Gangtok, April 15, 2013
At the outset, Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC) condemns the findings, recommendations and conclusions of the Committee constituted with the Chief Secretary as the Chairman, Secretary/ Commerce & Industries, Secretary/ Law, Secretary/ Ecclesiastical as members and Secretary/ Power as member secretary for examining the issues relating to the implementation of 99MW Tinting HEP projects, 96MW Lethang HEP and 97MW Tashiding HEP, all slated on our sacred Rathongchu river in West Sikkim.
Though the first two are already scrapped by the State government, the third one is still going on, thereby hurting and damaging the sacredness of our dharma. This committee submitted their recommendation / report on 23/11/2011, says in its press note issued on April 15.
We once again demand the State government to immediately scrap the anti-Buddhist 97MW Tashiding HEP in honour of the Mahaguru Padmasambhava’s teachings and instructions, says SIBLAC.
SIBLAC further rejected and condemned the above committee’s conclusion/ recommendation that if the government intends to scrap the project, then it shall have to pay the compensation of the expenditure incurred till date by the Company, which could cost it Rs 150 crores or more. This observation is simply a case of misleading the State as so long as all the necessary clearances from Ministry of Environment & Forests are obtained by the project proponent and in the meantime if the project is scrapped on one or the other ground, it is the project proponent who has to bear the brunt of all the expenses so incurred and not the State in any manner.
Another significant fact, this committee in another term has compared and judged the value of religious-culture aspect associated with the project with valuation of money. It has, in other words recommended that the cost of the religious sanctity cannot exceed Rs 150 crores thus incurred by the project proponent i.e., Shiga Energy Pvt. Ltd. We are surprised that how our present Ecclesiastical Affairs Secretary T. Gelek as a member of the committee could endorse such report with his signature in the said report.
Moreover, on the report, when the Chief Minister instructed the authority for seeking expert opinion dated 23/11/2011, the Law Secretary RK Purkayastha finally recommended on 16/01/2012 that “Since considerable amount of about approximately Rs 150 Crores has been spent on the project so far, it may not be advisable to put this project for consideration of not to go ahead with and continue…..”. Here, it is worth mentioning that since religious-social aspect is the main ground to challenge the project, why not Mr. Purkayastha did sought ‘expert opinion’ as rightly required by the Hon’ble Chief Minister, SIBLAC stated in its press note.
We would like to put on record that no other than His Holiness Kyabje Dodrubchen Rinpoche, Kyabje Chadral Sangay Dorje Rinpoche or the late Kyabje Lachen Gomchen Trulku are the unquestionable authorities to advice on such matter. In fact, all these most reverend masters have already granted their precious KALPO (dharma instructions) that projects slated over sacred Rathongchu should be scrapped, added SIBLAC.
Without seeking adequate ‘expert opinion’ how can he recommend that the project must be allowed to continue thereby putting the very sanctity of our dharma to stake? It must be mentioned here that neither these ill-sighted committee nor Mr. Purkayastha took the pain of seeking the opinion of Department of Ecclesiastical affairs on the religious aspects attached with the project in question.
Under the circumstances, how can Mr. Purkayastha finally recommend favouring the anti-Buddhist 97 MW Tashiding Hydro Electric Project. Purkayastha, more than legal mind, application of adjustable and popular mind is appreciable in addressing such issues that pertains to our very identity and dharma which in contrary, he is trying to brush away in his mere 7-lines more commercially-motivated recommendation. But then, we cannot expect much from him who in the past has once been dismissed from the Sikkim Superior Judicial Service and more so, the one who do not realise or feel the taste and attachment of belongingness and respect for the tradition, religion and culture of an alien place like Sikkim as he do for his own State of Meghalaya, expressed SIBLAC.
This is how, we believe, the bureaucrats in Sikkim are misleading the Chief Minister as well as the government. It is worth-appreciable that Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, realising the significance of the cultural-religious aspects and sentiments of the people has already scrapped Rathongchu HEP (1997) and only recently, Lethang HEP and Ting-Ting HEP, said Tseten Tashi Bhutia, Convenor of SIBLAC.
Donggala, Sulawesi Tengah
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