Sangay meets TSOs for briefing about his policies

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay speaks during the opening of the four-day meeting of the Tibetan Settlements in India, in Dharamshala, India, on 17 October 2016.

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay speaks during the opening of the four-day meeting of the Tibetan Settlements in India, in Dharamshala, India, on 17 October 2016. Tibet Sun/Lobsang Wangyal

By Lobsang Wangyal

MCLEOD GANJ, India, 17 October 2016

More than 40 Tibetan Settlement Officers gathered for a four-day meeting to be briefed about Sikyong Lobsang Sangay’s policies and projects for his second five-year term.

Sangay explained his 5-50 policy, by which attempts will be made to resolve the issue of autonomy for Tibet within China in 5 years or to sustain the Tibetan movement for the next 50 years.

Expressing his commitment to the “Middle-way approach” for resolution of the Tibetan autonomy issue, Sangay said that the settlement officers should understand the nuances of this policy so that they could explain it more effectively to the public. He will give a workshop on the policy to the officers in the coming days.

Sangay said that his administration has improved and stabilised the financial situation of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). He has additionally secured a 23-million USD grant from the US government to develop and sustain the exile Tibetan communities in India, Nepal, and Bhutan.

This grant will be used in various projects in the settlements, as well as some central projects, over the next five years.

He urged the officers to create feasible projects that would bear fruit over the long term.

“We had in the past many projects that didn’t bring any result. My other worry is whether we would be able to use all the 23 million dollars in the next five years,” Sangay said.

He concluded his remarks by praising the officers, who he said form the most important part of the CTA.

“You are there working directly with the people and care about the people’s welfare irrespective of what time of the day.”

Minister for Home Sonam Topgyal introduced the meeting by explaining its purpose, during which he asked the officers to take responsibilities considering the dire situation in Tibet.

The same as most of the Tibetan gatherings where the sound system is problematic, the minister had to speak holding the mic in his hand since there was no mic stand, while the piercing screech of feedback resounded throughout the meeting, as if making the point that the very first project CTA should fund with the 23 million USD is an upgrade of their sound systems.

One new project Topgyal wants the settlement officers to achieve is creating a database of all information of their respective settlements.

The settlement officer from Bhandara, Mr Karma Dhargay, was upbeat about the meeting. Speaking to Tibet Sun, he said, “The meeting is very useful. I will have a better picture of the policies, in particular the grants we will get in developing our settlement.”

Dhargay said his settlement is one of the poorest among all the Tibetan settlements in India. “The CTA has been paying extra attention to our settlement.”

There are more than 1,000 people in Bhandara, and many are elder. The youth are about 100 in number but they do not have any facilities for learning, let alone recreation.

“The 23-million-dollar grant is great news. We surely could use some funding. We will have meetings about what people need, and make plans and submit our proposals.”

A few projects that are already on Dhargay’s mind are building two basketball grounds, as the two camps are far apart, and bringing Internet to his settlement.

“Right now the communication services such as mobile phones and Internet are almost non-existent. We are planning to ask phone service providers to install a mobile tower. Internet is another thing we need to work on.”

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