Pleased to meet and address some of the recently-promoted Engineers of various departments in a meeting held at Samman Bhawan today.

I consider our engineers as the real force in making Sikkim visibly beautiful with their technical knowledge and education. However, to make Sikkim beautiful in every respect, they need to have beautiful mind as well: a mind with positive thoughts along with the will to work for the State and its people. If an educated and brilliant mind is plagued by negative thinking and wrong mindset, then it will be disastrous to our society and the State. Our main drawback is negative mindset, which I consider to be a person’s greatest enemy and found within oneself. Therefore, we must all have to develop a mind that thinks of not only individual good but doing good for others and work for the benefit of Sikkim and the Sikkimese people.

It must be remembered that in the last 24 years of our Government, we have always been sympathetic towards the needs and demands of the members of the State Engineering Services. We have gone out of our way in ensuring our Engineers receive and enjoy the same facilities as those of other services including IAS and State Civil Service. In order to create promotional avenues, there have been 12 cadre revisions. All works departments are headed by engineers and some of them are heads of other departments, which means we have elevated them to not only the post of technical heads but administrative also. Looking at this, our young engineers should start preparing themselves for shouldering greater responsibilities not only as a technocrat but also as an administrative head.

As I said earlier, our Government has endeavoured to give the best possible facilities to our engineering fraternity. It should be kept in mind that whatever they have asked from the Government, it has been conceded, sometimes even over-looking set rules and regulations vis-a-vis regularization, promotion etc. They must appreciate the efforts of the Government and be thankful. All these have been for their personal interest. Now the time has come to think of their contribution to the State as Government employees, going beyond their routine tasks and personal interest. Duties and responsibilities should be fulfilled with utmost sincerity, integrity and devotion. As they are responsible in infrastructural development, they have to ensure that all works are qualitative and the assets created are durable and technically-sound, especially with regard to roads and bridges. Moreover, all construction work should be taken up duly taking into consideration the needs of the changing times. For this, our engineers need to update themselves, enhance their knowledge and hone their skills.

Nowadays it is often seen that no person is willing to take orders from anyone. If you see in offices, gone are the days when the words of seniors are taken as commands. This is because we are in a democratic set-up. But what is of utmost importance is that in a democracy every person has equal rights and responsibilities. So it is the duty of senior officers to motivate their sub-ordinates and make them realize this fact for the sake of the State and the people. As Government employees, nobody is anyone’s servant but we are here to serve the State and the people. It is imperative we understand this duty, otherwise it will be detrimental to the State. The engineers must drive home this point to Contractors also. In other words, we all need to take ownership of State-building unitedly. It is a team effort in which every person’s role is vital.

A second meeting was also held at Samman Bhawan with the All Sikkim Christian Kami, Damai and Sarki (Weaker Section) Forum.

In my brief address, I spoke on the evils of caste system which is still prevalent in most parts of our Country. But it is fortunate that Sikkim does not suffer from this social malady. We have brought all sections of people to the mainstream of the society and no one is discriminated based on caste, creed or religion. All people are the same as we are all human beings. Caste, creed, religion are man-made. We all are born equal and our differences lie only in our mental capacity and way of thinking.

Our Government has extended all benefits to the Scheduled Caste (SC) community, right from providing reservation to establishment of Atrocity Courts, declaration of Ambedkar Jayanti as a State holiday to institution of Ambedkar scholarship. We have left no stone unturned in bringing this community to the mainstream of the society. However, I realized that one section of the community was being disadvantaged, ie the Christian SCs. It may be remembered that in India, Buddhist and Sikh SCs can avail the benefits of being SCs but SCs following Christianity cannot. Though not falling within the State List, we came up with the concept of categorizing this section of the people as ‘Weaker Section’, with 2% reservation in Government jobs, which will be beneficial to them. However, they should not limit themselves to reservation alone and lose the sense of competitiveness. They must forge ahead to explore the opportunities of life on their own capabilities and merit. People belonging to the SC community should also give up feeling of being inferior to other castes, but lead their lives with confidence, self-respect and dignity.

I assured to fulfil all the demands submitted by the Association, including the constitution of Weaker Section Board.