Guwahati, 08 Sept (IPR): Hon’ble Governor Shri Ganga Prasad and Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) along with the Governors and Chief Ministers of other North Eastern States attended the 68th Plenary Meeting of the North Eastern Council in Guwahati today which was chaired by the Hon’ble Union Home Minister, Shri Amit Shah.
The Sikkim official contingent was headed by State Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary cum Development Commissioner, DGP Sikkim, Secretary to Chief Minister, Secretary-Planning & Development and Joint Secretary-Planning & Development. Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Shri Indra Hang Subba, also attended the meet.
The Governor participated in the deliberations today on the agendas which included various issues concerning the development of North Eastern States with special focus on the role of DoNER and North Eastern Council in the region.
Besides, issues including action taken on the previous resolutions of the NEC Plenary and vision put forward by Hon’ble Prime Minister for development of North Eastern Region were also discussed.
Addressing the session, the Governor stated that there is no second thought about the fact that vision of developed India will be realised only through developed North East and, in order to achieve the goal of developed North East, North East Council must be financially strengthened and empowered. He also underlined the strength of Sikkim being the most peaceful and stable State with impressive growth rate despite surrounded by three international borders with China, Bhutan and Nepal.
The Governor in his address stressed on the early resolution of following issues impacting the growth and accelerated development of Sikkim:
- Pakyong Greenfield Airport, though inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minister in September 2018, has remained non-operational since 1st June this year due to technical reasons related with Instrument Landing System and Radar, which is yet to be installed for smooth operation of flight across all seasons.
Drawing the attention of the Central Government and Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Governor pressed for early settlement of the matter and equip the only airport in the State with all required technical equipment for smooth operation of flight throughout the year.
- Bringing forth the inordinate delay for a decade in the execution and completion of much awaited Railway link to Sikkim, the Governor sought the intervention of Central Government to resolve the issue of forest clearance and land issues in West Bengal side which has often stalled the construction of the railway. He pressed on the early realisation of Railway link to Sikkim.
- The Governor sought the attention of the NEC forum over the issue of reduction in release of fund for various NEC projects in the State. He stressed on enhanced financial assistance from NEC for ultra modern equipments and facilities for Multi Speciality Hospital in Gangtok, made operational recently by the government. He also sought financial assistance from Central Government for the State Medical College to be made operational at the Multi Speciality Hospital premises in Gangtok
In addition to these, the Governor also drew the attention of NEC for early release of fund for pending projects such as District Hospital Mangan and Inter State Bus Terminus in the State, sanctioned earlier by NEC.
The Governor also sought continuous patronage of Central Government and special financial assistance to North Eastern States for bridging regional imbalances in development arising out of geographical difficulties, extreme weather conditions and connectivity bottlenecks.
He stressed that Focus North East as envisaged in Centre’s Act East Policy must be complimented with enhanced investments towards strengthening road, railway, air and broadband connectivity in the region for ushering new era of growth and prosperity.
The HCM, in his address, informed that out of 165 projects of NEC sanctioned for Sikkim, 142 were completed and only 23 were ongoing. He indicated that few thousand crores were already parked with the Ministry of Finance (Pool Money) and that the same could be immediately released for urgent schemes of North Eastern States.
He extended gratitude to the Union Home Minister and Home Secretary for withdrawing names of the 14 Sacred Peaks of Sikkim from the list of 137 peaks notified earlier by the Ministry. It was in tune with sentiments and heritage of Sikkim.