Nippon Hydro project pipe burst: Trees uprooted, farmland destroyed

Pipe of Nippon Hydro Project at Lodhama near Rimbik bursts
Darjeeling: Once again the intake pipe of the Nippon Hydel Project in Fincheytar, a settlement in the remote parts of Darjeeling, burst endangering the remote settlement. Though no loss of life has been reported, the huge volume of swift moving water destroyed the road, uprooted trees and washed away farmland of local residents. In the past also, there have been numerous instances of the intake pipe bursting in Fincheytar. Nippon Pvt Ltd is the first private hydro power project in West Bengal.

Commissioned 10 years ago it has a capacity of 3 MW of electricity generation. It is 70 km from Darjeeling and is located in the Bijanbari Block. According to local residents, the intake pipe, which is 4 km long and 4ft in diameter, feeds the reservoir tank supplying water from the Rittu Khola and Kalpokhari. "There pipe burst around noon on Wednesday flooding the road. The force with which the water gushed down the slope there was chances of landslide. Private drinking water pipes were washed away, tress were uprooted and farms were affected. The road to Setikhola remained closed owing to the swift moving water," claimed a local resident.

Watch Video here: Pipe of Nippon Hydro Project at Lodhama near Rimbik bursts

The swift flowing water also damaged the road leading to the Dilpa village. "It is owing to utter negligence that this occurred. The pipe has been leaking at many places. Despite repeated complaints Nippon did not take any action," added the resident. Around 1,500 people reside in Fincheytar. Incidentally there have been many incidents when the locals have blamed the hydel project for landslides in the area. "We have communicated the matter to the head office in Kolkata. They are sending a technical team for repairs. The plant is closed as of now. Once the technical team repairs the damages the authorities will sit with the local residents, hear their demands and then only the plant will resume operations," stated a local employee of Nippon.

The authorities of Nippon could not be contacted for comments. "We are aware of the situation. This has been occurring often. A permanent solution to the problem has to worked out. The Nippon authorities are in touch with us," said Deepap Priya P, District Magistrate, Darjeeling. The Gorkha National Liberation Front submitted a memorandum to the project manager on Thursday demanding repairs of the pipeline, compensation for private property destroyed, construction of black top surfaced road with drain and from Nippon Guest House to Phedikhola intake along with water sharing during dry season for the agricultural fields. The project had been commissioned on May 8, 2007. The 3 Mega Watt Hydel Project developed by Nippon Power Limited, a Kolkata-based company, involves the water from two streams Kalipokhari and Rittukhola diverted into a forebay tank from where it rushed down 2 and a half km of channel to drive the turbines.

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Once again the intake pipe of the Nippon Hydel Project in Fincheytar, a settlement in the remote parts of Darjeeling, burst endangering the remote settlement. Though no loss of life has been reported

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