Shillong, Oct 17: A proposed 2 MW micro-hydel power project in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district by the Assam government could become the new flashpoint to the four-decade boundary dispute between the two states, an official said Wednesday.
The Congress government in Meghalaya, led by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, has feigned ignorance about the proposed Rs.13 crore dam to be built on Khri river.
However, the Congress’s key ally in the state, the United Democratic Party (UDP) has sought a clarification from Meghalaya Power Minister Abu Taher Mondal on Assam’s plan to set up the hydel power project.
Meghalaya has 12 areas of difference on its boundary with Assam, including Langpih, where the project will be set up.
West Khasi Hill District Deputy Commissioner S. Kharlyngdoh said there have been reports about Assam surveying the river for a power project.
“I have only seen media reports. I can’t confirm nor deny Assam’s plan to built the dam on Khri river,” Kharlyngdoh told IANS.
In a missive to the power minister, UDP working president Paul Lyngdoh said: “The party seeks your immediate response and to set aside apprehensions vis-a-vis the above nefarious designs of the neighbouring state. The above clarification should be placed in the public domain so as to enlighten the people of the state about the stance of the power department.”
Lyngdoh also said the power project would amount to the state government accepting the “preposterous” claim of Assam over the village and its neighbouring areas.
“It would also encourage a project that would severely impact the lives of residents of at least 26 villages who stand to be displaced once the Khri river is dammed for the purpose of facilitating the power project,” the UDP leader said.
“This matter does not concern the power department since it is related to encroachment,” Mondal said. He added that the home department should look into the issue.
On the other hand, Assam’s Kamrup Deputy Commissioner S.K. Roy claimed that the project site is far from the inter-state border.