Gangtok, 16 Sept:
The 17th foundation day of Press Club of Sikkim [PCS] was held at Lemon Tree hotel, Gangtok today and was attended by Chief Minister, PS Tamang [Golay] as the chief guest.
On the occasion, the PCS honoured Editor-Publisher of HamroPrajashakti and Himalayan Mirror, Anjan Upadhyaya with its annual award ‘Kangchenjunga Kalam Puraskar’.
Video Editor, Nayuma News, Santosh Gurung, was presented with ‘LagansheelYuvaPatrakar’ award. Newspaper vendor, Kamal Chettri was presented with a letter of appreciation by the PCS.
The awards were handed over by the Chief Minister in the presence of IPR Minister, LN Sharma, PCS president, Joseph Lepcha, general secretary, PuranTamang, members of the PCS, invitees and representatives of press associations from Siliguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
PCS president, Joseph Lepcha talked about various issues of the media fraternity and publishers of Sikkim.
He mentioned that government advertisement bills of local newspapers have been pending in the departments since 2014. He also spoke on the need for PCS to have its own Bhawan in Gangtok.
MrUpadhyaya spoke about his journalism journey and the struggles he and his publication faced while being the voice of the people.
“Our fight has always been the freedom of media,” he said.
Addressing the occasion, the Chief Minister said there will be complete freedom of media in his government.
“We will respect media for pointing out our shortcomings,” he said while stating that HamroPrajashakti and MrUpadhyaya have been an example of courage and unbiased journalism in Sikkim.
The Chief Minister said he had promised in 2013 to build a Bhawan for PCS and that is also mentioned in SKM’s election manifesto.
“The PCS is currently operating from a congested rented place. I have asked the IPR minister to look for a suitable location for the PCS Bhawan and present the proposal to the government so that we can process funds for it in the Assembly session,” he said.
Regarding the pending bills, MrTamang said that the bills were not cleared during the previous government but his government will ensure that the payments are made.
“It is well known that the current government is facing huge financial burden but we will make sure that the payment is released for the bills of the media houses and if needed, the payment will be done from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. We will clear the pending bills that do not exceed beyond Rs. 1 crore before Dasain,” he said.
MrTamang also spoke about forming a Media Welfare Board for the welfare of journalists and media houses in the State along with health insurance for journalists. He also announced a grant of Rs. 5 lakh to PCS on the occasion.
Stating that there is a rise in cancer and drug abuse in the State, the CM requested the media to spread awareness among the public on these topics.
IPR Minister, LN Sharma, in his address, congratulated all the awardees and applauded them for their various contributions. He reiterated the government’s decision of releasing the pending bills at the earliest. He also said that site recee for the construction of Press Club Bhawan and its report will be taken up as priority work.
The vote of thanks was given by PCS general secretary, PuranTamang.