Scrap Teesta stage 4 project: Sikkim tribal groups tell NHPC

There is strong resentment from the indigenous Lepcha community, who fear that their livelihood, land, culture and fragile Himalayan ecology will all be lost if the dams are built.
Scrap Teesta stage 4 project: Sikkim tribal groups tell NHPC
Representational

GANGTOK

People consider the Teesta river the lifeline of Sikkim as the river has been worshipped by local communities as a deity throughout history.

The river, once a perennial water source for the people of Sikkim and North Bengal, is now in a state of despair; thanks to a series of dams which have altered its course.

The state-run National Hydroelectric Power Corporation has built a series of dams along the river and is further planning to go through with the Teesta Stage 4 project in North Sikkim - the heart of the Himalayan state.

There is strong resentment from the indigenous Lepcha community, who fear that their livelihood, land, culture and fragile Himalayan ecology will all be lost if the dams are built.

Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) is one such organisation which has spearheaded the movement against the dams on Teesta and its tributaries.

The citizen movement consisting of the most affected and vulnerable people has restarted the campaign against dams, reigniting the debate of how indigenous people and the poor remain the least heard in the name of development.

ACT General Secretary, Gyatso Lepcha demanded to scrap the Teesta Stage 4 Project, which he says will negatively impact the people living of the Teesta River basin.

He also said the last free-flowing stretch of the Teesta river has to be preserved, as the river directly affects the fragile ecology of the Sikkim's Himalayas.

Apart from ACT, the Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC) has also demanded to scrap all dam activities on Teesta- Rangit rivers.

The SIBLAC stated that it directly affects the life and culture of the indigenous tribal communities of Sikkim and will negatively impact the people who depend on the river and its tributaries for livelihood.

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