It is my proud privilege to have the honour of addressing you on this occasion of the 66th Independence Day of our great nation. May I take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt greetings to the people of Mizoram and especially to everyone who have gathered here this morning to celebrate this glorious day.
On this auspicious day, we remember with pride and honour the names of Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and all others who have given their all for our today. This day is significant and remarkable for this is the day on which our great nation attained her freedom from a foreign rule and chose to stand on her own feet to strive to achieve a better future. Today let us rededicate ourselves to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of the founders of this mighty nation who had shed their tears and blood in their struggle for our freedom.
May I take this opportunity to highlight some of the achievements of our government within the past one year.
1. The flagship programme of New Land Use Policy (NLUP), designed to transform Mizoram’s economy by focusing on generating income and employment both on-farm and off-farm activities has made good progress. The original target of 1,20,000 beneficiaries for 5 years has been achieved during the first 3 years and the beneficiaries had taken up trade activities of their choice that is spread over the entire State. Another fresh 15,000 beneficiaries are proposed to be covered for which Supplementary Plan has been submitted to the Planning Commission. Planning Commission has released Rs.1208.82 crores upto 4th year against ACA Component. In addition to this, Central Ministries have contributed another Rs.460.43 crores under Convergence Plan of Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) and it is expected that about Rs.300 crores for various CSS programmes will be provided under Convergence Plan during 2013-14.The project has made significant impact on the economy by providing alternative and sustainable livelihood opportunities to farmers by reducing their dependence on jhumming. Packages of activities targeting commercial farming, primary processing, promotion of livestocks, pisci-culture, sericulture, plantation of cash crops and similar activities have already uplifted the economic welfare of the beneficiaries. It is worth mentioning that project implementation has been leveraged by supporting infrastructure like nursery, hatchery, water harvesting, agriculture link road, etc. through convergence of CSS programmes with NLUP as envisaged in the project. Consequently, Mizoram has registered GSDP growth rate of 11% during 11th Plan period against the national growth rate of 7.8%. This remarkable achievement could be justifiably attributed to NLUP Programme. The per capita income for the year 2010-2011 at current prices is Rs. 50,956 which has shown a considerable increase; evidently the economy of the state is on the rise.
Initiative has also been taken for technical support and supplementary funding from Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of United Nations for which an expert team from Minnesota University, USA, at the behest of FAO, visited Mizoram in January, 2013. The expert team has submitted their report wherein they have appreciated NLUP programme and its implementation. The expert team has met FAO officials in Delhi and at its Headquarters in Rome during 31st January to 4th February, 2013 and the process for various required formalities are in progress. The problem of citrus decline, repeated poultry epidemic, pig and cattle disease, various health issues under “One-Health” Programme of UNO, deforestation, declining water resources, soil and water management and various other critical problems of Mizoram are proposed to be addressed by involving top level international experts.
2. The maintenance of law and order and security of the people of Mizoram have always been given paramount importance. There was no major incidence of crime and violence in the state during the past one year except the kidnapping of 5 (five) employees of Environment & Forest Department on 18.02.2013 by suspected cadres of National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT). They were later released on 29.2.2013 without payment of any ransom money after dedicated pursuit by SP CID (SB) team. The Mizoram Police have been given a free hand to tackle any situation without political interference; as a result of which the state saw new development in the maintenance of Law and Order. May I congratulate the Mizoram Police for their endeavour and dedication to their service in maintaining Mizoram as undoubtedly one of the most peaceful states of India. Mizoram is prone to various natural disasters; accordingly, the government has given top priority to professionalism on the matter of rescue operations. During last year, five batches of training of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) were conducted during which 324 Armed Police personnel were trained. The State was deeply mourned by unprecedented collapse of buildings at Laipuitlang on 11th May 2013 where 17 precious lives were lost. We all share the loss suffered by the families. I have affirmed to uproot corruption in the state, and the Anti-Corruption Branch has registered fresh cases of corruption related matters during the year. 12 criminal cases were registered and seven charge sheets were submitted during the year.
3. Under Public Works Department four bridges namely (1) Built-up Steel Girder Bridge over River Tuivai on Phullen – Phuaibuang road and (2) Built-up Steel Girder Bridge over River Tuirial on Muallungthu – Khumtung road (3) Two nos Pre-Stressed concrete Bridges over River Chite Lui on Armed Veng – Falkland road and on Lower Bethlehem – World Bank Aizawl By-pass road have been completed and another three bridges are currently under construction and will be completed during the year. During 2012-13, Resurfacing work of about 220 Kms have been completed on NH-54 and about 55 Kms on NH-150 have also been completed recently. 2-Laning of existing National Highways is in good progress and about 212 Kms is expected to be completed by 2015. Under NEC Schemes Rs.344.17 crores have been sanctioned recently for Serkhan – Bagha road (115Km), Ngopa – Tuivai road(113.50Km) and KDZKT road. Under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) Scheme 164 nos. of unconnected villages have been connected. Under Externally Aided Project (EAP) upgradation of Serchhip-Thenzawl-Buarpui road (55Km) at a cost of Rs.167.9 crores funded by Asian Development Bank through Ministry of DoNER and construction of road starting from NH-44A via Buarpui-Thenhlum – Phairuangchhuah - Chawngte to link Multi Modal Road at S.Bungtlang (350Km) and upgradation of Lunglei-Demagiri-Kawrpuichhuah Road (112Km) and Champhai-Zokhawthar road (30Km) under Mizoram State Road Project-II funded by World Bank at a cost of Rs.3,500 crores ($600 million) are expected to be taken up. A 2-Lane Highway linking Lawngtlai and Myanmar Border is under way. This road will connect Mizoram with Sittwe, a Sea Port in Myanmar which would have a great positive impact on the economy of the State. A new Mizoram House has been inaugurated at Chanakyapuri, New Delhi and construction of a new Mizoram House at New Town, Kolkata is expected to be completed shortly. Foundation stone has been laid for a new Mizoram House at New Mumbai and suitable land for construction of Mizoram House at Bangalore has been earmarked and allotment of the plot is expected soon. Construction of a new Raj Bhawan and an additional Secretariat Building at Aizawl have been started. The Rajiv Gandhi Stadium at Mualpui with 400 metre 8-lane track, a standard size football pitch with artificial grass, with a seating capacity of 6,200 spectators has been completed. Creation of more infrastructure at the site is in full swing. To enhance the state economy, railway lines up to Sairang is in the anvil for which land between Sairang and Bairabi has been acquired at the cost of over Rs.20 crores.
4. Self-sufficiency in power supply continues to be among the top priorities of the Government. The installed capacity of Hydel Generation in Mizoram at present is 29.35MW. To enhance Hydel generating capacity the Department is taking up construction of 5MW Tlawva SHP near Khuangthing village at an estimated cost of Rs. 57.49 crores which is expected to be completed in 2015. It has also taken up construction of 100KW each Hydel projects at Tuiriza and Tuiching at the estimated cost of Rs. 2.20 crores and Rs. 1.56 crores respectively which are expected to be completed by 2014. The department is also intending to take up construction of 3.50MW Kawlbem SHP from the year 2013-2014 at the probable cost of Rs. 49.60 crores. The 47th Meeting of Empowered Institution for Viability Gap Funding (VGF) scheme of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, on 23.7.2013 approved 210 MW Tuivai HEP to be executed on Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support. The project will be executed by Power & Electricity Department, Government of Mizoram on Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode under state sector. The project is the first Public Private Partnership (PPP) infrastructure project in the North-East and also the first Power Generation Project in India to be executed on PPP mode with VGF support. The project is to be completed in five years and will be developed on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis. The Department will be floating a Global Tender for this Project.
5. Urban Development & Poverty Alleviation Department is steadily improving urban life in a broad-based and holistic manner. Under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) renovation of Greater Aizawl Water Supply Scheme Phase-I has been implemented under PHED at a total Project cost of Rs.1681.80 lakhs and the Project is expected to be completed during 2013-2014. The Central Government has approved and sanctioned three road development projects for Aizawl namely (1) Improvement & widening of Aizawl City Road Phase-I (Rs.3873.40 lakhs), (2) Sihhmui to Mizoram University road (Rs.5309.32 lakhs) as spur of Aizawl City Ring road and 93) Widening and improvement of Vaivakawn to Mizoram University road (Rs.1907.64 lakhs) which are being implemented by the State Public Works Department. Under Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP) 3 housing projects namely Chite & Lawipu combined EWS (Rs.3,402.43 lakhs), Rangvamual EWS (Rs.3,075.14 lakhs) and Durtlang EWS (Rs.2,623.73 lakhs) projects are being implemented for provision of housing and other basic amenities to families below poverty line and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of the society. These three projects will provide housing to 1,096 urban poor families. 8(eight) Projects worth Rs.3,927.31 lakhs for construction of EWS Housing at Lunglei, Saiha, Champhai (two projects), Kolasib (two projects), Serchhip and Mamit for construction of 1950 units/houses have been approved and sanctioned by the Central Government under Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) and are expected to be completed shortly.
The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has approved to develop Aizawl as a Solar City and the Aizawl City Master Plan has since been prepared and approval of the Ministry has been obtained. As many as 13 (thirteen) projects have been sanctioned and work is in progress of which 99.36 Kwp SPV Power Plant at New Secretariat, Khatla has been completed. The Aizawl Master Plan Vision – 2030 has also been approved and detailed zonal planning will now be taken up to ensure that Aizawl City grows in a planned and sustainable manner. The 13th Finance Commission Grants for Urban Local Bodies has also been transferred to the Aizawl Municipal Council to enable them to take up core services like solid waste management, water supply, drainage and other public amenities within Aizawl City. Under this Rs.1,982.09 lakhs was released by the Central Government during 2012-2013 of which the 1st instalment amounting to Rs.1,245.13 lakhs has already been drawn. This massive intervention from the Central Government has been beneficial in bridging the huge investment gap in building critical urban infrastructures in Aizawl and providing essential municipal services. Action Plan for 2013-2014 amounting to Rs.2365 lakhs has already been prepared and submitted to the Government.
6. Trade and Commerce Department has established as many as 224 markets during the past five years; and it has generated a revenue of Rs. 1,14,27,985. Construction of Trade Facilitation Center at Tlabung built to facilitate border trade with Bangladesh has been commissioned. Construction of roads between Mizoram and Myanmar under Indo-Myanmar Border Trade is in full swing and this is expected to have far reaching impact on the economy of Mizoram, as and when it is fully functional. The Land Custom Station (LCS) at Zokhawthar, Champhai District has been completed and is ready for commissioning. The proposed LCS at Zorinpui (Lawngtlai District) along Kaladan Multi Modal Transport Project (KMMTP) has been approved in principle for funding by the Empowered Committee Meeting held at the Ministry of Commerce on 5th July 2013. This Land Custom Station will act as an access point to the South East Asian countries after completion.
7. Rs. 725 lakhs worth of dry broomsticks was sold to other states during this year. An area of 500 hectares and 200 hectares under rubber and coffee plantations respectively are being taken up. An area of 2300 hectares is being covered for broom plantation. A record 5400 metric tonnes of fish was produced during the year and 305.6 metric tonnes of fish feed and 180 lakh fish seed were distributed to farmers under RKVY programme.
8. The Labour, Employment & Industrial Training Department has established The Mizoram Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board which has collected a revenue of Rs. 14,23,24,587 /- during the past five years; out of which Rs. 4,00,46,400 has been disbursed. Printing & Stationery Department has strengthened its instruments and infrastructure to the tune of Rs. 330.38 lakhs during the past five years under projects sponsored by Ministry of DoNER.
9. Transparency and efficiency in governance is a top priority of the government. During this year, the Department of ICT has set up a state wide network under the Mizoram State Wide Area Network (MSWAN) connecting all the districts and block headquarters which was inaugurated on 19th June 2012. This is expected to open a doorway to good governance at a click. The revenue collection of the State has substantially increased during the year as the Taxation Department has modernised its mode of revenue collection by opening online subscriptions for the tax-payers from the comfort of their homes. As a result Rs. 185.29 crores was collected against the target of Rs. 170 crores with a surplus of Rs.15.29 crores.
10. To ensure healthy and sound meat production the Government has constructed a state of the art slaughter house at Mualpui and Bung Bungalow and construction of the same at Serchhip and Lunglei is going on.
11. Rural Development and Rural Poverty Alleviation is another priority of the Government. Under National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) 86 Self Help Groups (SHG) were formed during 2012-2013. Several village Haats were constructed to create better marketing facilities for Self Help Groups and rural artisans to boost socio-economic development. Under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) 2,10,794 no. of job cards were issued and 1,73,967 no. of households have been provided wage employment during 2012-2013 and 1,27,42,356 person-days were generated during the year 2012-2013. A total number of 2,396 houses were constructed and another 383 were upgraded during the year under the Indira Awaaz Yojana (IAY). The Government intends to construct another 3,661 houses during 2013-2014. It is the priority of the state to ensure that every household has a secure rooftop. Accordingly, the State Government has distributed GCI Sheet to 3,000 families of the rural poor who are not beneficiaries of the IAY scheme. Under Border Area Development Programme (BADP) Rs.3,977 lakhs has been spent/drawn for undertaking 534 no. of works in 2012-2013 from normal allocations and Rs.137.73 lakhs has been spent for 23 no. of works from additional allocations for the year 2012-2013. Rs.4,017 lakhs is allocated under BADP for the year 2012-2013. Under Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) Projects covering an area of 2,638.18 hectares had been taken up at a cost of Rs.1,643.879 lakhs during 2012-2013. Rs.1,916 lakhs was received under Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) during 2012-2013 for undertaking 1,354 items of work.
12. The Government is very serious about provision of potable drinking water to all. The PHE Department had targeted 57 rural habitations to be covered for providing safe drinking water supply under NRDWP during 2012-2013. The Government of India had released Rs. 4,540.63 lakhs for execution of drinking water facilities to the targeted habitations. Four rural water supply schemes have been completed under NABARD (RIDF). Renewal of Greater Aizawl Water Supply Scheme (Phase-I) under JNNURM is being taken up with the approved cost of Rs.1681.80 lakhs and is nearing completion. Augmentation of Greater Lunglei Water Supply Scheme and augmentation of Greater Serchhip Water Supply Scheme under UIDSSMT are also being done with the estimated amount of Rs. 867 lakhs and Rs. 687 lakhs respectively achieving a 100% physical progress on these two schemes. It may be mentioned that Greater Saiha Water Supply Scheme and Tlabung Water Supply Scheme are also being taken up under 10% lump-sum grant with the estimated amount of Rs. 2,070.20 lakhs and Rs. 441 lakhs. The progress made for these schemes are 37% and 46% respectively. Greater Khawzawl Water Supply Scheme with the approved cost of Rs. 2,497 lakhs has also been started.
13. The Department of Information and Public Relations has been playing a crucial role in maintaining cordial relationship between the government and the people. Keeping up with the latest information technology, the Department is a forerunner in the usage of media interface. Towards promoting the welfare of films and other arts, the Government has, for the first time, set aside a considerable fund during the year. The State has seen a notable increase in tourism during the year. The revenue earned from tourists, domestic and international was Rs. 171 lakhs. Rural Tourism and Adventure Tourism have been identified as potential area of attracting tourists and thrust is being made in this segment. Eco-resorts will soon be constructed at Sialsuk and Hmuifang.
14. Under Sports & Youth Services Department, Vanlallawma Indoor Stadium, Champhai constructed at a cost of Rs. 1,100.70 lakhs was inaugurated on 1st August 2013. Construction of Indoor Stadium at Pitarte Tlang, Aizawl was also completed with an expenditure of Rs. 1,242.42 lakhs. Construction of Multi Level car parking, Community centre and office complex for the department is expected to start soon with an approved amount of Rs. 1,298.26 lakhs from DoNER. The North Eastern Council had recently approved construction of Indoor Stadium at Electric Veng, Aizawl at a cost of Rs. 493.63 lakhs. Several sports infrastructure works are undertaken under State Plan Fund. For this, Rs. 1,777.80 lakhs is earmarked under SPA (2012-2013). The much anticipated NCC Air Squadron (Air Wing) is now fully operational and 1800 cadets from different colleges and schools are enrolled in this wing. On 18th May 2013, Mr. David Zohmangaiha successfully conquered Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the world and I congratulate him for achieving this feat. I would also like to congratulate Mr. Vanlalliana who was part of the expedition as Base Camp Manager.
15. The Environment & Forest Department has formulated appropriate strategies and is implementing various strategically-planned schemes for achieving the vision of having a well-stocked high quality forest in Mizoram. Under National Afforestation Programme (NAP), Village Forest Development Committee have been constituted in several villages which is aimed at rehabilitation of degraded forests and other areas. Under this programme, plantation have been raised over more than 50,000 ha, which is being protected through great efforts of local people and the government agencies. For the current year (2013-2014) project proposals for carrying out advance work over 1530 ha, creation of new plantations over 2500 ha, and maintenance of older plantations over 7670 ha. have been sanctioned under NAP by the Ministry of Environment & Forest, Government of India and are being implemented effectively. About 2,00,000 tree seedlings have been distributed under the Green Mizoram Programme. For reinforcing measures of forest protection and improving forest health, “Intensification of Forest Management” scheme is being implemented in the state with assistance from the Government of India. Several project proposals under these schemes at an estimated cost of Rs.505.04 lakhs have been agreed by the Ministry of Environment & Forest, Government of India for the year 2013-2014. Under National Bamboo Mission, Bamboo Plantation have been carried out over more than 50,000 ha. which have been taken up in both forest and non-forest areas.
The Environment and Forest Department has taken praiseworthy initiatives for the preservation of wildlife by constituting 1 Tiger Reserve, 2 National Parks and 7 Wildlife Sanctuaries. The area set aside for long-term Wildlife Preservation is about 1728.75 sq. km. which is more than 8% of the State’s geographical area.
16. Major initiatives have been undertaken by the Social Welfare Department and a number of social issues have been addressed during the 11th Plan period. Welfare and development, preventive treatment, rehabilitation and restoration programmes through the network of residential homes and non-institutional services in partnership with civil society have been carried out for differently-abled persons, the aged, infirm, poor, destitute, widows, economically and socially handicapped persons and women and children. It has also taken steps to combat drug abuse, alcoholism, trafficking of women and children and juvenile deliquency.
17. Provision of quality education has always been the priority of the Government. Under SSA, free Textbooks were distributed to 1,66,318 students and free school uniforms to 1,58,679 students during the year. 7,602 handicapped students were given aids and other appliances free of cost. Teachers’ training, physical education, repair of old and construction of new buildings are being carried out under SSA and RMSA. Mid-day meal programme is being implemented successfully without interruption. As many as 1,503 Primary Schools and 1,022 Middle Schools have been giving mid-day meals whereby 1,30,483 primary school students and 4,95,015 middle school students have benefitted.
For infrastructural development of various colleges in Mizoram, a sum of Rs.12.22 crores has been sanctioned by the Ministry of DoNER under NLCPR as 1st installment. The Ministry of DoNER has also released Rs.342.46 lakhs as 2nd instalment for construction of Government Champhai College. Rs.600 lakhs each as 2nd instalment has been released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development under CSS for on-going construction of New Polytechnic at Champhai, Kolasib, Lawngtlai and Mamit. Rs.200 lakhs each has also been sanctioned for setting up new Polytechnic at Saiha and Serchhip. Rs.90 lakhs each has also been sanctioned by the Ministry of Human Resource Development for construction of Women’s Hostel at Mizoram Polytechnic, Lunglei and Women’s Polytechnic, Durtlang. Under the Mizoram Education Reforms Commission’s recommendation, a DPR for Rs.815 crores have been submitted to the Planning Commission, DoNER and NEC for funding. As part of the first Phase Plan, NEC is expected to release around Rs.10 crores in the near future.
18. We have brought about a significant improvement in health infrastructure through the implementation of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). The State Referral Hospital, Falkawn (150 Bedded) was inaugurated on 10th Dec, 2012. Presently 5(five) Departments of Civil Hospital, Aizawl viz. Surgery, Medicine, Gynaecology, Paediatric and Dental have been established in the said Hospital in order to relieve the heavy burden and overcrowding of the Civil Hospital, Aizawl. The Government is planning to upgrade the hospital to 220 bedded during the 12th Five Year Plan. The Government has also decided to establish a Medical College at the State Referral Hospital and Detailed Project Report has been submitted to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. Establishment of a 50 bedded AYUSH Hospital at Thenzawl is also underway. The Government has taken steps for establishment of 100 Bedded Cancer Hospital at Zemabawk and DPR has been submitted to the Central Government. Reconstruction of Staff Quarters, Gynaecology Block, vertical extension of OPD Block, Radiology and Imaging Department at the Civil Hospital, Aizawl have been completed. 80% of the work for upgradation of District Hospital, Champhai has been completed. Detailed Project Report for upgradation of District Hospital Saiha, construction of 50 bedded Hospital at Lawngtlai and upgradation of JNM (District Hospital) Serchhip has been submitted to the Ministry of DoNER. Computerisation of Hospital Management & Information System (HMIS) at Civil Hospital, Aizawl is on the verge of completion. Procurement process for a new CT Scan machine for Civil Hospital, Aizawl is going on and the Cardiology Department at Civil Hospital, Aizawl has been upgraded.
19. We have ensured regular supply and distribution of rice through the Public Distribution System inspite of many hurdles. Supply of LPG has improved with a total of 1.2 lakh cylinders received per month. In order to ensure regular flow of cooking gas at various towns and villages, 28 locations under RGGLV Scheme have been selected for new points of distribution apart from the existing 24 LPG Agencies in Mizoram. Out of the 28 selected locations, 11 locations have already been commissioned. Extension of the existing Mualkhang Bottling Plant is in the pipeline and a bigger Plant will be coming up in and around Thenzawl. The whole process of PDS in Mizoram has to be computerized through the ‘End to End Computerization of PDS’ for accuracy in the identity of the ration card holders, checking and monitoring of the movement of food grains etc. This process has been started in all the districts. The Central Government has sanctioned and released 60% of the project cost, which is Rs.4.91 crores.
20. In the field of Agriculture and Horticulture, production of quality paddy seeds has been taken up at various farms and refinement of existing technology for higher crop yields through Research and Education has also been taken to farmers during 2012-2013. Horticulture mechanization under Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalayan states (HMNEH) were also taken up by the Horticulture Department by popularizing various modern mechanized tools and implements to farmers which has reduced cost and manpower. 300 numbers of power tillers were distributed to the farmers under Agriculture Department during 2012-2013. The Government of Mizoram is again committed to attain self sufficiency in food grain production and other allied agricultural products to make agriculture a sustainable and viable vocation for livelihood support with the rice production reaching an all time high to 57,700 MT during 2012-2013. Minor Irrigation Department has undertaken various schemes to prevent erosion of soils, develop minor irrigation and command area development at various places in different districts and new Minor Irrigation Divisions will be opened at various district headquarters very soon.
21. Local Administration Department has covered 757 villages in Mizoram in the implementation of various minor works including parks, civic amenities at the cost of Rs.11 crores and 247 Village Councils were provided with office infrastructure during 2012-2013.
22. Art & Culture Department has taken up various projects during 2012-2013 including Cultural Centre-cum-Auditorium at Vaivakawn from the North Eastern Council and various important Heritage sites are being processed to be declared as State Protected Monuments under the Mizoram Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites & Remains (MAMASR) Act 2001.
23. During 2012-2013 Transport Department achieved a revenue collection of Rs.2,757.42 lakhs from Motor Vehicles and earnings from MST Buses and surpassed the target of Rs.1,342 lakhs by Rs.1,415.42 lakhs. Under JNNURM 14 buses were purchased with an expenditure of Rs.146 lakhs from the 1st instalment released by the Central Ministry and 3 Urban Buses at a cost of Rs.31.21 lakhs were purchased as State Matching Share of the State Government.
24. Construction of District Court Building at Mamit has been completed and construction of District Court Building at Serchhip is underway. Administrative Approval for construction of Judicial Officers Quarters at Kolasib have been obtained.
25. The Government of Mizoram has enhanced gratuity given to World War-II veterans and war widows. Establishment of Sainik School, which would tremendously facilitate entry into Armed Forces, is in progress. As many as 599 Mizo boys joined the Armed Forces during the year.
26. Bye-Election to 8-Chalfilh (ST) AC was conducted successfully with a record voter turnout of 80.35%. The State Election Commission has left no stone unturned for ensuring a free and fair conduct of General Election, 2013.
On this auspicious day, I appeal to all of you to re-dedicate yourselves to work unitedly for the progress and prosperity of our state and our country. Without clean and efficient government machineries and improved public service delivery mechanism, even the best laid plans and programmes will not benefit the people. We are willing to walk the extra mile to revamp and strengthen our administrative machinery. We must persevere, and be patient, as we slowly yet surely make our way towards a better future.
I would be failing in my duty if I do not take this opportunity to thank the NGOs, the churches and the people of Mizoram for their support during the past five years of my Government. As we all know, Mizoram is going to polls at the end of this year. I appeal to the people of Mizoram to exercise their franchise freely and fairly, giving due priority to the spirit and ideals of democracy that have sustained our state and nation.
I am grateful to the parade contingents, the students and all the people who have gathered here today. On this sacred day, let us resolve to preserve and strengthen the unity and integrity of our great nation.