Sikkim disaster: 1,200 MW project dam washed away | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Sikkim disaster: 1,200 MW project dam washed away

By, Siliguri
Oct 05, 2023 07:16 AM IST

Teesta Urja, the second biggest run-of-the-river hydro power project in India, suffered massive damage due to flood caused by the breach in Lhonak lake in north-west Sikkim on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday.

Teesta Urja, the second biggest run-of-the-river hydro power project in India, suffered massive damage due to flood caused by the breach in Lhonak lake in north-west Sikkim on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Teesta river level increased on Wednesday. (ANI)
The Teesta river level increased on Wednesday. (ANI)

The 1,200 MW power project on Teesta river, one of the most dammed rivers in the country, is located between Chungthang and Mangan in Mangan district in North Sikkim and is the biggest of nine working hydro projects on the river in Sikkim. Work on 15 dams is going on and another 28 are proposed over the river to tap its hydel capacity of about 4,200 MW.

Hindustan Times - your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

Sunil Saraogi, the executive chairman of Sikkim Urja Limited (formerly Teesta Urja Limited) said such was the force of the water than the dam at Chungthang was washed away in just ten minutes.

“At 11.58 pm on Tuesday we got information from ITBP (Indian Tiber Border Police) about the flash flood. Immediately our team rushed to open the gates. Before they could open the gates, the flood hit them . There were 12 to 13 people in the team and they somehow saved themselves by running to the other side of the dam. They were evacuated by ITBP by 2 pm on Wednesday,” he said.

He added that the 200-meter-long bridge connecting the power house to the dam was also washed away. “The entire power house is submerged under water and it is too early to assess the damage,” he said, adding that the cost of rebuilding the project would run into thousands of crores of rupees.

Visuals from the project site show large portions of the dam’s wall missing .

According to the Sikkim disaster management authority, the collapse of the Chungthang dam resulted in sudden surge of 15-20 feet in water level in downstream areas.

The power project was commissioned in February 2017 and it was only in 2022 that it started making profit, generating more power than the capacity, because of heavy flow of water. “We were running at 120% of capacity utilization,” said Saraogi. Sikkim government had 60.08% share in the project.

Local activists have for long warned of the adverse environmental implications of the run-of-the-river projects on the 414 km long Teesta river that originates from Punhunri Mountain in north Sikkim.

Run of the river projects are those which provides for a facility that channels flow of water from the river through a canal or penstock to spin a turbine to generate electricity. Run of the river projects does not support large irrigation facilities.

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch Now!

Get Current Updates on India News, Rajya Sabha Election 2024 Live, Gaganyaan Mission Astronauts along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    author-default-90x90

    I am working with Hindustan Times since 2001 and am posted in Siliguri, West Bengal, as Principal Correspondent. I have been regularly covering vast area of northern parts of West Bengal, Sikkim and parts of Nepal and Bhutan.

SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, February 29, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On