No irregularities in appointment of a non-local as OSD to CM, claims Jacob Khaling


Gangtok, 21 Jan:

Coming under fire on the appointment of a non-local as an OSD to the Chief Minister, political secretary to the CM, Jacob Khaling, today rejected the allegations as “unfounded and utterly misleading.”

While there was some mild criticism when Prof Mahendra P Lama was appointed the Chief Economic Advisor to the CM last year, the latest round of condemnations appears to have gained some traction at least on social media platforms.

Interestingly, even this appointment appears to have been made at around the same time as Prof Lama but word about it got out only recently. It is being claimed that one Sunil Saroagi was appointed OSD to the CM in July last year but most people learned of it only recently, and almost immediately strong condemnations have come from some quarters ruing that this violation of Rule 4/4 which protects jobs in Sikkim for locals comes from a party which had assured local protection and had made much noise against a similar appointment under the previous government.

Responding to these criticisms in his capacity as the Political Secretary to the CM, Mr Khaling, in a social media post today refuted the allegations in the strongest terms and demanded that “such mischief of leveling false charges against a constitutionally elected government for political gains should not be entertained nor encouraged and should be refuted by our intellectuals, civil societies and the Press faternity as it obvious that the entire allegations are politically motivated and intended to defame the new Government.”

While confirming the appointment, Mr Khaling claims that to claim that these were in violation of Rule 4/4 was “immature, untrue and misleading.”

“Both the appointments were made keeping in mind the state government rules for employment and the role they were required to play in the national arena,” he states.

Mr Saroagi’s appointment, he informs, was made under powers conferred by Sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Sikkim State Public Services Act 2006 which allows the State Government to “from time to time employ such person whom it may consider suitable to render advisory or other similar services in connection with the affairs of the state.”

Mr Khaling quotes this rule to claim that the appointment was hence “very much legal and in no manner violates any other Rule or Act enforced in the state.”

He goes on to add that Mr Saroagi's appointment was on “purely honorary basis” and since he was not eligible for salary or other facilities accorded to a State Govt employee, he cannot be considered a State Govt employee and therefore his appointment cannot be termed as a violation to Rule 4/4.

Mr Khaling has also rejected allegations that enforcement on the new Motor Vehicles Act was a violation of Old Laws.

Such allegations, he says, are “laughable” and points out that the parent Act was enforced in Sikkim way back in 1991 and that the latest amendment was made to include safety and security measures which were absent in the earlier central motor vehicle act.

“Here I would like to question Shri Passang Sherpa [who was the first condemn the developments] as to why they said Amendment should not have been implemented in the state of Sikkim?” Mr Khaling concludes.