I was pleased to attend the ‘Tamu Lochar’ celebrations, held today at Sheep Farm in Dentam, Begha, West Sikkim. ‘Tamu Lochar’ is observed by the members of the Gurung community to mark the beginning of the ‘New Year’ as per the Lunar calendar followed by the community. Such festivals make cultural bonds shared by different communities of the State more stronger. ‘Tamu Lochar’ calls for celebration and exploration of the rich culture and tradition of the members of the Gurung community by all the people irrespective of their caste or religion.

In my address, I stated that our Government has successfully maintained peace and security in the State for the last 25 years. As an exemplary secular State, equal respect and recognition have been guaranteed to all religions and communities that exist in Sikkim, and the Gurung community is no exception. The Gurungs in Sikkim have been granted all socio-economic and political rights for their wellbeing and upliftment. In fact, the Government has restored their lost glory by reviving their rich language, culture, tradition. Their language has been recognized as a State language and is being taught in schools. ‘Tamu Lochar’ has been declared a gazetted holiday. The State Government has also constructed numerous Tamu Buddhist monasteries all over Sikkim.

I also threw light on some of the major works being undertaken by the Government in Dentam and surrounding areas, such as construction of Tamu Rodhi Ghar at a cost of over Rs.1.47 crore, Uttarey Lake being made a major man made attraction with all necessary infrastructure, completion of construction of road to Chiwa Bhanjyang by February, 2019 etc.

I apprised that today, Sikkim is globally known as the first organic state of the world. We have now branded Sikkim as a global leader in organic farming. I urged the officials, farmers, youth and all fellow citizens to make optimum use of their land for growing organic produce. Sikkimese farmers have to reap the benefits of organic agriculture and our youngsters must come forward to take advantage of the organic brand of the State by engaging themselves in activities like value addition, packaging and marketing of organic produce.

Taking a serious note of the prevailing political scenario, I urged everyone, particularly the members of the Gurung community to beware of the so-called politicians who are roaming around in the villages with vested interest and misleading and misguiding our innocent villagers on the grounds of caste, creed and religion etc. Our villagers must resist these evil forces, who with their misdeeds are ready to disturb peace, progress and development of the State.

I made the following announcements:-

1. All Sub-Divisional level PHCs will be upgraded to CHCs.
2. Upgradation of Banpala Sheep Farm at Begha.
3. Establishment of Animal Husbandry College on the 35 acres of land of Department of Animal Husbandry available at Sheep Farm, Begha.
4.Construction of Sherpa Bhawan
5.Construction of eco-footpath to Barsey.
6. Nethang ‘Gufa’( cave) will be made a pilgrimage centre.

Earlier in the morning, I inaugurated the newly constructed building at Dentam PHC – an additional infrastructure to the existing PHC. The PHC has now been transformed into a Health and Wellness Centre to cater to the needs of the people of this area.