Saturday 19 July 2008
The Sikkim Government's red carpet welcome to just about any corporate interested in investing in hydel projects in Sikkim seems to be going sour.
After discarding four hydel projects in March, the Sikkim government has scrapped three more such projects in the state accusing private developers of delaying execution of their contracts.
The Government says that the contracts of hydel projects of Sada-Mangder (71 Mw) in West and South districts, Bhasmey (51 Mw) in East district and Rongnichu (96 Mw) in East district have been terminated due to the failure of the private developers to execute these projects on schedule.
The private developers, Gati Investments Ltd and Madhya Bharat Power Corporation Ltd, have been duly informed about the state government's decision to terminate the contract of the three power projects on grounds of delay in work execution, which, the Government says had caused financial losses to the state exchequer.
The Sada-Mangder and Bhasmey hydel projects were awarded to Gati Investments Ltd in November 2003, while the Rongnichu hydel project was awarded to Madhya Bharat Power Corporation Ltd in March 2006.
The Government also said that the developers whose contracts had been cancelled did not even submit the detailed project report, not to speak of other unfulfilled obligations.
On the other hand, private developer Madhya Bharat Power Corporation had filed a writ petition in the first week of july in the Sikkim High Court challenging the cancellation of the project at Rongnichu (96 MW) stating that the required land for the project had not been made available.
Its a wise decision of the Government to scrap the projects mentioned and it is a welcome move. However the issues of the larger dams being constructed are still a cause of concern. More activity on the fragile ecosystem and in a wider scale cannot escape the eye of the ordinary Sikkimese. It has been making a worrisome sight for an average person here in Sikkim impossible to ignore and wonder and perhaps ponder.
Suggestions have been made earlier and even mentioned in the C C Study and also from concerned quarters that maybe a time frame should be given to study the impact of the larger projects before giving the go ahead to the other projects planned keeping in mind the fragile and volatile ecology. Besides, sourcing of other alternative forms energy could be experimented. Efforts to generate at least about 20 percent of the Total Megawatt generation target as planned by the Government could be sourced from other environmentally safer forms like wind, mini hydels etc..
Well all in all, at least its better news than expected! and it sums it up on this letter which appeared in the Citizens Reporter column of Gangtok's popular English Daily, "The Sikkim Express" the other day:
"Gangtok, Sunday, 18 July 2008
" SCRAPPING OF HYDEL PROJECTS: A WELCOME STEP"
We would like to thank the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling for taking a
bold step in scrapping the 51 MW Bhasmey Hydel Project in East Sikkim
and all other hydel projects mainly the 71 MW Sada-Mangder and 96 MW
Rongni Chu projects and also four projects in Dzongu in North Sikkim.
This is a historical decision which will go a long way in minimising
the social, demographic and environment impact of dams in the State.
Most importantly, the overcrowding due to large influx, which could
have dangerous consequences of the small size of our State can be
avoided. Even one percent influx would cause demographic disturbances
in the State. Our fragile ecology cannot sustain so much activity.
Our area in Bhasmey is very dry and there is very little agricultural
activities carried out here. There is always a shortage of drinking
water, the monsoon is short and few families have their children in
government services. Government benefits/facilities and schemes hardly
come to these backward regions of Bhasmey.
We welcome the scrapping of the Bhasmey Hydel Project because we are
of the opinion that such mega hydro power projects will not really
benefit the poor, and also have great impact on our society and the
Instead, we would like to request the Chief Minister to provide us
with the latest technologies and techniques for modern agricultural
farming, poultry, piggery, diary farming, fisheries, orchards etc. All
these would give us much more avenues for income generation and
employment and happiness rather than commissioning big hydel projects
like 51 MW Bhasmey Project which will only make us poorer as we have
seen in the Teesta V project where some of our own relatives and
friends have lost everything from their agriculture land to house,
cattle, etc. and are living like semi- refugees in their own homeland.
Hem Raj Adhikari
Ari Singh Bagdas
Bir Bdr. Yonzong
And all other residents of Bhasmey
Posted by weepingsikkim