Chamling seeks Rs 1000 cr 'peace bonus' for Sikkim

Chamling seeks Rs 1000 cr 'peace bonus' for Sikkim

"We have been making a rightful claim for some time for a peace bonus of Rs 1000 crore as reward for our exemplary efforts to maintain peace and tranquility at a time when other states are faced by insurgency and terrorism," he said in an interview.

He expressed surprise why the Centre had not entertained the state's claim so far.
Chamling said financial incentives for Sikkim would set an example for other states to do better on the law and order front.

The state, he said, has benefitted from the largesse given by successive central governments over the years. "This also speakes volumes about the strong understanding between this sensitive border state and the Centre," he said.

The chief minister said Sikkim must continue to get special attention in view of its difficult terrains and lack of internal resources for sustenance and development and urged the Centre to consider keeping the Nathu La border open for trade between India and China round the year with an expanded list of goods.

"The state government has taken up the issue with the Centre as round-the-year trade through the ancient Silk Route will boost economic activities on the two sides of the border with Sikkim being the principal beneficiary," he said.

Sikkim would stand to benefit immensely from the trade as commodities like poultry, agro-based produce and beverages would get a market across the border, he said.
The chief minister also wants the Centre to expeditiously complete double-laning of the road up to Nathu La.

Citing tourism as the cornerstone of the state's economy and a major source of employment, Chamling said the Centre should relax restrictions on construction of infrastructure in areas under the control of the armed forces.

"The Army has not been forthcoming in relaxing restrictions for renovation and construction of tourism- related infrastructure in territories under its jurisdiction," he said adding the state government would continue to pursue the matter.

On the controversial proposal to issue exclusive pink cards to native people based on the 1961 register of the Sikkimese people, Chamling clarified that the decision to issue distinctive cards had been taken to protect their identity under provisions of the Constitution.

The proposed pink card will have requisite information as a proof of the identity of the local people with no scope of obtaining them through fraudulent means as has been the case with the availability of the Sikkim Subject Certificate or the Certificate of Identification.

He conceded that a number of people have obtained the two certificates through unfair means in connivance with petty officials.

On the relevance of the Sikkim Subject Certificate or the Certificate of Identification after issuance of pink card, Chamling said there was no proposal to do away with the earlier document as was being alleged by some interested parties.

He said the completion of ongoing tourism infrastructure projects like Char Dham and Yangang cultural village in South Sikkim, Ranka cultural village in East Sikkim, Skywalk project at Bhaleydhunga in South Sikkim and an underground Gumpa in North Sikkim will be his priorities in 2010.

The financial inclusion scheme for the rural people under which all rural families will have banking facilities at their doorsteps too will be completed this year.

Issues like reservation of seats in the Assembly for tribal communities like Limboo and Tamang, a tribal state status for Sikkim and expansion of the Assembly's strength from 32 to 40 was pending with the Centre, he added.

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