Mall Sikkim

GANGTOK: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha came in defence of ‘Old West Point Mall’ terming the structure as a green building that is earthquake-resistant up to 9 on the Richter scale. The party held a press conference after the National Green Tribunal issued a stay order on the mall construction in the heart of Gangtok.

Chief Minister’s Confidential Secretary Bikash Basnett addressed on the pretext of those raising concerns and opposition against the construction to be ‘political opportunists’ eluding the people with allegations against the SKM on grounds of ‘environmental damages’. “The project at West Point School area was the doing of the previous government on December 7, 2018, with the bids for the tender being floated on March 5, 2019. It was in PPP mode, work orders were given. It was only after our government, we verified legally whether the structure is environmentally viable or not. Gangtok Smart City was working on the project without approval. The building structure was inappropriate, so the government carried out a re-tender with cabinet approval.”

SKM batted for securing a 4-year PPP model with “Indian Green Building Council, gold-rated certifying agency green signalling along with the Mines and Geology Department on legal and technical grounds. The weight of the building will be 50 per cent less than a concrete construction, about 20 tonnes per metre square, as against the approved 40 tonnes limit in a safe soil bearing capacity. It will be an earthquake-resistant, a pyramid structure with 21 feet broad roads for recreational, environment and tourist attraction”, said the SKM spokesperson.

SKM defended the project on the pretext of different projects under Smart City across the country, admitting, “if we scrap such projects, then again we will face the opposition of restricting development.”

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