Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hydropower will make Sikkim richest state

Gangtok,Nov10: Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has praised the Pawan Chamling government for going ahead with optimum utilisation of the hydropower resources of the state. The Himalayan state was on course to become the richest state in India upon commissioning of the ongoing hydel projects in a few years’ time, he said. The revenues from the hydropower projects will not only boost the coffers of the state exchequer, but also bring about an overall socio-economic development in Sikkim, he added.
Mr. Shinde came to Sikkim on Saturday on a three-day visit within four months of his taking charge of power ministry for second consecutive terms in the UPA government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. On the day he chaired the 16th Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC) meeting held in Sikkim. Later in the evening he was talking to reporters.
Asked about the status of the six hydel projects which were put on hold by the ministry of environmengt four months ago, the Union Minister said, “I have taken up the matter at the higher level for grant of clearances to the six hydel projects.” He however maintained that the environmental issues must be taken due care of in conceiving hydropower projects. Even his ministry has made necessary changes in its hydropower policy in view of the environment-related concerns being raised by various quarters, he said.
He mentioned that a broad range of issues like the local area development, compensation to the project-affected people, jobs to the local people and setting up of training institutes for developing skills of local youths and their absorption in the power projects, etc, have been committed by the power developers engaged in the state.

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