GANGTOK, Jan 3 � The high-powered committee constituted by Sikkim Government to examine issues related to implementation of three hydel projects in West Sikkim has finalised its report.
The committee, headed by Chief Secretary Karma Gyatso, has forwarded its findings to the Law department. It is also informed that the opinion of the committee is that the three hydel power projects in West District be �scrapped�.
The Law department, in turn, is informed to have returned the opinion and recommendations of the committee. The Secretary, Law department is the member secretary of the Committee.
As per information, the findings of the committee have not yet been forwarded to the State Government and therefore, no final decision on the implementation or non-implementation of the said hydel projects, has been taken yet.
Secretary, Power department, AK Giri, also a member in the High Powered Committee informed this correspondent that the recent protests against the hydel projects raised by a section of the society and especially Buddhist organisations, and the grounds on which the protests have been based, have played an important role in shaping the opinion of the committee.
Nothing is finalised yet since the winter holidays are on and the Committee has to table the report before the government before taking a final decision to scrap the HEPs added Giri. There is also the fact that the 97 MW Lethang hydro electric project has not been granted the No Objection Certificate by the National Wildlife Board, without which the project implementation cannot proceed.
Meanwhile, the 99 MW Ting-Ting HEP has also not seen much development as far as construction and infrastructure development is concerned or even land acquisition.
It is only the 96 MW Tashiding HEP which has completed the land acquisition process and is presently engaged in construction of adit tunnels and road network, etc.
It is informed that the opinion of the Law department was sought as there could be legal implications, should the government decide to scrap or terminate these projects. The private power developers have invested huge sums of money in the projects, especially on Tashiding HEP where land acquisition compensation has been provided already and the people too seem happy with the compensation received.
Only recently, the affected people had formed a coordination committee to supervise the implementation of various works which the project would entail in their area. In such a scenario, the private developers may drag the government to court if the project was scrapped.
The opinion of the committee is informed to have been influenced by the reactions of Buddhist organisations and the several representations made to the State Government by groups such as SIBLAC and people�s associations raising concerns about erosion and disturbance of certain religious and cultural symbols attached with the Rathong Chu river on which all the three projects are to be developed.