Binay Tamang calls on CM; Differences resolved, Sikkim and Darj to collaborate for progress

Gangtok, 27 Mar:

“Let’s not repeat the past, and follow the principle of forgive & forget and work together in the interest of the people of Sikkim and Darjeeling,” Chief Minister Pawan Chamlin said during a high level meeting with the Chairman, GTA Board of Administrators, Binoy Tamang, today.

The two met at Mintokgang, the official residence of the Chief Minister.

The nearly 2-hour long meeting discussed various issues related to the Darjeeling Hills and Sikkim.

During the meeting, the CM said that Siikim and Darjeeling share a long history and need to reestablish a good and cordial relationship.

Issues related to NH10 bandhs, NOC for Sevoke-Rangpo Railway line, Transport Permit issues, Sikkim-Darjeeling Road and Bridges connectivity issues, State Border issues, tourism-related issues and other developmental issues were discussed.

Addressing the recent point of attrition, the Chief Minister said that he has never interfered in Darjeeling’s politics and nor was he interested in meddling there.

“I have been invited to join national politics many times by senior national level politicians but I always refused as I want to focus in my own state and serve my own people,” the Chief Minister said.

“After the meeting with the WB Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee things are now moving on a positive direction and it’s high time for GTA and us to work together with more developmental ventures and work in public interest,” the Chief Minister said.

Mr Tamang started with calrifying that he had never directly accused the Sikkim Chief Minister of interfering in Darjeeling politics.

“I have not accused the Chief Minister in particular; the comment was directed at the Government and since the CM heads the government I had to take his name but there were no other intention,” he said.

The Chief Minister, in turn, said that Sikkim and Darjeeling should bury the past and launch a new beginning to the relationship by giving full support and co-operation to each other for the progress and prosperity of Sikkim and the Darjeeling Hills.

The Chief Minister raised concerns over issues of security and safety of NH10 which is essential for the well-being of Sikkim and the Sikkimese people and urged that NH 10 be always kept open.

To this, Mr Tamang responded, “There will be no political disturbances or strikes that will cause NH bandhs any more. No strike, not even for 12 hours will be allowed now in the Darjeeling hills.”

Mr Tamang also said that both the states should work together for the overall development and begin afresh with continued support and cooperation.

Both the leaders decided to take up certain pertinent issues jointly with the Central Government such as tribal status for the 11 leftout communities, overhead stations for the upcoming railway line and taking consent for construction of towers of hydel projects.

It was also decided that a meeting regarding reciprocal transport arrangement for taxis through Secretary-level dialogue would take place shortly so that a consensus is reached which would be beneficial to both the states.

It was also decided that a discussion on creation of tourist circuit comprising Sikkim and Darjeeling Hills would also be taken up.

The leaders also decided that surveillance on both sides needs to be strengthened so that no untoward incidents take place and no misinterpretations occur between the two sides.

The Chief Minister also asked the GTA Chairman to give special attention to border areas like Sombaria, Daramdin, Rhenock through which chemical fertilizers are being brought into Sikkim.

[with additional inputs from IPR, Govt of Sikkim]