Teesta Urja to pay for death of Serow in project site

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Gangtok, Aug 14 (UNI) Teesta Urja Ltd, a developer of the 1200-MW Teesta Stage III project in North Sikkim, was fined Rs 25,000 for death of a Serow at the project site two months back.

The carcass of a Serow, a four-footed goat type animal, an endangered species which falls under Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act, was found in June under mysterious circumstances in corridor outside Khangchendzonga National Park at Chungthang in North Sikkim near the construction dam site of Teesta project.

The decision to compound Teesta Urja was made at a meeting convened by the Chief Wildlife warden of the state forest, wildlife and environment management here yesterday.

Members of the Affected Citizens of Teesta, an NGO, sectoral officials of the department had attended the meeting which discussed the punitive action on the developer.

Recently, the NGO had raised its concern after "no action" was initiated despite two months having passed since a FIR was lodged regsarding the death of the animal.

Chief wildlife warden N T Bhutia said that the meeting decided to impose a fine of Rs 25, 000 as compensation since this was the maximum they could compound under the law. ''Normally in such cases after filing a chargesheet there could be an imprisonment ranging from two to seven years but in this case since there was no proof on 'doubts' that it could have been killed, we have let them off by impounding Rs 25,000. We also learnt that they themselves (Teesta Urja) had come forward earlier to pay the compensation.'' Mr Bhutia said.

He, however, added that the developers had been warned that serious consequences and severe action would be initiated if such incidents were reported in the future at the project site.

Teesta Urja Ltd has also been asked to comply with certain directives for the development of the protected areas. They have been asked to develop the habitat and protect areas on annual basis like providing waterholes since the wild animals often come to the river bed to quench their thirst.

They have also been sounded off with certain cautions like minimizing and lessening the use of dynamites and explosives.

UNI BG PC SS1115

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