Protect Sikkim with ILP before ONORC: Passang

Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 08:00 [IST]

Last Update: Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 02:22 [IST]

Protect Sikkim with ILP before ONORC: Passang

GANGTOK,: Socio-political activist Passang Sherpa on Friday said ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ is the first step of abolishing the distinct identity of Sikkim and paves way for giving local rights in Sikkim to migrant workers in coming years.
“There are around 70 crore beneficiaries in the country under ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ (ONORC). They can apply for ration card in Sikkim under ONORC and even if seven lakh such beneficiaries come to Sikkim, they can get the ration card with two months. Nothing will happen now but after 10 years, this huge number of migrant workers will ask for rights in Sikkim like land rights and business rights. ONORC is the first step to give local rights in Sikkim to non-locals,” said Passang.
Passang, the coordinator of ‘I am 371F campaign’ was speaking to media regarding ONORC which was launched in Sikkim by Chief Minister P.S. Golay earlier this week.
Both the ruling SKM and its ally BJP have defended the ONORC as a welfare measure for migrant workers while maintaining that the Central flagship programme does not violate Article 371F of Sikkim.
On the other hand, Passang contended that ONORC is a huge blow to Article 371F, old laws and distinct identity of Sikkim. ONORC is the first step towards ‘One Nation, One Law’ and Sikkim has already climbed the first step which we strongly condemn and protest, he said.
Passang pointed out to his press conference of August 29, 2020, wherein he had forewarned that Sikkim government could accept ONORC and three other conditions of the Centre in order to get additional borrowing of 2% of the State GSDP.
Besides ONRC, the Centre had stipulated that States should accept ‘ease of doing business reform’, ‘urban local body/utility reforms’ and ‘power sector reforms’ to get the loans.
“Why did the Centre fixed conditions like ONORC for loan eligibility? I feel that this is the first step to finish the autonomy and rights of Sikkim. The SKM-BJP alliance in Sikkim has taken an insane decision to accept ONORC and the government is about to implement ‘ease of doing business’ to get the loans. ‘Ease of business’ would be unfortunate for Sikkim as anyone from outside can do business in Sikkim,” said Passang.
The socio-political activist mentioned that other Northeastern States have accepted ONORC because they are protected under Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime. “Sikkim is already facing problems of influx and fake domicile certificates. We do not have ILP also and because of these factors, ONORC becomes very dangerous for distinct identity of Sikkim,” he said.
“Before extending any Central law, we must consider the protection of our coming Sikkimese generations. There would not have been an issue if Sikkim was given ILP first and then ONORC was implemented. We are not against ration due to the migrant workers but our rights and distinct identity must also be protected.
The State government should have first negotiated with the Centre and sought ILP before ONORC was to be implemented, or it should have been discussed in the Assembly. Without any discussions, ONORC was announced after the meeting with the Union Home minister. Our Article 371F and old laws were compromised just to save the chair and to get relief from the pressure coming from the BJP-led Centre,” said Passang.
Regarding State BJP president D.B. Chauhan’s stand that ONORC has no relation with Article 371F, Passang said: “It is very shameful on part of D.B.Chauhan who is in alliance with SKM government who promised local protection Act and now they are giving us ONORC. Chauhan should read 8th May Agreement and Sikkim Government Act 1974 to understand whether food supplies authority is a State subject or not…he can clearly see it there.”

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi