Gangtok, 28 April :Sh Pawan Chamling, having accomplished 25 years as the longest serving Chief Minister of India surpassing the record of former West Bengal CM Late Jyoti Basu speaks to media expressed heart-out to the world.
On asking how you feel today and whom would you like to share this rejoicing precious moment of your career and life, the Chief Minister Sh Pawan Chamling says
I would generously dedicate and share this precious successful moment of my life and career as a son definitely with my parents who brought me to this world, taught me as a first teacher, a mentor and a guide for my pristine destiny ahead. Without their sacrifice, hard work and dedication today this would have never been possible in my life. My whole gratitude goes to my parents at this moment.
Secondly, are my loving, caring and aspiring people of Sikkim who have always stood forefront and embraced me from their heart and mind. My people are my backbone for which I am today, the success goes to them for whatever I am today. I am always with them in all aspect of their life.
I would certainly share my happiness and gratitude with my party members, supporters, with all of their support and faith in me today we are able to make a historic benchmark and record.
I also share my gratitude to the Press Media and Journalists who relentlessly helped us to cater our programs, works and mission to the mass as well as worldwide.
Likewise, I also share this moment with all my officials, govt employees who are working in tandem with our vision in the government.
My gratitude also goes to Govt of India for their help and support.
On asking what reform you envisage in this 24 years of your governance, CM says “I feel proud and satisfied for the overall performance and progress our state has done in this long journey of 24 years, people have evaluated our work and they are happy. Their happiness is what matters for us and energize our determination always. Today, Sikkim is recognised by the whole world, the perspective developments taking place steadily in our state is admired by the people across the world.
Today, people of Sikkim have a distinct respect outside and they are treated graciously.
Adding questionnaires, don’t you feel though handling the duty as CM as this age. The CM replies, previously it was tiresome, tedious and well as difficult to handle. At one time I was feeling weaker inside but today I have acquired energy and courage to face all difficulties easily. I am now not tiring but rather wanting more responsibilities than before. Because I feel relief when I do people’s work diligently. I am not growing older by the way or do I feel stressed anymore, I am still youthful and by virtue of responsibilities, I come across each day in this position. Trust me, I am young, energetic and mentally strong than before! I am still young and mentally strong to accept all challenges !!
Interview Video with Chief Minister
Will Update More Below …
My dear fellow citizens,
As I cross a personal milestone, I would like to remember fondly all those who have been a part of this journey of more than two decades. First and foremost, my heartfelt gratitude goes to the people of Sikkim for reposing their faith in me by giving their mandate for five record consecutive terms. It is due to their support and co-operation that I have the honour of becoming the longest- serving Chief Minister of the Country on 29th April, 2018. I extend my thankfulness to the members of the SDF Party, Ministers, MLAs, all Opposition Parties, bureaucrats, technocrats, Government employees, media persons as well as the Government of India for their continued support and co-operation over the years. On this momentous occasion, I also offer my homage to Late Shri Jyoti Basu ji, a great statesman for whom I have the highest respects and whose record stint as Chief Minister, I am fortunate to surpass.
With our pro-poor and pro-people policies, Sikkim in more than 23 years of our governance has seen rapid and unprecedented development in all spheres. In the 23 years 4 months and 17 days (which I complete on 29th April, 2018) in Office as the Chief Minister, I have worked with utmost sincerity and commitment. All these years have been spent working relentlessly and tirelessly for the State and the people. I have never taken a day off from my duties, often forgoing my personal commitments. And I am happy that the hard work has borne excellent results, with Sikkim witnessing rapid and unprecedented development in all spheres.
From a backward and little known state, Sikkim has been transformed to the most progressive state with the highest growth rate in the Country. Our policies and initiatives have been path-breaking and has brought appreciation and acclaim to Sikkim in the Country and abroad. It gives me immense satisfaction to see that our initiatives, such as organic farming, skill development, cleanliness drives and many of our environment-friendly policies are being replicated in other parts of the Country as well as, at the National level and overseas. We have also been the only state to fulfil the basic minimum needs of the people. The life expectancy of our people has increased by a decade, from 62 years in 1994 to the present 72 years as per the recent Government of India data.
Sikkim as a poverty-free state, is at the top of the ladder in the Country with regard to education, health and rural development. Our eco-friendly tourism policy has transformed Sikkim into a renowned and most sought-after tourist destination. Starting of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through Nathula in 2015 is another accomplishment that will aid in promoting tourism in the State.
Overall, Sikkim is the number one state in the North-East and ranks 3rd in the Country, which is a remarkable achievement for a state that joined the Indian Union only in 1975.
By ear-marking 70% of the State budget for rural development from the very first day of our Government, we set our target of alleviating poverty from rural areas, where more than 75% of our population reside. We set forth the process of devolution and decentralization of power to the grass- root level. With fully functional Gram Prashashan Kendras and 31 Block Administrative Centres, administration has now reached the doorstep of the rural people.
Our policy of inclusive development has ensured social justice and equality to all sections of the society. In fact, the allocation of 31% of the annual budget to this sector is the highest in the Country. Facilities such as pensions and financial assistance are provided to the marginalized sections such as the disabled, the old and even to trans-genders and unmarried women above the age of 45 years. Our State is probably the only state in the Country to grant reservation to Chettri, Bahun and Newar communities as State OBCs since the year 2003.
Sherpa, Tamang, Newar, Gurung, Sunuwar/Mukhia, Rai and Mangar Languages have been recognized as State languages. Likewise, Primitive Tribe status has been granted to the people belonging to the Lepcha Community.
One of our greatest contributions has been guaranteeing peace and security to the people of Sikkim. In spite of being surrounded by three international borders, today Sikkim is the most peaceful state. We have ensured that the rights of our people are never infringed and the identity of the Sikkimese people stand protected.
Being dependent on agriculture, industries were unheard of in Sikkim till we formed the Government in 1994.With pro-investment policies, subsidies and incentives for investors, the State has seen the establishment of many clean and non-polluting industries.
We have been successful in fulfilling many pending political demands. Scheduled Tribe status was granted to the Limboo and Tamang communities in 2003 after pursuing the matter with the Central Government for many years. Similarly, we were able to grant exemption of income tax to all Sikkim Subject holders and their descendents in 2008. Re-opening of Nathula Trade Route in 2006 and inclusion of Sikkim in NEC in 2002 are other significant developments in the history of the State.
Our Government has been able to keep the secular fabric of the State intact by giving due protection and security to all religions and faiths. Every person has the right and freedom to profess the religion of one’s own choice. There has not been a single incident of communal violence or unrest due to religious differences.
Women empowerment has been given top priority. Our Government has provided all the rights to women without them asking for it. 50% and 30% reservation for women have been provided in urban and local bodies and Government jobs respectively. Our society is free from gender discrimination. Sikkimese women enjoy inheritance rights at par with their male counterparts. Now it is for the women of our State to put to optimum use the rights and facilities granted to them for their welfare and benefit.
Since we consider the students and the youths of Sikkim as our future, we have provided them with a number of facilities and opportunities. Free education and numerous scholarship schemes, unheard of in other parts of the Country, have been made available for their benefit. Employment opportunities in various sectors have been created. Now the onus lies on the young generation to be responsible and make the best of these available opportunities by increasing their knowledge and capacities. They should endeavour towards being independent and self-reliant individuals. Their aim should be to become the real owners and masters of Sikkim as also creating a niche for themselves at the global level.
We have firmly believed that Government employees as part of State administration play a vital role in State and Nation-building. In Sikkim, our Government employees have been well looked after. They have been granted the best pay package in the Country along with other facilities. Timely promotions at all levels are granted.
Allegations of corruption have often been made against our Government. In this regard, I want to state a bare and a basic fact, i.e development and corruption never go hand in hand. There can never be development where there is corruption and vice versa. The quantum and magnitude of development that has taken place in Sikkim speaks for itself.
The progress that has taken place after we came to the helm of affairs is evident for all to gauge. We have taken Sikkim to new heights in all sectors. Many on-going mega-projects, such as the statue of Chenrezig at Sanga Choelling, West Sikkim, the Skywalk at Bhaleydunga, the 1000-bedded Multi-Speciality Hospital, the new Tashiling Secretariat and many others are on the verge of completion. The State is also set to witness the operation of the much awaited Airport at Pakyong very soon, which would go a long way in solving the problem of connectivity. Our missions like 100% literacy and kutcha-house free are being achieved by December 2018 and 2019 respectively. By 2022, we plan to eradicate TB from Sikkim.
More than twenty three years have passed since I took over the responsibilities as the Chief Minister. Many changes have taken place during this period but one thing has remained firm and constant, i.e my dedication, commitment and enthusiasm, though I have never worked in pursuit of any milestones. I must say that with the passage of time, my zeal and the will to work for the people and the State has only increased. My only objective is to take Sikkim to the pinnacle of glory and fulfil all the hopes and aspirations of our people. The doggedness and the tenacity that I am fortunately blessed with stem from the faith bestowed on me by the people of Sikkim and also due to the love and respect they have showered on me in all these years. My love for my land – Sikkim and the Sikkimese people fill me with an un-ending will, a kind of an obsession (‘junoon’) to give my self-less dedication in serving the people and the State.
As I said earlier, Sikkim has progressed by leaps and bounds, but we should not be complacent and rest on our laurels. In my quest to make Sikkim a forerunner in all spheres, I seek your partnership, for I alone cannot build a better Sikkim. So, let us all join hands and work together towards making Sikkim the best state in every respect.
I dedicate this landmark of becoming the longest-serving Chief Minister of the Country to my most beloved people of Sikkim.
Your humble servant I forever remain!