Gangtok, December 27 (IPR): A special event to mark the formal opening of Raj Bhavan for tourists and public was organized by Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Government of Sikkim at Old Raj Bhavan in Gangtok today. The programme was graced by Governor Shri Ganga Prasad and Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang along with the State First Lady, Smt. Kamala Devi, Cabinet Ministers, MLAs, Chief Secretary, DGP, ADGPs, ACSs, Chairpersons, Advisors, CMO officials, Heads of Departments and other dignitaries.
The programme was also attended by representatives of various organisations namely Sikkim Amateur Mountaineering Association (SAMA), Sikkim United Tourism Organisation (SUTO), Sikkim Association of Adventure Tour Operators (SAATO), Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS), All Sikkim Luxury Vehicle Association (ASLVA), Homestay Association of Sikkim (HAS), Sikkim Paragliding Association (SPA), Luxury Vehicle Association (LVA), All Sikkim Travels and Hospitality Association (ASTHA) and Owner Run Hotel Association of Sikkim (ORHAS) along with tourists from different parts of the country.
It may be recalled that the historic decision of the opening of Raj Bhavan for tourists and local gentry from January 1, 2022 was announced by the Governor earlier this month.
At the outset of the event, Secretary, Raj Bhavan, Shri Raj Yadav in his address accorded warm welcome to all the dignitaries while briefing the gathering about the various amenities available at the Raj Bhavan premises at present including the statues of Subhash Chandra Bose and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a 70-ft flag mast hoisting the National flag, medicinal plants farm, etc. Raj Bhavan will be open for public viewing from 1st January, 2022 between 10 am to 12 pm in the morning and between 2 pm to 4 pm in the evening, he added.
Chief Engineer, Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Shri Neeraj Pradhan, in his commemoration speech highlighted the areas in the Raj Bhavan which would be made accessible to the public and tourists. He also cited various historical events related to the Old Raj Bhavan and expressed that the opening of the Raj Bhavan for public viewing will enable people to relive the glorious history and harmonious setting of the Raj Bhavan premises.
Thereafter, Governor Shri Ganga Prasad and Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang inaugurated the Photo Exhibition organised by the IPR Department and also released ‘The Heritage Building of Raj Bhavan at Gangtok’ brochure.
On the occasion, the Governor and the Chief Minister were felicitated by Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS) and Positude Event Management team.
Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang, in his address, extended gratitude to the Governor for envisioning the development of tourism sector in the State through his historical decision of opening the Raj Bhavan for public and tourists. He also thanked the Governor for prioritising the agriculture, education and allied sectors and guiding the State government to work towards the upliftment of the people of Sikkim.
He stated that the opening of the Raj Bhavan will be an additional asset for attracting both tourists and the local gentry thus boosting tourism in the State of Sikkim. He added that State government will continue extending its full support towards infrastructure development to further create employment opportunities and to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship among the youth of the State.
Highlighting on the various schemes of the central and state governments initiated to support the entrepreneurs in tourism sector, the Chief Minister urged all the travel agencies and stakeholders to work towards showcasing the hospitality of the people of Sikkim and also motivated all towards transforming Sikkim into the next wedding destination in the near future.
Addressing the gathering, Governor Shri Ganga Prasad said that with the opening of the heritage building of Raj Bhavan for public viewing, people can now revel in the splendorous beauty and architecture of the building. He stated that this initiative will also be a stepping stone in bringing the eventful changes in the political history of the State while highlighting the documentation of Sikkim’s transformation into a democratic State of Independent India.
The Governor reiterated the central government’s mission of making India ‘atmanirbhar’ and commended the State government’s contributions towards encouraging people’s proactive participation in being ‘vocal for local’. He further added that he has adopted two GPUs in the State of Sikkim namely Navey-Shotak and Ben-Phegyong for the all-round development of the villages.
Applauding Sikkim for promoting tourism and organic farming at a wide scale, the Governor stressed on the potential of saffron farming here in Sikkim and added that its future prospects will surely be called up in the coming days.
He further urged all to make a commitment towards working for the betterment of the society and the nation as a whole to successfully commemorate the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav that celebrates 75 years of progressive India and the glorious history of it’s people, culture and achievements.
The programme also featured a cultural extravaganza presented by local artists with the light and sound show being one of the main highlights of the event.
The vote of thanks was proposed by Additional Secretary, Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Shri Kapil Meena.