Government’s J&K move won’t affect Sikkim, says Prem Singh Tamang
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Government’s J&K move won’t affect Sikkim, says Prem Singh Tamang

By TOI calender  08-Aug-2019

Government’s J&K move won’t affect Sikkim, says Prem Singh Tamang

Sikkim chief minister Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) on Wednesday came out in support of the Centre’s move on Article 370 and said the policy would not affect the tiny Himalayan state nor other states that are protected by special provisions. “We welcome PM Narendra Modi’s decision. Yesterday, home minister Amit Shah said in Lok Sabha that states protected by special provisions under Article 371(f) would not be affected,” he told the media at Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital.

Article 371(f) says ‘the governor shall have special responsibility for peace and for an equitable arrangement for ensuring the social and economic advancement of different sections of the population of Sikkim... and the governor of Sikkim shall, subject to such directions as the President may, from time to time, deem fit to issue, act in his discretion’. Asked whether the abrogation of Article 370 had rekindled hopes among Hill parties for a separate state, Tamang said: “This is a matter between the state and the central government.” On whether Darjeeling could be merged with Sikkim as a permanent solution to the long-pending demand for a separate state in the Hills, he said Article 371(f) does not allow it.

“There is no question of merging Darjeeling with Sikkim as it is protected by 371(f) and has its own provisions. We have a different status and there cannot be any modification” he said. He also took a swipe at former CM Pawan Chamling’s 25-year rule, saying Sikkim had become positive after 25 years of negativity. “Our policies are for the young generation. Our priorities are employment, education, green economy, and tourism. The previous government duped (us by declaring Sikkim) as an ‘organic state’. It was all propaganda, the initiative was good but only on paper,” added Tamang. Tamang added that Sikkim’s only airport in Pakyong would resume after September. “Services had stopped due to a technical glitch and weather conditions. However, we closed it after issuing a notice,” he said.

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