Gangtok, Feb 12: Urban Development minister LB Das on Monday tabled the ‘Sikkim Town And Country Development Bill’ in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly for development and regulation of growth of urban and rural areas of Sikkim.
In his statement of object and reasons, the Urban Development shared that through the bill, the government aims to develop physical and socio-economic plans for different hierarchies and explore innovative land use mechanisms to attract investments for planned growth.
This legislation will also provide for the establishment of development authorities to supervise development beyond municipal areas and define recruitment rules for hiring workforce with the required skill set to facilitate an organised approach to land, labour and capital, he said.
State capital Gangtok, Namchi, Singtam, Rangpo, Geyzing, Jorethang, Singtam and Mangan are the major urban areas in Sikkim with towns like Pakyong, Soreng and Melli also rapidly expanding. Over the years, Sikkim has experienced rapid urbanisation driven by administrative and commercial activities.
Das, while introducing the bill, mentioned that the rapid rural-urban migration results from disparities in quality of life, development pace, basic infrastructure and employment opportunities.
“Sikkim already faces challenges due to limited land availability, with 82.31% of its area under the jurisdiction of the State Forest department. The recurring issue of development expanding beyond city boundaries, driven by overwhelming pressure for land developments necessitates attention.”
Urban Sikkim is restricted to seven civic bodies and 146 bazaars, classified into Class II, III and marketing centres based on their importance. These areas are regulated by the Sikkim Allotment of House Sites and Construction of Building (Regulation and Control) Act, 1985 and the Sikkim Building Construction Regulations, 1991.
However, the need for legislation enabling the creation of development authorities to oversee areas beyond municipal jurisdictions, promote form-based codes for built environment, provide for local area planning, encourage town planning schemes for innovative land pooling in greenfield development, climate sensitive planning and resilience planning has become imperative for the State, said the Urban Development minister.
The bill proposes creation of a Sikkim Town And Country Planning Board with the Chief Minister as its chairperson and chief town planner as the member secretary.
Discussions and voting on the bill would take place in the next sitting of the Assembly.
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