Scrap Umngot dam project: JAC to CM

Conrad K Sangma (ST file photo)

SHILLONG, May 7: The Joint Action Committee Against Umngot Hydro Electric Project has petitioned Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma to scrap the proposed hydroelectric project on the Umngot river.
“Several villages located along the Umngot river have strongly opposed the move of the state government to implement the Umngot project,” the JAC stated in its petition to the CM on Friday.
According to the JAC, villagers residing along the upper stream of Umngot have been engaged in agricultural activities for generations while those residing along the lower reaches of the river have been earning their livelihood through tourism and they will lose everything if the dam is constructed.
They also made it clear that they will not engage in any dialogue with the state government on the project. “We will not allow either the government or any private firm to carry out a survey. We had earlier prevented the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board from conducting the public hearings since it had violated the order of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA),” it stated.
Construction of the dam would pose a huge threat to the villages since Meghalaya falls under seismic zone 5 and is prone to earthquakes, it said, adding that the project would affect the flora and fauna in the area besides destroying citrus and medical plants which are unique to the Khasi-Jaintia Hills region.