The contemporary process of economic development, state power and Lepcha resistance in Sikkim
This chapter focuses on the impact of hydroelectric power projects in the Himalayan region of Sikkim with special reference to the Dzongu region and its resultant demographic socio-economic changes. While benefits such as employment have accrued to the rural community from these economic development projects, changes in land use and in people’s occupations may have adverse impacts on their future livelihoods. The interests of the locals must be listened to and taken care of during the planning process, and the policymakers must adopt a model or strategies such that the impacts and effects of such type of developmental activities can be minimized. To maximize the positive impacts and to mitigate the negative environmental, social and economic impacts, the sustainability of water resource projects is required. The chapter discusses the Lepcha minority in Sikkim and their relationship with the state and other ethnic communities, focusing on the domain of “vanishing tribe discourse”. It also delves into the developmental rhetoric of Sikkim in general along with the apprehension of the Lepcha community towards the process of state-sponsored development.