Demands an enquiry commission or will take up legal measures
The alleged ‘bypassed’ laws were Amending Act 68, 1984 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1984, Land Acquisition (Companies) Rules, 1963 and the Land Acquisition (Companies) Act, 1963.
The authorities of Sikkim have blatantly imposing the defunct emergency clause of the Land Acquisition Act, 1984 while acquiring lands for the hydro project developers, said ACT. “This has made Land Acquisition Rules, 1977 of Sikkim government illegal and unconstitutional which in turn has made all proceedings for acquisition of land or private companies null and void since September 24, 1984”, said ACT.
Basing its arguments on RTI documents, the anti-hydel body said that the Land Revenue department has replied that the Land Acquisition (Companies) Rules 1963 has not been enforced in Sikkim. This has deprived the innocent public off their benefits of the said Act, it said.
The ACT also claimed that forest lands are been acquired in blatant violations of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. The glaring example is that 61.549 hectares of forest land at Chungthang subdivision have been acquired and compensation has been paid without the prior FCA clearance from Ministry of Forests, it said.
“Some of the MoUS executed by the government and the power project developers are found to be defeating the old laws and Article 371 F (k) (1) and 19 (5) of the Indian Constitution”, said ACT.
Stating the above ‘facts’ promote and justify the 752 days of ongoing relay hunger strike of ACT, the body has submitted a representation to the Chief Secretary appealing the State government to constitute an inquiry commission headed by a renowned retired Chief Justice of High Court or a retired Judge of Supreme Court to unearth the facts on before September 21 this year.
Failing which ACT will take the matter to highest judiciary in Sikkim for public interest and justice, ACT warned demanding all the construction works undertaken by the hydro power developers should be ‘suspended’ throughout Sikkim until the completion of the proceedings of the commission.
“The State of Sikkim cannot deprive the people of their livelihood, land, statutory and constitutional rights by violating the statutes and constitution to give undue benefits to capitalist companies belonging to the private sector”, said ACT in its representation submitted to the Chief Secretary.
source: Sikkim Express
Tuesday 21 July 2009
ACT WRITES TO UNION ENVIRONMENT MINISTER SEEKING WITHDRAWL OF ENVIRONMENT SITE FOR HYDEL PROJECTS AROUND CHUNGTHANG
AFFECTED CITIZENS OF TEESTA
Shri Jairam Rameshji,
Hon’ble Union Minister for Environment
(independent Charge),Govt of india
SUB: IMPLEMENTATION OF CARRYING CAPACITY REPORT
With due respect, I would like to bring to your kind notice the following facts for kind information and immediate consideration:
That while awarding the environmental clearance for the Teesta Hydro electric Power project Stage V, the MOEF had specified that no more environmental clearance would be granted to studies on the Teesta River until an independent carrying capacity studies of the Teesta Basin is completed. Accordingly the Carrying Capacity studies was entrusted to CENTRE FOR INTER-DISCIPLINARY STUDIES OF MOUNTAIN & HILL ENVIRONMENT,DELHI UNIVERSITY,DELHI(CISME) and the findings were accepted by the Ministry.
As per the finding/recommendation of the studies the MOEF had written to the Govt of Sikkim that No Hydro projects above Chungthang, North Sikkim will be considered for environmental Clearance.
However, even after such explicit orders the private Developers are carrying out their survey operation in these areas as the Environmental site clearances have not been withdrawn.
Therefore, your honour is requested to kindly order the withdrawal of the environmental site orders given to Polyplex Pvt ltd for 99MW Bimkyong HEP,99MW Tangchi HEP and 90Mw Bop HEP and other projects planned in area located above Chungthang as per carrying capacity report.
If the companies are permitted to continue their work, later on they will claim that lot of resources have been invested and as such these projects have to be cleared, causing tremendous damage to the ecology and the people here. Moreover, the carrying capacity studies after spending 5 crores of public money will be a colossal waste of resource and effort and above all the Authority of the Govt of India will be undermined.
Vice-P /chief Coordinator
Affected Citizens of Teesta,
Chungthang, North Sikkim.
Built at a cost of Rs. Rs 2619 crores and completed in a span of eight years, the Teesta Stage V mega power project had been fully commissioned in March last year and is one of the largest hydel power plant in the Northeast region.
The electricity being generated at Teesta Stage V plant is being supplied to power deficit States of West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar which had previously entered into a purchase agreement with NHPC.
The Teesta Stage V plant will go a long way to tide over the power shortage in West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar, said Mr. Shinde to mark the dedication to the nation of the hydel plant.
The Union Minister also added that the commissioning of the hydel plant has also helped the Himalayan State of Sikkim financially as it has been getting 12 per cent free power of its installed capacity which fetched it about 125 crores annually to emerge as a permanent source of revenue which could be utilised for various development works.
“The border State has benefited in terms of infrastructure development and social welfare of the populace inhabiting near the project site as the public sector hydro developer has pumped huge money to cater to education, health, roads and other facilities for the local people”, Mr. Shinde said.
The Union Minister lavished praise on Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for his commitment to the State’s development. Mr. Shinde said that it was due to Mr. Chamling’s leadership that the border State of Sikkim will become financially self-reliant in years to come once all the ongoing power project construction works are completed and get commissioned.
Contrary to you (Sikkim) to look up to the Centre for funds, the country looks upon Sikkim for electricity and other resources, Mr. Shinde said in a lighter vein.
With more hydro projects in pipeline in Sikkim to the tune of the projected capacity of over 5500 MW to be completed in the next couple of years, Mr. Shinde said that the small State like Sikkim has emerged as a key destination for tapping its natural resources in terms of hydro power projects.
The Union Minister also promised all assistance to the state government for implementation of the rural electrification in Sikkim under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), including that of 25 villages left out from the scheme as was demanded by the Chief Minister.
Mr. Shinde said that the laying out of the electricity lines by the Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCI) for supply of power from various hydro projects in Sikkim will also be done expeditiously.
The Union Minister also showed his commitment towards Sikkim by asking NHPC Chief Managing Director SK Garg to appoint one official at each commissioned and proposed plants in the state to deal specifically with the relief and rehabilitation-related issues of the general public after the Chief Minister raised the pending demands of the people living near the Teesta Stage V project.
Mr. Shinde said that he will personally monitor the relief and rehabilitation measures for those people evacuated for the construction of the hydel plant or living nearly. He further said that he was in favour of more local people getting jobs at the hydel projects and said the Centre will open a ITI for imparting technical education at an estimated cost of Rs. 5 crore so as to train the youths for the requirements of technical jobs at the hydel plants.
The State government should consider finding out a suitable plot somewhere between the two hydel projects (Teesta Stage IV and V) for setting up the educational institution so that the youths located at either side of the two plants may benefit, he said.
Earlier in his speech, the Chief Minister raised the pending demands of the people affected by the Teesta Stage V project.
Mr. Chamling requested the power developers to look into the interests of Sikkim and Sikkimese people while he will look into all the project related constraints.
Stressing on the need of effective and eco-friendly utilization of natural resources of the state he termed the inauguration of the project as an exemplary act of development done by Sikkim. “Border state can be peaceful”, he said citing examples of the various developmental projects underway in the state.
In his address, Governor Balmiki Prasad Singh said that Teesta River is a like gold mine for Sikkim people and stressed that the river should not be polluted. He also said that proper compensation should be given to those 45 labourers of different contractors lost their lives in this project. He also suggested to NHPC to set up a regional centre to give technical training to local youth.
source: Sikkim Express