Lakhimpur (Assam): Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar on Thursday alleged that the central government and multi-national companies have joined hands to exploit the hydro resources of the country.

"Big dams are usually taken up to indulge in corruption by the Centre and the big companies, who exploit the resources for their maximum benefit ignoring the impact of these projects on common people," Patkar told an anti-dam protest rally against the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectricity Project at Chaulkhowa here.

"The Lower Subansiri Project is against the interest of the people and I appeal to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to hold discussions with the people involved in the anti-dam movement and take a decision in the interest of the people," Patkar said.

All anti-big dam protests have forced the government to reconsider their decisions and work has been stopped in most dams from Narmada to Mullaperiyar, she claimed.

In Arunachal Pradesh, 168 proposed dams have been given approval and if they were constructed, Assam would become a desert, she said.

The anti-dam movement would now not be confined to Assam alone but "we will launch similar movements in Arunachal Pradesh against the proposed 168 dams," she added.

Water is the basic right of the people and the downstream impact of all these projects must be studied in detail, Patkar said.

The rally was organised by eight organizations including the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti which is spearheading the movement against Lower Subansiri project.