Friday, February 24, 2012

Sikkim gets its first medal in the ongoing Veterans TT Nationals

GANGTOK, 23 Feb: Sikkim paddlers won a bronze medal in the ongoing 19th National Veterans Table Tennis Championship here at Paljor Stadium indoor gymnasium hall today. PJ Lama and D Gama bagged the bronze medal for the state in the Women’s Doubles 60 plus category. This is also the first medal for the state in this championship so far.
Finals in different categories were also played today in the championship and till the filing of this report four finals were completed. In 75 plus Men’s single final, P Jairam of Andhra Pradesh defeated RP Chatterjee of West Bengal.
In Women’s doubles 40 plus final, A Joshi and S Bakre of Maharashtra defeated M Murmu and P Banerjee of West Bengal. In Women’s doubles 50 plus final, N Kulkarni and Rajeshwari of Maharashtra beat Ujjwal and Preeti of Maharashtra.
In the 60 plus final of the same category, Bina Jacob and Nirmala of Andhra Pradesh defeated Latika and Santa of Karnataka.
The rest of the finals in different categories are scheduled to be played later this evening and tomorrow. The prize distribution ceremony of the championship is scheduled to be held on Friday afternoon.

Beauties come forward for a clean and beautiful Sikkim

GANGTOK, 23 Feb: “If Miss Sikkim can come forward to keep the town clean then why not the common people?”, said organiser of the pageant, Raj Pradhan addressing the media today at MG Marg where the Miss Sikkim finalists participated in a cleanliness drive.
Illustrating this message the beauties along with the organising members helped clean the MG Marg today. Mr Pradhan further informed that the winner of Miss Sikkim Contest will be the brand ambassador of Travel Agents Association of Sikkim [organisers of the Sikkim Snow and Culture fest which is hosting the pageant] and will get the opportunity as well as the platform to participate in Femina Miss India East contest.
In order to encourage the young contestants all 29 girls will be given the opportunity to perform in the traditional round on the final day whereas earlier only 25 contestants were selected for the final round, he informed. Although participation has not been as high as hoped we will continue to organize the contest in the capital, Mr Pradhan added.
On behalf of the contestants, the organizers have asked for support and encouragement from the public. The crown for the winner has been sponsored by Nakshatra jewellery[MG Marg] while equipments for the cleanliness drive today were provided by Big Bazaar for which the organisers thanked Big Bazaar.
Well known singers [Nepal] Mingma Sherpa and Sushma Rai will be present at the finals at May Fair resort tomorrow while Thuckchuk Lachungpa will be present as the guest of honour, it was informed.

Woman assaulted and robbed in West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 23 Feb: A case of assault and robbery against unknown persons has been registered at the Uttarey Police Station on 22 February.
On the intervening night of 21 and 22 February, some unknown persons entered the house of one Jiwan Kumari Chettri, assaulted her and made away with her gold chain, cell phone and some cash. According to a written complaint filed by the victim’s sister-in-law Lachi Maya Chettri, the victim was found lying on her bed with several injuries to her forehead. She was then taken to Dentam PHC for medical examination.
No arrests have been made, however civil sources and police personnel in plainclothes have been deployed to apprehend the culprits.

Two arrested for theft at Jorethang

GANGTOK, 23 Feb: Two persons have been arrested by the Jorethang police for theft on 22 February.
According to a written complaint filed by Mingma Wangdi Tamang, the accused are both residents of Sumbuk/ Rangkaypong [West Bengal], Raj Kumar Rai and Manoj Para, staying at Jorethang at present and working as labourers at a site where the complainant is the supervisor. The accused were staying in the building of the contractor who hired them in Jorethang. On the same floor a their residence was a stock of iron rods for tower construction.
On 22 February at around 11.30 PM both the accused broke the window grill of the said room and stole the iron rods, which was witnessed by one of the neighbours and thereby caught by the police.
Both of them have been arrested by Jorethang police and a case under section 457/380/34 [lurking house-trespass or house-breaking by night in order to commit offence punishable with imprisonment and theft in dwelling house] of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at the Jorethang Police Station.

Altercation leads to assault and robbery

GANGTOK, 23 Feb: Two persons were booked for robbery at the Jorethang Police Station on 22 February.
A written complaint filed by Bhanu Bhakta Manger of Sumbuk with In-charge [Sumbuk Outpost] alleges that he was assaulted by Tshering Lepcha and Kishore Rai of Sumbuk on 17 February. They also snatched his mobile phone, torch light and some cash. The In-charge [Sumbuk Outpost] then forwarded the complainant Bhanu Bhakta Manger to Namchi District Hospital and then to STNM Hospital in Gangtok, where he is admitted at present.
It was revealed that on 17 February, the three had gathered at the house of one Saran Kumar Pradhan at Sumbuk, where the accused Tshering Lepcha and the complainant got into a discussion regarding credit of Rs. 500 reportedly taken by the accused. Susma Pradhan [wife of Saran Kumar Pradhan] intervened and then dispersed them. Later on, they met again near the house of Bhanu Bhakta Manger [the complainant] and assaulted him.
At present, both the accused [Tshering Lepcha and Kishore Rai] are at the STNM Hospital attending to the complainant Bhanu Bhakta Manger. A case under section 392/34 [punishment for robbery] of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at the Jorethang Police Station against the duo and the case is under investigation.

Singtam public rues over disrupted power supply

GANGTOK, 23 Feb: The people of Shantinagar in Singtam have expressed their dissatisfaction over the irregular power supply for the past 6 months.  Power supply in the area is disrupted every 20 to 25 minutes which is posing a problem for students preparing for their upcoming examination, complained the public. The people have also expressed that even after making several complaints to the Power Department the problem remains.
Power officials clarified that the transformer and LT lines in Singtam, set up around 20 years ago according to the requirements of the time, have become old and get heated up resulting in disrupted supply at short intervals. The Power Office at Topa has already processed the file for the same to the head office at Gangtok, officials informed.
It is learnt that as per the present population of Shantinagar, an additional 150 KB sub-station is required and 11 KB line in 400 meters is needed for regular power supply. [from NANDU DUTRAJ]

Monk body welcomes scrapping of West Sikkim HEPs

GANGTOK, 23 Feb: All the Sikkimese monks and monasteries welcome the Government of Sikkim’s wise decision to scrap both the Lethang and Ting Ting HEPs, states a press release issued by general secretary, Monks of Sikkim, Enchey Monastery, Cho Tshering Norbu Lama.
This decision favours the preservation of the sanctity of the Sikkimese lineage and dharma and has added more significance to the upcoming Tashiding Bum Chu ceremony to be held in 08 March, the release expresses.
The release also commends the High Power Review Committee headed by the Chief Secretary on the three “anti-dharma” HEPs proposed over the sacred Rathong Chu and further expresses gratitude to SIBLAC Convenor, Tseten Tashi Bhutia, National Minorities Commission member, Spalzes Angmu and other government functionaries.
“We, with equal jubilation and prayers,  look forward to the early scrapping of the Tashiding HEP also slated over the same sacred Rathong Chu thereby ensuring that the sacredness of Rathong Chu is preserved and respected for eternity”, the release adds.

Samalingam JHS bids farewell to outgoing students

GANGTOK, 23 Feb: A short programme was held in Samalingam Govt JHS, Ranka BAC to bid farewell to the outgoing students of class VIII. This programme has been the initiative of the ward panchayat, Narapati Bhattarai for the past four years, informs a press release.
The headmaster, Bhim Shamser Chettri, staff members and students were all present on the occasion. Panchayat, Mr Bhattarai stated that the motive behind such a farewell programme is to encourage and motivate students to successfully complete their education, the release mentions.
The headmaster urged the students to maintain discipline in their new school and cultivate good reputation for themselves and their school. The students were presented khadas along with transfer certificates and gifts, the release adds.

First one storied RCC pucca house under CMRHM inaugurated at Dentam

GANGTOK, 23 Feb: The Dentam Development Block inaugurated its first pucca house constructed under the Chief Minister’s Rural Housing Mission on 21 February at Bhalukhop Namrangay Village in Upper Khandu Ward under Shanku Radhu Khandu GPU. A press release issued by BDO Dentam, Himmat Rai informs that this was also the first pucca house completed under Maneybong Dentam Constituency sanctioned under the Chief Minister’s Rural Housing Scheme and the first one storied RCC house in West Sikkim.
Area MLA, Chandra Maya Subba who is also the Chairperson of Block Rural House Construction Committee, Dentam Block officially inaugurated the house and handed over the final installment grant of Rs 1.00 lakh to the beneficiary, Shanta Bir Pantha. The total cost of the building is Rs 4.89 lakh and apart from this the site development for house was done under MG-NREGA at the cost of Rs 50,000. The beneficiary is also entitled to the incentive another Rs 10,000 as the house falls under early bird category.
This pucca house was regularly visited by all concerned block and district officials namely, the ADC (Development) West, BDO Dentam, Assistant Engineer, BAC and Panchayats, the release mentions. Though this was a purely owner driven pucca house, the support of Bishnu Kumar Panth in assisting the house construction has been acknowledged by the Nodal Department.
The inauguration was also witnessed by BB Bista, Upadhyaksha (West) and attended by ADC Development (West), Jitendra Singh Raje, BDO-Dentam, BAC and District Officials, Panchayats and local gentries.

OBC Welfare Board convenes meeting

GANGTOK, 23 Feb: The OBC Welfare Board meeting was convened on 20 February which was presided over by OBC Welfare Board, Chairman, Ashok Kumar Gurung.
A press release informs that the meeting was convened to review and discuss issues pertaining to the overall development of the OBC community in the State. Various schemes being implemented for the welfare of the OBCs with specific reference to the status of scholarship schemes, construction of OBC hostels and other educational, social and economic development programs were discussed at length.
The Board members stressed that schemes on agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and allied activities should be taken up on priority basis for the economic upliftment of the community, the release mentions.
It was resolved to request the government for provision of grants-in-aid fund for the OBC Welfare board. The Chairman also expressed dissatisfaction over the absence of some of the official Board members in the meeting, the release adds.

Catholic Churches of Sikkim contribute to earthquake relief fund

GANGTOK, 23 Feb [IPR]: As per a press release received from Catholic Churches of Sikkim, the members of Catholic Churches of Sikkim have donated a sum of Rs. 1,65,011 to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund for the earthquake victims of the18 September 2011. The release further adds that they have also prayed to almighty for avoidance of such calamities in the future.

Editorial: Petty Crime, Major Challenge

Of the three crimes reported in the pages of today’s edition, at least one hints at a social challenge which is waiting to explode in the State. A lady was assaulted at home in a remote West Sikkim town by burglars who made away with what would qualify to be a negligible bounty – a gold chain, a mobile phone and some loose cash. The perpetrators of the crime have not been identified yet and thus far no suspects have been picked up either. If this case does get solved, it would come as no surprise if the accused turn out to be juveniles who are resorting to violent delinquency to feed habits and needs beyond their means. The larger towns of Sikkim like Gangtok, Namchi, Jorethang and Singtam have already experienced many such incidents, but unfortunately, even as the social concern required to address the problem is awaited, the problem is already spreading to smaller towns.
Thefts and burglaries are common in Sikkim. Readers who have been following such reports will recall that burglars mostly target houses when the family is away and a reasonably substantial loot expected. Although burglaries are reported after almost every long weekend or festive holiday, the last case of violence related in such an attempt was from a Gangtok suburb some months ago. Even in that case, the attacker was a young person. In the West Sikkim case, although the thieves took a big risk in entering a house and attacking the lady [the furore to could have alerted neighbours], they ended up with a share that can be called petty. The assault to have ended worse for the victim, and while it is fortunate that she got away with only bruises, what is worrying is that there are groups willing to put their victims to grievous harm for even ‘petty’ pickings. What is also cause for worry is that petty crimes are no longer rare and the number of such incidents which also include violence is also growing. It is important for the society to address this problem, work out a process by which these delinquents can be counselled back into behaving more responsibly before they are irretrievably lost. Responsibility towards this section cannot be shirked because they are still young and because their futures have been compromised by the collective failure of the society to watch out for them and groom them when it is most required. What is also worrying is that even as these youth remain ignored by the society at large, they seem to have access to influences which see nothing wrong in either violence or stealing. They also offer themselves as ready fodder to be discharged during politically charges times which are not very far in future with the assembly elections barely two years away.
Only the immediate family and perhaps neighbours can keep an eye out against corrupting influences, but this should be complemented by local organisations which can engage the cast away youth in activities which can play them back into becoming part of the society. This is important, and should not be left for the cops who will only start harassing the kids and chasing them away from street corners and pushing them into deeper recesses where even reaching hem will become difficult. It is really time that Sikkim gave itself an NGO with worked among this section.

Phachey Sernya lifts traditional archery tourney at Yangthang

YANGTHANG [SAMDONG], 23 Feb: Phachey Sernya lifted the trophy of the traditional archery tournament organized by Yangthang Archery Association by beating Assam Lingzey Church in the final match played here on Wednesday. The winner scored 36 points while the opponent scored only 13 points.
Area MLA, Tumin Lingee constituency-cum-Chief Whip, Ugen Gyatso Bhutia was present as the chief guest accompanied by Zilla panchayat, Saraswati Regmi, SDF Cheli vice-convenor, Tika Devi Nepal, ward panchayat, senior party members and government contractors as the guests of honour.
The final rounds of the one-sided match turned interesting as the guests of honour announced Rs. 1,000 to players who shot the target and Rs. 5,000 to those who shot thubjey [two consecutive targets by the same player].
Though none of the players were able to shoot thubjey but Phachey players managed to earn 2 points by hitting the target once to win the tournament.
The chief guest also announced Rs. 2000 each for single target hit and Rs. 10,000 for thubjey. As the tournament was already over, the committee decided to organize extra rounds with new rules. Two top players from each team were selected and given 5 arrows each.
In this too, no one scored thubjey but Saroj Rai, team captain of Assam Lingzey and Samcho Bhutia of Phachey bagged a target each winning Rs. 2000 each in cash.
Then, both of them were given three arrows and the one to hit the target first was to receive a cash prize of Rs. 6,000. None of them shot the target and the chief guest distributed the amount to both the teams equally.
During the tournament Ms. Pubry Bhutia was felicitated for her utmost dedication towards the promotion of traditional archery in the area along with her late husband Tashi Bhutia. She was handed over a shawl and citation by the chief guest.
In his address, the chief guest expressed happiness and gratitude towards the organizing committee. He said that by organizing such tournaments, the committee had done a great job for preserving and promoting age-old traditions of the state.
“Now traditional archery has been inducted in PYKKA, I will do whatever I can to promote this game in the area,” he assured.
Later, Samcho Bhutia of Phachey was awarded Man of the Match trophy along with a cash prize of Rs. 1,000. Pema Ongyal Bhutia of the same team bagged the Man of Series trophy along with Rs. 1,000 cash prize.
The winners trophy alongwith a cash prize of Rs. 10,000 was handed over to Phachey team captain by the chief guest. The runners up were handed over a trophy and cash prize of Rs. 7,000.
The chief guest from his side handed over cash prize of Rs. 3,000 to the match umpire, Tashi Bhutia for free and fair judgement.

Ugen Gyatso calls on Tumin-Lingee to maintain model constituency image

SAMDONG, 23 Feb: “Tumin Lingee constituency is moving in the right direction and people’s support is a must to achieve the desired development,” said Ugen Gyatso Bhutia, area MLA-cum-Chief Whip of the Government during the finals of the traditional archery tournament organized by Yangthang Archery Committee here on Wednesday.
Mr. Gyatso, who attended the programme as the chief guest, pointed out that the constituency had been regarded as a model constituency by the Chief Minister during his village to village tour last year and appealed to the public to maintain it with unity and dignity.
Mentioning that the Sikkim Democratic Front was celebrating its second decadal anniversary on 03 and 04 March at Jorethang playground in a grand manner, Mr. Gyatso appealed to the public of Tumin Lingee constituency to join the celebrations whole-heartedly. He announced that the party has expected minimum gathering of one lakh people and urged the public not to miss such a historic occasion.
“SDF party led by the Chief Minister has dedicated its 20 years to the well-being of Sikkimese people and this is the time for us to dedicate a day for the party,” he appealed.
He also urged the party functionaries of the area to give their utmost support to make the occasion a grand success by making proper arrangements for the public to reach the venue and return safely.
He further said that if people feel that he has made any mistakes, they should come forward and speak to him directly. “There are certain negative elements active in the area, but people must not pay attention to them and rather work together peacefully to make the constituency best of the best,” the MLA added.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Losar dedicated to Tibetans inside Tibet

GANGTOK, 22 Feb: Tibetans here today joined their compatriots in exile across the world in observing their New Year, Losar, bereft of any celebrations and with solemn and somber gestures of solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet. The community, it may be recalled, has resolved not to celebrate Losar this year in light of the crisis inside Tibet which has seen a rash of self-immolations by Tibetans in protest against continuing Chinese occupation. These self-immolations have triggered stronger protests by the people inside Tibet which have been greeted with a severe crackdown and more lives lost to Chinese police firings.
In Gangtok, the Tibetans took out a Solidarity Rally organized jointly by the Tibetan Youth Club and Tibetan Women’s Association of Gangtok. More than 500 people participated in the rally which started from Sera-jey Dho-phenling Monastery at Chandmari, came down  Tibet Road passed through Kazi Road and ended at Chokasum at Nam Nang.
The Tibetan New Year officially begins with Tsedhor, the religious ceremony attended by officials of the Central Tibetan Administration and presided over by the Dalai Lama. Tsedhor was held at the rooftop of Tsuglha khang, Main Cathedral in Dharamshala, but the dances and music, which usually form part of this celebration, were not performed this year.
After the religious ceremony, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile started a daylong Solidarity Hunger Strike for the victims of Chinese police firing and Self Immolations in Tibet at the Tsuglha khang courtyard. Head of the three pillars of Central Tibetan Administration, Parliamentarians, officials of Central Tibetan Administration, and hundreds of public gathered to observe the hunger strike. The Speaker of the Parliament, Mr. Penpa Tsering delivered the Losar Message [turn to pg2 for complete message].
As mentioned, the mood was as somber in Sikkim as well.
“We are not celebrating Losar with gaiety and fanfare this year and are instead taking out a Solidarity peace rally to protest Chinese crackdown in Tibet and in support of the people who have given up their lives for the sake of a Free Tibet,” explains Chung Chung, president of TYC, Gangtok.
“All of the people who set themselves on fire were very young - between the ages of 18 to 25 - and have not even seen a free Tibet,” he added.
“We lost our freedom in 1959 and since then there is no freedom of religion, democracy or women’s rights in Tibet. We are being supressed by the Chinese government from doing anything,” he said, adding that the people, especially the younger generation in Tibet want the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet as he is also their spiritual leader.
On 23 January, people of Amdo and Kham in eastern Tibet had taken out a peace procession, but the Chinese government opened fire on them without giving any reason, thereby killing 07 on the spot and injuring more than 70 persons, he further informed. The people who had come from Tibet for the Kalachakra prayers in Bodh Gaya have still not been allowed to return to their homes and have been forced into reeducation camps in Tibet Autonomous Region by the Chinese Government, he added.
He further informed that the rally taken out today was also to bring awareness amongst the Tibetans as well as the other communities about the plight of the Tibetan people inside Tibet.
Tibetans in Darjeeling sat on a one day hungerstrike, while in Kalimpong they are sitting on a relay three day hunger strike. The decision to tone down Losar celebrations here was also in solidarity with the loss suffered by Sikkim in the 18 September 2011 Earthquake, members of the Tibetan community add.
“We were earlier planning to take out a candle light rally in the evening here in Gangtok, but instead of the rally now all the Tibetans have been advised to light butter lamps infront of their respective homes in the evening,” the TYC president further informed. As per plans, Tibetans around the world will be switching off the lights in their respective homes at 9 p.m. to pledge solidarity with their compatriots inside Tibet.
“Tibetans in exile have reacted to the pain and suffering inside Tibet, while the monks and nuns who immolated theselves were sacrificing their bodies to draw the world’s attention to Chinese repression in Tibet”, the TYC president stated.
“In exile, we support those in Tibet who are on the front line of protecting our religious and cultural integrity; we try to ensure that their voices are heard by the world community. It is our responsibility to make sure that the calls of those Tibetans for restoration of freedom are heard, and their sacrifices are not in vain,” he further added.

25 to vie for the Miss Sikkim title this Friday

GANGTOK, 22 Feb: The grooming sessions and preliminary rounds of the Miss Sikkim contest ended today at Smile Land. Participants were judged for various titles namely Miss Clear Skin, Miss Beautiful Smile, Miss Silky Hair and Miss Talented which will be declared on the final day of the contest.
Out of 29 contestants 25 will make it to the final rounds to be held at May Fair resort on 24 February, which is being organized by CKIM Travels as part of the Sikkim Snow Fest. Following two days of grooming session the contestants walked the ramp today dressed in traditional attire ranging from Bhutia, Nepali to traditional Indian wear.
Event coordinator Arun Dinesh said that it is an awesome opportunity to come up with such a fabulous show after such a long time. “I have my own recruitment firm at Kerala, and have also been working with the best choreographers”, he mentioned.
He further added that innovative methods are being used to prepare all the contestants. “They are becoming bolder and are learning a lot. 90 % of them have been waiting for such an opportunity for a long time. This is just a way to make them professional”, he added.
Event organizer TAAS, Biren Tamang said that the contestants this time are from different parts of Sikkim. “In places like Mizoram, Manipur they often host such programs and Sikkim is also not far behind, it is also coming up with this kind of programs”, he added.
Contestant, Zennyla Bhutia B Com graduate [22 yrs] from Development Area here said “The experience has been great. Now when I am getting a chance I want to make use of each and every lesson that is being taught here. It has given me a platform to fulfill my dreams”.
Judges present in the final round will be [former Miss Sikkim, 1999] Anu Pradhan, [Designer from Calcutta] Amenda Hymes, [Film Director] Prashant Rasaily , [Nayuma MD] Roshan Rai, [Branch Manager ] Pranjol Gogoi, [Lecturer] Pankaj Thapa.
Singer Frances Yee Lepcha from Kolkata will also perform on the final  day, it was informed.

First Lepcha fusion rock band ‘Wvaoth’ to open for ‘Rock On Beat’ contest

GANGTOK, 22 Feb: The ‘Rock On Beat’ contest is now all set to enthrall the audience with Dream Diabolic of Namchi as the headlining act along with special guest band ‘Wvaoth’, the first traditional Lepcha fusion rock band of Sikkim, at Epica Garden, Saramsa, on 24 February.
A total of 15 bands from within and outside the state will battle for the title and Rs. 50,000 cash prize. The event is being organized by the Gangtok based Star Entertainment and is part of the ongoing Sikkim Snow Festival.
Addressing a press conference today, bass guitarist of Dream Diabolic, Tashi Lama informed that as the event is also being organised for a social cause so the band members have decided to come forward to support the contest. He informed that the band has already won many contests and would be happy to support such events in the future too.
Dream Diabolic was formed in 2008 and has Rahul Rai as the vocalist, Nimesh Pradhan on drums, Phurba Sherpa on lead guitar and Nima Sherpa on keyboard.
Rickhel Lepcha, lead guitarist of Wvaoth, informed that the band is the first Lepcha rock fusion band from Sikkim and performs with traditional Lepcha instruments. The band was formed on 09 March 2009 with Mickma Tshering Lepcha as the vocalist, Palden Lepcha on drums and Raju Chettri as the bassist.
The band has already performed at different places across the state and also at Dimapur, Hyderabad, Aurangabad and other places in the country.
Managing Director of Star Entertainment, Tshering Wangchuk Lepcha informed that the main objective of the event was to provide an appropriate platform for talented musicians. He also expressed his gratitude to the Rajya Sabha MP, Hissey Lachungpa and UD&HD Minister, DB Thapa for their support in organizing the event.
Mr Lepcha informed that on the day of the show, the organizers will put up baskets at the venue where the audience can drop wearable clothes, books and other stationery. These materials will then be handed over to the Dirty Angels Motorcycle Club of Gangtok, who will then distribute it among the poor and needy people and children. The books will be handed over to Rabong Monastery library in March. The biker’s club plan to travel upto Yuksom.
The contest will have a four-member panel of judges; Sachin Gurung from Noida School of Rock, Dominic Moktan, who studied music from the Trinity College of London, Suman Karthak, bassist of Still Waters and renowned musician, Diwas Rai.
The conference was also attended by general secretary, Karma Namgyal Pintso and treasurer, Pranay Chettri of Star Entertainment.

Manokranti Yogi postpones ‘underground meditation’

GANGTOK, 22 Feb: Manokranti Yogi Gajendra Raj Nembang Limboo has postponed, ‘till further notice’, his 15-day ‘underground meditation’ feat planned for the SAP Camp at Pangthang, which was scheduled to start today.
A press release informs that on the request of the Police headquarter he has postponed his underground medication and would inform about the date and venue for his underground meditation in Gangtok soon.

SATA wins 2 bronze medals at Senior Nationals

GANGTOK, 22 Feb: Two senior members of the Sikkim Amateur Taekwondo Association (SATA) team have returned with two bronze medals from the recently concluded 30th Senior National Taekwondo championship which was held from 15 to 17 Feb at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi.
A press release informs that Suman Tamang (I.R.B) won the bronze medal defeating Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, J & K but lost to SSB in the semi final. While, Benuka Manger from Namchi SAI defeated Bihar and J & K but lost to Madhya Pradesh in the semi final.
President, YB Thapa and all the members of Sikkim Amateur Taekwondo Association have congratulated them for their achievements, the release adds.

Sikkim Bihari Jagaran Manch constitutes women’s wing

GANGTOK, 22 Feb: Sikkim Bihari Jagaran Manch, Lall Bazaar branch has constituted its women’s wing headed by Saroj Devi Prasad as the president, Poonam Devi Gupta as vice-president, Nibha Devi Jha as general secretary and Soni Devi Thakur as assistant general secretary.
This was announced at a press conference of the Manch, which was jointly addressed by its president, Suresh Prasad, vice-president, Bijay Kumar Kesari and general secretary, Ashwini Jha.
Likewise, the Lall Bazaar branch also conducted elections for the vacant posts of assistant general secretary and treasurer under the supervision of its central committee. M Thakur was chosen as the new assistant general secretary and Arbind Gupta as treasurer of the Lall Bazaar branch.
Today, the executive members of the Manch also congratulated the team members of Anzac Cricket Club of Lall Bazaar for winning the Late Dawa Namgyal Cricket Memorial Cup recently at Pangthang. The team defeated Tashi Namgyal Senior Secondary School team in the final match.

Poklok-Kamrang SDF workers meet to discuss Maha Adhivesan celebration

GANGTOK, 22 Feb: Sikkim Democratic Front workers of Poklok-Kamrang constituency in South Sikkim have resolved to extend their full support for the success of SDF second decadal Maha Adhivesan on 03 and 04 March at Jorethang. This was decided at a constituency level meeting of the Poklok-Kamrang today, which was chaired by the SDF South district president, Gagan Rai.
An SDF press release issued by publicity secretary, Amber Rai informs that the meeting discussed various issues regarding the support to be extended from the constituency to the Maha Adhivesan. The meeting also decided that the youth of the constituency will extend full support to make various preparations prior to and during the programme. The meeting has also unanimously decided to renew the party membership by 29 February.

SU’s second Executive Council holds its first meeting

GANGTOK, 22 Feb: The first meeting of the second Executive Council of Sikkim University was held at SMIMS auditorium today. The new executive council has Prof RR Rao, Prof Ashum Gupta, Prof SC Singh, Prof Atul Sharma, Prof Kiran Datar, Sonam Wangdi and CS Rao, who were welcomed by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mahendra P Lama by offering khadas.
On the occasion, Prof Lama mentioned that the new set of executive council has eminent academics, personalities and policy makers. He further stated that their presence will help the university to achieve larger goals and targets. He stressed that in the university the role of the executive council and members are critical, it gives overall guidance and brings forth fresh knowledge and the latest technology.
Prof Lama mentioned that the day is also memorable for the University as it completes four and half years of its existence overcoming various challenges. For the same, he congratulated the whole SU family. He added that SU has the long term goal to make the region a knowledge hub in higher education.
The VC also spoke on the achievements, objectives, academic courses and programmes and other programmes of the SU including the oral history programme of the university.
Fellow [Academic] Academic Affairs, CB Sunwar, said that within these 3 yrs there has been good development in the University. If we talk about quality, we have the best instruments and are also trying to establish the best library, he mentioned. Regarding teaching, we are planning to upgrade all general courses to honours degree courses, Mr Sunwar added.
Librarian, TK Guha said that we have grown quickly in terms of resources like books, internet[wi-fi], anyone can come over here in the library and use this system. This year we have added 4780 books to the library, he added.
Winter Sojourn Provost, School of Social Sciences, Dr Sebastian said that the main objective is to take students outside the classroom and give them an orientation/training on field-based studies and research. The first winter sojourn was held in December 2010 and January 2011 wherein 200 students and 40 faculty members participated, he added.


International community urged to register concern, intervene to de-escalate crisis inside Tibet

INTRO: Speaker, Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) , Penpa Tsering, read out the statement of the TPiE during the Solidarity Hunger Strike observed by the Tibetan Parliamentarians on the first day of Tibetan Losar at Tsuglhakhang, Dharamshala...

Amongst the patriotic Tibetan men and women who have been committing the heroic act of self-immolations in Tibet under the two main slogans demanding “the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet” and “freedom and human rights for the Tibetan people”, Venerable Tapey of Kirti Monastery set the trend on 27th of February, 2009. Since then, between the 16th of March, 2011 and 19th of February, 2012, some 23 Tibetans both lay and ordained, have committed self-immolation in Tibet for the sake of Tibet and its people. Two Tibetans have done the same outside of Tibet totalling 25 so far. Fifteen of them including three nuns have lost their precious lives in the process and we have not been able to ascertain the condition and whereabouts of the rest.
We have also come to know from reliable sources that on the 23rd of January, 2012 which was the occasion of the celebration of the Chinese New Year, Tibetans in Tibet observed it as a day of mourning by holding peaceful demonstrations. But the Chinese police and the militia opened indiscriminate gun-fire on them and 4 Tibetans in Draggo, 2 in Serta and 1 in Zamthang totalling 7 were massacred. We have further come to know that on the 8th of February of this year, the same type of peaceful demonstrations had taken place in other places like Nangchen, Trindu, Zatoe, Golok, Chuchen, Chabcha etc while observing ‘White Wednesday’ which is the favourable prayer day for the long life of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. However, as the Chinese government had sealed of all internet and phone connection in most of the places in Tibet and especially those where demonstrations had taken place, we have not been able to ascertain the scale of oppression and the number of people killed, tortured or arrested. There is in effect, an unapparent military rule in Tibet at present and the Chinese government has declared an open “war” on the Tibetan people as whole.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile has continuously been appealing to the Government of China and the International Community regarding the urgent situation in Tibet through its series of press statements. Recently, a special delegation of the TPiE travelled to New Delhi to brief a number of Embassies of different countries about the fast deteriorating conditions in Tibet. We also wrote an open letter to the Chinese President.
Through this statement, we once again appeal to the Government of China and the International Community as follows:
Appeal to the Chinese leaders:
1. Withdraw the large reinforcement of military to reduce tension immediately and take measures to give due consideration to the aspirations of the Tibetan people.
2. Allow independent, non-partisan fact finding delegations to ascertain the ground realities. If you have issues with that, allow a Tibetan fact finding delegation to visit Tibet.
3. Stop the policies and programs aimed at destroying the identity of the Tibetan people. Provide religious freedom and undertake reconciliation measures to assuage the hurt sentiments of the Tibetan people.
4. Stop sedentarization of Tibetan nomads and include Tibetan participation in environmental stewardship by using their centuries old wisdom of having lived on the Tibetan Plateau.
5. All developmental activities in Tibet must give due consideration to Tibet’s fragile environment and should accrue due benefit to the native Tibetans.
6. Release all political prisoners including Panchen Rinpoche Gedun Choekyi Nyima, just as Burma did so to create more trust between the people and the government.
7. Resume dialogue with the Tibetans with the commitment and conviction to seek a lasting solution to the Issue of Tibet, and peace and stability in the whole geo- strategic region.

Similarly to the International Community, we call upon the leaders of the free world to not only express your concern but also seek your intervention in de-escalating the prevailing dangerous situation inside Tibet and help find a lasting solution to the Issue of Tibet for a mutually beneficial agreement through dialogue.
We are confident that while engaging constructively with China, you will not refrain from voicing your concern for the values of democracy, equality, justice and basic human rights that you so very much cherish.
Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile
Dharamsala: Dated: February 22, 2012

Ting-Ting and Lethang HEP supporters file RTI with Power Deptt

GANGTOK, 21 Feb: The people supporting the development of the 99 MW Ting-Ting and 96 MW Lethang hydel projects at Yuksom and Tashiding have urged the State government and those protesting these projects to rethink on the decision to scrap the two projects.
A resident of Ting-Ting has also filed an RTI application with the Energy and Power Department on Monday seeking information on the members of the Review Committee and their visits to the project sites [refer to NOW! dated 17 Feb 2012]. The petitioner has also demanded information on the final report of the committee, which resulted in the closure of Ting-Ting and Lethang projects in the area.
Maintaining that people of the area are in favour of these projects and those protesting do not belong to the area, this group wants to know why those against the projects did not voice their concerns when the various surveys were being conducted for around six months before the starting of the projects.
Further mentioning that during the six-month survey period, the land under the projects were not allowed to be used for farming and no compensation has been provided so far, the group contend that if the section against these projects are genuinely fighting for a cause then they should raise this issue as well.
When the project on Rathong-Chu River was shut down in July 1997, it rendered around 480 people jobless and the Rs 40 crore spent on the project useless, the group alleges, contending further that shutting down these projects was an attack on the poor and needy of the area.
It is also learnt that around 200 laborers working under Shiga Energy at the Tashiding project submitted a memorandum to the District Collector [West] on the employment issue. In the memorandum they have asked the District Administration to give an explanation on what would happen to the employees of Shiga Energy if the project is shut down.
On the government notification scrapping these two projects, the group has questioned the ‘public interest’ on the basis of which the projects were scrapped stating that people of both areas are in favour of the projects as proven during the public hearing held on 15 September 2010. On the same, they have asked for a clarification from the Chief Secretary.
They have also asked for a clarification from the Review Committee constituted for these projects on why they are unaware of the interactions the Committee is supposed to have had with the locals.
On the section protesting against these projects, the group alleged that they have their own personal motives and interests which are not in favour of the state or its people. Further alleging that people with a political agenda are trying to ride on this issue the group urged such people to understand the real needs of the people of the area.

Sikkim to host Dr Talimeren Ao Memorial Football Tourney

GANGTOK, 21 Feb: Continuing with the trend of hosting national level events in the state, Sikkim has now received the opportunity to host the Dr Talimeren Ao Memorial Football Tournament here at Paljor Stadium from 02 to 09 March.
The state is hosting this prestigious football tournament for the first time. All eight NE states will take on each other in the tournament which has Manipur as the defending champions.
The Department of Sports and Youth Affairs is working on a war-footing to make the tournament a grand success and to provide the best hospitality to the participating teams.
Addressing a press conference at Paljor Stadium today, S&YA Secretary, Karma P Bhutia informed that all eight states will be taking part in the tournament and will be divided into two pools of four teams each. Each team will play three matches in its pool and the top two teams will enter the semi-final rounds from each pool.
He further informed that the responsibility to choose and prepare the state team for the tournament has been given to the Sikkim Football Association, Although Sikkim has got the opportunity to host the tournament for the first time, the state team has been regularly taking part in the tournament, Mr Bhutia added.
It is learnt that if Bhaichung Bhutia is free then there are chances that he might play for the state in the tournament.
The winner of the tournament will receive a cash prize of Rs 7 lakh, while the first runner-up will get Rs 4 lakh and second runner-up will receive Rs 2 lakh and the team in the fourth place will get Rs 1 lakh. Likewise, four teams who get knocked-out after the league will also receive Rs 50,000 each.
The tournament also has cash prizes of Rs 50,000 for Fair Play, Rs 25,000 for Player of the Tournament, Rs 10,000 for Highest Scorer and Rs 10,000 for the Best Goalkeeper.
Apart from cash prizes for the players, team officials will also be awarded cash prizes, it was informed. The coach and manager of the winning team will be awarded Rs 20,000 each while the runner-team team’s coach and manager will get Rs 10,000 each.
Dr Talimeren Ao was born on 28 January 1918 at Changki Village in Mokokchung district, Nagaland and died on 13 September 1998. He received his MBBS degree from RG Kar Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata in 1950.  Maharana Club of Guwahati, Assam was the first club he played for after which he played for Mohun Bagan from 1943 to 1952 and was also the first Naga to captain Mohun Bagan for 3 times.
He captained the first Indian Olympic Football team [barefooted] in London in the year 1948 and also played against Hongkong, Philippines, Singapore, Japan, France and Burma in 1951.  Dr Ao was selected as a member of All India Football Selection Committee in 1968 and later became a member of the All India Council of Sports and the Nagaland Sports Council.

Ralap road mishap claims one

RALAP, 21 Feb: One person was killed in a road accident near Elaichi Khola at Ralap on the Dikchu-Singtam highway on the night of 20 February at around 8.30 PM. The Mahindra Scorpio bearing registration No. SK-01P 2465 plunged down around 800 feet off the road.
The vehicle was plying from Mamring towards Ralap with five occupants on board including the driver.  The deceased Dil Bahadur Pradhan, 30, a resident of Ralap, East Sikkim died on the spot while the other four occupants including the driver were grievously injured.
The injured Kiran Subba, Ranjit Subba, Bishwas Chettri and Pempa Tamang (driver) were rushed to Central Referral Hospital at Gangtok.  The deceased is survived by his wife and one daughter. The dead body was handed over to the family after post mortem at the Singtam District Hospital.

Tibetan Parliament urges World to take concrete step on Tibet

GANGTOK, 21 Feb: “We strongly urge the international community to take more responsibility and leaders and countries of the free world to take concrete steps in helping to end the crisis in Tibet,” the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile appealed through a press statement today detailing the critical situation inside Tibet which has convinced Tibetans across the world not to celebrate their new year, Losar, as an expression of solidarity with their compatriots inside Tibet.
“News is also emerging of the arrest of many Tibetan writers and intellectuals from all across Tibet. Tibetan parliament in exile is deeply concerned and worried about the critical situation in our homeland. We once again fervently urge the Chinese government to give serious consideration to our legitimate demands and appeals we have made so far,” the statement reads.
On 19 February 2012, eighteen-year-old Nangdrol set himself on fire in front of the Samdrupling Jonang monastery in Barma village, Zamthang county, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.  He died on the spot.
Chinese police officers attempted to take away his body, but were prevented from doing so by the monks of Zamthang Jonang monastery. The monks later cremated him and performed all the necessary rituals and prayers for the deceased.
 According to eyewitnesses, while setting himself on fire Nangdrol folded his hands in a gesture of peace, calling for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. Nangdrol was the son of father Chensig and mother Nyingmo. Of the eight siblings, he was the fourth oldest.
On 26 January 2012, Tibetans living in Barma, Zamthang county participated in a widespread demonstration against the Chinese government. The Chinese police responded by firing indiscriminately on the protestors, killing a Tibetan named Ugen and critically wounding several others. Since then the county has been kept under severe military restrictions.

Counselling for CM’s Merit Scholarship Scheme on 26 Feb

GANGTOK, 21 Feb [IPR]: The Counselling for the two hundred selected candidates  who are to be provided admission for 2012 session under Chief Minister’s Special Merit Scholarship Scheme is scheduled to be held on 26 February at Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok.
As per the press note received from Human Resource Development Department, Government of Sikkim the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling will preside over the programme. The department has further said in its note that the father or mother of the selected student and the selected student himself/herself has to be present at Chintan Bhawan by 10.30 am along with the original Birth Certificate of the selected student, certificate of Identification of the father of the selected student and Class V Mark sheet.
It may be mentioned that the Chief Minister’s Special Merit Scholarship Scheme was started w.e.f. 2010 under which class V toppers of government schools are being provided admission in reputed public schools in and outside the state in Class VI.
MP urges youth to make the right choices at Dist Youth Convention.

ASESE&UA to focus on rights of Sikkim Subject and COI holders

GANGTOK, 21 Feb: All Sikkim Educated Self Employed & Un-employed Association [ASESE&UA] has announced that the strengthening of the rights of Sikkim Subjects and Certificate of Identification holders will be its main focus for this year.
The association has decided to continuously appraise the various matters related to this issue to the concerned agencies in the coming days for various rectifications.
Displaying various documents and COIs issued to non-Sikkimese, ASESE&UA president, Nawin Kiran alleged that many non-Sikkimese people in the state have been getting the Sikkim Subject certificate illegally.
He mentioned that the association feels that acquiring COI through illegal and unfair means is an infringement on the rights of Sikkimese people. He further alleged that the association also found technical errors and mistakes in clerical practices in the certificates.
Mr Kiran maintained that the association is not against any individual but purelyin favour of larger public interest as the rights of the Sikkimese people have been deprived.
Apart from this, the ASESE&UA welcomed the Gangtok Municipal Corporation’s notice in local newspapers informing the masses not to sublet the Trade Licenses to others as per sub rule 1(F) of Rule 13 of STL&MPR, 2011.
On the same, the association’s spokesperson, Zigmi Bhutia urged the GMC and other concerned agencies to strictly follow the said rule and to physically verify the implementation of the rule and not only cancel licenses of the defaulter but also initiate criminal proceedings against them.
He informed that the association would also educate the general public on demographic change, unemployment and other ill effects due to practice of trade license subletting.
Mr Bhutia informed that unemployed youth should utilize the trade license to be self-employed and self-reliant.
The association has also appointed its general secretary, Sonam Pintso Bhutia, as the vice-president of the association. It is informed that Mr Bhutia has to meet the expectations of the said post as it carries large amount of responsibilities, failing which the president and executive committee [more than 50%] hold the right to remove him from the post at any point of time.

Editorial: Start Preparing for the Monsoons

The evening showers which have fallen over parts of Sikkim over the past week should get everyone wondering about what awaits the roads once the nor’westers open up in a few weeks time and when the monsoons arrive a couple of months later. The stability of the hills here has never been very reassuring and have now been noticeably weakened by the 18 September 2011 earthquake and several tremors since. As for the roads, the National Highway is a work-in-progress, scratched, and cracked by a combination of widening and tectonic efforts. The rest of the State has a series of rural roads under various stages of construction. The road to Tsomgo has become even more unreliable and the North Sikkim Highway remains a risky venture to drive on. While it was always advisable for the concerned agencies to reinforce the roads during the dry winter months in preparation for the onslaught of the rains, the havoc caused on the road networks by the earthquake have made this initiative even more necessary. Unfortunately, one does not notice any urgency in shoring up the health of the roads. One hears of the need for more funds, but when one travels, the highways resemble excavations, when they should have been receiving fortification instead. Sources inform that at a recent seminar of the National Disaster Management Agency in New Delhi, BRO officials highlighted the need for satellite images of Sikkim and satellite mapping of the terrain here to prepare better for the oncoming monsoons and to understand better the scale to which the road alignments here had been compromised by the earthquake and what risks waited in ambush above the roads. The concerned agency is reported to have told them that this will take a year. Why it should take a year to provide these is beyond comprehension especially since this is an urgent requirement for an emergency situation. The BRO participant at the seminar is reported to have stated that they were expecting an 18 Sept earthquake-like situation vis a vis the roads in the monsoons and would obviously be able to avert such a scenario if they were provided better information – like a satellite mapping of the state. Since this is not happening any time soon, one awaits to learn of what BRO has lined up as Plan-B. The earthquake is now some months in the past and with most roads reopened, the horror of the weeks after the earthquake is fading. It is perhaps time for a coordination meeting of some sorts for the State to take stock of its infrastructure afresh and augment its preparedness for the wet months ahead.  Collaborative effort, one which includes frequent monitoring and planning to a deadline, is necessary for the State to be in any condition to weather through the monsoons.

Rotary honours local heroes

GANGTOK, 21 Feb: Rotary Club of Gangtok South honoured selected persons for their commendable work during the 18 Sept earthquake in a special function held on 18.Feb, informs a press release. The club also honoured three persons who had contributed their valuable time and service without any honorarium for the furtherance of education of the differently abled children of Vikalang Society of Sikkim.
Those felicitated were Sambup Bhutia (BDO Chungthang) who had swung into action immediately after the earthquake for the people of Chungthang, the epicentre of the earthquake. Hiran Gurung (Private Entrepreneur) reached Chungthang and other affected areas of Dzongu with three Mountaineers with essential food stock and equipment.
Karma Lodro (Assistant Engineer-Power Chungthang) worked day and night to restore power supply and even helped the Army in search and rescue of the victims trapped in the earthquake.
Major Sonal Pravin Rajput (Official in-charge of 4.20 RMPL BRO North Sikkim) organised rescue operation and worked round the clock for clearing the road across Chungthang, South division. Sonam Pintso Bhutia (ASI Food), who organised tirelessly to reach essential food commodity to remote areas of Chungthang and Dzongu.
Tashi Chophel (SDM Chungthang) saved lives of two (2) persons from an active land slide and organised relief camps on war footing.
The release further informs that the other four members who contributed by giving free tuition and personal attention to differently abled children of Vikalang Society were RoshanChettri of Five ways School, Paras Shigh, lecturer at Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences, Purnima Gurung, lecturer at Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences and Tenshang Bhutia an academic relation counsellor at Promise Institute for personality development of children, Baluakhani.
They were honoured with trophy khadas and certificates. The chief guest for the special function was Health Secretary, Dr Kumar Bhandari while the guest of honour was Rnt. (Dr) Yougesh Verma, dist. Governor 2012-13 and the first Rotarian from Sikkim to occupy this post, the release adds.

Gandhi Shilp Bazar opens at Kanchendzonga Shopping Complex

GANGTOK, 21 Feb [IPR]: Gandhi Shilp Bazar 2011-12 was inaugurated by the Zilla Panchayat Adhyaksha, East District Zilla Panchayat, Bimal Dawari here at the roof top of the Kanchendzonga Shopping Complex, Gangtok today.
The trade fair which show cases the handloom products of the country will have participants from all round the country and also representatives from the various Self Help Groups of the state with their handlooms and handicrafts products. The trade fair inaugurated on 21 February will conclude on 29 February 2012.
The fair has been sponsored by office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India and organized by the Sikkim Handicrafts & Handloom Development Corporation Ltd., Zero Point, Gangtok.

Governor and CM extend Losar wishes

GANGTOK, 21 Feb: On the auspicious occasion of Losar, the Governor of Sikkim, Balmiki Prasad Singh extends his warm greetings to the people of Sikkim, informs a press release issued by the PRO to the Governor.
The Governor said, “Losar, which is celebrated as Tibetan New Year, is an occasion for renewal of hopes and replenishment of one’s good deeds. It is also the time to reflect on the year that has passed and seek to learn lessons from it.
I hope that the New Year brings joy and prosperity to every Sikkimese home.”
Similarly, the Chief Minister of Sikkim, Pawan Chamling and Tika Maya Chamling have extended their warm greetings and best wishes to the people of Sikkim on the occasion of Losar.

MP interacts with youth at NYK convention

NAMCHI, 21 Feb [IPR]: “Choices made by us today will determine our future therefore it’s very important for us to make correct choices in our lives”  stated MP Lok Sabha, PD Rai during the District Youth Convention 2011-12 organized by Nehru Yuva Kendra, Namchi Chapter at community hall here in the district headquarters of South District.
During this convention an interaction session was also held where the participants put forward their queries as well as grievances, for which chief guest for the occasion Mr Rai tried to answer and remove the doubts that were there in the participants mind.
Mr. Rai also informed that during the month of May this year a high level and very important  5-day workshop will be held for youth in the state , therefore he urged the youth to come forward and participate in it.
Further he added that it is very important for the youth and younger generation to tap the opportunities that are available for them and make full use of it. Mr. Rai also appealed to the participants who were present in numbers to take back home something constructive and creative from this convention and work towards it.
D.C South Mr. A.K Singh who was also present on the occasion as guest of honour addressed the gathering and expressed his satisfaction with the work of NYK and assured full cooperation from his side to them.

14 finalists selected for folk song comp at MG Marg

GANGTOK, 21 Feb: Auditions for the folk song competition  as part of Sikkim Snow and Culture Fest were held on 18, 19 and 21 Feb at Hotel Delamere, Church road.
Out of 38 participants in Bhutia, Lepcha and Nepali languages, 14 were selected for the grand finale to be held on 26 Feb at MG Marg. Names of the finalists are as follows; Rapden Bhutia, Tashi Tshering Bhutia, Chumi Denka Bhutia, Leydup Lama, Sonom Bhutia, Petrick Lepcha, Leemit Lepcha, Yankee Lepcha, Choki Lamu Lepcha, Indra Bdr Gurung and group, Pasang Doma, Pramod Sharma, Sheela Nepal and Basanti Rai.
The participants were judged by Kr Pakhrin [Nepali], Narayan Rai [Nepali], Tashi Ongmu Bhutia [Bhutia] and Dawa Lepcha [Lepcha].

MP urges commercial units to use commercial LPG

GANGTOK, 20 Feb: A delegation of senior officials of the Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. (Marketing Division) comprising of Chief Manager(Operations), IOCL, Kolkata, Mr. Sai, Sr. Area Manager, IOCL, Siliguri, S. Mukherjee, Dy. Manager (Sales), IOCL, Siliguri, Jessica Tin, Plant Manager, IOCL, Bagey Khola, Anirban Roy, Asstt. Manager, IOCL, Bagey Khola, N.P. Bhutia, called on Lok Sabha MP, PD Rai this morning at Gangtok and apprised him about the Indane LPG supply situation in Sikkim post the 18 Sept 2011 earth-quake, informs a press release.
They thanked the Government of Sikkim for appreciating the role of IOCL and their local distributors for coming forward during the crisis situation to meet the challenges. They also informed the MP that the production of the Indane Gas at Bagey Khola has been increased to 300 MT as compared to 100 MT in the previous year. Now, the plant at Bagey Khola has a storage capacity for 10 days as buffer stock in case of any calamities, the release informs.
IOCL has also floated tender for the appointment of dealers in five remote places like Chungthang, Mangshila, Lower Pheney Phensang (North Sikkim) and Dentam, Soreong (West Sikkim) under Rajiv Gandhi Gramin LPG Vitrak Scheme. They also brought to notice that most of the commercial and industrial units in Sikkim are still not using 19 Kg commercial cylinders in their hotels and projects, which is mandatory as per norms, the release mentions.
While thanking IOCL on behalf of the government, the MP requested them to accord top priority to the state, as Sikkim is an eco-friendly Green State and the state government under the able leadership of Pawan Chamling is doing everything possible to ensure that its greenery is maintained at any cost.
He further urged IOCL to accord top priority to release immediately the pending requisition of LPG connections under ICDS Centres (Aaganwadi Project) and Border Area Development Programme in North Sikkim, which are pending for quite some time. The proposal of IOCL to bring LPG bulk in bigger bullet to Mazitar Plant was appreciated by Mr Rai and assured that he will take the issue up with the concerned department, the release further mentions.
Mr Rai has urged all the commercial and industrial units in Sikkim to strictly use 19 Kg commercial LPG for their project which are available at any point of time from any distributors of IOCL in Sikkim. These units should discourage bringing these cylinders from outside the state. He also urged the concerned department to work out a mechanism as a deterrent to such practice. He assured IOCL all possible help from his side in the interest of the state.

New resting shed inaugurated at Tadong

GANGTOK, 20 Feb: Bhaskar Basnet, the Ward Councilor of Upper Tadong inaugurated the new resting shed near Green Dale School situated near the ICAR Complex in Tadong this morning. Built by the Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation at the cost of Rs 7.05 lakh, the resting shed is also expected to be used by tourist hikers as a resting point.
“There are many trekking trails in Gangtok with the interior footpaths which can be used by the tourists for hiking purposes”, stated Sukhbir Subba [Divisional Engineer, Tourism Department], while speaking to reporters during a brief interaction.
The Chief Engineer, GT Dhungel added that many small way-side amenities with washroom facilities are being constructed between Rangpo and Gangtok for the convenience of tourists by the Tourism Department.
“Such kind of infrastructure would help boost tourism, especially adventure tourism”, stated Bhaskar Basnet.

ADB and GoI recognition for UD&HD

GANGTOK, 20 Feb: The State Project implementing unit of the Urban Development Department created for the first Asian Development Bank urban project in Gangtok entitled ‘North Eastern Region Capital Cities Development Investment Program (NERCCDIP) has been conferred with the Best Project Implementation award for the year 2011 along with four other NE states covered by the program. The award was conferred to the State by the ADB and Govt of India at a function held in Pune on 07 Feb 2012, informs a press release.
The first phase of the project which was launched in New Delhi on August 2009 by signing of loan agreement by Govt of India with ADB and Project agreements with the States, has the component of water supply and distribution network project in Burtuk and Chandmari and subsequent phases shall address the water supply and distribution network for the rest of Gangtok city and sewerage network and Solid Waste Management for the whole of Gangtok city.
The project is funded by ADB and Govt of India and will be completed by 2016 within which an amount of Rs 220 crore is the detailed investment plan for Gangtok as per the press release of the implementing unit.
The UD&HD, Government of Sikkim has dedicated the national award to the cooperation and assistance extended by the Gangtok Municipal Corporation (GMC) and the public of Burtuk and Chandmari during the project initiation and implementation, the release mentions. The project which is formulated and executed as a Multitranhce Financing Facility (MFF) is implemented as per ADB’s global practices for project implementation and will ensure certified quality and timely completion for achievement of its goals.
The Project Director, JD Bhutia has emphasised that the continued support of various stakeholders of Government, Gangtok Municipal Corporation, NGOs, civil societies and public will be the key to successful completion of the project both in terms of the infrastructure development for provision of urban services of water supply, sewerage and solid waste management to the Capital city in the coming years, as well as the achievement of the Urban Institutional, Financial Regulatory, and Operational Reform Program for urban governance which will facilitate improved transparency and accountability of urban governance  and effective grievance redressal  mechanisms for the urban citizens, according to the release.

Veterans TT Nationals begins

GANGTOK, 20 Feb: The 19th edition of National Veterans Table Tennis Championship has attracted huge participation of paddlers from across the country, which started here at Paljor Stadium indoor gymnasium today.
Sports Minister, NK Pradhan, who was present as the chief guest, declared the five-day event open. The tournament is being organized by the Sikkim Veterans Table Tennis Association [SVTTA]. The championship will conclude on 25 February.
A total of 38 teams from 24 states, 1 Union Territory of Chandigarh and 4 institutions from across the country are taking part in the championship. A total of 790 paddlers will be taking part under various categories of 40 plus, 50 plus, 60 plus, 65 plus and 70 plus for men’s and women’s.
In his presidential address, SVTTA president, SB Subba informed that the SVTTA was formed in 2006 with the primary objectives to promote table tennis in the state and to provide a platform for veteran players. He informed about the various achievements and activities of the association. He also thanked the Chief Minister and his government for supporting the association for holding such a prestigious event in the state.
SVTTA general secretary, Kuber Bhandari mentioned that Sikkim has given many national and international players in different disciplines to the country. He also presented the information on the championship.
During the inaugural function, the Sports Minister released the souvenir of the championship and also launched the official website of the SVTTA. On the occasion, SVTTA also felicitated senior veteran players of the championship.
The inaugural function was also attended by Lok Sabha MP, PD Rai, Indian Veteran Table Tennis Association general secretary, Titus Philipose, Political Advisor to the CM, KN Rai, who is also the SVTTA chief patron and SVTTA chief advisor, ADGP Sikkim Police, SD Negi among others.
This was followed by an exhibition match between Harsh Chopra of Haryana and KK Rai of Mumbai. Mr Chopra is the winner of the 40 plus category in the last edition and also the Asian singles champion last year and first Indian to do so, while Mr Rai is the winner of the 50 plus category of the last edition.

MG Marg to remain open on the last two Tuesdays of Feb

GANGTOK, 20 Feb: The State government has allowed shops and commercial establishments situated at MG Marg here to operate on Tuesdays of third and fourth week of February to supplement the tourism recovery efforts made by Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS).
The ‘Sikkim Snow & Cultural Festival’ is being organized by TAAS with the full support of the State government to attract tourists to the State. Cultural programmes are held every evening at MG Marg to entertain tourists and locals alike during the festival.
A press release informs that TAAS had approached the State Labour department to exempt shops and commercial units at MG Marg from the mandatory closure during Tuesdays so that tourists can shop and eat snacks. Tourists do not know shops are closed at MG Marg during Tuesdays so they may face problems when they are here during the festival, said TAAS president Lukendra Rasaily.
In response to TAAS’s request, the Labour department issued a notification today exempting all shops and commercial establishments at MG Marg from closing down this Tuesday (February 21 and next Tuesday (February 28) during the Snow festival, the release informs.
TAAS has out-sourced various event management groups to entertain tourists and locals during this period. We have lined up various entertainment programmes beside tours to snow covered areas and home stays in the villages, the release mentions.
As part of the programme AMIT PAUL NITE was slated for 22 February 2012 at TNA Ground by the Namdul Tours & Travels in collaboration with TAAS. Due to various reasons, the show “AMIT PAUL NITE “has been postponed to April 2012, the release informs. The primary reason for this is the upcoming board examinations. Those who have obtained entry passes can use the same for AMIT PAUL NITE in the month of April.

Sikkim hauls 5 golds at ongoing National Games for all disabilities

GANGTOK, 20 Feb: The Sikkim contingent has been performing well so far at the ongoing National Games for all disabilities at Chennai which started on 17 Feb and is scheduled to conclude on 22 Feb.
A press release informs that Special Olympics Bharat, Sikkim, as a Nodal agent, by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, for sports for all disabilities had sent 25 participants from SOB, All India Sports Council for Deaf (AISCD) and Paralympics Committees of India (PCI) to take part in the National Games.
In athletics, Pema Gurung and Shibu Chettri bagged the gold and silver medal, respectively while in bocce [individual] Sourya Sikhwal and Manish Dhakal bagged the gold and silver medal, respectively, the release informs.
In badminton, Arati Chettri and Pawan Rai bagged the gold medal in mixed doubles while Arati Chettri bagged the bronze medal in girls’ singles.
In PCI- Visually Impaired category, Dhurba Pradhan won gold in 100m Race, Madan Chettri won gold in 100m Race and silver in 200m Race while Shiva Kr Chettri won silver in 100m Race, the release mentions.
All together the team has participated in Athletics, Bocce, Badminton and five-a-side football, the release adds. The team is led by State Coach, SOB/Special Educator, MR, RP Dhakal.

Solophok Char Dham celebrates its first Mahashivaratri

NAMCHI, 20 Feb: The first Mahashivaratri celebrations at Siddhesvara Dham, Solophok, Namchi began today with the Shiva Parvati marriage ceremony. It is said that on this very day Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati. To celebrate the ceremony the Siddhesvara Dham Committee members organised the complete marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati.
In the morning, pandits of Siddhesvara Dham along with the devotees gathered at Char Dham and conducted puja at the Kirateswar Mahadev statue and at the Shiva lingams at Char Dham. This was followed by the Shova Yatra from the Siddhesvara Dham to Mahadev Than at Kholaghari along with the Rath Yatra.
At Kholaghari Mahadev Than the rituals of Shiva Parvati marriage were conducted and the Yatra proceeded back to the Siddhesvara Dham. In this Shova Yatra, Jhanki with portrayal of different Gods, Godesses and animals was also displayed.
Similarly, ethnic culture and traditional folk culture of Sikkim was also displayed in the Shova Yatra. After reaching the Siddhesvara Dham, bhajans and kirtans were sung by the bhajan toli from Kalimpong. In the evening, Mahamritunjaya Jaap and Rudravisheka will take place.
This is the first big ceremony celebrated according to Hindu rituals after the inauguration of the Siddhesvara Dham at Solophok, Namchi. Devotees from across the state and outside joined the Shova Yatra and witnessed the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati for the first time.
MLA Namchi-Singithang, Binod Rai, Chairman Tea Board, Gagan Rai, NMC Chairman, Buddha Tamang, DC (S) AK Singh and other officers from the departments were also present during the ceremony.

Editorial: Don’t Abandon the Tibetans

The boisterous festivity one has grown to associate with Losar celebrations will be missed this year. The Tibetan community in exile here as well as across the world has resolved not to celebrate their new year this year and instead mark the day with prayers and other expressions of solidarity with the their compatriots inside Tibet. Losar, the Tibetan New Year, is the only traditional occasion during which the Tibetans let their hair down and celebrate. All other special days of the community are religious events which do not always include the boisterous celebrations which mark Losar. So, when the community announces to the world that it will be denying itself this annual celebration, their desperation deserves special attention. The Kalon Tripa of the Central Tibetan Administration, Dr. Lobsang Sangay, in his Losar Statement to Tibetans and “friends around the world”, has “requested” that they do not celebrate Losar this year “but observe traditional and spiritual rituals by going to the monastery, making offerings, and lighting butter lamps for all those Tibetans inside Tibet who have sacrificed and suffered under the repressive policies of the Chinese government.” The Tibetan Parliament itself will be observing a daylong Solidarity Hunger Strike in Dharamsala on 22 Feb [Losar] for the victims of Chinese police firing and self immolations in Tibet. News from Tibet continues to be grim. Media reports suggest that a massive Chinese crackdown is underway and there have been a series of self immolations by Tibetans in Tibet to protest the continuing Chinese occupation of their country. The last such self immolation was by a teenager, a mere 18 year old who set himself on fire in the Dzamthang province of Tibetan Autonomous Region.
On surface, the Tibetans have decided not to celebrate Losar this year in solidarity with the agony coursing through Tibet at present; a suffering manifesting in slew of self immolations in TAR. What is important for world at large, and especially communities which have hosted and lived with Tibetans in exile for the past more than half a century, is to pay more attention and try to understand why such desperate measures are being undertaken. Suicide [let’s accept it, that’s what self immolation is] is a major taboo in Tibetan Buddhism. And yet, many Tibetans, including monks and nuns, are resorting to self immolation as a sign of protest. Deaths due to state brutality are not new to TAR, and yet, the Tibetan community in exile has decided not to celebrate Losar in protest over it this year. Why are such measures being resorted to? These are clearly the desperate laments of a people, who, despite the universally acknowledged recognition of their protest as being genuine and nonviolent, find their plight being sidelined, not just by China, but increasingly now, also by their traditional allies. Even our own country has ensured that even the traditional protest rallies [like 10 March Tibetan Uprising Day] are discouraged and denied their public displays. The Tibet issue was elbowed out of the Sino-India equation long back, but now, the Tibetan community in exile itself is being increasingly denied its right to protest with dignity or even be heard with clarity. China’s increasing economic domination plays a role in why governments across the world are blindsiding Tibet, but if the people of the world were to express stronger solidarity with the Tibetan right to self expression, such denials could be ended and such desperate measures as self immolation and self denial will not be required. It is important to recognise that the community finds itself with its back to the wall in the face of growing insensitivity of governments across the world to their plight, and through such extreme measures as they are now undertaking, are sending out an SOS to the people at large of their desperate situation. Irrespective of where one stands on the Tibet issue vis a vis China, humanity cannot afford to abandon the Tibetans...

Cabinet approves funds for slew of projects

GANGTOK, 20 Feb [IPR]: A Cabinet meeting was held on 18 February in the Cabinet Hall of Samman Bhawan, Gangtok under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister. The Cabinet passed various proposals of the various departments as follows:
FOOD SECURITY & AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT: The proposal seeking approval to construct 5,026 Rural Compost pits and 1,356 Vermi Compost units at a total cost of Rs. 1,208.6 lakhs during the current financial year 2011-12.
FOOD & CIVIL SUPPLIES AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT: The proposal for according approval to construct and upgrade the following Food Godowns (under 13th Finance Commission). New construction at Makha (estimated cost Rs. 67,04,342) and Dikchu (estimated cost Rs. 60,27,741) and upgradations at Mangan (Rs. 10,97,400) and Rongli (Rs. 19,27,100).
ENERGY & POWER DEPARTMENT: The proposal for according administrative approval and financial sanction of Rs. 4.34 crore for system improvement of Electrical Installation and Conversion of O.H & L.T lines in and around Namthang Bazaar & Maniram bhanjyang Bazaar in South Sikkim.
SOCIAL JUSTICE, EMPOWERMENT AND WELFARE DEPARTMENT: The proposal seeking financial sanction of Rs. 23.74 lakhs and approval to transfer the second instalment fund of Nutrition Component of Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment for Adolescent Girls (SABLA) to respective CDPOs.
HEALTH CARE, HUMAN SERVICES & FAMILY WELFARE DEPARTMENT: The proposal for soliciting approval for the construction of a Primary Health Centre at Tsogmo, East Sikkim.  Further the Cabinet also approved the proposal to start the health facility at closed Chipsu Primary School at Changu till acquisition of land and construction work of PHC is completed and subsequently to shift all the facilities to PHC once it is constructed and to  have the facility functional from 1st April to 30th November every year.  It also approved to expend the sum of Rs. 50 lakhs for procurement of instruments/ equipment, renovation and refurbishing of Chipsu School for making it functional as Health Centre and for other administrative purposes.
DEPARTMENT OF LAND REVENUE AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT: The proposal seeking approval to transfer Rs. 69.81 lakhs to the Sikkim Geo-Tech Society to meet the expenditure to be incurred for the implementation of National Land Record Modernization Programme.
HOME DEPARTMENT: The proposal seeking administrative approval and financial sanction of Rs. 494 lakhs for implementation of Schemes under Modernization of State Police Forces (100% CSS) for the financial Year 2011-12.
ENERGY AND POWER DEPARTMENT: The proposal for according administrative approval and financial sanction of Rs. 463.43 lakhs for up gradation and strengthening of H.T & L.T lines and Sub-Stations at Helipad area, Bakthang and adjoining places in East Sikkim.
DEPARTMENT OF SPORTS & YOUTH AFFAIRS: The proposal seeking approval and sanction of Rs. 23,50,000 as Cash Incentive Awards for Meritorious Sports Persons.
RURAL MANAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT: The proposal for according approval and sanction of Rs. 874.93 lakhs for repair of 27 numbers of suspension foot bridges in North Sikkim during 2011-12 under the 13th Finance Commission.
The proposal seeking approval and sanction with regards to reconstruction of Rural Houses damaged due to Earthquake of 18thSeptember, 2011. Reconstruction of the 2,543, 100% damaged houses and prioritizing the 5,429 of the total 10,005 severely damaged houses, following an economic criteria with preference given to poorer households at a total cost of Rs.391 crore (Rs.389.8 crore for house construction & Rs.1.20 crore for IEC activities.)
DEPARTMENT OF LAND REVENUE & DISASTER MANAGEMENT: The proposal for according approval and sanction of Rs. 27.51 crores for taking up 31 numbers of protective works-Jhora Training Works/ Catch Water Drain/ Anti-Erosion Works and restoration of Jhora before the monsoon under Natural Calamity fund.
HOME DEPARTMENT: The proposal for according sanction and approval to utilize Rs. 552 lakhs under 13th Finance Commission Grants during the financial year 2011-12 to 2014-15 for following two sectors viz. Police Training and Information and Reinforcing the existing security infrastructure.
DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS & HERITAGE: The proposal seeking approval and sanction of Rs. 85.34 lakhs for the implementation of a project at the confluence of the river Teesta and river Rangpo near Rangpo Bazaar named "Indrakhil Prayag". The project envisages development of proper cremation ghats, a centre for yoga, meditation and vedantic teaching, a community Centre and upgradation of existing playground in the vicinity into a stadium.

Two-day Army Mela organized at Bengdubi

GANGTOK, 20 Feb: A two-day Army Mela was inaugurated amidst a fly past and showering of flower petals by the helicopters at Bengdubi Mil Stn by Lt Gen K Surendranath, AVSM, SM, VSM, GOC, Trishakti Corps on 18 February.
A press release informs that the Mela organized by Trishakti Corps was aimed at showcasing the military capabilities and to inculcate a sense of pride and affection in citizens towards the elite Army, which includes its serving soldiers, veterans and their families.  The event was also designed to acquaint the visitors with various facilities and amenities available with the Army and also it’s unique way of functioning besides enthralling the attendees with entertaining displays.
Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest Lt Gen K Surendranath, AVSM, SM, VSM, GOC, Trishakti Corps highlighted the numerous initiatives undertaken for the welfare of veterans and their dependents, the release mentions.  He called upon all sections of society to come forward and extend maximum support for the veterans and veer naris.
The chief guest emphasized that besides its primary role of ensuring the security of the Nation, the Armed Forces also play a key constructive role of nation building by undertaking projects for welfare of a sizeable segment of society comprising of Armed Forces Veterans, War Widows and their dependents.  He also called upon the local civil administration to strengthen the hands of the Armed Forces by ensuring a high standard of administration and facilities for the families of serving and retired soldiers.
The crowd at the sprawling grounds of Bengdubi Military Station was enthralled by the impressive display by Army Bands, the dare devilry of the Sky Divers and the training of Army Dogs, the release informs.  The display of military equipment which included tanks, guns and other weaponry witnessed an enthusiastic interest of the civilians, especially the youth.
A large number of assistance stalls related to Ex-serviceman Contributory Health Scheme, Army Welfare Housing Organisation, Army Welfare Education Society, Family Welfare Organisation, other Employment Agencies, Rajya/Zila Sainik Board, NCC and Army Recruitment Organisation were set up in the mela to assist Army Veterans and local population of states of West Bengal and Sikkim.  The mela was attended by war widows, handicapped soldiers and the Armed Forces Veterans of the states. Eight serving and retired handicapped personnel were presented modified scooters.
The Army Mela on 18-19 Feb 2012 enabled the general public, war widows and Armed Forces veterans to avail the benefits through the large number of assistance stalls established besides strengthening the bond between the local population and the Army, the release further mentions.

15 bands to “Rock on Beat"

GANGTOK, 20 Feb: Fifteen bands from Sikkim and the neighboring hills including one from Shillong have signed up for the ‘Rock on Beat’ contest being organized at Saramsa as part of the Sikkim Snow and Cultural Fest. The contest is scheduled to be held on 24 February from 10 AM onwards.
The participating bands are Eyestill, Immortal Flames, Black Tooth Grin, Invention 13,  [Gangtok], Death Squad and Grove Souls [Namchi], 2 Point Four Three and After Glow [Darjeeling], Civilian Dust [Kurseong], Ground Zero, Solitary Souls, Method 29, Prophetic Angels [Kalimpong], If Hope Dies [Siliguri], and Dosser’s Urge from Shillong, informs a press release.
The event is being organized by STAR and the winners of the contest will get a cash prize of Rs 50,000, the release adds.

Third pucca house inaugurated at Rakdong Tintek

GANGTOK, 20 Feb: The third pucca house of Rakdong Tintek BAC under the Chief Minister’s Rural Housing Mission was inaugurated on 17 February at Upper Tintek Ward. The house belonging to Radhika Pandey was inaugurated by BDO, Tenzing Dorjee Denzongpa along with ward panchayat, Tika Maya Pandey and Panchayat Inspector, Mahindra Chhetri, informs a press release.
Congratulating the beneficiary, the BDO expressed his happiness over the event and hope that many such events would follow in the future to realize the dream of the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling, the release mentions.
Under Rakdong Tintek Block, a total of 107 allotment orders have already been issued to the beneficiaries. Out of these, two houses have already been completed and 60 more are soon to follow suit, the release adds.

Display and sale of handloom products at Mamjey

GANGTOK, 20 Feb: District level event for display and sale of handloom products sponsored by the Office of the Development Commissioner [Handlooms], Ministry of Textiles, is being organized by the Sikkim Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation from 20 to 24 February at Mamjey, West Pendam.
A press release informs that the event was inaugurated by Zilla member of West Pendam, Sunita Rai. A total of 15 stalls are put up at the exhibition-cum-sale by different Self Help Groups from within and outside the state. Among the 15 stalls five have been sponsored by NABARD for product display, the release mentions.
Live demonstration of handloom weaving on frame looms and items produced during Integrated Handloom Development Scheme [IHDS] training were also kept for display. The inaugural function was also attended by all Gram Panchayat members of West Pendam, AGM [NABARD], Om Prakash, Asst Director [East] DHH, Jigme Pinstso Bhutia, Asst Director [IHDS] DHH, BB Gurung, RDW [SRDA] under RMDD, TR Sharma, local gentry and members of NGOs and SHGs.

25 re-inducted into SDF at Amba GPU

GANGTOK, 20 Feb: Twenty-five members of the opposition party from Amba Gram Panchayat Unit in East Sikkim have joined the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front party during a meeting chaired by the Rhenock area MLA and Tourism Minister, Bhim Dhungel on Sunday.  An SDF press release issued by the general secretary [publicity], TN Dhakal informs that these opposition party members were officially inducted in the SDF party by offering khadas by the area MLA.
Among the newly inducted members, Phurba Lepcha had already served the party as a central working committee member and is also an active social worker, the release mentions. Addressing the meeting, Mr Lepcha informed that he had not found any clear programme and direction while working in the opposition party for 2 years. He further added that they have rejoined since the party is pro-people.
In his address, the area MLA spoke about the huge possibilities and opportunities in the tourism sector in the state and further informed that the state government has lots of programme for tourism development in the state. Stressing that local people should take full benefit of these opportunities in the state, Mr Dhungel encouraged the local people of Amba GPU to come forward to start home stays to be self-reliant, the release adds.
Area MLA also visited the beneficiaries of quality goats distributed by the state government to inspect their status.

Chauridara to come up as a Green Village

CHAURIDARA, 19 Feb:  The public of Chauridara have given a written declaration with a seven-point agenda for the development and remodeling of their village as a Green Village.  Chauridara was declared a Green Village by the Chief Minister during his village-to-village tour last year.  
The public hearing for the Green Village was held here on 17 February which was presided over by the Minister for Forest and Tourism, Bhim Dhungel and was also attended by area MLA cum Chief Whip, Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia, officials from the Forest Department headed by Chief Conservator of Forest, Gut Lepcha, officials from line departments, local NGOs including Kaw-Payong Comprehensive Tourism Development Committee, Panchayat members and the general public.
Chauridara ward No.1 which falls under Kaw-Payong GPU of South Sikkim marks the end of human habitation at the edge of the Mainam Wildlife Sanctuary.  The proposed plan for the Green Village includes a total of 62 houses with 357 population and 136 hectares of land.  The function began with a welcome address by Panchayat president, Kaw-Payong GPU and a brief speech on Green Village highlighted by President Eco-Tourism Development Committee, MK Rai.
DFO, Forest Wildlife, Nischal Gautam informed that micro planning will be completed within the month of April and further informed the people on the use of bio-degradable material in the area and developing a trek route to Bhaley Dunga.  The Green Village is community-based and sustainable which will boost tourism in future, he mentioned.  
The CCF Forest, Gut Lepcha highlighted that once the project is completed this village will be a model for the country.  He also informed that various developments would follow once the project begins including roads and bridges. He also stressed that the villagers should be aware that this project will benefit the local people in income generation in the long run and further added that everything will be nature friendly.
The area MLA cum Chief Whip, Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia while addressing the public hearing appealed to everyone to contribute in such a sustainable project in the village and informed that without the support of the villagers it is not possible for the project to be successful.  Congratulating the villagers on the project he said “Sikkim’s beauty is in its hospitality as we Sikkimese always respect and help our guests, so we must behave well with tourists who visit our area”.  He further expressed that the government’s work is to bring schemes to the village but it’s the people who must implement it in the right way.
The Forest Minister, Bhim Dhungel in his address said that villagers have preserved the nature well in the village and added that tourism is the second highest mode of income generation in the world and appealed to the villagers to get more involved in tourism.  The Minister further stressed that people should develop traditional houses for home stays and encouraged the use of biodegradable items in the village. This project will uplift the economic condition of the rural masses by generating income out of the limited land that the farmers have.
The Minister also noted that Sikkim is one of the Biodiversity hot spots in the country and further briefed the gathering on the flora, fauna and other treasures of nature that the state possesses. Also on the day, two farmers from the village were felicitated. Birkha Bahadur Rai was felicitated for the best cattle rearing and Bedu Rai for best in agriculture.

DC attaches CC Sangderpa’s Sichey house against Rs. 1.20 crore loan default

GANGTOK, 19 Feb: Former Chairperson, CC Sangderpa has been served with the Certificate of Attachment by the District Collector [East] under the Sikkim Public Demand Recovery Act 2002 on failing to repay a loan taken from the State Bank of Sikkim. The District Collector is the Certificate Officer under the Sikkim Public Demand Recovery Act 2002.
According to sources at the DAC, Ms Sangderpa had taken a loan of Rs 1.20 crore against a five and a half storied building and land at Sichey in East Sikkim and till the time of filing of recovery case by the SBS, the loan amount had come to Rs 1.45 crore.
Sources inform that initially, Ms Sangderpa had taken a loan of Rs 20 lakh from SBS repayable in installments of Rs 36,880 per month. She then asked for additional loan and the final sanctioned loan amount was Rs 1.20 crore repayable in installments of Rs 2 lakh per month.
As on 15 April 2010 Ms Sangderpa had repaid Rs 69,228 of the total amount due to the bank after which no payments were made, it is informed.
SBS filed a petition with the DC for the recovery of Rs 1.45 crore [including interest] from Ms Sangderpa on 19 July 2011 and a notice was issued to her the same day. She was asked to repay the amount by 27 August 2011, which she failed to do.
SBS again filed an Execution Petition on 26 November last year and for the same a hearing was held in the DC office on 17 December later that year following which the date of repayment was extended. However, Ms Sangderpa again failed to repay the loan by the fixed date.
Sources inform that the DC then issued the Order of Attachment against Ms Sangerpa for the seizure of her property located at Sichey. With this order, she is now not allowed to sell this property or undertake any financial dealing attached with this property. A total of 2818 sq ft land was allotted by the UD&HD to Ms Sangderpa at Sichey, where she has constructed a building.
The next course of action will be auction of the property in due course as per the law. However, it is learnt, that the DC’s office has still given her time till the time of auction to repay the loan amount.
For the auction, the attached property will be assessed and from the amount raised from the auction, the loan amount due will go to the bank while the rest will be provided to the defaulter.
It is learnt that this is the routine procedure undertaken by the District Collector against defaulters of loans of SBS, SIDICO, SABCO and Sikkim Housing Development Board. There are around 60 such cases before the District Collector at present.