Milestone-Proposal:125th anniversary of Sidrapong Hydel Power Station

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Docket #:2023-13

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To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? No

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

125th anniversary of Sidrapong Hydel Power Station

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

Glorious 125 years of Sidrapong Hydel Power Station (1897 to 2022). The plant was inaugurated by Hon’ble Mr. C. C. Stevens, Acting Lieutenant Governor of Bengal on 10.11.1897. Constructed under supervision of Mr. J. W. Meares, Electrical Engineer under M/S Kilburn & Co.

200-250 word abstract describing the significance of the technical achievement being proposed, the person(s) involved, historical context, humanitarian and social impact, as well as any possible controversies the advocate might need to review.

IEEE technical societies and technical councils within whose fields of interest the Milestone proposal resides.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

IEEE Kolkata Section

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

Milestone proposer(s):

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates in decimal form of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

Sidrapong Hydel Power Station, Arya Tea Estate (below Orange Valley Tea Factory), Block: Pulbazar Bijanbari, Dist. Darjeeling, West Bengal. Pin- 734102 Coordinates are: 27.045014 (N) 88.227166 (E)

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. Historic Site

Are the original buildings extant?

Yes, the original building is still under existence.

Details of the plaque mounting:

Outside of the building.

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

The plaque shall be laid outside of the main powerhouse building which is guarded 24x7 by security personnel. It has motorable approach road from Darjeeling town (12KM). Visitors may contact the Divisional Engineer, Mini Micro Hydel Division, WBSEDCL, Kurseong (Contact No -8900794055) to see the site.

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (A Govt. of West Bengal Enterprise).

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)? If personal names are included in citation, include justification here. (see section 6 of Milestone Guidelines)

November 10, 1897 is an epoch-making day in the history of power sector in our country. 125 years ago, on this day the first hydel power station in India and reportedly in Asia too, was commissioned at Sidrapong near Darjeeling town, the first power utility run on commercial basis for use of general public, heralding the electrical-energy-era in the Indian sub-continent, and ushering in a revolutionary change in the socio-cultural and economic life of Indian society.

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

Initially, plant consisted of two 65 KW Crompton-Brunton single- phase, 2300 volts and 83.3 cycles alternators coupled with two Gunther's Turbines which were commissioned in the year 1897 with total initial cost Rs. 1.2 lakhs. Later on, more units were added when finally total installed capacity increased to 1000kW. These machines were later replaced with five 200KW units in the new 3-phase system in the year 1931. At present, only one of the five 200kW unit is in operating condition and an effort is being carried out to run the second unit as well. The remaining units are in beyond economic repair conditions. Residual Life Analysis of the hydel power station was carried out and an effort is being taken up to carry out the work of Renovation and Modernisation of the power station by replacing these old 200kW TG-Set with new TG-set. It is also proposed to keep one old 200kW unit in running condition intact to commemorate the historical significance of the power station.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

Being the first hydel power station in India and reportedly in Asia too which operated on commercial basis for use of general public, heralding the electrical-energy-era in the Indian sub-continent and ushering a revolutionary change in the socio-cultural and economic life of Indian society.

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).

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