No permission for fresh hydropower projects in Darjeeling hills: GTA

IANS Photo

IANS Photo

Kolkata, November 2 (IANS): The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has taken an in-principle decision not to allow setting up of fresh hydropower projects in the hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong.

According to the GTA chief executive Anit Thapa, the decision has been taken in wake of the recent flash flood in which large areas in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, especially the latter, was badly affected.

The decision had been taken at a meeting of the GTA that took place recently in wake of the flash flood disaster.

Thapa has argued that despite NHPC Limited earning Rs 600 crore from two hydropower projects in the hills, nothing from that earning is being spent behind development in the hills, though there had been calamities in the hills because of infrastructure related works for the projects.

The GTA chief executive has further claimed that despite extending financial aid to flash flood-affected Sikkim, the said hydropower producing entity is yet to extend similar aid for the hills in Darjeeling and Kalimpong.

He also claimed that the proposal of not to allow setting up of the fresh hydropower projects in Darjeeling and Kalimpong has also received support from Ajay Edwards-founded Hamro Party, which is the principal opposition force in the hills.

It is said that in the recent meeting it has been decided that GTA will seek financial support from the Union government for the work of re-development and rehabilitation of the areas in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, which were affected badly because of the flash flood.

Financial assistance will also be sought from NHPC and the railways department, considering that both have important projects in the hills.

The GTA has also given a call to all elected representatives from the hills, to get over their individual political affiliations and jointly demand financial assistance from the Union government for Darjeeling and Kalimpong.