Saturday, May 7, 2011

NHPC’s contract workers vent grievances to DM, win assurances of improvements in working conditions


NAMCHI, 06 May: A direct result of the 2-day bandh called by the ruling party to highlight labour rights has been the empowerment of workers who have since then been more expressive in getting themselves heard and demanding better working arrangements. The latest manifestation of this forcefulness was seen at the District Administrative Centre here today where more than 200 contract workers engaged at the Rangeet Nagar power station by the NHPC trooped today to get their demands heard and stared down the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation to heed their demands.
The flashpoint was the Rangeet HEP power station at Hingdam, South Sikkim, which follows the roundly criticised practise of hiring its workforce via a labour contractor. The spark was the termination of the services, “without any valid reasons” the protesting workers insist, of one Om Prakash, an electrician employed on contract basis by the NHPC. Protesting this issue, the workers began a dharna on 02 May at the power station, and weaved around the termination incident, listed out 11 demands enumerating denials they have been suffering for a long while now.
These demands were submitted to the NHPC Chief Engineer, Rangeet Nagar Power Station, the next day, 03 May.
When the deadlock showed no signs of approaching a resolution, the District Magistrate [South], AK Singh, called a hearing today to bring both sides to the discussion table.

Summit to engage youth in Climate Change dialogue

GANGTOK, 06 May: “Youth Alliance for Climate” [YAC], a network of the youth from the North East, has announced plans to organise a youth summit on 20 May at ICFAI University campus, Lower Sichey, Gangtok. The programme, a press release informs, is being held in “active association” with Laya and INECC (Indian Network on Ethics and Climate Change).
In a bid to generate awareness on climate change young people from different parts of northeast came together to form Youth Alliance for Climate in 2008 as a youth programme conducted by Indo Global Social Service Society as part of its SMILE programme. The participants of that programme decided to form a network as the discussion of the youth programme was on climate change, the release informs.

SPCC condemns SBS condition requiring govt servants to get loan applications recommended by MLAs

GANGTOK, 06 May: The Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee, in a meeting conveyed today, has strongly condemned what the party sees as the “discriminative policy” of the State Bank of Sikkim in new conditions added by it for the grant of loans to State Government employees.
Under the new policy, the release informs, the loan seeking State Government employees are required to obtain the recommendation of their respective area MLAs on the condition of repayment of the loan amount from their monthly salaries on installment basis.
“Such policy is in direct and blatant violation of the Fundamental Rights of the individuals as guaranteed by the Constitution,” the SPCC release issued by its vice president, Kunga Nima Lepcha, stresses.

Street play speaks out against discrimination of women

GANGTOK, 06 May: A street play, “Naya Shitij”, highlighting the social ill of discrimination against women and the girl-child, was performed today in Dzongu and Phodong in North Sikkim today.
The play has been sponsored by the Cultural Affairs and Heritage Department in collaboration with the North-East Zone Cultural Centre, Dimapur, and will be staged across the state.
Written by Jagdish Sharma and directed by Phurba Lepcha, the play features Yadav Sunam, Deepak Sharma, Rewati Lepcha, Anita Chettri, Ankita Tamang and M Pathak from Gangtok as actors.
The play will be staged at Namchi and Daramdin on Saturday and at Rhenock and Yangang in the coming days.

Lucky Draw at Lifestyle 2011 picks 3 winners

GANGTOK, 06 May: A lucky-draw was held today at “Lifestyle 2011”, an exhibition-cum-sale fair organized by the Nayuma Women’s Co-operative Society at Old Children Park Taxi Stand.
Visitors who had purchased goods worth more than Rs 200 at Lifestyle 2011 since it began on 07 April had received lucky draw coupons. These were put in a box and drawn by visitors at the venue.
The first prize, an LG washing machine, was won by Rajesh Kumar Agarwal of Ranipool, the second prize, Jaipuri quilt set, was taken by Amrita Koirala of Daragaon Tadong, and the third prize of a hand press juicer was taken by Ms Ananya of 1086 GREF. All the winners were informed over the phone by the management today itself.
The Nayuma Women’s Co-operative Society in-charge, TT Bhutia, informed that the fair is scheduled to continue till 12 May, but given the response it has received, it could be extended for one more month. The fair has 108 stalls occupied by the artisans from all over the country.

Disaster management and rescue demos in Mangan

MANGAN, 06 May: The National Disaster Response Team of BSF, 2nd Battalion [Kolkatta], in coordination with the Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department office of Mangan, organized an awareness cum demonstration programme on disaster management & rescue at Mangan Bazaar today.
The programme was attended by Zilla Adhyaksha (N), K Lepcha coordinated by ADC (N), S Targain, Asst. Commandant BSF, DS Kanchan, DRM Coordinator, Kessang Nima, MNP Councilors, drivers and public of Mangan Bazaar.
The awareness series had started on Thursday at Mangan Senior Secondary School and will continue till 07 May in the North District, informed the DRM Department Coordinator.

Staying the Course on M&E

The Chief Minister will be moving out on a month-long “Sikkim-bhraman” shortly. This tour, projected to reach every corner of the State, is, in the CM’s own words, his move to confer directly with the people, check ground realities for himself and plan the course ahead in consultation with the people. The tour will definitely accrue some political benefits by allowing people to vent their frustrations against their representatives and government officials directly to the Chief Minister and thus effectively keeping them within the fold and hopeful. But more than that, it is the clear focus on reconnecting with the real Sikkim that makes the prospects of this tour exciting. Responsibilities of the State can keep the person at the helm of affairs busy, and over time, the finger on the pulse of the people, which keeps successful politicians ahead in the game, sits lighter. While the CM addresses party meetings and official functions across the State on a regular basis, these venues allow only one-way conversations of the leader informing the janta of the plans and successes. On other times, only people with access and individual needs and demands get to meet the CM. A focussed road-trip of the State will allow for a more casual, and thus also more intimate interaction with the people when the real complaints, genuine instances of denial and the ugly instances of public privations induced by private profit will be confronted. This is an important initiative because after 17 years in power, the present government no longer has the luxury of blaming previous regimes for problems which continue to confound in Sikkim and with the fourth term now nearly two years old, the delivery promised ahead of the polls will need to have start manifesting.

CSWB Chairperson arrives today on 3-day Sikkim visit

GANGTOK, 06 April: Prema Carriappa, Chairperson, Central Social Welfare Board [CSWB], New Delhi, will be arriving in the State on Saturday on a three-day official visit.
In her maiden visit to Sikkim, Ms. Cariappa is scheduled to attend an interaction session with the representatives of various local NGOs here at the State Guest House on Sunday. She is also scheduled to visit some of the NGO-run CSWB sponsored centres for women.
There are 125 creche centres under the Rajiv Gandhi National Crèche Programme in Sikkim. These centres are run by local NGOs under the supervision of the State Social Welfare Board [SSWB] and receive 90% funding as Centrally Sponsored Schemes [from the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare through the CSWB- a Government of India undertaking.
Crèche centres were started in Sikkim in1977 after SSWB was constituted in the year 1976. At present, these centres are spread all over the state from Uttarey and Sophaka in West Sikkim, bordering Nepal and 17th Mile near Tsomgo to Lachung in North Sikkim.
Besides, there are 10 condensed courses meant for dropouts and women being run under CSWB and short stay homes and helpline centres sponsored by the Board have already earned kudos from the people.
Ms. Carriappa is scheduled to return to Delhi on Monday.

NHPC holds Chicken Pox vaccination drive in Rangrang

GANGTOK, 06 May: A Chicken Pox vaccination programme was organized today by NHPC, Teesta Stage-V Power Station at the Govt. Junior High School, Rangrang in North Sikkim. An NHPC press release adds that this vaccination drive was held after receiving necessary NOC from the Health Department here.
A total of 154 students from classes I to VII [up to 12 years of age] were administered Chicken Pox vaccine free of cost.
The NHPC medical team was headed by Dr. TKR Naga, Chief Medical Officer, NHPC Limited. The Medical Superintendent, District Hospital North, Mangan, Dr. PK Basnett, represented the Health Department to supervise the programme.
This is the second vaccination programme organized by NHPC; earlier, a similar programme was held at the Makha Secondary School in East Sikkim.

Parakha meets to promote village tourism

GANGTOK, 06 May: A programme to promote village tourism was organised by Parakha Re-Incarnation Organisation, a local NGO, on 05 May, at Parakha BAC.
The programme began with an address by the president of the organisation, Kamal Gurung, who spoke on the basic requirements for village tourism and its advantages as an important source of income, informs a press release. He also briefly explained about the Kisan Bazar and benefits of having such a bazar for the locals.

Karmapa claimant offers a compromise- “Seat all three as Karmapa under my leadership”

GANGTOK, 06 May: Dawa Sangpo, a Karmapa claimant from Sikkim, expressed his desire to solve the Karmapa reincarnation imbroglio by offering that he was open to all three – Ogyen Thinley Dorje, Trinley Thaye Dorje and himself – being recognised as the Karmapa provided he led the troika.
Addressing a press conference today, he referred to the Dalai Lama's statement published in the Outlook magazine [of 24 January 2000] suggesting that the candidates sit together to solve the Karmapa issue.
Dawa Sangpo said today that he is ready to “compromise” and share the seat at the Rumtek Dharma Charka Centre with the “other Karmapa claimants” if senior religious leaders and the people want him to do so, provided that he was given the main seat and the other two followed his leadership.
Maintaining that he was the “genuine Karmapa”, he said that he was willing to make this “sacrifice” in the interest of the welfare and betterment of the people around the world. He claimed that the natural disasters and problems plaguing the world at present were because he has not been allowed to take his seat at Rumtek.

IBM “Systems Centre of Excellence” to come up in Siliguri

SILIGURI, 06 May: Surendra Institute of Engineering and Management (SIEM), Siliguri, announced on Thursday that an IBM Systems Centre of Excellence (SCoE) will be set up at the institute to train students and build “smarter skills on industry leading IBM Systems technologies and platforms”.
“The IBM SCoE, will provide an opportunity for students to learn new skill-sets on the latest technology platforms including AiX and Linux. IBM will also provide the institute with access to technologies relevant to the local market and equip the faculty with knowledge to ensure that students are able to gain first-hand experience on all IBM platforms at the college,” an SIEM press release contends.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dawa Lepcha’s “Ritual Journeys” selected for Royal Anthropological Institute International Festival of Ethnographic Films

GANGTOK, 05 May: “Ritual Journeys”, a documentary film by cinematographer, activist and passionate archivist of Lepcha culture and way of life, Dawa Lepcha, with Anna Balicki Denjongpa as anthropologist consultant, has been selected for the prestigious Royal Anthropological Institute International Festival of Ethnographic Films 2011. Dawa will be travelling to London to present the film at the festival to be held from 23-26 June 2011. Significantly, Dawa has also been selected for a 10-day [12 to 22 June] course on film editing at the University of Manchester. The film has also been selected for the Freiburg Film Festival, Germany.
Before London gets to watch the movie, the opportunity comes to all interested in Sikkim as it premieres this Saturday, 07 May, at the main hall, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. Entry is free for the premiere screening which will have ‘Nekung’ Keepu T Lepcha as chief guest and begin at 2 p.m.
The film is an intimate portrait of Meyrak, an 80-year-old Bongthing from Dzongu. Dawa followed Meyrak with his camera and recorded his daily life and rituals over seven years from 2003 to the year 2010.

Tsomgo traffic to move in set to time slots

GANGTOK, 05 May: The unreliability of the Jawaharlal Nehru Road [JNR] to Tsomgo and Nathula has proved a major setback for everyone involved in the tourism sector here. Frequent breakdowns in the connectivity status has led to stranded tourists requiring elaborate, and often dangerous, evacuation efforts. Now, the tourism stakeholders and BRO officials have agreed on a timing regime to streamline traffic on this axis to ensure better monitoring for everyone’s convenience.
Vehicles headed for Tsomgo and Nathula are now required to be on their way up by 11 a.m., after which no tourist vehicle will be allowed through the check-post above Gangtok. These vehicles will now have to start the return journey from Tsomgo latest by 3 p.m.
With JN Road blocked at two major trouble spots at 9th Mile and 13th Mile, the road has remained closed for the past three days. With 112 vehicles packed with tourists stranded on the wrong side of the slides on 2 May eventually evacuated, a meeting between all concerned authorities and stakeholders has thought it necessary to streamline responses to such situations.

Taxi drivers object to SNT buses for sightseeing, confident that Gangtok-Darshan will be scrapped

GANGTOK, 05 May: The Central Joint Action Committee of the Local Taxi Driver’s Association [Gangtok] called on the Transport Minister, TT Bhutia, today and submitted an application seeking that the State government’s proposal to launch the Gangtok Darshan Bus Service in the capital be scrapped.
“After we learnt of the Gangtok Darshan bus service for tourists by the Sikkim Nationalised Transport [SNT], we immediately called on the Transport Minister,” informs Chung Chung Bhutia [president, CJAC of LTDA]. The Minister, in turn gavethem a verbal assurance that he would look into the matter and put the proposal on hold, the president added.
“Today, we called on the Minister again and have also put up a formal application regarding this matter, which was then forwarded to the Secretary, Transport Department, who sent the application to the Principal Chief Engineer and again has gone to the Minister for scrutiny,” the president said and added that the Minister has also assured to call on the Chief Minister and discuss the issue with him.

DC takes stock of LPG supply situation

GANGTOK, 05 May: District Collector [East], D. Anandan has issued strict directions to the concerned authorities to ensure uninterrupted and adequate supply of LPG cylinders to consumers in the district. This, in response to complaints reaching his office that refills for domestic LPG cylinders were getting hard to come by. Officials at the District Administrative Centre [East] add that this action was also suo moto in light of the long queues of LPG expectant across town.
This, Mr. Anandan, told an emergency meeting conveyed by him at the District Control Room, MG Marg, on 03 May with representatives of the LPG distributors, including STCS, officials of the IOC and Food and Civil Supplies Department and members of the Sikkim Hotels and Restaurants Association.
The meeting was convened to ascertain the reasons behind the shortage of LPG refills in the recent weeks and came to the conclusion that this was a ‘temporary shortage’ caused because of the three-day continuous shut down of the LPG plant at Rangpo because of the West Bengal elections and observation of fire safety week by the IOC.

RTI applications attract violent reprisals in South Sikkim

GANGTOK, 05 May: “Anyone can seek information through RTI and Police Department is always there to ensure protection of the RTI applicants,” said Superintendent of Police [South], Manoj Tiwari, in response to a written complaint submitted to his office by “The Sikkim RTI Forum” on Wednesday, alleging that the cops have been “completely incompetent” in delivering on their duties.
In a written complaint addressed to SP [South], a copy of which was also marked to District Collector [South], Director General of Police, Chief Justice, High Court of Sikkim, Chief Secretary and the Governor, the Forum’s general secretary, DK Chettri, alleges that two instances of violent reprisals against RTI activists have remained unsolved in South Sikkim.

Press for Freedom


03 May was the International Day for Press Freedom. It is a day when the fourth estate in most parts of the world, forever reporting on others, indulges in some vanity. But the day is much more than just an exercise in narcissism. It is more about remembering and recording the continuing struggle of those in the media to keep people informed. The fact that in every continent, journalists, editors and publishers are murdered, assaulted, detained and harassed is proof that freedom of speech exacts a high cost. World Press Freedom Day exists to recognise the sacrifices made in the struggle for freedom of the press and to put pressure on the numerous countries that continue to deny their citizens this basic human right. The current figures for suppression of free voice are telling: Over the last decade, more than 500 journalists lost their lives in the pursuit of their profession. Sixty killings were reported worldwide in 2010 alone. These figures do not include journalists who died in harness, covering a beat that could prove fatal not just because they are journalists, but because they were there. Publications continue to be censored, fined, suspended and closed down all over the world for what they choose to report and yet free voice exists - that itself is reason for celebration. Freedom of speech is a tricky issue and perhaps this is the right time to debate it. While it is easy to guarantee freedom of speech, since only censorship can deny it, it takes much more resolve to tolerate and appreciate it. Given the democracy we live in, freedom to report cannot be denied, it is the reaction to free voice which can leave a bad aftertaste. Threats and attacks are the physical reactions and economic constraints the more subtle form of clamping free voice and while these are deplorable, little can be done to contain them unless the society matures some more. As journalists, such pressures, not always from the outside, have to be accepted as unpleasant accompaniments which come with the territory.

Angaalo Yo Maya Ko embraces Rongli

RONGLI, 05 May: Screening of the Prashant Tamang starrer Nepali movie, “Angalo Yo Maya Ko”, played out over two days at the Rongli Community Hall at Melatar with the last show on 01 May. The screening was organised by the Sangharsh NGO of Rongli. Present on the occasion were producer of the movie, Kishore Dungmali, and Assistant Director cum actor of the movie, Praja Pradhan.
“Bijayata Baraily’s flawless acting was the best in the film,” commented Suman Pradhan, a Rongli resident. He further said she was superb in her role of ‘Jasmine’.
“The story is well crafted, dramatic scenes and the comic scenes were enjoyable but the music could have been much better. Over all a well made film,” he added.

Sikkim Univ VC represents India at first meeting of South Asia Forum

GANGTOK, 05 May: The first meeting of the steering committee of the newly-created South Asia Forum concluded in New Delhi. The meeting decided to hold the first South Asia Forum Summit on the theme of “South Asian Economic Union” in September later this year, informs a press release.
Over 100 top business leaders, public figures, academics, politicians and representatives of civil society organizations are scheduled to participate in the summit.

Governor conveys Sikkim’s condolences to Arunachal Pradesh

GANGTOK, 05 May: Governor BP Singh, in a communication to the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, Gen. (Retd.) JJ Singh, has conveyed Sikkim’s condolences to the people of Arunachal on the death of their Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu in a helicopter crash.
An official press release informs that in his message relayed today, Governor Singh writes, “On behalf of the Government and people of Sikkim please accept our heartfelt condolences at the tragic death of Shri Dorjee Khandu, the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, along with his colleague, his Personal Security Officer and the two pilots of the ill-fated Pawan Hans helicopter.
In the passing away of Shri Dorjee Khandu, Arunachal Pradesh and the country have lost a popular patriot and a hardworking leader for whom the welfare of his people were of foremost importance. He was a respected leader, deeply admired and loved by his people for delivering peace, progress and socio-economic development of Arunachal Pradesh. Shri Khandu is well known for successfully bringing water supply, electricity and road connectivity to needy far flung villages. He was a decorated soldier and a courageous individual who had rendered valuable service to the nation during the liberation of Bangladesh.
It is indeed an irreparable loss. My heart goes to family members of the bereaved families. I am with all of you in this hour of crisis.
I pray for peace.”

Workshop trains ‘frontline staff’ on scientific forest management

GANGTOK, 05 May: A three-day workshop to train “frontline staff” of the Forest Department on “Scientific Forest Management” began today with Minister Forest, Bhim Dhungel as chief guest.
PCCF-cum-Secretary, ST Lachungpa, addressed the gathering and highlighted several aspects of the new forest management regime.
An official press release informs that Mr Lachungpa said, “Over a period of 100 years of forestry in Sikkim the state has witnessed some major developments in the Forestry sector. It was the 10th Chogyal of Sikkim, Sidkeong Tulku, who introduced the concept of Scientific Management of forest resources by establishing the Forest Department. Since then the Department has shown incremental progress in the management of forests as is evident with the increase in forest cover of the state of Sikkim. Now we are witnessing a major overall “paradigm shift” in Forest Management with the introduction of the concept of “Working Plan”. 

Alert neighbours beat down fire in locked appartment

GANGTOK, 05 May: A major fire was averted by the prompt thinking and action of locals here at Chandmari Wednesday evening.
A resident of Chandmari saw smoke coming out from a closed window of a rented room below the meat shop opposite TT&T Garage situated at Upper Chandmari ahead of the Forest Check post on the road going towards Dechiling at around 5.30 in the evening. He immediately informed the meat shop owner, but by then other residents had also noticed the smoke coming out of the window.

Nathula thaws for border trade resumption

GANGTOK, 05 May: The annual business event, the Indo-China border trade over Nathula, began yesterday, two days after the official date for re-opening owing to the bad weather conditions. Trading was otherwise scheduled to begin on Monday.
The Nathula border trade with Tibetan Autonomous Region, was scheduled to have begun on 02 May, Monday, but was held up due to heavy snowfall over the weekend and landslides which blocked out access till Wednesday.
According to immigration officials, although traders from both sides made their respective journeys to Serathang [in Sikkim] and Rinchengang [in Tibet] on 04 May, no trading has taken place thus far.
Yesterday, 52 traders from Tibet came over to Serathang and 10 from Sikkim travelled to Rinchengang.
This was to be a one-day respite, with no crossovers reported today.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

CM to proceed on Sikkim road-trip to confer directly with people

GANGTOK, 04 May: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, spoke for a brief 15 minutes while addressing the central executive meeting of the Sikkim Democratic Front at the party head office here today, his brevity, however, was packed with substantial announcements. The Chief Minister is also the president of the ruling party.
Mr. Chamling announced that starting 17 May, he will move out on a “Sikkim Darshan”, taking a road-trip across Sikkim, “reaching every settlement in the State accessible by road”, in a “direct-interaction” effort to connect with the people more intimately.
The “Sikkim Darshan”, he shared would take the better part of a month and he will be accompanied on this tour by his Cabinet colleagues, MLAs and heads of departments to facilitate on-the-spot mediation where possible and ground updates to inform later follow-up.

ATTC posts record campus recruitment success

GANGTOK, 04 May: A record number of 63 second year students of Advanced Technical Training Centre (ATTC), Bardang, have been selected by Anand Automotives, in a campus recruitment drive held recently, informs a press release.
The students of Manufacturing Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronics and Tool and Die-making have been selected a year before they actually pass out from the institute. The institute also has a tie-up with Anand Automotives for industrial training of final year students in which the company awards stipend and free accommodation to the trainees at various locations in India.
At present 63 final year students of Manufacturing Technology and Mechatronics are undergoing industrial training for a period of six months at places like Pune, Dharwar and Pantnagar, the release informs.

Bhaichung’s United Sikkim scores first win, beat Md Sporting

GANGTOK, 04 May: A lone goal by Johnny D Meyongar helped United Sikkim Football Club [USFC] registers its first win in the final round of second division I-League in Shillong on Wednesday. Bhaichung’s USFC had drawn all its previous three matches.
Playing this crucial match they gave its all and defeated Kolkata’s Mohammedan Sporting Club 1-0.
After three drawn matches in a row, this was a very crucial match for the club and the win has kept its hope alive in the final round. With this first win, the USFC is on the third position with 6 points from four matches at present. The top-2 teams will qualify for the main I-League. USFC still has 3 matches to play.

Trade license fee- just, or too much?

GANGTOK, 04 May: The increased fee structure announced for acquiring and renewing trade licenses has been in the news of late, played up by Opposition parties and also causing some amount of confusion among business people here. In fact, it even came up at the ruling party’s CEC meeting on Wednesday, with a request forwarded to the Chief Minister to consider rolling back the hike. The CM has assured to look into the matter.
Before all this happened, earlier in the day, NOW! contacted the Gangtok Mayor about the issue. The municipal bodies have been authorized to collect the fees and issues new trade licences and renewals.
The Gangtok Mayor, KN Topgay, while responding to comments that the hike was too steep, maintained that the increased slabs are “normal and affordable” for the traders.
He explained, “The increase in the Trade License fee is taking place after around eight years and the new slabs have been worked out seeing the volume and quantum of business generated. The new structure is affordable for all concerned.”

STDC Chairman thanks all for the success of IRF

GANGTOK, 04 May: Chairman, Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation, Narendra Kumar Subba on behalf of the committee has extended his gratitude to all who helped in making the festival a success.
Mr. Subba has thanked the Forest, Wildlife and Environment Department, Tourism Department, MLAs and ministers of West Sikkim, Zilla Panchayat,  Panchayats, SDM West , concerned officers, police personnel, West District tourism societies and  stakeholders , tour operators, travel agencies, hoteliers  for their support , informs a press release.
He has also extended his gratitude to the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling for giving Sikkim international recognition by organizing such events, the release adds.
Finally, Mr. Subba has thanked all those who extended help in organizing the final concluding programme of the festival and to the public of Dentam and Uttarey.

Akhil Sikkim Chettri Bahun Kalyan Sangh forms new executive committee

GANGTOK, 04 May: Akhil Sikkim Chettri Bahun Kalyan Sangh unanimously nominated NR Bhattarai as its chief patron in a meeting conveyed on 01 May under the chairmanship of the present president, Dr. IL Sharma at its office in Ranipul.
The meeting formed its new working executive committee and also presented bank account and land acquisition papers. Mr. Sharma thanked all former members of the working committee for their contribution towards the welfare of the community since the formation of the association, informs a press release.
He especially extended his gratitude to the president of the ad-hoc committee, KP Kaushik, working president, Hem Kumar Karki, general secretary, Dr. Uday Chettri, and other members for their short yet valuable contribution. The newly formed committee also thanked Mr. Kaushik for providing a room for the sangh.

Drivers want truck owners to offer better employment benefits

GANGTOK, 04 May: The Sikkim Truck Drivers Association has decided to write to the truck owners demanding that henceforth, the truck drivers be paid minimum salary as per the Labour Department Notification [amended] vide No. 5/DL dated 1.7.2010. The notification also directs that duty be curtailed to 08 hours per day and medical benefits and life insurance cover be provided from the owner’s side.
A meeting of the Association held at its head office under the chairmanship of its president, Mingma Sherpa today, also fixed June 2011 as the final deadline for the implementation of the notification. During the meeting it was also resolved that appropriate steps be taken if the owners fail to fulfill their demands within the stipulated time frame.

CM condoles death of Arunachal CM

GANGTOK, 04 May [IPR]: The Chief Minister of Sikkim, Pawan Chamling and Mrs. Tika Maya Chamling have condoled the untimely and tragic demise of the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Dorjee Khandu. The Chief Minister has expressed his deep sorrow and anguish on the demise of Dorjee Khandu and has sent a condolence message to the bereaved family on behalf of the people of Sikkim. The Arunachal Chief Minister, it may be recalled, was killed in a helicopter crash in his State.

Study on Cane propagation begins in Dzongu

GANGTOK, 04 May: A research survey on ‘Cane/ Rattan’ is being initiated by the Department of Science and Technology and Climate Change under the project “Cane/ Rattan propagation and its value addition in the Dzongu tribal reserve area, North Sikkim” funded by SEEDS Division, DST, Govt. of India, informs an official press release.
The study is part of a pilot research project on sustainable use of cane for livelihood and create alternative source of income in the region as it is apparent that large cardamom, a major crop of rural Sikkim, is dying out due to several causes, the release informs.
ASO-cum-Principal Investigator for the project, SR Lepcha, informs that cane plantations have dramatically reduced in the State, therefore, the present study is particularly focussed on development of propagation techniques of the local cane species.

Fire-fighting awareness drive in Sichey

GANGTOK, 04 May: An awareness programme on fire fighting and disaster management was organized by United Sichey Social Organization with the support of State Disaster Management Department and Fire and Emergency Service at Sichey Secondary School ground on 30 April for the students and the local public.
The programme sought to generate awareness on natural calamities and impart basic fire fighting skills, and provide guidelines to prepare and tackle such situations. The programme, also supported by live demonstrations was actively participated by the students and the public as well, informs a press release.

SDF condoles Arunachal Pradesh CM’s death

GANGTOK, 04 May: SDF has expressed its deepest regrets on the death of the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Dorjee Khandu, in a helicopter crash. The party, in a press release issued today, has conveyed that Mr. Khandu was an efficient and able leader with ¬great patriotic zeal and a stalwart of the entire North Eastern region and the country.
Acknowledging his death as a great loss to the nation, the SDF party has conveyed its condolences to his family and the state and stated that the party stands by the bereaved family and people in their hour of grief, adds the release.

Sikkim Himalayan Open Badminton tourney in Namchi next weekend

NAMCHI, 04 May [IPR]: Badminton Association of Namchi has announced plans to organise the 3rd Sikkim Himalayan Open Badminton Tourney at Namchi Indoor Stadium from 14 to 16 May.
A meeting was held in this regard under the chairmanship of the patron, area MLA, Binod Rai, and also attended by the chairperson of the association, District Collector [South], AK Singh along with the president, Durga Rai and other members of the association.
During the meet it was informed that the tournament will have the following categories; under 13 boys and girls singles, under 16 boys and girls, Men’s singles and doubles, Men’s open veteran (42 +) singles and doubles, Senior veteran (55+) doubles and Officer’s Special.

Area expansion programme of Sub-Tropical fruits held in Dzongu

MANGAN, 04 May: The Department of Horticulture held a programme on area expansion of sub-tropical fruits at the horticulture farm at Gnon Sangdong, in Lower Dzongu, North Sikkim yesterday.
Director Horticulture, DK Rai spoke on the different programmes and schemes of the department while Principal Director Horticulture, KK Singh spoke on the scope of horticulture development in North District.
Secretary, Agriculture and Horticulture, Vishal Chauhan highlighted the different policy matters, importance of organic farming and also assured to fulfill the different demands made by the panchayat and public.
During the day, beneficiaries from Dzongu were provided orange saplings from the department. The programme concluded with the vote thanks by Director, Agriculture, Topchen Lepcha.
The programme was attended by Zilla Adhyaksha North, Khamsoong Lepcha as the chief guest, along with the Joint Director, Deputy Director, Horticulture Inspector, Gram Panchayats, zilla panchayats and 300 beneficiaries.

Refresher course for foresters on scientific management of forest resources

GANGTOK, 04 May: A refresher course on “Scientific Management of Forest and its Resources” is scheduled to be held at the Forest Department Conference Hall from 05 to 07 May.
The course is considered important because Forest Department staff will be trained especially on the ‘working plan’ and its components, informs a press release. The ‘Working Plan’ is a new concept to forestry in Sikkim and has been prepared taking into consideration all ground realities, the release adds. It is a moment of pride for the state and the Department to have prepared the Working Plan and move towards implementation in the field, the release adds.
The course will begin with training for Head Forest Guard followed by Block Officers on the second day and Range Officers on the last day, the release informs.
Besides the working plan, other projects like the JICA-assisted SBFP project, FDA, IWDP, IWMP etc will also be discussed in detail. It is also part of the implementation of the Chief Minister’s 100 days programme.

Too Much


Everyone knows of that maxim about the advisable course of action when helping out a hungry person – whether to give him fish or teaching him how to fish. The State has been serving out fish for so long in Sikkim that spoon-feeding is seen as a matter of right, and any effort to set the equation right is greeted with protest. Admittedly, the scenario is slightly more complicated than this, but this is more or less the situation in Sikkim.
Slightly more than a decade back, when the Government announced plans to introduce a city bus service for Gangtok, the taxi drivers went on strike in protest. The government buckled over under pressure and the city-runner service is still a token service in a capital crying out for a proper public transport system. At present, traders are crying foul over the hike in trade licence fee, something which is being proposed after 10 years, and taxi driver associations working the system to derail the Gangtok-Darshan bus service announced by the SNT. While both sections are at freedom to appeal for a rethink, none should, however, proceed in the belief that protectionism comes to them by way of right. One has heard the frequent invitations to the people to deliver on their responsibilities even as they enjoy their rights, and the latest development is a pointer to where things are going wrong in Sikkim. No association of traders has done anything substantial to question, explain or correct the usurious billing that shopping in Sikkim attracts, and yet, is quick to protest when trade license fee is hiked. Ditto for taxi driver associations which ignore the fleecing of tourists during peak season, the over-charging of locals during highway bandhs and the scarcity of share-cab services for daily commuters when tourist season picks up. They are, however, quick to protest a bus service for tourists.

North meets to coordinate better for CATCH

MANGAN, 04 May: A district-level coordination meeting on Mission Healthy Sikkim and Chief Minister Comprehensive Annual and Total Health Checkup for Healthy Sikkim [CATCH] Sikkim, was convened by the Health Department at Mangan Zilla Bhawan on Tuesday.
The CMO (N), Dr IL Sharma, in his address informed that the Department has carried out 54 CATCH programmes in the district thus far. In some places, the public faced several problems due to the lack of a clear understanding of the CATCH programme which the Department will try to rectify, he assured.

BJP state secy threatens indefinite hunger strike if road repair embezzlement complaint remains ignored

GANGTOK, 04 May: The Bharatiya Janta Party, Sikkim state secretary, Laten Tshering Sherpa, has threatened to sit on an indefinite hunger strike in Kaluk Bazaar, if the concerned department and authorities will not take the serious note of the carelessness in the implementation of two road projects in West Sikkim.
He alleged that Rs 11.11 crore strengthening the Soreng-Kaluk road and Rs 25 lakh repairing and carpeting of Kaluk-Rinchenpong road were not properly done and pointed out tht the roads were in pathetic conditions.
He has alleged that both the works were completed only in official files and no work undertaken on ground.
Mr Sherpa has issued a 10-day ultimatum to the Road and Bridges Department and the District Collector [West] to take up the matter seriously. Then, he announced, he will give 15 days time to the department to work on the matter and in case it did not, he will sit on an indefinite hunger strike at Kaluk Bazaar.

Bachat Bazaar at Big Bazaar

GANGTOK, 04 May: The Big Bazaar retail chain has announced its “mega saving” offer, the “Monthly Bachat Bazaar” for the month of May. The offer will run from 30 April till 08 May, with the retail chain offering what it calls “attractive discounts and deals on essentials goods from FMCG, grocery, juices and vegetable products”.
Anil Yadav, Store Manager, Big Bazaar, Gangtok, in a press statement, explains, “Initiatives like ‘Monthly Bachat Bazaar’, ‘Wednesday Bazaar’, are part of Big Bazaar’s endeavor to help customers fight the price rise and also they feel happy while getting the best deals for their grocery shopping”.

9FM gets talking environment

GANGTOK, 04 May: The 91.9 FM station has started a new show ‘Lets Talk Environment’ in collaboration with a Gangtok-based, Dazom Creation, with the aim to generate awareness on the environmental issues.
The two-hour long show was launched on a trail basis on 20 March and it will start officially from this Sunday.
This was announced at a press conference today, addressed by RJ Rajshree Subba and Dazom Creation managing director, Bhawesh Pradhan.
This show will broadcast every Sunday from 4 to 6 PM in evening.
Mr Pradhan informed that the concept for the programme was given by former Minister, DD Bhutia, who is the advisor of Dazom Creation.
He added that when his company shared the idea with the 91.9 FM radio station, it has immediately agreed and came forward for the ‘noble cause’.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pawan Hans benched

GANGTOK, 03 May: Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited [PHHL], the only air service available to Sikkim, has suspended its helicopter service in Sikkim. This was done on 01 May “till further notice”.
The suspension of the helicopter service in the State was effected through a letter to the Chief Executive Officer, Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation [STDC], which operates the chopper service, from the PHHL Base Manager, Gangtok, on 01 May.
PHHL has suspended operations in six north-eastern states, including Sikkim, after a helicopter with Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Dorjee Khandu, and four others on board went missing on 30 April. The chopper remains untraced thus far and is the second [suspected] Pawan Hans crash in recent weeks. The earlier crash was also in Arunachal Pradesh when 17 people died in a crash on 19 April.

“Have created exclusive opportunity for performing arts, not sold out creative pursuit”

GANGTOK, 03 May: The Nepali Sahitya Parishad [NSP], Sikkim, has finally broken its silence on the slew of criticism which has been directed on it following its decision to rent out its hall and another floor to the National School of Drama. The executive members, while addressing a press conference today, stressed that it was unfortunate that these criticisms were being leveled, even by the literary personalities and intellectuals who have joined issue with protests raised by political outfits, without having understood the ground realities and the benefits accruing to the State, in the creative arts field, from the renting of the premises.
The executive body commented that it was expected of the literary section to have first contacted the NSP for clarification before taking a public stand on the development. The media briefing was addressed by the NSP president, BK Roka, general secretary Jagdish Sharma and cultural secretary, Biru Bangdel.

Construction workers briefed on their rights


SINGTAM, 03 May: A seminar cum awareness programme on “Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service Act 1996 for construction workers” was held at the community hall here on Tuesday.
The seminar was held under Building and Other Construction Workers’ (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 and Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act 1996 organized by the Labour Department in coordination with Lanco Infratech Ltd.
Deputy Labour Commissioner, DS Kunwar, informed that these Acts provide various measures for the workers engaged in construction work and as per the rules, every establishment engaged in construction work, including contractors, have to register with the Labour Department.
He informed that construction workers cannot be made to work for more than 8 hours in a day and in case of overtime work they should be paid double their wages.

Chungthang’s Sacred Paddy Field Deserves Cleaner Environs

Hemmed in by constructions, the sacred paddy field at Chungthang, believed to have been blessed by Guru Padmasambhava, is a cramped space. Unfortunately, it is also surrounded by general apathy and disturbing disrespect, complains TSETEN LEPCHA, in his letter to the Chief Secretary [reproduced below] seeking immediate action to protect the sacred field….

The Chief Secretary
Government of Sikkim
Gangtok,Sikkim                                                                                                       Dated :30/04/2011
With due respect I, the undersigned, a resident of Chungthang, would like to state these few lines for your kind information and immediate consideration.
That, While the State Government and the Ecclesiastical Department are busy building new places of worship and the secretive underground monastery at Chungthang being the most ambitious, it is unfortunate that the most sacred paddy field near the world famous “Leydo” is completely ruined.

BJP sits on dharna against corruption in Sikkim

GANGTOK, 03 May: The State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] held a day-long dharna in front of the District Administrative Centre at Sichey on Tuesday to protest against alleged corruption in the Sikkim Democratic Front [SDF] government.
Speaking to media persons, Lok Sabha MP from Kathiar in Bihar, who is also in-charge of Sikkim, Nikhil Chowdhary said that he had been made in-charge of Sikkim by the party high command to look into issues concerning the state and to see whether funds from the centre were being utilized properly or not by the state government.

Tumin trains for community-based disaster management

GANGTOK, 04 May: A training programme on “Community Based Disaster Management Plan” was organized by the Disaster Management Faculty-Sikkim, GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development, Sikkim, in collaboration with the Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department and supported by National Institute of Disaster Management at the Tumin Gram Prasashan Kendra here in East Sikkim.
The main resource person was Ashok Kumar Sharma, a Disaster Management Faculty at GB Pant Institute, who delivered power-point presentations and videos related to disasters and community based disaster management techniques, the release adds.

Stage-V land outsees thank Govt for resolving demands with NHPC

GANGTOK, 02 May: Teesta Stage-V Land Oustees Employees Welfare Association, Balutar, East Sikkim, has expressed gratitude towards the State Government and the All Sikkim Democratic Labour Front for resolving their grievances against the NHPC.
Through a press release issued yesterday, the organisation’s publicity secretary, Chewan Narayan Chettri, informed that NHPC has sent 25 of its members outside Sikkim on skill-development training and has also assured appropriate jobs as per their qualifications.
Similarly, the hydel project developer has also assured training for the rest of the members of the committee within this month, the release informed.

Bhutia Kay-rab Tsogpo seeks introduction of language classes for Limboo, Lepcha and Bhutia in all schools in Sikkim

NAMCHI, 03 May: The Bhutia Kay-rab Yargay Tsogpo has resolved to appeal for the introduction of classes for three indigenous languages viz. Bhutia, Limboo and Lepcha in schools across the State in their annual meeting held at Namchi Senior Secondary School on Sunday.
The meeting was presided over by organisation’s president, Padma Shree Norden Tshering Gensarpa, who said that language teachers have certain responsibilities to promote the language and encourage students through innovative modes of teaching. He added that the linguistic identity was the fundamental right of every community and the Government should give due attention to promote and preserve this identity.
The South district president of the organisation, Ringzing Sherap Bhutia, presented the welcome address and tabled the annual report of the South district wing of the association and emphasized the need to promote and preserve their language.

ASMA sees victory for humanity in the slaying of bin Laden

RANGPO, 03 May: General secretary, All Sikkim Muslim Association, Mohammad Khalid, have conveyed that the death of the Osama bin Laden was a victory for humanity and a major step towards international peace.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, Mr. Khalid  stresses that the principles and ideology promoted by bin Laden were against all inhumanity and did not find endorsement in any precept of Islam.
“Terrorism is an act inhumanity which Islam does not allow under any condition,” he conveys, adding that Islam preaches peace and love instead.
Mr  Khalid has also condemned the theory of jihad being used by terrorists to justify their killing of innocents and murder of peace and humanity.
He has also held up the fact that bin Laden was killed in Pakistan as evidence that the neighbouring country has been sheltering terrorists. He adds that bin Laden’s killing did not signify the end of terrorism and that the world should continue its fight against terrorism until it is rooted out. [from SANJAY AGARWAL]

May-Day Reminder on Worksite Safety


The flash-flood which swept through Dikchu Khola on May-Day washed away a bridge and pieces of equipment maintained at a hydel project site near Dikchu. The timing was propitious because no work was underway at the site on the day, otherwise the surging waters which swept away tonnes of equipment could have easily exacted some fatalities as well. Such incidents have happened at hydel project sites in the past, with the deaths at the Rangpo HEP at Lamaten [beyond Rongli in East Sikkim] in April 2009 still a fresh and disturbing memory. Eleven labourers had drowned, trapped inside a tunnel when a flash-flood came crashing into the work-site that year. It had taken nearly a week to recover all the dead bodies. While accepting that accidents cannot always be averted, what was obvious in the 2009 mishap was that adequate safety measures had not been put in place. When it comes to labour safety, ‘adequate’ measures are never volunteered, they have to be dictated and enforced by the State. In the initial days of the Rongli mishap, there was much talk of making project sites safer; some construction site safety regulations which have been enforced since then were probably expedited by this accident. Unfortunately, even these new regulations are neither implemented, nor enforced. Since it is labour rights [safety is a right, isn’t it?] one is speaking of here, the reminder which came calling on their day, May Day, should be taken seriously.

Chhejung Lachungpa- A Passionate Forester

Last week, I missed attending the funeral of my closest colleague and a great forester, Shri Chhejung Lachungpa, who was snatched by the cruel hands of the destiny on 20 April, 2011. He left all of us untimely, prematurely and at a time when his services were most required in the Department and by the Government.
He was greener than anybody else, if I may be permitted to say so without, of course, compromising the contributions of other officers in the Department. Both as a human soul and as a forester, he deserves to be described in the superlative. Firm, committed, dynamic, resourceful, active, alert, agile, he pushed through his daily forestry agenda with ease, confidence, dexterity and always without being confrontational like a CEO of the corporate sector. His equipments were his comprehensive knowledge base, his passion for forestry and wildlife and his unbound love for this tiny Himalayan State. He did not act for compartmentalized forestry or environment sectors alone, but rose above them to love and work for the entire Sikkimese landscape.
He had the years, the foundation, the scope and the ability to rise to the highest level in the hierarchy, not by virtue of his seniority and experience but by dint of his hard work, passion and obsession to the cause of conservation. He had the cerebral sanctity for forestry, his feet always in search of rarer wildlife species like the Sikkim Stag for which he toiled hard and spent week after week to rediscover it when he was preparing the base-line data for the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary several years back.

On the passing away of the Cactus-Man

by KC Pradhan
Kalimpong, and for that matter, the country as a whole, lost another great plants-cum-nurseryman in Lalit Kumar Pradhan, known in the plants world for his nursery- “LK Pradhan & Sons”. He was born and brought up in Dikling, Pakyong, before moving to Kalimpong in the 1950s. He was the grandson of Dr. Bhuwani Prasad Pradhan, one of the first medical doctors of Sikkim who passed out from the Temple Medical College, Patna, way back in 1913.
Though I knew him since childhood, our association matured into a keen bondship, far beyond a mere family relationship, in 1976 when he volunteered to assist our gifted landscape architect, the late Naren Rai, to prepare the Sikkim Pavilion at Pragati Maidan for the International Agri Show in New Delhi; in which Sikkim bagged the Gold Medal as the First Prize.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

USFC battles fights back from two goals down to draw match with Lajong FC

GANGTOK, 02 May: United Sikkim Football Club [USFC] continues its battle to secure its first win in the final round of the second division I-League. On a positive note though, the team has not lost a match in this round thus far. Playing its third match of the final round on Sunday, it climbed its way back from two goals down to end the game level at 2-2.
A crucial match against one of the best club is of the north-east Shillong Lajong FC, ended with the score level, 2-2, at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong, on Sunday.

Waste Management Projects mooted for 8 rural clusters in North and West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 02 May [IPR]: In order to take up management of solid-liquid waste in rural areas on “high priority”, a meeting was convened at the RM&DD conference Hall on Saturday under the chairmanship of the Secretary, RM&DD, AK Ganeriwala.
The meeting was attended by Chief Engineer, Additional District Collector - Development (North & West districts), Deputy Secretary (Sanitation), BDOs concerned and Panchayat Presidents and Panchayat Secretaries of the eight rural towns/ cluster villages under consideration for initiating Waste Management Projects in the current financial year. Representatives from Tourism & Civil Aviation Department and the Sikkim Hotels & Restaurants Association also attended the meeting.

11 Secretary-level transfers

GANGTOK, 02 May: The State Government effected a substantial bureaucratic reshuffle on Monday with Heads of Departments exchanging places in as many as eleven departments.
In transfer orders issued today, and effective immediately, Additional Chief Secretary, Karma Gyatso, moves from Department of Planning, to take charge as Secretary-cum-Financial Commissioner in-charge of Finance, Revenue & Expenditure, while continuing as the Additional CS as well.
The responsibilities at Department of Planning are being taken over by R. Ongmu, who comes over from Finance, Revenue & Expenditure Department.
Tourism & Civil Aviation Department has a new Secretary in N. Yethenpa, who comes in from Cooperation Department which now has AK Chettri as the new Secretary. Mr. Chettri’s responsibilities as Secretary, SPSC, have been charged to Jemima Pradhan, who has been posted as Special Secretary, SPSC and shall hold charge of Secretary SPSC in her own substantive pay. Ms. Pradhan was serving as Special Secretary, HRDD. Meanwhile, the sitting Tourism & CA Secretary, SBS Bhaduria, has been repatriated and posted to his parent department [Forest] in his substantive post in IFS cadre.

Landslide damages power substations at Middle Sichey, repairs to take till Wednesday evening

GANGTOK, 02 May: Three distribution sub-stations along with the High Tension [HT] and Low Tension [LT] lines at Middle Sichey on Indira Byepass here were damaged in a landslide triggered by Sunday evening rainfall. As a result, the areas of Upper Sichey, Middle Sichey and Lower Sichey have been without power supply since last night. As things stand, power supply to the affected area will be restored only by Wednesday evening.
The landslide damaged the protection wall of the sub-stations and the posts carrying the HT and LT lines and it has also feared that the transformer might also have been damaged.
Power Department personnel rushed to the spot and started restoration works early this morning.
It was informed that the lines are likely to be restored by Wednesday evening if the work is not disrupted by more rainfall.

Workers should stand united on demands, seize them if demands remain ignored: CM

NAMCHI, 02 May: The All Sikkim Democratic Labour Front, labour wing of the ruling party, organised May Day events across the state on Monday. The observance here at Temi had Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, who is also the ASDLF president, as the chief guest.
Addressing the gathering at Lameytar ground of the Temi Tea Estate, the Chief Minister highlighted that he has always supported the working class and has been fighting for their rights throughout his political career. He also invited the workers to fight for their rights, urging them to first demand, and if denied, take their rights with force.
Informing the gathering about his mission to make Sikkim a Poverty Free State by 2015, the Chief Minister sought the support of Sikkim’s working class to meet this goal.

Flashflood washes away equipment worth Rs. 1.50 crore from Dikchu HEP site

DIKCHU, 02 May: Equipment worth Rs. 1.50 crore was washed away from a hydel project site on the Dikchu khola here on Sunday when the hill stream broke its banks following heavy rainfall in its catchment area on the higher reaches. Water level at Dikchu khola [which starts from the confluence of Baghca and Ratey Chu higher up] surged late in the afternoon and washed away the temporary bridge thrown across it to the Dickhu Hydro-Electric Project site. It started raining at around 3 p.m., and was at its most destructive at 6 p.m. Apart from the washed away bridge, the raging river also swept away equipment from the site and trapped one person on the far bank. He was rescued from his predicament early Monday morning.
Nar Bahadur Pradhan of Lower Rakdong was stranded to the far bank of the river on the northern side all of last night after the bridge was washed away at around 6 in the evening.
AS word spread of Dikchu khola in spate, people who rushed to the spot witnessed heavy equipment being carried away by the khola, which this morning, after the flood waters had subsided, appeared misleadingly tame. Only the wreckage of a truck, stuck in the shallow waters, standing evidence of the fury with which the stream had broken out last evening.
As for Nar Bahadur Pradhan, who had crossed over to collect fodder for his cattle, he was struck throughout the night with a sheer cliff behind him and a raging Dikchu khola in front. There was no alternate escape for him, and after the waters had subsided a bit towards nightfall, his relatives and fellow villagers used ropes to reach him some refreshments.

SNT starts Gangtok-Darshan bus tour

GANGTOK, 02 May [IPR]: Starting this week, a daily local sight-seeing tour, ‘Gangtok Darshan’ is being introduced by the SNT, bus division, under the Government’s 100 days programme, according to a press communiqué received from the Transport Department.
Starting from the Gangtok booking office, the tour will cover Ganesh Tok/ Himalayan Zoological Park, Selep water treatment plant, Tashi View Point, Bakthang falls and Ban-Jhankri falls. 30-seater buses along with a guide will be placed at the disposal of TAAS (Travel Agent Association of Sikkim) for this service.

Gram Shree Mela turns business of over Rs. 6 lakh

GANGTOK, 02 May: The Gram Shree Mela 2011, organised at the Directorate of Handloom & Handicrafts by the Sikkim Rural Development Agency from 16 to 30 April, recorded a total sale of Rs. 6,22,798, an IPR Press release informs.
The main aim behind organizing the Gram Shree Mela was to provide a marketing platform to the Self Help Groups (SHGs) under the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) Programme in Sikkim. A total number of 47 SHGs from the four Districts participated in the Mela, the release informs.
Apart from a never-ending stream of visitors and tourists, the exhibition also received the presence of officials of Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, who visited the stalls on 28 April and interacted with SHG representatives. The visiting dignitaries were impressed and appreciated the efforts made by the SHGs and motivated them towards achievement of their goals, the release adds.
The exhibition showcased a wide variety of products ranging from wooden craft work, knitted garments, handloom bags, nylon baskets, cane and bamboo items, drift wood, food items etc.
The Project Director, SRDA, informs that the next Gram Shree Mela is proposed to be held in October, later this year.

Workshop analyses Sikkim’s Forest Carbon Account to inform sustainable policy options

GANGTOK, 02 May: A “Stakeholders Consultation Workshop on analyzing Forest Carbon Accounts for sustainable policy options with special reference to livelihood issues”, organized by the Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal-TIFAC-IIASA and Department of Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department was held at the Forest Department conference hall, today.
Dr Madhu Verma [professor, Environmental Development Economics-Co-PI, IIFM] informed the gathering that forestry has been undergoing considerable change on account of climate variability and climate change in India. “Many a times both cause and effect can be located within the sector but the response to it has been wanting on account of lack of understanding of the sector in holistic manner in relation to its services, processes and stakeholders which are so much interdependent,” she shared.

Gangtok treated to Dog Show

 GANGTOK, 02 May: The ‘Fun Pet Dog Care Show’ held on the occasion of the World Veterinary Day attracted a good crowd on 30 April at the Animal Husbandry Polyclinic premises.
The World Veterinary Day celebration, on the theme ‘Rabies’, was jointly organized by the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services Department and SARAH.
Animal Husbandry Minister, Dawcho Lepcha was present as the chief guest, accompanied by former Animal Husbandry Director, PP Sharma, as guest of honour.
A total of 46 dogs of different breeds like Labradors, Boxers, Saint Bernards, Pugs, Dobermans, Tibetan Mastiffs and others took part in the show.
The show was judged by a panel of judges comprising of Dr Arjun Adhikari, Dr Kalpana Pradhan, Dr Lata Rai and two doctors from SARAH on ten categories.
While expressing his happiness on the show, the Minister directed the department to continue with such programmes and efforts to spread wider awareness.
On the occasion, the dog squad from 19th Bn SSB and Sikkim Police gave demonstrations on basic obedience, search operations and hurdle crossing.
The venue was also shared by stalls of the state unit of Lady Veterinary Association and SARAH in educating the people on rabies and passing tips on proper care of the pets and proper pet foods.
Veticare Paksam also distributed pet foods to the winner dogs in the show. The show was also greatly enjoyed by the students from Kidzee.

CATCH starts with Saramsa for Shyari

GANGTOK, 02 May: Health camps under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Annual & Total Health Check-up for Healthy Sikkim [CATCH] for Shyari constituency began today from Saramsa ward.
The first total health check-up under the CATCH for the constituency was attended by the people from in and around Saramsa who were also provided with the medicines free of cost.
Doctors, technicians and staff from the Health Department, assisted by the local youth carried out the health check-up.
The camp was also visited by the Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, KT Gyaltsen, who is also the area MLA, who interacted with the people and doctors and technicians of the Health Department.