Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling was conferred the prestigious 2016 'Sustainable Development Leadership Award' by President Pranab Mukherjee during the World Sustainable Development Summit organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) at Vigyan Bhawan here today.
The award was presented to Chamling in recognition of his vision and leadership in environment and sustainable development leading to the establishment of Sikkim as the first and only organic state in the country according to citation presented by the TERI on this occasion.
Sikkim is only state in India to have attained the official status of fully organic state in January 2016 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the official announcement during his maiden visit to the state.
The state known as the Land of Flower, with a population of around six lakhs, is now gaining world wide popularity as fully organic state of the India. Around 75,000 hectares of land has been converted into certified organic farms over the years following the guidelines as prescribed by National Programme for Organic Production. Sikkim contributes around 80000 million tonnes organic production out of total 1.24 million tonnes of organic production recorded in India.
On the initiative of Chamling, a historic declaration was made through a Resolution in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly on February 24, 2003, for transforming Sikkim into a 'Total Organic State' as a result of which the Sikkim State Organic Board was constituted on September 16, 2003, for outlining policy issues and strategic plans, as well as developing standards and regulations.
The state government stopped procuring chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides from 2004 onwards and also eliminated the existing subsidy to farmers for procurement of chemical pesticides. The state government created category-wise organic farming schemes and organic action plans to set the targets of conversion
Chamling has taken various green initiatives under which ban on pan masala /gutka was enforced in the entire state in the year 1995 and subsequently in 1997 passed an Act on prohibition of throwing of non-degradable garbage in public drains and sewerage. The state passed a law for prohibition of smoking in places of public work or in public service vehicles in the state in 1997.
On August 14, 1998, Sikkim became the first state in the country to impose a ban on plastics and non-degradable materials and the tourists were also prohibited from carrying plastic bags and containers in under the rules. The state government imposed complete ban on collection of medicinal plants and non-timber forest produce for commercial purposes and framed Statutory Rules for mandatory planting of ten saplings in lieu of one tree felled in private holdings implemented in 2001.
The Chief Minister started a unique programme in 2009 called "10 Minutes' on June 25 annually under which all the citizens of the state plant one sapling each during a pre-announced 10 minutes.
The state government imposed a ban on the use of diclofenac sodium and burning of agricultural wastes in 2015 and all the old trees in government forests were identified as "Sikkim State Heritage Trees" in 2016.
The state government imposed a ban on use of Styrofoam products and a ban on the use of Plastic Bottled drinking water in state government functions and also banned tyre fires during the year 2016.
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