Sikkim Floods and Hydel Power Projects UPSC NOTE

 What triggered the floods?

The recent floods in Sikkim were triggered by a combination of factors, including:

  • Heavy rainfall: Sikkim received heavy rainfall in the days leading up to the floods. This rainfall saturated the soil and led to overflowing rivers and streams.

  • Glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF): A GLOF is a sudden release of water from a glacial lake. GLOFs can be caused by a number of factors, such as melting glaciers, landslides, and earthquakes

  • Landslides: The heavy rainfall also triggered landslides in the mountainous areas of Sikkim. Landslides can block rivers and streams, leading to flooding.

  • Encroachment of floodplains: Over the years, there has been some encroachment of floodplains in Sikkim. This encroachment has reduced the amount of space available for floodwaters to spread out, leading to more severe flooding.

Status of Hydel Projects in Sikkim

  • The collapse of the hydel power dam at Chungthang added to the devastation

  • The 1,200 MW Teesta Stage III was commissioned in February 2017 and in a little over six years, the dam collapsed. 

  • The Chungthang dam, which has a majority stake of the State government under Sikkim Urja, has stopped generating electricity and has filed an insurance claim.

  • After the floods, all the operational hydel power power projects on the Teesta river in Sikkim have practically become defunct.

Status of Hydel Projects in Sikkim

  • Electricity generation of about 1,806 MW from hydel power projects in Sikkim has come to a halt because of the floods.

  • Electricity generation at Teesta-V Power Station (510 MW), as well as Dikchu Hydroelectric Project (96 MW), has been stalled because of muck from the floods entering the power stations. 

  • Sikkim government officials said there has been no power crisis as the Centre is providing grid electricity.

  • The Sikkim government is yet to quantify the extent of damage in monetary terms. 

What lies ahead?

  • After the GLOF-triggered Sikkim floods and widespread loss of lives and property, calling for a rethink on proposed hydel power projects. 

  • 87 hydroelectricity projects (HEP) of installed capacity of 22,982 (MW) are operational across the Himalayan belt. 

  • Another 30 large HEPs (above 25 MW) with an installed capacity of 11,137 MW are being developed across the Himalayan belt

  • Five projects are proposed in Sikkim on the Teesta and other rivers. 

What lies ahead?

  • In Sikkim, the assessed hydro power potential is of 4,248 MW of which about 53.7 % (2,282 MW) has been developed and 24.4 % (1,037 MW) is being constructed.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Sikkim Floods and Hydel Power Projects UPSC NOTE
Sikkim Floods and Hydel Power Projects UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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