Wednesday, February 1, 2012

UD&HD proposes monetary assistance for demolition of earthquake affected houses

GANGTOK, 30 Jan: Owners of earthquake affected buildings who have been issued notices directing the demolition of their buildings have been grappling with the problem of how to go about demolishing these buildings. The recent further collapse of one such building in Singtam has brought this issue to fore since even four months since the devastating earthquake, this substantially affected building was still awaiting proper demolition along with many other such structures. The problem seems to be time and money.
The biggest problem, officials inform, is the significant monetary expense that will be incurred by house owners who have to bring down their structures. As for the department which is to demolish the structures - the UD&HD - the problem seems to be that of time. Demolition is a time consuming process and the department does not seem to be able to go after all such houses issued notices of demolishment.
However, it is informed that the Urban Development & Housing Department has now put up a proposal to the State government suggesting that monetary assistance be provided to the house owners so that they can undertake demolition on their own. The department will be available to provide any technical assistance if necessary.
The department, after overseeing the demolition of some structures in Gangtok, discovered that it would be impossible for it to continue with the demolition of all buildings marked to be taken down throughout the State. The earthquake damaged a large number of buildings and all such cases where the structures had to be brought down were forwarded to the UD&HD.
Considering the immense time consuming process that this would be, the department, officials inform, has now proposed that the house owners be provided with monetary assistance to bring down the houses themselves. The rate of monetary assistance is yet to be ascertained.
It is also to be seen if the proposal is approved and accepted by the state government. Initially the department was pressing its own demolition squads to the task.
In fact the primary responsibility of demolishment of a house is upon the house owner, it is informed.
The owner of the collapsing house at Singtam, like other such buildings owners, had also been issued with a notice for demolition, but, as officials inform, even after 4 months had not been able to undertake it.
In such cases, especially when the structure is endangering other nearby houses and the public at large, the house owner will be held responsible and liable for any damage to life or property, informs DC, East. As regards the Singtam building, the DC, East, informed that he had called the house owner and also had a meeting with the UD&HD engineer following which the house owner has begun demolishing the building which is right in the heart of Singtam bazaar.

Extortionist resumes threats barely a month out of jail, nabbed

GANGTOK, 30 Jan: An extortionist, attempting to collect money from people, particularly businessmen in the capital, in the name of leaders of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha, has been apprehended by the Gangtok police. Interestingly, it has been barely a month since the accused, Dipesh Trikhatri of Kalimpong, was released from the State Jail here he had served time on charges of extortion. And now he stands accused of having resumed his ‘extortion operation’ again. He was released from the State Jail in the last week of December, 2011.
The accused, it is informed, had made threatening calls to two businessmen, one of whom is the owner and manager of a big hotel in the heart of the town. They were threatened in the name of the GJMM leader Bimal Gurung to cough up money or “face consequences”.
Interestingly, earlier too when Dipesh Trikhatri was arrested by the Sadar police, he had made similar threatening calls for money. That time, however, he had called up senior government officials demanding money in the name of the GJMM leader. This time, he was demanding Rs.50,000 from the hotel manager.
The police were informed of the threats and it was decided that the hotel manager would agree to pay up and a time and location for the handover was also decided upon with the accused. It was on the evening of 26 January that the manager was to hand over the amount. The police were waiting and when the accused turned up for the money, he was nabbed.

College student caught with substantial stack of ‘drugs’ in Namchi

NAMCHI, 30 Jan: A 23-year-old college student was arrested today by Namchi police with huge consignment of contraband substances. Acting on source information, a Namchi Police team led by SDPO Geegee Norbu Namchankorpa intercepted a car and a seizure there led to a larger consignment of prescription drugs of abuse stacked in the rented home of the accused who is also the owner of the car.
While speaking to this correspondent, SDPO Ms. Namchankorpa informed that the police team received information at around 6 p.m., and intercepted the car at Debrung Turning on the Namchi - Damthang stretch at around 6:30 when the accused was dropping off one of his friends.
The police recovered a number of loose capsules of Spasmo-Proxyvon and N-10 capsules from his possession. Their suspicion alerted, the cops then raided the youth’s rented room at Tinzir near Namchi Bazaar. This raid led to the recovery of 222 loose capsules of Spasmo-Proxyvon, 33 N-10 tablets along with approximately 100 gms of Marijuana.
The 23 years old student of IIIrd semester at Namchi Government College, was taken into custody and the car seized, the SDPO informs.
Further, the police has registered the case under section 9 (b) 14 of Sikkim Anti Drug Act (SADA) and investigation is underway. The accused, originally a resident of Ribdi, West Sikkim, was staying here in a rented room.
He is currently under police custody.
When asked whether the accused youth was a peddler or a user, the SDPO commented that the amount of prescription drugs of abuse seized from his possession suggested that he must also be peddling the substance apart from being a user himself.

Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje arrives at Bodhgaya

Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje offering khadas at the altar of the ongoing Nyingma Monlam at Mahabodhi Stupa in Bodhgaya.

BODHGAYA, BIHAR, 30 Jan: The Mahakala Puja, an important annual prayer for world peace usually held at Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre, will be held at Bodhgaya in Bihar this year from 13 to 20 February at Tergar monastery (Karma Temple), informed Acharya Nawang Loden  of the Tsurphu Labrang Office of the Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre, while speaking to NOW! and detailing Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s month-long itinerary at Bodhgaya.
The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje will also be attending the ongoing 15th Kagyu Winter Debate which got underway on 16 January here at the Tergar Monastery and is scheduled to continue till 10 February. Losar [New Year] celebrations will be held from 22 to 24 February.
The Karmapa will conduct a three-day “Antarbarta” teaching to lamas and devotees in Kagyu Menlom ground here from 26 to 28 February, while the Kagyu Menlom will be held from 01 to 08 March.
On the second day of his arrival here, the Karmapa paid homage to the central shrine of Buddhism, the Mahabodhi Temple, home to the Bodhi tree and other sites linked with the time when Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment.
The Karmapa was received by Secretary of the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee, NT Dorje and the Head Monk-in-Charge, Pande Chalinda. The Karmapa was escorted in procession through the Mahabodhi Stupa Ground and went directly to the main shrine room. Having prostrated three times, he presented traditional offerings of fruits, flowers, a donation and a new golden silk robe for the Buddha image after which he offered prayers.
Leaving the shrine room, the Karmapa walked around to the area behind the temple, under the Bodhi tree, where he offered khadas to the altar of the ongoing Nyingma Menlom.

Conservation efforts for Tibetan and Sikkimese architecture lose foremost ally

Late Dr Andre at work at Tsuklakhang in 2011
GANGTOK, 30 Jan: Efforts at conserving Tibetan architecture, including the nascent conservation efforts in Sikkim, suffered a tragic loss in the demise of conservationist Dr Andre Alexander in Berlin on 21 January. He had just turned 47.
Dr. Andre Alexander, independent researcher, photographer and writer about the old city of Lhasa since 1993 and student of Tibetan architecture and history, was born and raised in Berlin. He co-founded the Tibet Heritage Fund [THF] and Leh Old Town Initiative and has a number of publications to his name.
Since the early 1990s he specialized in the research and conservation of traditional Tibetan architecture. The THF has launched a large number of rehabilitation projects throughout Central Asia intended to benefit and assist the local residents.
He first came to Sikkim in 2010 along with Anca Nicolaescu from Paris on the invitation from the Tsuklakhang Trust to undertake restoration work of the frescoes at Tsuklakhang.
After the first visit in 2010, which was more of a recce mission, the duo returned last year to restore the wall paintings at the monastery and successfully completed the restoration work on the paintings which had become soiled from soot from butter lamps and darkened by a varnish applied years ago.
Hope Leezum, the Chogyal’s representative in the Tsuklakhang Trust had in an earlier story [published in NOW! dated 30 March 2011] mentioned that even though Dr Alexander was busy with his work at Lhasa at the time, on the Trust’s invitation he had agreed to come and work here in Sikkim voluntarily.
The Tsuklakhang monastery was built in the 1920s, and the wall-paintings were done by some of the best painters of Tibet sent by the then Tibetan government. The restored paintings at Tsuklakhang now stand restored in the memory of Dr Alexander’s immense contribution not only to the monastery but to Sikkim and its people.
More projects had been planned for 2012, particularly to provide assistance to buildings of historic significance damaged in the 18 Sept 2011 earthquake.
Sonam Tashi Gyaltsen of Echostream, Gangtok, remembers Dr Alexander as “a man who believed in working hard with people to create organic value systems and experiences of building spaces without any blueprints and he believed in the ability of the craftsperson/ artisan to design and build. He used to say that the best part of building would be to built with the skills and traditional knowledge systems of the people/ communities”.
“We had plans ready to work on some projects starting March this year. It is a big loss for Sikkim as we have lost a master who could have revived our traditional building methods and knowledge systems,” he adds.
Dr Alexander along with his friends at THF received numerous awards for their commitment: they twice received the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards and the Global Vision Award for a number of their cultural heritage projects, and they were featured on BBC’s series on Heritage Heroes 2011.
Passionate and committed towards preserving and documenting Tibetan architecture, Dr Andre Alexander will forever be remembered through his work in Sikkim.
A message from the THF team reads:
“The THF team is deeply sad and in shock. The THF team has lost their leader, colleague and friend. We share everyone's grief and profound shock at this terrible news.  André's death is indeed a great loss - he was a unique man and great scholar and the soul of THF.
The THF core team has decided to continue THF's work and to continue and honour André's projects and preserve André's memory.  We will keep his beliefs alive and his presence will be with us every day, giving us the inspiration, energy and perseverance to continue our work.
It will be very hard without him but we will continue to strive towards André's and our shared dream.
With André in our hearts, THF will continue to preserve Tibetan culture for future generations. This is what we believe André would like us to do, keep doing our best, working with local people and for local people. André and THF team have always tried to preserve and create beauty in our work, whether restoring a building or publishing a book.
It will be very hard to carry on with THF work without André we believe that, with the support of our friends and colleagues we will.”

Motivated by seeing too many historic buildings in Lhasa's old town disappear, Andre Alexander and Andrew Brannan launched the Lhasa Archive Project in 1993 with the aim to document Lhasa's vernacular architecture. They were soon joined by artist Pimpim de Azevedo, who drew a beautiful map of 1948 Lhasa based on Alexander's research. Alexander and Azevedo then became acquainted with old craftsmen in Lhasa, who taught them traditional building skills (thanks to Pala Migmar, Jampa Kelsang, Olo Chunchun and Choetshok).
As the documentation project became better known, institutions such as UNESCO, Shalu Association and the Network for Norway-Tibet University Cooperation offered support. Crucially, the Lhasa municipal government and the Lhasa City Cultural Relics Office became interested.
In 1996 Alexander and Azevedo founded Tibet Heritage Fund in Lhasa with important contributions from Heather Stoddard and Enrico Dell' Angelo, as well as the encouragement of several Lhasa municipal departments and individuals. The Lhasa Old Town Conservation Project quickly halted further demolition of historic buildings, and together with the Lhasa City Cultural Relics Office the eastern part of Lhasa's central Barkor neighbourhood was rehabilitated.
Until the end of the project in the year 2000, 20 buildings were upgraded, 93 were listed a protected buildings and 300 artisans were trained. Since then THF has moved on and today is an established cooperation partner in several Asian countries. The team have jointly authored a number of publications about traditional Tibetan, Chinese and Mongolian architecture. Pimpim de Azevedo recently spent a lot of time in Mongolia, and is also working on a new book. Andre Alexander occasionally teaches courses about traditional Tibetan architecture at Berlin University of Technology, in-between living at project sites in the Himalayas and building a museum in Ladakh. Japanese architect Yutaka Hirako is picking up the different Tibetan dialects and songs that go along, while also managing projects in Tibetan areas and old Beijing.

Editorial: For the Future

Three years into the scheme, there are now 350 students from across Sikkim [primarily from rural schools] who have benefitted from another scheme unique to Sikkim – the Chief Minister’s Merit Scholarship Scheme. This is a scheme all Sikkimese should be proud of, and with the State investing Rs. 6.85 crore to sustain it this year, it is time that the scheme was celebrated more widely and beyond the circle of families which now have their children studying in schools they would never have been able to afford otherwise. Admittedly, there were few who would have taken the scheme seriously when it was first announced and the water tested with the first batch of 50 students taken under the scheme. Such reservations can now be safely put to rest because the number of students has doubled for two successive years, with the 2012 scholarship roll boasting a staggering 200 students. 40 of the students selected this year will be admitted to public schools outside Sikkim, while the rest will be enrolled in the better schools in the State. Apart from being a visionary scheme, this is also the best investment Sikkim has made in the otherwise ignored segment of the young. Picking up students on merit after class V, and then rewarding the best among them with admission in some of the best institutions outside and within Sikkim, sets them up for life. While most of these students hailing from rural Sikkim [the topper this year is from Lower Bermiok JHS in West Sikkim] undoubtedly go through some adjustment problems in the culture shock that greets them, being as young as they are and buoyed by a sense of achievement [having been selected on merit after a state-wide test], they will overcome these teething problems and the grooming and exposure they receive will create an asset that the State can be proud of in the years to come. One does not expect these students to come back and work in Sikkim when they come of age, but even as they make careers, hopefully successful ones, outside the State, they will reflect pride on Sikkim and what is even more important, inspire more to work hard and follow them. It can also be safely vouched that they will remain grateful for the openings created for them by the State and when they are of an age and experience to help and assist and the State needs them, they will deliver. But that, as mentioned, is not how this scheme should be seen because it is really about more than that. In a State where mediocrity ends up being celebrated more often than merit, this is one initiative which not only seeks out excellence, but also rewards it with a handsome investment. Also, every child selected under this scheme inspires more in his/her immediate circle to aspire for the same opportunity and this requires hard work and preparation, aspects of formal education now lost in the well-meaning rules of the RTE Act. Hopefully, those who do not make it to the merit list will not lose the habit of hard work to disillusionment and will continue to respect education through their years in school. In fact, it would not be a bad idea to institute some form of reward – even a book or a magazine subscription – for every students who takes the scholarship exam to give them a sense of achievement and to encourage them to become more competitive.

SU Winter Sojourn team completes study on women vendors, shares findings

Women vendors near Melli

Vendor at Lall Bazaar
GANGTOK, 30 Jan: Sikkim University’s Winter Sojourn team on the theme ‘Women Vendors’ completed their 10-day study tour on different issues related to women vendors on Sunday. Sikkim’s women vendors are more empowered and the state has better basic amenities for women vendors than the neighbouring hills according to the team’s findings.
The team started its programme from Lall Bazaar on 21 January and covered women vendors sitting along the National Highway 31A upto Teesta Bazaar. The 23-member team was led by Dr Swati Sachdeva and also had three other faculty members of SU, Dr Pallavi Kulkarni, Dr Shanker Thapa and Dr Sangmu Thendup and 19 students from different fields.
The main objective of the programme was to study the socio-economic profile of the women vendors and to know various problems faced by the women, challenges present in the market and how they cope with modernization and globalization.
The team spoke to around 800 women vendors at more than 10 locations in Sikkim and West Bengal. The team interacted with women vendors at Lall Bazaar, Ranipool, Pakyong, Singtam, Rangpo, Melli and other places in Sikkim and also at Kirney, Tarkhola, Melli, Teesta and Kalimpong in West Bengal.
Speaking to media persons today, the students and faculty members shared some of their findings. The team found that most women vendors are in the age group of 35 to 40 years although they also came across a 90-year-old lady in the profession at Melli Bazaar. It was mentioned that Melli has 90% women vendors and even the first hotel in Melli, on the West Bengal side was started by a lady.
In the case of Sikkim it was found that women vendors come from different places to one haat bazaar, while in West Bengal the vendors were moving to different haats at different places. In Kalimpong many women vendors find it difficult to earn Rs 500 in a day but in Lall Bazaar a woman vendor was making more than Rs 500 every day, the team shared. The team has also found that many women vendors are living a hand-to-mouth existence, not being able to spare money from their earnings for savings.
SU students belonging to other states informed that in the plains this line of work is usually taken up only by the lower castes but in Sikkim no such caste division was found. The team further informed that from uneducated to graduates, women with different backgrounds are in this profession.
“We came to know that every woman is working to support their family, to provide good education to their children and looking towards social elevation as an outcome,” shared the team members.
Prajwal Chettri, one of the students said that interacting with vendors at Lall Bazaar was a good experience, as they were more open to share their stories compared to vendors of West Bengal who were hesitant to speak out. Another student, Maria Lepcha shared that Sikkim’s women vendors are more vibrant, cheerful and outspoken. She added that the team found that in Sikkim the women vendors were not in this profession due to economic deprivation but either continuing their family business or simply enjoying this profession.
The team also informed that vendors of West Bengal were found to be more aggressive, competitive and enterprising when it came to selling. A student from Bihar, Sashi Bhusal Sharma added that competition is thick in his hometown as well but here in Sikkim, the vendors are more relaxed and just enjoy their job.
On the demands and needs of the women vendors, the team shared that proper space, cold storage facilities, separate women markets and basic amenities were some of the demands placed by the vendors.
The team further mentioned that analysis of the findings is yet to be carried out which will reveal more information on women vendors. It was also informed that the field observation will be documented which can be used by anyone in future.

Kinthup and Navin selected for India U-17 selection camp

GANGTOK, 30 Jan: Kinthup Ongpo Lachungpa and Navin Gurung have been shortlisted for the India U-17 selection camp to be held in Goa from 10 Feb to 02 March, a Sikkim Football Association press release informs.
Both were spotted by the National Selector at the 48th Junior National Football Championship for Dr. BC Roy Memorial Trophy held in Cuttack, Orissa, in the third week of Jan 2012, it is learnt. The Sikkim team had reached the semi-final in Cuttack.
SFA general secretary, Menla Ethenpa, has welcomed the selection as “yet another feather in the cap of Sikkim”.
“Owing to the good performances shown in the Junior National Championship, they are now being picked up for the camp. Both of them have quite a good prospect of selection as they play in the central half,” he adds, while congratulating the entire team which represented the State in the junior nationals. The SFA president, BK Roka, has also conveyed his best wishes to the duo.

Two arrested for stealing iron scrap

GANGTOK, 30 Jan: Two persons were arrested by Rongli Police on charges of stealing iron scrap materials from SEW Company premises at the hydel project dam site at Rangpo on Sunday.
It is informed that on 28 January, at around 10 AM a truck entered the SEW Company premises and loaded around 10 tonnes of iron scrap materials and drove away.
A search was conducted in the godowns of scrap dealers while Rangpo and Singtam Police were also contacted. Following this, truck driver, Lalit Chettri of Melli and Arjun Rai of Sang were apprehended by the police at Rangpo Check Post on the night of 29 January. The duo was arrested and the truck along with the stolen goods was seized.

ASDASG leaders begin indefinite hunger strike

GANGTOK, 30 Jan: The president, Sonam Sherpa and the vice president, C Tamang of the All Sikkim Departmental Adhoc Staff Group [ASDASG], who have been sitting on a dharna here at the District Administrative Centre [DAC] premises since 27 January, began an indefinite hunger strike on the evening of 29 January.
The hunger strike comes after no intervention was initiated either by the state government or officials from the Human Resource Development Department [HRDD] into the demand of the protesting group that their services under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan be extended. Meanwhile the other members of ASDASG, teaching and non-teaching staff of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan [SSA] and HRDD are continuing with their dharna.
“We want the State government to take some action and address the problems being faced by adhoc teachers [teaching and non-teaching] of SSA and HRDD, but till now no official from the state government or the HRD Department has come and spoken to us,” said the ASDASG president. “We have already submitted our memorandum of grievances and demands to the Minister HRDD and the Secretary HRDD, but no one has got back to us,” he added.
“We are just seeking social justice, we are neither a political party nor are we political leaders. This is not the voice of a single person, but the voice of all the adhoc teaching and non-teaching persons from all over the state,” reiterated ASDASG member, Sachin Pradhan.
Tashi Dorjee, another ASDASG member, added that their protest is for all adhoc [teaching and non teaching] staffs and includes all persons under the supervision of SSA and the HRDD. “We want the media to lay firm stress on this fact and not misguide the general public as we are fighting for social justice and this includes all of us,” he added.
“We appeal to all our adhoc friends that their presence in person means a lot and adds to our efforts to bear fruitful results, let us all come together and make this movement a great success,” added Divyani Subedi and Nisha Rai [ASDASG members] sitting in the dharna.
Meanwhile, the members of ASDASG have not yet been able to get an appointment with the Chief Minister as the CM is in Namchi, South Sikkim.

SAA congratulates Tarundeep on No 1 national ranking

GANGTOK, 30 Jan: Sikkim Archery Association [SAA] has congratulated Tarundeep Rai on becoming the No 1 ranked archer in Recurve bow in the country. The outstanding archer from Sikkim has made it to the top with his performance in the recently concluded Senior National Archery Championship held at JRD Tata Sports in Jamshedpur.
SAA President and PHE Minister, TT Bhutia along with executive and other members of SAA congratulated Tarundeep for holding the No 1 position in the country on behalf of the archers and people of Sikkim, informs a press release issued by SAA publicity secretary, Karma Denzongpa.
SAA has further expressed its best wishes to Rai for future competitions and to continue to hold the No 1 position in the country and make Sikkim proud.

Namchi taxi drivers start pre-paid system along sightseeing route

NAMCHI, 31 Jan: Local taxi drivers in Namchi have started a pre-paid shared/reserved taxi from Namchi bazaar to Siddhesvara Dham and other tourist spots. This has been done to manage and control traffic in the area better as at present individual taxis come from everywhere making the whole situation haphazard.
From now on vehicles or taxis used by tourists should be parked at the Parking Plaza, Namchi and the ferry system should be used by them. This system has been introduced by the Local Taxi Drivers Association, Namchi and would start uniformly for all the vehicles entering Namchi from outside or other places.
The Association has started the system with the support of Namchi Police. Keeping in mind the booming tourism and the traffic nuisance that has followed especially after the inauguration of the Siddesvara Dham.
The Association feels that this was necessary sooner or later and that if the condition of traffic and parking is a matter of concern now then it would surely be the same in the days to come especially during the festive season of ‘sawan’ along with other religious occasions and festive holidays.
While on the other hand this would also provide an opportunity for the taxi drivers to earn well.

YODESS convenes meeting on health and sanitation at Dalapchand

GANGTOK, 30 Jan: Youth Development Society of Sikkim (YODESS) Rongli organised a meeting with Government functionaries/stakeholders on Community Health and Sanitation supported under field-level activities of Voluntary Health Association of Sikkim (VHAS) on 29 January at Lampokhari, Dalapchand, East Sikkim.
A press release informs that the meeting was chaired by Rhenock BDO, BL Adhikari and began with a welcome address by chairperson, YODESS cum Deputy Director ICDS, N Chettri who highlighting the objectives behind the meeting said that it was also to support the successful implementation of the three-year sanitation programme of YODESS which began from March 2011 and will continue till January 2014 in Sudunglakha and Dalapchand Gram Panchayat Unit.
Similarly, the background of this project was presented by YODESS executive secretary, Mani Kumar Gurung and programme officer, BP Sharma while YODESS accountant presented the achievements, activities and budget of the organization, the release informs.
Representatives of farmer clubs, NGO’s members and teachers participated in an open discussion while Sudunglakha Panchayat president, Hem Lall Sanyasi and BDO Rhenock spoke on Health and Sanitation, the release mentions.
Also present were Deputy Director ICDS, Rongli, N Chettri, DESME Assistant Director, Uttam Chettri, Panchayat members of Sundunglakha and Dalapachand, representatives different NGOs, Agan Wadi workers, ASSA members and YODESS’s board members and unit members.

Nepali music album ‘Sparsh’ by Late Teshra Rai released

NAMCHI, 30 Jan: Late Teshra Rai’s second music album ‘Sparsh’ was posthumously released today at Kamrang, here in Namchi. The album release had earlier been planned for 10 Jan but following the singer’s tragic death in an accident on the night of 01 Jan, the release was postponed.
The album was released by BDO Sikkip, Milan Rai who was present as the chief guest for the special function hosted by his friends and fans from Kamrang today. The late singer’s family was also present for the event which paid rich homage to the talent of young artist. CB Rai dedicated a song from his album ‘Eklai Eklai’ titled ‘Chhodera timro saher’ to the late singer during the function.
The Late Teshra Rai released his first album titled ‘Bichod’ in 2003 and was working as an LDC at Namchi BAC at the time of his death.

Folk Song competition at MG Marg

GANGTOK, 30 Jan: TAAS will be hosting an Open Folk Song Competition will be held here at MG Marg as part of the Sikkim Snow & Culture Fest, which is to start on 14 February.
Speaking to media persons today, TAAS Joint Secretary [South], Dhan Man Tamang, informed that the Travel Agents Association of Sikkim was going to hold an open folk song competition here at MG Marg during the Sikkim Snow & Culture Fest. As the name suggests, the competition is open to all.
Contestants can perform in any of the three languages - Bhutia, Lepcha or Nepali. Auditions are scheduled for 18 and 19 February at MG Marg itself and the finals scheduled for 26 February with a charity show, he added.
“The winner will take home a cash prize of Rs. 25,000, with the runner-up receiving Rs. 15,000 and the one coming third Rs. 10,000,” he further informed.
“The reason for holding this open folk song competition is to bring forward the hidden talents of the people and children of Sikkim and also work on the recovery mission of bringing back tourism after the 18 September, 2011 earthquake,” he further added.
Any person interested in taking part in the folk song competition can contact: 98325-86359, 94743-48851, 94750-11447.

In-service training for government teachers underway at DIET

GANGTOK, 30 Jan: District Institute of Education and Training [DIET], Gangtok, under HRDD started a short term in-service training for heads and primary teachers of government schools in East and North Sikkim at DIET premises at Tathangchen from 16 January.
The first phase of the training was held from 16 to 21 January and second phase of training on pedagogy of English language for English teachers at primary level was started today and will conclude on 04 February.
A press release issued by DIET Principal, Surki Bhutia, informs that a total of 64 teachers-27 from North and 37 from East Sikkim have been undergoing training. The release further informs that the training of resource persons on Activities and Evaluation in Mathematics and Environmental Studies at Primary level under SSA is also being held simultaneously at DIET. This training has 33 participants for Environmental Studies and 20 for Mathematics.

Agriculture Dept discusses ongoing programmes and future plans in North Sikkim

GANGTOK, 30 Jan: The Department of Food Security and Agriculture Development held a meeting of officials and field functionaries at the conference hall of the Animal Husbandry Dept at Mangan on 27 January.
A press release issued by Joint Director [North], NK Gurung informs that the meeting was called to look into various developmental activities of the department including the ongoing programmes and those envisaged in the months to come and also to set targets in the future line of action.
The meeting began with the welcome address by Joint Director [North], NK Gurung followed by a brief introduction of the Rabi programmes under execution in the district [cluster approach on crops like wheat, buckwheat, mustard and ensuing maize]. A presentation on rural composting units and vermi composting units under internal control system approach was also made, the release informs.
This was followed by a deliberation by the project coordinator, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Mangan, Tshering Thendup Bhutia on the activities of the KVK. This included various training programmes organized in the district, development of better planting materials for farmers, refinement of existing technology and management practices. He also envisaged an on-field remedy for controlling/curtailing the problem of citrus borers in citrus fruits [Oranges], dwelling upon the mandate of the KVK bringing the right technology to the right farmer.
The next speaker was Dy Director [ATMA], North, Tashi Thendup Lepcha who highlighted the activities of ATMA in the district. He apprised the gathering of the farm schools opened in the district being run by farmers’ groups, covering farming and management in other allied sectors, 8 trainings to farmers involved in Rabi crops on cluster approach, and providing exposure trips to farmers in 2 groups to Bangalore and Kalimpong.
Additional Director [Headquarters], Pranay Kishore Dewan expressed that motivation was required in certain belts and communities especially when it came to adopting new methods and accepting change to ensure that farmers’ aversion to new methods and technology went into recession, locational trials of crops in collaboration with KVK could be envisaged, the release mentions. Tie-ups with SIMFED in the marketing of farm produce could augment and boost farm economy and benefit farmers.
He brought to the notice of the gathering that this ensuing season, the department had targeted different varieties of maize for distribution to the farmers in the district. 200 ha under the C-1415 variety, 50 ha under BMH-849 variety, 25 ha under Vijay Composite variety and 3 ha under pop corn ECH-186 variety, the release informs.
The Addl Director noted that since the job of feeding the hungry was, is and would always remain an uphill task, ensuring agriculture as a profitable and viable proposition would require unfaltering efforts on the part of the field workers. The field functionaries on whose shoulders this responsibility rested would, he hoped always remain forward looking and steadfast to go that extra mile, the release further adds.
The last speaker was the Director [Agri], Khorlo Bhutia, who stated that going by size, although North was the largest district it had the minimum area available for agriculture owing to its geographical aspect. He urged the officials and field functionaries to be active and responsive on their work front together with being responsible and positive to the targets set for them by the department and push ahead for higher achievement.
He said that while it was not practically possible to bring about tangible results from every effort made, some very positive results had been obtained on the cultivation and production of crops like ‘rajma’ even in the high altitude croplands of Lachung valley which would not have been possible without the efforts of the field functionaries stationed there.
He emphasized that the Department of Agriculture was a big team where rank and file was not of the highest priority but its strength lay in the ability of its functionaries to discharge their duties, irrespective of their place of responsibility whenever and wherever the call of duty came along.
Closing his address, he assured all officials and field functionaries that the department was always open for support and redressal of their grievances if the need arose. He called upon them to remain positive, sincere, optimistic and steadfast in the discharge of their responsibilities no matter how far the call of duty took them, the release further mentions.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thousands attend Nyingma Menlom at Bodhgaya hosted by Sikkim

from left: Dujom Rinpoche, Lachen Gomchen Rinpoche and Lachung Rinpoche performing Menlom Chenmo at Bodhgaya.
BODHGAYA, 29 Jan: Thousands of devotees have congregated here at Bodhgaya in Bihar to mark the Nyingma Menlom, the annual congregation of the Nyingmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism for world peace. The event is being hosted by Sikkim this year. The observance every year by Nyingma followers is being continually supported by the Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche. This year, the Nyingma Menlom Chenmo started on 24 January and will continue till 02 February.
The Nyingma Menlom Chenmo is being held in Bodhgaya every year since1989 during the first ten days of the twelfth month of the Tibetan calendar as decided by most Gurus of Nyingma tradition. The tenth day is observed as Guru Padmasambhava day and Tsog (Prasad or symbolic meal) is offered with devotion to Guru Padmasambhava which witnesses the conclusion of the annual Menlom.
“The effects of world torn by strife, tyranny, oppression and genocide, the blood soaked testament of negatives, prejudice, greed and ignorance, which have shattered humanity, resulting in denial of their rights and defaming their values have deep adverse impacts on the Buddha dharma in general and the living tradition of the Nyingma in particular,” informed one of the senior monks while speaking to NOW!
The prayers are being attended by Rinpoches, Tulkus, monks and devotees from different monasteries across India and the world like Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Korea, Thailand, etc.
Monks from different monasteries of Sikkim have been engaged in organizing the prayers with their respective duties and responsibilities along with the presence of Lachen Gomchen Rinpoche and Lachung Rinpoche. The prayers which are held at the Mahabodhi Stupa has become an auspicious occasion for the Nyingma followers to pray for world peace and dedicate those days to the founders of their tradition viz., Bodhisatva, Guru Padmasambhava and Trisong Deutsen (Kunkhyen Longchenpa) in Bodhgaya. The prayers are also being attended by Dujom Rinpoche from Bhutan and several other eminent Rinpoches from different monasteries.
Participation in the Annual Nyingma Menlom Chenmo, to pray for world peace at Bodhgaya is extremely important in order to inspire hope and courage in bringing about greater peace, harmony, joy and happiness in the world as well as seeking relief from all unwanted sufferings and to remember and pray for all those parents, families and friends who suffered severely or lost their lives in a tragedy and for the benefit of all sentient beings.

‘Vasanta Mahotsav 2012’ gets underway in Gangtok

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: Secretary, Human Resource Development Department, CS Rao, inaugurated the three-month long Vasanta Mahotsav 2012 today. Exhibitions and seminar/ workshops on various forms of art are lined up for this programme beginning today and will conclude on 29 April.
Appreciating the initiative taken by the members of Sri Sathya Sai Organization, Gangtok and North District and all the organizers of the respective fields of art, the chief guest CS Rao said that this kind of constructive programme encourage the younger generation to come forward and exhibit their talents.
Also speaking on the paintings exhibited today, he said that these are an excellent display of creativity. Through such kinds of programmes, the painters and artists of the state should come forward and should slowly make a place for Sikkim and its art in the national and international arena.
Further, he said that this programme may not show immediate effects in the society, but will make a mark in the state slowly and steadily. Regarding the upcoming art & craft exhibition for college and school students, during this Mahotsav, the Secretary mentioned that as soon as the schools reopen the HRD Department will send notifications to all the schools of the state to participate in this exhibition.
Speaking about art culture in Sikkim, the President Oviya Arts Circle, Deepa Rai said that there are numerous hidden talents in the state who need exposure. Hence, through this programme, she welcomed all the upcoming artists to participate/ contribute, especially the female artists of the state. Further, she appealed to the general public and all art lovers to come and visit the exhibition, which in a way will motivate the artists.
The Vasanta Mahotsav started off with an exhibition and workshop on drawing and painting. A total of 65 paintings were displayed today by 17 artists coming from all the four districts of the state. Artists from Darjeeling and Kalimpong will also be exhibiting their art works in the coming weeks. T
he art exhibition cum workshop will continue till 11 February, followed by exhibition and seminar on wildlife photography [12-25 February], photo shoot session [26-29 February], graphic design and creative/applied arts [01-10 March], literary sessions and exhibition of art and craft for college students [11-17 March], art and craft events for school students [18-31 March], National and International level exhibition of photographs and workshop [01-21 April] and exhibition of photographs depicting the great moments of Sai Baba’s life [22-24 April]. Literary sessions are to be held every Sunday from 11 AM to 3 PM.

Sikkim Snow & Culture Fest T-Shirts released

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: Sikkim Snow & Culture Fest T-Shirts and stickers are now available for purchase. These can be purchased from Rahul’s Tours & Travels and Hotel Fujiya, both situated near Ruchi Diagonistics, near BSNL office on NH 31 A, informed Feroze Gurung [Proprietor, Rahul’s Tours & Travels], while speaking to media persons here in the Capital today. The t-shirts and stickers designed by TAAS have been brought out to support and promote Sikkim Snow & Culture Fest which is scheduled to begin on Valentine’s Day, 14 February.

West Sikkim lad tops CM’s Merit Scholarship Test 2012

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: Amit Sharma of Lower Bermiok Junior High School in West Sikkim has topped the Chief Minister’s Merit Scholarship Test 2012. Likewise, Sangay Ongmu Lepcha of Taryang Primary School, Kunchuk Ongmu Bhutia of Phodong Senior Secondary School and Passang Dem Lepcha of Mangan Senior Secondary School, all three from North Sikkim, stood second, third and fourth in the merit list.
The Human Resource Development Department conducted the selection test under the scheme on 05 January at all four districts under the strict supervision of the district officials. A total of 454 students turned out for the selection test, which was around 72% of the total attendance.
For the year 2012, the State Government has doubled the number of beneficiaries to 200 from 100 in the previous year. Out of the 200, 40 students are to be admitted to schools outside the state and the remaining 160 in schools within the state.
This unique Chief Minister’s Merit Scholarship scheme was launched by the State Government in the year 2010 to provide equal opportunity for good education to every rural and underprivileged student.
The merit list was announced in a press conference on Saturday, which was addressed by the HRDD Minister, NK Pradhan, HRDD Secretary, CS Rao and other HRDD officials.
The tentative financial estimate calculated on the basis of the present fee structures for sponsoring the total 350 students [50 of the first batch, 100 of the second and 200 of this year’s batch] for the year 2012 is worked out to the tune of Rs 685 lakh by the department.
The HRDD Minister stated that this is a unique scheme in the whole country conceived by the Chief Minister to provide equal opportunity to every student from the remotest part to get the best education. He informed this was the third year of the scheme which started with 50 students and was doubled to 100 last year and this year it has been further increased to 200.
Mr Pradhan stated that the government wants students from rural areas to get an opportunity to mingle with the students of public schools in and outside the state. He further added that the Government has been trying to make the education system easily accessible to the rural students.
“The Chief Minister started this scheme with a great vision so that students will come out with flying colours and this has been appreciated by people from other states,” he added.
The Minister shared that when he met the principals of public schools where students under this scheme were admitted outside the state, they were shocked and greatly impressed with the state government’s initiative for rural students. He also informed that even these schools were happy and satisfied with the students’ performances.
He stressed that the future of Sikkim is in the students’ future and such exposure in their childhood would help in the overall development of the state. The Minister further expressed his best wishes to the 200 students who have made it to the merit list this year.
The HRDD Secretary stated that the counseling date will be announced soon as the department is still in talks with the schools. He informed that as many schools take students through entrance tests, the department has selected 5 boys on the merit list for the entrance test of Welham Boys' School in Dehradun.
Mr Rao informed that the department has already sent these 5 students for the entrance tests and it is hoped that some of them would get through the test.
In its first year in 2010, 50 toppers of class V board examination were selected under the scheme. The first batch of 50 students of class V board examination 2009, comprising of 14 students from East and 12 each from North, South and West districts, were selected and a screening test was held in order to identify the top 10 for admission outside the state. From amongst them, 3 girls were admitted to Pinegrove School in Himachal Pradesh and 7 boys were admitted to Scindia School, Gwalior and the remaining 40 were admitted to public schools within the state. Rs 95 lakh was sanctioned for the year 2010-11 to meet the costs for the scheme.
The government then decided to enhance the number of beneficiaries under the scheme to 100. As per RTE Act 2009, the board examinations for class V and VIII were done away with from the year 2010. Hence a district level screening test was conducted to select the 100 students after obtaining the approval of the government. This test was conducted on 15 December at all four districts and lists of 28 students from East and 24 students each from the rest of the districts were selected under this scheme.
In order to achieve equal representation from all four districts while selecting the top 20 students for admission to schools outside the state, it was decided to select the top 4 students as per the consolidated merit list and 4 each as per the district merit lists.
At present, out of the 150 students [excluding this year’s batch] selected under the scheme, at Pinegrove School in Himachal Pradesh, 3 were admitted in 2010 and 8 in 2011, at Aryan School, Dehradun in Uttrakhand 3 were admitted in 2011 and 7 in 2010 and at Scindia School, Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, 7 were admitted in 2010 and 5 in 2011.
Likewise in the state, 10 students in 2010 and 20 in 2011 were admitted to Tashi Namgyal Academy, 11 in 2010 and 24 in 2011 were admitted to St Xavier’s School, Pakyong, 7 in 2010 and 12 in 2011 were admitted to Namchi Public School, 12 in 2010 and 15 in 2011 were admitted to Don Bosco School, Malbasey and 13 students were admitted to St Joseph School, Martam in 2011.  The financial expenditure for sponsoring 150 students for the year 2011-12 was estimated at Rs 270 lakh.

Namchi to host Red Ribbon Super Band semi-finals on 30 Jan

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: The semi-final of the Red Ribbon Super Band Competition will be held at Namchi Municipal Council Hall on 30 January from 10 AM onwards, informs a press release. Ten bands will battle it out for a place in the Grand Finale, to be held in Gangtok tentatively on 19 February.
The Red Ribbon Super Band Competition under the umbrella of ‘Red Fest’ is an initiative of Sikkim State AIDS Control Society to generate mass awareness about HIV & AIDS and ill effects of substance/drug abuse among the youth, and motivate behavior change, the release mentions. In this endeavor, SSACS has support from organizations like Serenity Home (Bethzatha Society), Recovering Users’ Network (RUN), Sikkim Network of Positive People and HOPE Foundation.

Naya Nirman Samaj Yangang calls for conservation of Yangang lake

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: Naya Nirman Samaj (NNS), Yangang organized a meeting of all NGO’s and welfare organizations active in and around Yangang to discuss the issues related to the preservation and conservation of Thik-Day Lake (Yangang Pokhari) today at Yangang Bazaar.
A press release issued by NNS publicity secretary, Bikash Basnett informs that the lake is polluted and lies in a sorry state due to lack of supervision and care. The meeting was attended by representatives of different NGOs, members of NNS, local community, religious organizations and Panchayat members from in and around Yangang.
During the meeting, NNS president, Gajbir Subba highlighted the present situation of the lake. In the course of the meeting it was decided to approach the concerned government departments for immediate action to be taken for preservation and conservation of the lake, the release informs.
Officials from different organizations also jointly decided to raise some funds to initiate immediate preservation measures in order to retain the beauty of the lake. It was also suggested in the meeting that different varieties of fish, swans and tortoise be introduced in the lake, such suggestions were taken positively and steps will be taken accordingly, the release mentions.
Likewise, Panchayat members at the meeting said that they would take the issue to the area MLA and other government organizations while NNS vice president, Sumitra Gurung appealed for support from all sections of society to save the lake.
According to the release, the NNS initiative was highly appreciated by the masses who attended the meeting and all agreed to step forward to support the cause in all possible ways. The meeting also appreciated the government’s role in the rapid development of Yangang through the introduction of projects like Yangang Cultural Park, Lepcha Heritage Centre , Ropeway-cum-sky walk at Bhalay Dhunga, etc, the release further mentions.

Rangpo youth arrested with ‘drugs’

RANGPO, 29 Jan: Rangpo police arrested a youth when he was found in possession of contraband substances. The youth, reportedly a resident of Mandi Bazaar here, was picked up when he drove in from Taar Khola and his vehicle was searched on suspicion. The search led to the recovery of around 95 capsules of Spamoproxyvon, a much-abused prescription drug, hidden in the dashboard. [SANJAY AGARWAL]

Sikkim students at Eastern India Science Fair 2012

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: A 26-member contingent of Sikkim participated in the 36th episode of Eastern India Science Fair 2012 held at Birla Industrial and Technological Museum (BITM), Kolkata from 17 to 21 January.
The team comprised of 21 students from ten different Secondary and Senior Secondary Schools and 4 teachers led by Assistant Director SCERT, and HRD Department, Shanti Ram Adhikari, informs a press release.
This year, 154 schools and 13 Science Clubs participated in the fair. 76 participants with 29 Engineering Models from 14 colleges participated in the Science and Engineering fair which was also held simultaneously.  
According to the release, the State Best Model Award was bagged by “Disaster Friendly Structures in Hills” a model prepared by Suman Subba of Singhik Sec School, North Sikkim. The Award comprised of a merit scholarship in the form of cash of Rs 4000 to the model maker student, Guide Teacher Award of Rs 2000 to guide teacher Phuchungla Bhutia and School Award of Rs. 3000 to the Singhik Sec. School.
Appreciation Awards / Special Prizes in the form of books and certificates were given to two models: “Structure of Hope” a model of an Earthquake Indicator prepared by Tshering Yangden Bhutia and Jeanin Moktan of Mangan Sr. Sec. School under the guidance of guide teacher Prakash Rawat.
“Bio Gas Production from Kitchen waste” a model designed by Avinash Kumar and Anurag Gurung of TNSSS under the guidance of teacher Uma Upadhyay.
Work Experience Camps on four different subjects viz. Life Science, Pattern making, Mask Making and Herbal products were conducted. Out of four students who participated in these camps, Rigden Lepcha from Mangan Sr Sec. School won the Special prize in the form of books, the release mentions.
The Sikkim contingent presented a Lepcha Folk dance in the Cultural Exchange Programme which was appreciated by everyone. The students also learnt a lot from various innovative programmes like 3D Show, surprising Chemical Reactions, Mock Up Coal Mine, Fascinating Physics, Meet the Scientists and Science Magic and Miracles which were full of scientific knowledge and information, the release further adds.
Eastern India Science Fair is a regular annual feature organised by BITM and National Council of Science Museums in collaboration with states of Eastern and North Eastern India. Sikkim along with 10 states of Eastern and North Eastern India participated in the fair.

Editorial: Martyrs’ Day

Today is “Martyrs’ Day”, an observance which marks the day in 1948 when we lost the Mahatma to a bullet fired by a crazed fanatic of misguided xenophobia. It is not a government holiday, which is perhaps why most people not in government service hold no special observance on this day which marks the martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi. For this reason perhaps, the observance has been extended to be noticed beyond government offices. As per an official communiqué, apart from the two minutes silence observed in all government offices at 11 a.m. on 30 January, elsewhere as well, all work and movement of traffic will stop for two minutes at the said time when the entire nation pauses and pays homage to the Mahatma’s supreme sacrifice and to all who sacrificed their lives in the Freedom struggle. With this gesture, apt solemnity is attempted to be paid to the memory of those who died so that India could be free. Although the Freedom Fighters and their sacrifices are remembered on Independence Day and other national occasions as well, it is appropriate that their martyrdom is accorded special recognition on the day that the Mahatma was assassinated. Gandhi, after all, did not fall to the violence of a colonial master, but was snuffed out by the intolerance of fellow free citizens. Those who laid down their lives for a Free India had struggled for equal Indians and in Gandhi’s death, a clear, and some would say successful, attempt was made to shatter that dream and cleave the nation. If any true homage is to paid to the Mahatma and the martyrs of the Freedom struggle, it should be in the resolve to end intolerance of all kinds from the nation. Unfortunately, an election year in major states does not lend itself too well to such resolutions and an idea of India which impassioned young minds which powered the freedom struggle continues to be dishonoured.
Gandhi, everyone knows, was an ardent exponent of ahimsa, who challenged the British Empire and achieved Independence without a war, only to be paradoxically felled by a violent bullet. Mahatma Gandhi was a champion of the downtrodden, who, even as he led the Freedom struggle, refused to be distracted from the path of non-violence, even ending a non-cooperation movement once when he realised that not all Indians were completely committed to ahimsa. What is more, even as he steered the struggle for Independence, he worked as tirelessly towards eradicating untouchability and powering other social reforms. He advocated religious tolerance and sowed the seeds of secularism which found roots in the Constitution. He stood for truth at all costs and steadfast in his beliefs, refusing to make compromises even in the face of defeat or even ridicule. He believed in working with the people, taking them into confidence and leading them when he had won their endorsement and convinced them on what path needs to be taken and how. The basic Gandhian principle in working with people, some commentators have written, is to lead them away from conflicts of personal interests towards a community or community of interests. Gandhi’s goal was to bring about a community of interests by holding it up as the common good, by making Sarvodaya the motivation of all individual action. It is a process of the right discernment of the context for the sake of right action which would help to take it from conflict to harmony without sacrificing any value to that harmony. Bapu is the Father of the Nation, and on Martyr’s Day, it is important that we introspect on how we measure up as his children.

SU research team begins migrant labour study at Pakyong

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: Sikkim University’s Winter Sojourn Programme team on ‘Migrant Labour’ began its work on 25 January [and will continue till 04 February] with Pakyong, studying the issues related to migrant workers at the airport construction site and will proceed to Darjeeling on 30 Jan to complete the study, informs a press release.
These two sites have been selected after discussions within the university to ascertain the efficacy of the theme as well as the sites and people to be studied. The process started with presentations, whereby the team had to make public the issues which they would be exploring followed by rigorous discussion in which the Vice Chancellor also participated and gave suggestions and inputs, the release mentions.
This year to help the teams get proper information and also to make the winter sojourn more effective in collecting information, SU organised a three-day workshop and invited Prof. Sucharita Sen from Jawaharlal Nehru University to conduct the workshop, in which the methods of field study was discussed in detail.
In Pakyong, the team is studying the migrant labourers who have come to work from various states like West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Orissa. In Darjeeling the team would be engaged in observing the porters who are mostly migrant labourers from Nepal.
The major objective of this theme is to study the socio economic condition of the labour migrants, the release informs. The study also focuses on the issues of social security, health, wage system, hygiene, their recruitment process and support systems and also to analyse the difficulties faced by labourers of India and those coming from Nepal.
The students are working under the guidance of three faculty members Dr. Binu Sundas (Team Leader), Dr. Sebastian and Dr. Mita Poddar. The team is also analysing the perspective of locals in this regard.
Till now the team has found many issues which need attention, of which the presence of labour contractors is a major issue. The team will publish a research paper on the basis of its findings and also submit a report to the University, the release further mentions. The team has also extended its gratitude towards AAI for their support.

Rorathang Maghey Mela Committee thanks all for making celebration successful

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: The Rorathang Maghey Mela Organizing Committee convened its closing meeting, chaired by the committee’s chief patron Forest Minister Bhim Dhungel, at Pachey PWD guest House, Pakyong on Saturday.
BDO Pakyong and treasurer of the committee, Dhiraj Subedi read out the statement of income and expenditure during the meeting, informs a press release.
The meeting discussed the recently concluded Mela and expressed satisfaction over its success. The chief patron, Mr Dhungel expressed his gratitude to all the executive members and thanked them for their active support in making the Mela a success, the release mentions.
The committee also thanked all concerned who offered financial, physical and moral support to the organizing committee and expressed hope for similar co-operation and support for the next Mela.
The committee has expressed its sincere gratitude to Speaker SLA, KT Gyaltsen, Road and Bridges Minister RB Subba and Power Minister Sonam Gyatso Lepcha, who was present in the Mela as the chief guest. Further, the committee has also thanked all the cultural groups, artists from Sikkim and outside for their participation in the Mela namely the Culture and Heritage Deptt, Lok Dohri team form Kathmandu, Carnival Band of Darjeeling, Prakriti Giri, Mahindra Bagdas along with local artists, dance teams etc, the release further adds.

Pendam BGP convenes annual meeting

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: The annual meeting of Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh [BGP] Pendam was convened at West Pendam Sakukhani School in East Sikkim on Saturday. The meeting was chaired by BGP Pendam branch president, Surendra Kumar Dhungel and was attended by the executive and other members of BGP.
A BGP press release informs that in his presidential address, Mr Dhungel stated that the main objective of the meeting was to encourage integration and brotherhood for the development of the Gorkha community at the national and state level. He also mentioned about the various activities of Pendam branch for the development of the Gorkha community.
BGP state president, Dr Kamal Gurung stressed that everyone should first be aware of BGP’s national programme for the upliftment of the Gorkha community in order to contribute and support the BGP programmes. He stated that overall development of the community is not possible until there is development from every side. In this regard, Dr Gurung added that for the development of the Sikkim Gorkha society everyone should work sincerely with regard to the language, politics, economic aspects, education, etc.
The meeting was also addressed by former DGP and BGP advisor, CP Giri, BGP state working president, Narayan Bhattarai, BGP general secretary, S Pandey and BGP Pendam secretary, Deepak Kumar Khatiwara.

Dawa Sangpo welcomes Thaye Dorje’s supposed willingness to face ‘test’

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: Karmapa claimant Dawa Sangpo Dorje, at a press conference here today, welcomed a decision he ascribed to Trinley Thaye Dorje of holding a ‘test’ to find out who the actual 17th Karmapa is. He was responding to a news-report in a Nepali daily which quoted Trinley Thaye Dorje as saying that he was prepared to face any test to authenticate his position as the Karmapa.
“I am happy that finally Trinley Thaye Dorjee has accepted and spoken on the issue of ‘holding an examination’ to find out who the actual 17th Karmapa is,” he said, while speaking to media persons and added that this should be done as soon as possible so that there is no confusion either in the minds of the people or the Buddhist community at large.
He also contended that the Government of India should now take a call on this proposal and stated that the matter should not rest in the hands of the Tibetan Government in-exile.

Two selected from Sikkim for AIFF women’s soccer referee course trials

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: Nim Diki Bhutia and Sudeshna Lama of Sikkim have been short-listed to attend the selection trials for women's soccer referee course being conducted by All India Football Federation at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh from 30 January. The duo left for Jabalpur on 26 January.
A press release informs that the trials are being conducted under the Project Future India 2012 of the Asian Football Confederation. Both the girls are students of Government College, Tadong. 
While speaking to media persons, General Secretary, Sikkim Football Association, Menla Ethenpa said that this is the first time that women referees from Sikkim have shown interest in refereeing as a profession which has always been a male dominated area. 
Mr Ethenpa further said that there is a dearth of women referees in India and if educated girls from Sikkim take this profession seriously there is great scope for them not only in the country but abroad as well. He also urged others to come forward to take this profession up. 

‘Rajya Balika Diwas’ observed

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: “Rajya Balika Diwas”, a programme on girl child, was organized by the Social Justice Empowerment & Welfare Department at every ICDS centre in East Sikkim for a week from 18 to 24 January.
A press release informs that women and children attended the seminar and discussion on various topics at all ICDS centres in the East district. The main objective of this week-long programme was to encourage people to treat both boys and girls equally.
The programme also aimed at creating awareness amongst people on women trafficking and spread the message that a girl child plays an important role in the society, the release informs.

SRDS holds advocacy meeting on legal aspects of HIV and addiction

GANGTOK, 29 Jan: Sikkim Rehabilitation and Detoxification Society [SRDS] conducted an advocacy meeting at the Rangpo Drop-in-Centre on legal aspects of HIV/Drug Addiction on 25 January.
A press release informs that SRDS president, Joseph Tamang and project coordinator, Ayub Tamang gave a brief introduction about the project on Targeted Intervention among IDUs sponsored by the Sikkim State AIDS Control Society [SSACS] and its services by the DIC to the TGs [Target Group].
This was followed by a talk on related issues by Dr Upashana Gurung. Chief guest of the day, SDPO, Rangpo, Linda Palmu, in her address spoke on NDPS/SADA and stressed on the need for NGOs, Police Department and the society to work together in order to fight this problem, the release mentions. She also emphasized on the need for care, cooperation, unity and love to help the young in their fight against addiction, the release adds.

Football tourney in memory of Late South Zilla Adhyaksha kicks off

NAMCHI, 29 Jan: The Late Ravi Chandra Gurung Memorial Football Tournament 2012 kicked off on Saturday here at Singithang ground, Namchi, South Sikkim. 23 teams from different Zillas of South district will be playing knockout matches in the tournament which is being organized by Zilla Panchayat South in collaboration with the Sports and Youth Affairs Department.
On the inaugural day, MLA Namchi-Singithang, Binod Rai was present as the chief guest while it was also attended by Chairman NMC, BT Tamang, Upa Adhyaksha South, Himal Tamang, JD Sport & Youth Affairs, Kamal Chettri.
Delivering the welcome address Upa Adhyaksha South, Himal Tamang informed that Zilla Panchayat South is organizing the first football tournament in memory of Lt. Adhyaksha South, Ravi Chandra Gurung. “He was an efficient and honest officer who always worked for the upliftment of the poor and his sudden death is a big loss for the State”, said Mr Tamang. This tournament is being organised in order to remember him and his work, he added.
The chief guest, in his address, expressed his sadness on losing an able people’s representative and added that through this tournament his contribution towards the people of Sikkim will always be remembered. A traditional cultural programme was also presented by the different groups on the day.
The first match was played between Namphing-Bermiok and Chisopani wherein the former team was thrashed by the boys of Chisopani ending with the final score of 9-0.
The final match of the tourney will be played on 16 February and the winner of the tournament will be awarded a cash prize of Rs 70, 000 along with trophy while the runners-up will be awarded Rs 50, 000 along with trophy.
The programme was also attended by Zilla Panchayats, Panchayats and officers from various departments.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Governor applauds the nation’s gallant soldiers on 63rd Republic Day at Paljor Stadium

GANGTOK, 27 Jan: Governor BP Singh released four books published by different departments on the occasion of the 63rd Republic Day celebrations at Paljor Stadium yesterday.
‘Empowerment and Prosperity through Bio-Diversity Conservation in Sikkim’ published by the Forest department, ‘Sikkim towards Organic State by 2015’ by the Agriculture department, ‘Inventory and GIS Mapping of Landslides in North, East, West and South Sikkim’ and ‘Multi Hazards Risks Vulnerability Assessment of Gangtok Municipal Corporation’ by the Land Revenue & Disaster Management department were the books released.
The Governor also launched the website, of the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority on the occasion.
Earlier Mr Singh read out his Republic Day message after hoisting the National Flag. He also reviewed the parade and presented medals, awards and appreciation letter besides felicitating the World War II veterans of Sikkim.
 “In Sikkim, democracy has taken deep roots and the atmosphere is conducive for the overall wellbeing of the Sikkimese people. We have shouldered our responsibility in the most responsible manner and have consciously endeavoured to contribute towards national security and prosperity. The State enjoys unparalleled peace, progress and prosperity. As the State marches towards modernity, we continue to put emphasis on preservation of our rich culture and heritage.  
I convey my warm greetings to the gallant soldiers and members of the armed forces and the para-military forces who guard our borders. These brave men serve the nation in the most harsh and hostile conditions. I would like to place on record a deep sense of gratitude to the member of our security forces who made the supreme sacrifice to maintain security and integrity of the nation.” said the Governor of Sikkim, Balmiki Prasad Singh while addressing the 63rd Republic day celebration today at Paljor Stadium after hoisting the national flag.
World War II veterans from Sikkim were also felicitated on the day. The surviving veterans who could make it to the Republic Day event were Garjaman Rai [91yrs], Padam Singh Gurung [99 yrs], Ravi Lal Gurung [89yrs], Gyampa Namgyal Kazi [91yrs], Amar Singh Rai[99yrs] and Chandra Bdr Limboo [86yrs].
Other state and central government awards to government servants were also conferred on the occasion. [for details turn to Pg 2]
The Indian Army had put up an exhibit of army equipments and weapons at Paljor Stadium which was visited by the Governor and the Chief Minister. The Sikkim Police and Army bands also performed on the day. Various cultural programmes and a martial arts demonstration entertained the crowd which had gathered at the stadium to celebrate Republic Day.

Singtam building sinks some more

SINGTAM, 27 Jan: The ground floor of Meena Hotel building in the heart of town here which had been rendered in a precarious state by the 18 September Earthquake with its ground floor subsided, collapsed some more yesterday. This building, although obviously on the brink of collapse and posing threat to surrounding constructions had not been demolished yet.
It has now tilted even more and even more dangerously.
Locals of the area have complained to the concerned authorities about the condition of the building and complain that no steps have been initiated to demolish the building in a controlled manner.
“Why has this structure not been demolished? With the ground floor sinking even more, the entire structure can collapse at any moment. People living next to the building have shifted to dharamshalas and with relatives,” states Bandana Rai of the locality while speaking to NOW! today.

ASDASG begins dharna outside DAC

GANGTOK, 27 Jan: Members of the All Sikkim Departmental Adhoc Staff Group [ASDASG] started an indefinite dharna in front of the District Administration Centre [East] at Sichey today.
The Group, consisting of teaching and non-teaching staff employed on contract basis under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan [SSA] by the Human Resource Development Department, is seeking an extension of their tenure.
Around 15 ASDASG members began the dharna at 3:30 PM today after getting verbal permission from the Superintendent of Police [East] on 25 January. It was informed that around 40 more members would be joining the protest later while members from other districts would join from Saturday onwards.
The ASDASG members have decided to continue their dharna with banners and placards until their demands are fulfilled. It may be mentioned here that the HRDD, in a press release issued on 25 Jan, had dismissed the group’s allegations by stating that the adhoc employees were “fully aware” that their term of appointment was only for one academic year [2011] and that there was no mention of an extension in their appointment orders.
On the other hand, the group reiterated today that ASDASG is not against the government or the Chief Minister but is not satisfied with HRDD. ASDASG has also constituted a Negotiation Group to communicate with the department and the government regarding its demands.

Army truck crashes through cars before turning turtle in a Bojoghari courtyard

GANGTOK, 27 Jan: A spectacular accident involving an army truck occurred at Bojoghari on 26 January. While there was no loss of life, there was much damage to property including two private vehicles one of which was totally demolished and the front portion of a building on the highway into which the army truck crashed. The driver of the truck was injured and immediately evacuated to the army hospital.
The accident took place at around 3 p.m. on 26 January when it had just started to drizzle.
Army personnel who arrived at the spot shortly after opined that the accident was probably due to a brake failure. The truck crashed into a private vehicle [SK 02A 6752] belonging to an SAP personnel on and then into a parked car [UP 32 BJ 4600], said to belong to the manager of the SBI branch there, which it totally smashed before landing in front of a private residence off the road side.
Fortunately there was no one in the parked car at the time of the crash and the driver of the other vehicle into which the truck initially crashed also escaped without injuries. Some of the locals in the area have also voiced the need of a speed breaker at the spot.

Multi-disciplinary Committee to ensure environmental safeguards formed for Rongnichu HEP

GANGTOK, 27 Jan: The State government has constituted a Multi Disciplinary Central Level Committee for the 96 MW Rongnichu Hydro Electric Project being developed by Madhya Bharat Power Corporation Limited in East Sikkim.
The committee, which is under the Forest Department, is chaired by the Conservator of Forests (Land Use & Environment) and includes officials of various departments, including Power, Fisheries, Health, Mines & Geology and also a representative of the Sikkim Pollution Control Board. Other members include SDM East and also a representative of the Regional Office of the Ministry of Environment and Forests at Shillong, Meghalaya; representatives of Ashoka Trust for Ecology and the Environment and officials of Madhya Bharat which is the power developer.
The multidisciplinary committee has been set up to monitor and ensure the implementation of various environmental safeguards made incumbent upon the power developer and the State government during the construction and implementation of the project. It will have to look into and take up any environment related issue that may arise during this period.
The committee will also chart out the methodology to regulate payments to be made to the various State government departments by the power developer in connection with the 96 MW Rongnichu HEP in East Sikkim. These will include payments for afforestation, land acquisition etc in connection with the construction of the project.
The constitution of such a committee is mandatory on the part of the State government as part of the conditions under which the Ministry of Environment and Forests grants the Environmental Clearance and also as per the Agreement signed between the power developer and the state government. The Environmental Clearance was granted by the Ministry in April 2007. The nature and content of the monitoring will be according to the conditions of clearance granted by the Ministry.

Sikkim BJP protests equating of private univs with Central University in Governor’s address

GANGTOK, 27 Jan: The Bharatiya Janta Party’s Sikkim-unit president, Padam Bahadur Chettri, has taken exception to the Governor’s mention of the status of higher education in Sikkim in reference to the four universities, including the Central University, in Sikkim. In a press release issued today, Mr. Chettri registers his criticism of this reference included in the Governor’s Republic Day address, protesting that it is regrettable that the three private universities in Sikkim, which Mr. Chettri contends are “illegal”, are equated in the same level as Sikkim University, a Central University.
In his Republic Day address, the Governor states: “The establishment of four universities including one Central University in the State has added a new dimension to the State’s higher education system.”
Mr. Chettri contends that the private universities here are illegal because they have been established under State Legislative Assembly enactments without the President’s assent, “rendering them nothing worth more than the papers on which they were printed.”
He goes on to argue that the Sikkim Manipal University was a private university and could hence not use the name of the State in its name and demands that since education is in the concurrent list, the Sikkim Manipal University of Health, Medical and Technological Sciences Act (Act No 9 of 1995) be sent, “compulsorily”, to the President for assent.
He makes the same demand for the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India University Sikkim Act [act No 9 of 2004], the Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management University Sikkim, Act [Act No. 4, 2006] and the Vinayaka Missions Sikkim University Act [Act No 11 of 2008].
“Since the Sikkim Assembly Acts have not received the assent of President, the Universities have not met the legal norms. The degrees, certificates etc awarded by the universities, therefore, may not be legal, since, in law, they do not have existence,” he claims.
He now demands that the Governor enquire into the matter and if Presidential assent for these Acts is not produced within a week, order immediate closure of these universities and order them to refund the fee [at penal compound rate] paid by students.
“It is a convention that Governor has to read out the papers prepared by the Government on the occasion of Republic Day or Budget Session, etc. But as Governor he has to defend the law and the Constitution as stated above. In the present context, since the private universities are palpably illegal, Governor should have omitted the relevant passage in time to save himself from the embarrassment of being charged as protecting, preserving and defending PK Chamling, Sikkim Chief Minister, and not the Constitution,” the Sikkim BJP president goes on to comment.

AKRS celebrates “historic moment” of Rai tableau’s inclusion in R-Day Parade

GANGTOK, 27 Jan: After a month of hard practice and dedication, the tableau of the Kirat Khambu Rai and Sakewa Sili was presented on the occasion of 63rd Republic Day in New Delhi with full gusto, representing Sikkim and the Kirat Rai Khambu of Sikkim, informs a press release issued by the Akhil Kirat Rai Sangh [AKRS].
A group of 30 participants along with the tableau showcased the different traditions of the Kirat Khambu Rai community at Rajpath, New Delhi on Thursday. It was a “historic event for the Rai community and Sikkim as well”, the release mentions.
President AKRS Sikkim, Dr SK Rai said that it was a very successful event where the whole world was watching this historic moment on television. He has received numerous SMSes from Assam, Delhi, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, and neighboring states congratulating the successful presentation, the release mentions.
Dr Rai has also thanked everyone from the Culture department and Government of Sikkim who for the support and opportunity to present the culture and traditional of Rai community to the world, the release adds.
The cultural troupe met the Prime Minister and the President of India on 24 and 27 January respectively. Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, KN Rai, accompanied by some others was also in New Delhi to encourage the group, the release further adds.

Inter-Zilla football tourney announced in memory of late South Zilla Adhyaksha

GANGTOK, 27 Jan: South District Zilla Panchayat Members have decided to organize an Inter-Zilla Panchayat Level Football Tournament in memory of late South Zilla Adhyaksha, Ravi Chandra, at Singhithang ground from 28 January.
A total of 23 teams are participating in the tournament which carries cash prizes of Rs. 75,000 for the winner and Rs. 50,000 for the runners-up along with trophies, informs a press release.
The main objective of the tournament is to pay tribute to the Late Zilla Adhyaksha and also to promote rural football, the release informs. The tournament will also have cultural presentation from different Zilla Territorial Constituencies.

Woman electrocuted in Rongli power sub-station

GANGTOK, 27 Jan: A lady is reported to have suffered burn injuries after being electrocuted at the power sub-station in Rongli. The 500 KVA power sub station at Putali Chowk, Gangyal is managed and operated by Sew Company.
The incident occurred on the morning of 25 January when Phul Maya Gurung, 35, went after one of her goats who had wandered into the power sub station area. She was reportedly electrocuted when she entered the sub-station sustaining burn injuries on her chest, hands and back.
She was immediately rushed to the Rongli PHC from where she was referred to STNM Hospital, Gangtok.
Rongli Police have arrested two linesmen, Rajendra Subba and Nitesh Chaudhari of Sew Company who have been charged with negligent conduct and endangerment.
The said electric line is reportedly sub-let by Sew Coy under the charge of CE (Electrical) Prakash Rao who, it was informed, is on leave at present.

Meritorious service acknowledged on Republic Day

GANGTOK, 27 Jan [IPR]: Governor BP Singh presented the following awards and medals on the occasion of Republic Day 2012 celebrations at Paljor Stadium, Gangtok, yestreday.
Police Medal and President’s Police Medal
1. Shri DB Thapa Retd.. SSP who was awarded President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service on the occasion of Republic Day 2011.
2. Shri Ashok Kumar Sundas Addl SP, Pangthang who was awarded Police Medal for Meritorious Service on the occasion of Independence Day, 2010.
3. Shri Chandra Pal Gurung, Rtd. SI who was awarded Police Medal for Meritorious Service on the occasion of Republic Day 2011.
Letter of Appreciation:
1. Shri Vishal Chauhan, IAS, Secretary, Agriculture/Horticulture Department.
Meritorious Service Award
1. Dr. BP Dhakal, Consultant Grade –I (Ophthalmology), Health Care, Human Services and Family welfare Department
2. Shri Tashi Tsh. Bhutia, Dy. Director, Election Department
3. Shri Man Kumar Rai, Office Superintendent, Directorate of Fisheries
4. Shri Danuri Sherpa, SI, Sikkim Armed Police
5. Shri Damber Bahadur Khulal, ASI Sikkim Police
6. Smt. Tsewang Choden Bhutia, UDC, Building and Housing Department
7. Shri Til Bahadur Rana, O.T. Technician Grade-I, Health Care, Human Services and Family Welfare Department
8. Shri Phurba Tsh. Lepcha, Bearer, Raj Bhawan.
Best Contingent Award for Republic Day parade 2012:
1. Among Central Para Military Forces- Best Platoon – Indo- Tibet Border Police
2. Among Sikkim Police- Best Platoon- Sikkim Police Mahila Platoon.
Declaration of Service Awards to Police Officers on the occasion of Republic Day 2012 was also done which are as follows:
1. President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service to Shri Oma Hang Subba, Addl. Director General of Police, Police Headquarter Gangtok.
2. Police Medal for Meritorious Service to Shri Surendra Kumar Pradhan, Addl. Superintendent of Police, Home Guards and Civil Defence, Gangtok.

Students supplement classroom learning with field experience

INTRO: The Winter Sojourn Programme of Sikkim University was introduced in 2010-11 under the initiative of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mahendra P. Lama. One of the major objectives in introducing this programme was to ensure that classroom teaching is supplemented by field experience of the students. At the same time, it was also envisaged as a means of obtaining data relating to the problem under consideration with a view to devising appropriate solutions.
The Winter Sojourn Programme of Sikkim University is organised in such a way as to cover a variety of topics in diverse areas. This year the programme includes topics like Cancer, Tuberculosis, Migrant Labourers, Tibetan Settlements, Fashion, Amliso Broom, Past Time Games, Hydroelectric Projects, Earthquake, Musical Instruments, Human Trafficking, Forests, Medicinal Plants, Oranges, Women Vendors, Monuments and Cultural Heritage, Telephone, etc.
Serialised below are field reports from some the Winter Sojourn teams:

Study on School Dropouts
The team on ‘School Dropouts’ includes three faculty members – Dr Ruma Kundu from the Department of Economic Studies and Planning, who is also the team leader; Dr Shailendra Mishra from the Department of Ethno-Botany & Social Medicine Studies; and Mr Indraneel Mandal from the Department of Management and Commerce. It also has fifteen students from various departments of the university.
As a part of its research methodology the team had planned to carry out surveys in two areas, viz., - West Sikkim and Gangtok during the course of the allotted ten days. Accordingly it first visited Sombarey in West Sikkim on the 16th of January, 2012 to conduct surveys in Sombarey and adjoining villages like Churchgaon, Daramdin, Lungchok, Ambatte, etc. Before starting work members of the team visited the panchayat pradhan and police officials who welcomed this initiative of the university. During the survey the team members were spontaneously received by various households in these villages. After a successful five days in West Sikkim the team returned to Gangtok on the 20th for the second phase of the survey. While there was a noticeable change in the attitude of the urban respondents, the team has nevertheless enjoyed a successful run during the survey, which wrapped up on the 25th. Apart from covering households in different parts of the city and its suburbs the team members also visited institutions like different livelihood schools, the Institute of Tibetology and monasteries, besides undertaking studies of ‘special’ groups like the taxi drivers and vendors.
It has been an enjoyable and fruitful experience for all members of the team, including both students and faculty members, who have learnt a lot during these past ten days.
[from Dr. RUMA KUNDU, Assistant Professor, Department of Economic Studies and Planning, Sikkim University]

After last year’s grand success of the Winter Sojourn Programme, this year too, Sikkim University is conducting field research on various themes. The team working on the theme ‘Monuments & Cultural Heritage’ is doing an extensive research work on four endangered heritage sites: Sidrapong Hydel Power Project at Darjeeling, MacFarlen Church at Kalimpong, Damsong Gari at Pedong and Dalim Fort at Gorubathan. The team is headed by four faculty members: Dr. Sanjay Singh (Dept. of Music), the team coordinator, Mr Samar Sinha (Dept. of Asian Languages – Nepali), Mr Arnab Datta (Dept. of Asian Languages – Chinese), Ms Chunnu Khawas (Computer Science), and accompanied by 21 students from various disciplines.
The team started with their work at Sidrapong Hydel Power Project, Darjeeling on 21 January, 2012 and did an extensive study on this heritage power project, Asia’s first hydel power project, which is now defunct. The team collected valuable information from the local residents like Mr Jivan Bhandari, Mr Sanu Bhai and Mr Kamal Bhandari. The prime objective was to promote the heritage and create awareness among people and find ways for its preservation and restoration.
The second site was MacFarlen Church at Kalimpong, East India’s very first church. This antique monument is in a very dilapidated state after the 18/9 earthquake last year. The church was established by Scottish missionaries in 1891. The team is now collecting data from reliable sources like senior pastors, evangelists and reverends. They are also receiving perceptions of the local residents about the restoration of the church. Considering its antiquity and the fact that it was instrumental in the socio-economic development of the hilly communities, this church definitely deserves to get attention at national and international level.
The team would be heading for Damsong Gari, Pedong on 27 Jan.
Endangered heritage places like this are not only important for one’s culture but in fact invaluable. They might be scattered around and neglected, just like a wild flowering plant by the roadside; but nonetheless worth to be given a close look for a while. Sikkim University is surely on this track. The research work will definitely reveal many such hidden treasures. They must be preserved because they are integral to our culture.
[from Arnab Datta, Assistant Professor, Department of Asian Languages (Chinese), School of Languages & Linguists, Sikkim University]

Fifteen students from Sikkim University along with three faculty members and two Junior Executives will commence on 27 January 2012 on the winter sojourn programme on the theme ‘Cancer in Sikkim’ to evaluate different risk factors of common cancer prevalent in urban and rural population in east Sikkim (India). The theme would be based on 10 days field study by interacting cancer patients and their family along with the interactions in hospital and PHCs.
The study would be an effort to gain an insight into the prevalence and possible causes of cancer in Sikkim and to study the psychological implications of people affected with cancer. Along with this an effort would be made to explore the risk factors of cancer in Sikkim. Faculty and students would visit hospitals, pathology labs and all the source of registration to collect cancer causes and would visit their places, survey the cause and risk factors of cancer incidence.
This study is taken in Sikkim to provide a base study on cancer etiology and control and to overview the cancer problems in Sikkim. This field study is designed in such a manner which is extensively interdisciplinary, incorporating all major issues related to border for a close study through direct interaction with cancer patients. This field study can bring many important issues into mainstream academic and policy discussions which are yet to get attention from mainstream academics, policy establishments and media.
The team is led by Mr Gagan Chettri, the team coordinator is Dr. Deepti Singh while other members are Dr. Bimala Singh, Dr. Satyananda Panda and Mr Binu Dorjee.