Gangtok, Jan 26 (IPR): Awards, honours, march past, band display and unique cultural presentations marked the 75th Republic Day celebration here at Paljor Stadium Gangtok today.
The State-level function commenced with the unfurling of the national flag by Governor Mr Lakshman Prasad Acharya.
After receiving the National salute, the Governor proceeded towards reviewing the Republic Day parade.
Thereafter, March Past comprising contingents from Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), 6th Battalion Meghalaya Police, Sikkim Armed Police (SAP), 2nd Indian Reserve Battalion (IRBn), 3rd Indian Reserve Battalion (IRBn), Sikkim Police (Male), Sikkim Police (Female), Sikkim Forest Department, Sikkim Home Guard and Civil Defence, Sikkim Veer Gorkha (Ex- Servicemen), NCC, Parade 21C, Sikkim Police Pipe Band and Sikkim Police Brass Band was exhibited.
The State-level celebration was graced by Chief Minister Mr Prem Singh Tamang as the guest of honour. He was joined by Cabinet Ministers Mr Kunga Nima Lepcha and Mr Sonam Lama, MLA Gangtok Mr YT Lepcha, Mr VB Pathak, Chief Secretary, Mr AK Singh, Director General of Police, heads of departments, Army and paramilitary officials, senior officers of the State and Central Government, PSUs and people from all walks of life.
In his Republic Day address, Governor Mr Lakshman Prasad Acharya extended his warm greetings to the people of Sikkim. He began his address by extending deep sympathies and condolences to the families affected by the catastrophic disaster the state encountered on the intervening night of October 3rd and 4th, 2023, resulting in grievous loss of lives and widespread damage to government, civil, and private properties. Special acknowledgment was also made to several individuals and organisations which came forward to help the people of the state affected by the flash flood.
The Governor also enumerated two housing schemes to address the housing needs of those who lost their homes, namely; the ‘Sikkim Punarvaas Awaas Yojana’ (SPAY) and the ‘Sikkim Janta Housing Colony’ (SJHC) providing long-term solutions to mitigate the plight of the victims affected by the catastrophic Teesta Flash Floods.
Voicing the State Government’s commitment to transforming the education system with the national vision outlined in the National Education Policy 2020, the Governor said that the State Government aims to prepare the youth for a prosperous India by 2047. The education sector remains at the core of our holistic development paradigm, with consistent allocation of over 15% of the state budget to ensure ample resources, he added.
He added that the government’s commitment to world-class infrastructure is evident in completing 105 new school buildings and allocating over Rs 30 crores for renovating existing structures. Projects worth over 2000 crores are underway in higher education, including centers of excellence, universities, engineering colleges, and vocational colleges.
Speaking about notable projects illustrating the State Government’s dedication to elevating the tourism sector, he mentioned about range of innovative projects like the Mangarjung Development in Soreng District, the Eco-Tourism Pilgrimage (Brindabhan Dham) at Dodak Soreng District, the Four Patron Saints at Yuksom Gyalshing District, Nishani Kali Devi pilgrimage site at Budang Gadi, Rolu Mandir in Namchi District among many others.
Highlighting the vision and achievements of the State government, the Governor lauded the remarkable performance of the State in various sectors such as agriculture, environment, rural development, health, women empowerment and social justice amongst others.
He also spoke about various Central Government schemes, notably the Vibrant Village Programme, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Jal Jeevan Mission and campaign Viksit Bharat @2047, aiming to empower and involve the youth in shaping India’s destiny, aspiring to achieve a developed nation by 2047. He urged active participation from the youth to contribute to a prosperous future and a developed India.
Alongside various accomplishments of the State Government, the Governor announced the ‘Sikkim Aama Sahyog Yojana’- a scheme aimed at improving the lives of Below Poverty Line families while fostering environmental sustainability. Under this programme, the BPL households in the state will receive four annual refills of LPG cylinders through a Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of Rs 1100 per refill directly to the women of the households.
In his closing statement, the Governor beseeched every individual to cherish the values that bind us together as a nation—unity, diversity, and resilience. Our journey as a vibrant democracy has been shaped by the dedication and sacrifices of countless individuals who have strived to uphold the principles enshrined in our Constitution, he added.
Before the Republic Day address by the Governor, programme for presentation of Awards and Medals, was conducted.
The honours commenced with the announcement of President’s Police Medal for Meritorious Service, received from the Ministry of Home Affairs on the occasion of Independence Day 2024, to Shri Hari Prasad Chettri, DIG range- South & West and Shri Jordan Lepcha being bestowed with the Prestigious Padma Shri Award for bamboo craftsmanship.
The President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service which was presented on Independence Day 2022, was awarded to Shri Sonam Tenzing Bhutia, IGP.
Similarly, the Police Medal for Meritorious Service, which was presented on Independence Day 2022, was bestowed upon Shri. Thakur Thapa, DIG.
Fire Service Medal for Meritorious Service, which was presented on Republic Day 2023, was conferred to Shri. Mathew Rai, Deputy Chief Fire Officer.
The Home guards and Civil Defence (Commendation Certificate and Badge from DG, Ministry of Home Affairs, Home guards and Civil Defence) was presented to Shri Buddha Kumar Gurung SI, Shri Ashish Sherpa Security Assistant and Shri Sandeep Rai Home Guard.
Thereafter, the following employees of the Government of Sikkim were honoured with the prestigious Sikkim State Meritorious Service Award in recognition of their dedicated services to the State;
1. Mr Phurba Wangdi Bhutia- Managing Director, State Bank of Sikkim
2. Mr Tashi Chophel- District Collector Pakyong,
3. Mr Satyen Kumar Pradhan, Additional Secretary
4. Ms Kesang Yanki, Additional Registrar
5. Ms Cocola Pradhan, Superintendent of Police
6. Mr Kazi Sherpa, Joint Director
7. Mr Nagendra Rizal, Assistant Conservator of Forest
8. Mr Lalit Kumar Kashyap, Superintendent
9. Ms Januka Dhakal, Office Superintendent
10. Mr Puran Deep Sharma, Office Superintendent
11. Mr Arjun Tamang, Office Superintendent
12. Mr Jasjit Rai, Head Constable
13. Mr Bhim Bahadur Gurung, Foreman
14. Ms Shanta Darjee, Office Attendant
On the occasion, the Chief Minister’s Bravery Awards were presented to the spouses of Late Dr Pema Tenzing Lachungpa and Late Dawa Lepcha, carrying a citation and a cash reward of Rs. 5 lakh, in recognition of their exemplary courage during the recent flash floods.
Thereafter, Citation for Certificate of Appreciation on account of selfless contribution during the catastrophic flash floods was read out by Mr VB Pathak, Chief Secretary, with the following being felicitated; 17 Mountain Division, 27 Mountain Division, 33 Corps, Indian Air Force, Air Commoder Manish Patel, BRO: Brigadier Manoj Gupta, Chief Engineer and team, Project Swastik, AE (Civil) Mr. Sanjay Dutt Dobhal, Dett Naga, NHIDCL Team Colonel Rajeev Kumar, Executive Director, Colonel Rajesh Kumar, General Manager, Mr Apan Bhaumik, General Manager, Mr Musharaf Shan, Engineer, Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Director General of Meteorology and team, India Meteorological Department, Government of India.
During the programme, Mr Vijay Mani Thulung, noted artist, was handed over the copy of Notification for Establishment of Vijay Mani Thulung Art Gallery and Academy in Gangtok.
This was followed by the presentation of trophies to contingents based on their performance in the Republic Day parade.
The ITBP bagged all round best performing platoon trophy in Category A, while NCC bagged the best all around performing platoon trophy in Category B. The guest platoon of 6th Meghalaya Police was also presented with a trophy for their impressive performance in the Republic Day parade.
The flagging in ceremony of the Bicycle rally organised by the Indian Army was also held on the occasion. Team leader of the expedition handed over the flag to the Governor.
It may be mentioned that the Tree-Shakti Corps Cycling Expedition covered a distance of 41kms from Tsomgo to Gangtok. The expedition started on January 25th which culminated at Paljor Stadium on January 26th.
The Governor along with the Chief Minister and other dignitaries then visited the Army equipment display showcasing medical equipment akin to instruments of compassion. The Engineer Regiment orchestrated ordnance equipment by the Ordnance Unit with the collective commitment to safeguarding our nation. A wide variety of military equipment ranging from new generation Armament and Gun systems, latest state-of-art Surveillance Equipment, were on display. The Indian Army also presented a five band pipe display by the Grenadiers, the Rajpur Regiment, Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, the Mahar Regtiment and the Bihar Regiment and a Brass Band Display by Sikkim Police.
The Republic Day celebration also had Medley dance and patriotic songs curated by the artists of Culture Department and NGOs.
The celebration also featured special first-of-its-kind attractions, with the audience being treated to popular dance forms such as Bihu Dance from Assam, Bhangra dance from Punjab, Lezim dance from Maharashtra, Rabha dance from West Bengal and Raaj dance from Uttar Pradesh.