SILIGURI, Aug. 20: The state forest authorities have received a formal application from the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) seeking the transfer of lands required to build an alternative road between 27th Mile near Rambhi and Takdah block in Darjeeling sub-division.
The agitating Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha has kept the NHPC’s 132 MW Teesta Low Dam Project (TLDP-III) under construction stalled since 18 August at Rambi in Kalimpong sub-division demanding an alternative road. Portions of the existing road between 27th Mile and Takdah have been badly damaged by the dam’s construction.
According to the divisional forest officer Darjeeling, Mr GP Chhetri, a team of NHPC officials met the chief conservator of forests (headquarters), Mr Ujjal Bhattacharya, at Sukna near Siliguri last night and submitted the formal application for the land transfer. Mr Bhattacharya is the nodal officer, who looks after the transfer of forestlands for civilian purposes.
“Following this, I have been asked to make the 25 August survey of the concerned Riang forest area an official one and forward the report to the state forest authorities at once,” DFO Mr Chhetri said. Apart from the Teesta Valley range officer under who looks after the concerned forest area, official from the NHPC and the GJMM representatives would also accompany in the survey, the DFO added.
“Let the survey take place on 25 August and only after that we would consider lifting the closure,” the GJMM Takdah Teesta Valley unit president Mr Norbu G. Lama said.
Meanwhile, the authorities of the six tea estates at Takdah area namely ~ the Teesta Valley, Gielle, Namring, Pobung, Ginglam and Rongli, today served memorandums to the block development officer at Takdah demanding an immediate construction of the alternative road. n SNS