Five Bills tabled on the first day of Assembly Session

Gangtok, 19 Sept [IPR]: The first day of the Seventh Session [Part-IV] of 9th Assembly of Sikkim Legislative Assembly saw the presentation of the Second Supplementary Demands for Grants for the financial year 2018-19. The demands were placed in the House during the Financial Business by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, who also the Minister-in-Charge of Finance, Revenue & Expenditure Department, Government of Sikkim.

The Second Supplementary Demands for Grants for the financial year 2018-19 includes 20 grants and appropriations, which include gross additional expenditure of Rs. 27,992.95 lakh comprising of Rs. 20,121.89 lakh on Revenue Account and Rs. 7,871.06 lakh on Capital Account. Of this, the proposals involving net cash outgo aggregates to Rs. 26,934.40 lakh.

During the Legislative Business, five Bills were introduced in the House by the concerned Ministers-In-Charge.

Minister-In-Charge of Health Care, Human Services & Family Welfare Department, AK Ghatani, introduced the Sikkim Anti Drugs [Amendment] Bill, Bill No. 20 of 2018.

The Sikkim Anti Drugs [Amendment], Bill, Bill No 20 of 2018 was framed to incorporate the principle of medical care and psychiatric treatment of addicts and to assess their condition through psychiatric or psychological evaluation.

Minister-In-Charge of Forest, Environment & Wildlife Management Department, Tshering Wangdi Lepcha, introduced the Sikkim Wildlife Protection [Amendment] Bill, Bill No. 21 of 2018. The Statement of Objects & Reasons of the Bill states that it was felt expedient to include a new condition to permit the public to chase away wildlife if it causes damage to their agricultural/ horticultural crops and if it attacks their cattle in their private land.

This amendment was prompted by reports of increased incidents of wildlife damaging crops and attacking cattle in private lands.

Minister-In-Charge of Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department, Mr Chamling, also introduced the Sikkim Regulation of Transfer of Land [Amendment] Bill, Bill No. 23 of 2018.

He also introduced the Sikkim Goods and Services Tax [Amendment] Bill, Bill No. 24 of 2018. The Statement of objects and reasons of this Bill states that the amendment was felt necessary make the functioning of the Sikkim Goods and Services Tax Act more effective, meaningful and for easier compliance by the taxpayer. This amendment Bill is also intended to streamline functioning of the provisions of the Act.

Similarly, Minister-In-Charge of Law, Legal, Legislative & Parliamentary Affairs Department, RB Subba, introduced the Sikkim Lokayukta [Amendment] Bill, Bill No. 25 of 2018.

The Sikkim Lokayukta [Amendment] Bill, Bill No 25 of 2018 proposes that provisions of Section 9 and 18 be made effective retrospectively with effect from 27 Feb, 2014 and section 37 A and the proviso to section 45 have been made effective with immediate effect. These amendments have been proposed with a view to further strengthen and streamline the functioning of the Lokayukta, it is stated.

Earlier, the Session began with the Obituary Reference on the demise of former MP Rajya Sabha, late Karma Topden, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, late Muthuvel Karunanidhi, former Speaker Lok Sabha, late Somnath Chatterjee, and former Prime Minister of India, the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Speaker, SLA, KN Rai, in his obituary reference paid rich tribute to the four stalwarts.

Likewise, Leader of the House, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling recalled the contribution of the four stalwarts and paid tribute and homage to them and wished for strength and forbearance to their families to bear the irreparable loss.

The Obituary Reference also had the participation of MLA, KN Lepcha.

The House observed two-minute silence as a mark of respect to the departed souls.

During the question hour, Minister in-charge for Rural Management and Development Department, SB Subedi, responding to the query raised by Syari MLA, Kunga Nima Lepcha, said that apart from ensuring the quality of works by the departmental engineers, the quality is also checked, tested and verified from time to time by National Quality Monitors [NQM] and State Quality Monitors [SQM] appointed by the National Rural Infrastructure Development Agency [NRIDA] and State Rural Infrastructure Development Agency [SRIDA] respectively.

To another question raised by the Syari MLA, the RMDD Minister said that the construction of drain is under progress. The department has instructed the contractor to provide drains according to the provisions in the DPR however the same was under progress and not yet completed. The incident of 05 Sept, 2018 causing damages to the private/public properties along Lower Syari was due to sudden flash flood caused by excessive rainfall, he added.

While replying to the query raised regarding carpeting of Lower Syari road, the Minister said that the work for the pavement was on the verge of completion and the black topping work was withheld due to the ongoing monsoons, but unfortunately the monsoon flash flood has caused further damages presently.

Similarly, on the question raised regarding the PMGSY Road from Upper Nandok to Lower Syari, the Minister answered that the work construction of PMGSY Road from Upper Nandok to Lower Syari was delayed due to objection of land owners wherein the take off point of the road could not be finalized initially.

However, the matter has now been resolved and work has started and is already in progress. Since the work is new cutting road works, the same is stopped during the monsoon season. However, any damages that occur during the construction phase will be assessed in the joint inspection with LR&DM Department and processed for approval of the authority for damage compensation, he added.

Minister in charge for Food Security, Agriculture & Horticulture Development Department, Somnath Poudyal, while replying to the questions raised by MLA Kunga Nima Lepcha stated that the government has, a long time back, identified the issues raised regarding the rhizome rot in ginger, citrus decline in orange and Chhirkay- Phurkey in Cardamom.

The Horticulture & Cash Crops Development Department has put in place extension workers at the District, Sub-Division, BAC and GPU Level. This extension wing organizes awareness and training programmes on a continuous basis in the different ginger growing clusters and advocates control measures for management of ginger rhizome rot.

Organic manure, bio-pesticides, irrigation support is being provided by Department to the orange farmers. The Department is also implementing the ‘Orange Rejuvenation programme’ to bring back to health old, diseased and saline orchards. In addition, new plantations are taken up to replace unproductive orchards.

Likewise, on Chhirkay-phurkay diseases, the Minister responded by saying that the emphasis has shifted to quality of produce rather than bulk production and hence superior quality planting materials are being distributed to the farmers to address the issue of Chhirkey-Phurkey. Simultaneously training and awareness programme are being organized by the Department on various crop management aspects.

All the extension works, awareness programmes, trainings and demonstration are being done by the department by actively involving Spices Board, National Organic Farming Research Institute [NOFRI], who provide research-based inputs.

“In Sikkim, there is immense scope of employment and income generation through production and supply of quality planting material of cash Crops. The quality of planting material is most essential for increased production. Inferior quality planting material produced out of unscientific methods will only result in spread of diseases and reduction in yield. Our Local educated and unemployed youth are encouraged to take active part in creating accredited nurseries which will have tremendous impact on the livelihood status of the farmers of our State in near future,” said Mr Poudyal.