Affected families want total safeguard of local interests
GANGTOK, November 16: The public hearing for the 96 megawatt Hydel Power Project at River Dikchu was held today at Dikchu Bazaar.
Organized by the State Pollution Control Board, Forest and Wildlife Department the hearing was attended by all project affected families and the landowners from Lingdok and Dikchu.
M/s Sneha Kinetic Power Project limited, a Hyderbad based company has proposed to construct a 96 MW Hydroelectric Project by utilizing the water of River Dikchu, a tributary of Teesta River in East Sikkim.
Placing the technical details, the Managing Director of Sneha Kinetic Power Project Limited Raghunathan Reddy informed that the hydel project would have an installed capacity of 99 MW at the cost of Rs. 49 Crore
He added that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environment Management Assessment (EMA) have been drafted keeping in view the environmental, cultural, and traditional conservation. He also informed that as per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the State Government, the local people will be employed in the project and also given ample opportunities. Mr. Raghunathan also assured that all the contractual works would be given to the local youths only. “We commit to bring more infrastructure development such as schools, roads, community centers in Dikchu, he added.
However, after acquiring the land for the said project, a total of 75 families will be affected, it is learnt.
Queries were also raised by the affected landowners during the interactive session of the meet.
An affected landowner from Lingdok, Vishnu Neopaney said that more than four hundred species of medicinal plants would be uprooted with the implementation of the said project. He also added that Dharma tam, a cave of historical importance where Thekong Tek and Neykong Nyal after signing the brotherhood treaty stayed will be submerged into the water.
Stating that the State government and the company have signed a MoU for the generation of only 54 MW electricity earlier, Mr. Neopaney has questioned about the remaining 42 MW, which would total up to the present figure of 99 MW. He further questioned about the non-amendment of the MoU after the increase in the power generation.
Responding to Mr. Neopaney’s query, the concerned officials informed that a detailed survey has been carried out before preparing the EIA and it has been made clear that none of the biodiversities gets affected with the commissioning of the hydel project.
Nar Bahadhur Pradhan of 12th Mile, Lower Lingdok also placed a demand to the company stressing that only the public of Lingdok Namphong Block should be given site to run businesses near the project site. He also said the company should pay a compensation of Rs 50 per square feet for the acquired land. All the laborers from outside Sikkim after the completion of the project should go out of Sikkim, he demanded. He also demanded for the preservation of the religious, social, cultural aspects of the people and their place.
It was also demanded that the chairman of the contractors’ association, which will be involved in the said project should be nominated and appointed amongst the affected families.
The President of Dikchu Youth Welfare Association, Chung Chung Bhutia emphasized on the point that the supply and the transportation works should be given to the unemployed youth of Dikchu. He also demanded to include one of the members of Dikchu Youth Welfare Association in the Steering Committee formed for the project.
The public hearing for the People of North District for the concerned Project will be held on November 17 at Phodong.
The area MLA Norzang Lepcha, MLA Kabi Tingda TT Bhutia along with Chairman State Pollution Control Board CC Sangderpa also attended the public hearing. Also present were the officials from various government departments.