Health Dept personnel need to step up, says Chamling

CM announces pension for journalists

Gangtok, 16 Nov:

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today expressed his displeasure over the lackadaisical approach of the Health Department and urged its personnel to live up to the expectations of the public to make Sikkim’s healthcare system world class. He was speaking at a National Press Day function held at Chintan Bhawan here.

“If the work culture of our heathcare personnel does not improve, the proposed 1000-bed super-specialty hospital with state-of-the-art facilities at Sichey will go to waste,” the CM said.

Mr Chamling stressed determined leadership, effective bureaucracy, responsible citizens and responsible journalism to be of paramount importance and urged all to work in the interest of the nation.

He said that the newly constructed hospital at Sichey will be functional from Jan 2019 and will be ready for inauguration by mid-Dec next month. He said that some of the funds required for the project was taken as soft loan payable in long term with minimum interest.

The National Press Day function was jointly organized by the Department of Information & Public Relation and Press Club of Sikkim.

While addressing the gathering of college students, media-persons and bureaucrats, Mr Chamling said that his government, in the last 24 years, has not left a single stone unturned to provide basic minimum needs and there has been no instance of death due to hunger or lack of shelter.

Speaking on women’s empowerment in the State, Mr Chamling said, “Women in Sikkim are empowered on all parameters as compared to the rest of the country which is one of the best examples of our governance.”

Responding to the issues raised by media fraternity, the CM directed the concerned government departmental heads to clear all pending dues against State government advertisements by the end of this financial year, adding that if there is shortage of funds, the departments should make provisions in the supplementary demand of grants.

He ensured that all the dues will be cleared by the end of this financial year.

He also appealed to the media of the State to be responsible adding that journalism will bring about betterment in the lives of the people.

During the function, senior journalist, Bhim Rawat, was conferred with Late YN Bhandari Best Journalism Award today. The award carried a Rs 2 lakh cash component along with a citation, shawl and a memento. Mr Rawat is bureau chief of Himalaya Darpan for Sikkim.

Besides this, Gramin Patrakarita Award instituted by Press Club of Sikkim was conferred on Sikkim Reporter/ Sikkim Express district correspondent, West, Kushang Leewang. The award consists of Rs 10,000, citation and a memento.

The Department of Information & Public Relation also awarded five journalists of the State with positive journalism grants of Rs 50,000 to freelancer, Khagendra Mani Pradhan, Summit TIMES correspondent, Bikash Chettri, Samay Dainik reporter, Jagan Nath Dahal, Sikkim Express reporter, Dichen Bhutia, and Sushma Mangar of Himali Deepanjali.

The CM also announced the construction of Press Club of Sikkim building by the State Government. He directed the IPR Secretary and Building & Housing Department Secretary to prepare a DPR and move to make financial provision in the next Supplementary Demands of Grants to be put on vote at the end of this year.

The Press Club of Sikkim has been running out of a rented premise since 2002 and has been demanding a permanent site for a long time.

He also announced pension for journalists of the State. Journalists of 60 years and above will be granted pension from April 2019. The CM directed the Department of Information & Public Relation and Social Justice & Family Welfare to frame the modalities and policy for the same.

Mr Chamling also announced that pension for Sikkim Sahitya Akademi Awardees will be doubled from the next financial year, adding that the State Government has decided to introduce pension for awardees of Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan at Rs.10,000, Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 20,000 per month respectively from the next financial year.

The CM was also felicitated by Press Club of Sikkim on the National Press Day for the Future Policy Gold Award.