IHP: Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay yesterday inaugurated ‘Lily village’ a new Tibetan settlement for newly arrived Tibetans from Tibet at Bir, located about two hours from Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh on 17 May.

Kalon Dolma Gyari and Secretary Khorlatsang Sonam Topgyal of the department of home accompanied Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay at the inauguration. Deputy Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel and several members of the Tibetan Parliament were also present at the inauguration.

The Lily Tibetan village was a project by the Department of Home to rehabilitate newly arrived Tibetans from Tibet with permanent housing facilities. The village consists of 74 houses with each house costing around 9 lakh INR.

Inaugurating the new Tibetan village, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay spoke about the Central Tibetan Administration’s commitment to look after the welfare of the newly arrived Tibetan refugees. “My colleagues in the Kashag and I feel responsible for the welfare of Tibetan refugees just as a parent would do so for their children. Therefore, we are doing our best to brighten the futures of the newly arrived Tibetans,” he said.

Sikyong also highlighted the hospitality provided by the government of India and expressed the Central Tibetan Administration’s immense gratitude. “No other country has done for Tibet what the Indian government continues to do for the Tibetan people. Therefore, we should always be grateful and maintain a harmonious relation with the local Indians,” he said, urging the people to diligently follow the rules and regulations of the country.

Home Kalon Dolma Gyari in her inaugural remarks said that housing is one of the bare necessities that a human being needs to lead a comfortable life. “For that reason, governments across the world initiate numerous projects to build houses for the poor and homeless,” she said.

“In the case of the Tibetan people, since 1959, Tibetan refugees had been rehabilitated in settlements across India, Nepal and Bhutan under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the hospitality of the state governments,” she explained, adding, the fact that these settlements have sustained over the last six decades is a testament of the hard work put in by the elder generation of the Tibetan people.

However, she added that housing facilities in the settlements were inadequate for the second wave of refugees from Tibet. Therefore, to cater to these specific needs, the Kashag led by Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay have initiated this housing project to provide housing for newly arrived Tibetans, she said.

Kalon also explained that the land on which the houses were built were purchased at a total cost of 125 Lakhs with the Kashag contributing 100 lakhs and the home department contributing the rest.

Following Kalon Dolma Gyari’s speech, Home Secretary Sonam Topgyal Khorlatsang gave the concluding remarks of the inauguration.