Today the state government orchestrated a meeting of Lepchas of Dzongu at the state capital. These included some landowners of the affected area, who were supporting the project as well as ruling party panchayat and officials. All present at the meeting held here at Samman Bhawan expressed support for the project. Interestingly, just three days back, as many as 25 landowners from the affected area had accused the local leaders and district administration of having hood-winked and deceived them into signing blank papers.
The chief minister and other ruling party ministers all accused ACT of being anti-development and alleged that the hunger strike was being instigated by the opposition parties.
ACT continues with its hunger strike. Dawa and Tenzing have gone hungry for more than a month. How long ACT will be able to sustain this protest of the powerless, in the face of accusations and political game playing remains to be seen. Sometimes one forgets how very young the protestors are and how vulnerable. Even if these brave foot soldiers of the war against degradation of their home and culture lose this battle, Sikkim will be forever grateful to them for standing up for a cause they believed in and were willing to make any sacrifice for.
Meanwhile the state government has disbursed compensation to the Project Affected People of the Teesta Stage V mega hydel project. Several houses in the Rakdong Tintek and Khamdong areas have suffered damages due to the 18 km tunnel being dug by NHPC.
The implementation of the relief and rehabilitation package for the Stage V PAP is also on in full swing. ‘Several families have already got their due LPG connections while others are being processed,’ it was reported in the papers today.
There seems to be no end to the benevolence being displayed by NHPC under the guidance of the state government.