JAC wants clear reply on scrapping Umngot project

SHILLONG, Aug 5: The Joint Action Committee (JAC) against Umngot Hydro Electric Project has asked the state government to come up with a clear reply on the demand for scrapping the project altogether.
The JAC, which is a conglomerate of pressure groups, traditional heads and tourism organizations, was not satisfied with the government’s usage of the phrase “termination of private party” in its reply.
The JAC said it received two similar letters. The first states the government will scrap the company while the second mentions the “termination of private party”.
Treiborlang R Suchen, a member of the JAC, said “termination of private party” means the termination of services of the company which has to take up the project.
Earlier, the JAC discussed the matter at a meeting attended by KSU, JSU, KKJGP, HNYF, Dorbar Shnongs and others.“Both the letters sound skeptical to us, so we want to write another letter to the Power minister to come out with a clear reply. The JAC demands the project to be scrapped entirely, not the company or any party. This means No to Umngot hydro project and no dam in Umngot river,” Suchen said.
Recalling Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong’s statement earlier that the project will be scrapped, he said, “The government has never spelt out clearly that it will scrap the project. During his tenure as the Power minister, James Sangma had stated it is not our (government’s) first priority to construct a dam; we have solar and thermal energy.”
Suchen said there was never a reply from the government which says the Umngot Hydro Electric Project will be scrapped entirely.
He said the JAC will be satisfied and it will stop protesting only if the government comes up with a statement that it will scrap the entire project. He cautioned that if the government continues to remain adamant, there would be mass protest.
Later during the day, Tynsong, who is also the Power minister, said, “The project is scrapped. They met me two-three times and I have already explained to them.”
“We scrapped it but you cannot say the project will be closed forever because we don’t know a time may come, let’s say after 50 years, when these people or their next generation may say the project should be revived,” Tynsong said.
He said since the project has been scrapped, there is no question of keeping it in abeyance. There is no more EoI (expression of interest) on this project, he added.
“If you see the government issuing a fresh EoI, it will mean it intends to invite other parties to come and sign an MoU but I told them we don’t have any intention at all,” he further said.

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