The Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC) convened a convention at Chintan Bhawan on November 4 where they unanimously passed three important resolutions, addressing pressing issues and concerns facing the Bhutia Lepcha (BL) community and the state of Sikkim.
The convention, held under the theme "Constitutional Rights of BL: Threats, Challenges, and Way Forward," saw a resounding consensus among the members of SIBLAC as they stood united in their resolutions amidst the recent Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) on October 4.
The first resolution called for an end to large dams in Sikkim and any other projects that are deemed ecologically harmful and detrimental to the socio-economic well-being of the Sikkimese people.
The second resolution took a bold step by announcing an appeal to the Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court, requesting Suo-Moto action to initiate a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation into the construction of the Sikkim Teesta Urja Hydel Project and the subsequent failure of the dam due to the GLOF incident.
The third resolution prioritizes the rehabilitation and fair compensation for recent flood victims. It advocates for the development of a comprehensive Master Plan for all affected areas in North Sikkim and a commitment to implement this plan within a specific timeframe.
Sikkim has a total of 13 Bhutia-Lepcha seats, including the Sangha seat (Religious seat), reserved in the state assembly, out of a total strength of 32.
Resolution No. 1 of the convention also appealed for the immediate implementation of high-security holographic papers and digitization of Sikkim Subject Certificate/Certificate of Identification in Smart Card format, in line with the directives of the Hon'ble High Court of Sikkim.
Resolution No. 2 strongly called for the withdrawal of an allegedly unconstitutional and draconian notification issued after the amendment of the Sikkim Panchayat (Amendment) Act, 2018, which reduced the reserved seats for the Bhutia-Lepcha community from 50% to a mere 8%. This change in reservation was perceived as a threat to the constitutional rights of the BL community and has been a contentious issue since 2018.
Resolution No. 3 demanded the withdrawal of an illegal and unconstitutional notification issued in 2018 and urged the implementation of the recommendations of a committee constituted in November 2021. The committee's report has been pending for over nine months and SIBLAC is urging its early implementation in the interest of Sikkim and its people.
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