Protests continue against dams on Teesta
distressed over the Sikkim government's "failure' to scrap a series of dams planned on the river Teesta and its tributaries in North Sikkim district, anti-dam activists have launched a second round of indefinite hunger strike. Leading the charge, again, are Affected Citizens of Teesta (act) activists Dawa Lepcha and Tenzing Lepcha, who had gone on a 63-day hunger strike last June, demanding a government review of the impacts of all proposed hydel projects on Sikkim's fragile mountain landscape. They also demand that the government scrap the dams set to come up in the Dzongu Lepcha reserve. "We will not quit till the end and will die for Dzongu if needed,' says an emaciated Dawa Lepcha, who's now in hospital, being force-fed nasally. The strike completed 29 days on April 7 and has been joined by young Sikkimese activists, some of whom are now seriously ill.
The situation seems to have hit a deadlock with state chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling declaring the projects will not be stopped "because of the protests and obstructions from a handful of vested interests.'
There are proposals for over 27 hydel projects in Sikkim, of which 14 are to come up in North Sikkim. Of these, seven are set for Dzongu