Months earlier, Dawa and Tenzing had gone on a historic 63 day indefinite hunger strike asking the government of Sikkim to review and scrap hydel projects coming up in Dzongu.
Meanwhile, The Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) has reiterated its demand to the State Government to scrap all the projects, especially those located in the heart of Dzongu before any major disasters.
In a press release, the ACT general secretary Dawa Lepcha, has tried to clear the doubts of people about the number of hydel power projects and their status in Sikkim and in Dzongu.
“Out of the 30 or more proposed mega hydro projects in Sikkim, 26 of them have been issued Letters of Intent (LOI). 14 of these projects out of 26 which have been issued LOI are in North District of Sikkim. Seven of them are in Dzongu leaving out Teesta stage V 510 MW which covers lower portion of Dzongu,” reads the release.
While pointing out that seven projects including Rukel (33MW), Rangyong (141MW), Ringpi (90MW), Lingzya (120 MW) are absolutely inside Khangchendzonga National Park and the Biosphere Reserve, Mr Lepcha informs that Panang (280MW) and Teesta Stage IV (495MW) are in the heart of Dzongu.
“The Teesta III (1200MW) covers the Upper Dzongu, with the underground powerhouse, tunnels and 5 Adits and contractors facilities etc with the dam site in Chungthang,” he adds.
According to the ACT general secretary, these projects and their MW capacities when totalled are producing more than 2000MW of power out of the 5000MW programme of the state.
Stating that only the Teesta Stage III (1200MW) project is more than many of the projects totalled in the rest of Sikkim, Mr Lepcha asks as to why in Dzongu with a meagre population of about 7000 Lepchas have been targeted with so many projects which are out of proportion compared to the carrying capacity of Dzongu, its indigenous tribal, fragile ecology and geology.
ACT has also thanked the “enlightened concerned intellectuals, well wishers and organizations who have come out in support of the true cause and participated in the hunger strike.”
The indefinite hunger strike will not be lifted until the demands are fulfilled, even if it means giving up our life, informs the release.