Quarry: Villagers of Taksha and Silli are hopeful that the Punatsangchhu Hydropower Project Authority (PHPA)-I will practice its corporate social responsibility following the renewal of the Nyerachu stone quarry lease agreement.

Daga gewog recently approved the proposal to renew the lease agreement for the Nyerachu stone quarry in Taksha.

PHPA-I had obtained the lease when the project commenced in 2010. The quarry was handed over to its contractor LNT for operation in line with the detailed project report agreement that requires the project to identify a stone quarry for each contractor to extract raw materials.

Daga gewog officials said they were not sure whether people have applied any condition then as part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) when the project availed public clearance.

However, in the last five years the project authority has not done anything as part of CSR while operating the quarry in Taksha.

Official sources said that the project authority didn’t even help the Taksha and Silli villagers in maintaining the Taksha-Silli farm road, which remains blocked most of the time. In 2015, LNT deployed an excavator at the Taksha-Silli block for about two to three days, but removed it before clearing the block citing it cannot help the villages. According to the gewog officials although people do not have many demands, they requested the gewog to ask  if the PHPA-I could help with electrification and maintenance of a lama’s residence at Taksha and with construction of a vegetable shed at Takshachhu as CSR.

The proposals from the people would be presented to the dzongkhag administration from where it would be sent to the project authorities.

Upon receiving the land lease approval from the dzongkhag land lease committee, PHPA-I would operate the quarry till the completion of the project. The project will meet its stone requirement from the quarry, which however cannot be used for purposes other than for the hydropower project.

The approval agreement states that the quarry operator should repair the road during the monsoon and must ensure that the road is open at all times as the road connects to the Taksha-Silli farm road. They should also sprinkle water along the road daily to avoid dust pollution.

“The project authority is required to strictly implement the terms and conditions set by the gewog,” a gewog official said.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue