Monday, August 18, 2014


“Let’s not deviate from peaceful path of progress and prosperity”
On the auspicious occasion of the 67th anniversary of Independence of this great nation, I convey my heartiest greetings and good wishes to the people of Sikkim and to my countrymen.
India today stands as the largest democracy in the world with a history of tolerance and values of secularism, socialism and democracy. Let us solemnly remember the great men and women who fought valiantly for the freedom of the country. We pay our homage and tribute to them. Let us rededicate ourselves to carry forward the dreams and aspirations set forth by these selfless leaders.
Pandit Nehru had said “Freedom brings responsibility and can be sustained by self discipline, hard work and the spirit of free people. Freedom has no meaning unless it brings relief to the masses from their numerous burdens”.
Dear citizens,
Sikkim is known in the country as the land of peace, harmony and tranquillity. The State has seen rapid and inclusive growth since it became a part of democratic India in 1975. And ever since, Sikkim has become an example of peace, progress and prosperity. The State reflects the true ethos that our forefathers had enshrined in the constitution. We have shown our fellow countrymen, a way of living in perfect harmony with nature. Faith in the democratic ideals has been the biggest strength of Sikkimese people over the years.This unwavering faith need to be sustained and nourished further.
The present day society is strained by many challenges and issues. The world today is in turmoil with conflict of unprecedented nature. All these conflicts have proved that democratic ways and means are the best way forward to resolve all. There are no problems which cannot be resolved by sitting across the table and through dialogue. I appeal to my fellow Sikkimese to have faith in democratic means and ways and refrain from confrontations or undemocratic ways for resolving any issue. Let’s not deviate from our peaceful path of progress and prosperity. Let’s not allow any circumstances to derail us from our developmental journey and vitiate harmony among various sections of society.
I feel really proud to share the joy brought by the recent acclaim and recognition of our very own Sikkim Organic Mission at the national and international fora. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has hailed our initiative of organic farming in his address in the parliament. This was reiterated during his recent visit to Nepal where he addressed the joint session of the Nepalese Parliament in Kathmandu. This has brought pride and honor to our state and more importantly, has added responsibility to fulfill the expectation, that our country has on us. The new Government at the Centre has lauded our developmental initiatives and hailed it as a model to be emulated by other states. This must motivate us to take Sikkim to another level of development and prosperity. This is possible only with the collaborative and wholehearted participation of the people in the development process.
Rule of law is a dominant principle of governance, economic prosperity and social justice. I am happy to note that the marginalized, downtrodden and the economically backward people have been granted full security with equal opportunity in our State.
My Government has a long term vision to achieve comprehensive development during the 12th Five Year Plan period. The initial phase is to sustain and further consolidate the momentum of growth attained so far. Subsequently, to introduce more development avenues in line with the Central Government’s policies, using State’s natural resources without compromising on our ecology and environment.
We have been allocating about 70% of its plan outlay to the rural development sector for last many years. This vital sector has played a major role in transforming the lives of the rural people through some dedicated programs launched at the State level.This has considerably brought down the poverty level among our rural population.
Among the many State Missions, we aim to become the first poverty free State in the country by the end of 2020. Similarly, by then, the State also hopes to achieve kutcha house free status. Sikkim is already the first Nirmal Rajya State in the country. Much of the rural connectivity has been achieved through the Government of India’s flagship programme – PMGSY.
Dear citizens,
As I have already mentioned, we have received national and international recognition for our organic mission. The Finance Minister, Government of India has also announced a package of Rs. 100 crores for organic farming in the North Eastern Region. This is good news for organic farming communities in Sikkim and I am sure we will be able to take maximum advantage of this generous funding. Sikkim is already a leader in organic farming in the North Eastern Region and is the first State in the country to take up this mission voluntarily.We envisage to achieve the target of converting the entire State into a fully Organic State by the end of 2015. We need to take the organic mission further and become the number one State in the country in this business. This can be achieved if we are able to build linkages and cold chains to take our products to big marketing centers.
Another strength of Sikkim is its tourism industry. Our efforts towards harnessing the potential in the tourism sector has just begun to yield results. I feel happy to share that Sikkim is the state to receive highest number of international tourists among all North Eastern States. The international tourists footfall in our state is consistently maintaining healthy growth over the last three years. Sikkim has received 23602 international tourists in 2011, which increased to 26489 in 2012 and 31698 in 2013. The figure becomes all the more encouraging when we see that other North Eastern States receive less than 50% of international tourist as compared to our state. It is further convincing when we see that our state receive over 32% of the total international tourist footfall in the region. This has become possible by the existing peace, harmony, better law and order and hospitality of our state. While we are open to investment in tourism sector, we are also committed to the protection of the environment and employment for our local youth.
We have many a splendid tourist attractions such as the Kanchendzonga Tourist Villa cum Socio-Cultural and Amusement Park at Ranka, the Tathagata Tsal at Rabong etc. and my Government is working on construction of the iconic Skywalk at Bhaleydunga in South Sikkim. This will be a landmark eco-tourism project to be built using the latest technology and will be a major attraction for both domestic and international tourists. The aim of my Government is to maximise growth in the tourism sector which holds great potential for the youth of the State. The benefits accrued from tourism infrastructure so built are gradually being felt. Capacity Building will further help tap the opportunities that lie in this sector.
Besides promoting the infrastructure for the growth in tourism sector, the issues such as the need of improved connectivity including early completion of Pakyong Airport, Railway connectivity to the State and upgradation of highways of the State is being vigorously pursued by us .This will further boost our tourism capability and help us to secure more international tourist footfall.
During my recent visit to Delhi, I have raised these vital issues with the Hon’ble Prime Minister who has given positive assurance to address them at the earliest. Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport and Shipping during my meeting with him has also agreed to address the connectivity issues of the State on priority. Hon’ble Minister for Environment and Forest too has given his positive and considerate assurance for the speedy environmental clearance to the pending road and railway projects of Sikkim. I have also raised various developmental concerns of the State with Hon’ble Minister for DoNER during my visit and I was assured of their redressal at the earliest.
I can foresee that the future holds much promise for the people of Sikkim in view of positive and considerate outlook of the new Government at the Centre. It has assured to address all issues and bottlenecks of our State through various Ministries in near future which will further prove to be a catalyst to our pace of development. I appeal to all my fellow Sikkimese to realize this important reality and make the best of this opportunity towards fulfilling our long cherished developmental goals.
On this joyous and happy occasion, I congratulate the State awardees for meritorious service. I also congratulate the persons who have brought glory to the State in sports, social service, literature and the recipients of the President’s Police Medals.
On this solemn occasion let us dedicate ourselves to work for the peace and progress of our State and the Country. Let us all make efforts to contribute in meaningful ways towards this.

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