Gangtok, January 12(IPR): Minister, Forest and Environment Department, Government of Sikkim, Karma Loday Bhutia chaired a meeting today to address the issue of land diversion and forest clearance for the ongoing road at Basilakha and Pricklakha under Pakyong district.
The meeting was an immediate follow up of the direction of Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang during his public interaction programme at Namcheybong constituency on 3rd January, 2023. The public and concerned stakeholders had brought the matter before the Chief Minister, who had then called for immediate redressal from the departments concerned.
Today’s meeting had the participation of Secretary Forest Department, Pradeep Kumar, PCE cum Secretary RDD, LD. Lamtha, CF (Territorial), Karma Legshey, Director (F&E) RDD, Raj N. Pradhan, Director Finance Department, P.G Lucksom, DC Pakyong Tashi Chophel, DFO Gangtok, Smita Shilal, DFO Pakyong, Thenmozhi V, ACF Pakyong Satish Vasistha, RO Pakyong Kumar Bhandari, Revenue Officer Pakyong, D.R Achey, Panchayats under Namchebong GPU, contractors, public of the affected areas, and departmental officials.
The main objective of the meeting was to address the public grievances regarding delay in the construction of a bridge along the Basilakha and Pricklakha road, connecting Pakyong and 32 Number (NH 10).
The issue was discussed in detail, wherein the officials of both the Forest Department and the Rural Development Department put forth their points. Likewise, the contractor, panchayats and the aggrieved people placed their views.
After lending a patient hearing to the submissions made by all the concerned stakeholders, Minister for Forest and Environment, Karma Loday Bhutia, called for amicably resolving the issue by following a middle path, and explained the matter to the aggrieved members of the public. He stated that delay was caused due to many legacy issues and the need to comply with varoius acts and guidelines by the user agencies, i.e., departments/ organizations, while executing developmental projects. He further explained that since vast majority of the State’s geographical area being classified as forest land and that “FOREST” being under the Concurrent list, the concurrence of the Central Government is required.
Hence, the Minister urged the concerned project implementing agencies to keep adequate provision for payment of Net Present Value (NPV) and other compensation amounts at the time of planning any developmental project. Likewise, he advised the departments to invariably consult the field officials of the Forest Department while undergoing the recce and joint inspections while planning any work.
Further, the Minister categorically stated that any issue that arises while carrying out any project should be addressed prudently by the concerned departments through proper coordination. He reiterated that the collective goal of any department should be the timely execution of developmental work, and to ensure that the public do not suffer.
The Minister thanked the Chief Minister for creating the environment for today’s meeting, and added that this was one of the examples of the immediate impact of the ongoing public interaction programmes.
The members of the public thanked the Minister for addressing the issue and for providing an amicable solution.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks proposed by CF(T), Forest Department, Karma Legshey.