Saturday, July 9, 2011

Officials trained on TDPS entitlement and grievances redressal systems

GANGTOK, 07 July: The Food & Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister, DB Thapa, has stressed that the department has an important responsibility towards serving the people by ensuring that all benefits, in right time and quantity, reached the beneficiaries. He urged all the officials and field staff of the department to support and ensure provide quality service to the people as directed by the Chief Minister.
He was speaking at the inaugural function of an awareness programme on Entitlement and Grievances Redressal Mechanism under ‘Targeted Public Distribution System’ [TPDS] for functionaries, PRIs, fair price shop owners and beneficiaries today at Janta Bhawan.

Toong Naga fed up with BSNL connectivity problems

MANGAN, 07 July: The area Panchayat, DT Lepcha, and public of Toong-Naga GPU informed mediapersons yesterday that for the last one month they have been facing problems due to disrupted BSNL connectivity in the area. 
The people have complained to the Mangan BSNL office and the headquarters in Gangtok several times but no restoration work has been initiated by the authorities. The desperation of the people is obvious in light of the fact that their area had only BSNL network till recently when Vodafone signals also reached them.  
Similarly, the public of Dzongu and Dikchu have also complained of connectivity problems in the area for the past one month. 

UD&HD to regiment shop signages

GANGTOK, 07 July: Henceforth, establishments can flaunt only one signboard per shop/ office positioned along the building’s front and adhere to a standard size of two and half feet width. In case there is more than one business operating in the premises, the signboards are to be placed on one level along the building frontage.
These rules come into force with the amendment in the Sikkim Regulation for Display of Advertisement Rules, 1987, through a Notification issued by Urban Development & Housing Department dated 16 June.
The amendment further directs that all signage on the signboard should be in English and Devnagari script of one size.

Parliamentary Committee visit expedites high-speed microwave link for telecom services

GANGTOK, 07 July: “The visit of the parliamentary standing committee on Information & Technology was a fruitful one and overall very successful. I am sure that many positive outcomes will follow after this visit,” said Lok Sabha, Member of Parliament PD Rai at a press briefing today. He was speaking about the 3-day visit of the parliamentary committee to Sikkim recently.

Demand Enquiries, Don’t Seek Ex-Gratia

Every time there is destruction to life or property caused by a natural disaster, a routine response plays out –the government releasing ex-gratia payment to the affected people. While it is generous, even necessary if the affected people are already under-privileged, of the government to do so, in most cases, ex-gratia hand-outs gain primacy over the more important aspect of fact-finding. In the absence of a detailed investigation, natural disasters, almost exclusively landslides in Sikkim, receive only piecemeal redressal like a retaining wall, with the real reasons which triggered a landslide remaining ignored. This band-aid approach to confronting the dynamics of a failing slope will have to end if Sikkim is serious about minimising the losses it suffers to slides.

Scooter-riding peddler busted in Pakyong

GANGTOK, 07 July: The Pakyong Police arrested one person in possession of contraband substance, yesterday.
Acting on a tip-off, the Pakyong police nabbed Dil Bahadur Rai [40], son of Shriman Rai, a resident of Namcheybong, Pakyong in East Sikkim, when he was on his way to Pakyong on his scooter [SK-01-3618].
The police intercepted Dil Bahadur Rai at Lall Turning on the Gangtok-Pakyong road at around 7 p.m. and when his scooter was searched, 848 capsules of Spasmo Proxyvon [SP] and 29 bottles of Recodex cough syrup were found hidden in a navy blue carry bag.
Dil Bahadur Rai was arrested and a case registered at the Pakyong Police Station under section 9 of Sikkim Anti-Drugs Act [SADA].

Monitoring committee formed at UD&HD

GANGOK, 07 July: The Urban Development & Housing Department has instituted a Committee having its Commissioner-cum-Secretary as Chairman to monitor and evaluate all projects and schemes and other functions of the Department and prepare their stage-wise progress report.
The Committee, constituted through a Government Notification dated 06 June, will also be responsible for setting up a channel of communication in the Department to ensure identification of problem areas within the Department and ensure proper documentation of all “innovations” happening in the Department.
Further, the Monitoring cell will report to the Chief Minister’s Office directly on a quarterly basis.
Other members of the Committee are the Additional Secretary, Joint secretary-I, Deputy Secretary-I, Sr. Accounts Officer-I, Town Planner-I, Divisional Engineer (Planning) and Statistical Officer as its Member Secretary.

Committee to recommend entertainment tax rules for cable operators

GANGTOK, 07 July: To examine and sort out the rate of entertainment tax to be raised from cable television operators in Sikkim with reference to the entertainment tax being levied in other states, the State Government has reconstituted a Committee headed by Additional Secretary, UD&HD as its Chairman. This was notified on 17 June by effecting partial supersession of Notification No.671/UD&HD, dated: 12.06.2010.
Other members of the committee include a representative from Finance Revenue & Exp. Department, representative from Law Department, Joint Secretary (I), UD & HD, Deputy Secretary (Amusement Tax), UD & HD and Under Secretary (Amusement Tax), UD & HD.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

CM’s surprise visit to Singtam Hospital finds it in deplorable state

GANGTOK, 06 July [IPR]: On receipt of public complaints, the Chief Minister paid a surprise visit to the District Hospital at Singtam yesterday and found the condition of the hospital highly deplorable.
The dressing room, corridor and toilets were found littered with waste and dirt. The electric supply was erratic and some technicians were absent from their posts.  The CM met the patients at the hospital and enquired after the difficulties faced by them.

Forgotten corner of College Valley receives area MLA’s visit

TADONG, 06 July: The residents of College Valley got an opportunity to lay down the seven reasons how the jhora running between their homes and the college campus was posing threat to their lives and property. The area was visited by their MLA, the Urban Development & Housing Minister, DB Thapa, today.
The Minister, accompanied by SDM [Gangtok], Dr. AB Karki, Councillor Prabhat Gurung, senior officials from UD&HD, Land Revenue Department, HRDD and other departments visited the College Valley area starting from College Gate down to Joredhara Point on NH31A.

Official team inspects constructions under CM’s Rural Housing Mission at Temi

NAMCHI, 06 July: Additional District Collector (Dev) South, DK Pradhan, along with Divisional Engineer (RM&DD, South), BDO Temi, Satyen K Pradhan, Under Secretary Bandana Chettri, other district and block officials inspected the ongoing construction of pucca houses under the Chief Minister’s Rural Housing Mission at Temi block yesterday, informs a press communiqué received from the BDO, BAC Temi.

Baychuthang ready to share its link with Thekong Tek with visitors

MANGAN, 05 July: Nature Conservation Social Organization (NCSO), an NGO based at Baychungthang village of Gairi ward under Kabi-Tingda GPU in North Sikkim, is working on nature conservation issues and seeking to tie in conservation with cultural tourism promotion. Kabi Tingda is already well known for its place in Sikkim’s history, being the area where the Lepcha chief Thekong Tek and the Bhutia chief Khye Bumsa swore blood brotherhood. 

Making the Go-Green idea stick

GANGTOK, 06 July: As a part of the State Government’s initiative to keep Sikkim clean and green, the Forest Department started pasting ‘Go Green’ on vehicles today. The process started with at the Siliguri Taxi Stand next to the Forest Secretariat. 
This sticker was released by the Chief Minister on World Environment Day on 05 June at Chintan Bhawan.
The sticker has the ‘Go Green’ slogan, “Let us join hands for a cleaner future” on the front, while on other side it has the four do’s and don’ts while in Sikkim- ‘Do not feed wild animals’, ‘Do not pluck flowers or damage plants, ‘Do not litter. Dispose trash properly in garbage taxi’ and ‘Respect local culture. Do not urinate in public places.’

Governor announces award for best rural reporting

GANGTOK, 06 July: With an aim to encourage journalists in the area of rural reporting, Governor Balmiki Prasad Singh, has committed to institute a best reporter in rural journalism award, informs a press release. The newly elected members of the Press Club of Sikkim called on the Governor this morning at his official residence at Raj Bhavan, during which the Governor made the announcement.
The Governor informed that the award would be given every year to the reporter who covers rural-based news and stories. The award will be presented on the occasion of Independence Day at a function to be held at Raj Bhavan, the release informs.

Forest Deptt to begin afforestation at drought-prone Salghari

NAMCHI, 06 July: In light of directions passed by the Chief Minister during his Salghari halt as part of his village-to-village tour, that Forest department enhance the green cover in this drought-prone area, the Department convened a meeting at the Salghari Secondary School premises and discussed such plans for the entire belt.

ASESEUA protests backdoor regularization at Building & Housing Department

GANGTOK, 06 July: The All Sikkim Educated Self-Employed and Unemployed Association [ASESEUA] has criticized the manner in which “some bureaucrats and people in power” are pulling strings to get their candidates into government service. As per the organization this nepotism and favoritism has now created a situation where eligibility no longer seems a criteria for employment in the state.

Tourism monitoring committee formed to check against malpractices

GANGTOK, 06 July: The Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation will now be the sole authority for issuance of permits to the tourists wishing to visit Nathula. Besides, a high powered Monitoring Committee headed by the Chief Secretary is also being constituted by the State Government to check fleecing of tourists by unscrupulous elements.

Sikkim celebrates Dalai Lama’s birthday

GANGTOK, 06 July: The 76th Birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama was celebrated here at the Sera-jey Dho-phenling Monastery at Chandmari today. The celebration was hosted by the Tibetan Settlement Office, Gangtok, Panjha Kiduk and the Tibetan Youth Club.
Addressing the congregation, chief guest NK Pradhan, Minister of Human Resource Development paid homage to the Dalai Lama, stressing that his teachings were for the well being of mankind.

For an Alternate Highway

The State Government has been demanding an alternate highway for Sikkim for quite some time now. The demand ebbs and flows with the intensity of the monsoons and given the manner in which the clouds have been playing, the demand will jump right back on priority in the coming weeks. Delhi is yet to relent with any clear commitments even though the demand is valid and urgent and the Centre has several times made token gestures towards granting the demand. Apart from the fact that Sikkim is too small a player in national politics, the Centre’s indifference is also in line with its short-sightedness displayed in many other important infrastructural projects at the national level.

Avenue plantation in Ravangla

RAVANGLA, 06 July: As part of efforts to make the State Green Mission successful, plantation drives on barren land, whether private or government, have begun across the state.
Range Officer, Ravangla, Anup J Baniya, informs that the “3HV - Three Human Values”, a youth club of Lower Jarrong, South Sikkim, took up avenue plantation from Bering to Dethang PWD road and Lower Jarrong JHS recently.

9-year-old kidnapped from Gangtok, rescued at Rambi

GANGTOK, 06 July: A nine-year-old child was brought back to Gangtok from West Bengal yesterday, rescued from the clutches of a duo which had kidnapped her from her Lower Syari home the previous evening.
An FIR filed by a resident of lower Syari stated that on 04 July, his nine year old daughter went to her cousin’s house nearby. While she was there, she was lured away by some strangers staying in the same locality. The father reported that they might have kidnapped her and taken her away to Rambi in West Bengal.

DoNER Minister brings up 103 vacancies at NEIGRIHMS with Azad

GANGTOK, 06 July: “During my visit to Shillong on 2nd-3rd July 2011, I found that the environment in NEIGRIHMS is vitiated due to inadequate faculty and the resultant agitation by students,” Bijoy Krishna Handique, Minister of DoNER, stated in his letter to Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, today.
Mr. Handique has written to the Union Health Minister seeking the latter’s intervention to fill the 103 faculty positions lying vacant at the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shillong.
Mr. Handique mentioned that out of 137 posts at the institute, only 34 have reportedly been filled, which has resulted in dislocation of academic and healthcare activities in the Institute. He also said that this matter was leading to agitations by students demanding posting of adequate number of faculty.

NSYWO felicitates youth awardee Jikme Norbu Bhutia

MANGAN, 06 July: The general meeting of the North Sikkim Youth Welfare Organisation [NSYWO] was held in the residence of Dorjee Tamang on 04 July, chaired by its president Sonam Pintso, and attended by advisor Sonam Topden Bhutia and other members of the organisation.
The organisation felicitated its member, Jikme Norbu Bhutia, for his “valuable and dedicated service to the society and on his being conferred the District Youth Award 2010-2011, becoming the State Youth Awardee 2010-11, and remarkable educational tour to Japan earlier this year”. 

ASDLF meets in Jorethang

GANGTOK, 06 July: A central committee meeting of the All Sikkim Democratic Labour Front was convened today in Jorethang under the chairmanship of its vice president, BM Ramu Damu.
The area MLA, Madan Cintury, highlighting the problems being faced by the labourers and the general public, informed that the State government and the ASDLF were doing their best to resolve the problems while appealing to follow the policies framed by the government which assures their rights and status.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Warped out of shape at Dokey

A house at Dokey village above the landslide zone  stretching from NH 31A along Government Food Preservation Factory, Singtam, to the slope above. The village has around 15 houses, all of which have developed cracks and is sinking because of the slide below. The villagers inform that no government authority has paid any heed to their problems beyond the initial days of the landslide. Worryingly, most of the houses, despite their warped structures, are still occupied. The residents are making do with patchwork repairs of little consequence. The local economy is also suffering.  This photograph is of a house which had a small-scale mineral water bottling unit which has downed shutters as the building has tilted and could collapse at any moment.

GANGTOK, 05 July: Landslides have been a devastating accompaniment to living in the hills, and people in these parts have grappled with its destruction for centuries. Its common occurrence in the region, a lived-with reality for the people, appears to have unfortunately lost its credibility as a natural disaster worthy of special attention in the files of the National Disaster Risk Management [NDRM] office at the Centre.
This localized impact of landslides has led the rest of the country, especially NDRM to believe that the affect of this form of natural disasters is “not a major threat” against other disasters such as earthquakes, droughts, tsunamis or floods which takeup priority in disaster management and rehabilitation related activities in the country.

Landslide delays travel, fleecing cabbies make it worse

GANGTOK, 05 July: A landslide blocked traffic on National Highway 31A between Rangpo and Siliguri at Bhotey Bhir, around 2 km into West Bengal from Rangpo, last night. Although cleared by 7.30 a.m., the jam caused by various minor landslips, commuters insists, was because of BRO’s unfinished road widening works along the highway. Mainline vehicles took more than eight hours to reach Gangtok from Siliguri.
Apsara, a regular private bus service, which departed from Siliguri at around 7 a.m. reached the private stand here at Deorali only at around 3 p.m. On normal days, it begins its return journey to Siliguri at 1 p.m.
The tired travelers, however, were subjected to opportunist inflation on their arrival in Gangtok.

Happy Birthday, His Holiness

The Dalai Lama turns 76 today. He has been around for longer than any other Dalai Lama, save the First [who lived till he was 83]. While this alone is reason enough for his followers to celebrate his birthday, even the nonbelievers should join the celebrations because the Dalai Lama’s contributions to the secular world are as profound as his hierarchical position in Tibetan affairs is supreme, the transfer of powers to an elected body notwithstanding.

Resettlement & Rehabilitation Committee notified for Sikkim Univ land acquisition

GANGTOK, 05 July: The State Government has constituted a “Resettlement and Rehabilitation Committee” for the land acquisition process of Sikkim University to come at Yangyang in South Sikkim. The Committee will be headed by Secretary, Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department [LR&DMD] as commissioner of the Supervisory Body. He will be assisted by a representative of Sikkim University as a member.

Rangpo Post Office may be declared Heritage Post Office

GANGTOK, 05 July: The Rangpo Post Office may soon be declared as a Heritage Post Office, indicated Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology MP, Achyutan during an informal interaction with mediapersons at Rangpo last evening. He informed that the team will give its recommendations to the Centre which may take the necessary steps in this regard.

Khangchendzonga Kalam Puraskar for Bijay Bantawa

Outgoing president, Press Club of Sikkim, Parasmani Dangal, [extreme right] hands over charge to the new president Bhim Rawat [left] and general secretary, Joseph Lepcha.
GANGTOK, 05 July: Senior journalist Bijay Bantawa has been selected for the ‘Khangchendzonga Kalam Puraskar’ for the year 2011 conferred by the Press Club of Sikkim. Mr. Bantawa, the editor-publisher of weekly newspaper Himgiri, will receive the award on the 9th foundation day function of the PCS on 17 July here at Gangtok, a press release issued by the PDS publicity secretary, Nirmal Mangar, informs.

Sikkim Pratibha Pratishthan prepares for Bhanu Jayanti celebrations in Pakyong

GANGTOK, 05 July: Sikkim Prativa Prathisthan [SPP], Pakyong, in its preparation for Bhanu Jayanti celebrations has constituted several sub-committees to look after various events.
The celebrations will be presided over by senior litterateur, Mahananda Poudyal, and Gnathang-Machong area MLA, LM Lepcha will be present as chief guest on the occasion, informs a press release.
The celebration will start with a Sobha Yatra from Bhanu Vatika followed by a programme at St Xavier’s School auditorium, which will have Ramayan Path, poetry recitation competition, folk song and dance competitions and debate competition, it is informed.
According to the release, folk song and dance competition is open and audition will be conducted on 08 July at St Xavier’s School and selection test for poetry competition will be held at Puspanjali School on 09 July.
The organizing committee has invited all to take part in the celebrations to make it successful.

Following up on exotic trees decades after they were planted

I finished reading KC Pradhan’s “The Life and Times of a Plantsman in the Sikkim Himalayas” some months back, without missing a single page. The book is very educative and informative for botanists, floriculturists, plant-lovers, and last but not least, the Sikkim foresters. My personal copy dated February 2009 reminds me that it was released two years back in January with the words “In memory of great people, KC Sir” written on it by me.  After reading the book I decided to thank KC Sir by writing an article, so I dedicate this article to KC Sir.

Tamang Youth Society starts work in Sikkim

GANGTOK, 05 July: Tamang Youth Society [TYS], a not for profit, non-political and non-governmental youth organization, led by “educated, creative and talented Sikkimese Tamang youth having similar aim and vision towards the Tamang society” is working its way across Sikkim, informs a press release.
TYS works at the grassroots level “believing that change from the bottom-up will bring effective, equitable and sustainable results”, the introductory communiqué adds.

Ranka celebrates Padre Ganga Prasad Pradhan’s birth anniv

GANGTOK, 05 July: 160th birth anniversary of Padre Ganga Prasad Pradhan was celebrated yesterday by Unmukti Sahityik Pariwar at the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ranka in East Sikkim. 
The programme was attended by a senior litterateur, Rajesh Lulam Rai of Darjeeling as chief guest accompanied by a popular gospel singer from Darjeeling, John Gurung. 
Associate Editor, Unmukti Sahityik Pariwar, Dhurba Subba gave a brief speech on the life of the Padre.
The chief guest appealed to the house to nurture Nepali language, stressing that it reflected their identity. He also urged on all to make an effort to speak flawlessly.
At the programme various writers- Nirmal Kumar Bungchen, Panchalal Lohar, Santosh Khawas, Dhurba Subba, Ajay Basnett, Kamal Kumar and Emmanuel Gift also presented their latest works which were evaluated by the chief guest, informs a release.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lower Arithang at risk of slipping even lower

GANGTOK, 04 July: The continuous rainfall of the past week has deteriorated the slip zone at Lower Arithang along the section where it connects with the Indira Byepass and is now posing a threat to the houses of around ten families living there. The area, according to the residents, has been slipping away since 2007, but this year, it has emerged as a more serious sinking zone. This, despite some precautionary works having been carried out in the past. All of those patch-up jobs are now crumbling away.
Speaking to NOW!, Chowrash Tamang, whose house was identified as ‘most affected’ and in need of ‘immediate restoration’, during the visit of the Minister-cum-area MLA, NK Pradhan, District Collector, D Anandan and SDM, Gangtok, Dr. AB Karki recently, said, “To solve this problem, a proper retention wall has to be constructed to protect this area from sinking further and the officials, who visited us have assured of the same. We hope that the problem will be solved now.”

VIKAS to groom students in the finer arts


GANGTOK, 04 July: Former Secretary to the Government of Sikkim, Kiran Rasaily, has announced plans to start an educational institution with special focus on teaching children the different art forms. Vivid Kala Academy Sikkim [VIKAS], is scheduled to begin in Sikkim with the next academic session in February 2012. This school will offer classes in fine arts, photography, cinematography, visual arts, music and other forms of creative expression.
Addressing a press conference today, Mr Rasaily informed that VIKAS will be an educational institution from class III to VIII with preference the art forms being given priority in the learning process to provide good foundation to the children.

Santosh Alley conferred Dr. Shova Kanti Thegim Smriti Puraskar

GANGTOK, 04 July: Respected litterateur from West Sikkim, Santosh Alley was awarded the 14th Dr. Shova Kanti Thegim [Lepcha] Smriti Purashkar- 2011 for his book “Karyang-Kurung ko Aakaash” today, on the birth anniversary of the Late Dr. Thegim.
The award was handed over by senior litterateur, Mahananda Poudyal, at the award ceremony organized by the Dr.  Kanti Thegim [Lepcha] Memorial Trust. The function was chaired by RP Poudyal.
Mr. Alley’s name was recommended by a two-tier selection committee constituted by the trust for his book Karyang-Kurung ko Aakaash collection of poems published in the year 2007.

SDF supports strong Lokpal Bill and seeks wider consultations

GANGTOK, 04 July: Lok Sabha MP from Sikkim, PD Rai, and Rajya Sabha MP, OT Lepcha, yesterday represented Sikkim Democratic Front at the all-party meeting on the Lokpal Bill held at the official residence of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.
During the deliberations participated in by Congress, BJP, CPM and regional parties, the Sikkim MPs also presented the stand of the SDF party on the proposed Lokpal Bill.

Tumin-Lingee releases MGNREGA wages through smart cards

MANGAN, 04 July: In a first for Tumin-Lingee constituency, and only the second such initiative for East Sikkim, the Simick-Lingzey GPU under it disbursed MGNREGA wages to job-card holders through smart cards today.
The local panchayats, with assistance from representatives of the Central Bank of India and APO from Tintek Block Administrative Centre, disbursed MGNREGA wages to job card holders through smart cards during a programme at the Rural Administrative Centre. 
Wages amounting to a total of Rs. 66,903 were disbursed during the day.
Likewise, the bank has also come up with a provision of making wage payment through post offices for the workers without smart cards. The smart card wage disbursement programme is being initiated under the Chief Minister’s Universal Rural Financial Inclusion Scheme.

New team takes over at Rotary Club of Gangtok South

GANGTOK, 04July: In the Annual Installation Ceremony held yesterday at Hotel Denzong Regency, Bina Sharma handed over the charge of president and management of Rotary Club of Gangtok South to a new team led by Sunila Verma, the new president for the year 2011-12, informs a press release.
Outgoing secretary and new president Sunila Verma, read out the report on various activities undertaken by the Club during the previous year. In her farewell remark Bina Sharma fondly recounted the various community projects taken up by the Club during her tenure, particularly the ‘Heart to Heart’ and ‘Gift of Life’ projects under which five children belonging to BPL families of Sikkim were sent for free and successful heart operation to specialist hospitals of Durgapur and Delhi, the release informs.

YODESS holds seminar on biodiversity conservation at Dalapchan Gurung Gumpa

Dalapchand, 04 July: A seminar on Biodiversity Conservation was held at Rinchen Dorjee Choling Gumpa (Gurung Gumpa) Seda Conference hall yesterday, organised by Youth Development Society of Sikkim (YODESS) Rongli, East Sikkim and supported by ENVIS Centre Sikkim, Department of Forest, Enviroment and Wildlife management, informs a press release.

Focus on Drainage to Save Gangtok

The perils imposed on the Lower Arithang tract of Gangtok are similar to what the residents of buildings hugging the upper boundary of the college campus in the capital are suffering – a combined assault of frail slopes pushed to failure by unplanned urbanisation.
The monsoon is here, serving out its calling card of landslides with professional diligence. The people are already reading of disrupted road communication and imperilled houses in day-old dailies, and soon their pockets will start to pinch when they shop for grocery after the abused highways have given up and delayed supplies. Vegetable prices shoot up with even the slightest hint of a road block [it hasn’t happened thus far, but is only a couple of week away]; water supply goes all awry with the onset of monsoons; phones go dead and the roads turn to streams which only the brave and the desperate wade through. This happens every year.

North East’s first handicrafts museum inaugurated

GANGTOK, 04 July: “While preserving traditional motifs on handicrafts, we should modernise the designs to appeal to the urban consumers across the country by proper finishing and branding. We should also involve National Institute of Design (NID) on a more long term and sustainable basis for increasing the income of artisans”, said Minister of DoNER, Bijoy Krishna Handique, while inaugurating the North East Craft Museum at Guwahati today, informs a DoNER release.

ACT seeks ATPIL-SPDC agreement details

GANGTOK, 04 July: The Affected Citizens of Teesta [ACT], in a letter to the Secretary, Energy and Power Department, has sought clarification regarding the agreement signed between Amalgamated Transpower India Ltd. [ATPIL] and the Sikkim Power Development Corporation [SPDC] for the Rolep I and II, Ralong and Cholung Chu Hydel projects; an agreement which was later scrapped.
The project has been reportedly handed over to Athena Power Project Ltd now, who, the ACT letter claims, paid Rs 42.25 Cr for the project. The letter requests the department to make the agreement ‘public and transparent’ by publishing the details in local newspapers.
The letter also seeks clarification on the Rs 50 Cr loan given to ATPIL by SPDC and the Power Deptt.
Reasons behind the scrapping of the earlier agreement between ATPIL and SPDC have also not been made clear, the letter contends, and requests the Secretary to make the Cabinet memo scrapping the said agreement public as well.

CRH staff pool funds for patient in need

GANGTOK, 04 July: 30-year old, King Hang Subba, a resident of Heegaon, West Sikkim, was diagnosed with ‘Acute Renal Failure’ at the Central Referral Hospital here at Tadong on 25 June, informs a press release.
Following the diagnosis, he was advised to go for dialysis but could not afford the treatment. The teaching and non-teaching staff of CRH then came forward with contributions for the dialysis and treatment.
The amount collected so far, is however, not sufficient and hence contributions from interested persons have been invited to help the patient, the release informs.  Interested persons can contact Sancha Rai of CRH at phone number 9593288184 for further details.

NEC to fund Rs. 122 Crore development for BB Cancer Institute

GANGTOK, 04 July: DoNER Minister, Bijoy Krishna Handique, inaugurated the Guest House cum Hostel facility at the Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati, today, informs a press release.
Speaking at the inaugural function, he said, “It is my pleasure to inform you that the Board of Directors of Dr.B.Borooah Cancer Institute in its meeting held at New Delhi on 24 February this year, approved a 5 year plan at a total cost of Rs. 197.00 crores involving NEC, DAE and the Government of Assam.  The major share of fund amounting to Rs.122.00 crores will be provided by the North Eastern Council”. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

In the Line of Duty

Data released by the Committee to Protect Journalists confirms that the world remains a dangerous place to report on, politics even more so. In the first six months of the year, 42 journalists died covering news around the world. While some were killed because they were reporting from violent zones, most were murdered – killed because they chose to inform the people. There were deaths in genuine accidents as well, but every one of the 42 journalists met their end because they were thorough professionals. These are the figures for work-related casualties. Libya and Pakistan share the ignominy of being the most dangerous places for journalists. Disturbingly, while 27% of the slain journalists died while reporting from a war zone, an astounding 55% of the journalists killed were reporting on politics.

Sonam Lama: Some Memories Never Fade

[Sonam Lama, a multifaceted talent, and a teacher by profession, passed away on 14 June, 2011. His Anthyesti Kriya falls on 04 July, 2011]

Sonam Sir, as he was fondly called, was a house of talent who can never be replaced. His passing away is a great loss for Singtam… a person of such brilliance will never be seen again. He was a year short of 40, and yet he has given us enough memories to remember him for a long, long time. Sonam ‘Bhena’, to me, was a dear friend with whom I shared many close moments over the last few years.

KC Pradhan becomes first Indian to be conferred Royal Horticulture Society's Veitch Memorial Medal

GANGTOK, 03 July: Respected forester and plantsman, KC Pradhan, who has also served Sikkim as its Chief Secretary, will, one Monday, become the first Indian and only the third Asian to receive the prestigious Veitch Memorial Medal of the Royal Horticulture Society, United Kingdom.
The RHS announced Mr. Pradhan’s name for this year’s VMM along with three others at its annual general meeting convened on 01 July, last Friday. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 04 July, Monday, at the Hampton Court Palace Premiere Flower Show- the largest flower show in the world. Mr. Pradhan will however not be able to travel to England and the award, which will be presented by Princess Alexandra, will be received on his behalf by a nominee of the president of the RHS. BBC 2 (in UK) will telecast the awards ceremony on 04 July at 7.30pm.

Jagannath Rath Yatra take out at Thakurbari

GANGTOK, 03 July: People from in and around the capital participated in the Rath Yatra here at Thakurbari complex today. The Rath Yatra celebration, organized by the Shri Jagannath Sanskrutika Samiti, was also joined by the HRD Minister, NK Pradhan.
On the occasion, the presiding deities, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balaram and Goddess Subhadra, with the celestial wheel Sudarshan, were taken out from the temple in an elaborate ritual procession to the chariot. The decorated chariot was then drawn by the devotees in the courtyard.

300 beneficiaries from Dzongu receive allotment orders to convert their kutcha houses into pucca residences

MANGAN, 03 July:  A total of 300 kutcha houses identified in Dzongu have been included for grants under the Chief Minister’s Rural Housing Mission Scheme for conversion to pucca residences. This, as part of the State’s efforts to become a Kutcha House Free State by 2013. The 300 beneficiaries in Dzongu are from villages of 7 GPUs - Lingthem Lingdem, Passingdang Safo, Sakyong Pentong, Tingvong, Lingdong Borfok, Hee-Gyathang and Lum Gor Sangtok. The benefeciaries were handed over the allotment orders today at a function held at Lingdong in Upper Dzongu. A total of 728 beneficiaries will receive grants under the scheme in North Sikkim for conversion of their kutcha houses.

Pradhyuman Shrestha to receive Bhanu Puraskar

GANGTOK, 03 July: Pradhyuman Shrestha of Dentam in West Sikkim, a senior litterateur and editor, has been selected for this year’s Bhanu Puraskar. His name for the prestigious award was announced by the Nepali Sahitya Parishad yesterday. The award will be conferred on Bhanu Jayanti which falls on 13 July.
Mr. Shrestha will be presented with shawl, a citation, Tampatra and Rs. 21,001 in cash. Thus far, 25 persons have been felicitated with this award, an NSP press release informs.

Footballers celebrate 2nd Division Sikkim League’s return after decade-long hiatus

GANGTOK, 03 July: The revival the Second-Division Sikkim League by Sikkim Football Association has received an encouraging response from footballers in the state. The S-league is returning after a gap of 10 years.
This season, S-league is providing a platform to around 300 players, especially excited youngsters from around the state, representing 12 teams playing out at the Paljor Stadium.
The S-League was inaugurated by the Sports & Youth Affairs Minister, NK Pradhan at Paljor Stadium on Saturday.

DoNER sponsored entrepreneurship course begins at IIM Shillong

GANGTOK, 03 July: Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region, Bijoy Krishna Handique inaugurated the “Developing Managerial Skills for Entrepreneurship” programme at IIM Shillong yesterday.
DoNER has sanctioned Rs. 79.15 lakh for this programme which will train 60 youth from the NE Region. The training is supported under the “Technical assistance and Capacity Building Scheme” of DoNER.
In his inaugural address, Mr. Handique lauded the efforts of IIM Shillong in establishing its Centre for Development of North Eastern Region (CEDNER) and said that this initiative would meaningfully contribute to the welfare of the society here.

Dzongu Rural Mart opened in Mangan

MANGAN, 03 July: The “Rural Mart” dedicated to produce from Dzongu was inaugurated yesterday at Pentok, below St. Joseph’s School, Mangan, by Nava Samaj, a South Sikkim based NGO, in coordination with farmers clubs of Lyangtun, Susong and Mangzing. The outlet stocks pickles, organic vegetables and craft products from Dzongu.
The inaugural programme had the DHH Deputy Director, NT Lepcha, as chief guest and was also attended by the Facilitator NGO, NAVA Samaj’s president DK Rai, general secretary Govind Pradhan, VLW [Lingdong-Barfok GPU], and representatives from different farmer clubs of Dzongu.

Human Trafficking issues discussed in Namchi meet

NAMCHI, 03 July: A daylong sensitization programme and training on Human Trafficking was held here at the conference hall of Hotel Mayal today.
The training, sponsored by the Community Health Action Network (CHAN), an NGO run under the Salvation Army Church, India Eastern Territory, was jointly organized by the Purano Namchi Anti Human Trafficking Local Team and the Salvation Army Church of Purano Namchi.
Prabhat Pathak, a member of the Kanchanjunga Udhdhar Kendra (KUK) from Pradhan Nagar [Siliguri], assisted by Joel Gurung from CHAN was the main resource person of the programme.

Slip intensifies at Tadong college, anxiety rises among residents above

A linesman undertakes the challenging task of shifting an electricity post to a safer location and resuming power supply to the affected area above the Government College campus in Gangtok.
GANGTOK, 01 July: Although restoration works have begun on the failed slope in the college campus here, residents of the houses above remain an anxious lot, unsure that these measures so late in the day will keep their buildings safe. The clutch of around 150 houses in the area have been trying to convince authorities that the two massive hostels being constructed at the toe of the slope were unwise undertakings in the absence of adequate protective measures. The Department however began the construction work without constructing a retaining wall to secure the slope above and the college slammed a boundary wall above, which the residents contend, disrupted the drainage. Now, the slope has slid away, the wall has collapsed and the houses above imperiled.

Landslide trips trees, snaps power supply to Gangtok

GANGTOK, 01 July: After labouring for more than 24 hours Power & Energy Department personnel were able to fully restore power supply to Gangtok and surrounding areas at around 3.30 pm today.
Trees brought down by a landslide on the intervening night of 29 and 30 June at Lower Arithang along the Indira Byepass Road had snapped the two 11KVA power supply lines servicing Gangtok-I and Gangtok-II zones.
Speaking to NOW!, KT Lepcha, Divisional Engineer of the Power Department confirmed that the restoration work which began at 8.30 a.m. yesterday could restore supply only for Gangtok II Zone, which covers Arithang, Paljor Stadium and its surrounding areas.

Forest Deptt puts together rescue squad

GANGTOK, 01 July: The East Territorial Division of the Forests Department, under DFO [T], East, Nombi Tshering Bhutia, today formally launched a rescue squad comprising of four skilled casual labourers selected by him, equal numbers of Civil Defence personnel and the Departmental personnel here at Forest Colony.
The team began its first job carrying out a cleanliness drive sponsored by the State Pollution Control Board from the Forest Colony jhora.
Speaking to NOW!, the DFO informed that this squad will be available 24x7 to carry out rescue works in times of emergencies.

Alleged peddler arrested from home

GANGTOK, 01 July: 24-year-old Deepak Chettri was arrested by the Sadar Police in the possession of contraband substances from his rented room at Middle Lingding Busti on Thursday.
Acting upon the reliable source information, a police team has made the search of the room and recovered 2,928 capsule of Spasmo Proxyvon and 470 tablets of N-10 concealed under the bed in a carry bag.
The police have also recovered Rs 11,250, suspected to have been earned from the sale of the contraband substances.

Teen commits suicide

GANGTOK, 01 July: A 19-year-old committed suicide by hanging in his house at Bhanugram in Diesel Power House area yesterday.
On 30 June, the deceased’s father found the main door of the house locked from inside and when he peeped in, he found his son hanging inside.
After breaking open the door, the deceased was brought to STNM Hospital but was declared brought dead.
It was informed that the deceased had earlier attempted to commit suicide in the year 2009.