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From Our Correspondent
TURA: The Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising of seven organizations from Garo Hills held a public rally in Williamnagar on Tuesday to demand that the Meghalaya Government halt the Daribokgre dam project to tap water for supply to Tura, citing possible ecological damage to the Simsang river.
The student and social organizations also gave a seven-day deadline to the government to stop the Daribokgre project and warned of a series of agitations if their demands are not heeded to.
The organizations from East Garo Hills, namely All India Garo Union, GSU, Indigenous Citizens Forum of Simsanggre (ICFS), A’chik Youth Federation (AYF), FKJGP, Federation for A’chik Freedom (FAF), Mothers’ Federation, Labour Union and A’chik Socio-Cultural Team (ASCOT) called for their rally at Rongrenggre playground to raise the issue with the public.
However, a heavy downpour compelled the organisers to shift their meeting to Williamnagar college.
“The dam at Daribokgre stream will have a negative impact on the Simsang river basin including its fish sanctuary and ultimately dry up the longest river of Garo Hills,” said JAC President Taison D Shira.
Refusing to accept the government’s stand that there would be no impact on Simsang river, the JAC leaders have stated that Daribokgre stream could face a similar fate as that of Didare stream which was also dammed for supply of water for Tura Phase III.
“Today, the volume of water in Didare stream has fallen drastically due to diversion of the water and livelihood of many villagers have been lost, including the fish sanctuary,” the JAC president said.
Meanwhile, the agitating JAC from East Garo Hills has demanded that North Tura MLA and parliamentary secretary for PHE Noverfield R Marak issue a public apology for allegedly misinforming the public about the Daribokgre dam project.
“The parliamentary secretary is trying to create the impression that there is regionalism and everything is normal with no damage to the Simsang river. This is not at all true. He should apologise,” demanded the JAC.
The agitating body has also accused the parliamentary secretary of misleading the public by stating that there is no opposition from the land Nokmas to the Daribokgre dam project.
“The Nokma of Mandalgre had previously accepted the dam project because the PHE promised employment and water supply. They never said anything about the negative impact the project would have on Simsang river in the long run,” said GSU East Zone President Rakte Marak.