Fri, Oct 28, 2016 | updated 11:53 AM IST

Sikkim CM urges Centre to focus on development of resources of state

Updated: Oct 10, 2016 13:07 IST

By Chandrakala Choudhury

New Delhi [India], Oct. 10 (ANI): Sikkim being the smallest north-eastern state in the entire country might not be highlighted in the mainstream, but many inspirational works are being carried out in the state.

Despite being the most peaceful and the cleanest state in the country, the people fail to understand the positive aspect of the state, they should rather consider it as an example, said Pawan Chamling, Chief Minister of Sikkim, in a press conference held at New Delhi at the Sikkim house.

Chamling said, "The Centre should focus on the development of natural resources of the state for better production and I would insist the centre to take decision for the overall development of the state so that it can contribute in the rise of the Indian economy because the state has got great potentialities be it in tourism sector or in terms of organic farming. Sikkim is the most environment friendly state and we have always focused on eco friendly tourism in the state. So, I would say the central government should eye on the development of the tourism sector as well".

Chamling was recently conferred the prestigious 2016 'Sustainable Development Leadership Award' by President Pranab Mukherjee during the World Sustainable Development Summit organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) at the Vigyan Bhawan .

The award was presented to him in recognition of his vision and leadership in environment and sustainable development leading to the establishment of Sikkim as the first and only organic state in the country according to citation presented by the TERI on this occasion.

Further stressing on the need for improved connectivity in the state which is the only lifeline of Sikkim, Chamling urged the central government to help for the development of road and infrastructure.

"It is high time to work for the better connectivity in the state as we are still lacking behind road and rail link despite the fact that Government of India has its own policy that every capital of the state should be linked up with rail connectivity but Sikkim is being neglected in these terms," he said.

"Sikkim is nonetheless geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas and has set an example for other states when it comes to clean and green India so we have had talk with the entire ministry and are trying to make a collective approach to the central Government to work for further development of the state," added Chamling.

He later informed that Sikkim's first Greenfield Airport at Pakyong being constructed on a 200 acre piece of land is likely to be operational in 2017 at a revised cost of Rs 605.59 crore.

"The airport will provide direct air connectivity to the hill State and will be one of the five highest airports of the country, he added.

Speaking on Sikkim being the first organic state of the country, Chamling told the media "It's been eight months that the state has been declared organic and now the top most priority and focus is to increase the production and fulfil the demand of Sikkim as well as the country. We are taking one by one step. First we are focusing on production followed by marketing and value addition. It is also because of the cooperation, support and involvement of the people of Sikkim that we could achieve our mission of organic farming in the state".

"After Sikkim being declared the organic state the first and foremost step that I took was the banning of use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and implementation of the act that whoever make use of chemical fertilizers in the state will be fined Rs 50,000 and would be convicted to jail, he added.

Later, when asked about job opportunities and educating girl in the state, he said, "I believe in equal opportunities and equal rights to women and as of now it depends on the unemployed how they shape themselves. One of the biggest disadvantages here in the state is that people does not consider jobs in corporate sector other than government jobs. Focussing on that need we are providing free education till graduation level. The Sikkimese youth are being involved in tourism sector through focussed interventions in the form of capacity building and skill development programmes so as to provide trained manpower to the tourism sector."

In terms of boosting investment opportunities in the state as well as the entire region, the Chief Minister called upon all types of investors to invest on various sectors such as health and sanitation sector , organic farming, agro based industry and tourism as well that would rather lead to better production.

Sikkim contributes around 80,000 million tonnes of organic production out of total 1.24 million tonnes of organic production recorded in India.

In the year 2003, the Sikkim government started the 'Clean Sikkim' abhiyan and in the year 2008, Sikkim was conferred with the 'Nirmal Rajya award'.

It is worth mentioning that various green initiatives has been undertaken by the state government in which ban on pan masala /gutka was enforced in the entire state in the year 1995 and subsequently in 1997 passed an Act on prohibition of throwing of non-degradable garbage in public drains and sewerage (ANI)