Friday, March 2, 2012

Char Dham adjudged ‘Most Innovative and Unique Tourism Project’ by Ministry of Tourism

GANGTOK, 29 Feb [IPR]: Sikkim has bagged the Most Innovative and Unique Tourism Project Award 2010-11 for the vision and construction of world class Pilgrimage cum Cultural Tourism Complex (Siddesvara Dham) at Solophok, Namchi in South Sikkim. The award was presented by the President of India, Pratibha Devi Singh Patil, to Chief Minister Pawan Chamling at a befitting function organized at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, today.
Sikkim also bagged the Best State Award for Comprehensive Development of Tourism 2010-11 for the initiative taken by the State government in the development of tourism infrastructure and for the overall development of tourism in the state.
Further, Sikkim also bagged the Best State in Campaign Clean India 2010-11 award for the state government’s initiatives in maintaining a clean and green Sikkim, efficient garbage management and disposal, health and hygiene, green mission and maintaining the environment and biodiversity of the state. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has launched the Campaign Clean India and Sikkim was declared the Best State for its efforts in keeping its tourist destination neat and clean and for the overall cleanliness of the state.
It may be mentioned that the National Tourism Awards are sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

Mamring fire renders 50 families homeless

NAMCHI, 29 Feb: More than 50 families were rendered homeless after a fire broke out at around midnight on Tuesday at Mamring below Namthang, South Sikkim. From available information, the fire was an intentional act of mischief which blazed out of control, affecting more people than the perpetrator had allegedly intended. The accused is absconding.
At the root of the incident was a heated discussion between a tenant and his landlord earlier in the day at the riverside. The tenant, Shanti Subba, it is informed, was a labourer engaged in a sand quarry there. It is suspected that still seething from his argument with his landlord, Rudra Bahadur Mishra, he returned at round midnight and set a Kutcha house on fire as an act of revenge.
This house had many rooms with many families living there as tenants. Soon, the high wind fanned the fire and it raged out of control, razing the entire structure and even spreading to the neighbouring two-storied RCC building which has sustained 60% damage.
Locals informed the Fire Station at Rangpo and the fire personnel along with the locals finally brought the fire under control. No casualties were reported in this incident although some animals kept as pets did fall prey to the fire.
Though the actual damage caused by the fire is yet to be assessed, as per the landlord, around Rs 3.5 lakh in cash was consumed by the flames.
While talking to this correspondent, SP South, Manoj Tiwari, informed that at the root of the original argument, which led to this act of arson, was illegal quarrying at Mamring.
The accused, it is believed, was involved in illegal quarrying and was loading a truck [SK/03/4680] with a load of sand yesterday. On learning of this, the landlord informed the Forest Department, following which, a team led by DFO (T) South seized the truck and placed the driver under arrest. Angered by this development, the accused returned and set fire to a house, informed the SP.
The SP further informed that as per preliminary investigation, the accused had called one of his friends and informed him about his plans to set the house on fire. The accused is reported to originally be a resident of Arithang in Gangtok and the truck seized in the illegal quarrying incident belongs to one Gopal Timsina of Lingmoo, South Sikkim, police sources inform.
The accused has fled from the area and a manhunt is underway with all Police Outposts and Police Stations alerted. Given that Rangpo sits on an intestate border, there is also the possibility that he has crossed over.
Meanwhile, based on telephonic information communicated by the Mamring ward panchayat and as per directions issued by District Collector [South], AK Singh, the SDM HQ, PB Tamang and DPO of Disaster Management Cell Namchi, Pempa N Sherpa visited the affected area.
The victims of the fire have been shifted to a temporary shelter and released relief rations.

Culture Deptt to host Children’s Film Festival

GANGTOK, 29 Feb: Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department along with North East Regional Cultural Centre, Dimapur, and Children’s Film Society, India, are jointly organizing the Children’s Film Festival here at Defence auditorium on 06 and 07 March. This two-day festival will screen the best animation and feature films of the country.
A CA&HD press release informs that this festival would provide an opportunity to watch the best children’s films from across the country for which the department has already invited students of different schools in and around Gangtok. It is informed that each day will screen three films from 11 AM onwards.
The main objective of the festival is to encourage children towards creativity by showing them quality films. The festival is scheduled to be inaugurated by the Cultural Affairs and Heritage Minister, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha.
Krish Trish Baltiboy [Hindi animation], Sunshine Barry and the Disco Worms [Danish Animation dubbed in Hindi], Hayat [Iranian film dubbed in Hindi], Halo [Hindi feature], are among some of the films to be screened at the festival.

Police arrest trio in Bhojoghari burglary

GANGTOK, 29 Feb: Sadar Police today arrested three persons involved in a burglary case. Sagar Tamang, Sita Ram Roka and Kumar Roka were arrested by Police for breaking into shops and houses at Bhojoghari, East Sikkim on the intervening night of 28 and 29 February.
Acting on the compliant lodged by the house owners and shopkeepers this morning, the Sadar Police launched an extensive operation to solve the case, it is informed. As per the FIR lodged, the accused had broken into the shops and houses of Kalzang Bhutia, Ganesah Bhujel, Kabir Prasad Rasaily and Munu Singh stealing five cylinders, gem stones and mobile recharge vouchers.
 “The police launched an extensive search to find the accused which bore fruit eventually” said SP, Mandeep Tuli while speaking to reporters. According to him after noticing Sagar Tamang with the cylinders, the police got suspicious and followed him from DC office upto Chota Singtam. On being questioned about the cylinders the man attacked the constables with stones, the SP added. Constable TT Bhutia who was also present during the incident got injured in the melee.
During interrogation the accused confessed that he was asked by one Sita Ram Roka to sell the cylinders. Following this, the Police arrested Sita Ram Roka, who is a driver and his accomplice Kumar Roka from Gangtok.  The trio have been arrested under 457, 308, 186, 553 of the Indian Penal Code.

State team all set to play ball at the Dr T Ao Memorial Football tourney

GANGTOK, 29 Feb: A 22-member state team is all set to represent Sikkim in the Dr T Ao Memorial Football Tournament 2012 that begins on Friday here at Paljor Stadium. The tournament is being organized by the department of Sports and Youth Affairs for the first time in the state.
Names of members of the state team for this tournament were announced by the Sikkim Football Association general secretary, Menla Ethenpa on the last day of the seven-day selection camp at Paljor Stadium today.
The state squad will be led by Tenzing Tsephel as captain and Engpohang Subba [Sikkim Police] as vice-captain. The team has two goalkeepers- Kunzang Lachungpa [Lanshing FC, Shillong] and Pawan Chettri [United Sikkim FC].
The defence line has Sonam Pintso [SAI/SAG, Namchi], Karma Lendup Lepcha [Sikkim Police], Kushan Mangar [State Sports Academy], Mobin Rai [SSA], Nim Tshering Lepcha [USFC], Sagar Rai [USFC] and Afzal Ansari [USFC].
The shortlisted midfielders were Thupden Tshering Bhutia [USFC], Sahensha Ansari [USFC], Mayal Dok Lepcha [USFC], Bhupendra Kewa [USFC], Nima Tamang [USFC] and Don Tshering Lepcha [Lanshing FC].
Bir Bahadur Pradhan [Sikkim Police], Tenzing Tsephel Bhutia [AG Office], Sanjay Chettri [Lanshing FC], Engpohang Subba, Yakub Kami [SAI/SAG Namchi], Kassang N Lepcha [SSA] and Bijoy Subba [SSA] were shortlisted as forwards of the team.
A total of 26 local players, who are currently playing for different clubs in and outside the state, attended the selection camp which started on 23 February. The players underwent the camp under the coach, Suresh Mukhia and manager, Arjun Rai.
After announcing the names, Mr Ethenpa congratulated the selected players and encouraged those who did not make it to take it as a challenge and try their best to get selected next time. He encouraged the state team to maintain discipline and play with a sporting spirit being the host team.
Mr Ethenpa also congratulated the department of Sports and Youth Affairs for getting the opportunity to host this prestigious tournament in the state before their turn. He informed that Sikkim was scheduled to host the 7th edition of this tournament.
Sports and Youth Affairs Secretary, Karma P Bhutia also encouraged the players to play their best being the host state and urged them to show their best game.
United Sikkim FC coach, Philippe De Ridder also expressed his best wishes to the team members.
Speaking to media persons today, team captain Tenzing Tsephel expressed that the team will give their best and hopes to make it to the final round although the team has not got much time to prepare. Tenzing urged people to come forward to support the state team in the tournament.
Team coach, Suresh Mukhia said that the best players of the state playing for different clubs in and outside the state have been hand picked for the tournament and it would hopefully bear fruit.
Likewise, team manager, Arjun Rai mentioned that in a short span of time a good set of team has been constituted to represent the state. He also said that the team has the advantage of playing on home ground and crowd support would hopefully help the team to be the best in the tournament.

Sikkim to take on Arunachal Pradesh in the Dr T Ao Memorial football tourney on FridaSikkim will play against Arunachal Pradesh in the inaugural match of the Dr T Ao Memorial Football Tournament 2012 on Friday.
Sikkim has been placed in Group A along with Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Assam, while Group B has the defending champion, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya.
In this league cum knock-out football tournament, each team has to play three matches against teams in its group and the top two teams in the group will then enter the semi-final rounds.
Sikkim will be playing its next game against Mizoram on 04 March and then against Assam on 06 March.

Tumin Lingee Youth Assoc to organise archery tourney in March

MANGAN, 29 Feb:  Tumin Lingee Youth Association is going to organize the MLA archery tournament here at Upper Tintek in East Sikkim from 12 March.  The winner of the tournament will be awarded a cash prize of Rs.  30, 000 along with trophy and the runner up team will get Rs 20,000, informs a press release issued by the President of the Association.
A meeting regarding the same was held at Upper Tintek in East Sikkim among the executive members of the association under its president, LB Pandey.  The last date for entries is 06 March and the entry fee is Rs. 1501, the release adds.  For further details kindly contact 9733351267.

Agriculture Minister visits Indo- Israel project site at Pusa, New Delhi

GANGTOK, 29 Feb: A team headed by Minister for Food Security and Agriculture Development Department and Horticulture and Cash Crop Development Department, Government of Sikkim, DN Thakarpa and comprising of Advisor Farmers Cell, Deepak Gurung, Convenor of Farmers Cell, DN Sapkota and Director of Agriculture Department, Khorlo Bhutia visited the Centre for Protected Cultivation and Technology commissioned as an Indo – Israel project at Indian Agriculture Research Institute, Pusa, New Delhi on 07 February.
A press release informs that the motive behind the visit was to get first hand information on the major technologies in various aspects of agriculture and horticulture that can be replicated in the state of Sikkim. In-charge of the Centre, Dr. Bala Raj Singh explained all the technologies related to protected cultivation. Major demonstration units visited were the protected cultivation of tomato and capsicum, protected nurseries, drip irrigation, roof water harvesting. Head of Floriculture Division, Dr. Ramesh Kumar and Head of Genetic Division, Dr. KV Prabhu took the team to demonstration units of gladiolus cultivation and mustard breeding unit, the release informs.
After the visit, the Minister interacted with the Director of Indian Agriculture Research Institute, Dr. HS Gupta. During the interaction various issues related to technology dissemination and replication for hill agriculture were discussed. The Director assured all possible technological help for Sikkim in aspects such as providing seeds of newly released varieties of horticultural and agriculture crops for frontline demonstrations and training on latest technologies, the release mentions.

Bear on the hill

Coffer Dam at Teesta - III 200 MW HEP

Rangeet River after the Rangeet 60 MW HEP


On the 18th of September, 2011, when the earthquake struck, I am quite sure that prayers flowed from every mouth and mind, even from those who usually do not think of the Almighty. We do not have to mention all that followed after the quake struck, as they have been all over the media and the press for a long time and still continues occasionally like the occasional tremors that have been reminding us of future catastrophe.
Though mentions of earthquake risk to the hydro power projects were made, we ourselves were in bit of a doubt as to how it can be affected or vice versa. We also did not know that we would be witnessing one such example so soon. For some reason, only the project in North Sikkim suffered the most damages, casualty and death, while the others escaped comparatively unharmed. Of course the epicenter of the earthquake was in North Sikkim, that too as pointed out by experts, somewhere very near where the power projects are located.
Most of the HEPs planned in Sikkim are located in the North District. The biggest being the 1200 MW Teesta III hydroelectric project. This project has its dam site and Adit I at Chungthang, Adit II at Theng, Adit III at Ship-Gyer, Adit IV at Ramom and Adit V, the surge shaft and the underground power house at Saffo-Salim-Pakyel in Dzongu. (Adits are tunnel outlets along the main head race tunnel, used for taking out the muck). All these project components suffered the maximum damages and deaths, with Chungthang leading.
Yes, maybe these hydro power projects may not have been the cause of the earthquake, but it definitely added to the catastrophe. Otherwise, why is the maximum number of destructions and deaths located in these areas?      
The other project is the Panang 300 MW HEP. Though they are yet to start actual work, the areas in the vicinity of the dam site, where the company had been carrying out test drillings and had been using dynamites have suffered the most. The landslides beyond the village of Lingzya, on the way to Bay (one of the villages that suffered the most casualty in Dzongu), Sakyong, Puntong and Tholung, all of which are still facing great difficulty in terms of accessibility and transport,  is another example to be taken seriously. I am sure that all those who have been to these places post September 18 will agree with me. What further misery will be added to these places during the monsoon is still to be seen. If the minor activities at the proposed dam site area resulted in such damage and destruction, I wonder what might have happened had the work been going on in full swing like in Teesta III? The Mines and Geology and the Geological Survey of India have pointed out the weak and fragile geology of the entire project area. (The Central Electric Authority on submission of report by the GSI have ordered the company namely, Himagiri Hydro Energy Pvt. Ltd, to submit detail geological and GLOF report)
Now the Public Hearing for the Teesta IV, 520 MW project has been notified again. It is scheduled for the 29th of March, 2012. This part of the river is also the last free flowing portion of the river Teesta proper. Once it is put in tunnel, the burying of Teesta is complete. I wonder if people living in the immediate vicinity of the project think about this. I also wonder whether Teesta will even flow into the plains once all these hydro power projects are completed. Most important, what might be the impacts of these reservoirs that are coming up one after another in the fragile hills?
Recently, for and against groups have cropped up pertaining to the scrapped Ting Ting and Lethang projects and the still contentious Tashiding Project located in West Sikkim. I hope some sense prevails and that we don’t get to see the horrors of the North Sikkim projects being repeated in future because it is no use waving the ‘bamphok’ after the bear has crossed the hill.

Denjong Chyarig Tsogpa welcomes scrapping of Ting-Ting and Lethang HEPs

GANGTOK, 29 Feb: Denjong Chyarig Tsogpa has welcomed the State government’s decision to scrap the Lethang and Ting-Ting HEPs in West Sikkim and thanked the State High Power Review Committee for recommending the scrapping of the projects.
In a press release issued by its president, Sonam Dadul Denzongpa, the organisation has also thanked SIBLAC, convenor, Tseten Tashi Bhutia for his efforts and the people of Yuksam, Tashiding for their support and cooperation.
The release further expresses hope that the government will also scrap the Tashiding HEP before the Bum Chu which falls on 07-08 March.

Workshop on CCE held at EMRS Gangyap

GANGTOK, 29 Feb: A workshop on Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation [CCE] was organized by the Eklavya Model Residential School, Gangyap in West Sikkim at Gyalshing DIET building on 27 February.
A total of 44 participants from 18 schools attended the workshop which focused on co-scholastic areas of CCE such as attitude, values, health etc. District Collector [West], Santa Pradhan, who is also the chairman of EMRS Gangyap, attended the workshop and encouraged the participants to follow the CCE in their respective schools.
The resource person, Priya Sadhu from Delhi explained the CCE through a power point presentation.

SDF denounces news reports connecting it with vehicle torching incident

GANGTOK, 29 Feb: Sikkim Democratic Front has strongly condemned news reports published in some newspapers alleging the party of having a hand in the vehicle torching incident that occurred in Development Area a day ago.
An SDF press release issued by publicity secretary, Amber Rai states that the party works for people’s security and equality and condemns the act of connecting the party with such an incident by a few newspapers on the basis of their imagination.
The release demands immediate investigation into the incident and further adds that the party does not want such incidents to occur in future.

Sikkim team participates in International organic trade fair in Germany

GANGTOK, 29 Feb: A team comprising of Principal Director, PT Bhutia, Director, Khorlo Bhutia, Additional Director, KK Pradhan, Additional Director, Karma Bhutia, Advisor  Farmers Cell, Deepak Gurung and Convenor Farmers Cell, DN Sapkota  participated in the international organic trade fair ‘BioFach 2012’ at Nuremberg, Messe, Germany from 15-18 February.
A press release informs that the team from Sikkim participated in the Congress on Sustainability in the Organic Movement. The forum discussed the sustainability of the organic sector and the strategies to be taken up worldwide for sustainable organic agriculture. Some of the speakers at the congress also applauded the organic movement in Sikkim and highlighted the potential of products like Buckwheat and Large cardamom in the international market, the release mentions.
On 19 February, the delegates from Sikkim along with other delegates of India visited The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) at Switzerland and interacted with the director Prof. Dr. Urs Niggli. A publication of Sikkim Organic Mission was presented to Dr. Urs. FiBL team appreciated the Sikkim’s fast development in organic agriculture and also applauded the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister of Sikkim, Pawan Chamling, the release informs.
BioFach 2012, the world largest organic Trade Fair brought together 2,500 exhibitors from different parts of the globe and approximately 45,000 trade visitors from around 120 countries of the world. There was presence of more than 40 exhibitors from India, with products got delighted on a display area of over 1,000m². In an Indian Stall major products of international interest were Buckwheat and Large cardamom from Sikkim, Naga King Chilli, Pine apple and Fibreless Ginger  from Nagaland, Nutmeg, mace and Black pepper from Kerela, Dry Ginger and turmeric powder from Himachal Pradesh and the publications from Sikkim. The Indian stall with the special attraction of Sikkim’s organic products invited various queries on market development, products, innovations and market observation. The publication on Sikkim Organic Mission was also distributed to the participants from various countries.
The fair had special session of buyer-seller meet where the Sikkim delegates interacted with international organic traders and deliberated on different products, their availability and status of organic farming in Sikkim, the release adds.  

SHRPP convenes dist-level meeting in Daramdin

GANGTOK, 29 Feb: A district-level meeting of the Sikkim Himali Rajya Parishad Party held at Daramdin in West Sikkim discussed and passed various resolutions today. The meeting was chaired by the party vice-president, LM Subba and was attended by members of the women and youth wings of West Sikkim.
A press release issued by general secretary, Tara Shrestha informs that the meeting has decided to take the political and organizational programme of the party to the grass-root level in the state and to expand the party’s organizational set up from the grassroots.
Addressing the meeting, Mr Subba mentioned that SHRPP is the only regional party in the state in existence which offers an alternative to the ruling SDF party, the release mentions.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

VC refutes allegations of irregularities in SU recruitment process

GANGTOK, 28 Feb: Sikkim University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mahendra P. Lama, while responding to allegations of irregularities in the recruitment process underway at the University [read, “Faculty allege irregularities in SU recruitment process”, NOW! issue dated 28 Feb 2011], countered today that the best selection boards have been constituted for the selection process. He stated that protest “is expected” since the selection process was tough and competitive, adding, “We only wish that these colleagues of ours had raised these baseless issues before the selection process started and before they were not selected by the selection board.”
A section of the faculty members at the SU yesterday petitioned the Executive Council of the University levelling several allegations against the VC and the manner in which the recruitment process has been managed. They have contended that the selection committees need to include nominees of the Executive Council, but since the interviews were held in the interim between the First and Second ECs, the entire panel was constituted by the VC himself. This exercise of “emergency powers” [when the VC acts on behalf of statutory bodies] is explicitly disallowed by the Ministry of HRD, the protesting faculty members contend.
Responding to the allegations, the VC said, “We have read the contents of the note. The second EC which is the highest decision making body of the University had its first meeting on 22nd Feb 2012 and approved all the appointments (including many other issues in the agenda) and in fact highly appreciated the consistent efforts put up by the faculty members and management team for making all the appointments process transparent and bringing the best available faculty members to this new University.”
He reiterated that best selections boards were constituted to “carry out these exercises effectively and efficiently”.

Vehicle torched at Development Area

GANGTOK, 28 Feb: Miscreants attempted to set a private vehicle on fire here at Development Area last night. The Mahindra Scorpio bearing registration number SK-02/4334 belonging to Pema Dadul Bhutia was parked outside his house when some unknown persons  set the vehicle ablaze at around 1 AM, it is informed.
It is informed that Mr Bhutia’s wife, Tshering Sherpa heard some noise and saw smoke spreading outside her house. She rushed outside and seeing the vehicle on fire, tried to beat down the flames with a broom. Luckily, the fire was brought under control but not before the left front tyre, bumper and left portion of the vehicle were destroyed.
Ms Sherpa informed the Sadar Police this morning at around 8 AM and a police team rushed to the spot. The Sadar Police have registered the case under section 448 and 435 of IPC against unknown persons and the case is under investigation.

NHPC workers in Sikkim join all-India general strike

MANGAN, 28 Feb: Around 500 workers engaged with National Hydro-Electric Power Corporation (NHPC) Teesta Stage V HE Project joined the one-day nationwide strike for their 18-point demand here at Power house site at Balutar in East Sikkim. The workers comprised of non-executive category which falls under W-0 to W-10 grade and the contract workers engaged with the said corporation at Dam site at Dikchu and Power house complex at Balutar abandoned work today in support of the cause. The workers engaged with Teesta Stage IV office at Pheedang Lower Dzongu North Sikkim also joined the strike.
The strike here was led by the NHPC Non-executive and Worker Association Teesta V and NHPC Employees Association. Even the vehicles tagged with the corporation were not allowed to ply today, however the executive employees were on duty. The workers assembled at Teesta Stage IV office at Pheedang and Dam site Gate at Aamdara at Dikchu where the 18-point demands were read out by President NHPC Employees Association, RBP Singh.
At the power house complex office, the strike was addressed by President NHPC Non-Executive Workers Association, Bijay Sharma where he highlighted about the issue of the 18-point demand which includes No contractorisation of work of permanent/perennial nature and payment of wages and benefits to contract worker at the same rate as available to the regular workers of the establishment, generation and protection of employment.
Mr. Sharma also informed about the removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund and increase in the quantum of Gratuity, assured pension for all, review in the rates of subscription of NHPC Employees Social Security Scheme 2006 as amount of assured sum be enhanced to Rs. 20 lakh, releasing of lump-sum payment in lieu of compassionate appointment in respect of left out cases etc.
The demand including the amendment of minimum wages Act to ensure universal coverage irrespective of schedules and fixation of statutory minimum wages at not less than Rs. 10,000 per month and the injustice to the permanent employees in lieu of PRP (Performance Reporting Pay) which entitles only those workers to pay who are of officer’s rank was also addressed.


GANGTOK, 28 Feb: Following the all India general strike unitedly called by the Central Trade Union, organizations and independent federations, post offices, banks and some other organizations in the capital here were also shut today. As all these places remained closed today to support the Union’s list of demands, those unaware were seen returning disappointed while the closed ATMs caused further inconvenience.


INTRO: On 29 February 2008, in a historic development for Sikkim, the then Union Minister for Finance, P. Chidambaram, granted a long-pending demand of the State – Income Tax exemption for all Sikkim Subjects. Included in the General Budget tabled by the Minister on the day was an amendment to Section 10 of the Income Tax Act. This Section deals with “incomes not included in total income”, meaning incomes exempted from Income Tax calculations. A fresh clause – 26AAA - was added detailing that “any income which accrues or arises to a ‘Sikkimese’ individual from any source in the State of Sikkim or by way of dividend or interest on securities, shall not be included in the total income of the individual’. “Sikkimese” for this amendment was defined as “anyone whose name is recorded in the register maintained under Sikkim Subjects Regulation, 1961, read with Sikkim Subject Rules, 1961, immediately before 26 April, 1975; or individuals whose name is included in the Register of Sikkim Subjects by virtue of Government of India Order No. 26030/36/90-I.Ci dated 07 August 1990 and Order of even number dated 08 April, 1991; or any other individual whose name does not appear in the Register of Sikkim Subjects but it is established beyond doubt that the name of such individual’s father or husband or paternal grandfather or brother from the same father has been recorded in the register”. Welcoming the development, in an exclusive conversation with NOW!, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling had said on the day, “Justice has finally been announced for the Sikkimese people who had been inconvenienced by the sudden extension of Direct Tax laws to Sikkim 14 years ago because of the profiteering indulged in by the then powers-that-be. We have succeeded in winning justice for all Sikkimese irrespective of their community, caste or creed. I am also thankful to all Sikkimese for trusting in me to be able to settle the matter in the best of their interests given the situation that had already been created. It is their victory as much as an achievement for my government.”
That was a leap year, as is the current one and today, 29 February 2012, marks the anniversary of that major development. Because a 29th of February comes about only once every four years, and because some things need to be brought back on record, we reproduce below the editorial featured in the 01 March 2008 edition of the paper which had reported on the exemption proposed...

Sikkim Subjects Win
Sikkim has won a major victory. Keeping all incomes earned by Sikkim Subjects, from sources in Sikkim, out of consideration while calculating the total income to asses Income Tax, is, as things stand, a blanket Income Tax exemption for the Sikkimese. Given that the present Government has been consistently demanding such a relaxation and keeping this demand transparent by announcing it at public meets and official get-togethers, it can congratulate itself for having won this relaxation finally. For a State as inconsequential politically [as weighed by strength in Parliament], winning any relaxation from the Centre is a major feat and this one could not have been easy to pull off otherwise it would not have taken so long.
That said, Income Tax is a very complicated issue and has a devastating track-record in Sikkim. For most concerned, even good news is best buried when it comes to Direct Tax Laws. This is unfortunate and perhaps stems from the failure of the government machinery, past and present, to educate Sikkim on what Direct Tax Laws entail. Reactions to it have always been emotional and arguments rarely reasoned. However, that is one worry that should not haunt the present Government. For one, extension of Direct Tax Laws is not of its making, it inherited a legacy of confusion on this count. The more important victory for the Chamling Government is that despite the messy inheritance, it has managed to positively address the emotional quotient that had peaked in 1994. At that time, the anti-Direct Tax movement was fuelled by a perceived dilution of Old Law, which, really, should be of value only to Sikkim Subjects. The rest can respect Old Laws, but an emotional connect with Old Laws is only for the Sikkim Subjects to forge. With the latest development, there should be no claims of hurt among the Sikkimese because the exemption is essentially a doff in the direction of the Old Laws and a reiteration of the unique identity enjoyed by the Sikkimese as Indians because no Central Income Tax is being imposed on them. It is a tacit admission that even though financial matters need to be aligned in symmetry with the rest of the nation, because Sikkim Subjects were promised a Special Status, this latest endeavour will not touch them. Seen in this light, what Mr. Chamling has secured is indeed very substantial. It is a given though that there will be attempts, even energetic attempts, to paint the latest development in a negative light. These are bound to meet with only limited success since the emotional quotient of 1994 will be missing. All Sikkim Subjects, after all, and their earnings in Sikkim, the amendment makes very clear, are exempted from the purview of Central Income Tax.
This is however also time to rue the general refusal to get involved in the “cut-off year” debate that the present government had thrown into the public domain some years back. If the civil society had engaged in these deliberations and eased the political hand to decide on one, many, who might not enjoy the exemption now [but could have, if the cut-off year had been ratified] would have been among the strongest contingents celebrating the latest development. Meanwhile, for all the Sikkim Subjects, congratulations!

SHRPP alleges SDF of making public dependent on the state

GANGTOK, 28 Feb: Sikkim Himali Rajya Parishad Party has claimed that the Chief Minister has accepted the fact that during the 18 years of the Sikkim Democratic Front Party’s government no change has come in the people’s condition in the state. In a press release issued today, the party has alleged that the people of the state are still dependent upon the government which has been accepted by the CM himself exemplifies the weak policies of the government.
The release demands that the SDF party should take responsibility for this trend of dependency in the public during its second decadal celebration on 03 and 04 March.

DESM&E establishes UID enrolment center in its office at Gangtok

GANGTOK, 28 Feb: The Department of Economics, Statistics, Monitoring and Evaluation [DESME], the implementing agency of the Unique Identification programme to issue unique identification number or Aadhaar to all residents in the State has established a UID enrolment center in its office (DESM&E HQ) located at Old West School Building complex, Church Road, Gangtok.
A press release informs that the center has been established in order to enroll the residents of Gangtok area who have not been enrolled as yet. The enrolment center will be open from 10 AM to 4 PM on all days from 01 to 10 March. Residents are requested to bring a photocopy of either their Ration Card, Driving License, Passport, Voter ID Card or any document with photograph. For further details the following numbers can be contacted: 03592- 201546/206125.
In the State, the UID enrolment started in March 2011 and about 80% of the residents have been enrolled so far.  In East District, the department has covered all the gram panchayat units and municipal wards, the release adds.

Sikkim Liberation Party condemns AVP statement

GANGTOK, 28 Feb: Sikkim Liberation Party has condemned “the unconstitutional and offensive statements made time and again” by different organizations including Bangla Bhasa Bachao Samiti and Adivasi Vikash Parishad (AVP) in a meeting held today, informs a press release issued by its convenor, Duk Nath Nepal.
The condemnation comes in the light of the statement as directed by AVP in the name of disapproving GTA through its letter to the high power committee, the release informs.
The meeting adopted the following resolutions: Those speaking out against the Nepalese community should know and understand that the entire Himalayan belt right from Burma (Myanmar) in the East to Sutlej in the West belonged to this community. Due to political frontiers and compulsion only, they are bound and governed under different political arrangements, but are culturally, linguistically and community-wise one at heart; The fate of a community is not defined and determined by the geography, but it is them who define the destiny of a geography/land. If the AVP and Bangla Bhasa Bachao Committee thinks that the Nepalese residing in Indian soil are foreigners, than they have every right to define and determine their destiny and identity. Let us have a debate with the Govt. of India for this purpose we invite you all in this challenge.
The leaders of AVP and Bangla Bhasa Bachao Committee should know that people of Sikkim had decided to merge an independent nation in to the Indian mainstream, which beholds that it is the people who decide the fate of land; The Nepalese community in itself is a complete arrangement and it does not require others assistance to defend its pride; Further it also must be understood that if some leaders are misguided, it must not be concluded that the entire geo-politics of the community has got directionless.
“The parties which claim to champion the cause of Indian Nepalese instead have misled and made directionless the politics of Indian Nepalese community and turned it to an issue of amassing wealth”, the release states.

National Science Day 2012 launched

GANGTOK, 28 Feb: Sikkim State Council of Science & Technology launched The National Science Day 2012 programme on the theme “Clean Energy Options and Nuclear Safety”.  today. The launch saw the active participation of more than 250 students from Tashi Namgyal Academy, Greendale Senior Secondary School, West Point Sr. Sec. School, Tadong Senior Secondary School and Brihaspati Parsai Senior Secondary School, Ranipool, informs a press release.
Various programmes were held during the launching of NSD which included Thematic Presentation on clean energy and nuclear safety by Associate Professor, Sikkim Government College, Bhakta Kanwar, Short film screening based on clean energy, visit of various galleries of Sikkim Science Centre, Marchak and Demonstration on Fun with Science by PGT, Palzor Namgyal Girl’s Senior Secondary School, Gangtok, Ivan D. Lepcha. The programme was also attended by officials from Department of Science & Technology and Climate Change and Sikkim State Council of Science & Technology.
According to the release, the NSD programme will continue throughout the year. Various outreach programmes have been planned especially for school students. There will be events, such as, Interschool Quiz Competition at district and state level with participation from all senior secondary schools on different dates. The winners at State Level quiz competition will be given scholarship for one academic year as in previous years. There will be series of popular lectures based on this year’s theme. Other programmes include debate competition, painting competition and other interactive activities to make science more interesting for the students.
Principal Secretary, Department of Science & Technology and Climate Change, Dr AK Shrivastava, while speaking during the programme declared the launch of the NSD 2012 and stressed upon the need to draw inspiration from the life of Sir CV Raman and other eminent Indian scientists, the release informs.
He called upon the students to rededicate themselves towards the study of science with focussed scientific temper and spoke at length about benefits of clean energy like hydro power and its sustainability, the release adds.
National Council for Science & Technology Communication, Ministry of Science and Technology celebrates National Science Day (NSD) all over the country every year to commemorate the discovery of the “Raman Effect” by Sir C.V. Raman and to popularise the benefits of scientific knowledge and its practical appropriation.

Two-day Kisan Mela 2012 concludes at Saramsa G

GANGTOK, 28 Feb [IPR]: The two-day Kisan Mela 2012 organised by the Horticulture and Cash Crop Department concluded here at the Saramsa Garden, Ranipool, East Sikkim, today. The two-day event was organized in order to encourage the farmers of the state towards horticulture which is one of the most profitable sectors owing to its market in and outside the state.
The event saw the exhibits of horticulture products from the farmers of the East district of the state. Besides the horticultural products brought by the farmers of the East district the Mela also saw exhibition of Medicinal Herbs from the National Mission for Medicinal plants, flower exhibition and exhibition of different types of bamboo and bamboo products under National Bamboo Mission.
In order to aware the farmers on the latest scientific development in the agriculture/horticulture sector the Mela also had stalls from the agriculture / horticulture related equipment producing companies, organic pesticide, fungicide and bio-fertilizers producing companies, seed supplier agencies and NERAMAC. The second day of the Mela also saw technical session on importance of vegetable and different schemes available to the farmers, organic farming, importance of fruits and different schemes available to the farmers by the government.
The resource persons from the department highlighted the importance of horticulture in the present day scenario in the up-liftment of the economic status of the farmers. Farmers and panchayat of East district who visited the Mela expressed gratitude to the organizers for holding such a Mela which they said will help and encourage the farmers towards the horticulture sector.
The two-day Mela was inaugurated by the Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, K.T Gayltsen on 27 February. As chief guest of the inaugural function Mr. Gyaltsen accompanied by Minister Agriculture, and Horticulture department, D.N Thakarpa visited all displayed stalls of the products by the farmers of Sikkim.
Addressing from the chair Mr.Gyaltsen congratulated the department for organizing the Mela to encourage the farmers. He said that such a Mela besides encouraging the farmers in agricultural and allied activities helps in developing cordial relationship between the department and the farmers which in the long run helps in the development of agriculture/horticulture in the state. The department provides various facilities and schemes to support the farmers in various fields, Mr. Gyaltsen said.
He further said that Kisan Mela is a platform for the farmers to show their product and to acquire knowledge on the latest development and scientific technique of farming. He urged the people not to break the relation with the soil which provides food for all living creatures of the world.
Mr. Thakarpa in his address said that the Kisan Mela is being organised to aware the farmers about new technology and technique of farming in easier ways. He urged the educated youth to adopt the farming profession with scientific technique, which is a sustainable profession. Farming of vegetables, flower, fruits, cash crops along with animal husbandry is a profitable, respectful and independent profession, he said.
Secretary, Horticulture and Cash Crop Development Department, Vishal Chauhan placed a report of the achievements and schemes of the department. He suggested to the farmers to choose the schemes which interest them.
Earlier, the Principal Director delivered the welcome speech and also informed about the departmental programmes and schemes for the farmers.
The inaugural function was also attended by the Area MLA, BB Rai, Zilla Adhyaksha,EDZP, Chairman and Advisors, Officers, Panchayats and Farmers.

Acharya raises the bar

“If my films don’t show profit, I know I am doing something right.”
This quote by Woody Allen aptly describes “Acharya”. Acharya is not a movie that will rake in the moolah or break box office records, but it is certainly a film which will be appreciated and remembered for immortalising the life and struggles of a legend of Nepali music industry.
At the outset, let me clarify that I am neither a movie buff nor a film critic. The last movie I watched was.... well, I really don’t remember. But I do remember having seen the trailers and promos of Acharya for a long time now. They looked dark, grim and mysterious and whetted my interest. And somehow this was a movie I did not want to miss. I was eagerly waiting for its release in Sikkim. But the release was delayed because of the 18 September quake and I finally got to watch the premiere on 27 February.
Acharya is a biopic based on the life of the living legend of Nepali music, Bhajan Shiromani Bhakta Raj Acharya. It would be unfair to dismiss it as another entertainer. Viewers looking for the usual fare may end up sorely disappointed. The ubiquitous naach gaana with colourful fariya cholo, dialogues like ma timilai man parauchhu, aama!!! are not Acharya’s cup of tea.
The film opens in Kathmandu with a sombre scene with Acharya practicing on the harmonium (his constant companion) with his friends. It goes into flashback mode when a reporter visits the ailing Acharya in hospital and expresses his interest to know about his life and music.
Acharya’s life, trials and tribulations take the viewer on a two hour journey which explores the deepest of human emotions of pain, struggle, love, disillusionment, helplessness and sense of achievement. It has some poignant moments which will make you uncomfortable in the belly. The more sensitive ones might also find their eyes welling up!
Acharya starts and ends on a sombre note. The emotions are muted and nothing is over the top, neither happiness nor pain. The scene where the struggling Acharya chokes on his tears while working on his sister’s field much to his dislike leaves an impact. Some scenes like the one in which he drags a chair are subtle yet suggestive. The metamorphosis of a village lad into one of the most popular Nepali singers has been portrayed brilliantly.
Acharya has been extensively shot in Nepal and India. The background score is quite experimental but at times they seem to give a feeling of an impending doom. It may be a well thought out plan to keep the audience on tenterhooks. It is wonderfully crafted except for some minor audio and video glitches here and there. Acharya nevertheless manages to give a feel of an international film with its music, lighting and camera work. The performances are convincing especially of the protagonist. Acharya has undoubtedly raised the bar for Nepali films.
And there are some surprise elements too. Watch it and be surprised. In the meantime let my computer play ‘Mutu jali rahechha...” for the nth time.
P.S. Not all that is bright and flamboyant is interesting and not all that is grim and dark is boring as far as films are concerned. I learnt it the Acharya way.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Faculty allege irregularities in SU recruitment process

GANGTOK, 27 Feb: The recruitment process underway at the Sikkim University, rumblings against which have been around for a while now, came out in the open today with a section of the faculty petitioning the recently formed Executive Council alleging irregularities in the recruitment process and levelling some direct allegations of nepotism and abuse of power by the Vice Chancellor. Six Assistant Professors of SU have approached the Executive Council with their allegations and released copies of their petition, along with documents in support of their argument, to the Press today. The VC could not be contacted for comment till the time of going to print.
The protesting faculty members, all six of whom are among the twenty “internal candidates” who have been overlooked in selections to permanent teaching positions after interviews conducted recently, have challenged the appointment of the selection panels solely by the VC when the Sikkim University Act clearly stipulates the involvement of the Executive Council in this process.
They argue that the VC has done so by exercising his “emergency powers”, highlighting further that an Office Memorandum of the Secondary Education & Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, clearly stipulates that the VC “should not” exercise his emergency powers for “Routine matters like creation of teaching and academic posts, appointment to the said posts, finalizing recruitment procedures etc.” and that these  “should invariably be placed before the authorities ordinarily empowered to take decisions in such cases”.
The protesting faculty members are convinced that the VC violated this Office Memorandum [which conveys explicit directions of the President of India who is the Visitor of all Central Universities], when he finalised the recruitment procedures by himself instead of allowing the Executive Council which is “authority ordinarily empowered” a role in it.
The six faculty members who petitioned their Executive Council today are: Rajendra Prasad, Shailendra K Mishra, Tapas Kr. Bayen, Manoranjan Mishra, PM Sorel and Rinki D. Kesharwani. All of them are Assistant Professors at SU in different Departments.
Responding to the obvious criticism of this being a case of sour grapes, a press statement issued by Mr. Prasad contends that although “such irregularity in the recruitment process and unfair practices have been going on for a long time in the University, however due to the absence of the Executive Council there was no competent body to approach” thus far.
The second Executive Council of the University was introduced at its first meeting only last week on 22 February. The earlier Executive Council had demitted office on 03 April 2011. The protesting faculty members allege that the selection interviews for 16 of the 20 academic departments of the University were intentionally timed for a period when the University had neither an Executive Council nor an Academic Council in place.
The petition marked to the Executive Council points out that while the posts were created in 2008 and eventually advertised in April 2010, selection interviews were not held until 2012, after both, the Executive and the Academic [in August 2011] Councils had demitted office.
The Sikkim University Act stipulated that the selection committees to recruit faculty members shall include nominees of the Executive Council selected from a panel of names [“for their knowledge of, or interest in, the subject with which the post is concerned”] recommended by the Academic Council. This, the petition contends, has not happened in the present recruitment process with the selection panel appointed by the VC solely by himself since there were no required Councils in office at the time.
They mention in their petition that while the SU administration might justify the VC’s actions on the grounds that the First Executive Council had empowered him to do so before its term ended, this exercise of emergency powers is explicitly denied by the Office Memorandum of the Ministry of HRD quoted earlier.
This, the VC did, the petitioners are convinced, so that he could favour some candidates while expelling several internal candidates he had personal problems with. The petition goes on to highlight that the entire process was unduly rushed. Even though the interviews were held two years after the posts were advertised and applications received, it was held in New Delhi with the shortlisted candidates given very little advance notice on the dates or venue. As a result, only between 50 to 55 per cent of the shortlisted candidates made it to the interview, the petition points out.
The six faculty members have demanded that the Executive Council, in light of the arguments placed, cancel the recruitment process which has already taken place and stay the ongoing recruitment process, re-notify the recruitment advertisement and restore the services of all contractual teachers till new appointments are done.

NHPC fined Rs 75 lakh for irresponsible dumping of waste

GANGTOK, 27 Feb: In a move which should caution power developers in the State to avoid irresponsible and illegal dumping of waste materials like excavated debris in this fragile eco-system, the Department of Forests, Environment and Wildlife has fined NHPC a sum of Rs. 75 lakh for violation of Forest laws and unauthorized dumping of muck at Elaichi Khola and the area downstream of Teesta Stage V in the East district.
Keeping in view the fragile environment and vulnerability of flora and fauna in the area surrounding Teesta Stage-V, the Forest Department had directed NHPC to pay a fine of a few crores for rehabilitation purposes which was later reduced to approximately Rs. 75 lakh in an out-of-court settlement.
Speaking to NOW! today, PCCF cum Additional Chief Secretary, M Singh, informed that the Range Officer under whose jurisdiction the affected area falls had submitted a complaint regarding the illegal dumping in these specific spots late last year. The damage to these areas was so drastic that the Forest Department had to take the matter to court for a fair decision.
However, it was known that both the parties compromised and reached an amicable settlement of Rs. 75 lakh, the amount which has now been transferred to the Land Use circle of the Forest Department for early implementation of rehabilitation works in these areas.
“Actually, the damage to these areas was extensive initially when we surveyed the area for which we had fined the power developer a huge sum, but it so happened that the illegal and unauthorized dumping in these areas had been done quite some time back and with the change in seasons most of the muck and debris had been cleared away by rain and the Teesta, because of which the fine component was brought down,” informed the PCCF.
He also informed that protective works in these areas have already started since the fine amount was transferred into the department’s account late last year. The complaint of unauthorized dumping was first raised by the locals of the area who in the initial stages of the construction of Stage V [some five years back] were unawares about what was happening back then.
“Earlier, the people were not aware that this was a violation but as years passed the locals of the area realized that the Forest Department actually has diversions in place for dumping which are also known as authorized dumping areas, which were not being used by the power developers thereby violating the law,” he informed.
It was further mentioned that since the power projects are here for developmental works in the state which is also why the Forest Department decided to come to an out of court settlement.
“The fine amount was agreed to by both parties and an amicable solution reached after a thorough assessment. The fine amount was also decided upon by the Central Monitoring Committee who also visited these areas which by the time was not in such a bad shape as it was when the complaint was initially made. We had to agree as our evidence was washed away by the river and also because we didn’t want the developmental pace in Sikkim to be affected,” explained the PCCF.

CM scholarship ‘boon from heaven’ for Makha girl

MAKHA, 27 Feb:  Eleven-year-old, Khusboo Sharma who hails from Makha, 10th Mile, Patuk (Paksam Busty), East Sikkim has been selected under the Chief Minister’s Merit Scholarship Scheme 2012 placed in the 7th position and is all set for admission in Pinegrove School in Himachal Pradesh.  Khusboo is a student of Makha Secondary School and had stood first in her last examination of class V at Makha.
About 200 meritorious students were selected under the CM’s Merit Scholarship Scheme this year from a statewide written examination held for class-V students who will now be placed, on full scholarship at reputed schools outside and within the state.
Speaking on this opportunity, Khusboo Sharma shared “For me it’s like a boon from heaven! Though it would be tough to stay away from my parents I am looking ahead because that is what my family has taught me”.
Confessing that she was stunned when she first heard the news, Khusboo is happy that it has made her family proud. “I will give my best efforts and study with dedication at my new school”, said Khusboo.
She thanked her family, friends and teachers, for their support and contribution without which this would not have been possible, she added. She especially expressed her heartfelt gratitude to her teachers for their support in guiding her towards success.  
On the other hand the proud parents, Bhawani Sharma and Durga Sharma also expressed their gratitude to the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, Area MLA of Tumin-Lingee constituency, Ugen T Gyatso, teachers and all well-wishers for their support and contribution.    

Two-day Kishan Mela at Saramsa inaugurated

GANGTOK, 27 Feb: Farmers from different parts of East Sikkim exhibited their produce at the Kishan Mela 2012, which was inaugurated by the Speaker, KT Gyaltsen at Saramsa Garden today. A total of 304 farmers have exhibited their horticulture, floriculture and other crops in this two-day programme, organized by the Horticulture and Cash Crops Development Department [H&CCDD], East District.
The Speaker accompanied by the Horticulture and Agriculture Minister, DN Takarpa, Namcheybong MLA, BB Rai, Zilla Adhyaksha [East], Bimal Dawari and Horticulture and Agriculture Secretary, Vishal Chauhan inspected the various stalls of the exhibition and interacted with the farmers.
In his inaugural address, the Speaker mentioned that this programme was a platform for the farmer fraternity to showcase their produce and to learn new knowledge and technology. He further added that such programmes would also encourage the youth in this sector. He urged the department to bring students to such programmes to show the produce of the state and it would also help them to gain knowledge.
The Speaker also spoke on the lack of interest in agriculture amongst the youth and added that the resulting rural to urban migration is an important issue. On the same, he urged the farmer fraternity to think over the issue seriously and stressed on bringing about a positive change in the mindset of the people. He also mentioned that the concerned departments should also provide counseling and all required support to farmers.
Minister, Mr Takarpa encouraged farmers to replace the traditional way of farming by modern technology to increase their produce. The Minister stated that the government has introduced programmes to promote low volume high value crops which would help farmers to earn more from less land.
The Secretary pointed out that there is large market for horticulture and floriculture products in and outside the state and the department is working hard to encourage people to adopt these sectors. He also highlighted that organic products have more demand and fetch high prices in the world market and called for people’s support in the Sikkim Organic Mission.
In his welcome address, Principal Director [Horticulture], DK Rai spoke on the various ongoing programmes and schemes of the departments in these sectors.

“Acharya” releases in Gangtok

GANGTOK, 27 Feb: “Acharya” directed by Sikkimese filmmaker, Prashant Rasaily premiered at Denzong cinema hall here today.
Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and wife Tika Maya Chamling, along with HRDD Minister, NK Pradhan, MLA Gangtok, Dorjee Namgyal, UDHD Minister, DB Thapa and Deputy Mayor, Shakti Singh attended the premier show of the film.
The film is a drama based on the true story of a renowned Nepali singer Bhakta Raj Acharya which has his son Satya Raj Acharya playing the lead role. The film portrays the early days of his resistance and eventual rise to overwhelming popularity which earned him the title of “Bhajan Siromani” in Nepal. He tragically lost his tongue in 1993 due to a disease and couldn’t sing anymore.
The 2 hours 20 minutes long Nepali feature film has been produced by Silk Route Pictures. Released in Nepal in September last year, the film received good reviews and has now opened for the Sikkimese audiences today.

Magazine on British Council’s educational project released at Namchi

NAMCHI, 27 Feb: Namchi cluster under United Kingdom India Education Research Initative (UKIREI) project organised a programme to release a magazine on the work and achievement of UKIERI project for Sikkim here at Namchi Senior Secondary School, South Sikkim today.
Chairman NMC, BT Tamang was present as the chief guest at the programme which was also attended by VC NMC, NH Ansari, JD (S) HRDD, Bimla Rai, Ex. JD, TB Rai, Principal NSSS, BR Rai, Heads of schools under Namchi cluster and the assistant teachers of UKIERI projects for Namchi cluster.
Addressing the occasion chief guest, BT Tamang congratulated all the teachers and the members associated in the project and also thanked Dr. Udida Bhutia for her initiative to bring such reforms in education system through this project. He further said that all the members associated with this project should continue their relationship with partner schools of England which was made during this project and learn from them and also give them the knowledge of our rich culture, customs, and traditions. The Chairman said that learning the English language and about the developed countries is important but we must also safeguard our regional language, customs and traditions.
JD (S), HRDD in her address said that UKIREI projects were beautiful projects that bring about huge change in the education system and in the teaching and learning process and also thanked Dr. Udida Bhutia for introducing the projects for the schools of South Sikkim. The projects had brought about a change in the classroom and in the perspectives and attitude of teachers along with the students in the Namchi cluster, she informed.
She further informed that under this project many teachers had gone to the partner schools in England where they learnt about their education system and teaching process and similarly teachers from England also came to visit the schools of Namchi and shared their experiences and knowledge giving birth to new aspirations, ideas and achievements, she added. She also urged all the school heads and teachers to continue their activities of the project though the tenure of the project had been completed and retain the good relation with their partner schools.
It may be mentioned here that the UKIERI project aims to facilitate the growth of cluster schools. It will provide a unique platform for the sharing of educational development and reform in school sectors in the UK and India through the provision of opportunities for professional development for teachers and heads of schools, and further avenues for policy dialogue, networking and sharing of good practices.
The whole project was financed by the British Council and under the initiative Dr. Udida Bhutia six schools; Namchi NSSS, NGSSS, Sadam SSS, Singithang PS, Gumpa Ghurpisey PS and JMK schools had been registered under Namchi Cluster in 2009 following which different activities, trainings and knowledge was shared during the three years of the project.
The programme was also addressed by Principal NSSS, BR Rai and during the programme the message of Dr. Udida Bhutia was readout by Asst. Teacher, Umima Bhutia while the welcome speech was delivered by Bindya R. Tanpa and vote of thanks was delivered by Karen Bhutia.

Editorial: SU in the News, Again

Serious allegations have been levelled against the recruitment process underway at the Sikkim University; this time, by faculty members dissatisfied with the manner in which the entire process was managed and questioning the intent behind what they see as obvious moves to subvert fair-play. While the university has often been the target of allegations in the past, from students and even the ruling party, the latest development acquires more significance because it comes from the faculty themselves and has been tabled with the Executive Council and is not merely being played out in the media. The news-report on the allegations published in today’s edition details their arguments and there is no need to go over them again. What is important, however, is to recognise the seriousness of the allegations and the fact that it has been tabled with a statutory body of the University. There will be obvious sniggers of the petitioners being sore losers, but it needs to be recognised that the arguments forwarded by the six Assistant Professors cannot be dismissed offhand since they back it with substantial documents and are even risking their future prospects of employment in the networked world of the academia by sticking their necks out. From information available at hand, the Executive Council is the forum available to the aggrieved faculty members for complaints like this. The ball is now in the Executive Council’s court, and now that the issue has been released into the public domain, what it decides and how it explains its decision will be closely followed not only by those in academic circles, but also the media and the people at large. It is also definite that the issue will be taken up by political parties and that the exchanges will become nastier for all concerned sides. One only hopes that in the din which is bound to explode now, the root questions asked about what the desired administrative procedures should be, are convincingly settled. The Office Memorandum of the Department of Secondary and Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, GoI, quoted by the petitioning SU faculty members, before it stipulates that Vice Chancellors cannot exercise their emergency powers for “routine matters” like finalising recruitment procedures, explains that the guideline is being issued because of rising complaints that VCs have been invoking emergency powers “as a matter of routine” and that statutory bodies like the Executive Council “increasing asked to endorse action take on their behalf by the Vice Chancellors”. The guideline stipulating matters for which the VCs should not invoke their emergency powers, the Office Memorandum in question explains, was being issued so that this “rather regressive development” is checked and the statutory bodies allowed to play the “critical important role” envisaged for them in the “overall democratic governance of the Universities”. The new Executive Council at Sikkim University has now been drawn into the debate and how it interprets the Office Memorandum in question [which is of June 2001 vintage, the matter, it appears, has been one of concern for a while now] and the concerned statutes of the Sikkim University Act referred to by the protesting faculty members, will also set a precedence for all Central Universities on this issue. This will be interesting and significant, even if complicated and vexed, issue to follow...

SU organises interactive session on Sino-Indian economic dialogue

GANGTOK, 27 Feb: An interactive session amongst the media fraternity, academics and former bureaucrats on “The Sino-Indian economic dialogue: From bilateral trade to strategic partnership” was organised by Sikkim University at the Press Club today.
Fellow, Research Institute Centre for AIR Power and Former Additional Secretary, GOI, Jaidev Ranadey, Deptt.of East Asian Studies, Delhi University, Madhu Bhalla and Director, Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies, Dr.Subhachandra were among those who after attending a two-day national seminar on the Sino-Indian theme wanted to learn about the views of the media here.
Journalists and editors of local papers highlighted on Sino-Indo trade through the Nathula border. The need for updating the list of items for import and export, improving the infrastructure especially roads leading to Nathula were some of the points discussed during the interaction.
The resource persons spoke on illegal basket supplies from China which is why Chinese products are openly available in the market.
Faculty members and students of Sikkim University’s Mass Communication Dept also attended the programme and discussed the benefits of border trade for the people of Sikkim and the problems that need to be addressed.

Awareness on organic farming held at Dzongu

MANGAN, 27 Feb:  An awareness programme on organic farming was held for the farmers of Lingthem-Lingdem GPU, Dzongu at Lingthem club house today. The programme was conducted by Sikkim Organic Mission supported by Horticulture department and the implementing agency MR Morarka Foundation.
Thirty-two farmers attended the programme which had Panchayat Secretary, Lingthem-Lingdem GPU as the chief guest. The main objective of the programme was to provide farmers registration in organic farming.
Benefits of organic farming in future and marketing values, soil fertility management (Vermi compose pits, NSDL-Natural Suraksha Decompose Liquid & Pit compose), pest management, etc were taken up during the programme.
The programme was conducted by Project Officer, Tilak Pradhan, Morarka Foundation, field supervisors, Sonam Ongdup Lepcha and Phul Maya Tamang.

Lama Gongdue Drupchen Puja at Ringhim Gumpa 10 March onwards

MANGAN, 27 Feb:  Ringhim Gumpa Committee convened a meeting under the supervision of Ex-Adhyaksha, Lobzang Tenzing and other members on Sunday.
It was decided in the meeting that world peace puja ‘Lama Gongdue Drupchen Puja’ would be organised from 10 to 17 March. Mr Tenzing thanked the Chief Minister and Area MLA, Lachen Mangan for sanctioning the funds for the re-construction of Ringhim Gumpa, which will start after the puja.

11-day Holi celebrations begin at Rangpo

RANGPO, 27 Feb: The eleven-day Holi festival under the banner of All India Marwari Yuva Manch Rangpo began here on Sunday. The festival being organised towards preserving traditional culture has been a regular feature at Rangpo for many years. The first day witnessed children and adults alike taking part in the festival, and more participation is expected in the coming days. [from SANJAY AGARWAL]

Monday, February 27, 2012

State officials undergo training on Drug Law Enforcement

GANGTOK, 24 Feb: Mid-level officials, mostly inspectors and sub-inspectors of Sikkim Police, Sikkim Excise and senior drug inspectors of the State Health department are undergoing a two-day basic training course on Drug Law Enforcement being organized by the Department of Excise under the aegis of Narcotics Control Bureau, Kolkata Zonal Unit at Hotel Chumbi Residency starting today.
The first day of the training programme shed light on issues such as national, international drug scenario, main sources of supply of narcotics drugs, routes of illicit trafficking particular to the state, country including more vulnerable and sensitive areas.
Further, information was also disseminated regarding the basic provisions and salient features of NDPS Act, 1985, including amendments in the act, search, seizure, arrest basic enforcement framework of NDPS Act, 1985, the powers and jurisdiction of enforcement framework of NDPS Act, 1985, preparation of various documents including formats thereof from the stage of receipt of secret information till the filling of challan, charge sheet and complaints.
It was also informed today that drugs could be classified into three types, natural, semi- synthetic and synthetic. Natural drugs are drugs obtained from natural sources like plants for example opium, cannabis, etc, while semi-synthetic drugs are those that are manufactured by processing natural drugs with chemicals eg. heroin, cocaine, etc. Synthetic drugs are manufactured purely from synthetic substances eg. Barbiturates, ATS etc.
Drugs further act in three variants, depressants, stimulants and hallucinogens. Depressants are drugs that slow down the activity of Central Nervous System, eg. Opium, Heroin, Barbiturates etc while Stimulants increase the activity of Central Nervous System, eg,  Amphetamine, Cocaine, etc, Hallucinogens are drugs that distort our normal visions, hearing and feeling functions, eg. LSD, PCP, Mescaline, Psylocibin.
During the programme the participants were told about the Opium Act, 1857, the Opium Act, 1878 and the Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930 that were applicable prior to the enactment of NDPS Act, 1985,It was informed that the scheme of punishment was not sufficiently deterrent to meet the growing challenge.  Maximum punishment was upto 3 yrs of imprisonment (4 yrs. for repeat offence).
Further that these laws were found grossly inadequate to deal with the challenges posed by drug trafficking and abuse. Moreover the international conventions also stipulated the member countries to formulate comprehensive laws which will act as a strong deterrent to drug offenders. In consonance with these the NDPS Act, 1985, was enacted by the Govt. of India and came into force from 14th November, 1985.
Talking about the salient features of the Act, it was informed that it has 83 sections and a schedule which contains a list of psychotropic substances. That, Punishment graded into 3 categories for small, medium and commercial quantities. Also that Offences under Sec 19, 24,27A and offences involving commercial quantity attract maximum punishment. Provision also has it that there is enhanced punishment for repeat offences along with the Constitution of special courts.
It was also explained that all offences are cognizable and non-bailable and that stringent bail conditions for grave offences specially u/s 19, 24, 27A and cases involving commercial quantities. Information was also shared on Controlled delivery, Pre-trial disposal of seized narcotic drugs, forfeiture of property acquired through drug traffic and that it was amended twice in the year 1988 and 2001.
Shedding light on the changes brought through amendment it was mentioned that a new Chapter IIA relating to the constitution of a National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse was introduced. Further, that a New Sec. 31A providing death penalty was introduced.
It was said that Sec. 32A was introduced which provides that no sentence awarded (other than Sec. 27) should be suspended, remitted or commuted. Constitution of Special Court was provided in a new Sec. 36A and that Sec 37 was substituted to make offences cognizable and non-bailable. Also that a New Sec. 64A provided immunity from prosecution to an addict on condition it was said that a new Chapter VA was introduced to cover all aspects relating to forfeiture of property derived from, or used in, illicit traffic to regulate and control precursor chemicals, Sec 9A was introduced and that the new sec 25A provided punishment in relation to precursor chemicals.
That the main change brought about by the Amendment in 2001 is the gradation of punishment depending on the quantity of drug involved. Further, that the quantity of drug has been segregated as small, medium and commercial.  Small means RI up to 6 month or with fine up to Rs. 10,000 or both, medium means RI up to 10 yrs. and with fine up to Rs. 1 lakh and commercial means RI not less than 10 yrs. and up to 20 yrs. and with fine not less than Rs. 1 lakh up to 2 lakh. And that Provision of controlled delivery has also been incorporated through this amendment.
The second day of the training programme will see the trainees getting briefed on the procedure of drawl of samples, storage and disposal of narcotics drugs including pre-trial disposal u/s 52A of the NDPS Act, 1985, provisions of relating to identification, freezing and forfeiture of property derived from or used in illicit traffic of drugs, destruction of poppy/cannabis cultivation, concepts of precursors in the context of illicit drug trafficking, international obligations, modus operandi for illegal diversion of precursors and the rewards and assistance to states.
Present for the inaugural session of the training programme was the Commissioner of Excise, Pintso Wangyal Bhutia, Additional Commissioner, Binita Chhetri, Deputy Commissioner of Excise, Chenga Bhutia. The resource person from NCB, Kolkata was Intelligence officer, Chanchal Sarkar.

State Agriculture Deptt team attends national workshop on Rainfed/Dryland farming

GANGTOK, 24 Feb: Minister for Agriculture and Horticulture, DN Thakarpa and Secretary, Vishal Chauhan, Additional Directors. SL. Dorjee and Dr. Yashoda Pradhan attended a workshop on "Policy Initiatives for Promoting Partnership between Stakeholders in Agriculture with particular reference to Rainfed/Dryland Farming" at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on 15 February, informs a press release.
The workshop was inaugurated by Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. The inaugural session was addressed by the Union Minister of Finance, Pranab Mukherjee, the Union Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Sharad Pawar and the Governor of Punjab and Rajasthan and the Chairman of the Committee of Governors, Shivraj Patil.
Addressing the workshop, the President Pratibha Patil said that the workshop is an attempt for convergence of the activities of all the stakeholders for various aspects for enhancing the agriculture production and ensuring the food security in the country, the release informs.
After the inaugural session, there was technical session on different topics like policy initiatives to remove factors impeding raid growth in rainfed/ dryland farming, knowledge management for sustainable agriculture, Farmers-Industry Partnership and Farmers organizations.
The workshop was widely represented by Governors of the different States, Chief Ministers, Ministers, Bureaucrats, Agriculture Scientists, Officials of State Agriculture Department, Krishi Vigyan Kendras and Farmers representatives, the release adds.

19th National Veterans TT Champ concludes at Paljor Stadium

GANGTOK, 24 Feb: The closing ceremony of the 19th edition of National Veterans Table Tennis Championship 2012 hosted by Sikkim for the first time was held at Paljor Stadium indoor gymnasium hall this afternoon.
The five-day championship was organized by the Sikkim Veterans Table Tennis Association and was inaugurated by the Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, NK Pradhan, on 20 February.
A total of 38 teams from 24 states, 1 Union Territory of Chandigarh and 4 institutions from across the country took part in the championship. A total of 790 paddlers participated under various categories of 40 plus, 50 plus, 60 plus, 65 plus and 70 plus for men’s and women’s.
Tourism Minister, Bhim Dhungel was present as the chief guest of the closing ceremony, who also declared the closing of the championship.
Indian Veterans Table Tennis Association general secretary, Titus C Philipose appreciated the hospitality and organization of the championship in an enthusiastic manner in the state. He also congratulated the host state and the players from different parts of the country for participating in the championship in the right spirit.
The closing ceremony was also addressed by the SVTTA president, SB Subba and SVTTA general secretary, Kuber Bhandari, who expressed their gratitude to the Chief Minister for supporting the championship and for promoting sports and games in the state.
The closing ceremony also featured the final matches of Men’s singles 40-plus and Women’s singles 40- plus categories.
In an interesting and contesting match, Harsh Chopra of Haryana defeated Nupur Santra of West Bengal in the deciding game of the best of five matches of men’s singles. In women’s singles, Sonal Joshi of Gujarat beat Mantu Murmu of West Bengal in straight sets.
The function was also attended by Political Advisor to the CM, KN Rai, who is the chief patron of SVTTA, ADGP Sikkim Police, SD Negi, who is the chief advisor of SVTTA, along with president, RG Lyngdoh, and general secretary, Chiranjeev Chaudhary, of North East Table Tennis Forum and STTA president, CK Basnet among others.

SBS opens its 29th branch at Kanchenjunga Shopping Complex

GANGTOK, 24 Feb: State Bank of Sikkim’s 29th branch in the state was inaugurated by the Human Resource Development Minister, NK Pradhan at the Kanchenjunga Shopping complex today. In his address, the HRD Minister stressed that SBS has a huge role to play in the overall development of the state and the bank is a partner in the development of the state.
He urged the businessmen of Kanchenjunga Shopping complex to support the branch by opening their accounts in the bank. He further urged the bank to help out small businessmen by providing loans with proper verification.
SBS Chairman, LM Lepcha informed that the bank was established by the Chogyal in 1968 and later was taken up by the State government in 1983. He informed that the bank now has a total of 29 branches across the state including the head office and 26 of its branches are fully computerized.
Earlier in his welcome address, SBS Managing Director, Vishal Chauhan said that SBS has witnessed an increase in the number of branches and customers in the last two years. He informed that the bank has opened its branches at Kabi BAC, Sang and Parakha and now this new branch at Kanchenjunga Shopping complex. He further informed that the bank is still working hard to increase the number of branches and customers.
The inaugural function concluded with the vote of thanks by SBS Chief General Manager, Karma Gyatso Bhutia.

Immunization camp for domestic animals around Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary

GANGTOK, 24 Feb: An Immunization Camp for domestic animals in the fringe villages of Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary was organised by the East Wildlife Division, Department of Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management at Lingtam Block [upper Martam] today.
The people living in the villages around the Fambonghlo Wildlife Sanctuary have domestic animals which are let loose for grazing in the nearby forest areas and we don’t want these animals to transmit diseases to the wild animals falling within the Sanctuary area, informed Assistant Conservator of Forest, Fambonghlo Wildlife Sanctuary, ST Bhutia while speaking to NOW! today.
This is being done basically as a preventive measure and the animals are being vaccinated against the Foot & Mouth Disease [FMD] as this is a highly contagious disease and can be transmitted to the wild animals if they come in contact with the domestic animals, he added.
Another reason for selecting these villages are that the people from these villages earn their livelihood by selling meat, milk and milk products and thus have a lot of domestic animals, so as a precautionary measure, the Forest Department is holding this vaccination camp, the ACF stated.
We have covered more than 30 households and have vaccinated more than a 100 animals [cows and goats] falling in this village, said Veterinary Officer, Zoo and Wildlife, FE&WM Department, Dr. Karma Doma Bhutia. We are vaccinating the animals to protect them from the highly contagious Foot & Mouth Disease, she added.
This is being done to save wildlife as it is not possible for us to go after wild animals within the Sanctuary, so it is better to vaccinate the domestic animals living around the Sanctuary area, she informed.
She was accompanied by Compounder Sohn Tshering Lepcha, a Veterinary Stockman from the Department of Animal Husbandry and one more helper to help vaccinate the animals.
We are very thankful to the Forest Department, the doctors and the Wildlife Officers for taking such a step in saving not only our domestic animals but also saving wildlife, stated Ward Panchayat, Lingtam Block, upper Martam, SP Machongpa. This is a good scheme of the government and equally very helpful for the villagers, he added.
The vaccination camp is a totally centrally sponsored scheme and is being carried out by the Forest, Environment & Wildlife Management Department with a fund of Rs. 40,000. On 25 February, the vaccination camp will be carried out in Ranka and then on 26 February it will be done in Dhanbari, informed RO Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary, Jigme Bhutia.

Sorry, my dear trees!

The beeline of hundreds of cars denied me the chance to reach a meeting in time recently, even though I had kept a good 45 minutes, unlike just 25 minutes required till a few years back, to commute to the place and took the Namnang Road. On the drive, to my horror, I found all cypress trees (Cupressus torulosa.) planted in 1976, on near mission mode- gone. Later, I was told they are making space for a walkway. A walkway is fine, with nice scenery both down to the Roro Chu and beyond to the verdant forests of Bhusuk, but why did these poor trees have to become victims? Removing a few is understandable, but rendering the entire place almost barren is absolutely unacceptable. You can make sky scrapers, but trees so well established for the last 35 to 40 years cannot be bought as it amounts to buying time. Cypress is a well-rooted tree species. A good example of this is the Cupressus funebris at Yuksam – now almost 370 years old and still standing like a sentinel even though its top-half is blown away. At best, they could be top headed. Better planning could have been done to make the walkway or whatever is in the planning process to make trees the focal points and blend it with architectural planning. Why the Forest Department succumbed to such blatant destruction, I cannot fathom. The plantation was established the hard way.
I have seen many houses in Kerala designed by Laurie Baker with coconut trees jutting out right from inside the house - like the one of our former Development Commissioner RN Narayanan in Trivandrum. I thought to myself as I drove along they could be well blended in the scheme of things.
My senior, MM Rasaily, a very strict and disciplined forest officer, used to reject such requests outright with remarks “whether his house came first or the tree. Knowing very well the tree is there what made him to build the house”. That was the respect the trees had in the State at one time.
Then again, on the plea of earthquake damaging houses, hundreds of trees were put to the axe - the one Panisaj of a 100+ years near my house which was almost a landmark, is now gone. Sikkim’s beauty is in its nature, the trees and forests and to relegate them for the shake of making grandiose structures for tourist attractions at the cost of some of the grand trees, is, in my opinion, at conflict with the ethos and appeal of the place. It is time to give a deep thought and the Forest Department should play very pro-active role in this.
The number of trees being felled for the national highway double-laning is heart-breaking. The precious avenue plantations of silver oak at Bageykhola are all gone. But highway widening is a necessity and some sacrifice cannot be helped. Hope these 40 year old trees with sizeable boles could be put to good use - preferably by the Directorate of Handloom and Cottage Industries- as it makes very good furniture timber. Again, further down Bageykhola, near the Hume Pipe factory, three mandaney trees loaded with orchid (Cymbidium aloifolium) - the largest clumps with numerous brownish pendant flowers floating in the air in April - are all gone. What has become of my prized orchids, of whom I have numerous photographs, are best not recollected for the pain such nostalgia will bring.
I wish I had not gone or traveled to see and get myself so disillusioned. Good bye my trees. Do please forgive us!
[The writer is a former Chief Secretary to the Govt of Sikkim and prefers to introduce himself as “A Forester cum Plantsman”]

Rongong Youth Club welcomes scrapping of West HEPs

GANGTOK, 24 Feb: The Rongong Youth Club, Phodong has also applauded and thanked the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling and his government for closing down the Lethang and Ting Ting hydel power projects, in a press release issued by its chief patron, Gay Tshering Bhutia.
 “We further look forward that the Government of Sikkim, under the dynamic leadership of Mr Chamling would scrap the Tashiding HEP as well in the greater public interest in preserving our culture and religion”, the release states.
The Club has further thanked the Chief Minister “for respecting our Buddha dharma and the tradition as established by Mahaguru Padmasambhava”.

Youth and Fashion: Communicating Through Dress

The cold climate of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok, the influence of Christianity, and the influence of Nepali diaspora are what many view as the main reasons for the changes in the way people dress in these hills. This is one of the key preliminary findings by Sikkim University’s Winter Sojourn team on the theme “Youth and Fashion”. The study was conducted for two weeks in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok.
“The region is unique in terms of the fashion trends which itself has undergone changes over time. Our broad aim is not only to understand the changing trends in the way youth dress but also in the modes of communication both as a receiver as well as a producer of fashion consciousness.”, says Dr. Teibor, the team leader.
The field work which involves students of various departments undertook extensive in-depth interviews with the young people and the various cross sections of the society. This include, elders, clothes merchants, tailors and dress makers, branded and non branded shops, and local entrepreneur, craftsmen and designers.
According to the team, fashion among the youth is a way of expressing their identity as part of the generation next. The findings also indicate that information about latest trends in fashion among the youth is received through peers, media like movies-particularly Korean movies, music, mobile and internet.
The team also studied the other aspects of fashion that involve perception and adaptability of traditional dress and designs in modern era and also as a way of communicating the rich cultural heritage of the region.
“There has been a decline of interest on traditional dress, arts and design among the youth”, says Sonika Lama, a student of the Department of the Geography and member of the team, According to her, “except for a brief period during the movement for Gorkhaland or during festivals, there has not been much interest among the youth in traditional dress. Many young people opined that modern designs need to be incorporated in the traditional dress and should suit the climate of this region”. Rinki Kesharwani, the theme co-coordinator adds, “Young generations follow these traditional trends of dressing under social pressures only on certain occasions because they don’t want to look different from their community members. They want to identify themselves with their particular communities. On the other hand, in their normal daily lives when they are with friends, in college and other social groupings of their age they prefer to go for so called modern, imported, branded and sometimes local new ways of dressings because they think that it enhances their self esteem and confidence. They feel very good and positive about themselves.”
Chandra Rai, a school teacher, said, “there is a need to develop cottage industry on weaving, and introduction of vocational curriculum in schools if traditional dress are to be popularized and communicated to the outside world”.
“We had a lot of learning in the field, something that we could have never got in the classrooms. This has widened our perspective and we thank our University for giving this exposure”, says Pema Uden Sherpa, a student member of the team.
The Winter Sojourn was introduced last year as an annual fixture at Sikkim University. This winter filed trip is an attempt by the university to orient students and faculty in field-based research on issues that are of great relevance and importance to the region.
On the experience of this winter sojourn, Kiran Chhetri, a BSc student of Floriculture and Horticulture department, said that “I had never ever interacted with strangers, but this field trip taught me how to do that. I am very privileged and lucky to study in such an institution which does not only stress on academics but also give us a chance in other experience as well that help us to attain one of the best experience of our lifetime…I had such a wonderful experience , which I shall cherish lifelong”.
“Fashion as a theme, what I personally felt was very exciting project because as a young research student this project was something unique and exhaustive. The survey has really enhanced and broadened the horizon on the notion of fashion to me. Fashion, initially make us think only of the glamorous stereotype, but when one actually penetrates beneath this, it also involves the perception of a layman or the means how they perceive and carry on their sense of living”, says Kunsang Ongmu, a student of Sociology.
It is also informed that this theme on youth and fashion is also supplemented by the “Oral History Film Project” of Sikkim University. The project documents the rich cultural heritage of this region and is the process of making a series of films on oral history of the Eastern Himalayan Region.
-RINKI KESHARWANI [Convenor, Theme Fashion Winter Soujourn 2012, Sikkim University]