Saturday, November 03, 2007

Sikkim CM Dr. Chamling’s bitter pill for Darjeeling hills

Darjeeling, Nov. 2: Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling today played on the comparative development of Darjeeling and his state to question the aspirations of the civil society here.
Chamling’s spoke about the need to identify a “community leader” to redress issues concerning the “minorities”, without making any direct comment on the political scene in the Darjeeling hills. The lecture was organised by the R.P. Lama Foundation.
Talking about development in Sikkim, Chamling said his government was among the first to provide 40 per cent reservation to women in government jobs and 30 per cent reservation in other areas.
“In Sikkim, we have provided constitutional security to all the communities and have ensured social justice,” the chief minister said. His audience included K.S. Ramudamu, the leader who has been opposing the Sixth Schedule status in the Darjeeling hills for its failure to provide reservation to the Scheduled Caste community.
Chamling said Sikkim, which once looked up to Darjeeling, was now surging ahead. “In the last 13 years, our state revenue has increased from Rs 44.72 crore to Rs 300 crore,” he added.
The chief minister said he was surprised to see that many villages in Darjeeling were not covered by the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna. “People should not wait for their leaders but come forward on their own to get the schemes implemented.”
He also reiterated the need to create a separate ministry at the Centre to look into the problems of the hilly regions.