Dzongu residents demand compensation for Himagiri Power Project explosion

Mangan, 26 Mar:

People of Laven ward under Linthem-Lingdem GPU and Lingzya ward under Sakyong-Pentong GPU of Dzongu, North Sikkim, whose houses were damaged by the sudden explosion at the project site of Himagiri Power Project at Lingzya in Upper Dzongu on 24 March have demanded that they be adequately compensated.

It is learnt that on 24 Mar, the project developers had written to DC-North informing him and seeking permission for disposal (by explosion) of the “expired explosives”, however, they were yet to be given permission for the same by the district administration.

The same night, however, at around 8:00 p.m. an explosion occurred at the Magazine house. It remains to be confirmed whether this was accidental or part of the disposal process.

By the time the explosion occurred, most people were off to bed. The explosion caused tremors which damaged a lot of houses causing several cracks and smashing window panes.

According to The Explosives Rules, 2008, explosives cannot be handled between sunset and sunrise.

The rules on disposal of waste explosives are also clear in specifying that this be done in “a safe place and safely disposed of”.

The rules also mandate that “adequate facilities for safe destruction under the supervision of a person adequately competent and at a place approved by the licensing authority in the licensed premises shall be provided by the licensee for the materials collected under sub-rule.”

Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Dzongu, along with the Block Development Officer visited the spot on Sunday to take stock of the damages.

Following the incident, nine people of the area were treated at Passingdang Primary Health Centre.

“Most of the patients were having heart problems and some had hearing problems due to the indirect impact of the explosion. However, there are no serious cases,” said Medical Officer, Passingdang PHC, Dr HK Rai, while speaking to SummitTimes.

It is informed that the affected people will be compensated for damage to property after assessment. No casualties have been reported so far.

Meanwhile, Mangan Police has detained three persons and the case is under investigation.