SCC demands introduction of 18-seater chopper services

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Gangtok, Nov 10 (UNI) The Sikkim Chamber of Commerce (SCC) today impressed upon the 13th Finance Commission for immediate introduction of a subsidised 18-seater helicopter service for the state, as the Pakyong airport and Rangpo rail link are likely to take another 4 to 7 years to complete.

Expressing gratitude to the Centre for the recent Cabinet approval of the Pakyong airstrip and Rangpo rail link, SCC in its memorandum said, '' Since this process of creating infrastructure is likely to take 4 to 7 years, introduction of a subsidised 18-seater helicopter service is solicited at the earliest.'' SCC president S K Sarda had presented the memorandum to the 13th Finance Commission Chairman Vijay Kelkar during a meeting today here at Chintan Bhavan.

In its elaborate representation, the body submitted before the commission the need to have an alternative highway connecting Nathu La to Siliguri in view of the landslide prone topography of Sikkim that can be used in peace times for trade and transit and during war times to protect the nation.

The SCC also requested the commission for a uniform treatment to the 'left out Sikkimese' regarding the Income Tax exemption and urged the Centre to pay attention for the development of Sikkim.

'' Health tourism is an area where we should give more focus.

These days health tourism has become a great earner. Since Sikkim has a very healthy climate, it is suggested that the Centre earmark a fund on how and in what way an attractive package can be developed to attract patients for health rejuvenation. Investments on physical assets development could be thought of once the study is complete,'' the SCC said.

In view of the rich forest wealth the State is blessed with, SCC appealed the Commission to recommend 'exploration of medicinal herbs on a commercial basis' which could be monitored and regulated by an appropriate authority.

SCC further pointed out that Sikkim can be developed into a model centre to house IT Parks and BPO centres which would provide more employment and revenue to the state.

UNI BG KK AK BD2001

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