Gyatsho Tongden Lepcha has been advocating the rights of rivers especially in Sikkim to let them flow freely in different forums from International, National and State Credit: EastMojo image

The NorthEast Young Heroes Awards premiered on Tuesday, December 22.

A total of 150+ nominations came for 10 different fields which include healthcare, administration, tourism, etc. The jury shortlisted 50 of them and the voting lines were open from December 10 to December 18.

In the category of sustainable development, the top spot was clinched by Gyatsho Tongden Lepcha from Sikkim. Other nominations in the same category included Sheikh Arif Ahmed, founder – Small Wish International, Pranab J. Patar, environment and sustainability professional, Parikshit Borkotoky, founder – KraftInn, and Dhruba Jyoti Deka, founder – Brahmaputra Fables.

A law graduate, Gyatsho has been involved in the campaign for a free-flowing river in the state for 16 years. Has been advocating the rights of rivers especially in Sikkim to let them flow freely in different forums from International, National and State and most importantly leading the campaign back in the Dzongu region. He also has been raising the issues of Indigenous Rights and has been a member of many Indigenous forums.

After the historic hunger strike movement which went on for 915 days against the big dams in the region, return to the region and started Mayallyang Homestay an ecotourism venture, in 2009. Their homestay was also taken as a model by the state government and the government launches a Homestay scheme in the state which has more than 700 beneficiaries, where they received 10 lakhs to set up the Homestay in different regions. The homestay also hosted the Norwegian Royal Family in the year 2010, and in the year 2019 was awarded as the Best Homestay in India, Gold award by Responsible Tourism Outlook Group initiative in New Delhi.

Dzongu which was hardly known by the world has become one of the most sought homestay destinations in the state. “I’m still continuing the fights for the rights of rivers to let it flow freely and presently hold the post of General Secretary of the organization ACT (Affected Citizens of Teesta),” Gyatsho added.



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