Saturday, May 3, 2014

National Green Tribunal admits ACT petition challenging MoEF clearance for Teesta Stage-IV

GANGTOK, 02 May: Affected Citizens of Teesta [ACT] has petitioned the National Green Tribunal [NGT] against the grant of environmental clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forests [MoEF] for the construction of 520 MW Teesta hydro electric power project stage IV in North Sikkim. The letter petition dated 09 January 2014 has been admitted by the NGT.
An ACT press release informs that the petition was filed by four ACT members in their capacity as indigenous land owners namely Tenzing Lepcha, Chopel Lepcha, Norphey Lepcha and Norzang Lepcha. Following this, the National Green Tribunal has issued notices to Ministry of Environment & Forest, Sikkim State Pollution Control Board and National Hydro Electric Power Corporation as per the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. The MoEF had issued Environmental Clearance for the Projects on 09 January 2014.
The Teesta stage IV hydro power project is planned on the Teesta near Chandey village on left bank and near Hee Gyathang village on the right bank of North District of Sikkim.
The release informs that some of the issues raised by the petitioners are that the Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA] report has “grossly failed” to consider the socio-cultural aspect of indigenous Lepcha community and Dzongu’s cultural landscape.
The EIA report as well as Expert Appraisal Committee [EAC] and MoEF have ignored the sacredness of Kanchendzonga which is embedded in the culture and value system of various communities and ethnic groups of Sikkim. The Expert Appraisal Committee and MoEF ignored the large scale opposition to the project and the affected communities of Lepchas who have been protesting against the project.
The hearing will commence after all the notices are served and other formalities are completed, it is informed.
The 520 MW Teesta hydroelectric project stage-IV envisages construction of a 65 m high concrete gravity dam across Teesta down-stream of the confluence of Runchu with Teesta for the generation of 520 MW Hydropower. The project is located in Mangan subdivision of North Sikkim. The said project is located between the 1200 MW Teesta Stage III project currently under construction and the already commissioned 510 MW Teesta Stage V project. The project with a catchment area of 3,910 sq km includes a 65 metre high concrete dam with a gross storage capacity of 18.60 million cubic metre.

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