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Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee demands PIL over catastrophic failure of Chungthang dam

Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee demands PIL over catastrophic failure of Chungthang dam

A high-level delegation led by the Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC) demands a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) regarding the recent catastrophic failure of the Chungthang dam (Teesta Stage - III).

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A high-level delegation led by Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC) Co-convenor Tseten Tashi Bhutia and Chewang Ringzing Lepcha on November 29 submitted a memorandum to the office of the Chief Justice of Sikkim, Justice Biswanath Somadder seeking a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) regarding the recent catastrophic failure of the Chungthang dam (Teesta Stage - III).

The memorandum highlights the immense loss of life and property caused by the disaster on October 4 marking one of the biggest man-made calamities in Sikkim's history. 

The affected regions include Lachen, Chungthang, Dzongu, Toong-Naga, Dikchu, Singtam and Rangpo with Chungthang being the most devastated, predominantly inhabited by the Sikkimese Bhutia-Lepcha community.

Also Read: Sikkim: Funeral of Prince Jigme Namgyal, grandson of the second last Chogyal, held in Gangtok

SIBLAC, representing the people of Sikkim, has raised questions about the disaster, stating the poor quality of the dam and the absence of a prior warning system. The committee is urging a thorough investigation into the construction of the Sikkim Teesta Urja Hydle Project and the dam's failure due to a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF).

Through the memorandum, SIBLAC seeks answers to critical questions, including responsibility for the disaster, delays in opening the dam gates, the inability of the 1200 MW Teesta Stage III dam to withstand the flood, and the slow alert system for downstream residents.

SIBLAC's pleads for the initiation of a PIL to ensure a comprehensive investigation into the incident and provide justice to the victims. The committee, in its duty, expresses gratitude for any steps taken by the Court to address this matter.

Attached to the memorandum are various documents, including resolutions, attendance sheets, letters to UNESCO, a journal on GLOF hazards and recent reports on the Teesta Dam breach.

Edited By: Atiqul Habib
Published On: Nov 29, 2023