AFFECTED CITIZENS OF TEESTA
The Hon’ble Chairman,
Expert Appraisal Committee on
SUB: REQUEST FOR FRESH ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS FOR TEESTA HEP STAGE III.
This is to bring to your kind notice the following facts and figures for your kind information and further necessary consideration:
1. That, while issuing the Environmental Clearance to M/S Teesta Urja Ltd for Development of Teesta HEP stage III, there is no mention of one of the most serious cause of destruction of the environment that is the BLASTING/DYNAMITE. Due to which there has been unchecked rampant blasting in the construction site of the projects particularly in the damsite, shipger,Raman and other areas of the project. An innocent person was also killed few years ago in a church due to a splinter from blasting from almost a km away. Further, these area being ecologically fragile and have high ridges where there are lot of loose rock formations, there is the possibility that these rocks might get disturbed and fall off causing loss to lives and properties. Besides the many houses have been already been damaged and there is the possibility of damaging religious places of worship and historical sites like the Leydo(holy stone). It is also known that unlike conventional Hydro Projects the most serious damage to the environment is caused by the tunneling and the region above the adit II(teng) experienced unprecedented landslides/flash flood in 2nd August 2002. This was later on seen to be caused by the disturbance of the top soil due to rampant blasting by the Border Roads Organization while constructing the
It is also pertinent to bring to the notice of the committee that a Schedule I animal serow(Caprinornis Sumantraensis)was found dead in the Project area and the company SEW under Teesta Urja ltd was held responsible and the case compounded after payment of fine of Rs 25,000/-on 20.11.2008, In this matter also the DFO has observed that besides other probable reasons, the animal could have been disturbed by the Blasting and fell from the ridges and then succumbed or killed by splinter of blasting .Therefore, in view of the above facts, you are requested to kindly put fresh conditions to the project regarding Blasting( it is a specific condition No 1 in Panam HEP clearance) that all Blasting should be stopped till a reputed independent agency is appointed to install necessary equipment to measure the intensity and ensure that blasting are carried out in controlled Manner. Further, an independent Agency should also survey and compute all the damages done so far by the blasting and also makes specific financial provisions to compensate any damages till now and in future including loss of human lives. Finally punitive action and not financial penalty should be taken against the concerned company and individual on duty for any violation resulting in damages, particularly losses of lives.
2. As per the Environment clearance the responsibility of implementation of Environmental safeguard rest with the state govt. There is a serious draw back with this as there is the possibility of local pressure on the officials here. Moreover, the state Government officials are dependent on the company for logistic support like guest house, vehicles, hiring of private house etc. it is also seen that many sincere officials are not able to perform their duties as many influential people are involved with the construction and policy matters. The regional office shillong also haven’t made frequent visit or public/physical monitoring of the project whereas 50% of the work had been completed.
Further, the various committee set up for the monitoring and other purposes are made of people who are also contractors under the company and most of the members don’t have the basic knowledge about the project and they area chosen only on political consideration. Therefore, a more independent committee need be constituted to monitor all aspects of the projects. The members should be preferably from outside the state and have to be independent of Govt / company. The local representative should not be at least contractor /supplier under the Company.
3. The R/R has been a complete farce under the Teesta stage III. The company had showered flower petals over Singhik school function from a helicopter under the of R/R!!!! The Public so far is clue less about the provisions of the R/R, there has been no free prior information in this regards and even the members of the committees have been saying that they have never been called for any meeting. Recently some money was distributed by the Districts collectorate, but people had no clue why they were receiving the money and there was serious disparity in allocation of relief and the officials never made any effort to brief the affected citizens of the issue, thus causing serious tension in the villages. Further, the people are very surprised how an NGO by the name of Bhavishya Bharat Foundation had been brought in to carry of the R/R plan. The company never gave any opportunity for the local NGOs to be part of the Plan. Now it is believed large sum of R/R fund is mainly spent on salaries of the executives of the NGO. The R/R should actually be directly dealt with the Local people, Panchayat and district administration without any intermediary. There is urgent need to monitor the R/R provisions and rectify all that has gone wrong till date for the Proper implementation of the Project. Otherwise the sufferings of the people will further increase and contribute to tension in the already disturbed border area. The R/R should be carried out by the govt agencies and local NGOs/women Self help groups etc and that the NGO (Bhavishaya Bharat) should be relived from this work.
4. As per the clearance a fresh appraisal has to be sought in case of change of scope of work in the project since Teesta III has abandoned one adit and made other changes (copies with the CEA). Process of Fresh appraisal should be started immediately.
Submitted with the hope that our humble request will be granted by the committee for the sake of the country and the people.
Affected Citizens of Teesta
“Tasso Lee” Munshi Colony, Development Area
1. All members of the EEAC
2. Dr S. Bhowmick, Additional Director, MoEF.