Gangtok: In a programme on March 2 at HNPC office in Balutar, Singtam, Mr. GM Gurung, Minister for State Human Resource Development Department, as chief guest, Mr. Norzang Lepcha, Rakdong-Tintek Area MLA, Mr. BM Ramudamu, Khamdong Area MLA as guests of honour, handed over cash cheque of Rs.1 lakh as land compensation and land allotment certificates to 60 land losers whose lands acquired for Teesta-V Hydroelectric Project.
The money and land were given to the evacuees under Rehabilitation and Resettlement package of National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Limited. Out of 60 evacuees,55 got both money and land and got only land. The compensation money was the first installment out of Rs.2 lakhs as settled by NHPC. Earlier, the compensation money for land was only Rs.1 lakh but now it has been increased to Rs. 2 lakhs. The allotted land measuring 200 sq mtrs under R&R is provided at Depu Dara in Singtam.
According to the original assessment, total number of blocks affected due to the project was 10 and total number of families fully affected 72. But due to subsequent technical changes in the project the final number of evacuees (fully affected) has come down to 60. Most of the affected families are small farmers with meager land holdings. They are mostly tribals with a little agricultural earning. All the affected people have been paid compensation for their land as per mutually agreed rates with the help of concerned District Collector. One member of each affected family has been provided employment in NHPC Ltd under R&R package, it is informed.
Mr. VK Sharma, Executive Director (Sikkim) of Teesta-V HE Project, spoke of the various facilities provided to the affected people under R&R scheme. He said that only because of the goodwill and cooperation of the people that the land acquisition for the project, which is usually considered as a time taking process, was completed in one year and the project could take off in time. “We will always try to solve the problems of the public”, he assured.
He informed that the first stage commissioning of the project was done on January 28. On February 6, synchronization being done, power generation commenced from one out of three 170 MW units. The remaining two units would be synchronized for commercial power generation by the end of the financial year 2007 i.e. March 31. From the present generation, Sikkim has its share of 67 MW electricity, Mr. Sharma said.
Mr. GM Gurung in his address said “NHPC project is a life long project for the development of the people, society and the State. Development of one person is the development of one family but development of a mass is the development of the society and the State”, he said. He added: “We had never thought that water flowing in river Teesta was actually the flow of money for the State and its people which our Chief minister Dr Pawan Chamling has visualized”.