The Chief Minister, Mr. Prem Singh Tamang, and his spouse, Mrs. Krishna Rai, attended the Sarathi Samman Divas 2023 (Chalak Diwas), organised by the Transport Department, which was extensively celebrated to commemorate the contribution of the Driving community of the State at Saramsa Garden today.
The event also had the presence of Speaker, SLA, Mr. Arun Kr. Upreti, Deputy Speaker, SLA, Mr. Sangay Lepcha, Cabinet Ministers, MLAs, Mayor, GMC, Mr. Nell Bahadur Chettri, Deputy Mayor, GMC, Ms. Tshering Palden Bhutia, Political Secretary to HCM, Mr. Jacob Khaling, officials from the Sikkim Government, and other dignitaries.
Mr. Prem Singh Tamang, in his address, congratulated the organising department for making the event worthwhile. He referred to the significant occasion as the nation’s first State to observe “Chalak Diwas.” He discussed how crucial drivers are to the state’s continued efficiency, a phenomenon that needs to be highly valued.
In addition to that, he also declared that every year, July 27 will be observed as “Chalak Diwas”.
The Chief Minister further reiterated the need to construct parking lots with sufficient space for vehicles in a few districts of the state. The facilities shall include a dormitory for drivers, a gaming room, a first aid room, an ambulance, a public waiting room, a washroom, a cafeteria, an electric vehicle, and computerised ticket booking.
He further elaborated that following this year, houses would be built for 500 Chalaks, along with house maintenance facilities and inverters for 500 Chalaks per year.
He also declared that 108 Chalaks would be sent for exposure trips within the country each year.
The Chief Minister, launched two songs during the event: “Bani Ayo Temi Garib Ko Sahara” by Mr. Laxuman Pradhan, President, Ravangla Taxi Association, and “Hamro Pyaro Golay” by Anil Gurung, Chughachen Chalak Wing, Rongli.
The programme was followed by a video presentation of the song Hamro Pyaro Golay and cultural programmes by various driving associations.
Mr. M.N. Sherpa, Minister of Transport Department, in his address, extended a warm welcome to all the dignitaries gathered and conveyed his best wishes to the newly appointed board, expecting they would perform their duties efficiently for the betterment of the community as a whole.
Furthermore, he discussed on the introduction of electric vehicles and emphasised the importance of environmental consciousness, urging the public to consider investing in electric vehicles. He expressed his gratitude to the Chief Minister for continuing to support the state’s initiative to adopt electric vehicles.
Likewise, Mr. Sanjit Kharel, Minister of Building and Housing, expressed his gratitude to all dignitaries for attending the joyous event honouring the driving community of the state. He expressed his optimism towards the Chalak Welfare Board working in the best interest of the driving fraternity. Additionally, he extended his appreciation to the state government for their continuous support of the driving fraternity.
Mr. Sonam Ongdup Bhutia, Chairman of the Chalak Welfare Board, applauded the Chief Minister for extending his efforts to assist the Chalak community in the state during his statement. He specified this year’s outstanding Sarathi Saman Diwas celebration and pledged steadfast commitment to work for the board’s and the driving community’s welfare.
Prior to that, Mr. Raj Yadav, Secretary, Transport Department, in his welcome speech, commended the drivers for their tremendous efforts and dedication to the community.
A video presentation was also presented for the initiative of drivers with the inauguration of E-KYC, LL&M- Pari Vahan (Next Gen Mobile App), CSC, and iRAD (Integrated Road Accident Data).
The Chief Minister additionally presented certificates and cash awards to Mr. Chultim Bhutia and Mr. Ashok Pradhan for being the most excellent Sarathi drivers, and Mr. Recum Gurung and Phersa Bahadur Chettri for being the best Sarathi conductors.
The state’s female drivers were similarly honoured with certificates and cash prizes.
Certificates and Awards Were Also Present To :-
• Felicitate Lady Drivers
• Felicitate families whose children achieved Gazette Post, studied for MBBs, BDS, or PHDs.
• The best drivers and associations that contributed differently to society.
• Truck drivers who have deposited the maximum SNT supervision charges without causing any accidents; road safety; senior most drivers
• Felicitate the senior-most Government driver.
• Felicitate the Chief Minister and Minister, Transport Department, by various taxi Associations.
• Felicitate the Chief Minister, Minister, Transport, Buildings, & Housing by the Transport Department.
• Good Samaritan Award (recommended by SHO Lachung) with Rs. 5,000 each and certificates by the Department.
• Ex-Gratia to Accident Victims with Rs. 5 Lakhs by the Department.
• Beneficiaries under the Chief Minister Discretionary Grant, i.e.,
i. All Sikkim Government Driver Association (Aid to set up office at Pakyong with Rs. 5,00,000.
ii. All Sikkim Government Drivers Association, Central Committee, Head Office, Gangtok, Sikkim State (purchase of vehicle with Rs. 15,00,000.
• Bravery Award to Mr. Sandeep Gurung, Jorethang, with a certificate by the department and a car by the CMO office.
The Saarathi Samman Diwas celebration at Saramsa Garden, Pakyong District also witnessed awards and felicitations accorded to the Saarathis for their notatble service and contributions.
The awards conferred during the day included Best Saarathi (drivers-/ conductors of SNT bus) to four individuals.
Best Saarathis & Associations Award for contributing towards society differently to 13 individuals and associations. Award for truck drivers who have deposited maximum SNT supervision charges/without causing any accident, following road safety protocols and senior most driver to three individuals.
Chief Minister Mr. Prem Singh Tamang presented the awards of which certificates were issued by the Transport Department and cash prize sponsored by the Chief Minister’s Office.
Similarly the Transport Department and CMO accorded felicitations to 17 female drivers and 1 female driving instructor with certificates and cash incentive. Felicitations were also accorded to the Saarathi families whose children achieved Gazetted post are undergoing MBBS, BDS course or pursuing PhDs and two senior most Government drivers.
Ex-Gratia of Rs 5 lakhs each were presented to the families of three Saarathis who lost their loves in road accidents and Good Samaritan Award of Rs.5000 each and certificates were presented to 9 individuals by the Transport Department.
Bravery Award in the form of a Car and certificate was presented by the CMO to Saarathi Sandeep Gurung of Jorethang, South Sikkim.
Likewise appointment orders from DOP to 60 individuals, SAGY house allotment orders to 30 beneficiaries from RDD, LPG cylinders to 65 beneficiaries comprising of 60 Saarathis and 5 Govt drivers on MR/ Adhoc basis and appointment order to 20 individuals for Mechanical post under Transport Department were also handed over by the Chief Minister.
The programme also saw felicitations accorded to Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, Minister for Transport, MN Sherpa and Minister for Buildings and Housing, Sanjeet Kharel by 13 taxi and truck associations and drivers organizations.
The first phase of West Point Project consisting of parking lot having the capacity of accomodating 400 plus vehicles will be inaugurated on 31st December 2023, announced Chief Minister Mr. Prem Singh Tamang while addressing Saarathi Samman Diwas programme at Saramsa near Ranipool, today.
The passenger vehicles coming from South and West Sikkim will be given parking facility there including parking management of 250 vehicles will be awarded to Drivers Association and the revenue generated will go into Chalak Welfare Board fund, informed the Chief Minister.
The parking lot will be having facilities like dormitory for the drivers, passengers waiting room, gaming room, first aid room, ambulance along with other basic amenities.
The Chief Minister further shared that state government with Asian Development Bank funding is constructing two storeys parking for local taxis at Old STNM Hospital premier and will be constructing similar parking lots in Tadong, Arithang, Pakyong, Soreng, Geyzing and Yangang, the revenue generated will go to Chalak Welfare Board.
Chief Minister also made slew of announcements for the welfare of Saarathi community. He announced that Education cost of Children of drivers registered under Sikkim Saarathi Welfare Board getting seats for Medical, Engineering and other higher studies will be borne by state government. The State Govt will sanction 5000 SAGY provide GCI sheets, house upgradation of Rs 50,000 in two installments and invertors to 500 Saarathi families this year, he announced.
Chief Minister Tamang further announced that Annual District wise Sports and Cultural Competitions will be organized for Saarathis and Govt will sponsor exposure tour across India for 108 Sarathis through Saarathi Welfare Board annually.