With immense pleasure, I inaugurated the newly-constructed Tashiling Secretariat today, and dedicated it to the people of Sikkim. This is the third Secretariat building which has been constructed in the State. The first, also known as the Chief Court was constructed in 1915 and the second after joining the Indian Union, which had to be demolished after it was damaged by the earthquake of 18th September 2011.
The devastating earthquake of 2011 wreaked havoc both on human life and property. Many houses, buildings, roads, ‘mandirs’, ‘gumpas’, churches and other religious institutes were completely destroyed. The catastrophe threw many challenges to Sikkim and the Sikkimese people. Fortunately, we had the resilience and the will-power to gather ourselves and work towards re-building the State.
I informed the gathering that we have re-constructed over 8,000 houses, repaired and maintained numerous roads, ‘mandirs’, ‘gumpas’, churches,buildings and other educational institutes of the State; and the Secretariat building is one of them. A Committee had been constituted to report on the condition of the Secretariat building that was destroyed in 2011. In its report, the Committee had suggested that the building could be either repaired and retrofitted or demolished for a new structure to come up. Considering that Sikkim is earthquake prone being in in seismic zone IV, the State Government decided to construct a completely new and earthquake- resistant building that can withstand earthquakes measuring 10 on the Richter scale. The building has all the modern high-tech facilities for the officials and the members of the public, who visit the office. This state-of-the-art mega structure can be a symbol to protect and promote our rich culture and tradition. I also added that the name of the building will remain as Tashiling Secretariat since it is a legacy from the time of the Chogyals and holds sentimental value to every Sikkimese.
I threw some light on the traffic problem of Gangtok, and informed that the Government is trying everything possible to ease out the traffic congestion that Gangtokians are facing lately. We are even planning to construct flyover bridges, diversion of roads and tunnelling of roads, among few measures. I urged the civil society, particularly the drivers of the State to come forward and extend their support to the Government in resolving traffic related issues.
I directed the HoDs to shift their concerned departments to the new Secretariat within this month and all offices in this building should start functioning from 2nd January 2019 onwards.
Targetting the Officers, I called upon them to work with a problem-solving attitude and humane touch. They should ensure that the Government policies are implemented in letter and spirit, so that the general public do not face harassment or suffer hardships in getting their dues. I specifically mentioned that the following schemes need immediate intervention of concerned officials for speedy and timely delivery system:-
1. Free medical aid to BPL patients referred outside the State including travelling allowance.
2. Compassionate appointment to next of kin for government employees dying in harness.
3. Disbursement of Old Age Pension.
4. Ex-gratia payment for death of drivers.
5. Scholarships to students .
6. Issue of Trade Licence.
7. Land for landless (‘Sukumbasis’).
8. Ban on the use of chemical fertilizers.