Shri Narendra Modi Shri Pawan Chamling - Memorandum Submitted to Hon'ble Prime Minister of India At his Official Residence, 7 Race Course Road ...

 
GOVERNMENT OF SIKKIM
                        Memorandum
                          Submitted
                              to
                     Shri Narendra Modi
                Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
At his Official Residence, 7 Race Course Road, New Delhi
                              By
                    Shri Pawan Chamling
                    Hon’ble Chief Minister
                          Of Sikkim
                              On
                    9th June, 2014 at 5:30pm

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Challenges and advantages in Sikkim
         Sikkim is a mountainous border State. It is a part of the Eastern
Himalayas, and across its entire length, the Himalayas are narrowest here,
spanning a total width of just 80 km, resulting in an extremely steep
terrain and telescoping of the various eco zones. It has ten mountain peaks
that rise above 7,000 metres, 84 glaciers and 315 glacial lakes. Almost the
entire State is hilly and mountainous, with elevations ranging from around
300 to 8,598 metres. For the most part, it is difficult to come across vast
areas of flat land. Rocky and precipitous slopes make agriculture,
transportation and communication difficult. Major challenges for public
administration are posed by the State’s geo-physical characteristics.
Sikkim’s physiographic set-up makes the lives of people extremely
vulnerable to earthquakes and landslides. The region has experienced
relatively moderate seismicity, with 18 earthquakes of magnitude 5 or
greater over the past 35 years. The seismic shaking often induces
instability in the hill slopes, which causes frequent landslides and rock
falls, especially in the epicentral area. The earthquake of 18th September
2011, with a magnitude of 6.8, caused the worst damage in recent years.
Being a mountainous region brings with it other disadvantages as well.
Land is a highly scarce resource in Sikkim. Only 11 % of the total
geographical area, at an altitude of less than 2,000 metres, is available for
cultivation. Furthermore, the mountainous terrain and the highly dispersed
population greatly add to the costs of providing social services and
infrastructure.

         Due to its small size, the State has practically no economies of
scale. Almost all types of construction material need to be brought in from
                                      2
outside the State. Transportation is not only difficult and hazardous, but
also adds substantially to costs of production of goods and services.
Similarly, establishing systems of support, supervision and performance
monitoring become complicated and expensive as people need additional
resources and time to travel for many days to visit remote areas. The road
network remains vulnerable to frequent natural calamities, with a large
portion getting washed out during the monsoons. Connectivity has also
been hampered by the absence of telecommunication services, especially
in remote hilly areas. The inability to get mobile phone and internet
connectivity has been a limiting factor placing many of the communities
at a disadvantage. The unique geography, geology and climate pose
unique developmental challenges bringing in mountain specific
constraints in sustainable development. The State has the third highest
and steepest landscape globally. The fragile terrain, weak geology
and heavy rainfall making the State prone to natural calamities. The
heavy rainfall concentrated in six months, leads to a compressed
working season of 6 months. There is an acute scarcity of land for
development as 84% of geographical area is classified as Forest Land.
The State is remotely located and coupled with poor connectivity. New
threats of climate change and water security are also emerging.

                                    3
The Himalayas are considered as the natural “water
towers” as its glaciers hold the largest freshwater reserve outside the
polar   ice   cap.   The    Himalayan      range      encompasses       about
15,000 glaciers, which store about 12,000 km3 of freshwater. Some of
the world's major river systems like the Indus, Ganges and the
Brahmaputra originate in the Himalaya and their combined drainage
basin is home to some 1.3 billion people. Sikkim located in the Eastern
Himalaya is a land of pristine environment with clean air, pristine forests,
sparkling streams and aquamarine lakes, all teeming with rich
biodiversity. Forest is a vital resource for socio-economic development of
the State as it constitutes the largest land-use category. The forests of
Sikkim sustain key economic benefits emanating from ecotourism,
hydel power and vital environmental services such as water, food and
ecological security. The human development, well being, happiness
and quality of life of not only the people of Sikkim, but also the
teeming population in the Gangetic plains in the downstream is
critically linked to the State’s forest resources and therefore
maintaining    ecological    balance,    protecting    forest   cover    and
conserving biodiversity is a key to the sustainable progress of the
region. In this direction the State has taken exemplary strides by
making the forests free from grazing thereby significantly increasing
the quality of forest cover and wildlife habitat, making the human
habitations plastic-free and

                                     4
Open-defecation free, the farming systems organic and having an
overall eco-friendly model of development, with a record one third of
the area kept aside as sacrosanct under sanctuaries and national park
under the protected area network.

           The Mount Khangchendzonga (8,598 m), globally the third
highest mountain, and the highest peak in the country and revered as a
guardian deity, has influenced and nurtured a unique ecosystem - the
Sikkim Himalaya, which constitutes one of the 34 global biodiversity
hotspots. The unique terrain, climate and biogeography of the State have
resulted in the sustenance of varied forest ecosystems in close proximity.
The diverse forest types include deciduous sal, wet hill forests, dense oak
forests, extensive conifer forests and unique Rhododendron thickets
giving way to rolling alpine meadows. Ecosystems range from humid
tropical valleys to temperate mountain habitat, alpine meadows and
trans-Himalayan cold desert. It is a veritable nature’s Noah’s Arc
teeming with biodiversity, housing nearly half of the nation’s bird
diversity, wild trees, orchid and Rhododendron wealth and one third
of the country’s flowering plants. The State possesses about 31% of
the mammals, 45% of the birds and 50% of the butterflies of the
country.

           In many aspects, the State has been a leader in the environment
sector, having not only successfully pioneered nature conservation
polices, but also having implemented them successfully.

A unique landscape approach to biodiversity conservation has been
adopted which envisages healthy forests, eco-villages and vibrant
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towns. 82% of the geographical area of the State has been recorded as
forest area and classified as reserve forests and protected forests, and
diversion for non-forestry purposes is strictly regulated. The forest
cover is continuously increasing and presently stands at 47.34%. This
is despite having large tracts above the tree line in the alpine zone having
glaciers, snow capped peaks and alpine meadows. Considering areas
below the tree line (4000 m), the forest and tree cover has grown to as
much as 85% of the area. Nearly, one third of the land area has been
directly conserved by establishing an extensive protected area network of
sanctuaries and national park. This is the highest in the country in
percentage terms, with the national average being less than 5%. Elements
of human-scapes such as water and sanitation, sustainable farming
using organic methods, ecotourism and urban renewal in towns has
received a lot of focus. Toilets were constructed in mission mode and
all the villages made open defecation free so that Sikkim could
become the first and only Nirmal Rajya in the country.

        The paradigm shift in the development model leadership has
resulted in several path breaking initiatives like the Harit Kranti Dashak,
Pokhri Sanrakshan Samitis, making forests cattle free, plastic ban, Smriti
Van, ban on green felling, conservation of medicinal plants, State green
mission, ten minutes to earth, organic mission, achieving open defecation
free status - Nirmal Rajya, Dhara Vikas, protection of heritage trees,
protection of vultures, wildlife, climate change adaptation, environmental
education, urban renewal, ban of slash and burn and several others which
have ensured that this rapid growth has not been at the cost of the natural
capital. The biological wealth of the State has been further preserved and
                                     6
the outcomes in the form of increase in forest cover, increase in dense
forests, higher awareness levels, ground water recharge, open defecation
free status and several others is there for all to see. While initially these
initiatives were government driven backed by notifications and legal
provisions, over the years it has become a way of life for the people and
many of these initiatives have now transformed into people driven
programs and have now become the people’s agenda.

Need for Fiscal Compensation
          The enormous 2,500 kms of Indian Himalayas house some of
the   most     dense   and   rare   bio-diversity    reserves    on   earth.
Unfortunately, the people who live in these vast expanses of
mountains are often forgotten. But they have started to voice their
concerns and we are hopeful that the Government of India will take
notice.
          Several institutions and NGOs have repeatedly pointed out that
the Planning Commission does not even take specificities of mountain
terrains into consideration in their Five Year Plan drafting exercise. It was
only when the 12th Plan was being finalized that a working group on
mountains was constituted.
          The Indian Himalayas which are our water towers stand tall. They
feed the myriad of rivers that provide water security to millions

of people downstream. Yet, today we have enough evidence to believe
that these water towers are running out of ice as glaciers continue to melt.
Consequently, less water will flow through our rivers. We need

                                      7
comprehensive climate change legislation to monitor and arrest the
depletion of our glaciers.

        Ecological issues aside, the Himalayas also bear great geopolitical
importance. The Indian Himalayan            Region shares international
borders from West to East with Pakistan, Nepal, China, Bhutan,
Myanmar and Bangladesh raising security concerns. With the right
approach, there are several opportunities to be explored as far as trade is
concerned.

         Tourism has always been the most important economic
activity in the Himalayas. Scores of tourists from the plains ascend to
the cooler climes of our mountain cities. But the fact remains that we
simply cannot sustainably develop our mountain cities with one-size-fits-
all set of urbanization policies. Transportation and waste management
are burgeoning problems that need immediate solutions. But they
may not be found without the right policy action and support from
the Government of India. For example,                roads. No modern
technology has found its way into road construction in the mountains.
Dams and hydropower are other contentious issues, and must be
resolved sensitively at the earliest.

          All States in India have States specific requirements to meet
their developmental aspirations and targets of which poverty alleviation
and the creation of infrastructure command high priority. However,
States such as those in the Himalayan region are at a disadvantageous
situation in terms of difficult terrain, severe weather conditions, large
forest land, dispersed habitations, small and underdeveloped

                                        8
markets,    long   international    borders,    poor    connectivity   and
inadequate general infrastructure. The cost of delivery of public
services in these States is higher compared to other States due to their
typical topography. These acts as constraints in terms of development
compared to other States. With the procedures for environmental
clearances being generally identical for all States, the States having a
large forest cover find it difficult to get environmental clearances, even
for infrastructural projects which hamper their developmental initiatives.

           Some of the     States have represented to the Government of
India that it is not appropriate to apply the same yardstick for statutory
requirements and while considering Central assistance to the States which
have a large forest cover. But funds released under Finance Commission
grants     and Compensatory Afforestation and Fund Management
Authority (CAMPA) funds have been inadequate for the State
Governments to take up major infrastructure projects.
In view of this, special compensation for the Himalayan States would
be a welcome gesture. This would result in creating valuable
economic and social assets on the ground and also relieve the stress
on the general finances of the State Governments. While due emphasis
on environment needs to be continued, relaxation in norms should be
made for Himalayan States. The procedures which are in place for
environmental clearances of various projects in the country are
generally identical for all States. This is a constraint for States which
have large forest lands or hilly terrains. There is a need to take a view
on the relaxation of forest clearance norms for Himalayan States .Perhaps

                                     9
a Joint Concurrent approval mechanism between State and Centre needs
to be put in place as Forest is a Concurrent subject.

Requirement of Central Agency for Hill States
         The problems being faced by the people of the Himalayas would
therefore be addressed with new policies in the form of a separate Central
Agency, which will be sympathetic towards the people of the region and
also give due importance to this huge area, which is Nature’s endowment
to the Country. We hope that the possibility of having a separate Agency
to deal with the Indian Himalayan Region exclusively will soon be set up.

Development Tempo vis-a-vis Narrow Resource Base

         It is my privilege to inform you that in the last Annual Plan
discussions in 2013, Sikkim was appreciated for achieving a high growth
rate of 22.8% at 2004 -05 prices. The comments of the Planning
Commission are reproduced below:-

        “ The GSDP of Sikkim was targeted to grow at a compounded
rate of 6.7% during the 11th Plan. However, it has registered a growth
rate of 22.8% at 2004-05 prices (Agri 3.6% Industry 46.4% and services
12.5%) as per CSO. The impressive growth of Sikkim is attributed to
commissioning of power projects, strengthening of small scale industries-
primarily pharmaceutical industry attracted by cheap power, accessibility
to market and increasing financial services (banking & insurance) during
the Eleventh Plan period. The Agriculture Sector, particularly floriculture
and horticulture has also performed relatively well during the Plan
period. The good performance in the areas like Transport &

                                     10
Communication, Banking & Insurance, Trade & Commerce, Hotel and
Restaurant, Real estate and Business Services has been able to generate
employment both in the public and private sector. There has been a steady
growth in the per capita income during the plan period. This performance
is attributed to 16.4 percent growth in 2008-09 and 31.9 percent in 2009-
10 due to completion of power projects during these years and increase in
salary on account of implementation of the recommendations of the Sixth
Pay Commission. Further, the agriculture sector is expected to record
over 4.5% growth during the same period as against the Eleventh Plan
target of 3.6%. The sector wise targeted growth rates in the 12th Plan are
4% for Agriculture sector, 8% for the Industry sector, and 10% for the
Services sector. The targeted growth rate of GSDP for the 12 th Five Year
Plan is 8.4%.”

           “The State’s own tax revenue is mainly dependent on sales
tax/VAT. As a percentage of GSDP, it has been coming down and was
3.50% in 2011-12 and is expected to be around the same level in 2012-13.
The power sector receipts have     not been increasing significantly even
though it is positive. The Balance from Current Revenues (BCR) is
deteriorating due to continuing higher growth in non-plan revenue
expenditure every year even though the State has been making efforts to
improve the receipts in spite of difficult conditions. The outstanding
liabilities as a percentage of   GSDP are 29.52% inn 2011-12 and were
anticipated to come down marginally in 2012-13.”

           Sikkim today is one of fastest developing States in India
with a focus on sustainable development. To keep the developmental
tempo in the State, we would like to make a humble request of one
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time grant of Rs. 5000 crores. Various infrastructure projects have also
been sanctioned by the Central Government and Ministry of Development
of North Eastern Region including North Eastern Council. All these
projects require State Share for which the State has not been able to fully
provide the required funding due to limited resources and earmarking of
funds under Additional Central Assistance and Special Plan Assistance.
The    shortfall in State share comes to approximately Rs 100 crores.
Moreover, a small State like our’s has to bear the administrative and
establishment cost of various mandatory Institutions and Organizations in
the State. A one-     time grant at this juncture would help us a great
deal in our path to development. Some of the sectors where we would
like to focus are:-

 1. Energy & Power Sector

       With limited resources and other revenue generation avenues,
the State‘s potential for hydro power generation due to its abundant
water resources needs to be tapped to the optimum. Presently, a total
of 10 hydro power projects have been awarded to various
Independent Power Producers with a total capacity of 2622 MWs.
However, we have not been able to contribute to the Equity funding in
these hydro electric projects and at least Rs.1000 crores is requested as
Equity funding.       In addition, a comprehensive scheme for the
Strengthening of the Transmission and Distribution System in the North
Eastern Region and Sikkim has been proposed by the Ministry of Power,
GoI wherein the total project cost has been estimated at Rs.1569.60 crores
for Sikkim, out of which Rs.458.25 crores have to be borne by the State
Government by way of land compensation, contingency and
                                    12
consultancy charges to Power Grid Corporation of India Limited.
The
          Sl.   Name of Project           Requirement of Funds

project may kindly be considered as 100% Central funding.

      To fully implement the scheme without hurdles, the State requires a
total of Rs.1971.25 crores for Equity funding and State share in the
Strengthening of the Transmission and Distribution System for evacuation
of power, the breakup of which is given below:-

                                  Abstract

                                     13
No.
         1.         Generation Projects        Rs1300.00 Cr.
         3.         Comprehensive
                    scheme for
                    strengthening of
                    Transmission &
                    Distribution system in
                    NER & Sikkim,
                    SIKKIM PORTION             Rs 458.25 Cr.
             4.     Accelerated Power
                    Development and
                    Reforms Programme
                    (APDRP)                     Rs 34.00 Cr

Total = Rs 1971.25 crores

                  In all hydro projects above 100 MW capacity, the State
Government has the option to infuse equity up to 26%. At present the
State Government has to contribute equity into the following Hydro
Projects:-

Sl. Name of Project                   Capacity Cost of   Equity
No.                                   in MW Project in   Contribution of
                                               Rs Cr.    Govt. of
                                                         Sikkim in Cr.
1.   Teesta Stage-III Hydro           1200    11382.00   845.54
     Electric Project
2.   Teesta Stage-VI Hydro            500     3200.00    254.00
     Electric Project
3.   Rangit Stage-III Hydro           120     581.47     50.00
     Electric Project.

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Hence the total requirement for equity contribution is Rs.1149.54 crores

B. The State Government with the objective to speedily develop the mini,
micro and small hydro potential of the State set up Sikkim Power
Development Corporation Ltd. in the year 1998. However, due to funding
constraints the development in the sector has been very slow. The details
of the projects which are under construction are as follows:-

Sl. Name of Project         Capacity     Cost of      Funds required by
No.                         in MW        Project in   Govt. of Sikkim
                                         Rs Crores.   in Crores.
1.   Rellichu Hydro         12 MW        89.90        36.11
     Electric Project
2.   Chatten-II Hydro       3 MW         30.40        20.70
     Electric Project
3.   Mangley Hydro          2 MW         15.40        12.06
     Electric Project
4.   Lachung Hydro          3 MW         13.90        10.88
     Electric Project
5.   Rongli Hydro           5 MW         37.70        30.27
     Electric Project

Total requirement of funds for SPDCL would be Rs 110.02 Crores.
The total requirement of funds for the Generation sector would be to a
tune of Rs 1259.56 Cr.
                                         Say Rs 1300. Crores.

   TRANSMISSION SCHEMES FOR THE EVACUATION OF
 POWER FROM CHUZACHEN HEP RATED: 99 MWS AND IPPS
          LOCATED IN THE RANGIT BASIN.

CONSTRUCTION   OF    DOUBLE Amount ₨85 Crores
CIRCUIT   132  KV     (ZEBRA
CONDUCTOR) TRANSMISSION LINE
                                    15
FOR THE EVACUATION OF POWER
FROM CHUZACHEN HEP RATED:
99MWs TO THE LILO POINT AT
PHONGLA, SOUTH SIKKIM AND
CONSTRUCTION OF TWO 132 KV
LINE BAYS AT THE PGCIL
132/220/400KV POOLING STATION
AT NEW RANGPO.
The Energy & Power Department has to
construct the power evacuation system for
the Chuzachen HEP rated: 99 MWs as per
the implementation agreement signed
with Gati Infrastructure ltd. The total
length of the transmission line is 25 Kms
and is designed for Double circuit Zebra
Conductors. The line bays are GIS bays
and the total cost of the project has been
worked out to ₨85 Crores.

CONSTRUCTION      OF   DOUBLE                ₨94 Crores
CIRCUIT TWIN MOOSE 220 KV
TRANSMISSION      LINE   FROM
LEGSHIP 220 KV POOLING STATION
( STATE GOVERNMENT ) TO THE
NEW MELLI 220 KV (PGCIL )
POOLING       STATION     AND
CONSTRUCTION OF 220/132 KV
POOLING STATION AT LEGSHIP.

Due to severe ROW constraints, the State
Government has been asked to construct a
pooling station at Legship to pool the
power from the IPPs coming up in the
Rangit Basin and evacuate the same to the
220 KV PGCIL pooling station at New
Melli. The total power to be evacuated is
expected to be around the range of 300 -
500 MWs. The length of the transmission
line is 10 Kms and the system has been

                                    16
designed for double circuit twin moose
conductors. The GIS bays at New Melli
PGCIL pooling station will also have to
be constructed by the State Government.
The total project cost has been calculated
at ₨94 Crores.
Grand Total                                         ₨179 Crores

COMPREHENSIVE SCHEME FOR THE STRENGTHENING OF
THE TRANSMISSION & DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM IN NER &
SIKKIM; SIKKIM PORTION:

BRIEF HISTORY:

     The development of the power sector in the NER and Sikkim was
brought out in the “Pasighat Proclamation on Power” released during the
first Sectoral Summit of the North Eastern Council at Pasighat in
Arunachal Pradesh on January 17, 2007.
       Pursuant to the recommendations of the Pasighat Summit, a Sub
Group was constituted under the Chairmanship of Member (Power
System), Central Electricity Authority (CEA) on the Transmission, Sub-
Transmission and Distribution related issues in the North Eastern Region
and accordingly a Comprehensive Scheme for the strengthening of the
Transmission & Distribution System in NER & Sikkim was prepared by
CEA in consultation with PGCIL and the concerned States.

         In the meeting taken by the Member, Planning Commission on
February 24th 2009 and meeting of PIB/EFC chaired by the Secretary,
Department of Expenditure (GOI) on March 24th 2009, it was decided that
the DPRs of the scheme would be prepared by PGCIL( Central
                                    17
Transmission Utility ). The DPRs were prepared and submitted by PGCIL
to MoP on 6th January 2010 and 6th July 2010.

Highlights of the Scheme:

  1. The project for Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim would be taken up
       with funding through Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources –
       Central   (NLCPR-CENTRAL)          of   the     Ministry   of   Doner,
       Government of India. After completion, the project would be
       transferred to the Arunachal and Sikkim State Governments
       respectively and the O&M of the system shall be carried out by
       them.

  2. The Guidelines for NLCPR-CENTRAL clearly States that the
       implementation of the schemes shall be done by the Central
       Ministries/Departments.

The break up of the project cost is as given below:-

Total cost of the Project        Rs 569.6 Crores
Cost of land compensation Rs 231.48 Crores             State      Govt.
compensation/R&R/Forest                                share
Contingency @ 3%                 Rs 40.29 Crores       State      Govt.
                                                       share
Consultancy charges @ 12% Rs186.48 Crores              State      Govt.
of PGCIL                                               share
Cost     towards     materials, Rs1111.35 Crores Central          Govt.

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erection and Commissioning                         share
     Total State Government share Rs 458.25 Crores      State      Govt.
                                                        share

     The State Government will have to provide Rs 458.25 Crores towards the
     project.

       ACCELERATED POWER DEVELOPMENT AND REFORMS
                  PROGRAMME ( APDRP ):
     The Government of Sikkim under the Energy & Power Department
     initiated various projects under APDRP for augmentation, strengthening
     and reforms under transmission & distribution schemes. Various schemes
     were also initiated under the State Government funding. However, with
     the withdrawal of the APDRP schemes by the Central Government,
     several vital schemes were left incomplete and this also reflected on the
     schemes initiated by the State Government, which also fell behind.

     Hence, there is a total outstanding of ₨35 Crores against various
     incomplete schemes under APDRP in the State of Sikkim. The
     completion of these schemes would provide a much needed boost to the
     transmission & distribution systems of the State of Sikkim.

          Assistance to the Energy and Power Sector would help the State in
     generating revenue from the power sector.

 CONNECTIVITY ISSUES

2.     Pakyong Greenfield Airport
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The construction of    the Greenfield Airport at Pakyong started
in October, 2009 and the initial date of completion was January, 2011.
The project got delayed due to various problems such as, acquiring
land, connectivity, monsoons and the earthquake of September, 2011
which caused major damages to the State. Consequently, the revised
date of completion was December, 2014. The construction work received
another jolt when some houses     were affected by vibrations caused by
drilling and cracks were caused to the houses due to heavy load factor.
The initial damage assessed cases of 17 affected houses have been taken
up by the Airport Authority of India (AAI). 144 additional houses have
been assessed as damaged, bringing the figure to 161 houses. The
compensation demanded by the public for the damaged houses is quite
substantial. Moreover, Rs 50 crores be inbuilt in the project cost of AAI,
which is implementing the project. Such assistance would help in taking
the project on a war footing for its early completion. Once the Airport
becomes fully functional the major problem of connectivity we face will
be solved to a large extent.

3. Road Connectivity.

            The absence of a rail network and commercial air services in
the State makes roads the only means of access to the State. National
Highway -10 (Previously NH-31 A) is the only road link of Sikkim with
the rest of the country. Unfortunately, the topography and climate of
the region makes the terrain vulnerable to landslides and erosion,
and thus every monsoon the roads are ravaged, facing a lot of wear

                                    20
and tear and are in a State of continuous disrepair. This causes
tremendous hardship to the movement of goods and passenger traffic,
both along the National Highway as well as on the State Highways
and other roads.

     The total length of road maintained by the State Government is
2170.52 Km out of which 178.71 Km is State Highways, 745 km is Major
District Roads and 1247 Km is other roads. The State Highways connect
the State Capital with the District Head Quarters, Major District Roads
connect District Head Quarters with important towns in the districts and
the other district roads connect villages with the important towns. Most of
the roads connect important tourist destinations. The up-gradation and
development of these roads play an       important role in enhancing the
tourism industry in the State.

  A. State Roads.
               The State Government’s top priority is to provide good
road connectivity in the State for improvement of socio economic
condition of the people by upgrading the existing Major District
Roads to Intermediate Lane with priority on enhanced load carrying
capacity. The major priorities of the State Government are as under:
   a) Up-gradation and strengthening of all Major District Roads to
      intermediate lane.

  b) Strengthening, rehabilitating and replacing weak bridges with higher
     load carrying capacity bridges.

  c) Up-grading, strengthening and resurfacing of other existing district
     roads.

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d) Converting all road networks to green and eco-friendly roads.

Other important connectivity to the State

    Sikkim being a border State, most of the roads is being used
by the Army. There are a few other proposals which need to be
taken up on priority from the strategic point of view as well. Up-
gradation/construction of these roads is felt essential by the Indian
Army for their strategic use as an alternate means of connectivity
to their establishment which are:-.
a) Provide two-lane connectivity to the upcoming Greenfield
  Airport at Pakyong from Ranipool and up to Rhenock with
  length of 40 Kms. The road is proposed to be taken by the State
  Government under SARDP-NE funding.

b) Construction of a parallel two-lane alternate National Highway
  along the opposite side of the existing NH-10 (other bank of
  river Teesta) from Gangtok up to Sevoke with a length of 92
  Km. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has been
  kind enough to approve the proposal for preparation of Detailed
  Project Report (DPR) from Melli to Singtam under SARDP-
  NE. The preparation of DPR is in the final stage which will be
  submitted by the end of August, 2014. The remaining stretch
  between Singtam and Ranipool (22 Km) also needs to be taken
  up in priority. The stretch in West Bengal side also needs to be
  taken up in priority.

c) Up-gradation of Singtam-Sirwani- Khamdong- Lingzey-Tintek-
  Dikchu with length of 50 Km.

                                 22
The Army has requested for development of this road for
     movement of higher axel load vehicle. This      road               upon
     development shall be an alternative route for the Army as well as
     benefit the civilians. This is an existing road and is a stretch about 50
     kilometres and development to 2-lane standard with replacement of
     bridges to 70R loading will help in boosting the Tourism Industry in
     the State.

Strategic Roads:
     The roads which are required for better connectivity to the Border
     areas

Construction of 2- lane from Bagrakote – Lava – Algarah – Rhenok -
Menla (Nathula Border) having a length of about 150 Km.

Construction of an alternate double lane Highway, from West Bengal to
Sikkim, mainly for strategic purposes. Out of the three alternatives, the
final stretch approved by the DG Forest was from Bagrakote – Lava –
Algarah – Rhenok - Menla (Nathula Border). This road has been proposed
to be taken up by the BRO and the NHAI (National Highway Authority of
India).

A:     Rural Connectivity Roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak
Yojana:

             This programme was conceived during the regime of the
     previous NDA Government under Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji with a
     stated vision of providing rural connectivity. During the 1 st Phase, the
     total number of habitation covered under the core network was 410 out

                                       23
of which 329 has been sanctioned by the Government of India. The
  total proposed length to cover the above was 1800 kms out of which
  1422 Kms has been sanctioned with a total cost of Rs 683.00 crores.

           The State Government has submitted a revised proposal to
  cover 501 habitations with the core network under PMGSY. The
  remaining 172 habitations under the core network are yet to be
  covered. It is requested that the Government of India may look into the
  matter favourably. Moreover roads under this flagship programme
  which has previously been commissioned needs routine maintenance
  work so as to prevent complete deterioration. Accordingly, it is
  requested that Government of India may like to consider a maintenance
  grant for these roads so that the rural public are able to enjoy the fruits
  of rural connectivity to its fullest.

B: Roads under Border Roads Organisation:

      Sikkim being a border State, all important roads connecting to the
border areas is maintained by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO),
including the main highway NH -10.These roads is of strategic
importance for the security and defence of the Country. Since these roads
are under BRO, the sanctions for up-gradation and repairs are
accorded on piecemeal basis which causes inordinate delays in
implementation. It is therefore suggested that the following roads
may be taken up under National Projects, so that there is no delay in
implementation and people do not face hardships.

National Highway – 10: (Sevoke – Ranipool) (length 89.40Km)

                                          24
The NH- 10 (old NH31A) is the lifeline of the State. The road is
being upgraded to 2-lane standard since 2009 and is going at a very slow
pace. As per the information received, only 50% of the widening works
has been approved by the Government of India for which the expected
date of completion is 2016. The remaining stretches are yet to be
sanctioned. It is requested for the consideration the remaining stretches on
top priority. Early completion of the widening process of NH 10 would
help in enhancing the Tourism Industry and reduce the cost of
transportation of goods and services.

National Highway – 310: (Ranipool – Burtuk – Sherathang –
Nathula) (Length 65 Km)

        The State Government is very much thankful to the Government
 of India for re-opening the Trade between India and China through
 Nathula. The up-gradation of road connecting to Nathula began in year
 2009 and is still far behind its completion which is greatly affecting the
 trade. Early completion of the work will definitely boost Trade as well as
 Tourism Industry in the State.

National Highway – 310a: (Tashi View Point to Mangan) (length: 66
  km)

           This road connects the District Head Quarters of North
  Sikkim, Mangan. The road was being upgraded to double lane standard
  and is maintained by the Border Road Organisation under GS fund.
  The road has recently been declared as National Highway but is today
  in a very deplorable State. It is requested that necessary up gradation
  work on the same may be sanctioned at the earliest.
                                     25
The road further connects to Chungthang and it diverts to
  Lachen and Lachung. The conditions of these roads are very pathetic
  and needs immediate intervention of the Government of India for
  immediate up keep and widening to double lane.

Singtam – Dikchu – Rangrang: (length 40 km)

         The road connects the District Head Quarters, Mangan to the
  nearest Railway, New Jalpaiguri, Airport at Bagdogra and the nearest
  commercial hub, Siliguri. The total length of the road is 39.06 Km
  which needs to be upgraded to double lane standard.

Rangpo to Rorathang: (length: 11 km)

          The road is of intermediate standard which connects Rongli,
  Kupup, Nathula and        Sherathang. The     road    requires proper
  maintenance and up-gradation to double lane standard.

Reshi – Rongli – Kupup - Sherathang: (length 95 km)

        The road is of single lane standard with 94.50 Km length which
  connects Nathula Border as well as the trade base camp, Sherathang.
  Improvement and up-gradation of this road is required.

Dikchu – Sangkalang – Mangan: (length: 28 km)

          The road is being used by the Army as an alternate route to
 North Sikkim. With the specific request by the Army, the road was
 handed over to the BRO. This road requires improvement along with
 replacement of existing suspension bridges.

                                  26
Dikchu - Sangkalang – Sapho – Toong (length: 64 km)

           The road was constructed by the BRO during 1990s and is still
 an earthen road. The road connects to the remotest hamlets of the North
 District. Immediate improvement of the road is required as this is an
 alternate route connecting to Chungthang and other parts of North
 Sikkim.

Ravong – Phamtam – Dzongu – Upper Dzongu – Chungthang:

       Sikkim is surrounded by Nepal, China, Bhutan and movement of
the Army to safeguard of the territory is of prime importance. At present
the Army has to travel several days to reach the border. To reduce the
time for deployment of Army in the border, connectivity along above
proposed alignment is essential. This road shall be starting from Ravong-
Phamtam – Dzongu - Upper Dzongu - Chungthang.

Maintenance of Roads:

      Due to the earthquake of 18th September, 2011, most of the roads
infrastructure was damaged and completion of revenue generating
Projects have been delayed which may take some more time for
completion. At the moment, there is no major revenue generating units
except Tourism. Though the Government of India was generous to grant
us Rs. 200 crores, we are still facing difficulties in maintaining and
repairing our roads. As on date, the funds provided under the Finance
Commission Grants are inadequate for coping up with the required
quantum of maintenance works. It is requested that the Government of
India may kindly allocate a sum of Rs 696 crores, specifically for
maintenance of the existing road network.
                                   27
The requirement of fund district-wise is as follows:-

      Sl.No.          District           Rupees in crores
        1              West                    235
        2              South                   238
        3               East                   190
        4              North                    33

Railway Connectivity

 Rail Link Between Sevoke in West Bengal to Rangpo in Sikkim.

     Survey of rail link between Sevoke in West Bengal to Rangpo in
Sikkim was conducted by North-Eastern Frontier Railway and a Geo
Technical Study was also conducted. The foundation stone for the project
was laid by His Excellency the Vice President of India, Shri Hamid
Ansari in the presence of the then Union Railway Minister, Ms. Mamata
Banerjee in the year 2009. There has been considerable delay in
implementing the project as the environment clearance is pending with
the Government of West Bengal. Establishment of the rail connectivity
would definitely lead to solving many of the issues related to connectivity
in the State and also further economic development on a faster pace. With
regard to environment clearance pending, it is suggested that a
Concurrent approval mechanism needs to be set up between the
Central Government and the concerned State Government(s) as the
subject of Forest clearance is in the Concurrent List.
                                    28
5. Prime Minister’s Package for Earthquake Re-construction

          Sikkim was     approved and sanctioned Rs.1000 crores under
Special Plan Assistance for post earthquake re-construction under the
Prime Minister’s Special Package. The State is very grateful for the
Special Package and release of Rs.700 s till 2013-14. To complete the re-
construction and rehabilitation works, a balance of Rs.300 crores
proposed under Annual Plan 2014-15 may kindly be considered.

           The peace and tranquillity prevailing in the State for the last
twenty years has accelerated the pace of development, especially in the
tourism sector. However, there is growing unemployment due to limited
avenues and the State has to provide employment to a large segment of
the population. Various infrastructure projects have also been sanctioned
by the Central Government and Ministry of Development of North
Eastern Region including North Eastern Council. All these projects
require State Share for which the State has not been able to fully provide
the required funding due to limited resources and earmarking of funds
under Additional Central Assistance and Special Plan Assistance.          A
small State like our’s has to bear the administrative and establishment cost
of various mandatory Institutions and Organizations in the State.

          It is therefore, requested that the Annual Plan 2014-15 for
Sikkim may be reviewed with special fiscal compensation recommended
under the Report of the Committee to study Development in Hilly States
arising from Management of Forest Lands with Special focus on creation
of Infrastructure, Livelihood and Human Development, especially in the
Himalayan Region with a package of Rs.1000 crores            for Sikkim to

                                     29
address the various problems as well as development of economic and
social infrastructure in the State as a one -time package. We will connect
these to infrastructure development in Tourism, Education, Health,
Floriculture and other Sectors.

6. 14th Finance Commission

          The Memorandum submitted by the State Government to the
14th Finance Commission projecting the difficulties and disadvantages
may be considered with adequate award. The State Government has
projected Rs 20511.98 crores. In spite of Sikkim joining the main
stream in 1975, the stipulation regarding adoption of population is
based on figures of 1971 census. The viable option for us would be to
adopt the latest census figures which will be in proportion to the
increase in population.

7. Tourism

          The tourism sector is the mainstay of our economy. Over the
years, we have been undertaking a number of new programmes and
policies. Our thrust areas being eco tourism and rural tourism, with the
aim of sustainable development in        this   core sector. We are also
planning to step into the foray of Niche Tourism by constructing
Golf Courses and venturing into concepts like          Meeting Institute
Conference and Exhibition (MICE). Establishment of a Reptile Park,
a Theme Park, an Eco-Tourism Complex at Kichudumra, South
Sikkim and a Skiing Resort in North Sikkim are some of our
proposals. However, the basic     necessity of good roads, quality power
and water supply are essential pre-requisites of this service industry.
                                    30
Hence, sufficient funds may be required to meet up the demand regarding
these as well.

           It is therefore, our earnest and humble request that the Tourism
sector may be given top priority by the Government of India and render us
help     and support in every possible way to take forward our dream of
making Sikkim one of the most sought after tourist destinations of the
world.

8. Education

            The State Government gives top priority to education and our
emphasis is on providing quality education. Education in the State is
inclusive of both formal and vocational education. Our target is to
develop the human resource of the State and make the youths employable
and self-reliant. Projects such as establishment of a Girls’ College and
Vocational College are being taken up.

            We already have an Institute of Capacity Building, through
which many of our youth have been trained. More such capacity building
programmes will be organized in future. We hope to get the required
support from Government of India for our future endeavours in this sector
as well.

9. Health facilities

           The State has only two major hospitals in STNM Hospital and
Central Referral Manipal Hospital, which is located in Gangtok. These
hospitals do not have the required ultra modern facilities. We are also
constructing a 575 bedded multi-speciality hospital, a few kilometres

                                     31
away from Gangtok. But these facilities may not be enough to cater to the
growing needs of the day. Therefore, we would be grateful if you could
kindly look into the possibility of establishing an AIIMS in our State
for the overall benefit of our people.

10. Establishment of Central University for Himalayan Technology

         The initiative taken by the Hon’ble Union Minister of Human
Resource Development for the establishment of Central      University for
Himalayan Technology         has given us hopes and aspirations for
setting up of the University in our State. Sikkim      renowned for its
peace and tranquillity would be an ideal place for this venture,
particularly North Sikkim. With its idyllic setting and friendly
people, the University would be ideally located. We are hopeful that
our State may kindly be considered for this project.

11. Organic Farming

          The State is working on a mission mode and organic farming is
one of the missions of the State Government. We        plan to be a fully
organic State by 2015 for which massive drive has already been
undertaken and we are still in the process of meeting our target. However,
merely achieving our target of a fully Organic State will not be enough.
We intend to take it further and maintain our status by planning specific
goals for the future. Regular trainings to the farmers, production of
manures and ban on fertilizers are the steps we have to pursue
continuously. Establishment of a Manure Production Plant in the State is
one of our plans.

                                    32
We have certain issues which are pending with the
Government of India for a long time. In spite of numerous
representations, some economic political issues have remained
unresolved. They are:-

SOCIO-ECONOMIC POLITICAL ISSUES

12. Reservation of seats in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly for the
Limboo and Tamang communities.
         The Limboo and Tamang communities were declared as
Scheduled Tribes in 2002 by Act No.10 of 2003. The State Government
has been requesting the Government of India ever since their declaration
as Scheduled Tribes for reserving seats in the Sikkim Legislative
Assembly too by a Central legislation as Scheduled Tribes without
disturbing the 12 seats reserved for the Bhutia and Lepcha communities as
their reservation of seats in the Assembly is on the basis of communities
and not on the basis of being Scheduled Tribes alone. In the recently
concluded elections too these Limboo- Tamang communities could not
derive benefit of being Scheduled Tribes in the Sikkim Legislative
Assembly though the State Government has given them job reservation.
These two communities are also feel that the Government of India has not
been giving them the due as provided in the Constitution.

         We earnestly request that the Government under your able
leadership will also resolve the issue of allocation of seats in the
Assembly for the Limboo and Tamang communities.

13. Inclusion in the list of Scheduled Tribes.
                                    33
The erstwhile Sikkim Subjects were categorized as Indian
Citizens vide Sikkim (Citizenship) Order, 1975. Sikkim Subjects and their
descendants number just around four lakhs of people. In the erstwhile
regime of the then Chogyal the underlying principle amongst the Sikkim
Subjects was the treatment of equality between the Sikkimese Bhutia-
Lepchas and the Sikkimese Nepalese. However, in 1978 only the Bhutia-
Lepcha communities were declared as Scheduled Tribes. Later in 2002,
Limboo-Tamang communities were added in the list of Scheduled Tribes.
The left out Sikkimese numbering around two lakhs are nurturing a
feeling of anguish, discrimination, deprivation and alienation due to
denial of their rightful due. In this historical background of justice being
denied, the issue of restoration of equal socio-economic status to all the
left out Sikkimese ethnic communities of Kirat Khambu Rai, Gurung,
Mangar, Thami, Jogi, Sanyasi, Bahun, Chettri and Newar should be
favourably considered at the earliest.

        We are very thankful to the Government of India for
exempting all Sikkimese from Income Tax as defined under
Explanation of Section 10 Clause (26AAA) effective from 1 st April,
1991 under the Income Tax Act, 1961. The commonality of all
Sikkimese communities has been clearly amplified in the provision of
exemption in Income Tax law at Section 26(AAA) of the Income Tax
Act. We feel very strongly that the basic fabric of the Sikkimese
communities has to be respected and appreciated as it is the
underlying ethos of the Sikkimese society. Unless we address this
sensitive issue and pay serious attention in a time bound manner, the

                                     34
situation is likely to impact the prevailing peace and tranquillity in
the most peaceful State of the Nation. This matter has to be resolved.

14. 17th Gyalwa       Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje           to    Rumtek
Monastery:-
        The Karmapa is the head of the Kagyu lineage in Mahayana
Buddhism. The Rumtek Monastery has been the seat of the Karmapa ever
since the 16th Karmapa, Ranjung Rigpe Dorje took refuge here.

        The people of Sikkim have been anxiously and expectantly
waiting for the Government of India to allow His Holiness Ogyen Trinley
Dorje to take his seat at Rumtek for a number of years now. It is a long-
pending wish of the people of Sikkim and an issue close to the heart of
every Sikkimese. In the past, the State Government has made numerous
representations to the Centre regarding this issue. The first representation
was made      in the year 2000.Ever since; the State Government has
submitted other petitions as well.

        You are aware Sikkim is a peaceful State where the people are
simple and religious minded. The presence of the Karmapa in the State
will further enhance the tranquillity of the State and add to the spiritual
development of the people. We are anxious to see that the State prospers
not only materially but in all aspects of human development. We would,
therefore, like to request you to kindly facilitate the early coming of His
Holiness Ogyen Trinley Dorje to Sikkim.

15. Income Tax Exemption to left out and Old Business
Communities:-

                                     35
The people of Sikkim are grateful to the Government of India for
granting exemption of Income Tax to the Sikkimese by introducing
Clause “(26 AAA)” in the Finance Act, 2008. ‘Sikkimese’ here includes
all Sikkim Subject holders and their descendants.

      However, the following categories of persons have been deprived
of the exemption for not having their names included in the Sikkim
Subject Register maintained under the Sikkim Subject Regulation, 1961.
     1. Persons who has/had agricultural land in the rural areas and has
        been ordinarily residing in the State of Sikkim.

     2. Old settlers i.e., the business community who have been residing
        continuously and have permanently settled in Sikkim prior to the
        enactment of the Sikkim Subject Regulation, 1961;

     3. Persons whose father/husband has/had been in Sikkim
        Government Service prior to 1969 and who have permanently
        settled in the State of Sikkim
      These categories of persons are referred to as the “left out
persons”. These left out persons have been persistently approaching both
the Central and the State Governments for extending Income Tax
exemptions. Taking into account, the social historical as well as political
aspects of these people, the Government of Sikkim feels that they deserve
exemption at par with the individuals already exempted.

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