Friday, January 6, 2012

Lingdok food poisoning brings 21 more to hospital

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: Twenty-one more patients arrived at the STNM Hospital here today with suspected food poisoning, raising the total number of patients with such complaints from Lingdok village to 81. The mass food-poisoning, suspected to have spread at an Antheysti Kriya at a house there on 01 January has claimed one life – that of 43-year-old Shanti Rai who passed away yesterday.

North East FIDE Rating Chess tourney gets underway

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: The 5th edition of North East FIDE Rating Chess Tournament was inaugurated by the Sports and Youth Affairs Secretary, Karma P Bhutia, at Paljor Stadium indoor gymnasium today.
The week-long championship is being organized by the Sikkim Chess Association [SCA] in collaboration with AICF and co-sponsored by SDF Bhawan Trust along with the Roads and Bridges Department.

Sikkim RTI Forum accuses SPDC of favoring hydel developers at the cost of State Exchequer

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: The Sikkim RTI Forum today alleged financial irregularity at the Energy & Power Department in the management of hydel projects. The group, at a press conference held here today, claimed that the State Exchequer has lost around Rs 2.72 crore because the Sikkim Power Department Corporation failed to raise the license processing fees due from the private hydel project developers.

Maintenance Tribunal constituted for welfare of parents and senior citizens

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: The State government has constituted a Maintenance Tribunal for the purpose of adjudicating and deciding upon the order for application on maintenance of parents and senior citizens for each sub division. This has been constituted under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2009.

Official team inspects rainwater harvesting and other project sites in Sumbuk

SUMBUK, 05 Jan: An official team led by Additional District Collector (Development) South, Deepak Kumar Pradhan, visited the construction site of Rolu-Khani Khola rainwater harvesting for ground water recharge from Tamley Taar to Tarey Bhir covering 100 hectares where the intervention was completed for the ground water recharge through MGNREGA at Lungchok- Kamarey, Turuk-Ramabung and Turuk-Ramabung Gram Panchayat Units under Sumbuk BAC.

Special Olympics begins 07 Jan

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: Special Olympics Bharat [SOB], Sikkim Chapter, has announced that the State Games for all disabilities in Athletics, Bocce, Badminton and Five-a-Side Football will be organized from 07 to10 January at Bhaichung Stadium and Indoor Gymnasium at Namchi.

Rs. 2,500 per month stipend fixed for Livelihood School trainees

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: All trainees enrolled in the various Livelihood Schools across the State will be provided with a stipend of Rs. 2,500 per month. This will be paid to them for the duration of their training period.
The State government will also provide the trainees with a set of uniforms. For a training of 3 months the trainees will be provided with a T shirt with a logo and those undergoing training a 6 months or longer training will be provided with blue shirts and trousers.


Suicide is Never the Answer, Getting Help Is
There is nothing original in the headline that marks this piece. In fact, this is not even the first time that this newspaper is reiterating this slogan used by most of the social organisations working to save lives from self-harm. And yet it is posted here, again, because not enough people seem to be getting the message in Sikkim. Every news about suicide is disturbing, but even the most inured of psyches would be disturbed when word arrives that a class VI student at a rural school in Sikkim committed suicide by hanging herself in her room even as the rest of the family was still at home, occupied with regular chores.

Sikkim bodybuilders strike gold in Darjeeling


GANGTOK, 05 Jan: Sikkim bodybuilders flexed enough muscles to impress everyone at the 1st Himalayan Classic Body Building Championship held on 02 and 03 January at Gorkha Rang Manch, Darjeeling.
Out of 11 body builders from the state, 9 made it to the finals of the championship. Arun Gurung won the gold medal in the 55 kg category and also bagged the ‘Overall Best Poser’ of the Championship while former Mr Sikkim, Suresh Chettri also won gold in the 60 kg category.

2-day North-East Business Summit begins Friday in New Delhi

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), along with the Ministry of DoNER, Government of India is organizing it’s annual flagship ‘North-East Business Summit’ in New Delhi between 06 and 07 January, 2012.

Criteria fixed for promotions to Sr SP rank

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: To be eligible for promotion to the post of Senior Superintendent of Police, an SP is now required to put in 6 years of continuous service as SP; for an SP to be eligible for promotion to the rank of Deputy Inspector General of Police, he or she will have to put in 4 years of continuous service. This is as per the amended Sikkim State Police Service (Recruitment) Amendment Rules, 2011 which were amended recently by the Department of Personnel.

Musicians and footballers to battle it out at Red Fest

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: More than 60 bands and 100 five-a-side teams are battling for a total prize money of Rs. 260,000 in Sikkim State AIDS Control Society’s RED FEST. The 160 teams will be competing for the ‘Red Ribbon Super Band’ and ‘Red Five Football’ title.

Uniforms distributed at 4 ICDS centres in Singtam

SINGTAM, 05 Jan:  Uniforms were distributed to students at four ICDS Centres under Singtam Nagar Panchayat [SNP] by SNP president, Sawan Pradhan and councilors Anita Tamang and Ram Naresh Prasad today. The uniforms were distributed to ICDS centres at Lall Bazaar, Daragaon, Goshkhan Daara and Mandi Bazaar under Singtam Nagar Panchayat.

6-month beautician begins in Singtam

SINGTAM, 05 Jan: With the main objective to make women of Singtam Nagar Panchayat self-reliant, a six-month beautician training under SJSRY Scheme 2011-12 was started here at the community hall today.
The inaugural function of the training was attended by president, Sawan Kumar Pradhan, vice-president, Meena Kumari Chettri and councillors, Bishnu Maya Sherpa, Anita Tamang and Ram Naresh Prasad of SNP and Municipality Assistant, Rajen Rai.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rangchang mishap convinces Transport Dept to stringently enforce 10 tonne load limit

GANGTOK, 04 Jan: With the Rangchang bridge collapse of 19 December that claimed eight lives suspected to have been caused by overloading, the Transport Department has resolved to take “strict and stringent action” against any transporter ferrying more than 10 tonnes of load which incidentally the prescribed load limit allowed to ply on all Sikkim roads.
Speaking to NOW!, the Sikkim Nationalised Transport General Manager, ND Rai, informed that although investigation into the collapse was still underway, it is however being speculated that the entire “dead-load” of the trailer resting on the bridge must have led to its collapse. He informs that transporters are allowed to carry only 10 tonnes load since this is the capacity of the weight the roads in Sikkim can take. This specification, however, has obviously not been implemented efficiently thus far.
He further informs that ‘special permits’ are however issued to companies and private project developers allowing them to bring in ‘super heavy loads’ in the event that the load is so enormous that it cannot be dismantled and brought in different vehicles.
These loads [mostly heavy machinery], which, in the case of the Rangchang bridge collapse was a Teesta Urja transformer being brought in on a 48-wheel trailer, had to be brought in “one-piece’’ and hence given special permits only on ‘emergency basis’ with the joint consent and approval of GREF, the Roads & Bridges Department and the Motor Vehicles wing of the Transport Department as these are machines which are being used for development of the state.
“We allow these huge vehicles only occasionally since their loads cannot be reassembled at the project sites,” the GM informs. Meanwhile sources inform that such a special permit [required, as mentioned, from three agencies] was not acquired by Teesta Urja for the vehicle involved in the Rangchang Bridge collapse. It may be recalled that GREF, one of the agencies from which permission needs to be taken, was caught by surprise by the size of the trailer which went down with its bridge at Rangchang.
It is also informed that overloading goes largely unaddressed because of the permits which are issued outside the state and record the loads as 10 tonnes even when transporters are moving more. The 48-wheeler carrying the Teesta Urja consignment for instance weighed more than 60 tonnes including the body of the vehicle and had 12 axels as compared to 2 to 4 usually used on Sikkim roads.
An even bigger problem for the authorities here is the absence of weigh bridges at the two border check-posts which makes it impossible for authorities to check the weights being transported in. In this regard, the GM informed that ‘top-notch’ weigh bridges are in the process of being installed at Rangpo and Melli check-posts.
“We have already setup the required infrastructure for the weigh bridges through a private company at Rangpo, but this project has been delayed by the 11 September Earthquake. The machines for Melli check-post have also arrived but because of some technical hiccups, the work there is put on hold as a new structure has to be built from the river bed upto the road level to set up the weigh bridge which we assure will start operating very soon,” the GM explained.
The new high-tech weigh bridges to be set-up will have a carrying capacity of 50 metric tonnes and will be supervised by the Weight & Measures department during the installation process.
“After the weigh bridges are installed, the transporters will not be able to fool personnel at the check posts with forged documents. They will have to procure new weigh bills to enter Sikkim and anyone found carrying more than 10 tonnes will not be allowed through. This will be implemented very strictly and stringently,” assures the SNT, GM.
It was also learnt that there have been instances when loads meant for four trucks [because of the stipulated load limit for Sikkim roads], have been bundled into two trucks in pursuit of higher profits. This has also resulted in the poor state of roads here. Now, the state motor vehicle department and its inspectors have been fully empowered to check this illegal entry.

GREF warns against allowing trucks to park on Rangpo bridge
In another development, the Chief Engineer, Swastik GREF, has written to the DGP, Sikkim Police requesting that no trucks be allowed to halt on the Rangpo Bridge. A parked vehicle’s ‘dead weight’ carries amplified risks and is believed to have contributed to the Rangchang bridge collapse last month. With this engineering fact reiterated by the Rangchang experience, GREF has finally addressed what has been a common phenomenon for a while now – a row of trucks and other vehicles parked on the Rangpo Bridge awaiting entry into Sikkim.
The GREF Chief Engineer has reportedly detailed that this bridge was a ‘Class 70’ bridge with a capacity to carry only 110 tonnes and is old. The bee-line of trucks parked along the bridge could also lead to a similar collapse the letter adds.

Experts Committee given 1 month to submit report on Rangchang bridge collapse


GANGTOK, 04 Jan: An enquiry committee has been constituted to look into the Rangchang bridge collapse in which 8 peoples lost their lives. This committee has been tasked to submit its report to the State government within one month. This is a Technical Experts Committee which was constituted by the State government on the last working day of the year 2011, 22 December, and includes the Secretaries of Building & Housing and Roads & Bridges Departments and also a officials from the CPWD.

STNM Hospital recommends enquiry into Lingdok food poisoning incident

GANGTOK, 04 Jan: One person succumbed to food poisoning at the STNM Hospital today. 43-year-old Shanti Rai of Lingdok passed away at around 5 p.m., falling victim to suspected food poisoning. She was the only patient among the 60 rushed to the hospital for treatment yesterday.
Already in a critical condition when she was brought in, she has become the first casualty of the mass food poisoning which inflicted Lingdok village near here on 01 January. The deceased incidentally hails from the family which hosted the Antheyesti Kriya ceremony on the day and where the people are believed to have contracted food poisoning.

Rangchang contractor released on bail

GANGTOK, 04 Jan: Mohan Bajaj, the contractor of the Rangchang bridge which collapsed on 19 December killing 8 people, is out on bail. He had been arrested by the police on the same day of the bridge collapse and had been charged with homicide not amounting to murder and had been remanded to police custody. However, a few of days later, it is informed, that he was given bail by the courts.

3 held for smuggling 17.55 lakh Sikkim lottery tickets; involvement of ‘others’ suspected

GANGTOK, 04 Jan: A staggering 17.55 lakh Sikkim lottery tickets, worth Rs. 35.10 lakh were seized by cops from Coimbatore airport on Tuesday evening, media reports inform. Three persons have been taken into custody on charges of smuggling these lottery tickets into Coimbatore in western Tamil Nadu bordering Kerala [where Sikkim Lotteries were banned w.e.f. 02 Jan 2012]. Media reports also suggest that the lotteries had been smuggled out of Sikkim.

NE Chess tourney begins at Paljor Stadium


GANGTOK, 04 Jan: Around 200 participants from eight north-eastern states will be taking part in the 5th edition of North East FIDE Rating Chess Tournament, which is scheduled to be inaugurated by the Sports Secretary, Karma P Bhutia, at Paljor Stadium indoor gymnasium on Thursday.

Common Platform demands immediate implementation of High Power Committee’s recommendation to scrap the three hydel projects in West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 04 Jan: The Common Platform for Joint Action against Ting-Ting, Tashiding and Lethang Hydro-Power Projects has welcomed the recommendations of the State High Power Committee headed by the Chief Secretary to scrap the three projects on Rathong-Chu.
All Sikkim Educated Self-Employed & Unemployed Association [ASESE&UA] president, Nawin Kiran, said that they came to know of the decision of the Committee from a news report in a local daily [NOW! issue dated 19/12/ 2011] and confirmed through their own sources.


It’s Worrying When the Obvious Needs to be Recommended
The Annual Technical Inspection Report on Panchayati Raj Institutions [for the year 2009-10] by the Office of Accountant General (Audit), Sikkim, like all other CAG Reports, makes for interesting reading. The instances of oversights bordering on intentional embezzlement carry a dark humour in their stupefying disregard for prescribed processes. The lapses however stop being amusing when one sits back and realises that the cited instances were thrown up from random sample surveys; the sniggers choke up fast when it sinks in that a more detailed appraisal would be even more embarrassing in its findings.

Board member Ramudamu along with shareholders to approach CM to recover dues from NEMSICS


GANGTOK, 04 Jan: One of the board members of the North Eastern Multi State Insurance Co-operative Society Ltd [NEMSICS], BM Ramudamu, the All Sikkim Democratic Labour Front vice-president, and other shareholders of the society have decided to approach the Chief Minister in order to come up with a strategy to recover money raised by the group from the people of Sikkim.

Residents ‘notice’ gap in Tumin Bridge, BRO checks and assures it is stable

MANGAN, 04 Jan: The collapse of a barely three year old bridge [Rangchang] last month has ensured that people look out for warning signs more closely and seeking technical opinion the moment they suspect that structural strength has been compromised. Such a development visited Tumin under Rakdong-Tintek Block in East Sikkim here today.

Namthang haat to resume after one week lost to hawker protest against stabbing

NAMCHI, 03 Jan: The All Sikkim Hawkers’ Association has called off its indefinite strike called at Namthang against the stabbing of one of the hawkers by a Range Officer (RO) on 22 December. The decision to lift the protest was taken today following a meeting held between the Association’s Namchi-unit and the Panchayats, officials of the Namthang Police Out-Post, Bazaar Contractor and the local gentry.
The incident triggering the ongoing protest transpired on 22 December when a heated argument between a retired Police Officer of Namthang and a hawker, Bikash Mukhia of Namchi during the weekly haat at Namthang [held every Thursday] ended with the son of the retired Police Officer, Pawan Subba, a Range Officer himself, stabbed the hawker with a knife.
Mr. Mukhia suffered grievous injuries and after preliminary treatment at Namchi, was taken to Siliguri where he is remains under medical supervision at one of the private nursing homes there.
In-Charge of All Sikkim Hawkers’ Association, Namchi Unit, Khusen Chandra Rai, while speaking to this correspondent today, informed that soon after the incident, the accused RO was taking into custody by the Police and the weapon seized.
While hawkers were assured by the Police that strong action would be taken against the accused, the hawkers were agitated when the accused was released on bail two days later. Suspecting the police of going lax, the hawkers protested and decided not to participate in the weekly haat at Namthang until they were assured complete security and convinced that the case had not been compromised.
One haat [of 29 Dec 2011] was lost to this protest, and at the meeting today, the Police assured to provide security to the hawkers, and following the request of the locals to resume the haat, the Association decided to lift their boycott and resume the weekly haat at Namthang, the ASHA Namchi-unit in-charge informs. Mr Rai also informed that the victim is recovering from his injuries at present.
Meanwhile, Police sources inform that the accused was arrested and booked under a non-bailable section and was eventually released after he secured bail from the concerned court. This was explained to the hawker representatives today.
It may be mentioned here that, Thursday is the haat day for Namthang where hawkers from Namchi, Singtam and Rangpo come to sell their goods to the people of the area.

Sikkim gets additional Rs. 227.51 crore central assistance towards earthquake reconstruction ‘for now’


GANGTOK, 03 Jan: of Sikkim has been accorded an additional Rs. 269.15 crore from the Central government as central assistance apart from the Rs. 1,000 crore announced earlier by the Prime Minister for earthquake relief, restoration and rehabilitation. In total, Sikkim has been provided with Rs. 1,269.15 crores under the National Disaster Relief Fund by the central government “as of now” as has been confirmed by central Home Ministry sources while talking with NOW! over the phone from New Delhi.

District admn mediates to resolve Sun Pharma labour crisis; Company agrees to five of seven demands

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: The East District Administration has intervened in the labour unrest at the Sun Pharma establishment at Setipool in East Sikkim. The workers of the company have placed a seven-point charter of demands and have been on strike since 28 December 2011 in support of these demands. Matters had come to a head with the two sides taking a more confrontational position [read accompanying news-report headlined “Sun Pharma accuses 6 of rioting and intimidation”]. This brought the district administration into the picture as a mediator and a meeting was convened this afternoon between representatives from all concerned sections.

Issuance of travel permits to Lachen and Lachung to resume today

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: A team of Lachung Drivers Association led by Travel Agents Association of Sikkim [TAAS] president, Lukendra Rasaily, called on the Tourism Secretary and IGP Check Posts to request that permits for tourists wishing to travel to Lachung, suspended after the area received heavy snowfall recently, be resumed.

SNT adjudged Best Operating Hill Service in country

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: The Association of State Road Transport Undertakings under the Ministry of Road Transport, GoI, has conferred the ASRTU Productivity Award for the year 2009-10 for Best Operating Hill Services amongst all State Transport Units [STU] on the Sikkim Nationalised Transport.
The award, as per an official communiqué dispatched to the SNT General Manager, ND Rai, will be presented at the 56th Annual Conference of STUs scheduled to be held at Mantra Hall,15 Parliament Street, The Park Hotel, New Delhi on 09 January next week.

Sun Pharma accuses 6 of rioting and intimidation; 1 arrested


GANGTOK, 03 Jan: Today was the deadline given by the employees and workers at Sun Pharma, the pharmaceutical company at Setipool, who have been on a lock down since 29 December, 2011. Even as the workers have intimated that they will continue with the lock down if their demands and grievances are not looked into, company officials have gone on the offensive and apart from threatening to pull out of Sikkim and lay roots somewhere else, they have also filed an FIR against a number of people, all believed to be workers of the company.

Rural Sikkim glows in sporting pursuits thanks to PYKKA Games

Chetan Pradhan & Shilpa Periwal
Karun Gurung hails from Mangan in North Sikkim and till last year, the closest he got to martial arts was while watching Jackie Chan or Jet Li on pirated DVDs. Six months ago, a Taekwondo instructor arrived in his school and offered to take in interested students. Karun signed up. Six months later, he was in Gangtok for the state-level sporting competition, the Panchayat Yuva Krida aur Khel Abhiyan [PYKKA] games, representing not just his village, but the entire district.


Learn From the Samdong-Kambal Situation
The residents of Samdong-Kambal have denied passage to heavy vehicles diverted to the road running through their area [the ‘Ipsing Road from Samdong Zero to Raley]. This road links up to the Khamdong-Tumin road, an alternative for the Singtam-Dikchu road to North Sikkim which cannot take trucks ever since a 48-wheeler took down the Rangchang Bridge on this route on 19 December last month.

Guwahati International Film Festival invites entries

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: Cine Art Society, Asom (CineASA) will be organising the 4th CineASA Guwahati International Film Festival, 2012 from 05 to 11 February, 2012 at four venues Rabindra Bhavan, Guwahati University, IIT-Guwahati and Dibrugarh. A press release informs that the festival will showcase about 30 highly acclaimed feature films as well as short films from all across the Globe.

Burglary in Gyalshing

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: A house break-in and burglary has been reported from Gyalshing. As per reports, the house of Binu Pradhan was broken into during the holiday period sometime between 23 December and 01 January, 2012. The break in came to light when the house owner returned home from her village in Sombaria. As per reports, the miscreants made away with Rs. 12,000 and a number of gold ornaments kept in a Godrej almirah.

New Year begins with teen suicide

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: The New Year began on a sad note with the first suicide of the year being on the first day itself. A 15 year old girl is reported to have committed suicide by hanging herself in her room with her chunni. The girl, a class-VI student, is reported to have committed suicide after locking herself in her room at around 7 pm on 01 January.

One killed in Kamrang Road bike accident

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: One person was killed on the night of 01 January in an accident involving a motor bike. As per reports, the deceased, 34-year-old Tejra Rai of Khichu, Namchi, died when he fell off the road with his bike. It is informed that he was returning from a picnic on his motorcycle and was on the Kamrang Road when his bike fell about 150 feet down the road side. No one was riding pillion with him at the time.

Upreti demands ‘thorough probe’ into NEMSICS

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee’s senior vice president, KN Upreti, has expressed ‘serious concern’ over the affairs of North Eastern Multi State Insurance Co operative Society [NEMSICS] and has demanded a ‘thorough probe’ into the workings of the cooperative society which has scammed many with its dubious schemes and offers.

Health awareness through cultural performances begins in East and North Sikkim

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: The public awareness campaign through cultural programmes on the National Rural Health Mission, started from 02 Jan at different places in East and North Sikkim. The campaign is a combined effort of the Song and Drama Division, Government of India and Health Division of Sikkim Government under the guidance of Chief Medical Officer East and North Sikkim.

Proficiency Development Training for Graduate Teachers

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: A 30-day ‘Proficiency Development Training’ is being organized by the HRDD for Graduate Teachers. The main focus of this training is based on the strategies of transferring the various components of the subject matter to the children so that it will be easier for the students to comprehend each component in the best possible manner, informs a press release.

Face in the Crowd - New update!

A tribute to the ultimate Sikkimese street food and the men behind it. For all 'aloo chewra' fans  click here to read the full article

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hit-and-run fatality and damage to drains drives Samdong-Kambal residents to barricade road against trucks

Stones lined up by residents at the entry point of Samdong-Raley approach road to barricade against trucks

MANGAN, 02 Jan: The traffic of heavy vehicles diverted to their neighbourhood ever since the Rangchang Bridge collapsed on 19 December and closed the Singtam-Dikchu axis, the patience of the residents of Samdong-Kambal finally snapped on 31 December when they stepped out and denied access to heavy vehicles along the Ipsing Road [from Samdong Zero to Raley]. This 7 km approach road links up to the Khamdong-Tumin road which provides the only alternative to the stretch closed off for heavy vehicles on the Singtam-Dikchu road.
The decision of the people to barricade their road against heavy vehicles comes in the wake of a hit-and-run fatality in the area recently and extensive damage to cross-drains along the route due to the heavy load imposed on it.
Safety issues were flagged when, on 25 December, 42-year-old Nar Bahadur Chettri of Khesey basti near Samdong was killed, by a speeding truck, it is suspected. While the accident might have occurred sometime late in the evening, his dead body was discovered on the road only the next day. Prima facie evidence suggests a hit-and-run by a heavy vehicle. The case remains under investigation.
While speaking to NOW!, Karnakar Pokhrel, president of Laxmi Prabha Sangh of Middle Kambal, informs that people don’t feel safe walking on the road ever since trucks [which are invariably speeding] were diverted to the area last month and added that many cross-drains in the road have been damaged due to this heavy traffic.
He also informs that the road which was nearing completion and preparing for the final carpeting work has now been extensively damaged.
This road falls under State Public Works Department and is reinforced for light vehicular traffic.
With this road closed, trucks using this route were plying the Rakdong-Jang/ Dikchu road, and in the brief three days that they used it, have left even this road compromised. No trucks could move up from Dikchu on this road today after overnight rain left the road too slushy for heavy vehicles to get enough traction. This condition, residents point out, was brought on by the heavy load forced on it over the past few days. Trucks returning after a failed attempt moved back to Phodong and on to Gangtok today.
According to the site supervisor of PWD here, the Radkong-Jang/Dikchu road is also damaged at several places and increased traffic was not advisable for this stretch.
When NOW! contacted the concerned engineer at PWD, he informed that the Rakdong-Jang road is only meant for light vehicles. Although up-gradation work is underway, it is still not ready to take heavy loads, he stresses.
He further informs that there the Department has received no request seeking permission to allow heavy vehicles to ply on this road and adds that the Dikchu Police Out Post has been accordingly informed. A meeting is scheduled at the Department to decide on the issue and finalise whether heavy vehicles be allowed on it or not.

Govt appoints special committee to oversee and monitor earthquake rehabilitation


GANGTOK, 02 Jan: With pressure on the State government to ensure transparency over the accounts and management of funds allotted for earthquake reconstruction, and even demands for a White Paper on the same [already announced by the State Government], the Controller of Accounts, Finance Department, has been given the charge of a Committee constituted for this purpose. Significantly, only after clearance issued by this Committee will departments be released payments for any reconstruction work undertaken by them. Utilization Certificates for funds utilized are to be issued immediately by the committee and there is to be regular monitoring of progress made.

New Year white-out makes Tsomgo out of bounds

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: All traffic to Tsomgo and beyond has been suspended for two days [starting today] with the upper reaches of East Sikkim covered in a fresh blanket of rather heavy snow. It began snowing in the area from 10th Mile on JN Road [to Nathula] and above with New Year’s day and continued through today. There had been intermittent snowfall in December as well, but this is the first continuing fall of the season, locals inform.

Yuksam School wins national level interschool folk dance competition

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: The Government Secondary School, Yuksam, has made the State proud and delivered the people a welcome advance New Year’s gift by bagging the first place at the recently-held mational-level Inter-School Folk Dance Competition 2011 organized by the Population Education Cell of NCERT [with co-operation from SCERTs of various states]. School troupes from Gujarat and Rajasthan took the 2nd and 3rd positions in the event held on 28 and 29 December.

Rural sportspersons head for national PYKKA engagements

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: The recently concluded state-level Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan [PYKKA] Sports Competitions 2011-12 provided a platform to many rural and first-time [in competitive format] sportspersons from across the State.

Residential sports camp begins at Melli Gumpa School

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: A month-long residential Winter Sports Camp began today at Melli Gumpa Secondary School of Melli Dara Paiyong GPU in South Sikkim. The sports camp is aimed at assisting holistic development of children and is being offered to those aged between 10 to 15 years. A staggering 101 children have enrolled for the camp.

Sikkim at NIC in Punjab

MANGAN, 02 Jan: The National Integration Camp (NIC) held at Ranbir College, Sangrur, Punjab by NYK-Sangrur, Punjab, was attended by a 23-member team from Sikkim. The Sikkim representation was accompanied by Sherap Bhutia of MYC. The NIC was organized as a get-together for exchange of traditions and culture between different States and was held from 23 to 29 Dec, 2011.
Meanwhile, from 06 Jan onwards, the NYK-Mangan is hosting an NIC at Malling School here which is scheduled to be attended by NYK members from Assam. [from DEEPAK SHARMA]

Chamling condoles demise of 91-year-old founder member

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: The Sikkim Democratic Front party president, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and his wife, Tika Maya Chamling, have expressed their deep condolence on the demise of a party founder members, 91-year-old Bishnu Maya Rai on 28 December.
An SDF press release issued by its general secretary [publicity], TN Sharma, informs that the late Ms. Rai was an aware and active leader who had been working with full dedication to the party ideology since of its formation.
The release mentions that the CM has expressed that the demise of Bishnu Maya Rai was a great loss to the party and her absence would be felt deeply in the democratic movement here.


Preparedness, the Lesson 2011 Sought to Deliver
If the recap of years were to be undertaken as tasks aimed at condensing the experience into the lesson they sought to deliver, then the year 2011 is undoubtedly one which underlines the need for better preparedness; and this, not just for Sikkim, but for the nation and the world at large. More than a decade into the 21st Century, and for all the scientific and technological advances achieved, we kept getting caught off-guard whether on environmental matters or in the hands of the vicissitudes of social and/or political shifts. Let’s begin with something that affects everyone everywhere – Climate Change.

Sikkim Karatekas bag silver and bronze at Senior Nationals

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: The 24th Senior National Karate Championship 2011 was held at Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi from 24 to 25 December 2011, organised by the Delhi Karate-Do Association under the banner of All India Karate-Do Federation.
Khangendra Subba of Sikkim bagged a silver medal in the 60 kg Individual Men Kumite category while Hem Kumari Rai bagged a bronze in the above 68 kg Individual Women Kumite category, informs a press release issued by Sikkim State Karate-Do Association.
Six karatekas from Sikkim have qualified for the upcoming 35th National Games at Kerala, the release adds. The Association has also expressed its happiness on the performance of the players.

TT teams leave for nationals

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: A 23-member Sikkim Table Tennis Association [STTA] team left today to represent Sikkim at the 72nd Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships being held in Siliguri from 03 to 08 January.
The team has 16 junior players and 07 youth players and is being accompanied by two team officials- Biren Tamang and Lalit Rai.
Before leaving for the tournament, the team underwent a 15-day coaching camp under Norden Bhutia at the Paljor Stadium gymnasium hall.
The junior team was shortlisted on the basis of state rankings, while a selection camp was conducted to select the youth team.

Trans-boundary cooperation workshop moves towards improving local governance for biodiversity conservation along Singalila range

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: The Mountain Institute India (TMI-India), in collaboration with Namsaling Community Development Centre (NCDC), Ilam, Nepal organized a “Workshop on Improving Governance in Biodiversity Conservation through trans-border cooperation” at GDNS Hall, Darjeeling on 23 December 2011, informs a TMI release.

OT welcomes Lokpal Bill

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: Rajya Sabha MP from Sikkim, OT Lepcha, extending his support to the Lokpal Bill, put forth his views in the Parliament on 30 Dec on the issue of the appointment of Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI] Director and placing CBI under another body.

SDF organizes picnic cum party meeting for Zoom-Salghari constituency

NAMCHI, 02 Jan: A constituency level picnic cum party meeting of the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front for Zoom-Salghari constituency was held on 28 Dec 2011 here at the Karfectar Guest House, Jorethang. The meeting had area MLA, Madan Cintury, as the chief guest accompanied by South District In-Charge of the SDF, Gagan Rai, as the guest of honour.

Khesay bodybuilder thanks MLA and trainer for believing in him

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: Ganesh Neopaney of Khesay basti, East Sikkim which falls under Tumin-Lingee constituency won the first Classic Body Building Championship 2011 held in Gangtok on 23 December 2011.
According to a press release, Mr Neopaney was spotted by Chief Whip, area MLA, Ugen T Gyatso who sponsored his training at Arnold Body Fitness Centre under trainer Satish Oswal. The parents, Gram Panchayats and villagers of Khesay have extended their gratitude towards the MLA, the trainer and the organising committee of the competition.

Winter school camp on ‘Positive thinking’ held at Sumbuk

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: A five-day winter school camp with the theme ‘Positive thinking’ was conducted by Youth Empowerment wing of Melli Constituency Development Committee (MCDC) under the initiative of President of Youth Empowerment wing of MCDC, Suren Mohra and funded by 24 Lungchok- Kamery and 25 Sumbuk-Kartikey Gram Panchayat Units from 26-30 December at Sumbuk Block Administrative Centre.

Pakyong’s Bishal Pradhan wins Strong Man contest in Kalimpong

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: Bishal Pradhan of Pakyong has won the Strong Man competition held in Kalimpong on 29 Jan 2011. Bishal lifted the ‘Strongest Man of Kalimpong’ title beating 40 other contestants in the Power Lifting competition held as part of the Darjeeling Tea and Tourism Festival.

Army personnel spring to action in Kyongnosla fire

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: A fire broke out at a home in Kyongnosla village in East Sikkim on the JN Marg axis towards Tsomgo at 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve and spread to adjacent houses as well.
An official press release informs that a rescue team from the Army reached the location in quick time and evacuated the civilians.

Bodybuilding team to participate in Darj championship

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: A team of 12 bodybuilders of the Sikkim State Bodybuilding Association is participating in the 1st Himalayan Classic Bodybuilding Championship being held in Darjeeling from 01 to 03 January 2012, informs a press release.

STTA president appointed Sub-Junior Team manager for team India

GANGTOK, 02 Jan [IPR]: Vice President TTFI and President, Sikkim Table Tennis Association, CK Basnet, has been nominated by the Table Tennis Federation of India to represent India as a Manager of the Indian Sub-Junior Team in the International Table Tennis Global Cadet Challenge being held at San Juian Pureto Rica USA from 14 to 23 January 2012.

ATMA conducts Soil Testing and Soil Health training at Central Pendam

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: The Agriculture Technology Management Agency [ATMA], East, FS and AD Department conducted a training cum demonstration programme on Soil Testing and Soil Health Management at Bhurung, Central Pendam on 08 Dec 2011.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year Greetings

A very happy and prosperous New Year to all our readers! 2011 saw a slew of positive initiatives and achievements for the people of Sikkim unfortunately marred by the earthquake that struck on 18 September. Let us all usher in 2012 - the year of the dragon with the hope that 'luck and prosperity' it symbolizes prevails over the State and its people. We, at Sikkim NOW! also hope to bring in some positive changes for our readers this new year, so tag along as we take on 2012 with renewed spirit and spunk.