Shillong, November 2: The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has made an in-principle decision to prohibit the establishment of new hydropower projects in the hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
This move comes in the wake of a recent flash flood that severely affected these regions, particularly Kalimpong.
As per IANS, the decision was reached during a GTA meeting conducted following the flash flood disaster, according to GTA Chief Executive Anit Thapa. Thapa argues that despite NHPC Limited generating Rs 600 crore from two hydropower projects in the hills, none of the earnings are being invested in hill development, even though calamities have occurred due to infrastructure-related activities for these projects.
Thapa further claims that despite providing financial aid to flood-affected Sikkim, NHPC, the hydropower producing entity, has yet to extend similar assistance to the hills in Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
The proposal to prevent new hydropower projects in Darjeeling and Kalimpong has reportedly gained support from Hamro Party, founded by Ajay Edwards, which is the primary opposition force in the hills.
In the recent meeting, GTA decided to seek financial support from the Union government for the redevelopment and rehabilitation of the areas in Darjeeling and Kalimpong that were severely impacted by the flash flood. Financial assistance will also be pursued from NHPC and the railways department, as both have significant projects in the region.
The GTA has called upon all elected representatives from the hills to unite, transcending their individual political affiliations, and jointly request financial assistance from the Union government for the benefit of Darjeeling and Kalimpong.