Saturday, May 21, 2011

Plinth wall collapses from under Govt College’s newest building


GANGTOK, 20 May: Three vehicles were crushed Thursday night when the retaining [“plinth”] wall of the NEC Block of Sikkim Government College, Tadong, collapsed on top of them. Two of the vehicles belonged to lecturers, while the third is owned by one of the students. The incident took place at around 1.30 a.m., Friday
Although classes were held as normal at the NEC Block today even after the incident, the collapse of the retaining wall is feared to have compromised the stability of the structure. The SGC Principal, Dr. MP Kharel, when contacted, informed that engineers “involved in the construction of the building” had inspected the site and reassured the college management that the structure was safe. It was only after this assurance from the engineers that the block was opened for classes, he informed.
Interestingly, the district authorities, who also visited the site today, are not as confident of the stability of the building.

When Retaining Walls Can’t Hold Even Their Own Weight


Poor workmanship, the bottom-rung even by the nexus-compromised construction practises, is obviously to blame for the retaining wall collapse at the government college, Gangtok. Three vehicles parked along the wall have been totalled, and even though this is a substantial material loss, the shocking substandard work would have extracted a much larger toll if the collapse had occurred during daytime. There could have been students caught under the debris. Officially, the blame will not be imposed on the quality of work and red tape will be rolled out in the form of an enquiry and investigation [if one is considered]. Even after that, the incident will be looked into in isolation- as one of a retaining wall collapse.
Such a myopic ‘investigation’, if there is one, will be inexcusably wrong because the wall collapse is only one manifestation of everything that is wrong with the entire building. The building, known to the students as the NEC Block, started off with defective planning, poor survey and incomplete investigation as the latest CAG Report has aptly laid bare. The Human Resource Development Department began in October 2004 by seeking Rs. 2.65 crore from the North East Council for “Infrastructural Upgradation of Sikkim Government College, Tadong”. Of this, the civil works component was Rs. 1.23 crore and “allied works” were pegged at Rs. 1.42 crore. When the work was put to tender, the lowest bidder, in keeping with a pattern unique to Sikkim, offered to do the work at 42.22% above the estimate, magnanimously scaling down to 38.66% above on the condition that he was also awarded work to supply furniture, lab equipment, computers and even books for the library [housed in the new facility]. The Department then revised the Rs. 2.65 crore project to Rs. 3.15 crore to fit in aspects like architectural design fee, change in roof style, change in construction site, electrification, sanitation, underground water diversion etc. How these aspects were left out from the original DPR is confounding.

CM spends 2nd anniv of 4th term on the road

NAMCHI, 20 May: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling spent the second anniversary of his fourth consecutive term in office on the road touring through villages in the Namthang-Rateypani constituency in South Sikkim today, the fourth day of his 36-day road-trip of Sikkim. In his interactions with the people, he informed them of the current year being observed as the Year of Innovation, which he was kicking off with “innovative governance” by bringing the government to their doorsteps. Of the people, he sought more involvement in the process of development. He commented that too many “minor demands” were being raised during these interactions when he had expected the people to come up with projects which were more long-term and, well, “innovative”.
“Our people will not rise from poverty and dependence only with infrastructure development. It is when everyone leverages the improved infrastructural facilities and new opportunities for self-reliance that the future can be secured,” he stressed.
Material development should not be the only legacy they leave behind, he said, while inviting the people to collaborate with the State Government and develop Sikkim into an Eco-City State so that the future generations inherit not only a robust economy, but also a healthy environment.

Young Researchers briefed on documenting and sharing grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge

GANGTOK, 20 May: A two-day workshop on “Capacity building for scouting, documentation and dissemination of grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge” was organized jointly by the National Innovation Foundation-India and State Science & Technology Council at Sikkim Science Center, Marchak, on 19 and 20 May. The aim of workshop was to build the capacity of recently-appointed “young researchers” discover the “innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge” from Sikkim and document and disseminate them for wider audiences, a press release informs.
Dr. Vipin Kumar, Chief Innovation Officer of NIF, in his lecture, highlighted that people at the grassroots level like farmers, artisans, herbal healers etc. have been relying on their ingenuity to solve local problems.

ASESE&UA protests re-employment of an SE at Power Deptt

GANGTOK, 20 May: The All Sikkim Educated Self-Employed & Unemployed Association [ASESE&UA] has questioned the State government’s decision to re-employ a Superintending Engineer [Electrical], Energy & Power Department, against whom, the association informs, a corruption case was under investigation with the Vigilance Police.
This move [to reemploy the SE for a third time when he retire on 31 May 2011] was also protested by the Sikkim-unit of the BJP yesterday and has also caused some resentment in the Power Department where a signature campaign is reportedly being attempted to convince the Government that it was being misled into reemploying the said officer. The pen-down strike claimed by some sections is not being proposed yet, officers at the Department inform.
An ASESE&UA team led by its president, Nawin Kiran, went to the Power Department to discuss the issue with the Secretary, who was not in station, and could not meet other senior officers since they were busy in a meeting, it was informed today.
“Although we were not able to meet the Secretary but we interacted with the civil engineers of the department, who expressed dissatisfaction with the re-employment,” the ASESE&UA president said.
He also questioned the government that why it has re-employed an engineer whose Vigilance case is still under investigation.
The association team also plans to meet the concerned officer at his office in Topakhani.
“Seeing the reaction of the engineers today, we find that the mission of the association against the service extension and re-employment is succeeding and now the people are also coming out against it,” Mr Kiran said.

Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche advises people to look within to discover happiness

GANGTOK, 20 May: The 12th Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche delivered a well-received talk, “How to practice in our daily life,” to an audience keen on learning how to remain true to their faith through the travails that life throws at them everyday. The audience was a handsome mix of locals and foreigners and the message worked across all faiths and was not limited to Buddhism as the Rinpoche kept his talk conversational and his tips practical.
His teaching on “right attitude” and “right conduct” and how to incorporate it into daily life was received by a packed hall at Hotel Tashi Delek and was also attended by the Speaker, KT Gyaltsen.
The Rinpoche stressed that religious learning was of no use if people could not make its tenets a part of their life and live by it.

PSU employees satisfied with revised financial package

GANGTOK, 20 May: The Government has resolved the problems in respect of the winding up of the three PSUs- SITCO, Sikkim Jewels and SPIL, as the employees of these units have willingly accepted the ‘financial packages’ offered to them.
Speaking to NOW!, a member of the Committee, formed to speak on behalf of the employees of Sikkim Jewels said, “We received the payments as per our demands and all of us are satisfied with the revised package offered by our management.”
He further said, “Though, some of dues are still pending, we are confident that the dues will be cleared within the stipulated time.”
An official at the Department of Commerce and Industries confirmed, “The problems relating to the employees of the three PSUs have been solved.”
“The managerial team, who are still employees of these PSUs are preparing inventories of their respective establishments,” the official informed.
He further said, “The Department will constitute a Committee for handing-taking of the entire infrastructures of these PSUs after the managerial team submits the inventory details of their establishments.”
At present, the official adds, “The Government is working out how to remit-off the outstanding liabilities of the PSUs.”
It may be recalled that the Government decided to wind-up three PSUs w.e.f. 01 May 2011. But, the employees of Sikkim Jewels and SPIL were unsatisfied with the financial package worked out by their management. It’s all resolved now.

Dr Sarda to present paper at World Congress of Dermatology

GANGTOK, 20 May: Dr Aarti Sarda has been invited to present a paper at the 22nd World Congress of Dermatology scheduled to be held from 24 to 29 May in Seoul, South Korea.
She will be presenting a paper on “Lupus Band Test”, which is an investigation for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, a press communiqué informs.
The World Congress of Dermatology is an international scientific meeting held every four years under the auspices of the International League of Dermatological Societies.
The daughter of Shobha Sarda and SK Sarda, Dr Sarda, who recently completed her MD in Dermatolgy from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, is an alumnus of Tashi Namgyal Academy.

CAEPHT surveys use and health of draught animals in East Sikkim


The College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology (CAEPHT), Central Agricultural University (CAU) centre of the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Utilization of Animal Energy (UAE) carried out a survey of draught animals (bullocks) and their utilization for agricultural operations as per the cropping system in the village Dikling (Koyung) and Naitam of East Sikkim.
The survey included type of work animals, breed, age, market price,  size and body dimensions, annual use, use hour/day, type and size of animal shed, system of dung and urine handling in animal shed, type of feed and fodder used, schedule of feeding and maintenance practice followed, health care measures, custom hiring of bullocks to neighboring farmers, labourers engaged per season, traditional implements available, practice of dung and urine disposal, major crops grown, area, yield, cost of production and annual net returns to farmers and others.
The physiolocal parameters of bullocks (respiration rate, pulse rate, body temperature, physical distress symptoms and others) were measured. The farmers, as reported, grow rice, maize, buckwheat, kodo, black gram, large cardamom, ginger and vegetables.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Owlet rescued

RESCUED! An owlet rescued by a passer-by from the army cantonment area at Tadong on Wednesday. This fledgling, which had probably fallen down from its nest, was being attacked by crows when it was rescued. It was eventually taken by a forester who is keeping it under his care at present. It is already trying to fly, and it is hoped that it will take off and return free over the next week.

CM invites frank appraisals, wants people to point out weaknesses

NAMCHI, 19 May [IPR]: The third day of the Chief Minister’s marathon village-to-village tour started with Mikhola, a tiny hamlet below Namchi Bazaar, today where he was accorded a huge reception by the people.
“We have come to learn from you where our weakness lie,” the CM explained, adding, “In spite of having all the required facilities and infrastructure, why is there still poverty among our people.” The Chief Minister is being accompanied on his 36-day Sikkim-Bhraman by his Cabinet colleagues, MLAs and heads of departments led by the Additional Chief Secretary.
The next visit was to Sorok Syampani, from where the entourage headed towards Kitam.
Over the day, the Chief Minister visited Mikkhola, Kitam, Melli, Melli-Sadam, Turuk, Sadam, Maniram-Bhanjhyang and Fungdara, covering more than 100 kms and interacting and addressing the people at more than six places.

Sisnu comes closer to becoming fabric in Dzongu

GANGTOK, 19 May: A fortnight-long training on the locally available natural fibre – the Giant Himalayan Nettle (Girardinia Diversifolia) - was held by the Ecotourism & Conservation Society of Sikkim (ECOSS) in collaboration with Mutanchi Lom Al Shezum (MLAS) at Lingdong Gram Panchayat House from the 25 April to 09 May, an ECOSS press release informs.
The training focussed on traditional methods of extraction, processing, spinning and knitting of the unique fibre of this plant which is locally known as Koju Sherong (Lepcha) or Bhangrey Sisnu (Nepali) or Allo (Kulung Rai). The objective of this training was to impart a certain level of skill among the participants to enable them to independently produce quality nettle yarn from locally available plants, the release explains.
This, the two NGOs which collaborated for the training believe, can then be used for making high value organic hand knitted and woven nettle fibre products in village homes generating additional livelihoods and supplementing household incomes.

Panchayats empowered to issue trade and hawker licenses

GANGTOK, 20 May: Gram Panchayats have been delivered power to issue and cancel trade and hawker licenses to local applicants in rural areas falling within their respective Gram Panchayat Units.
The Urban Development and Housing Department has given this authorization to the Panchayat members through a Notification [No. UD&HD/6[376]/08/9930 dated 26.04.2011].
The Notification further authorizes the Chief Municipal Officer, Gangtok Municipal Corporation to issue and cancel Trade License and Hawker License within the Gangtok Municipal Corporation Area.
The Notification adds, “In case of any policy decisions relating to issue of Trade License and Hawker License, the authorized Officers are to refer the matter to the Secretary, Urban Development and Housing Department as he is being the Competent Authority under relevant Act and Rule regarding the issue and cancellation of Trade License and Hawker License.”
Through a Notice, the Department has requested the general public to approach their respective Gram Panchayats for Trade License and Hawker License.

e-Suvidhaa commences at 20 CSCs

GANGTOK, 19 May: The Department of Information Technology, in association with IL&FS Education and Technology Service Ltd., recently launched “e-Suvidhaa” in Sikkim through the many CSCs established here.
e-Suvidhaa offers people “one-stop-shop” services like e-ticketing for railway and airline bookings, along with mobile phone recharge, DTH recharge, insurance premium payment etc., through the CSCs in their neighbourhood.
Out of 45 CSCs, 20 have already commenced the e-Suvidhaa service, an official press release informs. These 20 CSCs are - Tashiling, Sichey, Pangthang, Duga, Rhenock and Sherethang in East District, Mangan Chungthang, Tinvong in North District, Namchi, Ravongla, Borong, Damthang and Jorethang in South District and Hee-Yangthang, Kaluk, Soreng, Daramdin, Tashiding and Yuksom in West District.

Sunuwar Koinchbu organises Shyadar Pidar prayers

GANGTOK, 19 May: Shyadar Pidar, one of the more important festivals of the Sunuwar community, was celebrated on Tuesday at Neej Rambyang Mandir complex in South Sikkim with a special function organized by the Sikkim Sunuwar (Mukhia) Koinchbu, informs a press release.
Traditional rituals and prayers were conducted by Naso Kumar Mukhia. The ceremony was also attended by the president of the organisation, Sudip Mukhia, vice-president, Chandra Mukhia, general secretary, Kumar Mukhia and other members.

Demonstrations banned from Titanic Park

GANGTOK, 20 May: Processions, protests, rallies, dharnas and demonstrations have been prohibited and banned from Titanic Park and Mahatma Gandhi Marg here in the heart of the capital “in the public interest”. This comes into effect through a Home Department Notification [No.37 /Home/2011 dated: 02.05.2011].
This Notification is an amendment to the earlier Notification of the year 2005 under which “all kinds of processions” were prohibited from MG Marg. This ban has now been extended to the Titanic Park as well which has hosted a series of such congregations in the recent past.

Pratibha Milan to meet at PCS this month

GANGTOK, 18 May: Nepali Sahitya Parishad has announced plans to sustain the monthly literary get-together, ‘Pratibha Milan’. This month, the event will be held at Press Club of Sikkim on 29 May from 11 a.m. onwards, informs a press release issued by the Pratibha Milan coordinator, Amar Baniya. The Pratibha Milan unit has expressed its gratitude towards the Nepali Sahitya Parisad for providing them with room free of charge to hold the event since it was started.

Endeavours Organization launches website on Kabi homestay facilities

MANGAN, 19 May: Kabi-based NGO, Endeavours Organization, launched a website to promote the village’s homestay options on Wednesday. The website- - at a special function held here at the Kabi-Lungchok BAC.
The Kabi homestay project was started on the initiative of Endeavours Organization in the year 2008. Tourist arrivals have developed in the past two years and the online presence is expected to promote Kabi to a wider audience, informed the EO general secretary, Tashi Bhutia.
The launch programme was attended by BDO, Kabi BAC, LB Das, coordinated by Panchayat, executive members of EO, members of Homestay and senior citizens of the area.

Nischal serves up bartending options

GANGTOK, 19 May: Nischal Gurung with 15 years of experience in the hospitality trade is in town to promote his recently founded company ‘Mixologik’, a school which offers Bartenders Training. The company has three main divisions, freelance bartending, consultancy & training and bar school.
“When a bartender makes a mistake, a new cocktail is made,” shared Nischal, while interacting with media persons in Hotel Norkhil, today. “Bartending is all about creativity, you can showcase your creativity by mixing various concoctions and thereby ensuring that your guests keep coming back and ask for more,” he added.

GJM-Sikkim condemns murder of party colleague in Sonada

GANGTOK, 20 May: The youth front of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s Sikkim-unit has condemned the murder of its party worker, Robin Rai, who was attacked on 15 May at Raghuvir village, Sonada in Darjeeling district and succumbed to his injuries yesterday in a nursing home in Siliguri. The GJM-Sikkim has expressed its deepest regrets on the incident and offered condolence to the affected family.
The press release issued by the president, Bhawani Pradhan and general secretary, Sudip Rai of GJM-Sikkim has alleged that the “heinous murder” was committed by GNLF supporters and added that this act of violence has exposed the cowardice of the GNLF president, Subhash Ghising. The party has demanded that the case be investigated thoroughly and the accused punished.

3-day expo of Construction Machinery Tools & Real Estate begins Friday

GANGTOK, 19 May: A total of 35 companies from within and outside the country will be taking up stalls at the “Sikkim Construction Machinery Tools & Real Estate Expo-2011”, scheduled to get underway at Chintan Bhawan here on Friday.
The three-day expo is being organized by the Sikkim Youth Welfare Association [SYWA] in collaboration with its Siliguri-based event-partner, Sysco Development and Infrastructure Limited [SDIL].
SDIL event manager, Sanjay Singh, informs that such an event is being organized for the first time in the State and that the main aim of the programme was to create awareness among the general public about the latest in the construction sector by way of technology and equipment.

Culture Deptt forms monitoring committee to oversee 100-day tasks

GANGTOK, 20 May: The Cultural Affairs and Heritage Department appears to have taken serious note of the 100 days task assigned to Government departments by the Chief Minister. The Department has formed a Monitoring Committee headed by its Secretary as chairman to oversee compliance.
The Department’s Notification [No. 11/CA&HD dated 11.5.2011] read, “In compliance of the directives issued form the office of the Hon’ble Chief Minister for the 100 Days Programme a Monitoring Committee is hereby constituted in the Department… This Committee shall submit periodical reports to the Principal Secretary to HCM on the action initiated to accomplish the task assigned.”
The chairman of the Committee will be assisted by the additional secretary, joint secretary, deputy director [Archives] and account officer of the Department as members.

Sikkim BJP questions reemployment of SE

GANGTOK, 19 May: “There are so many JEs who have still not got a job and still the government continues to reappoint a Superintending Engineer at the Energy & Power Department for the third time,” complained Padam Chettri, state BJP president, while interacting with the media, today.
Distributing a copy of a notification issued by the Department of Personnel, on 13 May, 2011, which states that the said Superintending Engineer serving in the Electrical wing of the Energy & Power Department, who is retiring from service on 31 May, is “re-employed” for a period of one year with effect from 01 June 2011, the BJP president further informed that this was the third time that the said SE was being reappointed. His second reappointment notification had been issued just two years ago, he claimed.
“I’m not against the officer in question, but against the corrupt system being run by the Sikkim Democratic Front and want to know what reason forced his reappointment. If he is so good and efficient then why has he been posted at the same place ever since joining the department,” he queried.

CCEA approves Rs. 1,353 crore ADB-assisted North East road development project

NEW DELHI, 19 May [PIB]: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today approved the project proposal titled, “ADB assisted North Eastern State Roads Investment Programme (NESRIP)”, a centrally sponsored scheme of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region to construct/ upgrade/ improve a total of 433 km of roads in six NE States at an estimated cost of Rs. 1,353.83 Crore to be implemented over a period of 5 years i.e. 2011-2016.
The State wise road lengths are: Assam 74.70 km, Meghalaya 93.40 km and Sikkim 34.20 km in Tranche-I and Assam 62.90 km, Manipur 93.20 km. Mizoram 55.00 km and Tripura 20.30 km in Tranche-II.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sinister Violence headbangs its way to NE Rockers title

GANGTOK, 18 May: The final showdown of the biggest rock fest in Sikkim, the “North Eastern Rockers 2011”, played out here at the Paljor Stadium Gym Hall on 16 May. The audience head-banged to the metal jams of the four finalists, with the headlining act performed by “Still Waters”.
Sinister Violence from Darjeeling won over the judges and the audience and took away the title, pocketing Rs. 1,00,000 in cash awards. Gangtok’s Future History scored its way to second spot. Also in performance for the spoilt for choice audience were Purple Asparagus of Kolkata followed by What Escapes Me also from Kolkata on the final day.

Damthang declared Eco-Friendly Zone, other areas receive splurge of on-the-spot sanctions


NAMCHI, 18 May: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling started the second day of his Sikkim road-trip with prayers at religious places. The blessing sought, he led his entourage of heads of departments and ministers to a grueling tour of Namchi-Singhithang constituency, hearing out the demands and complaints of the people and conferring with officials at hand to make on-the-spot sanctions. Significant among the day’s announcements were the declaration of the Damthang areas the State’s first Eco-Friendly and Organic Belt and direction to the Additional Chief Secretary to ensure that Namchi’s water supply problems were taken up seriously and a solution expedited.
The CM started his day with a visit to Ngadak Gumpa at Upper Ghurpisey where he inspected the ongoing construction work at the historic monastery. After offering prayers here, the CM moved up to Samdruptse and offered prayers there.
He also inspected the premises and interacted with the Samdruptse Management Committee and the monks.
Below Samdruptse, he stopped at Tiffin Dara and met with the people of Tingrithang village.

Disturbed by still extant caste discrimination

A few years ago one of my friends fell in love with a girl and the two got married. They make a very good couple and are getting about their lives very well save for one thing. My friend’s wife is from a different caste, one of the traditionally suppressed ones, and this has made a significant difference in their lives. It’s a shame that his closest relatives and cousins have literally boycotted him and his family from all their social functions and gatherings. It’s all the more a pity when all his relatives are educated, well-off and supposedly respected in society.  But what the educated, well-off and supposedly respected relatives of my friend don’t realize is that any discrimination on the basis of caste is a crime and an abominable offence to society.
So I guess that would make them all not so respectful but criminals, eh?
And all this in a developing state like ours in the 21st century?

Sikkim Organic Mission lobbies at Sangadorjee

GANGTOK, 18 May: An awareness campaign on Organic Farming and Certification was held at Ward No 2 at Ram Kumar Subba, the ex-Panchayat’s house in Tukman  Lower Sangadorjee GPU of West District on Monday.  The meeting highlighted the Sikkim Organic Mission-2015.
The meeting was organized by Mevedir and was attended by more than 51 farmers from the area.  SB Tamang, Panchayat of ward no 2 of Sangadorjee GPU, was present as the chief guest of the day, a Mevedir press release informs.

Someone Should Explain What’s Ailing Wildlife


A monkey is making friends with humans in Singtam, even scurrying forward to groom them as only monkeys can. Pigeons are dying again, dropping off perches, unable to fly, and soon not even finding the strength to keep their heads up and then dying slow deaths. Within the circle of friends in the office, there have been two owlet rescues in the past week. A year back, bears were foraging into habitations in search of food; and less than a year ago, Clouded Leopards were hunting in villages, one even landing itself inside an animal enclosure at the Himalayan Zoological Park drawn by the scent of meals kept out for animals there. These are all different species, victims of different situations, but a common thread running through all of them is that these are aberrations, almost every incident triggered by some insensitivity on part in how we mess up life for the fauna here.
The Singtam ‘bandar’ is obviously a deposed troop leader, defeated by age and a younger challenger to abandon his group and live out its remaining days as an outcast. With a troop no longer at hand to mingle with, it finds friendship with its evolutionary cousin in humans. About a decade back, a Langoor had arrived in Gangtok in a similar condition, riding down on jeep bonnets from Tsomgo and had made a home in the capital where it eventually died. At around the same time, a Takin had blundered into the Rhenock area, a suspected outcast from its tribe in Bhutan. That was a crazy year because a bison was also sighted in the Pakyong forests. The edging out of older leaders is a natural phenomenon, but what is not natural is how these animals behaved in exile. After all, one does not see overthrown bosses of animal groups move into human settlements. The pigeons suffer a much different fate.

Sikkim girl tops Mayo College Girl’s School

GANGTOK, 18 May: Deepika Agarwal, granddaughter of late Tarachandji Agarwal and daughter of Bramanand Agarwal of MG Marg, Gangtok, aced her class XII ISC exams, scoring a 97.75% aggregate in the class XII board examinations in Commerce stream and topped the Mayo College Girl’s School, Ajmer. Deepika scored 100 in Accounts, 99 in Mathematics, 97 in English and 95 in Commerce, 94 in Economics.
Deepika studied at Tashi Namgyal Academy here till class X and passed her ICSE examination from there in the year 2009 and then joined Mayo College Girl’s School. The family has been residing in Gangtok for more than a 100 years.

Singtam gets a new resident

MAN’S NEW BEST FRIEND: A Simian attraction has made home in Singtam, making friends and mingling freely with the residents here. A monkey arrived in town around a week ago and while this is not rare for Singtam any more, this one is different because it does not hang out with a troop, it’s a loner. But even as this specimen keeps away from others of its kind, it is quick at striking friendships with the humans. As the residents grow more familiar with it, the monkey too has become friendlier and can be spotted hugging people, even ruffling their hair and trying to groom them as only monkeys can...

Nepali Sahitya Parishad placates offended members, issues apology

GANGTOK, 18 May: The Nepali Sahitya Parishad, Sikkim, issued a clarification on why it included names of past office bearers in its scathing revelation on what was ailing the organization [financially], and while reiterating that these names were not included with any malafide intention, has apologized to the litterateurs for any hurt caused to them. The organization has also announced plans to make alternative arrangements for hosting of literary meets at the NSP Bhawan at Development Area now that the hall has been given out on rent to the National School of Drama for its theatre training centre. This renting out, it may be recalled, has been received with a series of condemnations from writers and politicians over the past one month.
In a press release issued today, the NSP has maintained that the names of individuals detailed in its earlier press release were included without any prejudice.
The Parishad has clarified that it had to include the names when demands were made to furnish details of the NSP and its financial condition.

Kidzee toddlers celebrate State Day

State Day, 16 May, being a holiday, Mt. Zion School, Kidzee, celebrated the day at school today. The significance of the day was explained to the students and the school wore a colourful look with all the students and staff turning up in traditional attire, a press communiqué received from the Principal, S. Das, informs.
The show began with Manita Sharma, Nepali teacher, explaining the significance of the day, followed by songs on Sikkim and dances representing the three ethnic communities of Sikkim.

Dalapchand celebrates Buddha Jayanti

GANGTOK, 18 May: Buddha Jayanti was celebrated at the Rinchen Dorjee Choling Gumpa (Gurung Gumpa) at Dalapchand yesterday with a special function organised by the Baudha Sanskar Sudhar Samity (BSSS).
Area MLA Puran Kumar Gurung was present as the chief guest for the ceremonies which included lighting of butter lamps and a procession by the devout carrying holy scriptures.
The monastery’s head monk, Manoj Gurujee, delivered a sermon highlighting the significance of the day.

New fee structure introduced for certs issued from DC offices

GANGTOK, 18 May: The Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department, through a Notification [No. 9/234/P-I/LR&DMD[S] dated: 03/05/2011], has introduced a new fee structure for issue of various certificates issued by the District Collectorates.
Among the 15 types of certificates issued through DC offices, new fees have been introduced for nine items.
Anew charge of Rs. 50 has been levied for Scheduled Tribe/ Caste Certificate, OBC/MBC Certificate, Birth/Death Certificate, Unmarried Certificate and filing of General Affidavit.
Similarly, Rs. 100 has to be paid for Residential Certificate, Certificate of Identification, Registration under Court Marriage Act and Passport Verification [Tatkal].
Six items whose fees have also been hiked are Employment Card- Rs. 100 [earlier- Rs. 10], Employment Card [late fee]- Rs. 50 [Rs. 20], Search Certificate- Rs. 200 [Rs. 100], Registration fee for Mortgage- Rs. 100 [Rs. 40], Registration fee for Agreement- Rs. 100 [Rs. 40] and Registration under Hindu Marriage Act- Rs. 100 [Rs. 20].

Aparajita cracks Civil Services Exam on first attempt

GANGTOK: 25-year-old Aparajita Rai, daughter of late Gyanendra Rai and Roma Rai, has done the State proud by cracking the Civil Services Exam, a rare feat for aspirants from Sikkim; after all, less than a handful have cleared this exam from Sikkim thus far.
The CSE is among the toughest exams to clear in the country. In 2010, around 5 lakh students appeared for the preliminary exam out of whom 12,000 made it to the ‘mains’. Of these, only 2,500 made it to the third stage of interviews and finally, only 920 were selected. Aparajita is among this cream.
The grand-daughter of late RD Rai and Jagamaya Rai of Zoom in West Sikkim, she did her nursery to UKG from the Holy Cross Montessori School, and studied from class-I to III at St Thomas School. She went on to complete her ISC from Tashi Namgyal Academy as a topper, where she was awarded the Founders Medal for best all rounder student in 2004. She was the state topper in the ISC board exams 2004 with 95% aggregate marks [best of 3]. She belonged to the commerce stream
She graduated in law in 2009. BA LLB (Hons) from the WB National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata with gold medals in Jurisprudence and Public International Law. She appeared for CSE in 2010 where she secured the 768 rank out of 920 in her first attempt itself.
“I would like to thank Mr. Pawan Rai, District Youth Vice-Convenor [South], my uncle, for motivating and supporting me throughout the difficult stages when I was pursuing my studies,” Aparajita shared.
Aparajita is not just about studies though. She loves to play the guitar and has won many intra and inter university competitions in art and western music. She continues to make Sikkim proud. Kudos to her.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Govt reaches the people with start of CM’s Sikkim Tour

NAMCHI, 17 May: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling launched his 36-day Sikkim tour with a complete circuit of his own constituency, Poklok-Kamrang in South Sikkim today. When he had first announced plans to undertake a complete road-trip of Sikkim to confer directly with the people, the Chief Minister had said that he would be bringing the “government to the doorsteps of the people”. The people received it today, with villages receiving a motorcade of nearly 300 vehicles with the CM arriving among them accompanied by his Cabinet colleagues and heads of departments and other concerned officials. There were no public meetings of one-way conversations, but one-on-ones with the people, they complaints and hopes taken down and directions passed where decisions could be taken on the spot. It was frenetic day of touring, walking, discussing and deliberations.
The Chief Minister started the tour from Assangthang below Namchi, by offering prayers at the Sirdi Sai Baba Mandir there and then proceeding to the village. This was at around 10 a.m. Here, he met the people at the model village premises, where, after hearing out the people, spoke to them on the various government schemes underway for rural development.

Drunk-on-duty headmaster suspended from service

GANGTOK, 17 May [IPR]: As per a Press communiqué dated 13 May 2011 received from Secretary, Human Resource Development Department, a teacher from the HRDD was suspended recently under Government Servant’s Conduct Rules 1981, Sub rule 4.  
“Lal Bahadur Rai, Headmaster, Kewzing Tea Garden Primary School, South Sikkim, was found irresponsible and not performing his duty. On 24 February, Deputy Director, Ravangla, happened to meet him at 11:20 a.m. at Ravangla Bazar. Mr Rai was found intoxicated and had consumed alcohol to such a great degree that he was unable to keep himself within bounds. On the spur of the moment, he was taken to Police Station, Ravangla and referred to PHC, Ravangla for medical examination,” the release details.
The Department is in the process of scrutinizing the performance of teachers who have proved detrimental to the development of the State, the Department adds.
Teachers, being the role models of the society, are expected to maintain the nobility of the teaching profession. The Department is determined to identify such defaulters and subsequently take immediate disciplinary action against them, the release assures.

Traveler’s Companion released for Sikkim

GANGTOK: Yishey Doma and Parvin Singh’s book on Sikkim, “Sikkim, Traveller’s Companion”, was launched by Governor BP Singh and Chief Minister Pawan Chamling as part of the State Day celebrations here at Chintan Bhawan on Monday.
This book, a first in the series of travel guides proposed to be published by Trysts and Traces seeks to capture “the true colour and meaning of life in Sikkim to help tourists to find just those unexplored aspects”.
Smartly designed and crisply written, the book, as all tourist guidebooks should be, is impressively visual and comprehensive.
“Like the State has much to offer to the world, we have tried to assemble the varied aspects of Sikkim in a nutshell, from wildlife to food and from treks to skiing. That is why, it took us two years to complete this book and during this time we travelled to all parts of Sikkim to make sure nothing is missed out,” says photographer Parvin Singh, who is also the publisher of the book, in a press statement.
The 264-page book, which also includes a pull out-map of Sikkim and a map on Gangtok, is priced at Rs 499. Besides Sikkim, the book will be available in all leading bookshops around the country, airports and even online, the publisher informs.

Rotarians visit District Jail at Namchi

GANGTOK: Members of the Rotary Club of Gangtok, accompanied by members of the Inner Wheel Club of Gangtok, visited the District Jail at Namchi on 15 May, Sunday, a Rotary press release informs. The visit was unique as the children of Namchi Blind School were also invited to the programme, the release highlights.
The Rotarians had been invited by the Superintendent of Police KL Tenzin to spend the day with the inmates at the jail and also participate in an entertainment programmme hosted by both, the inmates of the jail and the children of the blind school. Even the SP presented a number of songs which broke the ice and attracted wider participation of the inmates, the release adds.

Martam NGO helps return Sikkim minor rescued in Delhi

GANGTOK: An interesting case relating to the rescue of a minor, employed as a housemaid in New Delhi, has came to light from Martam-Gangkha in East Sikkim.
According to the local NGO, Martam Charitable Youth Association, which played an important role in rescuing 15-year-old Sushma Baraily of Martam from New Delhi, Sushma was ‘lured’ by a lady “unknown to the local society”, named Babita Darjee in November-December 2010 to leave home without consulting her parent’s, who hail from economically weaker section. Babita was later recognized as being related to a person living in the village.
After around three months of no word about their daughter, her parents in early February received a message from New Delhi that their daughter was in Delhi and in need of help.
Because of their weak economic background, the parents could not head towards Delhi immediately.

Munsolong Athing commemorated with felicitation of sentinels of Lepcha culture

MANGAN, 17 May:  The Munsolong Athing Commemoration Day was observed here at Namprikdang in Upper Dzongu on 15 May, Sunday. Munsolong is among the more celebrated of Lepcha priests of yore and believed to have made substantial contributions towards institutionalising what it means to be a Lepcha. Aptly then, the Sunday celebration included the felicitation of two Lepcha personalities, Nezing Lepcha and Dawa Lepcha, in recognition of the substantial contributions made by them towards conserving the Lepcha heritage, culture and way of life.
Nezing Lepcha, the president of the Namprikdang Namsoong Celebration Committee, was instrumental in establishing the Namsoong [Lepcha New Year] celebrations at Namprikdang in 1976. The celebrations have grown in strength since then.
Dawa Lepcha, more popular among newspaper readers as the ACT activist who undertook two rounds of awe-inspiring hunger strikes to protest hydel projects in Dzongu, is also an accomplished documentary filmmaker. His latest work, “Ritual Journeys”, a documentary on the life of a Lepcha Padim, has been selected for an ethnographic film festival to be held in London, UK, next month. His passion to document Lepcha rituals and practises and the precision with which he does so will definitely serve the present and future generations of Lepchas well.
Both individuals were aptly feted.

Sikkim conservators attend seminar on digitisation of ancient manuscripts

GANGTOK: The Cultural Affairs and Heritage Department recently attended a three-day seminar on the ‘Status of Digitisation, Digital Preservation and Access to Libraries and Archives in North-East India’. The seminar was conducted in Guwahati between 28 -30 April and was jointly organised by Anwesha, a non-profit organisation which promotes the culture of reading and quality books and Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.
There were delegates from all the states of the North East. The main purpose of the seminar was to study the possibilities of sourcing and digitising ancient manuscripts from around the region to facilitate intellectual resource sharing and also preserving them digitally. It is especially important in the North East for as the pamphlet informed, “the climatic conditions in the North East and its proneness to natural calamities make the preservation of valuable books and manuscripts an uphill task in the region.” Another purpose was the discussions on easy access to books and manuscripts in regional libraries and to introduce librarians to the digital cataloguing.

Shanti Puja at Tiffin Dara to pray away accident-prone notoriety


In a move to pray for the souls of lives lost to accidents and to propitiate the Gods to keep the stretch safe, more than 360 residents living around the accident-prone “Tiffin Dara” stretch between Damthang and Namchi, organised a two-day Shanti Puja there on 14 and 15 May.
The prayer service was mooted by Lali-Guras Club, a Ghurpisey-based NGO, and supported, as mentioned, by residents of the area. The prayers started on 14 May and concluded the next evening. Eight Buddhist monks from Aley Gumpa conducted prayers and erected ‘dhajas’, prayer flags and lit ‘chimis’, butter lamps, while Hindu pundits performed a ‘hawan’ and led Bhagwad Gita recitals.
Five people have died in accidents near Tiffin Dara in the past one month alone. Fatalities to accidents here in the past year stand at 15.

Newborns and rescued animals named and released into Bulbuley zoo


GANGTOK, 17 May: Newborn and rescued animals rehabilitated at the Himalayan Zoological Park here above Gangtok were baptized on State Day. The special event started with prayers by a Hindu priest and a Buddhist monk and was also attended by the Forest Minister, Bhim Dhungel and Forest department officers.
The first animal to named was a female goral born in the zoo on 14 March to Muskan and Jai. She will be called “Kananbala”, a name which means, as the Minister informed, “daughter of forest”. The calf was released by the Minister into its 1000 sq. mt. enclosure. The zoo now has four gorals, one of which was rescued from feral dogs.
Next, female clouded leopard, “rescued” by the zoo keepers on 02 September last year, was named “Kamsun”, a name which translates as ‘master of three elements’.  

Dear Visitors

The past week has been extremely busy and hectic and updating the blog has been one of the casualties. We make amends now and resume regular updates from today onwards. We apologise to visitors who would have been frustrated by the delay. Thank you for bearing with us