Gangtok, 09 Mar [IPR]:
The 4th Day of the Seventh Session of the Ninth Assembly [Budget Session 2018-19] of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly saw passing of separate demands for grants under Ministers-In-Charge of various departments.
During the question hour, Chief Minister and Leader of the House, Pawan Chamling, who is also the Minister-In-Charge of Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department, while replying to a question raised by MLA, RN Chamling explained the procedure for allotting land to private companies to run their business in the State.
He informed that the Commerce & Industries Department issues the consent letter for establishment of industries in the State to the companies after examining the documents and NOCs issued by various line departments and authorities. The private companies then enter into negotiations with the land owners and draw up the lease deed for taking the land on lease for establishing their factories. It is then sent to the District Collector followed by final scrutiny by the Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department for final approval which is accorded by a high-level Committee.
While explaining the steps taken by the government to protect the old law – Revenue Order No 1 for allowing the establishment of such companies, the Leader of the House informed that private companies from outside the State are not allowed to purchase any land in the State for establishing their factories/units. They have to take land on lease from private land owners on mutually agreed terms and conditions, which is limited to thirty three years only at a time to protect the interests of the land owners. Further, he stated that since outright purchase of land by the companies through execution of Sale Deed is not permitted in the State, there is no dilution of the provisions of Revenue Order No. 1 of 1917.
Replying to questions put forth by MLA, Kunga Nima Lepcha, Minister-in-Charge for Tourism & Civil Aviation, Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia, shared the expenditure incurred during the Sikkim Red Panda Winter Carnival 2017-18. He stated that the mega events such as the Carnival help in promoting tourism in the lean season, identification of local talents, providing bigger platform to the local budding artists, promotion of traditional art and architecture, local handloom and handicrafts, promotion of local cuisines, organic food, etc.
Replying to a question by MLA, RN Chamling, the Leader of the House who is also the Minister-In-Charge of Finance Revenue & Expenditure Department, Pawan Chamling, informed that the repayment of loan from various Financial Institutions and Ministries are being made from the consolidated fund of the State as per the repayment schedule fixed by each Financial Institution. He further informed that the government has been paying the interest on loans and other liabilities regularly.
While replying to questions put forth by MLA, RN Chamling regarding creation of urban infrastructure in sub-towns like Singtam and Yangang to de-congest public spaces, Minister NK Subba apprised the House that the department will soon implement the construction of foot-bridge connecting Singtam Hospital to Singtam Bazaar. Similarly, he informed that the department has already sanctioned work for construction of multi-purpose car park at Yangang with cafeteria, wash room, and shopping complex.
Replying to a suggestion by the MLA to relocate the proposed car parking facility which is adjoining Yangang School complex, the Minister stated that the department will consider transferring the land or the built-up infrastructure to the school if a suitable alternate land is identified in future. He also informed the House that the multi-purpose shopping complex in Singtam is ready and will soon be inaugurated.
On the question raised by the MLA about shortage in the availability of edible items like sugar, kerosene through public distribution system, the Minister clarified that there is shortage of sugar in the market as the Government of India has removed the total subsidy of this item. He, however, added that only families/beneficiaries under Antodaya Anna Yojana [AAY] will continue to receive 1 kg sugar per month under the scheme. About the point raised about discrepancy in the pricing by the wholesalers, the Minister informed that the government is in the process of introducing online monitoring of transactions which will ensure transparency.
Replying to suggestions made by MLA, KN Lepcha regarding creation of multi-purpose car park facilities in areas like Syari and Tathangchen, the Minister stated that the government’s focus under the smart-city project has been on using the existing space and creating new space for multi-purpose car parking facilities within the inner city to solve the problem of traffic congestion.
Responding to the question raised by MLA, Hemendra Adhikari about the status of the upgradation and beautification work of Rhenock Bazaar, the Minister informed that the project has been delayed so far because of a land dispute. He apprised the House that the dispute has now been solved and the work will resume at the earliest. Responding to the demand by the MLA for a community hall in Rhenock, the Minister said that the government will look into it.
Replying to suggestions by MLA, Shyam Pradhan about the need to extend housing schemes to the urban poor on the lines of CMRHM or other existing housing schemes for rural areas, the Minister said that the department will carry out required survey, and make proposals under schemes like ‘housing for all’ and ‘Smart City’. He informed that the State Housing Board has lands in Sichey, Byepass, Ranipool, Jorethang and Gyalshing which can be developed into housing flats for the urban poor in future. He iterated that the department is working towards making the vision of the Government of ‘Slum-free Sikkim’ into a reality.
Responding to the suggestion of MLA, Shyam Pradhan to utilize the space available near Fire Station Building in Syari to build a multi-layer car park with integrated facility for indoor sports cum recreation hall, organic vegetable marketing centre, and a community hall, the Minister stated that the department will correspond with the Building & Housing Department and acquire the property to create these facilities. On the suggestion of the MLA to construct an alternate bye-pass road connecting the road below Palzor Stadium with Indira Byepass in order to de-congest the place, the Minister welcomed the suggestion and stated that the department will look into the possibility under the Smart City Project.
Mr Subba also highlighted some of the major initiatives taken by the UD&HD in terms of creating infrastructures and public amenities in the urban areas of Sikkim. He shared some of the innovative initiatives planned by the Government under the Smart City Project.
During the discussion, while replying to a question by MLA Sonam Lama, Mr Lepcha said that a Committee has been constituted under the Forest Conservation Act which settles disputes within forest area.
On a question raised by MLA, KN Lepcha about possibility of rock-bolting and other procedures in areas under Zone 4 which are susceptible to landslides, the Minister stated that the department has used these techniques wherever necessary.
Replying to the queries put forward by MLA, RN Chamling, Minister Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia said that the state government is doing its best to put Sikkim on the global map. He further stated that it was due to festivals such as Red Panda, Winter Carnival and with AR Rahman being declared as the Brand Ambassador of the State, Sikkim saw a whopping 15 lakh tourists till Dec 2017.
Replying to queries put forth by MLA, Kunga Nima Lepcha, the Minister said that 32 roads have been sanctioned for carpeting and that the government is doing its best possible to upgrade its roads.
Mr Gurung also stressed on the fact that the department was doing its best to complete all the pending works by 31 Mar, 2018. He talked on the need to frame a Road Policy for the State and also said that to avoid the inconvenience posed by e-tender, normal tender can be done for all works upto Rs 2 crore in the Sub-Division level and normal tender till Rs 50 lakh for co-operatives.
Replying to the question put forth by MLA, RN Chamling about the strength of transformers due to overloading and the left out villages to be connected with electricity, the Minister said that Rs. 8.8 crore has been sanctioned for upgradation of transformers.
During the Legislative Business, the Sikkim National Law University Bill, Bill No. 5 of 2018, tabled in the House by Minister-In-Charge of Human Resource Development Department, RB Subba, on 07 Mar was passed by the House.