Criticising the Pawan Kumar Chamling government in Sikkim for tapping hydel potential for commercial benefits, noted environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna today alleged that construction of several hydel projects in Sikkim amounted to a "destructive act" against the ecology of the "greenest" state of the country.
For years, Bahugana has fought for the preservation of forests in the Himalayas, first as a member of the Chipko movement in 1970s, and later spearheaded the Anti-Tehri Dam movement starting 1980s, to early 2004.
"The hydropower projects in Sikkim are a destructive act against the ecology and environment of Sikkim which is a part of the Himalayan mountain range," he told reporters here in reply to a question about his views on the construction of dams in thick forested areas in North Sikkim.
Power generation by disturbing water resources emanating from the Himalayans cannot be justified, Bahuguna said and flayed the Chamling government for seeking to commercially tap them, through "destruction of the forest cover and the fragile landscape". He stated that North Sikkim which is covered by a thick green forest is the national resource which should be preserved instead of tampering for hydel projects. “Himalayan region landscape are fragile for such massive projects, construction of hydel project is direct destruction of environment.” he told to reporters.
He was one of the early environmentalists of India, and later he and people associated with the Chipko movement later started taking up environmental issues, like against large dams, mining and deforestation, across the country.
He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour, on January 26, 2009 and Padma award on April 14, 2009.