Gangtok: Former Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling pleaded against the passing of Sikkim Organic Agriculture University Bill in the budget session of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly on Friday. The Bill brought to the House by Education Minister Kunga Nima Lepcha during the legislative business was vehemently opposed by Chamling.

“Organic farming is the intellectual property of Sikkim; do not sell it,” the former CM said.

Chamling, who is said to have brought the ‘organic revolution’ in Sikkim during his regime, defended the ‘SDF party’s creation’ claiming, “Organic farming is Sikkim’s only intellectual property, the property is being sold now. The intellectual property of Sikkim is its people and youth who know how we practice organic farming. It was Sikkim that started organic farming, we created this property as part of SDF government … Why is our property being sold to a private university now?”

Terming Organic Sikkim as Sikkim’s brand, Chamling further argued, “Even when our current Agriculture Minister made a recent visit to the United States or when he goes to Delhi, he is greeted with Sikkim being famous for its organic farming. Even the current King of England, King Charles III, approached and praised Sikkim for its organic farming when he was the Prince. This is our global identity. Hence, only our people must practice organic farming and organic tourism.”

Pleading the government to not pass the Sikkim Organic Agriculture University Bill, the Namchi-Singhithang MLA said, “If our youth take this ahead I shall welcome the bill, but if it is going to a private university, please do not pass the University Bill. Do not sell the University.”

Countering the opposition leader on the Organic University, Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay defended the Bill, stating, “If we keep organic farming limited to Sikkim only, what profit will it bring to the State? The University will not be taking our organic practices; rather they will be learning organic farming inside the State. We will have students from outside Sikkim learning about our organic practices. This will be the biggest publicity to our organic farming, we are ready to encourage our students towards organic cultivation.”

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay

Golay further highlighted how the current Sikkim Krantikari Morcha government has not scrapped Organic farming or any other schemes of the previous government. He stated, “We have not scrapped organic farming or any other schemes of the previous government. When an institute such as an Organic University comes to Sikkim, it will increase the State’s revenue and people’s income. It will generate employment opportunities to many PHD scholars and even the farmers who are experts in organic farming. Apart from it, any place where such University is taken, people in Sikkim will benefit in the form of hotels, homestays, hostels, paying guest facilities, and even transportation.”

Earlier, when two other University Bills were passed in the legislative business of the budget session, opposition leader Chamling and BJP legislator DR Thapa had questioned the treasury bench on the many private universities are coming up in Sikkim.

Education Minister KN Lepcha had moved two other University bills – Sikkim National Law University (Amendment) Bill and Sikkim Global Technical University Bill, both of which were unanimously passed in the Assembly.

During the discussion on Sikkim Global Technical University Bill, Chamling had questioned, “Why so many private universities are coming up in Sikkim, will such universities not increase the influx in the State? How will these universities function and how many students from outside Sikkim will be coming? Who are the promoters of these universities? During the SDF regime, we kept such universities at a distance to know if they are wrong or right (illegal or legal). Some of them have no experience in running universities. It is the responsibility of the government to check if such universities are UGC approved with 7 years accreditation or not? Why are such private universities being given Sikkim brand name?”

Similarly, BJP MLA DR Thapa also questioned, “There are over 10 universities in the State currently, some of these universities are only for granting certificates and not imparting knowledge. Around 6500 students from Sikkim pass Class 12 every year, what is the need for so many universities when we have such less number of students. Are these Universities even checked if they are UGC approved or not, as there are many fake universities. Such private universities are imposing a financial burden among Sikkimese students and their parents. There are reports of how private university graduates do not even have good knowledge.”

Education Minister Kunga Nima Lepcha defended the new universities, stating, “These are disciplined universities approved by the UGC which are functioning in many other States in the country. The proposal is to provide universities to our local students and equally for students from outside to come to Sikkim to study. This will generate revenue for our local people. Many locals will get an opportunity to be employed as group C and D employees while many qualified PHD scholars will also get employment opportunities.”

Dear Reader,
Over the past four years, EastMojo revolutionised the coverage of Northeast India through our sharp, impactful, and unbiased overage. And we are not saying this: you, our readers, say so about us. Thanks to you, we have become Northeast India’s largest, independent, multimedia digital news platform.
Now, we need your help to sustain what you started.
We are fiercely protective of our ‘independent’ status and would like to remain so: it helps us provide quality journalism free from biases and agendas. From travelling to the remotest regions to cover various issues to paying local reporters honest wages to encourage them, we spend our money on where it matters.
Now, we seek your support in remaining truly independent, unbiased, and objective. We want to show the world that it is possible to cover issues that matter to the people without asking for corporate and/or government support. We can do it without them; we cannot do it without you.
Support independent journalism, subscribe to EastMojo.

Thank you,
Karma Paljor

Backing the Education Minister, leader of the House PS Golay also asserted that such universities are being taken to rural constituencies for development of economically backward constituencies. He stated, “The reason we are bringing so many private universities is to usher development in the rural constituencies in the State. It will bring revenue and income growth for people in these rural constituencies. All previous universities were near Gangtok, in the last 4 years we have taken all such universities to rural constituencies such as Daramdin, Zoom Salghari, Soreng, Rinchenpong, Poklok-Kamrang and Tumin Lingee constituencies. The Universities are all accredited who have fulfilled all the norms and they are not illegal.”

Questioning Chamling for bringing private universities during his regime, Golay questioned, “Even the previous government brought private universities such EILLM university which was later scrapped as it was an illegal university. The previous government also brought SRM University, a private university to the State, so why cannot we? We have not used university as an election agenda such as in case of National Institute of Technology, which came to Sikkim a long time ago, but the government then refused to give 100 acres of land as demanded by NIT. Today we have given NIT the land that it demanded and even paid compensations to the locals affected by loss of land through government funds.”

Also Read | Sikkim: MLA claims ex-CM Chamling ‘sold’ 10 SDF leaders to BJP

Trending Stories

Latest Stories

Leave a comment

Leave a comment