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Power project protest

Gangtok, June 3: Around 150 people from Tanek village and its surrounding areas in north Sikkim today gheraoed the officials of Sneha Kinetics Power Project demanding a halt in the explosions the company has been carrying out as it is likely to trigger landslides.

The company started constructing the 96MW Dikchu Hydro Electric Power Project on the Teesta in 2011.

“There was a major landslide on Sunday above the local market. No casualties were reported but it damaged a bulldozer and a truck near the project site. Today, a fresh landslide occurred, enough to create panic,” said Pema Bhutia from Tanek, 45km from Gangtok. Dikchu is 1km from Tanek.

Today, the local authorities asked all 20 families of Tanek to vacate the area, sparking the protest.

“The excessive blasting is resulting in frequent landslides,” said a villager.

The district collector (north), C.P. Dhakal, held an emergency meeting with the villagers and company officials in Dikchu today. “The 20 families will be temporarily shifted to a safer location. I have directed the authorities to start the process immediately,” he said.