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As Governor of Sikkim

Shri. B.P. Singh was sworn in as the Governor of Sikkim on 9th July, 2008. Initially, Shri Singh and his wife, Smt. Karuna Singh, were lodged in the annexe building since the main Raj Bhavan had been declared unsafe for habitation. This was in the wake of 2006 earthquake, which had left many parts of this heritage building severely damaged. Meanwhile, with the work on the new Raj Bhavan already commencing, the fate of this over hundred-year-old structure now seemed uncertain.

Fortunately, Shri Singh, with his past experience as the Union Culture Secretary, refused to fall in line with the view that the Raj Bhavan was beyond restoration. It was upon his insistence the restoration and retrofitting work started; soon (in a record time) the building was restored to its former glory. Thus, a fortuitous intervention from Shri Singh helped preserve this architectural and historical treasure of the State. Referring to this episode, Shri Singh writes, “For the decay and eventual destruction of the Raj Bhavan building and its gardens would have constituted the most uncomfortable chapter of the first decade of Sikkim’s 21st century” (Foreword Sikkim’s Raj Bhavan, 2011). This was an impressive debut as Governor, and, at the same time, it promised so much more for the State.

Soon, Shri Singh took up a spate of initiatives with the Government of India for the development of Sikkim. Some of the initiatives being:

  1. Alternative road route from Siliguri to Gangtok;
  2. Construction of airport at Pakyong;
  3. Railway connectivity from Sevoke in West Bengal to Rangpo in east Sikkim; and
  4. Strengthening of the telecommunication network including Internet services in Sikkim.

Shri Singh’s administrative expertise together with his familiarity with the modus operandi at the Centre has enabled the State government to articulate its developmental plans more effectively to the Centre. Towards this, Shri Singh has been a wonderful interface between the State and the Government of India.

In his meeting with the Prime Minister (PM) of India in 2008, Shri B.P. Singh apprised him about the connectivity problems faced by the State. The PM expressed full sympathy and support in solving the problem. Soon enough, a team of officials led by the Union Cabinet Secretary met Shri. Singh in Raj Bhavan in November, 2008. In the meeting it was decided to recommend to the Government of India that a double laned highway may be built from Chalsa in West Bengal to Menla near Nathula in east Sikkim as an alternate route to the existing 31A national highway.

Shri Singh’s intervention in the construction of Pakyong airport proved crucial in precipitating the work which had otherwise been stuck in a limbo in the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The foundation stone of the airport was laid on 28th February, 2009, a week after a power point presentation on the proposed airport was made to Shri Singh.

The proposed railway link from Sevoke to Rangpo too benefitted from the interest evinced by Shri Singh. The sum of 100 crores was earmarked in the railway budget for 2009-10. The foundation stone for the railway link was laid on 30th October, 2009 by the Vice President, Shri Hamid Ansari, during his visit to Sikkim.

The proposed township, Naya Gangtok, along the Ranipool-Pakyong highway is Shri Singh’s conceptualization. As envisaged by Shri Singh, land on both sides of the highway will have planned infrastructure creation which will include business centres, residential areas, hotels/resorts, cultures centres as well as linkages to recreation and economic sustainability. On this behalf, Shri. Singh has requested the North East Council (NEC) and Department for Development of North East Region (DONER) to adopt the DPR of Naya Gangtok and earmark funds for the project.

As a guardian of the Constitution of India in the State, Shri Singh firmly believes in the virtue of maintaining cordial relations with the State’s governmental machinery so long as the sanctity of the values laid down in the Constitution is maintained. Article 371 F (f) of the Constitution of India confers special powers to Governor of Sikkim in protecting the interests of the minorities. Shri Singh has received complete confidence of the Sikkimese people from all walks of life- political or apolitical. The political leaders- ruling or opposition- in the State hold him in the highest esteem and look to him for advice.

A strong believer in universal right to education, Shri Singh employs his speeches as an effective tool of learning for children. Rife with information and rich imagination, his speeches are an evidence of his high erudition.

Now into his fourth year in office as Governor, Shri Singh can look back with pride at the many positive changes he effected in Sikkim. Shri Singh is also a strong advocate for the development of India’s North East region, and is an active voice in the NEC. His strong sense of purpose coupled with his past experience as a top administrator has proved advantageous for Sikkim and the region as a whole.

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