Decided on March 01,2021

In Re: Release Of Water From Dikchu Hydelpower Project. Appellant
Chief Secretary, Government Of Sikkim, Gangtok Respondents


BHASKAR RAJ PRADHAN,J. - (1.) On 31.05.2017 this court issued notice upon the respondent nos. 1 to 5 after it was brought to our notice through a newspaper report titled 'Local accuse Dikchu Project Developers of releasing water without warning' which appeared in Summit Times, a local daily, on 28.05.2017 that water was being released from Dikchu hydropower project without any warning or information which may jeopardize the life and property of the residents living downstream. On 01.06.2017 we took note of the 'Guidelines for Public Safety at Hydropower Projects' (safety guidelines) issued vide Notification No.26/Home/2015 dated 22.06.2015 and the fact that the respondent no.4, a hydropower project, despite notice had not taken necessary steps. The district collector, East Sikkim was directed to visit the site and verify as to whether the safety guidelines issued were being followed.
(2.) The district collector filed a report dated 02.06.2017 pointing out various deficiencies which was noted in our order dated 05.06.2017. We therefore, issued directions upon the respondent no.4 to make good the deficiencies and to ensure that all safety standards required be installed and undertaken. On the request of the learned Amicus Curiae, vide order dated 20.06.2017, this court permitted him to make site inspection of other hydropower projects situated in Sikkim as well, and submit a report regarding their compliance of the safety guidelines. On 28.07.2017 the learned Amicus Curiae reported that he had visited various hydropower projects situated in Sikkim and found that several requirements of the safety guidelines had not been complied with by those hydropower projects. Thus we issued notice upon all the other hydropower projects named in the order dated 28.07.2017 (respondent no.6 to 11). Pursuant to the notice, affidavits were filed by the hydropower projects and the concerned district collectors were directed to examine the affidavits, inspect the site and submit their response vide our order dated 14.09.2017. Various directions to specific hydropower projects for compliance of the safety guidelines were issued from time to time by us on being pointed out the deficiencies. On 12.12.2017 it was noted by us that all safety measures had been complied by the hydropower projects situated in the four districts as per the reports submitted by the four district collectorates in compliance of the order dated 21.11.2017 passed by this court.
(3.) At this juncture the Energy and Power Department, Government of Sikkim submitted a report with regard to the abandoned pond at the Sirwani hydropower project (Sirwani project) where stagnant water of around 35000 cum. was seen.;

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