Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Board of Administrators, Binoy Tamang, on Thursday, iterated their wish to work together for the development of the region.
The two leaders attended the birth centenary celebrations of renowned Nepali writer, the Late Shiva Kumar Rai, who was born in this East Sikkim town. The programme was organised by the Nepali Sahitya Parishad, Sikkim, Shiva Kumar Rai Janma Shatabdi Samaroh Samiti, Rhenock, and Shiva Kumar Rai Janma Satvarshaki Samaroh Samiti, Kurseong.
Addressing the gathering, Mr Chamling announced construction of a statue of the late Rai at Rhenock Bazaar. He also praised the contribution of the Late author to Nepali literature, and commended the organisers for conducting the “historical function.”
He also talked about how Gorkhas are known for their bravery all over the world. “Now, we are in a different era, and we should introspect where we are headed? Our battlefield has changed now, hence we should be technically and intellectually brave to fight against the cyber war and the war of life or else we will disappear,” Mr Chamling said.
“We do not trust ourselves and we are still dependent on others. We need to change the definition of development and we should stop running after materialistic happiness,” Mr Tamang, meanwhile, said.
Speaking on the development of Rhenock, Mr Chamling said that in order to enhance the importance and development of the place, the state government has built a college here and also India’s biggest Siddhi Vinayak Temple.
Mr Chamling, meanwhile, announced that Sikkimese working women (Adhoc/MR) holding COI married to non- COI holders will be regularized and can also buy plots of land in Sikkim.
Stressing on the cordial ties between Sikkim and Darjeeling, the CM said that “we all should think about the betterment of the Hills.” “We should stay in harmony and should be aware of the politics that makes us weak. We reside in different regions, but we share similar historical and cultural ties,” he said.
He added that in the past 33 years, Sikkim has become a victim of the Gorkhaland agitation in neighbouring Darjeeling. “However, despite being a sufferer, Sikkim has always extended its support to Darjeeling,” he said.
“We are not blaming Darjeeling, but we appeal to the government of West Bengal to provide us security during such situations and keep the National Highway-10 open as it is our lifeline,” he added.
Mr Chamling added that Sikkim and Darjeeling will hold official-level meetings soon, where both can share their experiences and new ideas. Lauding the late Shiva Kumar Rai and CM Chamling, Mr Tamang said: “I am a mere lamp amid such persons like the sun.” Mr Tamang congratulated the Sikkim CM on his long tenure and said, “I feel he will continue as the chief minister for a long time ahead.”
He further said that students at various schools across Darjeeling observed a 10-minute silence in memory of the renowned Nepali writer, the Late Rai. He also read out messages sent byWest Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Mr Tamang also urged Sikkim to erect a statue of the Late Rai at Rhenock Bazaar, and declaration of the post office and the house where the author was born as a state heritage site.
He also said that the GTA will be awarding the first ‘Shiva Kumar Rai Award’ to writer Krishna Singh Moktan in Darjeeling and invited Mr Chamling to attend the event.
Tilak Sharma, the President of the Gorkha Jan Pustakalaya Kurseong, Jas Yonzon ‘Pyasi’, a prominent litterateur of Kurseong and Rudra Poudyal, the President of the Nepali Sahitya Parishad, Sikkim, highlighted the life and works of Shiva Kumar Rai.