People belonging to indigenous Lepcha community have strongly opposed the proposed Teesta Stage 4 hydropower project in North Sikkim.

The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) is reportedly planning to go ahead with the project despite opposition from the people of the downstream areas.

The members of the Lepcha community fear that their livelihood, land, culture and the fragile Himalayan ecology will be jeopardised if the dam becomes a reality.

The State-run NHPC has already built a series of dams in River Teesta.

The Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) has been spearheading a movement against the dams in Teesta and its tributaries.

The organisation consisting of the affected people of the area, has restarted the campaign against dams.

ACT general secretary Gyatso Lepcha has demanded scrapping of the Teesta Stage 4 project which, he said, would have a negative impact on people living in the Teesta basin.

The last free-flowing stretch of the Teesta has to be preserved as the river is directly related to the fragile ecology of the Sikkim Himalayas.

Apart from the ACT, the Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee has also demanded scrapping of all dam activities on the Teesta and Rangit rivers as they maintain that these would directly affect the life and culture of the indigenous tribal communities of Sikkim and would have a negative impact on those directly or indirectly dependent on the rivers and its tributaries for their livelihood.

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