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Seal on first tech college for hills

- NHPC and GTA sign memorandum for engineering institute in Takdah

Darjeeling, Nov. 18: The NHPC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration to set up an engineering college, the first in the hills, at an estimated cost of Rs 40 crore in Takdah.

Nikhil Kumar Verma, the assistant manager, human resources of NHPC, said the agreement was signed at Lal Khoti, the GTA headquarters, in Darjeeling yesterday.

“The MoU was signed by Saumitra Mohan, the principal secretary of the GTA, and S.R. Roy, the executive director of NHPC (Siliguri region). R.K. Verma, the general manager of the Teesta Low Dam Project, was also present,” Verma said.

The NHPC, which was earlier known as at the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, is a central government enterprise.

Darjeeling only has polytechnic institutes that give diplomas. The closest government engineering college is in Jalpaiguri, 120km away.

Roshan Giri, the executive Sabha member of the GTA in charge of the education department, said: “According to the agreement, the GTA will provide the NHPC Limited with 16 acres at Takdah and NHPC will provide funds to the tune of Rs 40 crore to set up the engineering college.”

Takdah is 30km from Darjeeling.

According to a GTA official, the land belongs to the sericulture department of the autonomous body and has been lying unused for quite sometime now.

The construction would be undertaken by the GTA.

Bimal Gurung, the chief executive of the GTA, is likely to lay the foundation stone of the institution on November 26.

“We are looking at laying the foundation stone on November 26,” Giri said.

Verma, the general manager of the Teesta Low Dam projects, said: “The initiative is a part of the NHPC’s corporate social responsibility and community development work. The engineering college at Takdah is a major step towards sharing the benefits of development with the people of the GTA area.”

Sources in the GTA said the NHPC would provide the funds in installments.

“The first installment would be of about 10 per cent of the total cost and once work is done, the funds would flow subsequently (in installments).”

The time needed to finish the project is not known yet.

The NHPC is setting up two dams in Darjeeling, the Teesta Low Dam Project (TLDP)-III at Kalikhora and the Teesta Low Dam Project (TLDP)-IV at 27th Mile.

The sites are about 20km downstream Teesta Bazar in Kalimpong subdivision.

While the TLDP-III project that is expected to generate 132MW of electricity is being built at an estimated budget of Rs 768.92 crore (according to the December 2002 estimates), the cost of the other project (160MW) has been pegged at Rs 1,061.38 crore.