Gangtok, 29 June (IPR) : The Janta Mela for Urban Areas and Lamas (Monks) of the entire State was held today at Khel Gaon, Reshithang, Ranka. It was clubbed with the final leg of the Jan Sampark cum Jan Seva Abhiyan of the Hon’ble Chief Minister for the East District of Sikkim for three constituencies namely Gangtok, Arithang and Upper Tadong along with the Sangha Constituency. The public event was organized by Urban Development & Housing Department, Government of Sikkim in coordination with the area MLAs and Nagar Panchayats.
The programme began with welcome address by Secretary UD&HD Shri L.B. Chettri, who briefly explained the objective of the programme and the nature of benefits and token grants to be distributed. He informed that after the public address programme, the beneficiaries would be handed over their benefits at the stalls put up at the venue for the respective urban areas, constituency and a separate stall for the monks.
Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling then handed over the token benefits to beneficiaries from among the Lamas (monks) and the people of urban areas from different parts of the State. The benefits that were distributed by the Chief Minister on the occasion included Token Allotment for urban housing scheme, GCI Sheets, Electric Rice Cooker, Plain Sheets as part of Urban Housing Scheme, and House Enhancement Scheme Order. Likewise, subsidized rice was distributed to beneficiaries under other priority households under Food & Civil Supplies Department, while CMRHM, LPG, Pressure Cooker and GCI Sheets were the items under the Rural Management & Development Department which were distributed on the occasion.
Meanwhile, seven employees of the Municipal Bodies from all the four districts were rewarded by the Chief Minister with Cash Award and Mementos for rendering sincere and excellent service in their capacities.
The Chief Minister was felicitated by a delegation of monks with an Appreciation Letter. Likewise, the representatives of Urban Local Bodies, members of the business community, ASHA workers and Aganwadi Workers also expressed felicitation to the Chief Minister.
Addressing the public event, Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling said he was pleased to meet the learned monks (Lamas) from throughout the State and also the business community and public from the urban areas.
He began his address by highlighting the objective of the Jan Sampark and Jan Seva Abhiyan and the Janta Mela. He said that the entire Government machinery had come to the people’s doorstep to honour them, to understand their problems and issues, and to provide immediate respite. It is a rare initiative where the entire Government machinery stretches out to the public with welfare schemes in order to uplift the people and to improve their living standards, he stated. He added that the constituency-wise visit of the Chief Minister and the entire team of public representatives and Heads of Departments also served as a medium to directly interact with the people and enlighten them about the various schemes and programmes of the Government.
The Chief Minister in his address urged the people to take complete ownership of the State instead of just fulfilling individual interests and desires. He said that the people should realize that with right comes responsibility towards the society and the State, and especially in a democratic set-up, people should contribute.
Drawing a parallel between the era before merger and now, he explained that Sikkim was the most underdeveloped Country during the reign of the Chogyal, while today Sikkim is one of the five richest States in the country, and the richest among the North Eastern States. He urged the monks to compare the Sikkim of yesterday and today. There has been unprecedented development in every sphere, and the infrastructural development and places of religious worship are a few examples of the development witnessed by the State in the last two decades.
Directing his address at the monks, the Chief Minister stated that the Government has created numerous infrastructures and an environment for intellectual learning for Buddhists. The Guest House at Bodh Gaya, enhancement of Annual Grant to monasteries, creation of monastic schools where modern education is imparted, Buddhist University at Deorali, and Aamji education for Bhutia and Lepcha are a few examples of these initiatives. He added that the Buddhist University would ensure that our Lamas would be highly intellectual and would be equipped with modern education. He gave an assurance that the salaries and allowances of the monastic lobelas would be enhanced in near future.
He also touched upon the history of Sikkim, and how three revered Lamas contributed to the building of ancient monasteries, and subsequently the establishment of Monarchy in Sikkim. He stated that these three Lamas have made the biggest contribution to Sikkim. He further added that the Government is making a 50 ft tall statue of these three Lamas and also of the first Chogyal at Yuksom, West Sikkim, as a mark of reverence.
Addressing the Bhutia and Lepcha communities, the Chief Minister stated that all the political privileges of the BL have been kept intact. The reservation of BL in the Panchayat is the latest addition, and BL language is being taught till university level. Further, he reiterated that the Government is committed to safeguard all the social and political privileges of the BL communities, which includes the 13 seats in the State Legislative Assembly.
He further urged the people of Sikkim to take collective responsibility to preserve and protect the peaceful, secular, neat and clean, organic and eco-tourism friendly status of Sikkim. He added that a good government is like our parents. Our Government has nurtured and loved the people of Sikkim, in the same way parents would nurture their children, he stated.
Addressing the public of urban areas, especially the business community, Chief Minister Shri Chamling stated that the people of the business community also have to take ownership of the State instead of just securing their individual business and household. He urged them to value and acknowledge the development that has taken place during the tenure of the Government under his leadership.
He added that Gangtok is the business centre of Sikkim like all other sub towns in the districts. The demand has risen due to overall development, the value of our market has increased, the value of land, building, shop has increased manifold. The value of Gangtok has increased by approximately 5000 times, which is evident from the GSDP increase recorded. Business volume has increased. Space / Site Salami system for shops has been introduced. This is the result of our development policies, and people are enjoying the fruit of Democratic dividend brought about by good governance. He further added that the Government has always respected the business community of Sikkim and ensured that they live with dignity. The business community elsewhere are living with fear and insecurity. Our biggest contribution is the peace, security and respect for all, he stated.
The Chief Minister also underlined some of the privileges ensured by the Government for the business community in the State. All Residential Certificate (RC) holders, all old business men and all urban settlers, wards of those employed in Sikkim before 1969, all settlers before 1975 should get income tax exemption. He stated that the Government is committed to ensure that these rights are ascertained and repeated requests have been made to the Centre. Further, the Government has made a rule that all RC holders who have trade licence, will get all other privileges, except the privileges under Sikkim Subject and Land Revenues Order No. 1 reserved for the Subject Holders of Sikkim. The privileges include Trade licence for children of RC holders, bazar land, jobs in private sector, reservation in higher education, can contest Nagar Panchayat elections, can acquire liquor shop licence, wife will get trade licence in case of death of husband, privileges like free education till college, free books and uniforms, free medicine for BPL category Bazar dwellers, medical reimbursement for referred patients, Rs. 15000 to go to Siliguri for treatment and Rs. 25000 for bigger cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. Likewise, RC holders will get benefits such as Rural housing scheme for the BPL category Bazar dwellers, gas cylinder, cooker, induction, plain sheets and subsidized rice.
The Chief Minister announced that the top floor of GMC building at Deorali has been allotted for Bihari Bhawan. Likewise, the top floor of Children park vehicle stand above M.G. Marg Gangtok has been allotted for Marwari Bhawan.
The Chief Minister also announced that Peons in all Government establishments will henceforth be redesignated as Office Attendant.
In conclusion, the Chief Minister assured that the demands put forth by the MLAs of Gangtok, Arithang and Upper Tadong constituencies will be passed phase wise in a month’s time.
The programme came to an end with vote of thanks proposed by Commissioner, GMC, Shri Chewang Gyaccho.