I was pleased to attend the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Tikalal Niroula Senior Secondary School today at Central Pendam, East Sikkim. I congratulated the teaching fraternity, other staff and students of the school as well as the local gentry on completion of 75 glorious years of this institution that has served as a temple of learning. I remembered and paid tribute to all those who contributed towards the establishment of this educational institute of repute.

At the outset, I spoke on the significance of education in the lives of human beings. I made it known to all that right from the very first day of our Government, we have given utmost priority to education, for we firmly believe that illiteracy is the root cause of poverty. With the allocation of 20% of the State’s budget to this sector, we have made education free up to college level with free distribution of text books, school uniform, raincoats, shoes etc to the students. In fact, the State Government spends around Rs.1 lakh on each child annually in providing free education. Schemes like Chief Minister’s Merit Scholarship scheme have been introduced for the benefit of those students coming from rural areas and under privileged families. I therefore, urged the students to labour hard and make best use of the facilities provided.

I shared that the history of education in Sikkim is not more than 100 years. We lag far behind in education when compared to the rest of the world. In spite of this, it is commendable that in a relatively short span of time, we have made appreciable progress. Our state currently has the distinction of having the highest literacy rate in the Country.

I made the following announcements:-
1. Sanction of Rs.1.28 crores for construction of Shri Krishna Pranami Prathana Bhawan at Central Pendam.

2. Sanction of Rs. 35 lakhs for Bhurung Durga Mandir.

3. Establishment of a new college in West Pendam.

Earlier in the morning, I laid the foundation stone of the statue of Nishani Kali Devi at Gadi in Central Pendam. With a total cost of Rs. 63.84 crores, the project includes construction of a 54 ft high statue of Nishani Kali Devi along with a prayer hall, eco-friendly gardens, parking facility etc. On its completion, this place would be transformed into a major pilgrimage destination, which in turn will help to promote and boost tourism.

Later in the evening, I attended the grand finale of ‘West Pendam Dancing Superstar 2018’ held at Singleybong JHS play ground.
In my brief address, I congratulated the local youth for successfully organising the event. I also urged them to do some research to identify the unique features of the area to promote local tourism.