Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling on Monday iterated his backing for Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on her handling of the situation in the Darjeeling hills where the Gorkhaland agitation had resulted in the three months-long shutdown in the middle of last year.
Interacting with a visiting team of journalists from Calcutta here, Chamling praised Mamata as a great leader who enjoys his complete support.
"The chief minister said he supports whatever Mamata is doing in the Darjeeling hills since she is a great leader of a big state. He also said that he was for the development of both Bengal and Sikkim," said a member of the visiting team.
On the Doklam standoff, Chamling is understood have told the team that he came to know about it through the media and neither the Union government nor the Indian Army kept had him in the loop.
He spoke about the four per cent increase in forest cover of Sikkim and called for extending the ban on the use of plastic throughout India.
The Sikkim chief minister, according to the senior journalist, also iterated his demand for the granting of peace bonus to the Himalayan state for its impeccable record in maintaining law and order. "He demanded Rs 1,000 crore as peace bonus, citing the absence of insurgency, hostility and violence on the basis of caste, creed and religion during his tenure," said the journalist.
Sikkim has been demanding peace bonus for a long time now, but the Centre has remained mute to it. Mizoram was the first state to be given peace bonus way back in 2000 for being the most peaceful state in the otherwise trouble-torn north-east.
Centre kept us in dark on Doklam: Chamling
Shiv Sahay Singh
GANGTOK, AUGUST 20, 2018
Says people in Sikkim are now living in fear of a war
Observing that the people of Sikkim are “living in fear” because of the stand-off in Doklam between India and China, Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on Monday said the Centre had kept the border State in the dark on the issue.
|Pawan Chamling with Mamata Banerjee - a file photo|
“Nobody has consulted us, neither the Centre nor the Army has told us anything about the situation. Whatever we get to know about Doklam is from newspaper reports,” Mr. Chamling told a group of journalists from the Kolkata Press Club.
“Here in Sikkim, we live with the Doklam issue. There is a fear psychosis among the people. We are afraid of the situation,” Mr. Chamling said.
He said the people feared a war with China, and referred to Kupup, the last inhabited village in Sikkim, about 30 km from Doklam.
“We want good relations between India and China. The State government and the people of Sikkim have shown their love for the country and have worked for the interest of India,” he said. On a solution to the issue, he said the Centre knew best.
Mr. Chamling said he had tried to shield the State from external disturbances, whether from Maoism in Nepal or the Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling. He said he wanted peace in Darjeeling, and supported the stand of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“We want to join Mamata Banerjee and contribute to the prosperity of Darjeeling,”. In 2017, the West Bengal government had accused Sikkim of giving shelter to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung..
Via The Hindu