Former Chief Minister and the President of the SDF party Pawan Chamling says that there are three major Melas going on in Sikkim under the SKM governance namely Janata Asmita Lilam Mela, Sikkim Kin-bech Mela (SKM) and Robin Hood Mela. The government is making desperate attempts to buy Sikkimese people with money gained by selling Sikkim. Such mismanagement of the economy, if not checked, will soon turn Sikkim into the Venezuela of India.
“Q. The SKM party has been distributing brand new vehicles to some supporters. This is something that the SDF party never did. What would you like to say to such dole outs?
Ans. There cannot be a greater example of misgovernance than this. Instead of the Government of Sikkim rolling out pro-poor, pro-youth and pro-people schemes to help them start up a new venture, here in Sikkim it is the SKM party that is openly distributing vehicles and money to its party supporters. This is nothing but a Robin Hood tactic adopted by the party. The only difference is the original Robin Hood robbed the rich and distributed with the poor. But this Sikkim Robin Hood is robbing Sikkim and distributing the loot with its famous “TEAM”. The government has tried to justify it by saying that it is being done under the Youth Development Fund but in the last three budgets passed by the SKM government, the YDF is nowhere reflected either in its Plan or Non-Plan Budgets. This simply proves that it is the distribution of loot earned through corruption and the wholesale mechanization of Sikkim. If it is does not, let the SKM party tell the people where this huge sum of money is coming from.
I am really disturbed by what is happening in Sikkim under the SKM’s governance. Let me list three major melas that are going on in full swing.
1. Janata Asmita Auction Mela: The SKM government is intimidating people to join the SKM party as soon as possible or face the consequences. There are “Joining Agents” who are the “merchants of people’s souls” and who are merchandizing the souls of innocent people. Before every meeting, these so-called leaders bargain over the joining agreement and once the deal is sealed they take hundreds of people to the joining meetings. These agents are pocketing huge sums of money from their chief. This is the SKM’s version of Janata Mela but it is actually a Janata Asmita Auction Mela. People’s asmita are being auctioned for the benefit of the joining agents.
2. Sikkim Kin-Bech Mela (SKM): The SKM government has joined hands with non-Sikkimese businessmen to merchandize Sikkim. Many new private companies are being registered overnight to buy the assets of Sikkim.
3. Robin Hood Mela: The members of “PS Goley’s Team” are receiving cash and they are buying lands and houses for themselves overnight. The SKM party distributed 700 vehicles to its vocal supporters. While poor people are struggling to make ends meet, a handful of SKM leaders are distributing the loot. The Chief Minister’s entire family is fully involved in silencing voices with brown envelopes. During the recent Diwali festival, the Chief Minister was doling out anywhere from 2 lakh to 5 lakh rupees to each Bhaileni and Dewsi-Bhailo group. Where is this money coming from? Whose money is this?
Sikkim’s real focus should have been on rebuilding education, creating jobs, building public infrastructure, creating entrepreneurial opportunities, augmenting healthcare, taking welfare schemes the doorsteps of the grassroots and strengthening the organic mission and green economy. Schools are in the worst shape ever. Night guards and office clerks are teaching in government schools. The teacher shortage is crossing all limits. People have been forced to spend out of their pocket for basic health care in government hospitals. There are no medicines in government hospitals. Damaged roads and old infrastructure have been abandoned by the government, citing a lack of fund for repairs. Entrepreneurs are shutting down their enterprises. General sanitation and cleanliness are on the wane. The government is blind to these issues. Sikkim in general is becoming poorer and a few Sikkimese are becoming richer.
Some Sikkimese people are happy as they are getting a short term benefit. But let’s not forget, these short term benefits are coming at the cost of our collective future. Sikkim is losing everything.
During the Great Depression in America, people were committing suicide – many were jumping from windows. There were no jobs and no food in the country. People were desperate for short-term help. In such a depressing situation thousands of jobless people from Chicago got three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) each day in soup kitchens. Later it became known that the meals were sponsored by American’s gangster Al Capone. He was America’s biggest criminal and public enemy number one who ran a multi-million-dollar operation through extortion, bribes and even murder. He was offering these meals to jobless, hungry people by spending his own money. Businesspeople were forced to donate to those free meals. A daily newspaper, the Bismarck Tribune wrote, “a hungry man is just as glad to get soup and coffee from Al Capone as from anyone else.” Al Capone was taking undue advantage of people’s joblessness and hunger and was trying to win their favour by offering them free food from money extorted from them. A poet wrote that Al Capone was the man who kills with one hand and feeds with the other. He was the richest man in America when the entire country had become poor with no jobs and food.
Al Capone became so famous among those people that a newspaper called the Daily Independent wrote that he could have won the Mayor’s election from Chicago. What is happening in Sikkim today is the same. The money that is being distributed in the form of vehicles, gifts, daan for dewsi-bhailo groups, etc. is the money extorted from the people of Sikkim. There are some so-called politicians who are justifying the SKM government’s Al Capone and Robin Hood style of governance based on the distribution of loot. They are none other than the chief members of “PS Goley’s Team”. They are like those close aides of Al Capone. We know from history that when the economy and society become weak, Al Capones take control.
Let me warn all the Sikkimese people once again that such gross mismanagement of the economy will turn Sikkim into the Venezuela of India with its worst economic collapse. That day is not far off. The Sikkimese economy will collapse in such a way that Sikkim will have to live at the mercy of the businesspeople who are buying the assets and properties of Sikkim. Those wealthy non-Sikkimese businesspeople are the members of the CM’s Team. They are already influencing our policy making, our budget, our economy and our future. The CM has become their puppet and we will are mute spectators. The drama has already begun and the climax is coming soon.”
Vice-President, Publicity Affairs