09 Mar, Gangtok (IPR) : The 4th Day of the Seventh Session of the Ninth Assembly (Budget Session 2018-19) of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly saw passing of separate demands for grants under Ministers-In-Charge of various Departments.
During the question Hour, Chief Minister and Leader of the House Shri Pawan Chamling, also the Minister-In-Charge, Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department, while replying to a question by MLA Shri R.N. Chamling explained the procedure for allotting land to private companies to run their business in the State. He informed that the Commerce & Industries Department issues the consent letter for establishment of industries in the State to the Companies after examining the documents and NOCs issued by various line departments and authorities. The private Companies then enter into negotiations with the land owners and draws up the lease deed for taking the land on lease for establishing their factories. It is then sent to the District Collector followed by final scrutiny by the Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department for final approval which is accorded by a high-level Committee.
While explaining the steps taken by the Government to protect the old law – Revenue Order No 1 for allowing the establishment of such Companies, the Leader of the House informed that Private Companies from outside the State are not allowed to purchase any land in the State for establishing their factories/units. They have to take land on lease from private land owners on mutually agreed terms and conditions, which is limited to thirty three years only at a time to protect the interests of the land owners. Further he stated that since outright purchase of land by the Companies through execution of Sale Deed is not permitted in the State there is no dilution of the provisions of Revenue Order No. 1 of 1917.
Replying to questions put forth by MLA Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, Minister-in-Charge for Tourism & Civil Aviation Shri Ugen T. Gyatso Bhutia shared the expenditure incurred during the Sikkim Red Panda Winter Carnival 2017-18. He stated that the mega events such as the Carnival help in promoting tourism in the lean season, identification of local talents, providing bigger platform to the local budding artists, promotion of traditional art and architecture, local handloom and handicrafts, promotion of local cuisines, organic food etc. He stated that these interventions have a long term impact. He added that the event was organized for socio-economic and cultural growth of the people of Sikkim and to promote tourism in the State.
Replying to a question by MLA Shri R.N. Chamling, the Leader of the House, also the Minister-In-Charge of Finance Revenue & Expenditure Department Shri Pawan Chamling informed that the repayment of Loan from various Financial Institution and Ministries are being made from the consolidated fund of the State as per the repayment schedule fixed by each Financial Institutions. He further informed that the Government has been paying the Interest on Loans and other liabilities regularly.
During the Legislative Business, the Sikkim National Law University Bill, Bill No. 5 of 2018, tabled in the House by Minister-In-Charge of Human Resource Development Department Shri R.B. Subba on 7th March, 2018 was passed by the House.
During the Financial Business, Minister-in-Charge of Urban Development & Housing and Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Departments Shri N.K. Subba presented the demands for grants under his Charge.
While replying to questions put forth by MLA Shri R.N. Chamling regarding creation of urban infrastructure in sub-towns like Singtam and Yangang to de-congest public spaces, the Minister apprised the House that the Department will soon implement the construction of foot-bridge connecting Singtam Hospital to Singtam Bazar. Similarly, he informed that the Department has already sanctioned work for construction of multi-purpose car park at Yangang with integrated cafeteria, wash room, and shopping complex. Replying to the suggestion by the MLA to relocate the proposed car parking facility which is adjoining Yangang School complex, the Minister stated that the Department would consider transferring the land or the built-up infrastructure to the School if a suitable alternate land is identified in future. He also informed the House that the multi-purpose shopping complex in Singtam is ready and will soon be inaugurated. On the question raised by the MLA about shortage in the availability of edible items like sugar, kerosene through public distribution system, the Minister clarified that there is shortage of sugar in the market as the Government of India has removed the total subsidy of this item. He however added that only families/beneficiaries under Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) will continue to receive one kg sugar per month under the scheme. About the point raised about discrepancy in the pricing by the wholesalers, the Minister informed that the Government is in the process of introducing online monitoring of transactions which will ensure transparency.
Replying to suggestions made by MLA Shri K.N. Lepcha regarding creation of multi-purpose car park facilities in areas like Syari and Tathangchen, the Minister stated that the Government’s focus under the smart-city project has been on using the existing space and creating new space for multi-purpose car parking facilities within the inner city to solve the problem of traffic congestion.
Responding to the question raised by MLA Shri Hemendra Adhikari about the status of the upgradation and beautification work of Rhenock Bazar, the Minister informed that the project has been delayed so far because of a land dispute. He apprised the House that the dispute has now been solved and the work will resume at the earliest. Responding to the demand by the MLA for a community hall in Rhenock, the Minister said that the Government will look into the possibility.
Replying to suggestions by MLA Shri Shyam Pradhan about the need to extend housing schemes to the urban poor in the line of CMRHM or other existing housing schemes for rural areas, the Minister said that the Department will carry out required survey, and make proposals under schemes like ‘housing for all’ and ‘Smart City’. He informed that the State Housing Board has lands in Sichey, Byepass, Ranipool, Jorethang and Geyzing which can be developed into housing flats for the urban poor in future. He iterated that the Department is working towards making the vision of the Government of ‘Slum-free Sikkim’ into a reality.
Responding to the suggestion of MLA Shri Shyam Pradhan to utilize the space available near Fire Station Building in Syari to build a multi-layer car park with integrated facility for indoor sports cum recreation hall, organic vegetable marketing centre, and a community hall, the Minister stated that the Department would correspond with the Building and Housing Department and acquire the property to create these facilities. On the suggestion of the MLA to construct an alternate bye-pass road connecting the road below Palzor Stadium with Indira Byepass in order to de-congest the place, the Minister welcomed the suggestion and stated that the department would look into the possibility under the Smart City Project.
The Minister also highlighted some of the major initiatives taken by the UD&HD in terms of creating infrastructures and public amenities in the urban areas of Sikkim. He made particular mention of the Smart City Project being allotted to Namchi and Gangtok and added that it is a great accomplishment for the State to have two smart cities from among cities in the entire country. He added that Sikkim has been awarded two Smart Cities inspite of being a small state because of the all round development of the State and especially for its emphasis on cleanliness. He shared some of the innovative initiatives planned by the Government under the Smart City Project.
The Demands for Grants under the charge of Minister for UD&HD, Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department was passed by the House.
Likewise, Minister-In-Charge of Forest, Environment & Wildlife Management, Mines, Minerals & Geology and Science & Technology Departments Shri T.W. Lepcha presented before the House the Demands for Grants for the departments under his charge.
During the discussion, while replying to a question by MLA Shri Sonam Lama, the Minister said that a Committee has been constituted under the Forest Conservation Act which settles disputes within forest area.
On a question raised by MLA Shri K.N. Lepcha about possibility of rock-bolting and other procedures in areas under Zone 4 which are susceptible to landslides, the Minister stated that the Department has used these techniques wherever necessary.
Responding to a question by MLA Shri R.N. Chamling regarding State Green Mission and the progress so far, the Minister stated that the environmental initiatives of the government have resulted in rapid increase in forest cover and propagation of medicinal plants, fruit-bearing and flowering trees and plants. He added that the department has deputed officers and staff to safeguard the forest.
The Minister also highlighted some of the key initiatives of the Department of Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management.
The Demands for Grants presented by Minister Shri T.W. Lepcha for the Departments under his charge was passed by the House.
Likewise, Minister-in- Charge of Tourism & Civil Aviation, and Commerce and Industries Department Shri Ugen T. Gyatso Bhutia presented the Demands for Grants for the Departments under his charge.
Replying to the queries put forward by MLA, Shri R.N.Chamling the Minister said that the State Government is doing its best to put Sikkim in the global map. Festival such as Red Panda, Winter Carnival puts Sikkim on the worldwide level and such mega events promote the natural beauty of this exotic state. He further stated that it was due to festivals such as these and with A.R.Rahman being declared as the Brand Ambassador of the state, Sikkim saw a whooping 15 lakhs tourists till December 2017.
The Minister further added that the Department has plans of promoting Sikkim worldwide by taking such festivals to other metro cities of the country.
The Minister also replied to questions and suggestions put forth by MLAs Shri Shyam Pradhan, Smt Tilu Gurung, Shri. Sonam Lama and Dr. Mechung Bhutia.
The House then passed the Demands for Grants under the charge of the Minister for Tourism & Civil Aviation and Commerce and Industries Departments.
Similarly, the separate Demands for Grants for Roads and Bridges and Cultural Affairs and Heritage Departments was placed by the concerned Minister Shri G.M.Gurung. Replying to queries put forth by MLA, Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, the Minister said that 32 roads have been sanctioned for carpeting and that the Government is doing its best possible to upgrade its road to its paramount. He also said that all the Contractors have been selected by the Department so that there is no compromise on the quality and common people can take the maximum benefit. Shri G.M.Gurung also stressed on the fact that the Department was doing its best to complete all the pending works by March 31, 2018 and talked about the numerous plans that the Government has envisioned which are all on the pipeline. He talked on the need to frame a Road Policy for the state and also said that to avoid the inconvenience posed by e-tender, normal tender can be done for all works upto Rs 2 crores in the Sub-Division level and normal tender till Rs 50 lakhs for Co-operatives.
The Demands for Grants under the charge of the Minister for Roads and Bridges and Cultural Affairs and Heritage Departments was passed by the House.
Minister for Energy and Power and Labour Departments, Shri D.D.Bhutia presented the Demands for Grants of the Departments under his charge.
Replying to the question put forth by MLA Shri R.N.Chamling about the strength of transformers due to overloading and the left out villages to be connected with electricity, the Minister said that Rs. 8 crores, 80 lakhs have been sanctioned for upgradation of transformers and that the State Government is doing everything possible to elevate the livelihood of the rural Sikkimese people by providing electricity to all.
The house then passed the Demands for Grants under the charge of the Minister for Energy and Power and Labour Departments.
The Deputy Speaker adjourned the House for the Day.