Sikkim would see more of SDF: PD Rai on Hydel Projects

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Sikkim Mail

Gangtok, December 20, 2011: In an interview to local daily Sikkim Mail, the lone sitting Loksabha MP of Sikkim and spokesperson of the state’s ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) party Prem Das Rai confessed that there has been a sense of complacency in the SDF after four consecutive terms and people would like to see more of SDF and its developmental activities, with lots of innovations. Saying that the complacency was not something unusual for a party that has been in power for more than 17 years he stressed that many milestones have invariably been covered from rural development and emotional integration to social justice, education, health, tourism, hydro power, environment and infra-structural development under the dynamic governance of Dr. Pawan Chamling. The party would not sit in oblivion and would innovate: The current year itself has been declared ‘Year of innovations’ by the Government.

There is no denying the fact that SDF has been surrounded with criticisms for corruption, Black Bill and most recently the Hydro Power Projects. However, if the journey of the 17 years of SDF Party led Government is seen, the party has worked tirelessly to usher in developmental transformation in Sikkim. The party has considered the poor people as rightful contenders for the fruits of development.

The MP said that it is genuine that state having the population of more than 6 lakhs will have conflicting ideas and ideals of development or happiness. On the recent controversy regarding the sensitive hydel power projects (HPP) he said, “The debate on this (HPPs) can continue, and is good for strengthening our democracy and democratic values.”

When asked about Dr. Pawan Chamling expressing dismay in his speeches for never being credited for the development taking place in the state he said that the ‘dismay’ that is being talked about is that the leader is not satisfied with the quality of outcomes as well as the pace. The ideology of the SDF Party is rooted in pro poor and pro Sikkim development all around. Democratic ideals are foremost at the core of this. Hence this will not change. We may evaluate the outcomes of the initiatives and can find course correction if needed. This will be determined by extensive consultation with the people.

Referring back to the sensitive issue of Hydro Power Projects and the development anticipated by the Government out of this endeavour, the MP opined that government has to sensitize the people about its multi-dimensional positive outcomes. We have to view this in light of the tradeoff.

Many like to bring emotions into the discourse of developmental debate and there is nothing wrong with that. However, we need to find middle ground. So this tension is good to keep all sides happy. However, younger people do have the right to exercise their freedom to choose more or less development as their aspirations keep changing and indeed does increase.

India needs economic growth of about 10 percent annually if it has to get the funds to ensure that all citizens are pulled out of poverty. To get this growth it needs additional electricity upto the magnitude of 75,000 MW every five years. Where is this going to come from? Thermal power is dirty and climate change issues will stall this. Nuclear is difficult. Hence one of the thrust areas is renewable sources of energy. Hydro electricity falls in that category. Hence there is a push for setting up these power plants in all the feasible areas like J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. We need to view this issue from that prism.

On the “Praja-raja” syndrome prevailing in Sikkim and its effects on the people he commented that this is of course a cause for concern. Amongst all those who need help there are genuine cases. This is therefore a question of identification of those genuine cases who needs direct help. There cannot be a policy that will exclude them. Therefore, it is for all to realize that and refine the filtration process. All sections need to cooperate. Education therefore is the key.

Political parties have to play a responsible role as opposition. In light of that the issues that they raise need to be evaluated. People of Sikkim are not fools. The Government of India knows that our Government, under the leadership of the Dr. Pawan Chamling, has done a magnificent job in relief and rehabilitation which was both quick and efficient after the earthquake. Consequently we are concerned about what the people of Sikkim have received. We will be judged on that by the people and not by the rhetoric of the opposition parties.



  • c.m.ghimirey

    yes sir, its very true that we need power in a large quantum and the hydel projects r on their way to achieve that,,,, but looking at the feasibility on the basis of seismic characteristics of our region i want to deliver my feeling that,”cant we generate some power from wind energy”?

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