Tripura tribals want Gumti Hydro-Electric Project scrapped

Published: Thursday 31 May 2007

The police recently blocked tribal people's protests in South Tripura district in Tripura over the Gumti Hydro-Electric Project commissioned in 1974. The tribal people want the project scrapped and the land given back to them but the state government is not doing that. "Hydel power is still cheaper, much cheaper than power from plants run by natural gas," says chief minister Manik Sarkar.

A 30-metre high dam was built across the Gumti river for generating 8.6 MW power and the dam submerged 46.34 sq km of fertile land--home to about 40,000 tribal people. The project, however, is not generating any power now. According to Tripura's power minister Manik Dey, power production from the project has completely stopped since March 2007. "There is hardly any water in the dam's reservoir to generate power but we are not ready to scrap the project," he says. The government has set up an expert committee to look into the condition of the reservoir.The committee is expected to give its report by July. The tribal people, however, allege that the state government is not doing anything for their uplift.

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