Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said the state is "worried" about construction of dams by Arunachal Pradesh for hydro electricity and urged the neighbour to proceed only after a proper study.
The chief minister's concern on the floor of the Assembly bears significance on a day when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked to expedite work on many hydro-projects in the North East that are held up due to various reasons and build strong transmission capacities on a priority basis.
"We are worried for Assam... We are not against dams in Arunachal Pradesh as we need hydro power. We are only saying that without a proper study, it should not be constructed," Gogoi said.
If a dam is constructed without any scientific study and if anything adverse happens, then Arunachal Pradesh will also be affected along with Assam, he added.
Gogoi, however, said the Centre has given assurance that interests of Assam will be considered while taking a decision.
"I have spoken to the prime minister twice on this issue. During the recent NDC (National Development Council) meeting, he has assured us that the government will give full protection to all the people living downstream," he added.
Talking to reporters outside the House, Gogoi said he has spoken to his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart regarding this problem.
"I have spoken to Arunachal chief minister many times but he says they are doing it scientifically and after proper study," he said.
Gogoi also said due to melting of Himalayan glaciers on account of global warming, all the major rivers are likely to receive more water in the coming years, affecting India and its neighbours like China, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh.
"...and later there will be shortage of water everywhere and we will face drought... We have constructed roads, bridges, rail network and buildings but at the same time cut trees and destroyed natural reservoirs. We need to preserve water bodies," he added.
Prior to Gogoi's statement, Assam Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi told the House that the state needs hydro power as it is the cheapest way to generate electricity.
He, however, said, "We will not support any reckless construction of dams without any scientific study. That's why we had earlier opposed to Arunachal Pradesh constructing these dams. We need scientific technology."
Meanwhile in New Delhi today, at a meeting chaired by the prime minister to review infrastructure situation in the North East, it was decided to expedite work on many hydro-projects which are held up due to various reasons and build strong transmission capacities on priority basis.
There has been a series of protests in recent years after the Centre decided to build a number of dams in the North East to generate hydro power. Regarding the proposed dams in Arunachal Pradesh, it is apprehended that people living downstream in Assam will have to face severe artificial flood.