Talking to the Sikkim Express correspondent here, Ms. Patkar said that the initiative was felt since the Sikkim Government had failed to respond even as the Satyagraha and hunger strike launched by the Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) in protest of hydro power projects in Dzongu had completed 301 days.
She also said that the Review Committee formed by the State Government was not satisfactory.Strongly opposing mega hydel projects in Dzongu, Ms Patkar said, “I am not opposing the developmental activities of State but it is also very crucial to preserve the environment, culture and heritage of the area. “If the environment and cultural heritage of the land of the Lepchas are disturbed, how will the people continue to stay in that area?” she questioned.
Ms Patkar further requested the State Government to do developmental wok by not disturbing the environment, culture and heritage of the area.
She also said that the State Government had in a letter to the Scheduled Tribes Commission in New Delhi mentioned that hydel projects was necessary to start in Sikkim to give employment to the local youth. Ms. Patkar said that there are a number of hydro projects planned elsewhere in the State which would cater to providing employment and not necessarily mega hydel projects in North Sikkim.
“The Mines and Zoology Department has sent a report to the State government that a huge landslide may occur in future due to these hydel projects. If this happens, not only the Lepcha community but other communities would also face problems,” she said.
She also requested the ST Commission to come personally to Sikkim to assess the ground reality.
Ms Patkar, who was in Sikkim on a day’s visit, also supported the protests by the Tibetans in New Delhi today and condemned the Chinese atrocities in Tibet. “It is unfortunate to say that the Indian government has completely turned a blind eye towards the Tibetan problem,” she added.
source: sikkim express