Friday, August 19, 2011

Forest celebrates working plan rejig after 60 years

GANGTOK, 18 Aug: The Forest Department has hailed the approval of the Working Plans for West and East districts by the Ministry of Environment and Forests as one of its biggest milestones. The Working Plan for South Sikkim has already been approved and the one for North Sikkim is under process.
The ‘milestone’ epithet is earned by the fact that the State was still working with a Working Plan framed for the entire State back in 1951-52 [extended up to 2000]. This document had lost its relevance due to the changed scenario of the present times and the process was long overdue, the Department explains. It has been after several decades that Working Plan Circle has been able to prepare scientific, technical and democratic working plans for these divisions, an official press release details.

41 martial artists take Taekwondo Black Dan exam

7-year-old Sneha Pradhan [right], the youngest contender for a Black Belt in Taekwondo today in battle for her belt.
GANGTOK, 18 Aug: Forty-one martial artists appeared for the Black Belt Dan Promotion Examination conducted by the Taekwondo Federation of India [TFI] under the authority of the World Taekwondo Headquarter Kukkiwon [Korea] at White Hall today.
Out of the 41, Ugen Gurung and Pradeep Mukhia appeared for the 3rd Dan black-belt, 9 for 2nd Dan and rest, 30 took the examination for 1st Dan black belt.

TAAS team leaves on NE tour to promote capacity-building course

GANGTOK, 18 Aug: A four-member team of Travel Agents Association of Sikkim [TAAS], led by general secretary, S Norgay Lachungpa, includes treasurer, Randip Khati, secretary [east], Arun Bhagat, and secretary [west], Barap Namgyal, have left on a tour of the North East Region, informs a press release.
The team is on a tour to promote the ‘Capacity Building Training for the Tourism Stake Holders of North East Region’ being organized by TAAS and sponsored by the North Eastern Council (NEC), Ministry of DONER, and supported by the Government of Sikkim.
They will be visiting all the seven states. Training is scheduled to begin in September and conclude by the end of January 2012, the release informs. So far, TAAS has received a good response from Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Assam for all the 10 courses on offer. The touring team will now be focusing on Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Orchid connoisseur Mohan Pradhan invited as special guest to Australian event

GANGTOK, 17 Aug: Mohan Pradhan, author of well-received titles, ‘100 Sikkim Himalayan Orchids’ and ‘100 North East Indian Orchids’, will attending the 2011 National Cymbidium Orchid Show of Australia to be held in Adelaide on 20 and 21 August as a special guest.
This is the largest orchid show in Australia attended by all the prominent hybridizers, nurseries and wholesalers from mainland Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the Netherlands.

Bhandari to be taken to Delhi for treatment today

GANGTOK, 17 Aug: Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee president, Nar Bahadur Bhandari, will be taken to a super-specialty hospital in New Delhi on Thursday for treatment, following health complications he developed since he was taken to jail to serve a one-month prison sentence following his conviction in a corruption case.

Forest Deptt felicitates best-performing Green Mission initiatives in South Sikkim

NAMCHI, 17 Aug: The Territorial Division of the Forest Department here undertook a well-received felicitation of the best performing areas under the latest round of Green Mission plantation drives. The felicitation was made special by the fact that it was included as part of the 65th Independence Day celebrations here at Bhaichung Stadium. Forest Department personnel, JFMC members, Panchayats and labourers engaged in areas identified as having undertaken the best Green Mission initiatives were conferred Certificates of Excellence and cash awards.

Government by Discussion

“Democracy is not just about ballots and votes, but also about public deliberation and reasoning, what – to use an old phrase - is often called ‘government by discussion’,” writes Amartya Sen in “Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny”.
There is no earth-shattering revelation here, but with the act of stating the obvious, the Nobel laureate is making a strong statement. By devoting an entire chapter to fleshing out this point, he holds up the mirror to the country forcing us to admit that the world’s largest democracy appears to have forgotten what democracy is all about.

Darpan Publications and Mohun Bagan join hands to launch football school in Kalimpong

GANGTOK, 17 Aug: West Bengal’s Minister in-charge of North Bengal Development Authority, Gautam Deb, flagged off the ‘Darpan-Mohun Bagan Football School for the Hills’ at a special function held at Kalimpong Mela Ground yesterday.
Anjan Mitra, the Mohun Bagan Club secretary, and the Chief Executive Officer of Darpan Publications, Sandeep Chaudhary, signed an agreement in the presence of the GJM general secretary Roshan Giri, president of the GJM cheli morcha, Asha Gurung, the Darjeeling MLA, Trilok Dewan, and thousands of people who had come to witness the signing.

IAC-Sikkim thanks all for support to rally against corruption

RANGPO, 17 Aug: The Sikkim-chapter of India Against Corruption has conveyed its thanks to all who responded to its call for a rally against corruption in Gangtok to register support for the Jan Lokpal Bill movement led by Anna Hazare.
In a press communiqué issued today, the IAC Sikkim coordinator, Ragap Chettri, has extended special thanks to all members of social organisations, NGOs, clubs, youth bodies and senior citizens for participating in the Gangtok rally yesterday.

Vum-Chhu Under Cloud: Evolution of Survival Instinct?

This has reference to the rejoinder of the Tashiding Duchi to the book “The History, Religion, Culture and Traditions of Bhutia Communities” written by Mr. P.T. Gyamtsho, former bureaucrat and Parliamentarian of Sikkim which appeared in the 01 August 2011 issue of Sikkim NOW! and his counter to the rejoinder which appeared in 04 August edition. It is very heartening to see the evolution of survival instinct in the Denjong Aku-Lhopo people. The seed of dialogue for settlement of conflict has germinated. We pray that the seed grows. This is how a civil society is begun.

SPCC wants Bill to revoke Sikkim Income Tax Manual

GANGTOK, 17 Aug: Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee has demanded that the SDF Government bring a Bill in the State Legislative Assembly to revoke the repealed Sikkim Income Tax Manual of 1948 arguing that only this would “provide solace” to the people of Sikkim including members of old business community. Article 371F of the Constitution should be invoked to pass the bill in the Assembly, an SPCC press release issued today.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

CM flags social challenges and commitment to the young as priority issues


GANGTOK, 16 Aug: “We have to devise some stringent legislation to save our society from possible disintegration that is why we have contemplated imposition of rigorous penalty, including imprisonment and fines for anyone serving liquor to children and minors in hotels and restaurants and also for drug peddlers,” said Chief Minister Pawan Chamling in his address on the occasion of 65th Independence Day celebration held here at Paljor Stadium yesterday.

Slide barricades Singtam-Mangan traffic

DIKCHU, 16 Aug: Heavy overnight rain pushed down a massive slide down a kholcha here at Sirwani, about 2 km out of Singtam towards Dikchu, pouring down copious amounts of debris and boulders, barricading the highway against any vehicular traffic. It was only much later in the day that Sikkim Police personnel roped in a safe enough route for commuters to walk across the stretch and take transhipment options.


Govt decides to withdraw Public Order Bill
GANGTOK, 16 Aug: The State Government has decided to withdraw the Sikkim Prevention and Control of Disturbance of Public Order Bill, Bill No. 10 of 2011, which had been introduced in the Assembly on 11 August.
An official press release issued today informs that the Government has decided to withdraw the Bill as per the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly.
Earlier, Governor Balmiki Prasad Singh has advised the State government to withdraw the said Bill, a communiqué confirmed by the Raj Bhavan yesterday.

A Greater Freedom

This was not a news that India wanted to hear as its people returned to work after an Independence Day holiday. Unfortunately, the Centre had no plans of allowing the celebration of freedom to continue beyond 15 August, and early this morning, took into ‘preventive detention’, voices which have been drowning out the pomposity of the moral high-ground that the Congress coterie claims too often. Deluded by the ease with which it was allowed to squirm out of the monstrosity of having lathi-charged the Baba Ramdev show recently, the Centre went ahead and picked up Anna Hazare and his support team on Tuesday when they refused to allow the parameters of their movement [which they have proven the capacity to keep peaceful] to be set by the authorities.

USFC edges past Langsning SC to lift Chogyal Sir Tashi Namgyal Memorial Cup

GANGTOK, 16 Aug: Bhaichung’s United Sikkim Football Club [USFC] lifted the Independence Day Football Tournament for Chogyal Sir Tashi Namgyal Memorial Cup- 2011 here at Paljor Stadium yesterday. I-Day provided a double-whammy for the Club which had also fielded a team for the I-Day tournament in Namchi and has won that Cup as well.
In Gangtok, USFC defeated Langsning SC of Shillong 2-1 in a closely played contesting match. The local club received good crowd support from the packed stadium.

CM’s package for Dry and Backward areas launched for South Sikkim

NAMCHI, 16 Aug: The first initiative in follow-up to directions received during the Chief Minister’s Sikkim Brahman was flagged off today here at the Community Centre with the launch of the “Chief Minister’s Package for Dry and Backward Areas of South District” for 24 villages in the district covering 350 beneficiaries.
The event, organized jointly by the Horticulture and Cash Crop Development Department and Food Security and Agriculture Development Department, was attended by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling as the chief Guest accompanied by, among others, the Agriculture Minister, DN Thakarpa, RMDD Minister CB Karki, Buildings & Housing Minister Tilu Gurung, MLAs Tulsi Devi, Binod Rai, Sonam Gyatso Bhutia, Phitook Tshering Lama, Adakshya and Upadakshya South.

Slide obliterates 3 buildings at Kumrek

RANGPO, 14 Aug: Heavy overnight rainfall pushed down a devastating landslide here at Kumrek, about 4 kms from Rangpo towards Rhenock, early this morning. The slide directly affected three buildings and presented a dreadful sight, the overpowering emotion of the day was of victory - in that the search and rescue efforts registered the miraculous feat of extracting a trapped victim after an 8-hour long struggle.
A two-storeyed building belonging to Somnath Dhakal was flattened by the slide; an under-construction building next to it belonging to Tenzing Sherpa was completely buried and a third building, belonging to Bhim Chettri, above the spot from where the landslide peeled away, has been rendered too dangerous to continue living in.

SPCC seeks Governor’s intervention to stall Public Order Bill

GANGTOK, 14 Aug: The Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee has appealed to the Governor to intervene on the issue of the Sikkim Prevention and Control of Disturbance of Public Order Bill introduced in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly on 11 August in a press release issued by the acting president, Kunga Nima Lepcha.
The Sikkim-unit of the Congress has claimed that the introduction of the Bill has been so timed as to “take advantage” of the absence of the “most powerful opposition leader” NB Bhandari, who is serving a one-month prison sentence.

SHRPP burns CM’s effigy to protest new Bill

GANGTOK, 14 Aug: Sikkim Himali Rajya Parishad Party workers to burned an effigy of the Chief Minister today to register their protest against the “Sikkim Prevention and Control of Disturbance of Public Order Bill” tabled in the Legislative Assembly. The incident played out at around 1 p.m. here at Sisha Golai on National Highway 31A.
SHRPP party workers wearing black bands also shouted slogans against the CM and demanded the withdrawal of the Bill.
Subsequently, eight party workers were detained by the Sadar Thana police team. They are - Om Prakash Bista, LM Subba, Gobind Sharma, MB Rai, Gyalpo Tamang, Gopal Chettri, Dhan Bahadur Mangar and Binod Chettri.
Traffic on the highway was disrupted for around 20 minutes because of the incident.

Democracy is Disorderly by Nature

The Sikkim Prevention and Control of Disturbance of Public Order Bill introduced in the Legislative Assembly last week has been justifiably received with a wave of apprehension and suspicion. The Statement of Objects and Reasons accompanying the Bill introduces it as an “appropriate law/ rule to address social vices and offences which disturb public order and affect peace and tranquillity”. While there can be no argument against the need to protect public order and nurture peace and tranquillity, what cannot be ignored either is the fact that the public is uniquely orderly in Sikkim and while law and order situations have arisen from time to time, there has not been a serious disruption of public order in recent times.

ASESE&UA condemns Public Order Bill

GANGTOK, 14 Aug: The All Sikkim Educated Self Employed & Unemployed Association, in a meeting of its office bearers held yesterday, unanimously resolved to condemn the tabling of the Sikkim Prevention and Control of Disturbance of Public Order Bill. The meeting, an ASESE&UA press release informs, was chaired by the chief advisor of the association, Pahalman Subba.
The organisation has likened the Bill to the “Enabling Bill/Act, 1933” of Germany after which Hitler became a dictator. The meeting resolved to discuss the effects of the Bill with Constitutional experts and coordinate efforts with other organisations to protest it.
The association has argued that since Sikkim is a peaceful State it does not require such law and has rejected it.

“Interest of Sikkimese people uppermost in my mind”

Respected fellow citizens of the State and the Country
On the auspicious occasion of the 65th Independence Day of the nation, I convey my good wishes and felicitation to my beloved people of Sikkim and to the rest of my countrymen. Year after year, we can see India facing some formidable challenges while promoting the interest of the Nation. Security and sovereignty of the nation is as usual exposed to the nefarious design of anti-national elements. We are provoked regularly through terrorist attack, cross border skirmishes and creating internal feuds by various elements. However, the people of the Country have always faced these challenges with grit determination.

Missing teenager found dead

NAMCHI, 14 Aug: The body of a 17 year-old student was found in the bushes near Vidyasagar School Singithang, Namchi, South Sikkim around 5 p.m on 11 August. The girl had been missing since the previous evening but family members thought she might have gone to a friend’s place.
When she did not return home the next day, family members began a search and found her body near the school premises. A police team from the Namchi Police station rushed to the spot and sent the body for post-mortem to the Namchi District Hospital.

EMRS basketball team calls on CBSE AEO

GANGTOK, 14 Aug: The girls basketball team of Eklavya Model Residential School [EMRS], Gangyap, West Sikkim, along with their coach, Principal Sidharth Yonzone, welcomed CBSE AEO [Sports], Pushkar Vohra, at Hotel Denzong Inn in Gangtok on 11 August.
Mr. Vohra looks after all the sport related issues at CBSE along with the organizing of the CBSE Cluster, Zone and National games for Indian schools as well as schools from abroad under the CBSE, it is informed.
Mr. Vohra had first met the EMRS basketball team in Chhattisgarh during the National meet in December 2010 and was impressed with the high standard of their game.

9-Lives completes fund-raising drive for Hope Home

GANGTOK, 14 Aug: A month-long awareness and fund-raising campaign dedicated to the children of Hope Home Orphanage concluded with a colorful function held at Tadong on Saturday.
An initiative of a newly formed organization, “Nine Lives”, the program included cultural presentations by the children of the orphanage.
Started in the year 2005 by Jyoti Limboo the Hope Home at Samdur Basti has thirteen children at present.
“We deeply thank the Nine Lives Organization and all our supporters who have been generously helping us to run the home,” conveyed Pastor DK Limboo, the co-founder of the home.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bill tabled to make disturbance of public order a cognizable offence attracting 5-year jail term

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: The part-II of the Budget Session-2011 was held here at the Sikkim Legislative Assembly with the introduction of five amendments and one new bill in the house today. Interestingly, the Assembly will be convening to discuss and vote on the Bills after a fortnight, on 26 August.
The new Bill introduced today was the Sikkim Prevention and Control of Disturbance of Public Order Bill, Bill No. 10 of 2011 introduced by the CM who also holds the portfolio of the Minister of Home department.
The CM, it may be recalled, had hinted in the past of introducing rules and guidelines to check, what he called the destructive nuisance of people who resorted to different tricks and tools to obstruct projects and schemes.
The new Bill proposes to “prevent and control commission of offences or disturbance of public order”.

Upreti sympathises with Bhandari on imprisonment, condemns statements against party

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: Senior vice-president, Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee [SPCC], KN Upreti, convened a meeting today at his residence in Tadong to discuss the imprisonment of the SPCC president Nar Bahadur Bhandari on corruption charges and statements ascribed to him in media-reports.
A press release issued by Mr. Upreti informs that the meeting was also attended by SPCC vice-president, Phuchung Bhutia, Laxuman Gurung, PCC and general secretary [Legal Cell], Arun Rai, general secretary, Nima Wangchuk and others.

Bhandari begins one-month jail term following corruption conviction


GANGTOK, 10 Aug: Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee president, former Chief Minister, Nar Bahadur Bhandari, surrendered at the court of Special Judge, Prevention of Corruption Act, East and North Sikkim, where, after paying a total fine of Rs. 10,000 [Rs. 5,000 each for the two counts that he has been convicted under], he was taken to the State Jail at Rongyek to serve his one-month simple imprisonment. Mr. Bhandari is reported to have developed health complications and was brought down to the STNM Hospital later in the day where he has been admitted with cardiac complications.

OT collects details on funds for urban development and road projects

GANGTOK, 10 Aug: Rajya Sabha MP, OT Lepcha, has asked the Ministry of Urban Development whether the government proposes to provide a special economic package to North Eastern states, particularly Sikkim, for Urban Development. The ministry has informed that it has no such plans. This, in response to a query posed by the MP in the Rajya Sabha today.

Helplines opened for protection of child rights

GANGTOK, 10 August: Sikkim Commission for Protection of Child Rights has come up with a Helpline Number- 03592 280217 (office) and 9851465377 - for any complaints related to treatment of children.
A press release issued from the Chairperson, Sikkim Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Manita Pradhan, informs, “As per the functions assigned to the Sikkim Commission Protection of Child Rights vide section 31 of Protection of Child Rights Act 18.01.2008 of Government of Sikkim, the Commission has set up a Child Helpline accessible by SMS and Telephone which will receive the complaints made by the aggrieved child or guardians and register the complaint regarding violation of rights of a child in manner that records his or her identity”.
“All the complaints to the helpline shall be monitored through a transparent and alert action for subsequent redresses,” the release assures. 

STDC promotes Sikkim at Geneva Festival in Switzerland

GANGTOK, 10 Aug: The Geneva Festival was inaugurated on 05 August by Chitra Narayanan, Ambassador of India, and Sri Phillippe, Mayer Director International Affairs Department. The inauguration was followed by a seminar on Tourism Exchange between India and Europe - “Sealing New Heights” - at International Hotel, Geneva, Switzerland.
The programme was attended by dignitaries from International Tourism Services, tour operators from India and Switzerland and the Tourism Ministers of Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. NK Subba, Chairman and Samten Dolma, Chief Executive Officer, of Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation re representing Sikkim at the Festival, informs a press release. 

Sikkim Milk increases procurement price of milk by Rs. 2

GANGTOK, 10 Aug: The Sikkim Milk Union has enhanced its procurement price for dairy farmers with effect from 01 July benefitting about 9,000 farmers. In the last four years, the Sikkim Milk Union has revised its farmers’ procurement prices with an increase of about 88.23% from the 2007 levels. Now, a further upward revision of Rs. 2 per litre has been provided to the farmers and with this revision, the farmers’ procurement has gone up 111.76% higher than the rates of April 2007 to benefit them, informs a press release.

Tashiding Duechi Questions Gyamtso’s Commentary on Bhum-Chu

We, the Duechi of Tashiding Monastery, would like to publish the following article and desire to inform all about Bhum-Chu.
According to Sikkim NOW! newspaper dated 04 August 2011, in a response carried under the caption “have not diluted the significance of Bhumchu,” PT Gyamtso, the author of “The History, Religion, Culture and Traditions of Bhutia Community”, has tried to clarify things by claiming that he is a Vajrayana Buddhist, who believes the Tashiding monastery to be most sacred and has performed the death rituals of his mother here by erecting 108 prayer flags and sponsoring daylong feeding of the lamas. These are all personal matters for which you went to Tashiding monastery and not for the welfare of the lamas of the monastery, infact, if you have esteem respect for Tashiding lamas then how can you say “day long feeding of the lamas” which sounds more like you are feeding a beggar. All your responses are not enough to justify the Bhumchu’s ethos which we had tried to explain in the NOW! newspaper previously but you twisted the subject and went off track.  We are lamas and our responsibility is to preserve the Buddhist culture and tradition and we are very much engaged in such activities on a daily basis.

Music of biopic on Bhajan Shiromani Bhakta Raj Acharya released

GANGTOK, 10 Aug: The original soundtrack of the Nepali feature film ‘Acharya’ was released by the Gangtok MLA, Dorjee Namgyal, here today. Also present for the release function as guests of honour were DD Bhutia [former minister], KN Topgay [Mayor, Gangtok], Shakti Singh [Deputy Mayor]. Producer of the movie Roshan Rai [MD, Nayuma Television], Director Prashant Rasaily, and Bishal Chamling, an actor, hosted the event.

SI candidates need to be graduates now

GANGTOK, 10 Aug: Henceforth, only those candidates possessing graduate degrees and above qualifications will be eligible for the post of Sub-Inspectors in Sikkim Police. Earlier, Class XII passed candidates were also eligible for the post.
This new rule came into effect after the Department of Personnel, Adm. Reforms, Training & Public Grievances issued a Notification on 15 July amending the Police Force (Recruitment, Promotion and Seniority) Rules, 2000.

HC acquits Bhandari on disproportionate assets case

GANGTOK, 09 Aug: Mr. Bhandari also won an acquittal from the High Court today in a case of disproportionate assets booked against him by the CBI and held up by the trial court in May 2007. This case was the first CBI case against Mr. Bhandari in which he was convicted and had been awarded a one month sentence by the Special Judge, Prevention of Corruption Act, East and North Sikkim. The High Court of Sikkim turned down the conviction and acquitted Mr. Bhandari of the charges today. In this case, the CBI had focused on the asset created in the form of Primula Cottage at Church Road, Gangtok.


HC reduces Bhandari’s prison term from 6 months to one
GANGTOK, 08 Aug: The High Court of Sikkim today reduced the sentence of six months simple imprisonment awarded by the trial court on former Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari to one month, and set aside the sentence of one month served on the then RDD Secretary, PK Pradhan, and Norbu Tshering Bhutia, Sonam Wangdi Bhutia, Sriniwas Agarwal and AB Gurung by the same court. In the case of four other accused – Harka Singh Chewan, Hari Prasad Rai, Ratna Bahadur Subba and Hari Prasad Sharma - convicted by the trial court, the High Court set aside, both the convictions and the sentences and discharged them.