SIKKIM NEWS: OT Lepcha tables Bill in Rajya Sabha seeking special financial assistance to Sikkim – moving well ahead of the times ?!!
From Sikkim Express
GANGTOK, August 28, 2010: Lone Rajya Sabha member from Sikkim, OT Lepcha has tabled a private member’s Bill in the Upper House of the Parliament seeking special financial assistance to his State.
The ‘Special Financial Assistance to the State of Sikkim’ Bill was introduced by Lepcha yesterday. It seeks to special financial assistance to Sikkim for promoting welfare of STs and other sections of the people along with development and exploitation of its vast natural resources in the Hilly State.
As per the clauses of the proposed Bill, special financial assistance to Sikkim shall be drawn from consolidated fund of India annually as the Parliament may by due appropriation provide, to meet the costs of developmental schemes in Sikkim besides proper utilization and exploitation of the State’s resources.
Priority has also been sought in five key subjects for Sikkim-early completion of Pakyong airport and to convert into an international airport, time bound completion of rail link to Sikkim, construction of an alternative highway, early census for reservation of Limboo and Tamang communities in Legislative Assembly, development of Sikkim as an international tourism destination and preservation of flora and fauna of Sikkim.
“There is a lot of resentment among the people of the State due to inadequate development and welfare of Schedule Tries and other sections of the people of the State. It is, therefore, essential that special financial assistance should be given to the State of Sikkim so that the plans can be implemented for an all-round development of this State”, said Lepcha in his statement of objects and reasons while introducing the Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Lepcha pointed out to the House that not much development has taken place due to financial constraint even after 35 years of merger of Sikkim as the 22nd State of Sikkim in 1975.
“It is a landlocked State with no air and rail connectivity as of now, with the rest of the country. The only lifeline of the State, NH 31A is often blocked due to various bandhs and agitations called in the hilly terrain of West Bengal which causes a lot of difficulties in sustaining the supplies to the State. There is a constant demand for an alternative national highway via Bhutan for better connectivity of the State”, said Lepcha.
The Rajya Sabha member also strongly advocated for developing Sikkim as an international tourism destination.
“Sikkim is also popularly known as mini Switzerland of India with abundance of natural and scenic beauty and has the third highest peak in the world, Mt Kanchenjunga. If adequate financial assistance is provided, it can be developed into an international tourist destination”, said Lepcha.
• Early completion of Pakyong airport and to convert into an international airport
• Time bound completion of rail link to Sikkim
• Construction of an alternative highway
• Early census for reservation of Limboo and Tamang communities in Legislative Assembly
• Development of Sikkim as an International Tourism Destination
• Preservation of flora and fauna of Sikkim
Tourism Minister announces grant for IHM – a priority sector well funded with good forethought ?!!
From The Sikkim Reporter Correspondent
Gangtok, Aug 29, 2010: Tourism minister Bhim Dhungel on Saturday announced a government grant of Rs.1.25 crore to the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) based here at Tadong during a function organized by the institute to welcome the first year students. The 2nd and 3rd year students of the Tadong IHM organized the welcome function which was graced by the tourism minister as chief guest.
In his address, Mr. Dhungel reminded all about the rapid growth of tourism in Sikkim and reiterated the commitment of the State government to make Sikkim tourism as the best managed tourism sector in the country. “Sikkim is the most sought after destination today”, he said. IHM principal, JT Gyaltsen highlighted the curriculums and achievements of the institute since its inception. The institute has recorded 100 percent placement in the past years and students from this institute are working in hotel and hospitality industries across the country and abroad.
For the 2010-11 academic session, 29 candidates have been enrolled in the 1st year B.Sc. degree course, out of which 4 candidates have been selected through the HRD department against the State quota and the rest through JEE. Tourism minister distributed certificates to the outstanding students of the institute.
Labour front backs NHPC Stage V workers – We will also join the strike: ASDLF – changing the good precedent of no-strikes in Sikkim’s history ?!!
From The Sikkim Epress
GANGTOK, August 28: The labour frontal organization of the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) party has backed the NHPC Teesta Stage V workers who have threatened to launch an indefinite strike at the hydro-electric power plant at Balutar from August 31 if their pending demands are not met by the management.
In a meeting held today at SDF party headquarters here at Indira Bypass, the All Sikkim Democratic Labour Front (ASDLF) said that the demands raised by the labourers of NHPC Teesta Stage V plant are fully justified. The labour front also demanded the NHPC management to resolve the labour issue without any further delay.
“We will like to draw the attention of the NHPC Teesta Stage V management not to play with the rights of the labourers and not to allow the peace and discipline of Sikkim to be vitiated. If the demands are not met in due time, the labour front will also join the peaceful strike to be started by the workers at the plant”, warned the ASDLF in a press statement.
On Thursday, the fifty three workers recruited by the NHPC Teesta Stage V project as part of its rehabilitation and resettlement package for the project displaced families had threatened to launch an indefinite strike at power plant from August 31. They have been demanding ‘re-designation of existing grade as per educational qualifications’ as all of them have employed in the lowest grade of W-0 as helpers.
The NHPC management has been given a deadline of August 30 to fulfill their demands, failing which, the workers have threatened to launch an indefinite strike from the next day stopping all production work in the power plant.
Backing the agitating workers, the ASDLF said that the steps taken by them are in the interests of Sikkim and Sikkimese labourers. “We also appeal all the NGOs to support the strike call of the NHPC workers,” the labour front said.
Accommodation assured to left out traders depending on ‘availability of space’ – where space is at a premium getting a license is the key ?!!
From The Sikkim Express
By SE Staff Reporter
GANGTOK, August 28, 2010: The State urban development department has assured to provide accommodation to those left out 125 hawkers at the Kanchenjunga Shopping Complex here at Lall Bazaar depending upon the availability of space.
These 125 hawkers had been given a similar promise when they had shifted their businesses along with other traders from old Lall Bazaar to Old Children Park to make way for the construction of the shopping complex.
After the complex was inaugurated in 2006, these 125 hawkers found out they had not been provide allotment orders and were doing business in the shopping complex at adhoc sites.
Matters came to confrontation stage when UD&HD evicted all traders without allotment documents or trade licenses from the shopping complex two days ago.
The traders lodged a strong protest the next day and finally, the department allowed those with trading licenses to operate from the shopping complex.
A meeting between the traders, UD&HD and Gangtok Municipal Corporation was held today at the shopping complex to resolve the sore issue during with the department assured to provide accommodation to the left out traders depending on the ‘availability’ of space.
New trade licenses will also be issued after proper verification of the documents submitted by the traders.
Mayor KN Topgay, who chaired the meeting, said that accommodation priority should be given to those 125 traders left out during the relocation back to the shopping complex in 2006. He strongly pointed out that subletting of licenses is an office adding that strict action will be taken against those who had indulged in such practices.
A departmental survey reveals that 70 traders have sublet their trade licenses to non-license holders. It is also informed that many trade licenses have been issued to government employees, some of them being from the urban development department.
Many shopkeepers are also holding more than one license.
All Sikkim Hawkers Association president Sangay Sherpa demanded an early settlement of the issue for the left out traders during the meeting.
UD&HD joint secretary Dhan Jyoti Mukhia said that duplication of trade licenses should be avoided and preference should be given to those who do business on their own. She said that a verification process will be launched to find the names of those government employees holding trade licenses. Such licenses will be cancelled, she said.