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14 Dec 2016

Teesta project in Darjeeling faces protest from locals

Pramod Giri, HT, 13 Dec 2016, SILIGURI: The 81 mega watt Teesta Low Dam I and II hydro electric project of National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) in Darjeeling has come under a cloud. People in the locality have vowed to oppose it tooth and nail citing the devastation it could cause to human settlements, bio-diversity and two highways connecting Sikkim and Kalimpong.
Many environmentalists believe that new projects on Teesta River in Darjeeling district would be catastrophic.
The project to come up on the Ranjit River, a little upstream from Tribeni – the confluence of Teesta and Ranjit rivers – in Kalimpong sub division, was one of the four such hydro projects allotted to NHPC by the state government in September 2014.
The MoU between the state government and NHPC was signed in July 2015.
TheTeestaSamajikSangharsha Samiti in its meeting last Saturday took a unanimous decision to oppose the project.
Bishal Rai, the coordinator of samiti, said, “The devastation caused by NHPC’s two projects at Rambi and Kalijhora is an eyeopener.” The NHPC’s two hydro projects on Teesta in Darjeeling – Teesta Low Dam Project (132 mw) at Rambi and Teesta Low Dam Project (160 mw) at Kalijhora are already commissioned.
“Many people were displaced, lost their employment as the two projects caused massive damage to the bio-diversity and National Highway 10 connecting Sikkim and Kalimpong with rest of the country,” he said.
“None of the commitments made by NHPC during the public hearings of the already commissioned two projects were kept,” Rai said. “Due to two projects, 76 houses are being dismantled at Gail Khola, 29th Mile and Teesta.”
SR Roy, executive director of NHPC, said, “The detailed project report (DPR) of Teesta Low Dam I and II hydro electric project was prepared by the West Bengal state government and the NHPC is only carrying out some investigation in the area.” It would take three months time to complete the investigation like geological mapping and topographical survey.
Roy said the DPR has not yet been cleared and there has been misconception about the project.
According to a NHPC official, a dam is proposed to be constructed on Ranjit River about 2.5 km upstream from Tribeni. The samiti has also decided to knock the door of National Green Tribunal.









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