Gangtok: Social activist Pasang Sherpa, who has been raising his concern over the implementation of One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme in Sikkim, has now questioned the state government as to what it would do when the number of migrant workers rises in 10 years and they take to the streets to demand their rights.
Earlier, Sherpa — a member of Sikkim Nagrik Samaj (SNS) — drew flak from chief minister Prem Singh Golay after he said that those opposing the ONORC can surrender their passport.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Sherpa termed the statments of CM Golay as irresponsible. “He said that Article 371F of the Constitution will not be affected by ONORC. He also termed those opposing the scheme to be consumers of expensive varieties of rice. He tried to term us as the ones destroying Sikkim. We condemn the chief minister’s statements,” he said.
The campaigner for ‘I am 371F’ justified the opposition to ONORC by saying: “In today’s time, Sikkim’s fertility rate is very low. If there are 30,000 migrant labourers in the state at the moment, they are in the process of increasing by about 20,000 soon with the implementation of ONORC. When 50,000 migrant workers get access to free ration, they will bring their families along. That way, the number is bound to reach up to 1.5 lakh in no time.”
In 10 years, they will start asking for their rights, said Sherpa. “Will we give them rights or will we oppose them? Our fertility rate is going down while schemes like ONORC are growing. It will certainly lead to influx, changing the demography of Sikkim,” he added.
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Sherpa and his Sikkim Nagrik Samaj have been demanding the introduction of Article 371F or Sikkim’s Constitutional Provisions in the school curriculum, highlighting how most in Sikkim do not understand their own constitutional provisions, leading to issues such as the ONORC.
“Hence, in schools when legal aspects are taught from Class 9 onwards, we feel that Article 371F must also be taught. To give it a push, we have submitted a memorandum to Sikkim government, the education department and even the Union education ministry. We are planning to work out the syllabus with NCERT, so that it gets implemented in the schools from the next session,” Sherpa added.
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