CM DEDICATES ‘MANNAN KENDRA’ TO PEOPLE OF SIKKIM
GANGTOK, 11 July: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today remarked that earlier, people from outside used to come to teach the Sikkimese, but nowadays people are coming to the state to learn from Sikkim. This, he said, was his and Sikkim Democratic Front government’s contribution to the people of Sikkim. He was speaking at the inauguration of ‘Mannan Kendra’ at Jeevan Theengh Marg, which he dedicated to the people of Sikkim. He was accompanied by Speaker, KT Gyaltsen as the guest of honour.
The Rs. 34.25 crore multipurpose cultural centre has been developed on the compound where the erstwhile Community Hall stood. Although delayed, on completion the project is a lavish addition to the infrastructure now available in Gangtok. Where the earlier community, for all its quaintness, could seat only 200 people and cramped in the library in the same complex, the new centre is a six-storied building with a total plinth area of 1,45,000 sq ft, making it one of the largest such structures in all of North East Region. The structure has been designed as per the prevailing code of practices duly incorporating seismic considerations and withstood the 18 September earthquake so resolutely that it now provides the temporary accommodation for the State Secretariat.
The state Central Library and its allied sections have been accommodated in the 3rd floor level. [turn to pg2 for detailed Technical Report of the facility].
Himself impressed with the infrastructure created, the CM remarked that the hall now offers an apt and exciting venue for get-togethers ranging from the cultural to intellectual engagements. Inviting the people to use the facility well, the CM remarked that as the name suggested by him – “Mannan Kendra” – conveys, this should be used for deeper thinking on issues of the State.
He also pointed out that when was approached for a name, he thought the Department wanted a name for the hall and not the entire facility. “If it is for the entire facility, then perhaps Mannan Bhawan would be a more apt name. The intellectuals should perhaps discuss and decide this,” he said.
The CM also spoke directly to the students in the audience today, urging them to be serious about their studies and all pursuits, competitive in their approach to challenges and creative and open in their thinking. It was for the young to lead Sikkim out of its present status as a consumer of the knowledge world, and make the Sikkimese knowledge creators.
The CM cited the work done by his government for every community by way of recognizing the various festivals, languages, and cultural and traditional heritage. He added that the government has worked towards providing equal opportunity to every community and has succeeded in this regard.
Addressing the representatives of different communities, the CM stressed that leadership should show the right path to the society and heads of associations of different communities should be particularly earnest towards this responsibility.
“As a leader, I have never taken advantage of the weakness of people but have always worked to transform their weakness into strength so I have never politicized issues related to students, employees or the society,” he said.
The CM further mentioned that he and his government had to face several allegations and criticisms while introducing the concept of Organic Farming in the State, but today the whole world is appreciating and learning from the Sikkim model. It was important to be far-sighted and look at long-term prospects before getting swayed by opportunist rumour mongering, he pointed out.
On the same, the CM urged everyone in the state to contribute and deliver on their individual responsibilities towards the state to continue the development process in Sikkim.
Endorsing the idea of the need of debate for the proper functioning of a society, the CM stressed that this should not mean meaningless criticism and allegations, which tend to divert focus from the real issues and amounts to evading one’s responsibilities towards the state.
The CM also took the opportunity to dismiss allegations being circulated on the internet and some newspapers about alleged corruption involving hydel projects in the state. Informing that there are 18 hydel projects under construction in the State involving a total expenditure of Rs 8,000 crore so far, the CM turned the question on the allegations: “How can allegations of corruption amounting to Rs 20,000 crore and Rs 50,000 crore be leveled on the government when that much money has not even been spent in the entire range of projects?”
He further clarified that most of the hydel projects have been taken up by private companies and the government has no role to play. With the government not handling any funds, how can there be corruption, he asked.
He urged the students and general public of Sikkim to speak out and debate on such issues. He added that the state has to earn its own revenue for a better and secure future for all and even for the maintenance of such infrastructure as the one inaugurated today. “If the hydel projects are scrapped, where are we to find the finances to sustain and develop Sikkim in the long run?” he posed.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Cultural Affairs and Heritage Department [CA&HD] Minister, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha, highlighted the activities of the government in the protection, propagation, preservation and development of language, literature, art, music and tradition in the state. He mentioned that the Manan Kendra will provide a platform to young people of Sikkim to showcase their talents to further encourage them towards preserving and developing the culture, traditions and heritage of Sikkim.
The technical report was presented by the Principal Chief Engineer-cum-Secretary of Roads and Bridges, TB Rajalim and the vote of thanks was presented by CA&HD Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Nalini G Pradhan.