Sikkim Ratna for LD Kazi

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  • Published 16.08.04

Gangtok, Aug. 16: Sikkim’s first chief minister Lhendup Dorjee Khangsharpa, popularly known as L.D. Kazi, was today conferred the Sikkim Ratna, the highest civilian state award for outstanding service to the people of Sikkim.

Chief minister Pawan Chamling reached Kazi’s home in Kalimpong this morning to personally hand over the medallion, a citation and cash award of Rs 5 lakh to the 102-year-old leader who is regarded as the father of democracy in Sikkim.

This is the first time this award is being conferred by the state government with Kazi having been chosen as the first recipient.

The award was announced by the state government at the 57th Independence Day celebrations held at TNA ground yesterday. Kazi, however, could not attend the celebrations because of his physical disabilities and waning health. He had written to the state government mentioning that he could not attend the celebrations in person.

Earlier this year, Kazi was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Union government for his contributions to the nation. The award also entitles Kazi to a monthly pension of Rs 5,000. He has already been receiving Rs 5,000 as monthly pension from the state government as an appreciation grant for having bagged the Padma Vibhushan.

The citation handed over to him by the chief minister reads: “In recognition of his exemplary contribution to the state of Sikkim, the state government hereby confers on Padma Vibhushan Shri Kazi Lhendup Dorjee Khangsharpa, the decoration of Sikkim Ratna on the occasion of Independence Day, 2004.”

The citation further mentions that “with a clear concept of establishing a democratic set up and rule of law in Sikkim, L. D. Kazi formed the Sikkim National Congress and continued his political struggle for the emancipation of the Sikkimese from their feudal masters. He was ultimately successful in bringing about democracy in the state of Sikkim and on the basis of one-man-one-vote, became the first chief minister of Sikkim”.

Chamling emphasised that Kazi’s life was dedicated to the service of the people by adhering to the ideals of secularism, communal harmony and national integration.