2 Nov 2013
The statehood agitation in Darjeeling since 1986 has caused Sikkim a massive loss of around Rs5,000 crore and we wonder who will compensate the amount, asks chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling to both the West Bengal and Union governments.
Chamling said so this afternoon at Bagdogra airport before flying off to New Delhi to meet central ministers for a number of demands raised by his government. He said Sikkim has always remained a victim to the statehood agitation in neighbouring Darjeeling as there is only one road connection - National Highway 31 – linking the state to the rest of the country and this road passes through the Darjeeling region.
“I have brought forth matter with the Bengal and Union governments several times but neither has listened to us,” said the chief minister. “Hum chote pradesh ke hone se shayad najar andaaj kiya hoga. Hume kitne baar sab ko namaskar kare? Darjeeling aur Bangal sarkar dono ke saath goodwill banana parta hai (This must be due to the fact we are from a small state. How many times do we need to implore before them? We need to maintain goodwill with both Darjeeling and the Bengal government).”
Chamling further said this time he will seek an appointment with home minister Sushil Kumar Sindhe and discuss the loss that Sikkim incurs due to the agitation in Darjeeling.
When asked about the recent developments in Darjeeling and the development funds announced by his Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister said, “As I am just a neighbour, I can only send good wishes to both Darjeeling and Kolkata. Chief minister Banerjee is doing good work, I pray for the further development of West Bengal.”
When asked whether he intends to continue as the chief minister after the next election, Chamling replied, “It all depends upon the people of the state as to whether they want me to continue or not. The people are the ultimate decision makers, hence they have to decide and choose the ablest leader to rule the state wisely. Votes should not be cast in the name of religion and caste, but with the knowledge that an unsuitable leader will ruin the state.”
Promising that Sikkim will become one of the most developed states in the country over the next decade, Chamling noted there are 201 insurgent groups active in India of which more than 100 are in the North East states alone, but Sikkim does not have even one militant group.