Gangtok, August 15(IPR): The State level Independence Day celebration was held at Manan Bhawan, Gangtok, today.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic this year, and taking safety protocol into account the event was held in a smaller scale with lesser invitees but with the same zeal, enthusiasm and nationalistic fervour, like every other year.
The event was streamed live through various digital platforms of the State Government which was facilitated by the State IT Department, IPR Department and NIC to reach out to the people across Sikkim and the nation.
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Sikkim, Shri Prem Singh Tamang graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. The event commenced with the unfurling of the National Flag, followed by the rendition of the National Anthem tune by the Sikkim Police Band. The Chief Minister received the Guard of Honour presented by the Sikkim Police contingent.
The celebration had the presence of spouse of the Chief Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Members of the Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha), Members of the Legislative Assembly, Advisors, Chairpersons, Chief Secretary, DGP, Heads of Departments, Officials from the Army, senior officials of different departments, COVID-19 warriors including doctors, nurses, safaikarmacharis, Police personnel who were special invitees on the occasion. Four COVID-19 recovered persons also attended the function.
During the programme, the Chief Guest and all the dignitaries and invitees gave a standing ovation to the COVID-19 warriors for their valuable service during the ongoing period of the crisis.
Chief Minister, Shri Prem Singh Tamang in his address extended his heartiest greetings and best wishes to the people of Sikkim and the Nation on the occasion of Independence Day 2020. He expressed his admiration and paid tribute to the freedom fighters who fought bravely the war of independence which eventually freed our great nation from the colonial British Rule.
He also extended his gratitude to all the frontline COVID warriors who are everyday fighting diligently and sacrificing their lives to protect us from the pandemic that has taken over the world. Additionally, he also heartily congratulated the Government led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for the historic bhoomi pujan of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, on the 5th of August.
On the occasion, Shri Tamang warmly remembered all the former Chief Ministers of Sikkim for their contribution in developing the State.
The Chief Minister also applauded the people who have supported from all directions during the inevitable hours of crisis.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister announced a few initiatives taken up by the State government for the welfare of the Sikkimese people:
1. The Government aims to initiate ‘Sikkim Garib Aawas Yojana’ where houses would be constructed in an area of 678.50 sq.ft., which would include one television set and furniture set valued at Rs. 17,61,682/- for the poor rural and urban people of Sikkim for which Rs. 481 crores has been sanctioned.
2. The Government intends to introduce the process of realization of a high-value tourism corridor, tourist destination and places of interests to be introduced in West Sikkim.
3. The Government has also initiated the development of an Eco-Tourism complex at Dodak in West Sikkim, in the concept of Vrindavan.
4. Fund has been earmarked by the Government for the development of ‘Herbal Medical Yoga and Spiritual Complex’, in the concept of Heavenly Path at Nandu-Gaon, South Sikkim.
5. A requisite fund has also been earmarked by the Government for the construction of ‘Mangarzong Historical complex’ at Mangsari, West Sikkim.
6. The Government has also sanctioned budget for the construction of the statue of Nisani Kali Devi at Budang Gadi, Pendam.
7. A requisite budget provision for the statue of Guru Rimpoche at Lachung and Lachen will be made by the Government.
8. The Government has decided to award the best performing driver of each district with a new taxi Bolero vehicle along with vehicle number and registration certificate every year. The ex-gratia for commercial vehicle drivers who meet with an accidental death has been increased from 3 lakhs to 5 lakhs.
9. The Government has initiated a “Skilled Youth Start-up Scheme” to generate equitable entrepreneurial opportunities in rural as well as urban areas of Sikkim, particularly among the educated unemployed youth to become self-employed and self-reliant.
10. No earnest money will be charged to women for contractual works up to Rs. 5 crores and 50% earnest money for contractual works of Rs. 5-10 crores.
11. The Government has decided to provide minimum support price to the farmers and milk producers and it will be extended to the farmers who produce Ginger, Orange, Cardamom, Turmeric and Buckwheat.
12. Sikkim will now have its own Independent BSNL Administrative Control Centre. This was an unresolved issue and one of the major problems faced by the State for the past three decades.
14. The Government will establish one model school in each district with innovative teaching and learning methodologies which will be at par with the best institutions of the world.
Hon’ble Chief Minister also shared that Yangthang village in West Sikkim has been declared as the first Information Technology Smart Village Project by the Government of India so that the village will be benefited with dedicated internet connectivity and every required facility.
He also declared Namli, East Sikkim under Martam Rumtek Constituency as Special Economic Zone, and will be the first ‘Special Economic Zone’, in the State exclusively dedicated for Information Technology Enabled Service Industries.
Regarding the Health care sector, the Chief Minister reiterated that Health is a priority sector of the Government and all efforts will be made to extend basic health facilities to each household. The Mobile village clinic shall be introduced in every village by 2021. This clinic will be equipped with a doctor, a nurse and with all the basic medicines and will be available for providing the village clinic once a week in every village. A Dialysis centre will also be set up in all Sub-Division health-care centres. He further mentioned that the Government will set up a Cancer Hospital at Jorethang, having the best of the facilities available in the entire north-eastern region.
While speaking on the newly launched National Educational Policy, 2020(NEP), he expressed that the NEP provides an overarching vision and comprehensive framework for both school and higher education sectors. The Chief Minister also spoke about the government priority sectors like Agriculture, Horticulture and called upon the people to promote locally grown vegetables. The dream of Aatmanirbhar Bharat will only be achieved if the people engage themselves in self-sustaining and self-reliant methods.
He also informed that the Government will shortly constitute a Sikkim Women Police Special Task Force which will aid in empowering Women Police Force in the State.
The Chief Minister also mentioned about “Nasha Mukt Bharat” and the commitment of the State Government to devise means towards making Sikkim a drug free state. Similarly, he also mentioned the “Gandagi Mukt Bharat”, a week-long campaign for ‘Swachhata’ and appealed to the people to re-enforce the Swachhata campaign and preserve Sikkim as a clean and green State.
The Chief Minister appealed the masses of the State to follow the protocol of COVID-19 and remain safe. He thanked the COVID warriors for their selfless service throughout the crisis.
During the programme, it was updated that the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service on the occasion of Independence Day 2020 was presented to Smt. Ongmu Bhutia (Superintendent of Police North) while the Police Medal for Meritorious Service for Independence Day 2020 was presented to Smt. Ambika Subba (ASP, West Sikkim).
The programme also featured a patriotic song and dance presented by artists of the State Culture Department.
Likewise, a short documentary on the State’s response to COVID-19 prepared by the State IPR Department was also screened.