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Sevoke–Rangpo railway project risky: Villagers

Gurung alleged that both projects were taken up without adherence to environment and forest laws, and the Forest Rights Act, 2006, and Forest Conservation Act, 1980, were getting violated
“The railway project will affect over 1,500 families in 24 forest villages along the 40km stretch between Sevoke and Rangpo. Another 57 families in Rangpo will be at risk because of the viaduct project. We want both projects stalled for the interest of the region,” said Leela Kumar Gurung, secretary of the Himalayan Forest Villagers’ Organisation (HFVO), here on Thursday.
“The railway project will affect over 1,500 families in 24 forest villages along the 40km stretch between Sevoke and Rangpo. Another 57 families in Rangpo will be at risk because of the viaduct project. We want both projects stalled for the interest of the region,” said Leela Kumar Gurung, secretary of the Himalayan Forest Villagers’ Organisation (HFVO), here on Thursday.
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Our Correspondent   |   Siliguri   |   Published 12.02.21, 04:08 AM

A joint forum of forest dwellers in the hills have launched a campaign against the Sevoke–Rangpo railway project and viaduct planned at Rangpo, the bordering town of Sikkim, alleging that they would put thousands of forest villagers at risk.

“The railway project will affect over 1,500 families in 24 forest villages along the 40km stretch between Sevoke and Rangpo. Another 57 families in Rangpo will be at risk because of the viaduct project. We want both projects stalled for the interest of the region,” said Leela Kumar Gurung, secretary of the Himalayan Forest Villagers’ Organisation (HFVO), here on Thursday.

Gurung alleged that both projects were taken up without adherence to environment and forest laws, and the Forest Rights Act, 2006, and Forest Conservation Act, 1980, were getting violated.

“From February 6, we launched the first leg of the campaign from Sankosh (a river along the Bengal-Assam border). It will end at Malbazar (Jalpaiguri) on February 14. We are telling people about the adverse effects of these projects on villagers and the environment,” he added.

According to sources in HFVO, the second phase will be in Gajoldoba from February 18 to 20. The final phase will start from Sukna on February 22 and end in Sevoke on February 28. 

Back in 2009, the Sevoke-Ranpo rail project was launched by then railway minister Mamata Banerjee to include Sikkim in India’s railway map.

Later, the viaduct — a 1km-long flyover — was planned in Rangpo, the main entry point to Sikkim, to ease traffic. The project, assigned to National Highway Infrastructural Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), is on.

“A case has been filed at the Supreme Court. The manner in which the projects are being carried out, there a risk of a cave-in in the ecologically fragile area. We saw what happened in Uttarakhand,” said Soumitra Ghosh, a representative of the organisation, referring to the Sunday avalanche.



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