Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia in Loksabha on new ministry for Himalayan affairs

EXCLUSIVE: “I represent that part of India, where proud Gorkhalis reside” Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia in Loksabha – Speaking on the issue of separate Ministry for Himalayan States and Region in India.

Even though the government has said that creating a new ministry for Himalayan affairs as is not in the cards right now, Centre is committed to address the issues related to the region, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said.

He was replying to points raised during a discussion on a private member’s resolution on ‘creation of a new Union Ministry for development of Himalayan states’.

Text of speech made by Shri S S Ahluwalia in Loksabha

Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ (BJP), who had moved the resolution last week, later agreed to withdraw it hoping that in the near future the NDA government will set up a new ministry.

Singh said there is no doubt that that the hills have specific and “peculiar” problems.

“The government is committed to address the issue related to the Himalayan states…they are the repository of ethnic and cultural diversity,” he said.

He said NDA government’s first budget has made allocation of Rs 100 crore for creation of a Himalayan studies national centre.

Earlier, participating in the discussion, S S Ahluwalia (BJP) said the proposed ministry should be named as ‘Ministry of Himalayan Region’ [an excerpt from his speech has been included in the pic below].

Ashwini Kumar Choubey (BJP) said such a ministry was a must to coordinate during disasters.

Welcoming the resolution, BJP member Prahlad Patel said there should be an integrated approach to ensure development of the Himalayan region.

Another BJP member Anurag Singh Thakur said innovative ideas are needed for sustainable growth.

Congress member M Ramachandran also stressed on the need for having a holistic approach for developing the Himalayan region and added that having a separate ministry would help in ensuring sustainable development.

TRS member Konda Vishweshwar Reddy said “Hon. Chairman, Sir, on behalf of myself and on behalf of my party, Telangana Rashtriya Samiti, I support the resolution moved by our good friend, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal. We do have a Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region. In fact, we should have had this Ministry – Ministry for Development of Himalayan States – long back.

This whole range is around 2,500 kilometres right from Kashmir to
Arunachal Pradesh. Sikkim State was annexed to our country in the year 1975. Today, almost 40 years have already elapsed, but till now there is no railway line to Sikkim. There were developed railway links for Shimla, Ooty in southern range and Darjeeling and for many tourist spots in British India, but after Independence, I do not know whether any new railway lines have been made, except something as new as has happened very recently in Jammu and Kashmir.

Definitely, these Himalayan States were deprived of getting funds because they do not have their own strength to pull up money. So, I feel that it is very much necessary on the part of the Government of India to rescue them or to support all these States.”

Vincent Pala (Cong) M P from Shillong added “Hon. Chairman, Sir, I thank you for giving me this chance to speak on the Resolution moved by Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

Sir, the Resolution is a very meaningful one. I support this Resolution because I too belong to a part of Himalayan region. Moreover, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the entire North Eastern States are a part of the Himalayan Region.

If you see in terms of sports, we get a lot of football experts from Sikkim, Darjeeling. We have got good boxers from Manipur. In songs competition my State Meghalaya used to be a champion. Even when President Obama came they called the singers from Mehalaya to sing for him.”

We appreciate Darjeeling MP S S Ahaluwalia participating in the debate and highlighting the cause in favour of Darjeeling region and its people.

We also thank Shri. K V Redyy from Telangana and Shri Vincent Pala from Shillong for acknowledging the place, abundant resources and talent in Darjeeling

[In Pic: Text of speech made by Shri S S Ahluwalia in Loksabha]

Source: DC

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