SIKKIM NEWS: Mini plants to light up hill homes – while Darjeeling does even have drinking water, leave alone electricity ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Gangtok, Aug. 6: Over a dozen villages in North and East districts of Sikkim will be self-sufficient in power supply by next year with the Union ministry of new and renewable energy sanctioning 13 micro hydel power projects for the hill state.
The financial assistance from the ministry for the 13 power projects with a proposed combined generation capacity of 1,070kw comes to over Rs 10.8 crore.
“The total cost for setting up the projects will be around Rs 17.34 crore according to our detailed project reports and we have approached the North Eastern Council to fill the gap,” said I.P. Kharel, the chief engineer (civil) of the state power and energy department.
He said the tender process for setting up the projects had been completed and ground work would start within a month or two.
Of the 13 projects, seven will be set up in East Sikkim and six in North district (see chart).
The targeted power generation of each project has been calculated from the water discharge strength of the rivers at every site, said Kharel. The setting up of the plants seeks to prevent transmission losses in remote areas.
Kharel said the companies selected after the tender process would install the micro hydel plants and run them for one year before handing them over to villagers under the care of the local panchayat. The youths in villages would be trained to maintain and operate the plant.
“The villagers themselves will collect revenue from the power consumed and will use it for maintenance of the plants. The excess power from the hydel power plants will be sold through the power grid,” the chief engineer said.
The government believes that such arrangement of maintaining and operating micro power projects by the local people will be a first in the country.
“We have already talked to the local panchayats and they have responded well. The panchayat members convinced the villagers to get no objection certificate for the private land on which the projects will come up,” said Kharel.