Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Flashflood washes away equipments from Dikchu Hydro Power Site in Sikkim

DIKCHU, 02 May: Equipment worth Rs. 1.50 crore was washed away from a hydel project site on the Dikchu khola here on Sunday when the hill stream broke its banks following heavy rainfall in its catchment area on the higher reaches. Water level at Dikchu khola [which starts from the confluence of Baghca and Ratey Chu higher up] surged late in the afternoon and washed away the temporary bridge thrown across it to the Dickhu Hydro-Electric Project site. It started raining at around 3 p.m., and was at its most destructive at 6 p.m. Apart from the washed away bridge, the raging river also swept away equipment from the site and trapped one person on the far bank. He was rescued from his predicament early Monday morning.
Nar Bahadur Pradhan of Lower Rakdong was stranded to the far bank of the river on the northern side all of last night after the bridge was washed away at around 6 in the evening.
AS word spread of Dikchu khola in spate, people who rushed to the spot witnessed heavy equipment being carried away by the khola, which this morning, after the flood waters had subsided, appeared misleadingly tame. Only the wreckage of a truck, stuck in the shallow waters, standing evidence of the fury with which the stream had broken out last evening.
As for Nar Bahadur Pradhan, who had crossed over to collect fodder for his cattle, he was struck throughout the night with a sheer cliff behind him and a raging Dikchu khola in front. There was no alternate escape for him, and after the waters had subsided a bit towards nightfall, his relatives and fellow villagers used ropes to reach him some refreshments.

“This could have ended in a tragedy for me. I was relieved when stars shone through the clear night sky. If it had continued raining, my situation would have been much worse,” he said, after reaching to the safety of the left bank at around 9 a.m. on Monday.
The timing of the suspected cloud-burst which caused Sunday evening’s damage is propitious for the project developers, coming as it did on Labour Day, when no work was underway at the project site and no workers on duty. Had work been underway full-swing at the site, the toll would have been much worse than just the equipment lost.
That said, even the equipment loss has been substantial. The list goes something like this: one Aliva short kit machine, three Jackhammers, several hume pipes, connected air pipes, and water pipes. Excavator machines and a boomer machine were also washed away but are stuck in the river bed and can be recovered. The flood-waters also swept away the retaining wall in front of Cable Access Tunnel (CAT).
The equipment belongs to Drillcon Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, a sub-contractor of Sneha Kinetic Power Project Ltd. which is developing the 96MW Dikchu HEP.
Upon hearing of the flash-flood, ward panchayat, Lower Rakdong, BB Gurung, police personnel from Dikchu Out-Post and Phidang Check Post from North Sikkim rushed to the spot along with representatives from the SKPPL and Drillcon.
The Drillcon Project Manager, while speaking to NOW! informed that it will take at least one week, weather permitting, before work can resume at the project site.

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