SIKKIM NEWS: Minister pitches for plastic – CM of go-green state uses ‘nod’ indicator to voice protest – to nod or not to, plastic re-cycling plants a must anyway, import ban to remain ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Gangtok, Sept. 9: DoNER minister B.K. Handique today advocated the use of plastic in Sikkim for the creation of employment avenues, oblivious to the fact that the Himalayan state had banned it five years ago.
Chief minister Pawan Chamling, who was listening to Handique at a seminar here and nodding in agreement to what he was saying, stopped responding when the Union minister started pitching for plastic.
“Generations have come up with the wrong notion that plastic is a harmful material. Do not blame the material. Let us not bark up the wrong tree. Let us have plastic processing centres which will create employment and at the same time have legislative safeguards to prevent pollution from plastics,” the minister said at the inaugural session of the seminar on development of manufacturing and services sector in the Northeast region (NER). The event was organised by the North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd.
Handique was in favour of setting up plastic processing centres in the north-eastern states. “We should set up plastic processing centres at selected places to generate employment for our youths,” he said.
After the inaugural session, the media pointed out to the Union minister that Sikkim had banned the use of plastic products like polythene bags in 2004-05. Handique was also asked the rationale behind his pitching for plastic use in the Himalayan state.
“I didn’t know (the ban of plastic bags in Sikkim). That is why the chief minister, who was nodding throughout my speech, stopped doing so when I raised the plastic issue. Now I understand. I will have a word with him,” Handique said bursting into laughter.
Advocating the use of plastic, Handique said the per capita use of plastic in India was 4-5kg while in the Northeast it was only 1 kg. “China had a per capita use of plastic of 30kg in 2007 and developing nations have anywhere between 90 and 100kg. They don’t have pollution problems with plastics. We have to control the pollution related with plastics,” he added.
Earlier, chief minister Chamling had demanded a one-time grant of Rs 50 crore from the ministry of development of north eastern region (DoNER) for acquiring land to set up industries in Sikkim.
“Sikkim has local land laws and the government has to take private land on lease for industries. We request a one time grant of Rs 50 crore so that we can purchase land and provide it to investors on lease and generate more employment opportunities for our people,” Chamling said. He also iterated the state government’s demand for revision of items traded through the Nathu-la border between Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Reacting to Sikkim’s plea for monetary grant, the Union minister said he would look into it. “According to rules, we cannot give funds for land acquisition, but we will see and find out a way because other northeastern states have made similar demands. We will take a call soon,” he said. He also promised a re-look into the demand for revision of Nathu-la border trade terms.
External affairs ministry official to study progress of Nathula trade – to grow or not to grow, growth a must for peace, friendship and stability ?!!
From Daily News & Analysis
Gangtok, Thursday, Sep 9, 2010, 18:22 IST (PTI): An official of the ministry of external affairs is in Gangtok to study the progress of the Nathula border trade, official sources said today.
Under-secretary in the ministry of external affairs (MEA) China desk, Gitika Srivastav is in Gangtok to study the progress of the border trade between Indian and China through Nathula, the sources said.
Srivastav is in Sikkim to take stock of the progress of the border trade, interact with officials, traders and the administration and report back to the MEA to enable it to take decision about the future course of action.
While exports have been steadily flowing out from Sikkim into Tibet, there have been virtually no official imports.
Import figures for this fifth season stands at zero. This was also brought to the notice of the under-secretary, sources said..
Sources said Srivastav was told of the long pending demand of the traders for revision of the list of items of trade, especially the items allowed for import which were obsolete and due to which there was no import for the past two years.