Shillong: Fearing that the proposed Umngot Hydro Electric Project may adversely affect the tourism sector and the farming activities near the Umngot river, stakeholders from these areas met with Meghalaya deputy chief minister to once again urge him to scrap the UHEP.
Members of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) against UHEP have been pursuing the government to scrap this project and so far there has been no assurance from the end of the government.
Showing his support to JAC, Alan West a renowned entrepreneur in the tourism sector recalled how before 2013 tourist season was confined to 6 months April-September and the rest of the months were considered as dry season since no tourists were there during the dry season.
“But after 2013 scenario changed, we started getting tourists during the offseason and it was only after the discovery of Umngot river and with various activities in place. It is clear that Umngot river has attracted tourists from all over the country,” stated Alan West.
He added that they don’t want to lose any assets of the state and touching the Umngot river it would be too risky.
Reachingson Kongwang, chairman of Darrang tourism society expressed that they don’t want to spoil their career in the tourism sector.
He mentioned that a majority in the village especially unemployed youths and villages which are adjacent to Umngot are dependent on the tourism sector. “If they construct a dam it will have an adverse impact. We have not got any assurance concerning this issue but the deputy chief minister said he will take it up seriously and will try and help us in his capacity and discuss in the Cabinet to scrap this project,” added Kongwang.
Umngot River, also popularly known as Wah Umngot, is one of Meghalaya’s popular tourist spots due to its crystal-clear waters. Many people in the area near the river are dependent on the tourism that the river Umngot generates. The government’s proposed 210-MW Umngot Hydro Electric Project has been facing a backlash after several stakeholders opposed it fearing its impact on the environment and the famous Umngot River, known for its crystal-clear waters.
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