Public against dam construction

From Our Correspondent

NONGSTOIN: The proposed plan for construction of a dam at Khri river near Kyrshai in West Khasi Hills District by the Assam State Electricity Board was vehemently opposed in a public meeting at Kyrshai village recently.

The meeting which was attended by thousands from the nearby villages including Khasi, Garo and Rabha communities also saw Hopingstone Lyngdoh, MLA Nongstoin grace the occasion along with the local MDC K P Pangniang.

Altogether villagers from the 27 villages that would be worst- affected by the dam’s construction unanimously decided to disallow the dam’s implementation.

Out of the 27 villages, 17 villages are Garo and Khasi villages while 10 villages are inhabited by Rabha and other communities.

During the meeting, Hopingstone Lyngdoh informed the villagers that since his foray into politics in 1972, he had been fighting for the rights of the border people. He earnestly urged the Khasi, Garo and Rabha people of the area to unite for the cause of the land. He also said that the Assam government was trying to lure the people into giving their land up for the dam’s construction.

He cautioned the villagers to be aware of the situation and to refrain from becoming the “Judas” of the land. He informed that the Assam govt were deliberately trying to construct the road between Chegaon and Rambrai. In the meeting, Lyngdoh informed that the road covering a distance of 25 kms has been constructed to a distance of 15 kms by Assam.

He assured that the Meghalaya govt would complete the remaining 10 kms and that the DPR of the road construction was nearing its completion. He said that the Nongstoin-Rambrai-Chegaon road has been sanctioned from the SARDP of the MLA scheme.

Highlighting the impact of the proposed plan, K P Pangniang said that the implementation of the 2 MW project would affect the residents of Jirang in Ri Bhoi District, Mawthadraishan and Rambrai in West Khasi Hills.

He added that the Assam government had dual motives for the dam’s construction, first, for power generation and second for occupying Meghalaya territory.

Winstar Sangma headman of Ukiam said that the Assam government was sending their agents to every household in the area to convince them to give up their land and in return avail huge compensation and urged the villages to not fall for such a plot and refrain from handing over their land.