The Road to Doomsday
This 20-minute documentary by Tapas Majumdar, Indrajit Das and Souparna Lahiri, shot in 2006 and 2007, narrates the story of the changing landscape of West Bengal and Sikkim in the Himalayas in Northern India. The region is home to the fierce Teesta River, tropical evergreen forests, cultivated lands in the foothills of the mountains and small community settlements. Today, the Teesta River, called the lifeline of Sikkim, is being devastated by two large hydropower projects, Teesta III and Teesta IV, constructed by India’s state-owned National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC).
Both dams are referred to as run-of-river projects, implying that they will have little impact on the surrounding environment. Neither the project developer nor the government want to recognize the short and long-term impacts the two projects will have on the surrounding ecology, environment and the lives and livelihoods of the people who call Sikkim home. But, the film shows that as construction progresses, the projects are leaving their mark on the environment, signaling an uncertain future for the people and the ecology of Sikkim and West Bengal. As the projects near completion, the landscape is changing; there looms the very real possibility that the beautiful Darjeeling Hills, drained by the Teesta River, will soon exist only in the peoples’ memory.