As part of the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha's (SKM) flagship programme for mothers (housewives), the Sikkim government distributed Rs 20,000 each to 16,000 mothers of the state in Pakyong district on Friday.
The initiative, a concept of Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay, entails 500 mothers from every constituency benefiting from the scheme every year, a press release stated.
In a special event organised in SKM party colours, 32 women beneficiaries were handed over cheques of Rs. 20,000 while the remaining 15,968 mothers will be awarded the welfare amount in their respective bank accounts in State Bank of Sikkim or through their respective block divisional officers in various villages of the State.
Addressing the gathering, CM Prem Singh Golay stated, "It was next to impossible to hand over 16,000 cheques in a day hence 32 mothers, one from every constituency are being awarded here today. However, the remaining mothers will receive money directly from the State Bank of Sikkim bank account."
"We want our mothers to have an account in SBS as it is the State's own bank not in any nationalised banks. Besides, SBS has reached every village of the State, hence it will be easy for the beneficiaries," he added.
Golay further announced that Rs 20,000 each is for the year 2022, however, as the years progress the amount will be increased to Rs. 50,000-60,000 for every mother. The CM also clarified that the amount will not be handed to fathers or husbands, fearing the amount to be misused while claiming mothers are more trusted members of society, the release added.
Stating the reason for the welfare scheme being only mother-oriented, Golay said, "Our homes, our family is run by mothers. The mothers particularly housewives in rural areas have no source of income, the 20,000 Rupees are for their welfare. Mothers can use the amount for their own benefit or for their children's education or even for the healthcare of their family.
"In the past government, mothers were misused for political benefits from carrying party flags to luring and threatening them to vote in favour of the party. SKM works for the welfare of mothers and women, not to use them for political gains," he added.
Golay also informed that more women will join the welfare scheme as many women are yet to clear the necessary documentation to get the benefits. He informed over 1000 mothers still remain to be shortlisted owing to a lack of necessary documents.
Golay further announced that three mothers will be selected every year from the welfare scheme for optimum utilisation of the welfare amount.
"The three mothers will be ranked and will be receiving Rs 3 lakhs, Rs 2 lakhs and Rs 1 lakh each. The money will once again be deposited in the State Bank of Sikkim account," he said. On the occasion, three former ministers and legislators from the SDF party also joined the SKM party. They were former ministers GM Gurung, CB Karki and former legislator Chandra Maya Subba. Golay praised them for joining with over 5000 supporters.
During the event, Golay criticised former Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling and the Sikkim Democratic Front party for declaring Shok Diwas on March 4 on SDF's foundation day.
Golay stated, "The Shok Diwas is being observed against the SKM government for not working on the immigrant issue. We resolved the issue almost a month ago. To observe Shok Diwas now on their foundation day is out of fear that less number of people will turn up on their foundation day. As apart from Chamling's own family members, there are hardly 500 people supporting SDF now".
Golay also announced that Sikkim Bandh will not take place on March 4. SKM had earlier on February 4 declared to call for Sikkim Bandh on March 4 to deny SDF from observing its foundation day. The decision was in retaliation to Chamling calling for Sikkim Bandh on SKM foundation day on February 4-5, the release added.
Golay stated, "Chamling's call for Sikkim Bandh on our foundation day in protest against the immigrant issue in February failed miserably as every shop, commercial establishment and even offices remained open. People declined his call for Bandh. In retaliation, we declared Bandh on SDF foundation day. But now I declare that we will not be calling for Bandh, we do not want revenge politics. With so less supporters, we will not dent their call for Shok Diwas".
Urging Chamling to 'gracefully retire' from politics, Golay stated, "The only reason Chamling is not retiring is he wants his Harvard-educated daughter Komal Chamling to debut in electoral politics in 2024. He is trying to promote his daughter as a Harvard-educated future leader of Sikkim, we welcome her to politics. But prior to her entry, we question how his daughter was shortlisted for the government's scholarship scheme worth Rs 22 lakhs when she didn't fall in Below Poverty Line (BPL) category. Komal denied a deserving student from getting the opportunity to study at a prestigious university. So how can she be a people-centric leader in the future?".
Golay also slammed the Joint Action Council for their criticism concerning the transfer and extension decisions of the State government's employees.
He stated, "We praise JAC for the work they carried out during the immigrant issue in January-February. They worked in tandem with the State government to fight back against the immigrant tag. But now they are criticising the government's decision to transfer an extension given to a few government employees. Those are decisions of the government out of necessity. I urge JAC to distance itself from such issues and focus on the issue they have in hand. There are a few members of JAC trying to defame the council. Do not misuse JAC as a political party or platform for different issues. If they wish to criticise the government then they can come as a political party, but do not tarnish the image of JAC". (ANI)