Sikkim Opposition MPs gearing up over Dzongu issue

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Gangtok, Oct 14 (UNI) The opposition parties in Sikkim, including the Congress, BJP and CPI(M), today forged a strong alliance to press the ''No-Project'' demand of the indigenous Lepcha community of Dzongu in North Sikkim.

Leaders of the allied parties mooted a proposal where each party unit would be urging their MPs to ''deliver justice'' to the Lepchas by raising the issue in the Parliament.

The leaders had gathered here at a programme organised by the protesting Lepchas to highlight their concerns over the proposed hydel projects.

Lepchas from Dzongu, under the banner of Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) were currently on a relay hunger strike from June 20, to protest the proposed implementation of mega power projects in Dzongu.

Six mega projects were being proposed in Dzongu, which is inhabited by the last few members of the indigenous Lepcha community, who consider the area as sacred.

The protests had also spread to the Lepcha community living in the neighbouring Darjeeling region.

Putting forward the proposal, Sikkim Congress Pradesh Committee (SPCC) president Nar Bahadur Bhandari said the leaders of the respective political parties must go to Delhi and meet their central leaders.

''We need the support of our MPs to raise the Dzongu issue in Parliament,'' he said.

Recalling that it was only the support from the MPs that delivered national recognition to the Nepali language, the Congress president said a similar movement must be launched by the state's political leaders and social organisations.

Besides Mr Bhandari, BJP state unit president H R Pradhan, CPI(M) state committee member P P Koirala, Sikkim Himali Rajya Parishad general secretary Tara Shrestra and Sikkim Progressive Party president Sherhang Subba were also present at the gathering.

''We will ask the central leaders whether they want to protect Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling or the Sikkimese people,'' he said.

Darjeeling CPI(M) MP Saman Pathak also endorsed Mr Bhandari's proposal and said it was the right time to highlight the Dzongu issue in Parliament in a united manner.

Former minister and presently president of the Citizens Forum of Sikkim Thukchuk Lachungpa said all organisations supporting the ACT would go to Delhi soon to highlight the Dzongu issue.


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