Will protect special status accorded to Sikkim: Golay

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Taman. (AFP Photo)

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang on Thursday pledged to "protect and conserve" Article 371(F) of the Constitution, which provides special status to the tiny border state.

Tamag, better known as Golay, also said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured him that the rights granted to the state will not be tinkered with.

"On the occasion of 73rd Independence Day celebrations, I pledge to protect, conserve and consolidate the Article 371(F) of the Constitution which provides a special status to our state," he said after unfurling the national flag at Paljor stadium here.

According to Article 371(F), "the Governor shall have special responsibility for peace and equitable arrangement for ensuring the social and economic advancement of different sections of the population of Sikkim... and the Governor of Sikkim shall, subject to such directions as the President may, from time to time, deem fit to issue, act in his discretion".

It also states that "neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall have jurisdiction in respect of any dispute or other matter arising out of any treaty, agreement, engagement or other similar instrument relating to Sikkim...."

The recent abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 in J&K by the Centre has raised apprehensions in the northeast, with several parties and organisations fearing that the Centre may also tinker with the special status accorded to their states.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, however, clarified that the central government has no such intention.

Outlining his government's priorities, Golay said he will strive to make Sikkim a corruption-free state by ensuring transparency and accountability in the functioning of all institutions, public utilities and development programmes.

"Attaining the goal of 'zero corruption' will require single-minded grit, technological interventions, technical vigil, transparency and accountability and reforms in moral and other attitudes of all stakeholders in public life.

"The government will set up an exclusive agency equipped with modern intelligence techniques, technology and human capability to root out corruption," the CM maintained.

Identifying the debt burden on Sikkim as a "serious issue which impeded development work", he said his government was working to steadily reduce the liability in the long-term economic interests of the state.

Golay, whose party Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) came to power earlier this year after ending the 25-year rule of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), promised to fulfil his election promises of providing assembly seat reservation to Limboo and Tamang communities and bestowing tribal status to 11 Nepalese communities. 

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