Gangtok, May 19, 2012:
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from Sikkim, Hishey Lachungpa has taken up issues related to Sikkim University, Service Tax, Railways and a Regional Passport Office for Sikkim with the Central Ministries. Making time from the ongoing budget session of the Parliament, Lachungpa has written to central ministers on these issues.
In a letter to the Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal, Lachungpa recommended the 8 point charter of demands of the Students Union of Sikkim university with requests to look into the demands which include regular courses for post graduation, and also seeking 50 percent seat reservation for local students in SU colleges among other demands.
The students had carried out a signature campaign on the demands and also written to the MP, Rajya Sabha. In his letter to the Union HRD minister, the MP, Rajya Sabha mentioned that he had been informed that the students also submitted a representation to the Union Minister and on his part recommend the same for his consideration.
Besides recommending the demand of the students, the MP also apprised Sibal on the growing dissent against the present Sikkim University Vice Chancellor Mahendra P. Lama who had deviated from his role as an educationist and has instead begun to resort to politics for selfish interests undermining the basic role for which he had been appointed.
“It was with an aim of providing quality education to produce competent human resources, that the Centre kindly consented to the demand of the state government and the Central University was thus established in Sikkim by an Act of Parliament. Sikkim being a peaceful and progressive State, the education sector is given topmost priority by the state government in tune with the policies of the UPA government. Further, the state government has also fully cooperated with the Centre in the sphere of setting up university and also identified a suitable land for the University to be shifted from the present site. Instead of fulfilling the objectives of his appointment and coordinating better for setting up a centre of excellence, Prof. Lama has been taking a self centered stand due to which, the land owners for the proposed university campus, the faculty and students of the university have become provoked, agitated and in a feeling of insecurity have now come out openly against him. The unpopularity of the VC is not good for the development of the higher education sector but also for the peace and tranquility of the state. And hence, for the overall growth of the University and in the interests of the general public, it is pertinent that he should not be given extension of service and be replaced by someone who will help the institution be a fledging centre of excellence, the MP has mentioned in his letter to Sibal.
Lachungpa has also written to Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee regarding the issue of service tax in Sikkim and other pending economic issues like Income Tax. “I would like to draw your attention to our earlier communication with regard to the implementation of Service Tax in Sikkim. We the Members of Parliament from Sikkim had represented to you in the beginning of this session. However, we have not received any response from the Ministry of Finance on this important pending economic issue for Sikkim.” Lachungpa mentioned in his letter. He also reasoned that the Tturism industry in Sikkim was still at a nascent stage and many educated and uneducated youths were being engaged as stake holders in this profession directly or indirectly, making their meager income. “The stakeholders involved in the tourism industry in Sikkim still need more breather, mainly because of the recent devastating earthquake. This natural calamity has decreased the flow of tourists drastically and is taking time to slowly recover. It is also pertinent to note that none of the stakeholders have realized Service Tax so far from customers” he further informed.
Lachungpa has demanded that Service Tax be exempted as per the provision of incentives under the North East Industrial Incentives and Promotions Policy, 2007 which is valid till 2017 for the industries in the North East as the first relief.
And if not, as a second relief, the same may be implemented from a prospective date. i. e. from 1st April, 2012. That too, after properly organizing orientation and training to all the stakeholders by the Excise Department of that region.
Writing to the Union Railway Minister Mukul Roy and the Minister of State for Railway Bharatsinh Solanki, Lachungpa has asked the Ministry to expedite the Sevoke-Rangpo Railway line connecting Sikkim.
In a separate letter to E. Ahamed, the Union Minister of state for External Affairs, Lachungpa has demanded for a Regional Passport Office in Sikkim.