State-level Gandhi Jayanti celebration goes virtual, stays grand

Gangtok, Oct 02 [IPR]: Culture Department organised a virtual programme to mark the conclusion of a two-year long celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi today. The programme was chaired by Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang from Samman Bhawan. He was accompanied by Minister for Culture Department Samdup Lepcha, Secretary to CM SD Dhakal and Secretary Culture Department Sherap Shenga.

Similarly, the programme was also attended by Advisor Culture Department Bhim Kumari Sharma, Chairman Communal Harmony Board Sonam Sherpa, Chairperson Sikkim Song, Drama and Film Board Pooja Sharma, along with officials and staff of Culture Department and NIC, from National Informatics Center, Gangtok through virtual mode.

The programme was also participated in by Director, Nehru Yuva Kendra, Gangtok Branch, and joined by the participants of the online quiz competition from four districts.

During the programme, the Chief Minister announced free Library Membership to the State Central Library and District Libraries for all senior citizens, school and college students and 50% discount for lifetime membership to Government employees from 02 October to 31 December, 2020 to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary celebration of Mahatma Gandhi.

He also announced distribution of books on Mahatma Gandhi to all libraries in Block Administration Centers and libraries under registered literary societies of Sikkim.

In his address, the Chief Minister spoke on the life of the Mahatma whose ideals and sacrifices are lessons for all to follow. He congratulated the Culture Department for being able to organize the event to commemorate the two year long concluding celebration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

He also mentioned that the birth anniversary of Gandhiji could not be celebrated in a grander manner due to the ongoing pandemic which has engulfed the world. However, the State has celebrated the programme in a simple and brief manner abiding by the COVID-19 protocols. He also congratulated the participants from all four districts of Sikkim via video conference provided by NIC.

While speaking to the participants, Chief Minister encouraged them to work hard during the pandemic and added that the COVID-19 should not stop them from achieving their dreams and goals. He mentioned that the State Government has been able to have its own separate BSNL Center in Sikkim and also informed the attendees that Sikkim soon will be able to get connected and have proper digital education after the BSNL is set up.

The Chief Minister also stated that the State Government has been continuously working to tackle the COVID-19 situation in Sikkim. However, the only vaccination as of now is the use of masks, proper hygiene maintainance of social distancing. He urged them to follow the SOPs of the State Government to keep the pandemic at bay.

While speaking on the State Government's policies, the Chief Minister mentioned that the education sector has always been given topmost priority along with health and tourism, which is the backbone of the State economy. He emphasized that higher educational system and infrastructures would be improved in near future. He also informed about the State government plans and future course of action with regard to education, health and tourism sector.

He also informed about the opening of Dialysis Centers in the three districts of Sikkim for the people of the State to utilize during these uncertain times.

The Chief Minister also shared the importance of nature and environment which needs to be conserved by all. The responsibility of protection and preservation rests with the people, especially the youths of today.

He also enouraged the 'Vocal for Local' or 'Atmanirbhar' policy of the Prime Minister of India. He mentioned that Mahatma Gandhi also introduced the spinning wheel (Charkha) for the same purpose and hence, as Indians one should use and promote local products as much as possible.

During the programme, Culture Department also conducted an online 'Quiz competition on the life and achievement of Mahatma Gandhi. Around fifty participants from the State including members of State library, districts libraries, members from libraries of BACs, students of schools and college participated in the online quiz competition from respective districts National Informatics Centres. It was also attended virtually by the Chief Minister and Culture Minister along with other dignitaries present.

Alin Balkuti stood 1st in the competition followed by Bindya Darjee as 2nd and Dipika Chettri, Kalzang Pintso Lepcha and Eshan Karin in the 3rd positions respectively. The winners were presented with the prizes by the dignitaries.

It was informed that the first ten winners will be given prizes comprising of books on Mahatma Gandhi.