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Sikkim: NAB warns legal action against Social Welfare dept over Unlawful Mutation of its land at Boomtar

The Sikkim branch of National Association for the Blind (NAB) has warned to take a legal action against Social Welfare department over the alleged unlawful mutation of its land at Boomtar, Namchi. The NAB Sikkim runs an institute for the visually impaired at the said land of eight acres since 1987.
“A final representation has been submitted to the secretary, Social Justice Empowerment and Welfare department earnestly requesting him to take up this matter immediately as our title deed is in danger. If we do not hear from him then we will be compelled to knock at the doors of the court for justice,” said the NAB Sikkim branch in a press statement on Thursday.
The decision to make public their final stand was taken during a meeting of the NAB Sikkim unit on Wednesday here.
“The meeting was to discuss the burning issue of the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Institute (JNMI) at Boomtar Namchi and its land being unlawfully mutated in the name of Social Justice Empowerment and Welfare department, Government of Sikkim deliberately to tap a Central Government scheme of Composite Regional Centre some years back.”
NAB Sikkim president Gita Gurung chaired the meeting attended by all executive members physically and virtually along with office-bearers and JNMI staff.
Jayshree Pradhan, former president of NAB Sikkim, appraised the members present about the erroneous act of the department without considering the sentiments of the visually impaired children of the State and inactiveness of the department in correcting their own mistakes in-spite of the association’s repeated representations and personal approach to the successive incumbent secretaries of the department for the last one year, the release mentions.
The school for the visually impaired started way back in 1987 by the then founding members of the NAB Sikkim branch after having purchased the existing premises of about eight acres of land with personal contributions and public donations.
According to the organisation, the Social Welfare department had approached NAB Sikkim unit with the proposal of setting up of a ‘Composite Regional Centre’ for the benefit of people with disability in Sikkim at the JNMI premises some time in 2016. The department had sought the organisation’s permission to utilize a portion of the land belonging to the JNMI.
“The members were unanimously apprehensive about the transfer of the entire land, however since the project is for the welfare of the persons with disability in general it was decided that the association may agree for the department to use the required extend of area on lease with the payment as per the market value. This matter was conveyed to the department vide our letter No.413/NAB/SKM, dated 13.02.2016, which was duly acknowledge by the then principal secretary vide his letter no. 13/SJE&WD, dated 27.02.2016.”, said the NAB Sikkim.
However, when a NAB Sikkim team visited Namchi on February 11, 2020, to their “utter surprise”, the DC (South) and the Namchi SDM made them understand that the “entire land of JNMI has been mutated in the name of Social Justice Empowerment & Welfare department as per the latest record in the Land Revenue section of the south district.”
“Since both the officers were new to the district we had to give a detail explanation about how it was manipulated by the then DC on the instruction of the then principal secretary, Social Justice Empowerment & Welfare department without our prior consent and approval. Although it was stated that it was done only for the purpose of presentation to the Government of India for the establishment of Composite Regional Centre,” said the NAB Sikkim.
The project was later shifted to Assam Lingzey near Gangtok and under such circumstances this erroneous act should have been rectified and restored in the name of the owner to whom it belongs, said the association.
“Moreover the construction of Old Age Home also began within the campus of JNMI without our prior consent or approval in our land. It may be mentioned here that all these properties were accumulated with the personal contribution by a large number of founder members and public during the 1990s donations where personal sentiments is involved.”
“Since then a number of representations have been submitted to the department and the office bearers of the NAB Sikkim branch have personally met with the successive secretaries in this regard. However no concrete action has been initiated from their end so far,” said the NAB Sikkim.

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