Gangtok, 14 Sept:

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling addressed an official function hosted by the United World College [UWC] in Frieburg, Germany on 12 Sept in the presence of first Mayor of Frieburg & founder and Managing Director-Rapunzel, teachers and large number of college students.

It may be mentioned here, the UWC is a conglomerate of 16 UWC colleges set up all over the world offering education to some 9,000 students from more than 150 countries.

While welcoming the CM, Principal of UWC complimented Mr Chamling for winning the award and for his ‘vision, long commitment’ to realize the dream of becoming 100% organic. He also informed that UWC educates children coming from different backgrounds, different cultures and is a meeting point for all communities of people in the world.

The first Mayor of Frieburg also complimented the CM for his work and called him a ‘true pioneer of sustainable farming’ and a ‘trail blazer’ for the rare feat.

Mr Chamling, while addressing the gathering, referred to his humble background of growing up in a small village in close connect with nature and observing how chemical laden agriculture had been affecting the health of the soil adversely.

In his speech, he spoke about the journey of transforming the farming system in Sikkim to organic right from the articulation of this vision during the Budget Presentation in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly in 2003 to becoming the first and only Organic State of India 12 years later in December 2015 with Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, declaring it on 18 January, 2016.

The CM further informed about the implementation of the scheme of 'Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region' in Sikkim by the state government which aims at the development of certified organic production in a value chain mode, to link growers with consumers and support the development of the entire value chain starting from inputs, seeds and certification, to the creation of facilities for collection, aggregation, processing, marketing and brand building.

Adding that environment protection and conservation has been a high priority from the beginning of his tenure in 1994, the CM detailed about various ‘Green’ initiatives undertaken by the state government like the inclusion of the ‘Smritivan’ concept, declaring the years 2000-2010 as the Green Revolution Decade in Sikkim, observing ‘10 Minutes to Earth’, constituting the State Pollution Control Board in 2008 to make Sikkim a pollution free State and enforcement of Sikkim Eco-Tourism Policy in 2012 among others.

In his concluding remarks, the CM said, “The primary qualifying factor for all development initiatives should be that it does not harm the environment. That should be the top most qualifier for any development initiative. We must protect our forests and take up extensive afforestation measures globally. Annual budgetary allocation should be set aside in every Ministry for all development schemes to undertake measures for the protection of the environment and ecology. Use of chemical agents for agriculture must be stopped and we must adopt the organic way of doing agriculture globally.

Agriculture is an activity that defines the health of a society and it is because of this that we must adopt organic agriculture. For there is no other way but organic agriculture for a healthy, happy and peaceful society. This is our message from Sikkim to the world."