Gorkhatimes

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Chamling meets ACT leaders

Posted by Ramesh Khati on October 14, 2009

Gangtok, 13 OCT(PTI): Sikkim chief minister Mr Pawan Kumar Chamling today defended his government’s decision to tap its hydro-power resources for augmenting revenues for development of the state, even as he assured the apolitical outfit ~ Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) ~ that their genuine concerns and grievances will be addressed.
Addressing the ACT leaders and activities for the first time after the apolitical outfit withdrew its 27-month long agitation last month, he said that the state government had gone ahead with tapping its hydro-power resources to generate revenues and ensure all round development in the state.
On the ACT’s contention that the hydel projects at Dzongu posed a threat to the socio-cultural and religious ethos of the indigenous Lepcha people, Mr Chamling sought to differ with the former saying that the majority there favoured hydel projects and had elected the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) nominee Sonam Gyatso Lepcha as their MLA.
However, the ACT was free to exercise its constitutional and democratic rights to take up cudgel against hydel projects and the state government has respect for opposite views, he said and complimented it for calling off its agitation to seek dialogue for resolution of its genuine grievances.
The ACT leadership should submit their demands to the high powered committed headed by the Chief Secretary for redressal, Chamling said.
Earlier, the ACT President Athup Lepcha justified the outfit’s agitation against the hydro power projects in the larger public interest and it was viewed that the projects posed a serious threat to the ecology and environment of the fragile Himalayan State and the country. The ACT Chief Coordinator Tseten Lepcha sought to blame the hardline attitude of the state government in not not seeking to engage in dialogue with the outfit for the long duration of the agitation, which he said, generated interests in the national and international media.
The ACT leadership always wanted the state government to hear out their grievances, but it did not not work out properly. The ACT had called off the 27-month agitation against hydro power projects, particularly those proposed at Dzongu in North Sikkim on September 27 last.
The ACT leadership had also hailed the state government’s decision to engage in dialogue with them for redressal of their grievances arising out of the hydro power projects in North Sikkim. At the same time, the apolitical outfit had said that it was keeping all its options open.

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