Gangtok, 19 Sep (IPR) : The first day of the Seventh Session (Part-IV) of Ninth Assembly of Sikkim Legislative Assembly saw the presentation of Second Supplementary Demands for Grants for the financial year 2018-19. The Demands were placed in the House during the Financial Business by Shri Pawan Chamling, Hon’ble Chief Minister, also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department, Government of Sikkim.
The Second Supplementary Demands for Grants for the financial year 2018-19 includes 20 grants and appropriations, which includes gross additional expenditure of Rs. 27992.95 lakh comprising of Rs. 20121.89 lakh on Revenue Account and Rs. 7871.06 lakh on Capital Account. Of this, the proposals involving net cash outgo aggregates to Rs. 26934.40 lakh.
During the Legislative Business, five number of Bills were introduced in the House by the concerned Ministers-In-Charge.
Shri A.K. Ghatani, Hon’ble Minister-In-Charge of Health Care, Human Services & Family Welfare Department introduced the Sikkim Anti Drugs (Amendment) Bill, Bill No. 20 of 2018. The Sikkim Anti Drugs (Amendment), Bill, Bill No 20 of 2018 was framed with an object for further amendment to incorporate the principle of medical care and psychiatric treatment of the addict and to assess their condition through psychiatric or psychological evaluation, certain amendments have been proposed to be incorporated in the Act.
Shri Tshering Wangdi Lepcha, Hon’ble Minister-In-Charge of Forest, Environment & Wildlife Management Department introduced the Sikkim Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Bill, Bill No. 21 of 2018. The Statement of objects and Reasons of the Bill states that it is felt expedient to amend the Act by inserting a new condition after sub-section 16 of Section 2 in order to permit the public to chase away wildlife if it causes damage to their agricultural/horticultural crops and if it attacks their cattle in their private land. The reason is there are reports of increased incidents of wildlife damaging crops and attacking cattle in the private lands.
Shri Pawan Chamling, Hon’ble Chief Minister, also the Minister-In-Charge of Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department introduced the Sikkim Regulation of Transfer of Land (Amendment) Bill, Bill No. 23 of 2018. The Statement of objects and Reasons of the Bill states that it has been considered expedient to further amend the Sikkim Regulation of Transfer of Land Act, 2005.
Shri Pawan Chamling, Hon’ble Chief Minister, also the Minister-In-Charge of Finance, Revenue & Expenditure Department introduced the Sikkim Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, Bill No. 24 of 2018. The Statement of objects and reasons of this Bill states that the Sikkim Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 has been proposed for amendment by way of bringing the Sikkim Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018 for amending certain provisions of the Act for making the functioning of the said Act more effective, meaningful and for easier compliance by the taxpayer. This amendment Bill is also intended to streamline functioning of the provisions of the Act.
Similarly, Shri R.B. Subba, Hon’ble Minister-In-Charge of Law, Legal, Legislative & Parliamentary Affairs Department introduced the Sikkim Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, Bill No. 25 of 2018. The Sikkim Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, Bill No 25 of 2018 states that the provisions of Section 9 and 18 have been made effective retrospectively with effect from 27th February, 2014 and section 37 A and the proviso to section 45 have been made effective with immediate effect. These amendments have been proposed with a view to further strengthen and streamline the functioning of the Lokayukta.
Earlier, the Session began with the Obituary Reference on the demise of Late Shri Karma Topden, former MP Rajya Sabha, Late Shri Muthuvel Karunanidhi, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Late Shri Somnath Chatterjee, former Speaker Lok Sabha, and Late Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister of India.
Speaker Shri K.N. Rai in his obituary reference paid rich tribute to the four stalwarts. Likewise, Leader of the House, Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling recalled the contribution of the four stalwarts and paid his tribute and homage to them and wished for strength and forbearance to their families to bear the irreparable loss.
The Obituary Reference also had the participation of MLA Shri K.N. Lepcha.
The House observed two-minute silence as a mark of respect to the departed souls.
During the question hour, Minister in-charge for Rural Management and Development Department, Mr. S. B. Subedi responding to the query raised by MLA Mr. Kunga Nima Lepcha said that apart from ensuring the quality of works by the departmental engineers, the quality is also checked, tested and verified from time to time by National Quality Monitors (NQM) and State Quality Monitors (SQM) appointed by the National Rural Infrastructure Development Agency (NRIDA) and State Rural Infrastructure Development Agency (SRIDA) respectively. The road construction work was delayed due to the ongoing constructions of Sewerage Pipelines and the damages caused during execution of the same. Further this is also to submit that we have limited working period due to monsoon season. The work actually commenced vide work order No. 139/PMGSY /RM&DD dated: 16th January 2014.
In another question raised by MLA, Mr. Kunga Nima Lepcha, Minister Mr. S. B. Subedi said that the construction of drain is under progress. The department has instructed the contractor to provide drains according to the provisions in the DPR however the same was under progress and not yet completed. The incident of 5th September 2018 causing damages to the private/public properties along Lower Syari was due to sudden flash flood caused by excessive rainfall.
Similarly, answering to the question raised by MLA, Mr. Kunga Nima, the Minister replied that all concerned department and Government mercenaries have been directed to assess the damages and submit detail report immediately. A suitable action as per the norms will be taken to address the compensation issue.
While replying to the query raised regarding carpeting of Lower Syari road the Minister said that the work for the pavement was on the verge of completion and the black topping work was withheld due to the ongoing monsoon rainfall, but unfortunately the monsoon flash flood has caused further damages presently. This is to state that the department is genuinely monitoring and supervising the ongoing project, however the torrential rainfall which caused extensive damages on 5th September is a natural calamity.
Similarly on the question raised regarding the PMGSY Road from Upper Nandok to Lower Syari the Minister answered that the work construction of PMGSY Road from Upper Nandok to Lower Syari was delayed due to objection of land owners wherein the take off point of the road could not be finalized initially. However, the matter was resolved in the later date and the work was started and is already in progress. Since the work is new cutting road works, the same is stopped during the monsoon season ensuing to the damages of landed properties by landslide. However, any damages that occur during the construction phase will be assessed in the joint inspection with LR&DM Department and processed for approval of the authority for damage compensation.
While, responding to the question raised by MLA Mr. R. N. Chamling the Minister in charge for Health Care, Human Services and Family Welfare Department, Mr. A.K. Ghatani said that the budgeted annual provision for 2018-19 for maintenance of Health Institution is `42.00 lakhs. For maintenance of residential quarters for 2018-2019, a provision of `40.00 lakhs is provided. The maintenance works are taken up duly prioritizing the urgency and on exigencies.
Further he also stated that the annual outlay for maintenance of Health facilities for 2018-2019 is `42.00 lakhs. The amount is for maintenance of STNM Hospital, 4 District Hospitals, 2 CHCs, 24 PHCs and 147 PHSCs. The per capita expenditure for Health Sector up to 1st Supplementary demands for grants 2018-2019 is `9864.
The Minister in charge for Food Security, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Department, Mr. Somnath Poudyal while replying to the questions raised by MLA Mr. Kunga Nima Lepcha stated that the Government has, a long time back identified the issues raised regarding the rhizome rot in ginger, citrus decline in orange and Chhirkay- Phurkey in Cardamom. Ginger Rhizome rot is a fungal disease generally occurring during hot and humid conditions during the month of June-July. The Horticulture and Cash Crops Development Department has put in place extension workers at the District, Sub-Division, BAC and GPU Level. This extension wing organizes awareness and training programmes on a continuous basis in the different ginger growing clusters and advocates control measures for management of ginger rhizome rot.
The management Practices include cultural, physical and biological methods. The department also distributes bio pesticides and bio fungicides to the farmers of the ginger growing cluster free of cost. The department also makes available to the farmers disease free and good quality planting materials.
While replying to another question, Minister Mr. Somnath Poudyal, said that Citrus decline disease commonly known as die back is a fungal disease caused by a number of factors such as soil, nutritional and other management factors. To overcome the disease, the Horticulture Department is imparting technical training to the citrus farmers on good cultural practices, improvement in soil fertility, insect, pest and disease management on a regular basis.
Organic manures, bio-pesticides, irrigation support is being provided by Department to the orange farmers. The Department is also implementing the ‘Orange Rejuvenation programme’ to bring back to health old, diseased and saline orchards. In addition, new plantations are taken up to replace unproductive orchards. Good quality planting material is one of the most important elements of successful crop production; the Department distributes quality planting materials to the farmers. ln addition to that healthy mother plant are selected and seeds are extracted from the fruits of healthy mother plant for production of quality planting materials /seedling. The Horticulture Department in close coordination with research institutes identify the new feasible and virgin cluster for establishment of new orchards.
Likewise, on Chhirkay-phurkay diseases, the Minister responded by saying that all of us know Large cardamom is one of the most important cash crops of the state and the commercial large cardamom production has been going on for quite some time. The emphasis has shifted to quality of produce rather than bulk production and has shifted to quality of produce rather than bulk production and hence superior quality planting materials are being distributed to the farmers to address the issue of Chhirkey -Phurkey. Simultaneously training and awareness programme are being organized by the Department on various crop management aspects.
All the extension works, awareness programme and training and demonstration are being done by the Department by actively involving Spices Board, NOFRI (National Organic Farming Research Institute), who provide research-based inputs. He further informed that the Chhirkey -Phurkey is not the main disease that was causing the huge loss in cardamom plantation. It is called “blight disease” and is caused by fungus called Colletotrichum, and as per study and farmer feedback that too has been brought under control, through Organic corrective measures.
In Sikkim, there is immense scope of employment and income generation through production and supply of quality planting material of cash Crops. The quality of planting material is most essential for increased production. Inferior quality planting material produced out of unscientific methods will only result in spread of diseases and reduction in yield. Our Local educated and unemployed youth are encouraged to take active part in creating accredited nurseries which will have tremendous impact on the livelihood status of the farmers of our State in near future.
The House was adjourned for the day by Deputy Speaker SLA Shri Sonam Gyatso Lepcha. The Business of the House will resume on 20th September, 2018 at 11:00 hours.