Former MP of Sikkim, PD Rai elected as the new President of Integrated Mountain Initiative

New Delhi, 03 Oct:

Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI)’s Governing Council elected Former MP of Sikkim and founding member of the organization, PD Rai as the new President of the organization who has taken up the position from 01 Oct, 2020 for a three-year term. He succeeds Sushil Ramola who successfully concluded 3 years (2017–2020) of Presidency. Team Leader at WWF India Sikkim, Priyadarshinee Shrestha is elected as the Secretary and Founder and CEO of Sarg Vikas Samiti Uttarakhand, Binita Shah is elected as the Treasurer. Vice presidents elected are Rajendra Dobhal from Uttarakhand and Amba Jamir from Nagaland. EgamBasar from Arunachal Pradesh is elected to the post of Joint Secretary.

Speaking on the occasion of the handing over ceremony which took place over video conference on 01 Oct, 2020, Shri Ramola spoke about IMI’s inception in 2011 under the guidance of the Late Dr RS Tolia and the long way that it has come since inception. Commenting on the challenges faced by civil society organizations today, he added that, “Today we are all fighting different battles – climate change, covid-19, politics of intolerance, and nobody has the answers. There are also issues of water security, livelihoods, DRR and so forth. IMI as a civil society platform needs to continue to bring people together to fulfil IMI’s vision of ‘Making India Proud of our mountains’ and realise the potential of our mountain regions. There is no better time and no greater challenges than now for the development of our mountain regions.”He then handed over to PD Rai with good faith that the change in the Governing Council will bring in new energy and continue to give a voice to the people of the Indian Himalayan Region.

Remembering the Late Dr RS Tolia who passed away in December 2016, PD Rai thanked the three Presidents of IMI who have preceded him for leading the organization to where it stands today. Reflecting on IMI’s current stage of development, he added, “One of the core values of IMI is integration however we are living in an age of real divisiveness. Despite this, IMI has inculcated a great culture in which we have to continuously understand and take on board all kinds of opinions and yet at the end of it we are able to find a solution and that is most needed at this particular time.” He further talked about the development disability that mountain states in India face even today and the much-needed unification of voices from the Himalaya. He cited IMI’s efforts in organizing the Conclave of the Himalayan States in Uttarakhand on 28 Jul, 2019 as a success story which resulted in galvanizing the necessary political weight and advocacy from the IHR states. Lastly, he added, “There will be many such opportunities and we will have to think about how we will achieve all of this with limited resources, limited time and volunteerism.”

He closed by thanking all the outgoing and incoming Governing Council members and members of the IMI fraternity for upholding and sustaining the ideals of democracy enshrined in the organization’s constitution.

Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI) is a civil society led network platform with the mission to mainstream concerns of the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) and its people in the development dialogue of India. It functions as a platform to integrate the knowledge and experiences of multiple stakeholders working across the IHR and uses this to inform and influence policy at the national and state levels.