GANGTOK: February 13, 2012:
The Joint Action Committee, common platform to protest hydel power projects in Sikkim, organized a rally on Monday in West Sikkim demanding the scrapping of the third hydel power project Tashiding too by the state government. The state govt. had earlier scrapped two hydel projects Lethang and Ting Ting on Rathong Chu river considered sacred by Buddhists in Sikkim.
The president of All Sikkim Educated Self Employed and Unemployed Association (ASESE&UA) Nawin Kiran Pradhan informed that the rally started from Geyzing bazaar, roundup Pelling, Chumboong and ended in Sakyong. Tthousands participated in the rally added Pradhan.
Pradhan said that the association has welcomed the historic decisions of the state government in scrapping the two power projects namely the Lethang and Ting Ting. The rally is an appeal to the state government to scrap the third, which is being constructed in the same river Rathonghcu said Pradhan. “If the state government does not accept our demands we will start a mass agitation” stated Pradhan.
Meanwhile the affected people under the 99MW Ting Ting hydel project are planning on approaching CM Pawan Chamling to express their support and need for the project Shige Energy Private Limited, which was the power developer of the this project till it was scrapped by the government, is all set to have a meeting of its board of directors.
Though the state cabinet had taken the decision to scrap the project on 25 January, till date, no official letter of termination has been received by the power developers, is learned. It is a possibility on the part of the power developers to approach courts as they have already invested crores of rupees into the project and land acquisition. Similarly they have been also receiving calls from the project affected people no to quit the project, informed a official. It is irony that the view of the land owners and those who are protesting are unlike.
On the other hand the chief engineer cum secretary, energy and power department AK Giri said on Monday that the work is under process and around 100 crores expenditure has already been made by the company for Tashiding hydel project. It said that the project cannot be scrapped as the state government cannot bear such compensation. He said that state government had targeted 5000 MW electricity generation by 2015 but now it appears difficult to be met. The consumption of energy in Sikkim in winter is huge added Giri.
With the targeted 5000 MW electricity by the state, anti-projects groups and the pro-projects faction, the state government is in dilemma. It will be interesting to witness further that what developments takes place in regards to power projects in Sikkim.