- Sujal Pradhan, NET Correspondent, Sikkim
The opening of iconic heritage building for tourists and public was officially declared by the Sikkim Governor Ganga Prasad during a special event held on Monday at Old Rajbhavan in Gangtok.
Organized by Sikkim Tourism & Civil Aviation Department, the event was graced by Governor Ganga Prasad; Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang-Golay along with the State First Lady, Kamala Devi; Cabinet Ministers; MLAs; Chief Secretary; Director General of Police (DGP); Additional Director General of Polices (ADGPs); ACSs; Chairpersons; Advisors; CMO officials; Heads of Departments and other dignitaries.
The programme was also attended by representatives of various organizations namely – Sikkim Amateur Mountaineering Association (SAMA), Sikkim United Tourism Organisation (SUTO), Sikkim Association of Adventure Tour Operators (SAATO), Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS), All Sikkim Luxury Vehicle Association (ASLVA), Homestay Association of Sikkim (HAS), Sikkim Paragliding Association (SPA), Luxury Vehicle Association (LVA), All Sikkim Travels and Hospitality Association (ASTHA) and Owner Run Hotel Association of Sikkim (ORHAS) along with tourists from different parts of the country.
It may be recalled that historic decision to open the Raj Bhavan for tourists and local gentry from January 1, 2022 was announced by the Governor on December 9 of this year.
At the outset of the event, Secretary, Raj Bhavan, Raj Yadav in his address accorded warm welcome to all the dignitaries while briefing the gathering about the various amenities available at the Raj Bhavan premises at present including the statues of Subhash Chandra Bose and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a 70-ft flag mast hoisting the National flag, medicinal plants farm, etc.
Raj Bhavan will be open for public viewing from January 1, 2022 between 10 AM to 12 PM in the morning, and between 2 PM to 4 PM in the evening, he added.
The Chief Engineer of Tourism & Civil Aviation Department Neeraj Pradhan, in his commemoration speech highlighted the areas in the Raj Bhavan which would be made accessible to the public and tourists.
He also cited various historical events related to the Old Raj Bhavan and expressed that opening of the Raj Bhavan for public viewing will enable people to relive the glorious history and harmonious setting of the Raj Bhavan premises.
Thereafter, Governor Ganga Prasad and Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang-Golay inaugurated the Photo Exhibition organized by the Information & Public Relations (IPR) Department and also released ‘The Heritage Building of Raj Bhavan at Gangtok’ brochure.
Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, in his address, extended gratitude to the Governor for envisioning the development of tourism sector in the State through his historical decision of opening the Raj Bhavan for public and tourists. He also thanked the Governor for prioritizing the agriculture, education and allied sectors and guiding the State government to work towards the upliftment of the people of Sikkim.
He stated that the opening of the Raj Bhavan will be an additional asset for attracting both tourists and the local gentry thus boosting tourism in the State of Sikkim. He added that State government will continue extending its full support towards infrastructure development to further create employment opportunities and to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship among the youth of the State.
Highlighting on the various schemes of the central and state governments initiated to support the entrepreneurs in tourism sector, the Chief Minister urged all the travel agencies and stakeholders to work towards showcasing the hospitality of the people of Sikkim and also motivated all towards transforming Sikkim into the next wedding destination in the near future.
Addressing the gathering, Governor Ganga Prasad said that with the opening of the heritage building of Raj Bhavan for public viewing, people can now revel in the splendorous beauty and architecture of the building. He stated that this initiative will also be a stepping stone in bringing the eventful changes in the political history of the State while highlighting the documentation of Sikkim’s transformation into a democratic State of Independent India.
The Governor reiterated the central government’s mission of making India ‘atmanirbhar’ and commended the State government’s contributions towards encouraging people’s proactive participation in being ‘vocal for local’. He further added that he has adopted two GPUs in the State of Sikkim namely Navey-Shotak and Ben-Phegyong for the all-round development of the villages.
Applauding Sikkim for promoting tourism and organic farming at a wide scale, the Governor stressed on the potential of saffron farming here in Sikkim and added that its future prospects will surely be called up in the coming days.
He further urged all to make a commitment towards working for the betterment of the society and the nation as a whole to successfully commemorate the “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” that celebrates 75 years of progressive India and the glorious history of it’s people, culture and achievements.
The programme also featured a cultural extravaganza presented by local artists with the light and sound show being one of the main highlights of the event.
Considered to be a priceless treasure of the tiny Himalayan state, the Raj Bhavan was constructed in 1889 by the British Political Officer J Claude White.
In 1975, the institution of Chogyal Dynasty was abolished, and Sikkim was formally inducted into the Indian Union as its 22nd State.
For having made this culmination possible, BB Lal was made Governor of Sikkim on May 18, 1975 the very day that the amending Bill received the President’s assent which marked the conversion of Residency into Rajbhawan.