Big Dam issue of Assam wants no introduction as it has been in talks all along. It is one of the most controversial dam projects in India. There has been sufficient public outrage made and it has turn out to be an issue to earn livelihood for media in Assam. The debatable ‘big dam’ is now no longer something that can hold water and produce power, it has become a political issue. Krsihak Mukti Sangram Samiti’s strapping anti-dam public rallies, AGP’s new-flanged topic to pulsate public support or Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s pro-dam annotations, has made the ‘big dam’ a subject for discussions and controversies.
The distress over Big Dams is not something fresh. Right from the day the conception of big dams incepted in Assam, it has been opposed by just a few people among the millions. However the majorities of these inhabitants are not connoisseur rather they are inhabitants who has been living in these regions and is well versed with the condition of the area than the other people. A range of diverse research work has been conducted all over the globe to cram the cumulative upshot of hydrological adaptation due to construction of big dams but it has portrayed more of hostile results than constructive results. Indeed different researches have established that prime demolishers of marine habitation, adding considerably to the annihilation of species, and the overall loss of the flora and fauna on which the livelihood of inhabitants depends, big dams and river diversions are a reason for all these. The verity is that seismic activity can be stimulated by dam, over 100 cases has been identified globally by the scientists, which were triggered by dam-reservoirs. The risk to lives and other resources has already been taken by a few Indian States like Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakand etc, helping India to progress and develop in all the spheres. Here a question arises if the other states can take the risk then why not Assam? Why cannot Assam lend a hand in progress and development of the Nation as a whole?
India is a developing Nation and Assam being a part of the nation is included in the development of the Country as a whole. The people of Assam are in no ways against development and also encourage the massive growth of industries in the State as it will and is reducing the problem of unemployment. Several industries that are coming up in Assam will lead to power crisis in the state. In spite of the fact that the State is having big rivers, there has always been a problem of power crisis due to inefficiency and negligence on the part of the Government or the concern authority. Whatever the field it may be, Assam is dependent for power supply from other states which indeed is a hindrance for development and progress of the State. Construction of the big dam over the Subansiri River will lend a hand in solving the power crisis problem in the State. The Subansiri Lower Dam is a 2,000 Mega-Watt hydroelectric power project of NHPC limited. The surface powerhouse will hold 8 units of Francis turbines of 250 MW each. It is probably the largest dam ever in India. The dam to be constructed is located near North Lakhimpur on Assam and Arunachal boarder. The projected dam is of 116 meter high and at bursting crest time the reservoir will contain 1365 million cum and maximum flood discharge are 21230 cum. The dam is to be constructed in a seismic prone area which is a treat for the entire state because if the dam happens to break it will wash away the entire North Lakhimpur, Dhemaji and other districts as well. The national park Kaziranga which is internationally acclaimed for one-horned rhinoceros and various other migratory as well as resident birds will be completely washed off. The World’s largest river island “Majuli” will doom in the heart of the might river Brahmaputra.
Big Dam project is in no doubt supposed to be constructed with goodwill and for the well being of the people of Assam and India as a whole but it should also consider the after-effects if the dam happens to break. There are often improved, economical, less-destructive options to edifice a large dam, whether to meet energy or water needs, or to reduce the impacts from floods. These options from small-scale, decentralized water supply and new renewable, to large-scale competence and conservation options, have recurrently been unnoticed or released when a big dam project is there. Two such segments of hydro power which are receiving immense attention in the developed countries are wave power and hydrokinetic turbines that incarcerate energy from the flow of water in rivers, estuaries and ocean currents. Indeed such turbines can even generate power from irrigation canals and water supply and disposal pipes. Hydrokinetic turbines, if evaluated appropriately can be a fortunate thing for Assam and the whole of North-East India having river flowing profusely. People of Assam are not against dams but it should be constructed in a place where there is comparatively lesser risk to lives and other resources.