Gangtok, October 29, 2013
The Sikkim RTI Forum on Monday questioned the State government whose ‘interest’ was being served by remaining silent on 31,188 domicile certificates whose antecedents remain ambiguous and officially admitted in past as having been fraudulently obtained.
“The State government cannot remain silent on the case of 31,188 Sikkim Subject Certificates and Certificates of Identification. Government must take a stand as whether it wants to preserve the rights of Sikkimese or not? Why did the government hid the information and doing so whose interest was served?” said forum general secretary D.K. Chettri in a press conference.
Chettri was questioning the government on the basis of a CD obtained by the Sikkim RTI Forum from the Land Revenue department through RTI Act. The CD prepared in 2005 by the department lists 31,188 persons whose CoIs has been put under the heading ‘recheck’, he said. The existence of 31,188 (31,180 as per the department then) false cases of CoIs came to light when the Land Revenue department published pamphlets to defend its the now-inert Pink Card drive in 2010.
“Issue of extra card in distinct colour to original old Sikkim Subjects have been warranted as there were 31,180 reported false cases against 3,15, 693 Sikkim Subject holders as on December 25, 2005”, the department had said in its public appeal. These cases came up during survey conducted by the department in 2005 to verify the number of Sikkim Subject Holders or CoIs in the State.
As per the department’s CD on CoI obtained by the Sikkim RTI Forum, there are 3.36 lakh CoI holders in Sikkim among which 31,188 certificates have been remarked as ‘Recheck’.
“There has to be some anomaly or doubts for which the certificates had to be listed for re-verification. The Land Revenue must recheck all these documents and cancel out the fake ones. Our question is what action has the department taken since 2005 against those who are illegally enjoying the rights of Sikkimese,” said Chettri.
These persons could be the vote bank of a particular party, said Chettri when asked. The forum general secretary asserted that Constitutional provisions for Sikkimese are being slowly taken away through Central Acts.
“If the government goes on silent mode again in this case, then Sikkimese has every reason to believe that this government cannot save the rights, privileges and interest of Sikkim and Sikkimese. It is up to the people to decide what is best for them,” he said.
Chettri said the Union government must also be serious on the matter as it is upon the basis of Sikkimese Subject Certificate or CoI that a person in Sikkim has been granted income tax exemption. We have sought for the list sent by the State government to the Centre mentioning those eligible for income tax exemption, he said.
Regarding the regular deletion of fake domicile certificate holders in past, the forum general secretary said such action was taken by the district authorities on localized complaints. But no action has been taken on department’s own survey which listed 31,188 documents as doubtful, he said.
(Courtesy: Sikkim Express)
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