- Sujal Pradhan, NET Correspondent, Sikkim
Senior Reporter – Bhim Rawat was awarded the ’16th Kanchenjunga Kalam Puraskar 2022′, at the founding ceremony of the 20th Press Club of Sikkim (PCS) held at Manan Kendra, here today.
Similarly, the Laganshil Yuva Patrakar Puraskar 2022 was awarded to journalist Sujal Pradhan. PCS also congratulated veteran journalist Sukvir Blone during the Foundation Day celebration.
The award was handed over by the hand of Chief Minister PS Golay, in the presence of IPR Minister and Guest of Honor Lok Nath Sharma, Ministers from various departments, MPs, dignitaries, journalists from Sikkim, Nepal, of Assam, West Bengal, etc. and invited guests.
The Chief Minister, on behalf of the state government, presented checks of Rs 51,000 each to the three winners. Golay informed that from next year, the three winners will receive checks of Rs 51,000 from the state government. This year it was distributed from the CM fund but from next year the amount will be donated via. the IRP department.
On the occasion, CM Golay informed that a new award “Teesta-Rangeet Aviral Kalam Puraskar” will be presented on the founding day of PCS, on behalf of the state government. He informed that Rs 101000 will be awarded to the winner and the notification will be released soon.
The founding members of the PCS were also congratulated on this occasion.
Calling the day historic, the Chief Minister congratulated the members of PCS and the journalists of Sikkim for completing 20 glorious years of its founding and thanked the founding members for establishing PCS for the benefit of the journalists of Sikkim.
The CM further informed that since the coming to power of the SKM government, media houses are not under pressure from political parties, unlike the previous ruling party where violence against media and journalists was widespread. “Since the coming to power of the SKM party, there has been complete freedom of expression for the fourth estate. Under the previous government, several media outlets were attacked. None of the culprits were convicted when Hamro Prajashakti’s office was vandalized under the previous government, as it was the ruling party that organized the attack on the media house. The state government has never asked the media to write only in favor of the SKM government, because we know that if there is no freedom of the press, there will be no democracy in Sikkim. The state government also welcomes criticism, so mistakes can be rectified. We have released you to work alone and we are trying to accommodate all inquiries from Sikkim media. We are here to support the Fourth Estate,” Golay said.
CM Golay further informed that media personnel requested space to build PCS Bhawan in front of the state government and in no time a four storey building located at MP Golai was presented to PCS in one no time. “The request for PCS Bhawan was a long-standing request. Members previously paid rent for the PCS office near Paljor Stadium. PCS members had previously applied for land to build PCS Bhawan, but the state government believed that giving land only was not the solution and so the four-storey building was presented to PCS, but various standards and criteria must be followed, a minimum lease amount is being collected,” he added.
Golay urged PCS members to use the building accordingly so that income can also be generated, at the same time.
The Chief Minister informed that the executive members of the PCS visited Mintokgang earlier and submitted various demands to the state government. The requests have been forwarded to the departments concerned, it was specified.
Regarding the journalists’ pension, Golay urged the PCS and IPR department to sit down together and formulated the eligibility criteria for the journalists’ pension. “Criteria should be formulated so that only deserving journalists receive the pension. Both departments should find the solution,” he said.
Considering the request for health insurance for journalists, which was also placed by Bhim Rawat in his acceptance speech earlier in the day, Golay informed that the state government has provided financial assistance to journalists Processing. He added that journalists who have minimum income will be provided with medical insurance and the state government plans to collaborate with Tadong Central Referral Hospital (CRH).
Golay also informed that a budget of Rs 20 lakhs has been set aside for journalists in Sikkim. Ten journalists will receive funding of Rs 2 lakhs each for a nationwide study tour.
Regarding the renovation of PSC Bhawan, which cost Rs 14 lakhs, the Chief Minister informed that the state government will provide Rs 10 lakhs to PCS.
He also pointed to the Publicity and Media Support Amendment Bill Act which is about to shut down.
CM Golay said he will include the founding ceremony of the PCS at the Azadi Ki Amrit Mahotsav as India today celebrates 75 years of independence. To celebrate 75 years of independence, Golay urged the public to raise the Indian flag at home from August 1-15. The flag will be distributed by the state government. He also urged the Chalak Morcha to place the Indian flag in the vehicles as well. He also urged ministers and MPs to hold a grand independence celebration in their respected regions.
Intellectual Property Rights Minister LN Sharma congratulated PCS members on completing two decades of its founding. He said the state government is supporting media personnel in Sikkim and will listen to all requests.
In his speech, Senior Journalist Bhim Rawat pointed out that the PCS was founded two decades ago with the sole purpose of speaking on behalf of journalists in Sikkim. He, being one of the founding members of PCS, also shed light on the various accolades of PCS in terms of social service, reporting, and more. He urged future journalists to be responsible and not just chase after the public in the age of social media.
Sujal Pradhan thanked PCS for the award and expressed his joy that his name was selected for the award.
PCS Chairman, Shekhar Khawas, in his welcome address, informed that PCS was established in 2022 by a group of like-minded journalists who understood the value of the fourth pillar of the company.
On this occasion, the official press stickers were also launched by the hand of the CM. Press stickers are being introduced in Sikkim in an effort to curb the misuse of press stickers. PCS, in conjunction with Sikkim Police and Traffic Police, will introduce an exclusive press sticker with the PCS logo.
Likewise, the second edition of Samvahak, a publication of the PCS was also released. The publication is trilingual, i.e. Hindi, Nepali and English. The editors are journalists Rajen Pradhan (Nepali), Bijoy Gurung (English) and Bishal Gurung (Hindi). The first edition came out 10 years ago.
The event also had the History Department of the University of Sikkim HOD Krishna Ananth as a resource person. A cultural event by PCS members also followed during the celebration.