Friday, May 27, 2011

Tourists throng to North Sikkim post West Bengal elections

MANGAN, 26 May: There has been a considerable increase in the number of tourists arriving in North District now that the election process is over in West Bengal. 90% of the tourists who visit Sikkim come especially for the charms of Yumthang valley and Gurudongmar lake in the North district. As per records at Rang-Rang Check Post, tourist vehicles plying to North Sikkim is usually between 250 to 300 per day. This week saw a record jump to 350 to 400 vehicles per day.
Tourists, usually opt for packages of two nights/three days and one night/two days for North Sikkim. In the two nights/three days package, tourists visit Gurudongmar on the second day spending the night at Lachen and visit Yumthang and Katau on the third day, spending the night at Lachung. Some tourists also halt at Chungthang and Mangan on their way back.
The tourist season in North District starts from the month of April when the Rhododendron trees at Yumthang are in bloom. They also visit the Shiv Mandir above Yumthang and Katau to enjoy the beauty of snow. Apart from these, tourists also get to enjoy, Seven Sister Falls near Phensong, Mt. Sinolchu View Point from Pakshek Mangan etc., on the way.

Nayuma Cooperative offers women chance to not only shop, but also sell homemade products

NAMCHI, 26 May: A “Lifestyle Exhibition-cum-Sale” was inaugurated here at the Parking Plaza-cum-Shopping Complex by chairman, Tea Board, Gagan Rai. This, incidentally, is the first exhibition-cum-sale of such scale in the South District Headquarter town and has been organised by the Nayuma Women’s Cooperative Society Ltd. A unique feature of the sale is that interested women with homemade products to sell can contact the organisers and get space to sell the products. The Cooperative Society does not plan to charge any fee from such ladies and has even offered to help them with marketing!
The organising committee of the cooperative society informed media persons that the main motive of the sale was to encourage local people to do something to become a self-reliant. The event, they add, will also offer visitors better products at lower prices.

Fire razes two houses near Rey Khola

GANGTOK, 26 May: Two double storied ekra houses belonging to Rudra Maya Sunar were razed to the ground by a fire that broke out at around 2 a.m. this morning near Reykhola here.
There were seven occupants inside the house, all of them, including three guests with a toddler, managed to escape the inferno unhurt. The houses were however reduced to cinder. The only solace that the family can take away from this mishap, apart from no one being hurt, is that they managed to stop the fire spreading to a two-storeyed house attached to the row of houses.
The family was asleep when the fire broke out and by the time they were alerted to it, they only had enough time to flee before the flames reached them. Nothing from the two houses could be salvaged.
By the time the neighbours, reached the spot at around 3 a.m., the first house, from where the fire broke out, was almost burned to the ground.

56-year-old commits suicide

GANGTOK, 26 May: A 56-year-old lady committed suicide by hanging here at Birman Colony in Upper Sichey on Wednesday. The deceased, it is informed, had gone to her daughter’s house nearby on 24 May and stayed there over night and left without informing anyone the next evening and later, at around 7 PM the deceased was found dead [to suicide] her house. 

Sahitya Parishad office bearers call on Sanu Lama, apologise in person

GANGTOK, 26 May: The working committee of Nepali Sahitya Bhawan led by their president, BK Roka, called on senior litterateur and former NSP president, Sanu Lama, at his home yesterday and apologized to him in person for having issued a press release to explain the financial status of the Parishad and for having included some disparaging remarks on him in the press release.
The office bearers at Nepali Sahitya Parishad had already issued a public apology to the Padmashree some time back, it may be recalled. The matter had remained sore specially after Mr. Lama’s letter to the NSP demanding that a public apology be issued or he would be forced to return the Bhanu Puraskar conferred on him by the NSP was leaked to the press.
An NSP press release issued by Hemant Giri informs that Mr. Lama, while accepting the apology, also informed that his letter to the NSP was a communication between him and the organization and never intended to be leaked to the press.

Candidate accuses ICAR of ignoring preference for locals; Organisation denies having appointed anyone so far

GANGTOK, 26 May: Pravesh Shivakoty and Karma Doma Bhutia, two candidates who had applied for the post of T-3 (a non-scientific C-Grade Post) at the National Research Centre for Orchids, ICAR, Pakyong claim that the selection process was “biased and unfair”.
Mr. Shivakoty has alleged that the department has not adhered to the statement made in the advertisement notification F.No.NRCO/Admn/117/10-11 in the general instruction for the candidates of clause 4, which underlines, “preferences will be given to the candidates possessing Sikkim Subject/Domicile certificates as proof of nature of Sikkim (attested copy of Certificate must be enclosed)”.

Chandmari to Pabyuik mountain-biking event scheduled for 31 May

GANGTOK, 26 May [IPR]: Speaker KT Gyaltsen, who is also the area MLA of Syari constituency, along with officials from the Department of Tourism, members from Recovering Users Network and members of the Sikkim Mountain Bikers group met to discuss tourism-based activities for Syari and introduce mountain biking in the area to promote tourism by creating sustainable ecotourism opportunities and also generating awareness against substance abuse and alcoholism.
The meeting started off with the MLA welcoming the officials and members of the RCU and Sikkim Mountain Bikers club.
It was decided that a mountain biking event cum awareness programme be flagged off from Chandmari (Dechiling) to Pabyuik monastery in Pabyuik-Naitam on 31 May. The event is projected to generate interest in eco-friendly tourism, introduce the area to the monastic tourism circuit and spread awareness on the adverse effects of drug use.

Flowers and Vegetable Seeds- Nostalgic Memory!

Hurrah, Pocha Seeds are back!
The Pocha Seeds Company of Pune (established 1884), Suttons Seeds in Calcutta (1806 in UK), L.R. Brothers at Saharanpur (1900) and the Chandra Nursery at Rhenock (1910), were household names in the days of the Raj for all home-gardener needs. I was desperately looking for some small packets of French breakfast radish, Celery, Parsley etc. but to no avail. Since someone was going to Siliguri, I asked her to look for these at Bidhan (rather, ‘Hong Kong’) Market.
Lo behold! The seeds arrived - well packed and moderately priced as compared to that supplies cornered by the multinationals and marketed by merchants, of doubtful viability, based in Kolkata, Aurangabad and Bangalore. Their products are priced beyond the reach of the small home gardeners and marketed in bulk mostly to government departments who dole them out to villagers as part of poverty alleviation programmes under various Mission modes conceived by the pundits in Delhi.

Cheats Don’t Issue Receipts


The tourist season has begun and while this has brought much colour and excitement to the tourist spots, it has also returned the pernicious disposition of taxi services to start extracting usurious profits from commuters coming in from Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri. This is a clear case of cheating, and just because it is effected in West Bengal should not mean that Sikkim should ignore it. Commuters are now being charged as high as Rs. 400 per seat on an NJP-Gangtok journey which should cost them only Rs. 180. People returning home or tourists headed for Gangtok are in a hurry and in most cases resigned to getting fleeced at NJP anyway. The touts at the station make no efforts to explain the price hike to fuel prices or vehicle shortage and openly admit that this was demand-driven escalation. People pay up and arrive in Gangtok offended at the idea of having been cheated. The scenario is different in Gangtok which has learnt from the experience of rampant cheating by taxi and jeep operators during the bandh-frequented days of last year. Police personnel patrol the jeep stand on a regular basis, arriving as early as 7 in the morning and keeping a keen eye out to discourage cheating. This is apparently working and there have been no complaints thus far of cheating by vehicles moving out of stands here. The mainline taxi operators have also taken precautions to check against cheating of passengers. The deterrents have been working fine for Sikkim thus far. NJP and Siliguri are beyond Sikkim’s jurisdiction and the authorities there are obviously not concerned enough. When asked why Sikkim cannot do something to check this, one is told that either people do not lodge complaints or do not have ‘tickets’ to prove they have been cheated. On surface, this explanation closes the option of doing something, but on closer consideration, the excuse is not convincing.

Artisans at Okhrey Carpet Cluster receive design sensitization

GANGTOK, 26 May: A “Design Sensitization Workshop” was organized for the artisans of Okhrey Carpet Cluster on 25 May at State Institute of Capacity Building, Karfectar, South Sikkim which was attended by thirty (30) artisans.
Part of the ‘Design Clinic Scheme for MSMEs’, a scheme of Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise, Government of India, the workshop was organized by Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship, Guwahati in collaboration with National Institute of Design, informs a press release.

Monsoon preparedness meet stresses need for effective coordination

GANGTOK, 26 May: The District Collector [East], D Anandan, stressed the need for effective coordination between the line departments and concerned organizations while responding to incidents of natural calamities. He further insisted on the need of cooperation and support from all concerned departments and organizations to the district administration in providing relief to the affected areas.
The DC was speaking in the district-level meeting on Disaster Management and Pre-Monsoon Preparedness organized by the Collectorate [East] here at the District Administration conference hall today.
The meeting was attended by the SP [East], Dr MS Tuli, ADC [East], Chewang Gyatso, SDM [East], Dr AB Karki, and senior officials from different line departments and members of the civil defence units.
The DC explained that the objective of the meeting was to assess the preparedness and alertness of the line department ahead of the monsoon and to ensure that all departments understood their roles and worked as a team in any emergency or calamities.

CM’s Sikkim tour to resume on 31 May

GANGTOK, 26 May [IPR]: The second phase of the state-wide tour of the Chief Minister and the State administration is to commence from 31 May 2011. The second leg will cover Ravangla, Kewzing, Tinkitam, Ralang, Borong, Yangyang, Lingmo and Lingi Payong in South Sikkim. During the tour, the Chief Minister will also be laying the foundation stone of the Kabir Math at Lingmo.

Pigeon deaths get Singtam deliberating on civic scenario of town

GANGTOK, 26 May: A meeting was organized by Sikkim Motor Transport Workers Association, Singtam branch at Marwari Dharmsala. The main objective behind the meeting was to spread awareness regarding the impact of filth in and around the bazaar area that is affecting human and livestock health, informs a press release. The concern has spiked in light of the abnormally high mortality being observed in pigeons here.
The meeting was presided over by Dawa Sherpa and conducted by president Basibiyalo Samity, Mohan Pradhan. During the meeting, Newar Guthi president, TP Pradhan, expressed that choked drains and water logging is causing the breeding of insects like mosquitoes and other ectoparasites [believed to be responsible for pigeon deaths here]. Old houses that have pigeon nests are difficult to clean he added. He further requested all participants to extend all possible help to Para Vet of VH Sirwani in the control and containment work on pigeon deaths.

27 Nov Committee wants Pink Card process expedited and implemented judiciously

GANGTOK, 26 May: The 27th November Committee, Gangtok, has submitted a letter to the Secretary, Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department and the Chief Minister requesting the government for a careful scrutiny before issuing Pink Cards.
This, the committee contends, is to prevent any kind of manipulation during the process of issuing Pink Cards. The letter argues, “the government is issuing Residential Certificates to old settlers in the state who can justify their stay in the state prior to 26/04/1975 under the ambit of same notification issuing COI to 5 (five) categories of people. With the issue of RC the chances of dilution of SSC is increased”.
The letter informs about 31,180 false SSC/COI holders, further holds, “in order to nullify false SSCs and COIs, government should issue pink cards to real Sikkimese and issue a notification to nullify SSCs/COIs not accompanied with Pink Cards. This will save the Sikkim Subject and benefit given by State and Central government to Sikkimese will go to the genuine ones”.
The committee has also expressed its readiness to render free services to the government for issuing of Pink Card, if required.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Paljor Stadium Astroturf set for 28 May inauguration by CM; Will be the largest artificial turf in all of SAARC


GANGTOK, 25 May: The artificial turf laid out at Paljor Stadium is all set to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister on 28 May. With its Astroturf cover spread across a handsome 93,000+ sq feet, Paljor Stadium is now the largest Astroturf in the SAARC Region.
The inauguration will feature an exhibition match between Bhaichung Bhutia’s United Sikkim Football Club [USFC] and Minister’s XI made up of Sikkimese footballers playing in different clubs around the country and some foreign players.
The Astroturf was manufactured by the FieldTurf Tarkett, Georgia, USA, and the project executed by the Great Sports Infrastructure Private Limited. Work began on 01 January this year and completed at a cost of sanctioned cost of Rs 3.77 crores.

Chamgaon residents leverage CM’s visit to put RMDD on the dock

NAMCHI, 25 May: The Chief Minister has explained that his 40-day Sikkim Tour [of which 6 days have been completed and which is expected to resume next week] was essentially to take stock of how the various projects sanctioned by the government for rural Sikkim have been implemented. The intent was to get a frank appraisal from the people in a one-to-one. The CM has also been clear in his disappointment with the commitment of public representatives and public servants in executing policy decisions on ground. One incident on the second day of his tour holds up why this tour was necessary and how slack commitment and even more lax follow-up has kept people denied even after projects have been sanctioned for them.
The issue in question relates to a request submitted by the people of Chamgaon to the Chief Minister during his halt at Tiffin Dara on 18 May, the second day of his village-to-village tour. The people were seeking a PMGSY road to connect Mamley Zero with Chamgaon in South Sikkim.
A petition to CM informed that their demand for this road has still not been sanctioned and called on him to recognise the urgency for it and approve the project. Sitting there amidst the people, the CM expressed shock over the demand and informed that not only had the project been sanctioned, but the Rural Management & Development Department specifically directed to commission the project. This was back in the year 2009!

CM completes phase-I of Sikkim Bhraman

GANGTOK, 25 May [IPR]: The first phase of the village-to-village tour of the Chief Minister and the State administration has been completed. The first phase of the proposed state-wide tour of he Chief Minister, which started from his home constituency of Poklok-Kamrang, has thus far covered the whole of Namchi Sub-Division and parts of Rabong Sub-Division in South Sikkim. The six days of travelling traversed over 700 kilometers covering over 24 Gram Panchayat Units consisting of 139 Gram Panchayat Wards.
During his tour, the Chief Minister interacted with the people and took first-hand view of the schemes and programmes of the government. While the CM took all the important messages of the State’s flagship programmes like CATCH program in Health sector, the Organic Mission, Green Mission, Tourism Mission, Kutcha House Free State Programme, Poverty Free Mission to the people, he stressed on the importance of taking on responsibility at all levels, productivity, self reliance and quality in delivery and projects implementation.
The touring entourage consisted of a team of heads of departments led by the Additional Chief Secretary.
It is reported that many of the Secretaries were appreciative of the Chief Minister’s initiative and felt that a first-hand engagement with the people at the grassroots level was very beneficial to them. The Heads of Departments have also gained from the experience of seeing for themselves the status of development projects and programmes at the ground level.

So Much Gas…


The use of LPG cylinders subsidised for domestic consumption in commercial establishments is so rampant that it does not even raise eyebrows. Even when the authorities make some noise about it, as they did recently, everyone knows that this is just shadow-boxing. The practise has been going on for so long that commercial establishments won’t even be embarrassed to allege that they are being “victimised” if their kitchens are inspected and use of commercial cylinders effectively ensured. Of course, this diversion is not unique to Sikkim and incidentally one of the leading reasons why LPG refills for homes sell at a premium across the country. Unfortunately, instead of erecting effective safeguards against such ‘pilferage’, the policy-makers in Delhi invariably spring a price hike. While one can understand that prices and subsidies have to be worked at practical levels, the first measure should be to plug leakages so that the subsidies are enjoyed only by the targeted segment. This is an important aspect of LPG pricing because this cooking fuel has almost been forced into many homes in India through aggressive promotion and even freebies to reduce dependence on forest resources and deliver healthier kitchens. While the intent behind the promotion of LPG is well-placed and the convenience it offers universally endorsed, it will be unfair on consumers in rural areas to be told that cooking will become consistently more expensive. They will not take very lightly to it. This brings us back to the argument that the subsidies and supplies of domestic LPG can be sustained for much longer if its diversion to commercial establishments is stopped.

Future History, the Happy Metal rockers

Gangtok band, “Future History”, has made a strong entry into the rock scene. Signing up for the well-received North East Rockers competition held in Gangtok recently, the band held its own and walked away with the second position honours. ANAND OBEROI meets up with the band and gets them talking…

How do you describe your band “Future History” and the music that you play?
Description- Heavy, Positive, having Fun on Stage and make the audiences have fun just like. Our Genre is Happy Metal.

How many bands did you compete against at the Northeast Rockers competition [held in Gangtok recently]? What was the NE Rockers platform like?
Competition was cut-throat because there were a lot of good ass-kicking bands waiting for us with loaded guns.
We bagged the second position primarily because we had way too much fun on stage and the winning band was better organized with their set focused and 360’s instead of losing their minds on creating circle pits.
The platform was big, great work by Alpine Attitude who organized the event very well. Everything was on time and place. This is the biggest window of opportunity for upcoming bands especially from this region who want to have a great start. However, we were disappointed when there were just two bands from Sikkim which participated.
The reaction was all around us with our first radio airplay of our song “Over-driven” along with an exclusive interactive session on air. As for the people’s reaction, it was overwhelming with the creation of first circle pits and all the chaos on our set. Man, the whole place was ripped apart at the end of both our sets [Prelims & Finals]. Thank you Gangtok for your endless support throughout the Fest.

Introduce us to the band and also share some words on the experience thus far.
Leeyong, 22: Guitars
Dibyaraj, 22: Guitars
Kunzang, 22: Vocals
Victor, 25: Bass
Siddhartha, 25: Drums
The journey has been dammi! Dammi! Everyone had been gelling very well. It’s a family more than a band. So each one of us understanding each other’s needs, we are very open with what we feel. We believe in being happy with what we do.

Ma Kasari Bhanu to premiere today

The premiere show of Nepali feature film, “Ma Kasari Bhanu”, is scheduled for Thursday at Denzong Cinema Hall at 5pm. The event will be graced by the Speaker, KT Gyaltsen, as chief guest and will have Indian Idol IV runner-up, Kapil Thapa as the guest of honour.
The movie, produced by CP Giri of Ranipool, under the banner of Anjali Films, stars Sikkim’s Uttam Pradhan and Manipuri actor, Uttam Kumar Chettri. Mr. Giri informs about he plans to cast Kapil Thapa in his next film.
The premier is being organized by the Sikkim Kalakar Sangh and will feature a live music show and felicitation of actors and the film crew, informs a press release issued by the publicity secretary of the Sangh, Hemant Giri.
The sangh has invited all to be the part of the show.

Indrakeel Natya Manch mourns passing away of founder-member

NAMCHI, 25 May: The Indrakeel Natya Manch (INAM) has mourned the demise of its senior artist, Mrs. Dhana Maskey [Dhan Maya Pradhan] who passed away on 17 May at Rani-Gaon, Assangthang, South Sikkim.
The chief coordinator of the Manch, Roshan Kaushik, in a press release issued today, informs that INAM members have prayed for the departed soul and conveyed their condolence to the bereaved family.
“She was one of the founder-members of INAM who had performed in more than a dozen of theatre plays such as the blockbuster ‘Ani Deorali Runchha’, ‘Gatthe Juwain’, ‘Pahuna’ and many thers and contributed to the survival of theatre culture. Her demise is a great loss to the society. She had struggled a lot in her life to sustain the theatre culture in the state,” the release states, while adding that the younger generation had learned a lot from her and even benefitted for her later role as Panchayat President of Assangthang GPU.
INAM has called on its members to attend her last rites scheduled for 26 May.

Revised taxes for new vehicles hit sales hard, dealers await promised reduction

GANGTOK, 25 May: “A 100 percent increase in annual taxes for private vehicles is just too much. And then there is the high registration fees. This has prompted people here to buy & register their vehicles in neighbouring West Bengal instead because the costs work out substantially lower. I think the government should give this matter a big rethink since much of the State’s revenue is now being lost to vehicle dealers in Siliguri,” contended Ajeet Oberoi, the dealer for Yamaha motorcycles in Sikkim, who adds that ever since the notification announcing the new tax structure came into effect, he has lost 50 percent of his business.
The increased rate of vehicular taxes is proving a big “setback” for local entrepreneurs, dealers and buyers since many customers are now purchasing vehicles outside the state and using WB registration plates since the taxes in Sikkim are markedly higher.
According to official sources the new trend has also led to a fall in revenue for the state’s motor vehicle’s department as well.
Pramod Dalmiya, proprietor Sikkim Motors and the Hyundai dealer here, informs that a person purchasing a Rs.10 lakh luxury vehicle like a Scorpio or a Xylo, has to shell-out an extra 1 lakh in taxes.
“We have lost about 10 to 15 percent of our business in the past two months which is bad news for the State exchequer as well since even the 12 percent VAT which the state government was earning as revenue is now going to the WB kitty,” he tells NOW!  

Deptt starts ectoparasiticidal spraying in Singtam to combat pigeon deaths

GANGTOK, 25 May: The Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Service Department has started an ectoparasiticidal spray programme in Singtam after a number of pigeon deaths were reported in the area.
Noticing the proliferation of insects and other ectoparasites in the pigeon nests at Singtam, a team of para-veterinarians from Sirwani Veterinary Hospital have been deputed to ensure the complete elimination of ectoparasites which are believed to be the main cause behind the pigeon deaths here.
With the special support of  Sikkim Motors Transporters Association, Singtam president, Tinku Adhikari, vice president, Mohan Lal Rai, general secretary, Norden Tshering Tamang, office secretary, Bhaichung Tamang, Sikkim Bihari Jagran Manch Singtam president, Pradeep Sharma and Fire department, Singtam after taking permission cleaned all the areas  used by pigeons for shelter.

IIM Shillong to offer managerial skill development prog for entrepreneurs

GANGTOK, 25 May: Minister of DoNER, B K Handique, is scheduled to inaugurate the “Developing Managerial Skill for Entrepreneurship” programme at IIM Shillong on 02 July, informs an official press release. The programme will be conducted by Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management, Shillong through its Centre for Development of North Eastern Region (CEDNER).
The Ministry of DoNER has sanctioned an amount of Rs 79.15 lacs for this programme for training 60 youth from the region, the release informs.  The Course will deal with developing managerial skills among the new generation of entrepreneurs of the region. The program is supported under the “Technical assistance and Capacity Building Scheme” administered by the Ministry of DoNER.

MG Marg song & dance scores a hit, plans grand finale for 30 May

GANGTOK, 25 May: The dance and music soirees playing at the MG Marg every evening are being well received by tourists and locals here. A first of its kind initiative, these shows have been by the Tourism Department, with intention to entertain visiting tourists.
Karma Tshering Bhutia, public relations officer of the Department, informs that what is even more interesting is that the Department is not spending any money on the event.

Anga Iron Pump’s Sunil becomes regions first diploma-holder from National School of Bodybuilding

GANGTOK, 25 May: Sunil Gurung has introduced himself as the first diploma holder from the National School of Body Building, Training, Fitness and Nutrition of Punjab from entire north-east region.
Sunil is the owner and instructor of the Anga Iron Pump, a gym inTadong, and has recently completed the one-year diploma under coach Randhir Kumar Hasti and is now a certified trainer.
He started the gym in June 2006 with a few members and presently has 93, including 15 ladies.
Addressing a press conference today, Sunil informed that now his gym will start personalised training at home for those who do not wish to, or cannot join a gym. This will begin next month.
He further informed that depending on the response, he will be employing more of his students in the coming days for fitness-related jobs. He has employed 3 of his former students for the personal training service.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chetan Koirala tops Sikkim with 93.8%

GANGTOK, 24 May: 19 year old Chetan Koirala of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Balutar [Singtam] is the CBSE class XII state topper this year. He scored an aggregate of 93.8% in the Science stream.
He scored 90 in Physics, 95 in Chemistry, 95 in Maths, 96 in Computer Science, 89 in English and 98 in Physical Education.
“I am very happy and satisfied with my percentage, my parents, teachers, relatives and friends deserve the big thank you for always guiding and supporting me,” said Chetan, while interacting with reporters here in the capital, today.
The proud son of Khem Raj Koirala and Kesari Maya Sharma of Raley Basti, Samdung, Chetan is now preparing for the National Aptitude Test for Architecture to be held in Guwahati.
“I want to opt for architectural engineering as it is my childhood dream to become an architecture,” he added.
According to him, it was his hard work and consistent effort which made him become the state topper.
“I did not go for any kind of coaching or tuition classes, rather, I devoted more time on revision,” he adds.
He completed his class X from Samdung Secondary School in the year 2009.

Sri Srima Yuma Mang sermons at Mangshila

MANGAN, 24 May:  A daylong “spiritual awareness programme” was addressed here at Mangshila in North Sikkim yesterday by Sri Srima Yuma Mang, the religious leader of the Limboo community from Darap in West Sikkim. The programme was organized by the Yuma Mang Meditation Centre’s Mangshila branch in collaboration with the Yuma Mang Medition Centre of Darap.
Sungnim Madhu started the day’s proceedings highlighting the essence of Yuma Mang and what it meant to the Limboos.
The sermon was delivered by Sri Srima Yuma Mang who spoke on the need for Yuma adherents to follow path prescribed by their faith and gave advice on how the tenets could be adopted in everyday life as well.
Bhajans were also performed by the devotees during the programme.

NSS grants handed out with call to spend judiciously

GANGTOK, 24 May:  A total of Rs. 37,53,600 was distributed to 74 educational institutions by the Department of Sports & Youth Affairs, National Service Scheme [NSS] Cell, today at a function held here at Paljor Stadium.
This grant-in-aid was provided to senior secondary schools, colleges, Sanskrit Mahavidyalayas, Sanskrit Uccha Mahavidyalayas, Shedas, ITIs and TTIs from around the state to carry out ‘special camps’ and various other NSS activities.
The cheques were handed over by the Secretary, Karma P Bhutia, and Additional Director, RK Rai, to the NSS programme officers from different institutions.

SIMFED introduces Rateypani and West Pendam farmers to organic farming of medicinal herbs

GANGTOK, 23 May: Sikkim State Co-op Supply & Marketing Federation Limited [SIMFED] is one of the agencies tasked with facilitating Sikkim’s Organic Mission and is currently involved in establishing the Internal Control System [as part of Organic certification] of a 1,030 hectare area spread across Rateypani and West Pendam GPUs in South and West Sikkim.
While working on awareness generation in the area, SIMFED realized that farmers were apprehensive about finding markets for their produce and hesitant to change cropping patterns. Thus, in a move aimed at introducing farmers at the two GPUs of the kind of opportunities available, and to initiate organic farming in a big way, SIMFED roped in the assistance of Himalaya Drug Company, a pharmaceutical multinational company based in Bangalore.

Rakdong felicitates philanthropic senior citizen on Sakewa

MANGAN, 23 MAY: Sakewa, the most important festival of the Rai community, was celebrated here at Rakdong in East Sikkim with a special event organized by the Akhil Kirat Rai Sangh unit of Tumin-Lingee constituency. The function was chaired by Lhakila Tongden Lepcha, member, State Planning Commission, as a chief guest and had Zilla member Saraswati Regmi as a special guest.
The celebration began with the observance of “Chandi Purnima” with Mangpas (the Rai priests) performing the “Paruhang Sumnima” rituals. Food stalls stocked with traditional Rai delicacies and a museum display of antiques collected from Rai households were well received by people who turned up for the celebrations.
Folk dances performed by students of Rakdong JHS, Sunrise School, cultural troupes from Upper Rakdong, Lower Rakdong and Yangthang added to the entertainment quotient of the day’s events.

Ram Patro Memorial awards function celebrates journalistic excellence

GANGTOK, 24 May: “It is a great honour for me to be present here and be part of the Ram Patro Memorial Awards function,” shared Speaker KT Gyaltsen, while addressing the gathering of media person at the 6th Ram Patro Memorial Award ceremony held here at Royal Plaza today.
“People choose their representatives, and these representatives act as the voice of the people and thus the actions of the government have a bearing on the citizens directly,” he pointed out, adding that accountability and transparency in decision-making was a must and that free press thus became an important part of the Parliamentary system.
People possess the ‘Right to Know’ and this information comes from the press and the media, who are ‘watchdogs of the people,” he said. The press and media have a major role to play as they can influence and motivate public opinion for good or for bad and so information is power but the right and positive information should be provided to the people, Mr. Gyaltsen, speaking as the chief guest said.

Rani Khola surges in Singtam, imperils houses

SINGTAM, 24 May:  Rani Khola, swollen by heavy rain received by it in its course below Gangtok, surged as it reached Singtam [near its confluence with the Teesta] and tore away the protection wall erected along its banks below Singtam’s Lall Bazaar Khola-Line on Monday night. The damaged protection wall has left around 25 houses exposed to danger. The residents rushed out of their homes when sections of the protection wall were sliced away by the river at around 9 p.m.
Gangtok SDM, Dr. AB Karki, who had visited the site last night, was on the spot again this morning accompanied by officials from the Irrigation Department and directed the immediate construction of a temporary protective wall here.
The area MLA, Am Prasad Sharma, also visited the area this morning and informed that reinforcement of the protective wall had been sanctioned recently but had not been undertaken due to arrival of the rains which makes such works impossible.
Although the situation was less worrying after the rainfall abated today, if the Rani Khola surges again, it could cause substantial damage.

Gangtok learns what 8cm of water can wreak

A van seen through the floor of a garage which caved in at Indira
Byepass on Monday night taking the van along.

The slide below a power sub-station right above the iron bridge at Indira Byepass

The landslide below the power substation exposed a new cave, blocked the jhora 

The sewage lines servicing Gangtok gurgled on to the roads on Monday night and required
the collective efforts of UD&HD personnel to unclog the next morning

GANGTOK, 24 May: Heavy overnight downpour had Gangtok and its surrounding areas waking up to a rash of landslides today. IT is still only pre-monsoon showers, but enough to imperil houses in the capital, put another set in Singtam at risk and strand commuters on NH 31A for up to 4 hours last night.
The heavy rainfall triggered many small and big landslides damaging property and causing threat to many residents in the Upper Sichey area of Gangtok, which were inspected by the Gangtok Mayor, KN Topgay, Upper Sichey Councilor, NB Chettri and SDM [East], Dr AB Karki early this morning.  
The retaining wall of a private garage belonging to MB Thapa on Bye-Pass road at Upper Sichey caved into the jhora along side, taking along with a van kept inside it for repairs. It is informed that the neighbours were able to take out other vehicles kept in the garage.

Arithang’s sinking areas inspected

GANGTOK, 24 May: A joint inspection of sinking areas in Arithang was carried out by a team of the officials from the district administration [East] and concerned government departments today.
The team, led by the District Collector [East], D Anandan, was joined by the Arithang Councilor, Ashish Rai, SDM [East], Dr AB Karki and senior officers from departments of Irrigation, Power, PHE, Sewage and UD&HD.
The main objective of the inspection was to decide short and long term precaution measures.

Pre-Monsoon Jitters


It rained a handsome 8 cm on Monday night. Unnaturally high for May even for the notoriously wet Gangtok, which is incidentally the wettest hill of Sikkim, receiving at least 350 cm of rainfall in a normal year. The ferocity with which the jhoras hollered on Monday night and the facility with which several mud banks in Gangtok surrendered and slipped down are enough to drive home the point. Official data reveals that the heaviest single-day pre-monsoon downpour in May for Gangtok was 8.2 cm nearly five decades ago in 1964. Of course, the rainfall, when the skies open with more purpose and laden with the South-West moisture, will be much higher in the coming. Be that as it may, the Monday inundation was intense and near record-breaking [for May]. The litter was there to see all across the highway from Singtam to Gangtok as news-reports elsewhere in the paper illustrate. It was a revolting sight to see sewage lines blow out the iron hubs and gurgle the collective waste of the capital on to the roads. Jhoras breaking their banks, damaging an already rickety bridge and an imperilled power sub-station, should worry every Gangtokian because if this is what an evening of intense nor’wester can deliver, what the approaching monsoon has in store, given the obvious unpreparedness of the people, is frightening.

TATA Institute of Social Sciences to begin PG course in Guwahati Campus

GANGTOK, 24 May: “Setting up of Guwahati Campus of the prestigious TATA Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, a Deemed University, to cater to the North Eastern Region is one of the most positive developments in the education sector in the Region in the recent past,” said the DoNER Minister BK Handique, in New Delhi.
“It is heartening to learn that without waiting for physical infrastructure to come up, TISS has already chalked out a programme to begin two Masters programmes from July-August, 2011 and 5 years integrated Masters Programme on Social Sciences from June, 2012,” he announced.
When the Government of Assam proposed to the Ministry of DoNER to allot funds under NLCPR towards the infrastructure cost of the Institute at Guwahati, Mr. Handique, “readily agreed and approved, in principle, to release Rs. 81 crore towards the project”, a press communiqué received from the Minister’s office informs.
Assam Government has already identified the land required for the above purpose, the release adds.

Exercise your rights and shoulder your responsibilities, CM appeals

NAMCHI, 24 May: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling called off his tour of Rabongla scheduled for today, as part of his 40-day Sikkim Bhraman, since he is not keeping well. He is expected to resume his road-trip on Wednesday. The travelling has been hectic and his interactions with rural folk in their villages have been interesting. Owing to a Sunday and a Sakewa holiday in between, we could not cover day 5 and 6 of the CM’s tour. The rest-day taken by him has opened the space to catch up on the lost days in the pages of NOW!
On 21 May the CM took the Government [he is accompanied by Ministers, MLAs and Heads of Departments] to more parts of South Sikkim, starting with Phongla. His message to the people for the day was to collaborate with the State Government in second-generation development. The infrastructure was no all in place, and focus should now be to engineer a paradigm shift in how people contribute to development – by leveraging the infrastructure and the opportunities to achieve self-reliance and give Sikkim a robust economy.

Computer basics made mandatory skill for govt job seekers

GANGTOK, 24 May: The State Government has made Basic Computer Concept Certificate of the DOEACC, Ministry of IT, a mandatory requirement for all those seeking government jobs. This, a Department of Information Technology press release informs, follows from guidelines issued by the Government of India recommending that candidates aspiring for Government jobs should be familiar with the use of computers.
The release explains further that this notification has become necessary as “extensive computerization is taking place in all the departments and without basic knowledge of computers, employees will not be able to function efficiently.” Many other states have already adopted the BCC as a pre-requisite for Government Jobs.
The Basic Computer Concept (BCC) course is designed with an aim to impart basic level computer skills like taking a printout and accessing information from the internet and  can equip a person to use a computer in day to day life for professional as well  as personal use, the release adds.

Demonstration of biogas plants and improved chulhas impresses farmers at Samlik

GANGTOK, 24 May: The College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology (CAEPHT) of the Central Agricultural University (CAU) Centre of the Renewable Energy Sources (RES) conducted a one day awareness programme covering demonstration and maintenance of Biogas plants at Samlik village here in East Sikkim. The session was held at Roop Narayan Bhattarai’s house at Samlik on 04 May, informs a press communiqué received from Professor SK Rautaray, Head, FPM CAEPHT, Ranipool.
Research Engineer Dr. AK Mishra explained the generation of biogas from cow-dung and the operational parameters responsible for effective gas generation under low temperature conditions of Sikkim.
For effective biogas generation proper mixing of cow dung with water, heat treatment with hot water, regular stirring of plant slurry and regular checking of leakage from plant with soap water are important practices involved for high yield of biogas, the release adds. The climate here comes under “psychrophilic zone” (below20 0C) and mesophilic zone (24-45 0C).
The six-member family of Rinzing Bhutia of Samlik uses the biogas plant regularly for cooking, it is learnt. He informed the meeting that that he saved 2 LPG cylinders within 3 to 4 months using biogas. He was trained on maintenance of Biogas plant.

Kharif crop and organic farming training underway at Aritar-Khamdong and Tarpin-Rhenock Blocks

RHENOCK, 24 May: The Food Security & Agricultural Development Department’s Rongli Sub-Division office, under ATMA, has begun training programmes on various Kharif crops and organic farming in the Aritar-Khamdong and Tarpin-Rhenock blocks of the Rongli Sub-Division.
According to Deputy Director [Rongli], PK Subba, the training has already covered Chujachen, Pam, Kholatar, Agri Gaon, Salgari, Tintaley (Mulukey), Sundunglakha, Rolep-Lamaten, Aritar-Khamdong and will be next held  at Chandaney, Lingtam, Regu, Pasting, Rewlakha, Aritar (Pradhan Gaon),  Regu Agamlok, Padamchen, Subaneydara and Changeylakha. [from BHANURAJ THAPA]

Better monitoring required for delivery on 100-day tasks

GANGTOK: When Chief Minister Pawan Chamling assigned 100-day tasks to 30 Departments through a 109-page document on 18 April, people hoped that all the long-pending jobs locked in official files will be processed and delivered. Out of 100, 36 days are past and most of these files are still awaiting the go ahead command.
A reason why the 100-day tasks are running slow on delivery is speculated to be the recent reshuffle in the State administration from the C to A grade employees.
A Special Secretary informs that seven junior officials at his Department were transferred/ promoted to other Departments and till date no one has been sent in their place. This is bound to slow down work.
Not only this, the Chief Minister’s 40-day door-to-door visit will provide another excuse for the tardy bureaucratic system for not meeting the targets within the prescribed deadline.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pabyuk-Naitam comes together for Sakewa

GANGTOK, 23 May: Sakewa, an important festival of the Rai community, was celebrated here at the village of Pabyuk-Naitam under Syari constitueny of East Sikkim today. The celebration started off with the traditional rituals of Ubhauli Puja performed in the house of the community faith-healer, Dik Man Rai, after which it moved out to the fields.
Ubhauli Puja is the offering of special prayers to the natural supreme power of Kirateshwar and the Mother Goddess and seeks the blessings of nature to bless the people with a good harvest in the year ahead. This is a traditional observance which marks the start of the sowing season. The festival falls on the 15th day of 5th month of the Vikram Sambhat calendar.
Pabyuk-Naitam had been celebrating Sakewa in this community-event format for the past four years with generous support and contributions from the villagers. This time around as well, the villagers gathered at the field with the same enthusiasm since early morning, giving out the message of unity and remembering their ancestors as they assembled at the three sacred stones [maintained in the hearth and fields by the Rais] to offer prayers.

Celebrating Rai culture, achievers and Sikkimese unity with Sakewa in Namchi

NAMCHI, 23 May: “Festivals of all communities of the State have been provided special recognition in the last 17 years of the SDF Government and this should be seen as a cultural revolution which has made space for every community to celebrate its identity,” said Chief Minister Pawan Chamling while addressing the Sakewa celebration held here at Bhaichung Stadium today.
The Chief Minister took a day’s break from his frenetic 40-day tour of Sikkim to attend the celebrations. He has completed six days of touring through rural South Sikkim and resumes his road trip from Tuesday onwards. The hectic travelling which has the CM interacting with rural folk in at least six villages on an average per day, puts a tremendous strain as officials accompanying him have shared, and the CM commented that even he was not feeling in the best of health.
The CM underlined that although his detractors have alleged that allowing expression to individual communities has divided Sikkim, the truth is that such space has made individual communities more confident of their respective identities as Sikkimese and reinforced camaraderie by ending denial.
He did however forewarn the people against playing into the hands of ‘forces inimical to Sikkim’ which have been striving to divide Sikkim on communal lines.

Sikkim’s best performing GPU holds its 17th Gram Sabha

GANGTOK, 23 May: The 17th Gram Sabha of Melli Dara Paiyong Gram Panchayat Unit was held on 21 at CM Pradhan Auditorium at Melli Dara. The Gram Sabha started with a 30-second silence observed to mourn the passing away of six Gram Sabha members who passed away since the last Gram Sabha was held.
The President welcomed the Gram Sabha and thanked all the Gram Sabha members for their full participation in the Gram Sabha because of which the Gram Panchayat was able to bag the Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Purashkar-2011.
The Panchayat Secretary placed the financial report of the Gram Panchayat for the financial year 2010-11. After the financial statement, each member placed a report on Village Development Action Plan, followed by a thorough discussion on the same.

TMI leads research trek to Budang Gadi to mark Biodiversity Day

GANGTOK, 23 May: The Mountain Institute-India, in collaboration with the Pendam Gram Vikash Sangathan and Biodiversity Management Committee of Pendam, organized a “research, awareness and education trek” to the Gadi area of Pendam on 22 May to mark the International Biodiversity Day. The main objective of this program was to “learn the ecotourism potential of the Gadi Cultural Landscape, involvement of local communities on ecotourism services, biodiversity significance and the conservation issues, and finally support the Biodiversity Management Committee, local healers, school students and local people with scientific methods of plants identification, identification techniques for birds and general ecology of the Gadi sacred landscape”, a TMI release explains.
Dr. Bhoj Kumar Acharya, a respected bird specialist, Dr. Tika Nepal, a medicinal plants specialist, Dr. Ghanashyam Sharma, Program Manager TMI-India, Ganga Ram Guragain, chairperson of Pendam Gram Vikash Sangathan, Rudra Prasad Pokhrel, Gram Panchayat, four indigenous health practitioners, 12 school students of Pendam Senior  Secondary School, four members of Pendam Biodiversity Management committee, and two school teachers participated in the daylong biodiversity trek.
The trek was coordinated by Dr. Ghanashyam Sharma.

SDF Chelis spearhead massive plantation drive in Phodong

MANGAN, 23 MAY:  A massive plantation drive was conducted yesterday here at Rongong-Tumlong GPU in Phodong [North Sikkim] under the supervision of Pintso Doma Bhutia (Upadhyaksha, North).  The drive was conducted by the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front’s women’s wing of North District and has been funded by Upadhayaksha herself. A total of 5,000 saplings of different species of flowering and fruit-bearing trees like cherry, rose, bottlebrush, avocado, pine etc. were planted.
The plantations drive started from the Tumlong Tourism Orchid Garden which was in dire need of some cleaning having been left abandoned ever since its construction in 2006. The villagers cleaned the garden and planted the saplings in the periphery and wished that the Chief Minister visit the garden during his tour to North district.

Singtam meeting discusses pigeon mortality worry

GANGTOK, 23 May: A daylong meeting was organized at Singtam Bazaar in the office of Sikkim Motor Transport Workers Association on 20 May to discuss the unusually high mortality of pigeons in Singtam and devise ways to contain this disturbing trend.
The meeting was presided over by Bhainchung Tamang, office secretary of the association and co-chaired by Pradeep Sharma, president of Singtam Bihari Jagaran Manch and attended by representatives from all over Singtam Bazaar. Dr. DS Tewari, Joint Director, Research Wing, of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services Department and PP Pokhrel from Veterinary Hospital, Sirwani, were present as resource persons.
Before the meeting, the team visited houses with pigeons nests and where high mortality has been reported.
An official press release informs that the team analyzed the situation of these more than 50 year old buildings and collected some sick pigeons for treatment.

Towards discovering treasures, not leaving trash in the Himalayas

Nima Tashi Bhutia
Over centuries, pilgrims and explorers have been visiting the mountains but their numbers were few and the Himalayan ecosystem, fragile as it is, was able to cope with the effects of human exploration in the areas. But today, with improved network, there is a tremendous increase in the numbers of people visiting the Himalayan states. With the increase in the number of visitors, there has been a rapid increase in the solid waste which has become a major problem. Efforts are being made by Government and various groups, individuals which remain insufficient.
A two-day regional workshop towards zero waste Himalayas organized by Khangchendzonga Conservation Committee jointly with Rural Management and Development Department with support from Thanal, Global Green-Grant Fund, Centre for Environment Education under Parivariyan Mitra program brought participants from across the Himalayan states together at Chumbi Residency here on 17 and 18 May 2011 to discuss on the growing solid waste issue. The first day session were chaired by the Gangtok Mayor, KN Topgay, Lok Sabha MP from Sikkim PD Rai along with Jayakumar, Director, Thanal and Ajeer Vidya, Deer Park Institute, Himachal Pradesh.

Royal Challenger’s Mangan lift Vodafone Championship Trophy

MANGAN, 22 May: The 1st Vodafone Championship Trophy Cricket Tournament (VCTCT), organized by Royal Challengers Cricket Club (RCCC) of Mangan in North Sikkim was lifted by the host team yesterday.
Royal Challenger’s took on Kangaroo Boys [Dikchu] in the final match played at Mangan Public Ground and won by 35 runs. The Mangan team scored 165 runs in 20 overs. 44 teams had participated from all over the district.

Kina Maya-ma’s promo released

RANGPOK, 23 May: The promotional video of Samir Pradhan’s “Kina Maya Ma”, a Nepali movie which has Prashant Tamang in the lead, was released at the ATTC Auditorium in Bardang today with CP Giri, former DGP and Home Secretary to Government of Nagaland, as chief guest.
The release function was hosted by Spark, a  Singtam-based NGO, and started with felicitation of local artist who featured in the recently released, “Angalo Yo Maya Ko”.
Shakuntala Sharma of Daramdin , West Sikkim, was introduced at the function as the upcoming star of Sikkim.
The release function was also attended by the SDPOs of Rangpo and Singtam, Singtam Nagar Panchayats, executive producer  Dilu Jairu, Producer of  “Angalo Yo Maya Ko” Kishor Dungmali Rai and Director of “Kina Maya Ma” as well as Managing Director of Channel Ace Production house, Chunilal Ghimeray. [from SANJAY AGARWAL]

Zulfishan tops Holy Cross with 91.2%

GANGTOK, 23 May: Zulfishan Haque has topped the Science stream at Holy Cross School here in the Central Board of Secondary Education [CBSE] class XII examination. Zulfishan scored 91.2%, while his classmate, Sumit Kumar Singhal, with 90.4% stood second in the school.
The keenly awaited result of the CBSE Class 12 was released this morning.
A total of 55 science students had appeared the class XII examination from Holy Cross School, of whom 54 students passed and one student got compartment.
Likewise, Rohit Kumar Mundra has become the school topper with 84.4% in commerce stream, while his classmate Paribhi Somani is on second place with 83%. A total of 18 students had appeared from the commerce stream; 13 passed and 05 got compartment.

Fire in Arithang home

GANGTOK, 23 May: Quick response by the neighbourhood residents helped beat down a fire from blazing out of control last evening here at a building in Church Road.
The Gangtok Fire Station received the distress call at around 4:30 PM and soon a fire team led by ASFO Samsher Subba, along with two fire tenders rushed to the spot.
It was informed that the tireless efforts by the neighbours had already doused the fire with the fire team making sure that no embers were left.
The fire had struck the rented accommodation of one Manish Gurung and no one was at home at the time. It is informed that Mr Gurung had left his heater on when he left home; there was no power supply at the time. When the electricity came back, there was no one at home and the unattended heater soon set the quilt and clothes lying around in the room on fire, it is believed.

Girls Outshine...


The class XII CBSE examination results replay a data which everyone who has been through school has experienced – girls outshine boys in performance, this year, even more substantially. While 86.93 per cent of the girls who took the exam passed this year, among boy, the pass-percentage was a much lower 77.83 per cent. It’s a similar scenario when it comes to ICSE, where, in the Class X exams, the pass percentage of girls is 99.15 per cent against 98.19 per cent boys. In Class XII, 98.40 per cent girls passed as compared to 96.30 per cent boys. The ICSE State-topper for Sikkim is a girl as well - Kritika Dahal. Subsequent competitive exam results have posted women as toppers in Sikkim and more of them have cracked the civil services exams than boys from Sikkim. Even at the national level, the year 2010 topper for the universally accepted to be the toughest competitive exam in the country, the Civil Services Examination, is a lady as well, 24-year-old, S. Divyadharshini, of Chennai. When it comes to school examinations, one could argue that girls are short-changed when it comes to accessing education and only the more academically consistent of them reach the class X and XII levels and hence a higher percentage of them get through. This would be a superficial reading of the situation because this has been a trend which has been consistent for a while now. What has, however, not been consistent is the access this academically more perseverant section receives in later years. In less than half a decade since the girls trump boys in class X and XII exams, they start fading away in the years when their education should be in its strongest expression and reinforcing their presence in careers and research.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Governor and CM greet Sikkim on Sakewa

GANGTOK, 23 May: Governor BP Singh and Chief Minister Pawan Chamling have extended his heartiest greetings to the people of Sikkim on the occasion of Sakewa [23 May].
In his message, the Governor, said, “The custom of worshipping Mother Nature is intrinsic to Sikkimese culture. It is from this practice of reverencing Nature that our people take care of trees and plants and rivers and wetlands. Let us promote and strengthen our tradition of conservation of nature on this auspicious occasion of Sakewa”.

Forests & Biodiversity: On the occasion of 22 May International Day for Biodiversity 2011

-by Usha Lachungpa, On behalf of Green Circle, NGO and Sikkim State Biodiversity Board, 22 May 2011
Our journey in Sikkim from IYB 2010 to IYF 2011 was a celebration of various aspects of neighborhood Biodiversity, the spectacular to commonly seen, in and around our homes and forests.    A journey from celebrating the life-sustaining diversity of life around us in 2010, to singling out just one of them, our Silent Sentinels in our Forests in 2011.  And who needs them?  We the People.

Our food, much of our cool clothing, shelter, fuel, fire….where else do we turn to but our nearest easily accessible forests.  Now we really need to “see the wood for the trees”.  Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in his message for International Day for Biodiversity 2011at talks about the far-reaching benefits of forests.  Forests catch and store water, stabilize soils, harbor biodiversity and make an important contribution to regulating climate and the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change. They generate profits for international businesses and provide essential income and resources for hundreds of millions of the world's poorest people.  This year's observance of the International Day for Biodiversity falls during the 2011 International Year of Forests, declared by the United Nations General Assembly to educate the global community about the value of forests and the extreme social, economic and environmental costs of losing them.