Sikkim CM Pawan Chamling announced raising minimum wages for workers on Independence Day
The people of Sikkim are like "unpaid soldiers" who are "defending our motherland" as the state is located in a region that is of great strategic importance, Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling said in his Independence Day speech today. "Sikkim's location states how strategic it is to the unity and integrity of the nation... Our people are like unpaid soldiers defending our motherland. Unbounded peace and harmony for people living in the border states are great assets for the nation," Mr Chamling said.
"I am pleased to say that the state government of Sikkim and every Sikkimese... are solidly behind the central government to safeguard the integrity and sovereignty of our great nation," he added.
The chief minister said Sikkim remains cut-off every time there is a shutdown on its border
with West Bengal, alluding to the ongoing agitation in the hills of Darjeeling for a separate Gorkhaland state.
"This is almost as a re-run to the past incidents. Sikkim has been mercilessly trapped between the renewed agitation demanding Gorkhaland in Darjeeling, Doars and Siliguri regions and the unrelenting West Bengal government insensitive to the plight and suffering being faced by Sikkim and its people," Mr Chamling said.
As a result, people in Sikkim have been denied the right to free movement, safety and security
, the chief minister said, adding the loss incurred by the state is more than Rs 60,000 crore.
Mr Chamling said in the last year 33 years of the Gorkhaland agitation, over 5,000 Sikkim-registered vehicles have been damaged or torched and 50 people have been killed.
He also announced raising minimum daily wages for workers to Rs 300, construction of an old-age home in every district and pension for farmers above 50 years old.
He said district collectors will make a list of people who do not have land and by 2018 they will be given land to build houses, supported by the government. He said unused government land will be identified and a report will be given to the government within three months.
"Now our goal is to become India's first kutcha house-free state by 2018, the first poverty-free state, the first smart city state and the first carbon neutral state," Mr Chamling said.