BREAKTHROUGH OF diversion tunnel I at Teesta hydro project in India was completed one month ahead of schedule on 28 August. Earlier on 28 June, breakthrough of diversion tunnel II was achieved three months ahead of schedule.

Work on the twin diversion tunnels started in February 2001. Con-structed in the north district of Sikkim, the tunnels were completed in a record time of only six months. These are the longest tunnels to have been built by National Hydro-electric Power Corporation to such a timescale.

The 510MW Teesta project envisages diversion of water from Teesta river though the diversion tunnels; construction of a concrete gravity dam located near Dikchu village; and carriage of water through an 18km long headrace tunnel. An underground power house near Sherwani village will house 3x170MW units.

With commissioning of the project, Sikkim government will get a 12% share of free power. During construction, the National Hydro-electric Power Corporation says local villagers and others in the surrounding area will receive maximum benefits.