2014 Saw Chamling completing two decades as Sikkim CM
GANGTOK, DECEMBER 27
[dropcap]C[/dropcap]hief Minister Pawan Chamling completing 20 years in office in 2014 was among the high points in Sikkim, which aims to become the country’s first fully organic state by next year.
In May, the Chamling-led Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) government was voted for the fifth consecutive term with a thumping two-third majority. Earlier this month, Chamling completed 20 consecutive years in office.
He will break the record of late Communist patriarch Jyoti Basu, who was chief minister of West Bengal for 23 years from June 21, 1977 to November 6, 2000, when he completes his current tenure.Chamling has been chief minister of Sikkim since December 12, 1994.
The peaceful calmness of the state was shattered for the first time in the past two decades with political clashes being reported in April during the run-up to the state assembly polls.
At least two persons were killed in political clashes ahead of polls and more than 40 were injured. Arsoning of vehicles, hardly heard before in the recent past of Sikkim, was also reported this year.
As the cry of ‘parivartan’ (change) grew louder in the state due to anti-incumbency factor, the assembly, which had no Opposition in the last term as SDF MLAs had all the seats, got new party colours. The newly-formed Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) grabbed nine seats.
However, Chamling’s SDF still managed to form the government wining 22 of the 32 assembly seats.
Being developed as a green state, Sikkim made rapid strides in its bid to become by 2015 the country’s first state where all agricultural and horticultural produce would be free of any chemicals.
As of now, it has a total of 58,168 hectare land under organic cultivation. This achievement was praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament saying if the region becomes completely organic it will change the lives of people.
An environmentally conscious state due to its fragile ecosystem, Sikkim also made progress in protection of environment. Forest cover increased to 47 per cent but the government faced opposition for allowing a series of hydropower projects along rivers Teesta and Rangeet.
For next year, the government has also set up an ambitious target to achieve 100 per cent literacy under the Total Literacy Mission.
Bringing laurels to the state, Sikkimese actress Geetanjali Thapa won the National Film Award as the best actress for the Hindi film Liar’s Dice. The film was India’s official entry at the Oscars.
28-year-old Aparajita Rai made the state proud by becoming the first female IPS officer from Sikkim.