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Sikkim: “Not selling Govt properties, doing projects on PPP mode”, says CM

According to CM P.S. Golay, a strong loan recovery legislation would be passed in the upcoming Assembly session, with provisions for the attachment of properties of State Bank of Sikkim (SBS) loan defaulters. The Chief Minister was speaking at a Gangtok Municipal Corporation (GMC) Deorali formal function.

Former Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has accused the SBS, a State government undertaking, of granting huge loans without guarantee and liability assessment at the demand of SKM leaders.

Chamling also stated that a loan of Rs. 70 crore was issued to an outsider, while loans of Rs. 40-Rs. 60 crore were given to close associates of the Chief Minister, thereby “emptying” the SBS.

“SBS has its own norms for loan eligibility and the bank has been helping the contractors and hoteliers of Sikkim with loans after taking mortgage and examining their viability. In the past government, close aides and family members of the past government were given huge overdraft by taking undue advantage. It is difficult to recover these loans and after forming the government, we have been working to recover such loans. Most of the loans have been recovered and for the remaining defaulters, we are calling them for an amicable settlement.”

“We are coming up with a loan recovery Act in coming Assembly session. After the Act comes in force, properties of SBS loan defaulters would be seized. It will empower the SBS, police and magistrate to seize the properties of the SBS loan defaulters,” said the Chief Minister.

Golay went on to say that the previous Chamling administration borrowed money from SBS to buy a useless tract of land in Pakyong. There is no way to create a property there, and no developer is willing to invest, yet we are paying the loan interest today, he said. Another allegation of selling public properties was also countered by the Chief Minister.

“We have not sold any public properties. We are undertaking projects on PPP (private public partnership) mode for the benefit of the people and the State,” said Golay.

CM also mentioned the ongoing PPP initiatives at the Old West Point School and the taxi stand near Police Headquarters and below the Old STNM Hospital road.

CM also stated that the government will not be making any contributions to the PPP project at the Old West Point, but will receive four floors of free parking and half of the revenue earned. The project will be given back to the government after 26 years, he said.

Golay further stated that the project being built on the site of the former STNM Hospital is part of the Smart City initiative, and that the previous government had completed the contract process prior to the 2019 election.

The Chief Minister stated that a respected corporation is conducting the Rs. 2000 crore PPP project at Karfectar, with the government supplying merely the land.

“The cancer hospital will be equipped with world class facility, modern technology. The people of Sikkim can avail treatment free of cost but once it is commercialized the hospital will also give profit share to the tune of 20% annually to the government. Furthermore, job opportunity for our educated youths will also open up and the entire surrounding area will develop too,” said the Chief Minister.

“It is easy for the opposition leader to stay somewhere in Delhi and allege the State government without proof. It would be better if he attends the Assembly or file an RTI as we are ready to address their query with proof,” Golay told Chamling.

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