Buddhist monks oppose hydel projects

UNI, May 15, 2007

Gangtok, Sikkim (India) -- The Sangha of Dzongu (SOD), an association of Buddhist monks, today opposed the implementation of hydel projects in North Sikkim district.

SOD General Secretary Chotol Lepcha said mega hydel power projects in North Sikkim would adversely affect the places of worship, culture and demography of the region.

Mr Lepcha said the Tholung monastery, significant for the Buddhists, would be threatened by the hydel projects because of large influx of outsiders.

Three mega hydel projects had been proposed in North Sikkim, including a 1200 MW project at Chungthang.

In its four point agenda, the SOD stated that it would try to preserve the Buddhist places of worship in North Sikkim and protest the implementation of all the proposed hydel power projects in the region.

It would also launch awareness campaigns about the holiness and sanctity of these places to educate the people about the impact of the hydel projects on their culture and religion.

The SOD was formed by the monks from Dzongu recently to protest the implementation of hydel projects in North Sikkim, alleging that it would adversely affect their culture and religion.