SKM questions govt appointments, rakes up ‘divisive forces at play’ issue

Report by: 
SUJAL PRADHAN
Gangtok
18 Jun 2018

Back-to-back news coferences by Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, the main opposition party in Sikkim, has brougt under spotlight the apprehension expressed by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling in his recent public interaction programmes that divisive forces are active in the State.
On Monday, SKM accused the government led by the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front of diluting special provisions for Sikkim under Article 371F of the Constitution. Particularly, Rule 4(4) of the Sikkim Government Establishment Rule, 1974, was being done away with, it was alleged. 
Rule 4(4), especially dealing with the appointment in services for the government of Sikkim, gives preference to the locals, meaning Sikkim Subjects and persons holding Certificate of Identification.
While appointing their employees, the appointing authority, that is the State Government, had violated or overlooked the Rule 4(4) of the Sikkim Government Establishment Rule, 1974, SKM acting president Kunga Nima Lepcha said on Monday.
There are many incidents where rule 4(4) had been violated multiple times, he said. To give the latest example was the appointment of a consultant under the Horticulture and Agriculture department and of an OSD under Skill development department. “This two appointment are a clear violation of Rule 4(4).”
“Rule 4(4) is an old law but still they (the Government) are violating it time and again. We agree that we need resource persons to run the state; in earlier days we had very fewlocal people eligible to hold these posts but now the scenario has changed and we have plenty of educated youths who can fit in the various top bureaucratic posts. But still SDF-led government is appointing an outsider.We condemn this,” added Lepcha. “SDF always talks about protection to local people but in practical terms they are doing away with such things,” Lepcha said. “The Chief Minister should translate his commitments in practice.”
General Secretary, Labour Front, SKM, Prem Raj Gurung, said as per a memrandum of understanding  signed with the existing factories 90 percent of local people were to be employed but the State Government had failed miserably to maintain the ratio. “These show their laid-back attitude towards Sikkim's youth and the problem of unemployment in the state. If the CM is really concerned with local sentiments then he should implemented rule 4(4) practically.”
Like BJP on Sunday, SKM also questioned why students were being called for the Chief Minister's ongoing public interaction programme which were purely political. “We have even met the HRD department Principle Secretary but they have not come up with any action.”  SKM also demanded the state government to come up with a notification banning locals from entering gambling stations which were running in the state.
On Sunday, SKM challenged the statement of the Chief Minister that divisive forces from outside were active in Sikkim.  "We are worried about such  remarks made by Pawan Chamling. It should be made public with proofs what are such forces that are trying to create disharmony in Sikkim? If the Chief Minister's claims are  true than SKM is ready to fight back with such forces as we firmly believe in safeguarding our harmony which has been strongly maintained since our inception," chief co-ordinator of SKM Ven Sonam Lama said at a constituency-level co-ordination meeting of SKM at Namcheybong constituency.
Pawan Chamling being the State Home Minister should authenticate his statements with factual data and proofs as such statements were creating disruptions in communal harmony of Sikkim, Lama said. Lama had raised this question at the recently concluded Budget session of the state Assembly.
At the meeting, 21 families affiliated to the Sikkim Democratic Front joined SKM. They included a former panchayat vice president and active SDF workers. They were welcomed into SKM with  khadas and haded over primary membership cards.