Monday, May 12, 2014

HC seeks progress report on power supply improvements for North Sikkim

GANGTOK, 11 May: The lack of adequate power supply to areas in North Sikkim in conjunction with the lethargy of the Power Department to attend to its duty and responsibilities is being seen as a cause behind the hardships faced by the people as well as the hundreds of tourists who visit these places.
The High Court of Sikkim has noted that it has not been presented with anything of substance as to the reasons behind the poor supply of electricity to North Sikkim. Justice SP Wangdi noted this during a hearing on the petition filed by the Pipon and public of Lachen Dzumsa in the first week of May. The Court directed that the state file a report on the measures being taken to restore adequate power supply in the region.
The petition pertains to concerns of the people of the area regarding inadequate power supply and inadequate medical facilities.
During the hearing, it was noted that the affidavit of the state respondent regarding inadequate power supply which had been filed before the court cited the earthquake of 18 September, 2011 as the cause behind the disruption of electricity supply. However the Court noted that the status of power supply since the earthquake and the landslides that followed had still not improved. Furthermore, the Power Department had not yet been able to complete the repairs to Rabom hydroelectric project more than 2 years down the line since the earthquake; this project is considered the source of energy supply for those places in North Sikkim affected by poor and inadequate power supply at present.
Furthermore, Justice Wangdi also noted that the electricity transformers had still not been set up in the two townships of Lachung and Lachen. The Court had earlier been informed that a 66 KV transformer was to be provided each for Lachung and Lachen separately. The court, in this context, noted that “…these valleys are the prime tourist centres in which lie the famous Yumthang and the Gurudongmar Lakes. Everyday hundreds of tourists travel to these destinations. Want of proper power supply has not only affected the telecommunication system, but also caused hardship to the general public including tourists.”
The Court has now directed the state government respondents to submit a report on the steps being taken to address these issues and also submit a status of the progress being made in that direction. The report has to be filed on or before the next date of hearing which is scheduled for 04 June, 2014. As regards the issue of inadequate medical facilities the court noted that this was being considered in another petition filed before the court.

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