Bhandara: Sikyong Penpa Tsering of the Central Tibetan Administration visited Norgeyling Tibetan settlement in Bhandara from 13 – 14 April following his visits to Phuntsokling settlement in Odisha and Phendeling settlement in Mainpat. Sikyong was welcomed at the Bhandara railway station by the chairman of Norgyeling Tibetan Assembly, settlement officer, and the chairman of the regional Tibetan freedom movement. Upon arrival at the Tibetan settlement from Bhandara, he was given a rousing welcome by the Tibetan public.
After offering prayers at Thekchenling and Ngagyur Choepheling monasteries based in the settlement, Sikyong visited the local settlement office, local LTA office, local Tibetan co-operative society, camp leader’s office, Tibetan rice factory, etc.
In the evening, Sikyong addressed the Tibetan community of the settlement followed by a question and answer session. Before the talk, settlement officer Kalsang Sichoe delivered the introductory remarks and read out the annual report of the settlement.
In his address, Sikyong spoke about the critical situation prevailing inside Tibet and China’s ongoing policies to eradicate Tibetan language and culture. He also reaffirmed the 16th Kashag’s commitment to pursue the Middle Way Approach proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and officially adopted by the Tibetan parliament to resolve the Sino-Tibetan conflict. He further spoke about the transfer of CTSA schools to the Sambhota Tibetan School Society (STSS) administered by the CTA’s department of education, and the Kashag’s plans to merge Tibetan schools based on student strength of the schools.
Sikyong talked about the importance of working towards the sustenance of the Tibetan settlements, and urged the youth of the settlement to learn vocational skills and come back to work for the benefit of both the society as well as the individual. He also urged them to discuss plans for future projects in the settlements with the local settlement officer and assured the Kashag’s support if the projects are found to be suitable.
Sikyong talked about the Kashag’s activities in the past 10 months such as the establishment of a new Permanent Strategy Committee, amendments to CTA staff rules and regulations, and its plans for a population survey.
On Thursday, 14 April, Sikyong visited the Mentseekhang, the primary health care center, and the local Tibetan Sambhota school based in the settlement. In the afternoon of the same day, Sikyong travelled to Nagpur city where he was given a warm welcome by the members of the Nagpur chapter of Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association and Bharat Tibbat Sahyog Manch. During the interaction with the Indian Tibet supporters, he expressed his gratitude to the government and people of India for their kind hospitality and for their continued support to the Tibetan people. The interaction was followed by interviews with local Indian media.
The visit to Bhandara Tibetan settlement marks the conclusion of Sikyong’s official trip to the Tibetan settlements in based in central regions of India. Sikyong will leave for Dharamshala on 15 April.