Golay challenges SDF government to “open debate” at Paljor Stadium

Gangtok, 13 Aug:

Sikkim Krantikari Morcha president, PS Tamang [Golay], addressed a press conference here in the capital today. This was his first press meet since his release on 10 Aug from Rongneck Jail where he completed a one-year prison term following his conviction on a corruption charge. He lashed out against the SDF Government, reiterating his party’s stand on various issues and challenged the government to an “open debate” at Paljor Stadium on current issues facing the State.

Mr Tamang extended gratitude to the people of Sikkim for welcoming him back in such a grand manner upon his release, and while commenting on the massive turnout for Jan Unmukti Diwas [as the SKM marked the day] in Singtam, said it was a manifestation of people’s anger [Jan Akrosh] against Sikkim Democratic Front party and its government.

“I dedicate the remaining years of my life to free people from the dictatorial rule of the SDF party,” he said.

Accusing SDF party and its president, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, of being negative towards opposition parties of the State, Mr Tamang said, “Pawan Chamling has zero respect for opposition parties and is always accusing them of standing against Sikkim. Bhaichung Bhutia opened his party and it is his right in a democracy. He is an Arjuna awardee but the CM used improper language against him and other opposition parties. He never addresses opposition parties in proper language.”

He also alleged the ruling party of implementing separate rules for the opposition parties during rallies and political meetings.

The SKM president strongly opposed the decision of the State Government to provide 5th Pay Commission arrears from 01 Jan, 2017, instead of 2016.

“Government employees have not received their 5th Pay Commission pay scale and they are aggrieved by the decision of arrears to be provided from 01 Jan, 2017. This is not acceptable. We demand that the government pay arrears from 01 Jan, 2016 itself. The arrears should be paid in one go and not in three installments. If the government does not immediately pay their arrears, SKM will sit on a fast-unto-death hunger-strike. We will make sure that government employees receive their arrears from 01 Jan, 2016 along with revised pay scale when SKM comes to power,” he said.

The SKM president also commented on the CM’s announcement with regard to provision of employment in MR/ adhoc basis to one member of each unemployed family.

“It was our party’s agenda of one family-one job programme which was lifted by SDF but we had also said that we will provide regular employment and not on MR/adhoc basis to each family. What SDF will do is terminate those who have been provided with MR/adhoc jobs after elections just like they gave fake housing scheme allotment orders before the 2014 elections. The State Government must issue a notification immediately on its employment announcement so that services of such persons are not terminated after the 2019 elections,” Mr Tamang stated.

He further alleged that the State Government has regularized services of MR employees but is handing over appointment orders only after demoting them to lower posts.

“The MR workers should be regularised on the posts they were working in. Home Guards should also be regularised after five years of service like the MR workers. They should not be posted as chowkidars. They know about police processes and should be regularised in police service itself,” he said.

He added that Mr Chamling had announced abolishment of labour contract system on Labour Day earlier this year but notifications on the same has not been issued yet.

“The State Government must immediately abolish labour contract system. Only those close to the SDF government are benefiting from factories, hydel power projects and pharma companies set up in Sikkim. Buses and trucks are hired in large numbers by these factories and hydel projects. The truth is that all these buses and trucks are owned by MLAs, ministers and persons close to them. The government should have sponsored buses and trucks for the unemployed youths to help them earn a livelihood,” he stated.

Mr Tamang also challenged the SDF government to bring a resolution in Sikkim Legislative Assembly for reservation of Nepali seats under provisions of Article 371F. He stressed that the resolution will have full support of SKM if it is passed and sent to the Centre.

Addressing the Organic Mission of the State, Mr Golay expressed, “We are not against Organic Mission but it should be properly implemented. Farmers and consumers should not suffer due to this mission. Let people choose what they want to eat. If the State Government is that dedicated to the mission, it should start making arrangements for export of organic vegetables so that the farmers of Sikkim can earn even more.”

Mr Tamang also criticised the SDF government for failing in every sector including health and education.

“We challenge SDF to have an open debate with us on any subject at Paljor Stadium in front of people. I am least concerned about whether I can contest the 2019 elections or not. Let the Election Commission of India decide on this. We have thousands of candidates ready for the elections. I did not revolt against SDF with the intention to become the CM. Either as a captain or a coach, we are ready to enter the ground and emerge victorious,” he concluded.

Sharing his experience during his one year imprisonment in Rongneck Jail, Mr Golay said that he had developed gall bladder stones before going to jail and his family had approached the court to get an order for his treatment at Neotia Hospital in Siliguri.

“The State Government wanted me to undergo treatment at Vendanta or AIIMS. I knew it was a conspiracy so I gave an undertaking refusing treatment at Vendanta or AIIMS due to threat to my life and went back to jail. The pain was chronic sometimes but I tolerated the pain for the people of Sikkim,” he said.

He also informed that he did not receive VIP treatment in the jail and was in 8x4 confinement cell.

“I ate the jail food and did other things as per the jail manual. As per norms, people were allowed to meet me. I used to spend most of my time reading and following the news,” said Mr Tamang.