Happy to lay the Foundation Stone for Gyan Mandir (Temple of Knowledge) today, near the All India Radio Complex, Gangtok. Our decision for constructing this library was keeping in mind the importance that education and knowledge play in the lives of the people.
I called upon the executing department–Buildings & Housing- to develop the Gyan Mandir (Temple of Knowledge) as a world-class infrastructure with eco-friendly facilities. They should try and complete the project before the scheduled date of completion, duly ensuring quality control in the work executed. Once completed, I hope the Gyan Mandir will be a landmark structure in Gangtok and will be utilized by tourists along with the local people.
Later, I attended Sikkim Infrastructure Developers Summit – 2018 at Manan Kendra.
Some of the highlights of my address to the Engineers and some of the new announcements that I made are:-
1.There should be a sense of ownership, responsibility and accountability among our people for the welfare of our State just as is the case in the developed world. Sikkim should set an example to the other parts of the Country and the other third world countries by doing so. That is the reason why I have been making the appeal for more than two decades now.
2. All Engineers should make timely inspection of sites. Roads & Bridges Department should make it mandatory for all level Engineers of all works department to visit sites at a stipulated period of time.
3. Officials should stop working for personal interest only. Only then will there be democratization of our administration. Interest of the State and the people should be the topmost priority.
4. Engineers should bear in mind that they play an integral part in the development of the State, especially with regard to infrastructure development. History itself is testimony to the contributions made by great engineers of the past who have given us monuments and mega-structures, some of which are wonders of the world and will remain for posterity. Similarly, our Engineers should draw inspiration from those renowned personalities and leave their imprints in the history of Sikkim. Our Engineers should realize that today’s world is a competitive one, where every professional has high level of standards. So it is imperative that our Engineers keep themselves updated. They should regularly hone and upgrade their skills and aptitudes as well as try to be innovative and creative. They should undergo frequent trainings and refresher courses.
5. Engineers should come up with ideas and suggestions for making our roads the best in the Country. Keeping in mind our fragile topography, they should avoid method like slope cutting. Our roads should be made durable, stable and eco-friendly. As already decided by the Government, there should be plantation along the road reserve in case of any new construction. The services of the large number of casual labourers already available with the Roads & Bridges should be utilized properly. Moreover, making roads unnecessarily circuitous should be avoided at all costs.
6. Box Drains and Culverts should be constructed in place of v-shaped drains and causeways respectively, wherever necessary.
7. As already decided by us, all on-going road carpeting works should be completed by 31stMarch, 2018. I have come to know of instances where hurdles have been created by some anti-social elements, who are harassing the Contractors. These people are extortionists and no one should bow down to their threats and black-mailings. I have also come to know of some people who intimidate our Officials, Contractors and the people in the name of RTI Act. We should all remember that RTI Act is an important tool for the people in a democracy, which empowers them to seek any information they want. It is for ensuring transparency in governance. Unfortunately, this right is being misused by some people for their vested interest. We have to stop all these irregular and democratic practices very soon. If the trend continues, I am afraid, that in future dangerous elements like insurgency might creep into our society.
8. All requests for Cadre Review will be taken up. The case of regularization of Acting AEs will be initiated.
9. Secretaries of all works departments to make proper manpower planning, duly ensuring decentralization of powers and functions among all Engineers.
10.The system of engaging Consultants for preparing DPRs and other related works should be discouraged. Such works should be taken up by our own Engineers and technocrats.
11.There shall be no further appointment of Supervisors for 10 years. Untrained Supervisors should be trained immediately. Pr. Secy-cum- Development Commissioner should make funds available for the same.
Targetting the Contractors in the audience, I exhorted them not to think of themselves as businessmen whose motive is merely profit-making. Instead as Government registered Contractors, they should work for the Government. Acknowledging the fact that the Contractors have been able to give employment to a large number of our people, I also reminded them the fact that they are responsible for executing works involving large amount of funds from the State Ex-Chequer, it means they have the trust of the Government. Hence, they should also work in the interest of the people and the State. I also appealed to them to try and complete all works before the scheduled time. Talking about many works which are pending and incomplete for a long time, I directed all concerned departments to blacklist all such Contractors and to re-tender the works or take them up departmentally. We will not tolerate anyone who acts as an impediment in our path of development. At the same time, we will also not hesitate in giving due appreciation and recognition to any deserving Engineer and Contractor. Concerned departments should recommend such names and the candidates, shall be awarded on the occasion of State Day.
I also gave directions to the Panchayats and some of them are:-
1. Panchayats should appeal to the people of their respective areas to co-operate with the concerned department, Officials and Contractors for early completion of on-going works, especially road carpeting. They should instil in the people the feeling of ownership and a sense of responsibility towards their village.
2. Every GPU should come up with a plan to make their village self-sufficient and self-reliant in the fields of tourism, power, organic farming and take advantage of status of Sikkim being a neat, clean and peaceful state. They should work towards making their village ‘Adarsh Goan’ (Model Village).
3. All GPUs should come up with a plan, choosing any five subjects or sectors, for attaining self-sufficiency and becoming self-reliant in those chosen fields. It should be submitted to Chief Minister’s Office within 15 days.
4. Panchayats should play an active role in the implementation of schemes under RMDD, such as CMRHM, REDRH, PMGSY, drinking water schemes etc. They should also come up with solutions for solving drinking water problems being faced by some of the villages.
5. I exhorted the Panchayats to stand firm and be bold in their decisions. They should work towards becoming role models and ideal people’s representatives. Only then will they be eligible in taking higher responsibilities in future.