The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur (CRA) on Saturday extended its solidarity with the ones affected by the bursting of 1200 MW Teesta III Hydroelectric Project, built over the Teesta River at Chungtang in Sikkim, induced by the glacial lake outburst and earthquake in Nepal.
The bursting of the dam claimed the lives of more than 50 people and displaced thousands along Teesta River bank, besides damaging public infrastructure, civilian properties and destroying portions of Teesta V and Teesta VI hydropower projects, stated a release.
CRA is concerned with the project authority and the private financiers of the dam for ignoring the environment, social concerns, high seismicity, climate change and glacial lake outburst potential, disaster risks potential raised by affected communities, environmentalists and experts over decades, it stated.
The bursting of the dam is a direct outcome of the failure of project authorities to uphold indigenous peoples’ survival and cultural relationship with Teesta River, failing to carry out detailed impact assessments, to consider the high seismicity, fragile biodiversity and disaster risk potential of pursuing mega infrastructure projects in the Himalayas, it mentioned.
It stated that the bursting of the Teesta III dam is evidence of inability of the dam to hold back excessive waters due to bursting of glacial lakes and cloudburst. The construction of Teesta lII dam was affected severely and delayed due to the Sikkim earthquake in 2011, it further stated.
The environmental clearance in August 2006 for Teesta III dam violates the stipulation of the Ministry of Environment and Forest of India, while clearing the Teesta V dam in May 1999, “No other project in Sikkim will be considered for environmental clearance till the carrying capacity (CC) study is completed.”
The Teesta III dam burst is a grim reminder to the government of India and to all companies financing dams for profits, that building dams in ecologically and geologically sensitive and fragile areas in Sikkim and across North East India is unsustainable, unviable and disaster prone. Large dams are no longer clean, green, sustainable and climate friendly, CRA stated.
The government of India should review and rescind all plans to build large dams in the fragile Himalayas in Sikkim and North East India, it mentioned.
The Government of India and Sikkim, Private financiers, International Financial Corporation financing through financial intermediaries for the dam, should be held accountable for the damage and pursuing unsustainable projects in a fragile biodiversity, it stated.