Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021 07:45 [IST]
Last Update: Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021 02:16 [IST]
SKM tells BJP legislators that LT seat & Companies Act imbroglio persists due to past (their) SDF Sarkar’s indifference
GANGTOK,: The treasury bench of SKM government on Tuesday locked horns with its alliance partner BJP at the Assembly where the former SDF legislators were strongly reminded about their shortcomings in previous SDF government on unresolved issues now raised by them.
Discussions over a dozen questions fielded by the BJP MLAs stretched to around 90 minutes, particularly on Companies Act, Limboo-Tamang seats and Karmapa issues. Some of the submissions from the alliance partner were challenging to the point that they offered that BJP would take initiative on Limboo-Tamang seat issue “if the SKM cannot deliver”.
Chief Minister P.S. Golay, also the Leader of the House, took part on two discussions wherein he reminded the alliance partner MLAs that the imbroglio is persisting on these issues because of the previous SDF government where they were senior ministers then.
Former ministers D.T. Lepcha and N.K. Subba along with MLAs D.R. Thapa and Farwanti Tamang had sought to know the steps taken by the SKM government on providing Limboo-Tamang seats in the Assembly and tribal status for the left-out communities.
In his reply, Social Welfare minister Dr. M.K. Sharma said the State government has written three times to the Centre on the two demands in 2021. Our government had also passed a resolution seeking tribal status for the left-out communities and our demands are before the Union government for consideration, he said.
On this, Lepcha pointed out to a 2020 press statement given by the then Sikkim BJP in-charge wherein he had stated that the “Limboo-Tamang seat reservation ball is in the State government’s court and the State needs to submit a formula”. It has been one year, where is the formula?, the Gnathang-Machong MLA asked.
Subba added that even the previous SDF government had written to the Centre multiple times along with passing a resolution on the two demands. The SKM government, during its election campaign, had promised to deliver Limboo-Tamang seats in 10 days and 100 days, he said.
“Will the Limboo-Tamang seats be there before the 2024 elections? Will the 12 left-out communities get tribal status? If the SKM cannot deliver this, we the BJP will take the initiative,” challenged the Maneybung-Dentam MLA.
Dr. Sharma responded by stating that Limboo-Tamang seat reservation is a sensitive issue and should not be compared as a “ball to be tossed in this or that direction”. He opined that the BJP functionary’s statement in 2020 cannot be taken as official statement of the party unless communicated in writing to the State government. We are in constant communication with the Centre regarding these two demands, he said.
The Chief Minister then joined the discussions and started off from where the then BJP State in-charge had stated to media in 2020.
“According to our senior member, the BJP functionary had stated that Limboo-Tamang seat is in the court of the State government, if it so then we are happy to learn that the seat reservation is a State subject. But D.T. Lepcha is a senior member and he should know that Limboo-Tamang seat issue is a Central subject. As for the State government, we have been sincerely seeking the Constitutional rights for the Limboo-Tamang communities with regular representations to the Centre,” said Golay.
Golay maintained that D.T. Lepcha must accept that the previous SDF government, during which Lepcha was also a minister, is to be blamed for the prolonged denial of political rights of the two tribal communities.
“If the previous government was sincere to the Limboo-Tamang communities, they would have got the seats in 2006 itself when the delimitation took place. The Delimitation Commission had come to Sikkim in 2006 and they had written to the State government to urgently send the population data of the two communities for giving them seats but the then government ignored the letter. If a reply had been given, the Limboo-Tamang seats would have happened in 2006,” maintained the Chief Minister.
Golay added the SKM election manifesto does not mention Limboo-Tamang seats in “10 days or 100 days” of government formation. We had promised to work sincerely on this demand in our election manifesto, he said.
D.R. Thapa contended that the two demands have not been pursued in a serious manner. We cannot be dependent on mere letters and we must collectively work on this, he said.
Earlier, the Upper Burtuk MLA questioned Commerce & Industries minister B.S. Panth on steps taken to regulate companies operating in Sikkim. He stated that local entrepreneurs are facing hardships as the Registration of Companies (Sikkim) Act 1961 is repealed while the Companies Act 2013 has not been extended to Sikkim. There is no active law at present in Sikkim regarding companies, he said.
On this, the Commerce & Industries minister replied that the 1961 Act is still in force adding that it would be necessary to have comprehensive rules framed to strengthen this statue to meet the present requirements. Minimal amendments will hence be required in keeping with the present times, he said. He informed that the State government has constituted a committee in February this year to examine/review the Registration of Companies (Sikkim) Act 1961. An industrial tribunal will be established in Sikkim, he said.
Panth added that the Companies Act 2013 was passed in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha when the past SDF government had its MPs in both the houses of the Parliament.
Thapa countered that it is no use by playing the blame game when local entrepreneurs are suffering. “We should look for an early solution. Why should our people register their companies outside Sikkim?”, he said. He maintained that the old law has been repealed by the new Central Act.
Q: How many ration cards have been issued by the Food & Civil Supplies department to migrant labourers under ONORC as of now in Sikkim?
Minister Arun Upreti: Nil
Q. On what basis has the department prepared the list of migrant labourers?
Minister Arun Upreti: So far Food & Civil Supplies department has not prepared any list of migrant labourers.
Q: How much rice is produced/yielded in Sikkim every year? Is the produce sufficient to meet the demand according to the total population?
Minister L.N. Sharma: 17,182 tonnes of paddy is produced in Sikkim every year. The produce is not sufficient to meet the demand according to the total population.