. What is wrong in this?" Kejriwal asked.

He noted that earlier an expert committee formed by the government had expressed apprehensions against the construction of mega dams in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Kejriwal also questioned the transparency in allotting the power projects to various corporate houses. "There was no competitive bidding before allotting the projects and so it is a clear case of corruption...on the basis of that, the ongoing construction of all mega dams should be stopped."

He, however, added: "We are not against dams. We want electricity too, but that should not beat the cost of local people, environment and ecology of the region," he said.