Dzongu projects to stay: CM

Gangtok, July 22: The Sikkim government will go ahead with the implementation of the mega hydroelectric power projects in North Sikkim, including those proposed in the Lepcha reserve of Dzongu.

Chief minister Pawan Chamling said this at a meeting yesterday, thus breaking his silence over the ongoing protests against the projects.

“We will not compromise with the development process in North Sikkim. Once the projects are operational, they will meet the power needs of the state and generate a revenue of Rs 2,000 crore per annum,” Chamling said before a gathering of landowners from Dzongu at Samman Bhavan here.

He also claimed that the majority of people from the area is in favour of the hydel power projects and added that the good of the community would not be held hostage by a few disgruntled persons.

“The fast is sponsored by opposition parties who are using the innocent Lepchas to further their vested interests. The agitation is anti-Sikkimese,” Chamling alleged.

The chief minister was referring to the indefinite hunger strike organised by members of the Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) since June 20 to protest against the hydel power projects. ACT general secretary Dawa T. Lepcha and 20-year-old Tenzing Lepcha, a member, have been admitted to hospital after their health deteriorated.

Chamling asked the ACT members to withdraw their hunger strike within 24 hours and accept the government’s offer for a dialogue on the issue.

Earlier, representatives from Dzongu spoke on behalf of the landowners and common people stating that they were happy with the Panan hydel power project proposed in their area. Dzongu MLA Sonam Gyatso and health minister Hissey Lachungpa also put forward their observations supporting the projects.

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