08 Mar, Gangtok (IPR) : The third day of the Seventh Session of (Budget Session 2018-19) of Ninth Sikkim Legislative Assembly commenced with the Question Hour, followed by the
Legislative Business (Bill for consideration and passing) and Financial Business of the Discussion and Voting on Separate Demands for Grants of the Government Departments was presented by the Ministers of the concerned departments today.
On the Questions raised by Member of the house, Shri K. N. Lepcha regarding massive quarry of sand and stone from the river bed of Leekhu Khola, Lower Tarku and stone crushing unit that has been set up on the river reserve, the Minister for Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department, Shri. T.W. Lepcha informed the house that the change of river course due to natural causes is not a violation of any law and in Sikkim change in river course has been taking place since long back. Removals of loose stone and sand from river bed is allowed based on an environment impact assessment by the District Environment Impact Assessment Authority headed by the concerned District Collector as per the Sikkim Forest Rules, 2006. One of the conditions of the Environment impact Assessment by district authority is that the quarry side should be such that it is re-stocked regularly by the river which is assessed by the district authority comprising officers from Mines, Minerals and Geology and Irrigation departments apart from Forest Environment and Wildlife Management department. Hence there would be no change in the river course due to allotment of any quarry as quarries are regularly replenished by natural process. Quarrying permit is allowed after tender for a period of one year after which the side is re-tendered. However, the department has not allowed such illegal and indiscriminate sand and stone quarrying in the river bed.
Also replying to the question regarding the resident of the area suffering from health hazard due to the pollution caused by stone crushing activity, Minister Shri. T.W. Lepcha informed that the several pollution abatement conditions have been imposed by the Sikkim State Pollution Control Board while issuing Consent to operate for stone crushers such as sprinkling of water on the machines, wind breaks and Sedimentation tank.
Replying to the question regarding the loss of life and property of the public due to wildlife menace, Minister Shri T.W Lepcha informed the house that Human-Wildlife conflict is a nation-wide problem which is related to environmental changes triggered by global warming. In Sikkim’s context it includes change in fruiting pattern of wild avocado, chestnut and oak trees and temperature and micro planet changes in forest areas. The department has recognized the entire problem and supporting the state by providing compensation fund for wildlife attacks. Department also deals with wildlife attacks by tranquilizing and trans-locating animals.
The Minister for Commerce and Industry Department, Shri Ugen T. Gyatso in his reply to the question put forth by Member of the house, Shri R.N. Chamling regarding the local employment in Pharmaceutical companies said that in 50 different Pharmaceutical companies within the state there is a total number of 8,636 local youths working in the companies.
On the question raised by member of the house, Shri K.N Lepcha regarding a furnished status report on the condition of Tholung Monastery, the Chief Minister and the Leader of the House, also the Minister- In-Charge of Ecclesiastical Affairs Department, Shri Pawan Chamling said that government has decided to demolish the existing gumpa and reconstruction of new gumpa on the same site is coming up and also informed that the Tourism department would be taking up the construction work. He also informed the house that government had sanctioned and released an outright grant of Rs. 5.00 lakhs and later during the year 2012, a sum of Rs. 10 Lakhs was sanctioned to Tholung Gumpa under NDRF which was released through the District Collector (North) to the Gumpa Committee. Shri Pawan Chamling also said that all the other gumpas which had been destroyed during the earthquake would be restored and the work would start soon.
MLA Shri Sonam Dadul Bhutia also raised a point of order under Rule 320 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of business in Sikkim Legislative Assembly for making corrections in the Hon’ble Governor’s Budget Address where a typographical error had arisen in page 25, line 9 to 11 which was delivered on the 6th of March 2018, that in the Schedule of the Constitution (Sikkim) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1978 published by the Ministry of Law and Justice, the Bhutia has been listed in the Serial No.1 and Lepcha in Serial No.2.
The Speaker assured that it was corrected and recorded in the proceedings of the House.
During the legislative business, Minister –in-charge, Smt. Tulsi Devi Rai introduced the Sikkim Water Supply and Water Charges (Amendment) Bill, Bill No 4 of 2018 which was introduced on the first day of the Budget Session and was moved and passed by the house today.
Minister for Health Care, Human Services and Family Welfare, Information and Public Relations, Printing and Stationary Departments, Shri A.K. Ghatani presented the Demands of the Departments under his charge which was followed by discussion and voting. While replying to queries made by the Members of the house, Shri R.N Chamling, Miss Chandra Maya Subba, Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha and Shri Shyam Pradhan on various issues, the Minister –in-Charge, Shri A. K Ghatani said that it is the prerogative of the Government to ensure optimum health quality for the Sikkimese people and thus district hospitals like Mangan, Namchi, Singtam are being upgraded with CT scan facilities, digital x-rays etc. He also said that upgraded equipments would be set up at the upcoming 1000 bedded Super Specialty hospital at Sichey where provisions would also be made for kidney dialysis treatment so that Sikkimese people get the benefit of best medical facilities at their doorsteps. Minister also informed the house about the up-coming 50 bedded AYUSH Hospital in Gyalshing, West Sikkim which he said would boost health tourism in the state in coming days. He also mentioned that construction of ANM training centre in Gyalshing was on the verge of completion. Stressing on how the Government is focusing on health care of the people, the Minister stated that a total number of 4,065 patients have been referred outside the state till now and that all the expenses have been taken up by the state government.
Replying to a question put forth by Shri R.N.Chamling, he said that the state health care department is fully committed towards distribution of life medicines in all district hospitals, Primary Health Centers (PHCs) and Primary Health Sub-Centers (PHSCs) and regular checking are being conducted to ensure that basic medicine are available in all the hospitals.
Regarding the need of the orthopedic doctor in Gyalshing District hospital, Minister assured to look into the matter.
Health Minister, Shri Ghatani also responded to the queries put forth by Shri R.N. Chamling regarding the fund allocation of Rogi Kalyan Sangh (RKS) and informed that each District Hospitals are getting Rs. 10 lakh, PHCs Rs 1.75 lakh and PHSCs Rs. 20,000 respectively.
The house passed the Demands for Grants under the charge of the Minister Health Care, HS&FW, IPR and Printing and Stationary Departments.
Similarly, the separate Demands for Grants for Building and Housing and Transport Department was placed by the concerned Minister-in-Charge, Shri D.T. Lepcha. Replying to a question put forth by MLA Shri R.N.Chamling, the Minister informed that the construction work of Stairway to Heaven at Daramdin would be completed by 2019.
The house passed the Demands for Grants under the charge of the Minister for Building and Housing and Transport Department.
Similarly, Shri S.B Subedi Minister in-charge for Rural Management and Development, Panchayati Raj and Cooperation Departments presented the demands of the departments under his charge which was followed by discussion and voting on Demands for Grants.
Members of the house, Shri K.N Lepcha, Shri. Bikram Pradhan, Shri. R.N. Chamling and Ms Chandra Maya Subba participated in the discussion. The Minister while replying to the question on the CMRHM said that the Government is committed to making Sikkim kutcha-house free and thus their whole aim has been to make earthquake resistant pucca houses.
M.L.A Shri. R.N Chamling talked about the water shortages and the implementation of Dhara Vikas to which the Minister replied that water shortage problem is prevalent not just in the state but everywhere in the world. He also informed about the success of Dhara Vikas and talked about the implementation and how it has been recognised and applauded by the Centre as well.
Replying to a question on the Reconstruction of Earthquake Damaged Rural Houses scheme (REDRH) of the Government, the Minister said that all houses under this scheme will be completed by 2019.
The house passed the Demands for Grants under the charge of the Minister for Rural Management and Development, Panchayati Raj and Cooperation Departments.
Minister for Human Resource Development, Sports and Youth Affairs, Law, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Departments Shri R.B.Subba replied to questions put forth by MLAs Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, Shri R.N.Chamling and Ms. Chandra Maya Subba. Talking about the question of unequal salary of Adhoc teachers and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan teachers raised by MLA Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, the Minister said that SSA and RUSA are schemes where NCTE rules are not implemented and thus people are put on adhoc basis. He said that Project Approval Board approves and directs in terms of salaries of different sections and thus pay scale is different for each one. MLA Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha said that direct telecast of Assembly proceedings should be done so that people can watch it for their benefit to which the Minister welcomed for future consideration. He also requested for enhancement in salary, pensions and medical facilities of MLAs to which the Minister said that the House Committee has already deliberated, approved and it is under process.
Shri R.B.Subba also highlighted about the various facets of the HRDD and talked about the various schemes of the State Government such as the Chief Minister’s Scholarship Scheme where total of 869 students have availed of it. He also talked about various schemes such as the Ambedkar Award, Yoga education, Green Education, Teacher Guardian policy, Remedial Process Training etc. Minister also highlighted about the Organic Framing Practise Education which has been started in 32 schools and highlighted the impetus given by the state Government to education sector where toppers of Class X and XII are awarded as well.
The house passed the Demands for Grants under the charge of the Minister Human Resource Development, Sports and Youth Affairs, Law, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Departments.