Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang graced the third Gwala Diwas 2023 event held in Jorethang, South Sikkim, on July 1, 2023.
The occasion, organised by the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services Department (AH&VS) in collaboration with Sikkim Co-operative Milk Producers' Limited and North Sikkim Co-operative Milk Union Limited, saw the Chief Minister address a massive gathering.
Chief Minister Tamang commended the Gwalas for their invaluable contribution to establishing Sikkim as a role model state in dairy production, earning it the title of the leader of the White Revolution.
He expressed his admiration and extended warm wishes to the dairy farmers on this special Diwas, a concept devised by the State Government to uplift the status of the Gwalas and prioritise the welfare of rural communities.
"This event symbolised the government's dedication to dairy farmers," he said.
During his speech, the Chief Minister unveiled a range of announcements to benefit the Gwalas and Milk Producers' Co-operatives.
He declared that on August 15, the State Government would award the top three Milk cooperative Societies with cash prizes of Rs. 10 lahks, Rs. 7 lahks, and Rs. 5 lahks, respectively, from the Chief Minister's Discretionary Grant.
Furthermore, he pledged to enhance milk incentives for the Gwalas.
To assist those unable to procure cows independently, the State Government planned to distribute two thousand Holstein-bred Jersey cows.
Additionally, the government directed the relevant department to expedite the submission of requirements for establishing forty Milk Collection Centres across the state.
Each centre would receive an allocation of Rs. 5 lakh to bolster milk production.
The Chief Minister urged all stakeholders to wholeheartedly engage in this mission, creating a robust foundation for milk production and supply in the state.
Concerning the rise in Lumpy Skin Disease among cattle, the Chief Minister provided an update, revealing that 37,500 cows had already been vaccinated.
He applauded the efforts of the AH&VS officials and staff for their advanced and regular vaccination campaigns, which successfully contained the spread of the disease and reduced cattle fatalities.
He assured the audience that the State Government would continue to provide compensation as verified by the relevant department.
Highlighting various welfare initiatives implemented by the State Government, Chief Minister Tamang announced the upcoming establishment of an office and facility in Siliguri to provide medical assistance to individuals seeking treatment in the city.
He also mentioned the government's efforts to improve housing conditions, with a current coverage of 50,000 households.
Namchi District was honoured as the best-performing district in terms of milk supply for the years 2022–2023, delivering a total quantity of 5,936,145 kilogrammes.
The average daily milk supply in the district amounted to 16,263.41 kilogrammes.
Meena Rai from Suntaley, Pakyong District, received the prestigious title of Milk Person of the Year 2023 for her outstanding contribution to milk supply from 2022–2023, totaling 124,969 kilogrammes.
She was awarded an incentive of Rs. 9,99,752 for her average daily milk supply of 342.38 kilogrammes. This marked Meena Rai's second consecutive victory, earning her a standing ovation from the audience.
To conclude the event, the Chief Minister, alongside other dignitaries, distributed tokens and checks to recognise the efforts of progressive dairy milk suppliers, distributors, and societies in the state.
Earlier in the programme, the Chief Minister inaugurated the Sikkim Paryavaran Parva, an event organised by the Forest Department under the theme "Leave a Green Legacy."