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President of India confers award to Sikkim Chief Minister

Friday, October 7, 2016, 13:00 Hrs  [IST]
By HBI Staff | Mumbai

Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling was conferred prestigious 2016 ‘Sustainable Development Leadership Award’ by President Pranab Mukherjee during World Sustainable Development Summit organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) at Vigyan Bhawan New Delhi.

The award was presented to Sikkim Chief Minister in recognition of his vision and leadership in environment and sustainable development leading to the establishment of Sikkim as the first and only organic state in the country according to citation presented by the TERI on this occasion. The award is conferred annually on eminent individuals engaged in encouraging global initiatives that can lead the world towards a sustainable future.  Chamling is the 12th recipient of the award.

The sikkim is only state in India to have attained the official status of fully organic state in Jan 2016 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the official announcement during his maiden visit to the state. The state known as the Land of Flower, with a population of around 6 lakhs, is now gaining world wide popularity as fully organic state of India. Around 75000 hectares of land has been converted into certified organic farms over the years following the guidelines as prescribed by National Programme for Organic Production. Sikkim contributes around 80000 million tonnes organic production out of total 1.24 million tonnes of organic production recorded in India.

On the initiative of Chamling, a historic declaration was made through a resolution in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly on February 24, 2003, for transforming Sikkim into a ‘Total Organic State’ as a result of which The Sikkim State Organic Board was constituted on September 16, 2003 for outlining policy issues and strategic plans, as well as developing standards and regulations; The state government stopped procuring chemical fertilisers and chemical pesticides from 2004 onwards and also eliminated the existing subsidy to farmers for procurement of chemical pesticides. The state government created category-wise organic farming schemes and organic action plans to set the targets of conversion.

Chamling has taken various green initiatives under which Ban on pan masala /gutka was enforced in the entire state in the year 1995 and subsequently in 1997, passed an Act on prohibition of throwing of non-degradable garbage in public drains and sewerage. The state passed a law for prohibition of smoking in places of public work or in public service vehicles in the State in the year 1997.

On August 14, 1998 Sikkim became the first state in the country to impose a ban on plastics and non-degradable materials. Tourists were also prohibited from carrying plastic bags and containers in under the rules the state government imposed complete ban on collection of medicinal plants and non-timber forest produce for commercial purposes and framed statutory rules for mandatory planting of ten saplings in lieu of one tree felled in private holdings implemented in the year 2001.

Chamling in the year 2009 started a unique programme called ‘10 Minutes’ on June 25 annually under which all the Sikkimese citizens plant one sapling each during a pre-announced 10 minutes.

The state government imposed ban on use of diclofenac sodium and burning of agricultural wastes in the year 2015 and all the old trees in government forests were identified as “Sikkim State Heritage Trees” in the year 2016.

The state government imposed the ban on use of Styrofoam products and ban on use of plastic bottled drinking water in state government functions and also banned tyre fires during the year 2016.

Chamling also delivered the special address at the plenary session of the WSDS that was held at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi and attended by dignitaries from all across the globe.

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