Friday, August 3, 2012

The bond of protection

GANGTOK, 02 Aug: Today was a day when brothers flaunted smart Rakhis announcing their vows to protect their sisters throughout their lives and sisters bind them to this commitment with the sacred threads which also symbolises their love and prayers for the wellbeing of their brothers.
As much as in private homes, Raksha Bandha was also grandly observed at the Raj Bhawan and Mintokgang today where the Governor and Chief Minister respectively received rakhis and best wishes.
The photograph above captures a Raksha Bandhan moment at Mintokgang, the official residence of the Chief Minister here today.
Meanwhile, the day began in the Raj Bhavan on a festive note today as the Brahma Kumaris from Brahma Kumaris Rajyoga Meditation Centre, Gangtok, tied Rakhis on the hands of the Governor, Balmiki Prasad Singh.
A press release issued by the PRO to the Governor informs that the Governor has conveyed his best wishes to the people of Sikkim on the auspicious Raksha Bandhan day.
The Governor has hoped that brothers will continue displaying the role of protecting the honour and dignity of their sisters. “May this festival strengthen the bonds of love and affection in every family and our society,” the Governor has conveyed.

Himalayan Institute of Disaster Management and Climate Change to come up at Pakyong


GANGTOK, 02 Aug: The State Government has formally taken a policy decision to establish a Himalayan Institute of Disaster Management and Climate Change in Pakyong at the Sub-Division Complex within the next three years. The State Government has been planning for such an institution for a while now and its resolve made more urgent in light of the 18 September 2011 earthquake.
The Institute will undertake capacity building in Disaster Preparedness, Mitigation and Response and offer training for State Disaster Response Force, Civil Defense and Fire Services as well. This facility can be utilized by all the Northeastern states for their capacity building towards disaster preparedness.
The policy decision is expected to be announced by the State government during its two-day workshop on the eve of the first anniversary of the earthquake on 17 and 18 September, next month. On the first day of the workshop, technical session on disaster management and preparedness will be held and disaster affected states like Assam, Odisha, Gujurat, Bihar, Karnataka and Kerala along with Sikkim will give presentations on disaster management.
The second day will see deliberations on the role and preparedness while Finance Minster, P Chidambaram is expected to attend the programme as well.
Besides this, the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority [SSDMA] has finalized the introduction of lessons on State School Safety Programme, making all schools disaster resilient structurally as well as through capacity building activities from the next session.
The State has also initiated the formulation of Sikkim Disaster Management Plan, District Level Disaster Management plans, Gangtok Urban Disaster Management Plan, City Disaster Management Plans for all cities, using the Gangtok Urban Disaster Management Plan as a model by setting up an effective ‘Fire Safety System’.
The state government will also formulate Model Village Disaster Management Plans subsequently, to be implemented across all the villages of Sikkim. Large number of public awareness campaigns on disaster risk reduction and preparedness will also be carried out.
The state government has also decided to bring in technically equipped architects, engineers, construction workers in disaster resilient construction techniques. Also in the pipeline are strategic plan for transportation access, rapid damage assessment, search and rescue and relief distribution in post disaster situation in remote areas and model monastery retrofitting and conservation projects.
The State Disaster Management Authority is working towards a state-wide programme for making hospitals and health facilities safe from disasters and prepared to manage mass causalities.

Allegations of intimidation spikes tension in Namchi

NAMCHI, 02 Aug: After some newspapers today reported on an alleged threatening of one of the supporters of dissident SDF MLA, PS Tamang [Golay] by SDF supporters in Namchi yesterday, supporters of the dissident MLA from Namchi and Jorethang gathered at Namchi’s Central Park today leading to some tense moments.
According to the news reports in question, one Phurden Lepcha, a former SDF supporter but now in the Golay camp was allegedly threatened by SDF supporters in Namchi on Wednesday. This has been denied by the SDF.
To ensure that law and order was maintained, SP South, Manoj Tiwari, DC, AK Singh along with police personnel were present at Central Park today. Police personnel conducted body searches of both SDF and Golay supporters as much to signal their seriousness in maintaining order as to ensure that no weapons were smuggled in.
Although no untoward incident transpired between the SDF and Golay supporters, with tensions riding high, one of Mr. Tamang’s supported ended up in a heated exchange of words with the SP and given the tense situation, was detained.
Nawraj Gurung was reportedly detained by the police for misbehaving with the SP South, who was in civvies at the time.
Following this, other supporters present at Central Park refused to budge unless he was released. When contacted, the SP informed that Mr. Gurung had not been placed under arrest and had been detained in light of the tense situation and to prevent a flare up. He was released after some time, following which the group of Golay supporters vacated Central Park as well.
Later, the dissident MLA met his supporters and media persons at his residence at Tinzir road, Namchi. He asked his supporters to refrain from any kind of violence.
Speaking on Wednesday’s alleged incident of intimidation of one of his supporters, Mr Tamang said that instead of threatening its former supporters who had now left the party, SDF leaders should try to find out why its supporters are leaving the party.
Referring to Phurden Lepcha, he said that Mr Lepcha was very loyal to the party serving it for 18 years but his hard work and contributions were never recognised by the party or its leaders. Condemning the incident, the dissident MLA stated that his supporters would never indulge in violent acts of any kind but such incidents would not be tolerated either.
Armed Police and IRB personnel have been deployed here in Namchi but there have been no reports of any flare ups and the situation is now normal.
Meanwhile, the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front’s South District unit has strongly condemned the news reports in question and one of the persons accused of threatening a Golay supporter has also filed an police complaint against the supposed victim of his threats accusing him of defaming him and the SDF and of misleading the people and the police.
As for the news-report in question, it had alleged that SDF supporters from Namchi - Deepak Rai, Goden Tsh. Bhutia, Palzor Bhutia and Aman Rai had threatened Phurden Lepcha yesterday at Central Park here.
Also today, the SDF convened a meeting here under the chairmanship of Namchi-Singithang MLA, Binod Rai, here at the party office. The meeting was also attended by Chairman Tea Board, Gagan Rai and Passang Rinzing Sherpa, Zilla Upadakshya South, Himal Tamang, vice president, RN Rai and other party leaders.
During the meeting party leaders condemned the news and said that it was just a rumor spread by Golay supporters to create a law and order situation in the district and nothing as alleged had happened yesterday in Namchi. SDF supporters accused of intimidation were also present at the meeting and contended that although Phurden Lepcha was present at Central Park yesterday nothing as claimed by him had occurred. They contend that Mr. Lepcha took to his heels when he saw then in town, perhaps fearing that they would confront him and insist that none of them had any such plans.
Condemning the same Goden Tshering Bhutia lodged a formal police complaint today here at Namchi Police Station urging the Police to take necessary action against Phurden Lepcha of Denchung, South Sikkim for levelling false allegations against him, defaming him and the SDF party and also for misleading the Police.

Dissatisfied football clubs demand further probe into origins of two Siniolchu FC players

GANGTOK, 02 Aug: Insisting that Siniolchu FC won the Sikkim League in violation of prescribed rules, representatives of Boys Club, Dzongri SC and United Sikkim Football Club have urged the Sikkim Football Association to probe further into the documents submitted by the Namchi club in defense of its two players alleged to be Nepal nationals.
“We have asked the SFA to further scrutinize the documents of the two Siniolchu FC players. As per our knowledge, the two players have been playing in Nepal clubs at Jhapa and fall under foreign players category. The SFA has assured to scrutinize the documents and come to a final conclusion. We will wait as it is a serious issue for Sikkim and goes beyond football,” said officials and players of the three clubs addressing reporters after the prize distribution ceremony today.
The officials and players alleged that documents stating that the two players were school students and residents of a village in Namchi could be fake.
“We had asked for copies of these documents to be provided to us so we can clear our doubts. The SFA should not go by documents given by a school Principal and Panchayat but conduct its own probe. If this issue is not solved now, other clubs could bring more players from Nepal submitting similar papers in the future as well. This practice will have serious consequences on football in Sikkim,” they said.
If the documents are found to be fake then it will also have serious consequences on the school and panchayat who gave these papers, the club officials and players pointed out. They maintained that they do not have personal grudges against Siniolchu FC but want rules to be followed and implemented equally for all clubs.

USFC takes in State Sports Academy and Namchi Sports Hostel as its U-17 and U-14 teams

GANGTOK, 02 Aug: State Sports Academy [SSA] and Namchi Sports Hostel [NSH] have now become Uro Sikkim United Football Club’s U-17 and U-14 teams respectively. In a tie-up with the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs, students of both these academies will now be playing as USFC players in state and national level tournaments. Both these academies have a set of thirty players each at present.
After qualifying for the I-League, it is mandatory for the USFC to have its own U-17 and U-14 teams. The tie-up was announced in a short function held here at Paljor Stadium, which was attended by HRDD Minister, NK Pradhan and Secretary of Sports and Youth Affairs, Karma P Bhutia and USFC co-owner, Bhaichung Bhutia.
Addressing the function, USFC CEO, Bhaichung informed that Nike was the official kit sponsor of the club, so the players of these academies would get the best quality kits similar to what the club’s senior team was getting. The USFC also wants to provide better and wider exposure to these junior teams to encourage them further, he said adding that the U-17 teams would also take part in the U-17 I-League.
The club will bring part time coaches to train these junior teams and also try to send local coaches to train outside, mentioned Bhaichung.
Informing that this tie-up is for a period of 2 years, he expressed hope that it would continue longer. He also shared that the club would not interfere in the selection process of players for these hostels but would provide technical support if required by the department.
Stating that the USFC has signed seven players from the Sports Academy this time, Bhaichung expressed that it was the duty of the club to support the state government’s efforts in promoting the game.
“This tie-up is just the beginning of the process to make Sikkim the most sporting state in the country”, said Bhaichung sharing his dreams to make USFC the best club in the country and to have the best football academy of the nation here in Sikkim.
The club is also in talks with the Sports department to organize an inter-school football tournament on a grand scale with the aim to discover hidden talents from across the state, he informed and added that the club would be providing full support to the department for this purpose.
Addressing the function, Minister NK Pradhan appreciated USFC’s initiative for coming forward to show a better path to young footballers of these academies. “It is great that Bhaichung has come forward to guide, support and help players by providing benefits and exposure”, stated Mr Pradhan.
Urging the young players of the two academies to work hard the Minister said that USFC’s promotion to the I-League was not only a matter of pride for the club but for the entire state.
SYA Secretary, Mr Bhutia mentioned that this tie-up with Bhaichung’s club was a big opportunity for young footballers of the academies to pave the way for a better future. He stated that this tie-up would fill the gaps that the department could not fill in terms of providing better exposure to these players.
The Secretary also urged the players to take good care of the kits provided by the club.
Responding to media queries, Bhaichung said that the academies would play under the USFC banner outside the state and the players would also play for the club in small tournaments across the country. He further added that players from these academies would be trained separately but if recommended by coaches some players would be trained along with the senior team.
On the provision of land by the state government to set up Bhaichung’s academy, the Minister informed that the process was in the final stage and two plots of land at Assam Lingzey and Kitchudumra in South Sikkim had been identified for this purpose.

SFA finds no merit in Boys Club complaint against Siniolchu

GANGTOK, 02 August: The Sikkim Football Association has dismissed as invalid a written complaint lodged by the Manager of Boys Club alleging two players of Siniolchu Club, Namchi of being foreign nationals.
An SFA release informs that the Boys Club Manager had lodged a written complaint along with Rs.1,000 as protest fee, alleging that two Siniolchu Club players were originally from Nepal and had been fielded without valid transfer papers.
This matter was referred to the Manager and the Coach of Siniolchu Club who claimed that the two are regular students of New Light Academy, Namchi and accordingly produced certificates to this effect from the Principal. Further, Panchayat Member, Mamley Kamrang GPU, Lower Kamrang, South Sikkim has also issued certificates stating that the two are bonafide residents of Lower Kamrang, South Sikkim.
“The association has no record what so ever which proves that these boys are from Nepal and if at all they hail from Nepal as alleged they can not be categorized as Foreign Players as claimed and discussed in the Managers meeting held on 09 July, 2012,” the SFA release states.
The meeting also agreed to allow students from Bhutan, Nepal and other neighboring countries who are studying in Sikkim to be registered as local players on production of certificate from the concerned Principal of the school/ college.
“The club officials are advised to be more responsible and retrospective in such decisions to which their representative is a party undermining the wisdom and authority of the state association and the up-liftment of football in Sikkim,” the release further conveys.

Teachers undergoing TTI training demand full pay

GANGTOK, 02 Aug: A number of primary teachers and monastic teachers in the state are demanding full pay through the time they spend undergoing the requisite training as stipulated by the State government.
A number of primary and monastic teachers of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan were brought under regular establishment by HRDD in the pay scale of Rs. 4,200-110-6,400 w.e.f. 01 April 2009 on the condition that they complete a two-year TTI course from a recognized Institute within five years from the date of joining and the time taken to complete the course was to be treated as probation period. A number of primary teachers, as informed, are undergoing this 2 year diploma course at DIET.
The issue arises as such teachers under training are being provided half pay as was earlier decided by the government. There was a departmental directive that sanctioned the training period as study leave with provision of half pay. However, teachers undergoing training have been demanding full pay from the Department as they see their training not as study leave but as ‘in-service training’.
The two-year TTI passed certificate is a prerequisite for a primary teacher under the recruitment rules for Primary Teachers.
It has also come to light that another category of primary and monastic teachers undergoing 2 year TTI courses have been drawing full pay as they are simultaneously informed to be rendering their service in their respective schools. This set of teachers is informed to be undergoing their training from IGNOU distance mode.
The other set of primary and monastic teachers are undergoing training at DIET and are required to be present at the institute and so are not teaching in their respective schools and are receiving half pay. It is further informed that there is another set of senior primary teachers also attending the 2 year course at DIET who are being paid in full as they were appointed when the prerequisite of a 2 year TTI certificate was not required.
It is informed that a committee was set up in June 2012 by the department to look into the matter and address the grievance of the teachers getting half pay for their study leave. The aggrieved teachers have also made a representation to the state government for grant of full pay during their training period as they feel they are undergoing in-service training and not study leave. The committee is to recommend a solution for the government to take a policy decision on the matter.
The committee had a couple of meetings in July to sort out the issue but it is yet to be ascertained whether a resolution was finalized. In fact during one of the meetings, the committee noted that the department had supported the teachers by way of reserving 50 seats at a time in DIET to accommodate them for the course. This is a 7-member committee headed by the Additional Secretary, HRDD.

Siniolchu FC tops 1st Division Sikkim League

GANGTOK, 02 Aug: Siniolchu Football Club came out on top in Sikkim Football Association’s first division Sikkim-League 2012 which concluded here at Paljor Stadium today. State Sports Academy was the runner-up team while Sports Authority of India [SAI], Namchi, stood on the third position.
Tshering Zangpo Tamang of State Sports Academy bagged the Highest Scorer title for his 10 goals in the league.
The last match of the league between United Sikkim Football Club [USFC] and Sikkim Police played today ended in a 1-1 draw.  Jiten Rai scored for USFC in the 2nd minute, while the equalizer goal for Sikkim Police was scored by Bir Bahadur Pradhan in the 6th minute.
After playing the league of seven matches, Siniolchu FC secured 16 points, while State Sports Academy and SAI Namchi scored 14 points each. Likewise, Sikkim Police managed 13 points, Boys Club 10 points followed by USFC at 8 points, United FC, Jorethang with 3 points and D’zongri SC which could not score any points in the league.
The winning team was awarded a cash prize of Rs 25,000, while the runner-up team received a cash prize of Rs 20,000. It needs to be highlighted here that Siniolchu also finds itself in the midst of a controversy in connection with its S-League campaign with the other clubs accusing it of playing foreign players without the required paperwork. Although the SFA has given Siniolchu a clean chit, the other clubs remain unconvinced.

Your Pet, Your Responsibility

They give us unconditional love. and in return, all we have to do is treat our pets with a little bit of care, writes Dr MINLA Z LACHUNGPA on responsible pet ownership…

A lot of us love animals. Most of us keep pets, and some of us keep loads of pets. Some of us will happily adopt the stray pup that comes along in addition to those loads of pets. Some of us are fanatical about our pets and even go to the extent of having the pet eat off the family dining table. But are all of us responsible owners or in today’s non-discriminating term – pet persons?
This, is not about how to take care of your animal. Again, a lot of us love our animals very much, and the sight of baby animals makes the world a slightly brighter place – until they grow up. Its not that adult animals aren’t more appealing, but honestly- aren’t babies a lot cuter? We wish they would never grow up and just remain their small fluffy selves. This is about how much you should respect your animal, its health, its well being and most importantly – its happiness.
Caring for a pet is like caring for a baby the only difference being, a baby will grow up and start talking whereas a pet, however smart, will still leave you wondering, and act on instinct. Pets will be the perfect companion only as long as the owner makes sure of it.
Toilet training is one of the first rules in line when keeping a pet. As long as you make sure when or where your pet needs some contemplative time, you needn’t worry about scooping little gifts they might leave in and around the house. Train your dog to use a specific place to relieve himself and all will be right with the world. Use a litter tray in the initial stages and gradually start taking it out for walks. He gets a loo break as well as time out from being confined inside the house. No fuss, no mess.
Socialising a pet is another very important aspect of pet keeping. As long as you keep your dog confined in the house or chained the whole day with no one to keep it company or just to play, you will always have the neighbour complain at some point that your dog bit their kid the one time it was let out, or that it ran across the road right under the wheels of oncoming traffic. Always make sure your dog socialises with other dogs. If it finds a friend – a dog, a cat or even a person, encourage it and you will be the better for it.
The most important of all, and this one is for those who do not have plans to breed their pets – NEUTER YOUR PET and if it could talk, it might just thank you for it. Neutering brings about a lot of jokes among my friends, but it turns out, it has a great effect on the life of your pet.
Neuter your pet, and you won’t have to fend off amorous suitors lining up and even fighting for your female pet. Fights most often turn vicious and can endanger all those involved. Cats are especially prone to mating related injuries most of which turn out badly in the long run. Un-neutered female cats get chased and even bitten quite severely in the process. Cats give birth to kittens, and under rainy conditions such as ours, they suffer from various infections and most often, die without proper attention. Those who take to raiding house-holds for milk and meat end up with scald injuries because unappreciative home owners throw hot water at them. Not only stray cats, owners who let their cats or dogs breed unchecked have to contend with the likelihood of inbreeding, resulting in the birth of deformed offspring and severe damage to the gene pool of the domestic pet. This isn’t fair to other prospective owners, its even worse for the animals who have to keep giving birth season after season, simply because their owners decide to turn a blind eye to the reproductive health of their pet. Unneutered pets tend to be a lot more aggressive and wild as compared to neutered ones. Such pets roam a lot, especially into strong smelling areas like dumpsters where they catch worm infestations and other diseases which eventually, you will catch – none of which are pleasant and can have long term effects. If neutered, these pets tend to have a smaller roaming requirement and are at a lesser risk of getting into trouble.
Have you noticed that where there are lots of cats there tend to be a lot fewer birds? I just had a friend complain the other day that the Whistling Thrush chick he watched growing up, got eaten up by one of the several cats breeding in his neighbourhood.
This lack of knowledge has today even prompted India’s latest sensation Pent-house Pet Sunny Leone to speak up for pets in her own way, albeit rather daring –“ Too much Sex can be bad for your pet, You don’t want to continue the cycle of homeless dogs or cat” does seem to state a rather honest fact, one that needs to be heeded if you really do care for your pet.
Pets give us the one thing that no one else can ever give– unconditional love. You might lock up a dog the entire day in the house and let it out in the evening when you return from work. It will still give you a welcome that makes you feel like a million bucks. Cats are sociable animals, they might seem aloof but then the ones that are affectionate make you feel like you’re the only ones they are really comfortable with. So if you do truly care about the well being of your pet as well as value your own peace of mind, do think about these points. They just might make your pet a happier one.

Speeding vehicle injures 2 pedestrians at PS Road

GANGTOK, 02 August: Two pedestrians were injured in an accident here at Paljor Stadium Road this afternoon.
A Maxx taxi plying from Gangtok to Pakyong hit two pedestrians, Aruna Tamang and Amrita Pradhan on the Paljor Stadium road. Both injured were immediately taken to the STNM Hospital. The vehicle, police sources inform, was speeding at the tie.
STNM Hospital sources inform that while Amrita Pradhan is out of danger, Aruna Tamang has suffered more serious injuries. The two were returning from Gangtok to their respective residences at the time, inform police sources.
The vehicle bearing registration number SK 04J-1691 has been seized by the Sadar Police while the driver have been arrested and booked under sections 279/ 336/ 337/ 338 of Indian Penal Code. The police are carrying out further investigations into the case, it is informed.

Youth dies of suspected OD

GANGTOK, 02 Aug: A youth is reported to have died of suspected drug overdose here at Gangtok. According to reports the deceased hailed from Monsong, Kalimpong, and was employed as a waiter at a hotel on Tibet Road. On 01 August at around 11:30 AM his body was found lying near the bar.

Vehicle loses control, damages factory

GANGTOK, 02 Aug: A factory at Nayabazaar, West Sikkim, was damaged when a vehicle landed on its roof after the driver lost control of the vehicle.
The driver, Anup Chettri had given the vehicle for maintenance work to a garage and had just retrieved it on 01 August. However, while driving out of the garage the engine is reported to have suddenly stopped causing the driver to lose control. The vehicle landed on the factory damaging a diesel generator and some sacks of soyabean along with some other items.
The driver was arrested and later released on bail.

Minor sexually assaulted, accused absconding

GANGTOK, 02 Aug: A 37-year-old man is absconding after having allegedly sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl in Rhenock.  According to reports the accused, Hang Subba, sexually assaulted the minor at the ICDS school at Mulukay, under Rhenock police jurisdiction.
The incident took place a few days ago, when the girl along with her 4-year-old sibling was at the ICDS centre which incidentally is located at an isolated location. The accused has been charged under section 377 of the IPC and a search is on to nab him.

Editorial: Policy Deficit in Energy Sector

The technical details of what caused the back-to-back power grid failures on Monday and Tuesday which plunged more than half of India into a load-shedding stall ranging from 8 to 12 hours, have not been released yet. A committee has been formed to investigate the cause and recommend corrective measures. By the time this committee submits its report after having consumed all possible extensions, the national media will probably have moved on to other sensations. Irrespective of what the three-member enquiry committee finds, the basic reason why the power grid failed is really quite simple – a staggering mismatch between demand and supply. We are a country with a peak load deficit of 15,000 MW! Data released by the Central Electricity Authority also reveals that the overall energy deficit has been increasing in the country as demand continues to grow at a faster clip than increase in supply. Between 2007-08 and 2009-10, for example, the energy requirement increased from 693.1 Billion Units to 774.3 BU while the energy availability increased from 624.7 BU to 689.0 BU. As this illustrates, the energy deficit gulf increased from 68.3 BU to 85.3 BU in two years. Now, it is expected of the Union Ministry for Power to have noticed this imbalance and consistently evolved policy interventions to address the situation. It has obviously not done so, as the Monday and Tuesday incidents, which have earned India the “black-out nation” epithet, amply bear out. What is worrying that the priorities, when it comes to energy planning, remain unhealthily skewed. To begin with, an obviously non-performing Power Minister in Sushil Kumar Shinde is gifted the Home Affairs portfolio and before one could hope for things turning better in the Power Ministry, Veerappa Moily, parked as Corporate Affairs Minister [after failing to delivery as Law Minister], is bumped up as Power Minister on the day when India suffered the worst black-out in history. What is worse, he is holding additional charge!
What is also worrying is that discussions on the energy crisis [and there is one] is veering dangerously towards promoting a regime which will leave India poorer – environmentally and economically. Experts have routinely underlined that the energy deficit is primarily due to Transmission & Distribution losses, poor transmission and distribution infrastructure [which should be obvious now], unaccountability in metering and billing, cross subsidies etc. But these are not issues featuring in the ongoing debates which are aggressively lobbying for quicker environmental, land and forest clearances not only for power projects but also coal mines. One needs to bear in mind that most of India’s electricity generated by thermal plants. The country needs more energy, that is definite, but the challenge is to develop cleaner sources of energy and not more of the already environment-suffocating options that the country has been investing in. Every additional MW of power should also be supplemented with improvements in T&D and it is time that the energy issue invited a multidisciplinary approach. The demand for power is escalating at present due to the failed monsoon [spiking domestic consumption for cooling and agricultural demand as farmers need to pump up more water for irrigation] and supply has been compromised due to a combination of constricted coal supplies and lowered hydel generation. This should not have caught the concerned authorities by surprise as it did this week and a plan-B should have been put in motion at least a month in advance. Energy, because it is required at home, in the fields, at commercial establishments and for industry, should ideally be advised by an interdisciplinary body which factors in all aspects, studies more signs than just the status of coal supplies or demand for MWs and then recommends course adjustments in time. But energy planning seems to have stopped with opening of the power generation sector for private players and appears set for another hiccup which will compromise public and forest health and displace people and wildlife with even more alacrity but deliver little by way of improving the demand-supply scenario. It is time that a nation as big and varied as India invested more in clean renewable sources of energy. Nothing worthwhile is happening on this front, its progress hamstrung by opinion makers who dream big, centralised and dirty when it comes to power generation. This approach has to be replaced with a revamping of the infrastructure and clearer commitment to energy efficiency and decentralised renewable energy.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Three power grids collapse under stress of excess withdrawals

GANGTOK, 01 July: While there were rumours initially that it could take up to a couple of days for Sikkim to see some lights again, the State was fortunate to receive power from the north eastern power grid within 7 hours of the biggest blackout India has ever experienced. Other parts of the country had to wait much longer for power supply to resume with electricity returning to Kolkata only at around 1 a.m. this morning. More than half of the country suffered a collective load shedding yesterday when three of the 5 electricity grids of India collapsed.
While the exact cause of the grid failure has not been explained, Power Grid officials while speaking to NOW! on Tuesday had confirmed the failure of the Eastern and North Eastern grids at around 1 p.m. yesterday. Before that, the North Grid had collapsed for the second day in a row.
In-charge of the Power Grid substation here, DK Chettri, explained that with the collapse of the Eastern grid, the north eastern grid too had failed since both are connected.
Sikkim, being part of the north eastern grid too reeled under the power outage along with all other north eastern states, West Bengal and Odisha, which are connected to the Eastern grid. In fact Tuesday saw the failure of the northern grid as well which supplies power to the northern states and it was the failure of the other two grids which then affected Sikkim.
An official informed NOW! that there had been a failure in the transmission lines in the grid. Later, Power Grid officials informed that restoration work was under process and power supply should resume within a few hours.
The Northern power grid tripped for the second consecutive day on Tuesday and in a cascading effect [not seen on Monday], the Eastern and North-Eastern grids collapsed as well. Once again, Uttar Pradesh (UP) emerged as the main culprit. It tried to withdraw more than its share of power supply that set a cascading effect as power station after power station shut down and a doomsday scenario became all too real.
The Power Grid Corporation of India on Monday tried to manage the crisis by drawing power from the Eastern grid. But UP ignored the warnings sent out on Monday and again drew nearly 1,000MW of excess power sending out a cascading affect. The Eastern grid was the first to collapse and power stations in the Northern grid, starved of electricity, began to shut down. As the crisis spread, the North-Eastern power grid also collapsed and suddenly 20 states from Jammu & Kashmir to Assam were staring at the biggest power outage in history, with as many as 600 million affected.
State administration officials when contacted were largely unaware of the power grid collapse. The north east grid tripped at around 1 PM resulting in the entire state being left without power supply. It was a frightening situation for those in the know as it was uncertain as to how long it would take for power supply to resume.
Power grid officials informed that all power houses in the state including those at Teesta, Rangit including the substations at Siliguri right down to Malda, Durgapur, Subhasgram and also in the north east had been shut down and had no power. Essential and emergency services in the state mainly in the hospitals and PHCs were largely unaffected as the outage was only for a few hours and moreover, most of the hospitals including the STNM hospital have back ups in the form of generators which can sustain supply for hours after the power supply has been suspended.
However, banking services were affected with link failure and people were also experiencing mobile communication problems. With most mobile towers servicing more than one company their power back up too was experiencing pressure and had the blackout continued for a few hours longer mobile connectivity could have gone dead as well.
Being a power surplus state has nothing to do with experiencing power failures during a nation wide blackout as the power generated here is sent to the power grid from where it is routed back to the state. However with such grid collapses threatening to become more common, the state would do well to look into this issue and thrash out a contingency plan to deal with it.

Work on Thangu micro hydel project resumes after 13 yr delay and excess expenditure of Rs 5 cr

GANGTOK, 01 August: Chastised for wasteful expenditure by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s report this year, the State government has decided to go ahead with the 2x100 KV micro hydro power project in Thangu, North Sikkim which is to be developed by the same cooperative society which was given the project earlier and which has failed to deliver for 13 years now.
In fact it was only a few weeks back that the Cabinet approved the project in favour of Constructional and Power Generation Cooperative Society, Lachen, which is to now execute the project. An amount of Rs. 6 crore has also been sanctioned.
The cooperative society will undertake the project with technical expertise provided by the Sikkim Power Development Corporation (SPDC) and under the supervision of the Science & Technology Department.
When contacted, Secretary, Science & Technology, P Euthenpa, also confirmed that the cooperative society has also put-up an allocation of Rs. 23 lakh which has been approved by the department after carrying out a detailed study of the project and preparation of reports on the works that are being carried out.
With the funds now with the State Council of Science & Technology, the work is informed to be underway on a ‘war footing’ and as the Secretary informed, this will be constantly monitored.
This comes after a 13-year delay and wasteful expenditure of over Rs. 5 crore for a project which initially was estimated to cost only Rs. 86 lakh.
Sikkim State Council of Science and Technology, Secretary accepted that the RMDD had actually constructed a PMGSY road on the site which was earlier surveyed and selected for developing the project and the entire process was ‘prolonged for some time’.
“We had to redesign and re-plan the set up of all the channels in the project and new surveys were undertaken jointly by S&T and SPDC along with officials from GoI. Works are being carried out on a war-footing and we have no hurdles now,” stated the Secretary.
Government officials accept the CAG report and also concede that the blame for cost escalation as well as delay in execution lay primarily with the ineffective coordination among the concerned departments, the Science & Technology and RMDD.
It may be informed that the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report 2011 has stated that ‘Injudicious selection of inept contractor, unsuitable site and inexplicable apathy towards the execution of 200 KW Thangu Micro Hydro Project resulted in price escalation of Rs. 5.2 crore, delay of more than 13 years, infructuous expenditure of Rs. 79.41 lakh, beside frustrating the basic objective of providing electricity to the intended beneficiaries.’
The Ministry of Science and Technology had sanctioned the mini hydel power project in November, 1998 to address the electricity demand of the public of Thangu village and the defence establishment. The estimated cost of the project was Rs. 86.65 lakh with a stipulation to complete the works within two years. The project cost was revised to Rs. 6.06 crore in October 2010 and out of Rs. 4.67 crore, Rs.79.41 lakh was spent as of October 2011.
The CAG further reports that scrutiny of records (January 2011) revealed that the project work was tendered and awarded in January 2006 to Lachen based society on a turnkey basis with the stipulation for completion within one year. The work execution by the society was not monitored by the State Council on a regular basis, as a result of which it could know only during site inspection on October 2007 that the work had been stopped due to construction of a PMGSY road by the RMD department.

First bio-fertilizer production unit in the NE Region comes up at Majhitar

GANGTOK, 01 August: A Bio-Fertilizer Production Unit, which is the first in the whole North-East Region, was inaugurated by the Food Security & Agriculture Development Department [FS&ADD] Minister, DN Takarpa, in the presence of Commerce and Industries Minister, Neeru Sewa, at Majhitar in East Sikkim today.
The department has leased out this unit to Balaji Crop Care Private Limited, Hyderabad, at Rs 18 lakh per annum for 15 years. The annual capacity of the unit is 150 metric tonnes per annum. The company will manufacture bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides, organic fertilizers and plant growth promoters. The unit aims at catering to the needs of Sikkim and the whole North Eastern Region.
Addressing the inaugural function, Mr Takarpa mentioned that after the Chief Minister’s declaration to make Sikkim an Organic State, the department has been working hard towards this mission and now the state is fully equipped to achieve this target. He added that setting up such a unit was required to achieve the vision of being an organic state.
Responding to the company’s request to buy their products, the Minister stated that if the company provides quality products at a reasonable rate then the government would definitely buy their products in this competitive market as the government wants the best for the state. He also assured to provide all possible support to the company and called for joint efforts from all sides to fulfill the vision of the CM to make Sikkim an Organic State.
While congratulating the department and the company for setting up the unit, Ms Sewa expressed that the unit would help achieve the target of becoming an organic state in the stipulated time. However, she suggested the department to create awareness among panchayat members on the importance of the unit to farmers.
Secretary, Vishal Chauhan informed that the government has decided to lease out the unit and following an open bid this company was allotted the task to run the production unit. On the request to buy back the products, he informed that the company has to reach out to farmers to promote their products and the department would purchase their products only if there is demand for it from farmers.
In his welcome address, Chief Engineer, SK Paul presented the technical details of the unit. He informed that such a bio-fertilizer production unit was the first in the entire North East Region and Sikkim has taken the lead in this field.  He informed that the unit has been built at a total cost of Rs 60.88 lakh funded by the North East Council.
Senior Vice-President [Operations] of the company, L Sreekanth informed that Balaji Crop Care Pvt Limited is a unit of Hyderabad-based Sowbhagya Biotech Pvt Limited and is a leading company in this sector. He informed that the company has been supplying its products to many states in the country.
This new unit has already started manufacturing and will do its best to cater to the needs of Sikkim and other North-Eastern States, said Mr Sreekanth and further requested the department to provide additional storage facility and additional land for the expansion of the unit.
The inaugural function, which was conducted by Divisional Engineer, Passang Tamang, concluded with the vote of thanks by Principal Director, Phitook Bhutia.

One arrested for cable theft

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: One person was arrested by the Sadar police and a case of theft registered against him at the Sadar Police Station on 31 July.
On 31 July at around 2.10 PM, the Sadar police received a written FIR from Subedar HR Yadav [SJCO, 2 Company, 17 MDSR] reporting that between 27 to 30 July some unknown person(s) had stolen 280 meters of JFC cable from Ganesh Tok and old Cantonment area.
During the course of investigation, police visited the area and beat patrolling in the area was intensified, which paid off, as later Beat XIII [Chandmari Beat] and Beat XVI [Bulbulay Beat] caught one Pemba Tamang [24], a resident of Chandmari, Gangtok red handed in the jungle at Bulbulay, who was then in the process of burning the JFC cable to extract copper.
He was arrested and the stolen property recovered. He has been booked under section 379 [punishment for theft] of the Indian Penal Code.

38-yr-old commits suicide

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: A 38-year-old resident of Temi in South Sikkim is reported to have committed suicide at home on 31 July. The suicide was discovered by his wife.

Gyalshing police crackdown on unauthorized liquor sellers

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: Gyalshing police carried out a surprise raid on illegal sale of liquor on 31 July.
Five residences in Khorong, Sardong and Pelling were raided by the police and 30 vessels of liquor along with the aluminum container used for preparing alcohol, 04 cases of beer, one and a half case of XXX rum, 35 bottles of XXX rum [quarter], 10 bottles of Bag Piper Whiskey were seized from the houses.
The same shall be handed over to the Excise Department for further action, it is informed.

ATM robbery attempt fails, accused absconding

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: A case of theft and mischief was registered against unknown person(s) at the Sadar Police Station on 30 July.
According to a written FIR by the Chief Manager, State Bank of India, on the night of 28 July some unknown miscreants attempted to open the cash vault of an ATM installed at the High Court main gate with an intent to steal the cash, but were unsuccessful.
During the course of investigation, CCTV footage was sought by the police to identify the culprit. A case under section 379/511/427 [punishment for theft, punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment and mischief causing damage] of the Indian Penal Code was registered against unknown person(s) at the Sadar Police Station.
On 30 July, the Sadar police identified the accused as Raj Kishore Sahani [40], a resident of Baisali, PO Samlingpur Dumaria, village Rasulpur Daud, Bihar. He is a carpenter by profession and was engaged in the construction site at High Court premises and is absconding.
An investigation unit is being dispatched to Bihar to trace the accused.

Editorial: Trigger Involvement by Respecting Rural Pragmatism

One of the better initiatives of the recent years has been the revitalisation of panchayati raj institutions in the country. One says revitalisation because village level bodies were always effective and progressive in India until the British centralised administration and decision-making and Independent India continued with the practise. These institutions lost important centuries which has compromised their relevance and effectiveness and which perhaps explains the slower than expected pace at which PRIs are gaining significance in the country. If one takes up Sikkim’s case, the situation gets slightly more complicated because although even India had a feudal setup until the British arrived, Sikkim was much smaller and the village level institutions had that much lesser room for independent thinking during the monarchy. That being said, conversations with the older generation will bear out that the villagers acquired significant influence in getting things done through collaborative efforts and at times, even lobbied strongly and had unpopular mandals replaced. But these must have been only on rare occasions and by and large, in Sikkim’s case, much damage was caused by the regressive tendencies which did not allow the village-level organisations to evolve and keep pace with time. All is visibly on the mend now. At the policy level, significant powers and responsibilities have been devolved to panchayati raj institutions and Sikkim has outperformed many other states with longer histories of village level autonomy and some panchayats in Sikkim have delivered exceptionally well. However, when it comes to institutional level competence across the board, much obviously needs to be still be done. But the whole PRI rejuvenation effort is still young, which is perhaps why even though the policy has changed and the political will expressed, the executive’s superiority complex continues to dictate activities on the ground. This attitude does not necessarily manifest from any ulterior motives and is probably a carryover of the mistaken, but widely held, urban conviction of knowing better. This approach needs to be corrected. It is offensive to think that mindsets trained in urban settings can teach anything to folks groomed on rural pragmatism. But the hand-holding instinct continues and this has atrophied the people’s ability to collaborate and devise solutions by themselves or plan with commitment because they have come to expect the government to do everything for them. This lethargy is now hurting Sikkim because although infrastructure is being created and opportunities opened up, the masses, by and large, have not extended the enterprise required to make these investments worthwhile. That requires involvement and a good place to spark such engagements would be for the powers-that-be and the powers-that-execute to convince the villages that they are free to agree, dissent, criticise and refuse not only what has been decided for them, but also what they have commissioned themselves. Once the people at the grassroots know that they are required for more than just meeting the quorum for workshops and meetings, they will take deeper interest in their own affairs and with that rediscover the strength of collaboration and deliver more instinctively on their responsibilities. Everything else – proper planning, proper gram sabhas, transparency and exact book keeping – will automatically fall into place and from that involvement could be born the civil society that Sikkim so desperately needs.

Border traders float committee to ‘monitor’ prices

GANGTOK, 30 July: Sikkim traders are all set to resume trade with Tibetan Autonomous Region over the Nathula again this week whether it be via Rongli or through the JN Road, which it is informed, is open for light vehicles. However, this time the traders’ association has set up a committee to monitor the prices and seek to sort out the differences and disputes regarding different pricing of goods by traders engaged in border trade.
For the purpose of monitoring prices the traders’ association has come out with a rate chart of different goods and this chart is to be adhered to strictly by traders engaging in border trade. Anyone found selling goods at cheaper prices is to be ‘fined’.
However this remains a very controversial issue as there is no official mechanism or authority to fix selling rates of items to be sold at the border trade marts. So it is an open question as to with what authority this committee can monitor the rates fixed by the traders’ association and also as to how many of the active traders are willing to adhere to this.
This was decided upon by the association after the contingent of Indian traders returned from the trade mart on the Chinese side with the news that the Chinese authority were unwilling to cooperate – whether it be on the matter of fixing prices or on the matter of allowing more quantities of goods through and stop the confiscation of excess Indian goods.
Following the adamant attitude of the Chinese customs officials as well as the Chinese Trade Officer the traders’ association, sources inform, has also advised the Indian traders to refrain from exporting unlisted goods. The traders’ association has also called for all traders to cooperate and engage unitedly in trade with the Chinese for healthy association and business as well.
Cooperation from all traders would see some profits for the Indian traders who have been managing to keep the trade alive in spite of incurring huge transport costs resulting from the closure of JN Road and resorting to the Rongli route to Nathula.
As for the rates fixed by the Association, among the main items of trade, Sugar has been fixed at Rs. 2,400 per bag of 50 kg and Rs. 1,100 for 20 kgs; Vegetable oil has been fixed at Rs. 1,200 per jar; Rice at Rs. 1,350 for 25 kgs; the much in demand Aarti Rice has been fixed at Rs. 1,550 per 25 kgs and Parle G biscuits at Rs. 450 per carton.
Besides, the Traders’ Association has also decided to donate money for the reconstruction of the Shiva Mandir which has been dismantled /damaged due to the road widening works at JN Road. All members of the Association have been asked to contribute a like amount for the reconstruction of the mandir.

Disaster Management Authority spreads to districts, begins work on improved disaster preparedness

GANGTOK, 30 July: The Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) has expanded its wings to all the four districts and has created the District Authority with Civil Defense teams there. This, in an obvious response to the 18 September earthquake of last year and to work towards improved disaster management across the State.
After the formation of Civil Defence teams in all the four districts, the SSDMA is preparing to conduct training and awareness programmes for the Civil Defence personnel next month to further improve disaster preparedness in the state.
The Honorary Executive Vice Chairman of Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority, Vinod K. Sharma, has reportedly visited all the four districts and has suggested that various programmes be initiated at the district and sub-division levels and accordingly the SSDMA is coordinating with the district level authorities.
Commissioner of Sikkim Disaster Management Authority, SBS Bhaduria, informs that the SSDMA is planning a two-day workshop in September on disaster management. The yearlong activities for reconstruction and rehabilitation and other activities in the direction of disaster preparedness in the near future will also be highlighted during the workshop, he said.
The Central Government has already sanctioned Rs 1.90 crore for SSDMA this financial year for the strengthening of the Civil Defence Force and other relief and rescue materials including the training for Civil Defence personnel and awareness camps throughout the state.
The Department of Disaster Management is continuously working in the reconstruction process with the help of various organisations and NGOs, said Mr Bhaduria. He further added that though many works have been undertaken, adequate projection of the works are still to be done.
He expressed that cooperation from the state’s public has helped the SSDMA overcome the crisis and supported the reconstruction process. The reconstruction processes have been divided into short term and long term programmes.
Mr Bhaduria informed that the works and activities for post earthquake reconstruction and rebuilding under the Prime Minister’s Special Package of Rs. 1,000 crore is being undertaken in phases as funds are being released in installments and assured that work will be completed in time.
The Authority has taken the first step towards formulation of a comprehensive State Disaster Management Policy for Sikkim, wherein detailed initiatives are being outlined, and a roadmap is being prepared for their implementation and resource allocations. The policy will lay down the blueprint for actions to be taken up in the coming years towards making the people of Sikkim safe from disasters and climate change.

USFC defends its player against ‘foreign player’ allegations

GANGTOK, 30 July: United Sikkim FC has urged Sikkim Football Association [SFA] not to tag its under-trial player Pealsang Lama as a ‘foreign player’ as such labeling would almost certainly adversely affect his promising professional football career.
The 21-year-old defensive midfielder of United Sikkim has been debarred from participating in the ongoing senior division S-League as the SFA yesterday stated that his international transfer certificate required under AIFF rules have not been submitted. His introduction as a substitute in the match against SAI Namchi on 26 July ultimately resulted in SFA stripping the USFC of the 3 points it had bagged after trouncing SAI 3-0.
Maintaining that the SFA should have first sought explanation from USFC on the whole issue instead of penalizing the club, senior manager Arjun Rai told media persons here that Pealsang is undeniably an Indian citizen and the club is trying to look for his antecedents to confirm the same.
“We have written a letter to the SFA presenting our side of the story on Pealsang,” he said adding that the club is upset on the way the SFA has handled the issue.
The story of Pealsang’s origins remains complicated but the fact is that he is from a poor background and is pursuing his dream to earn a livelihood through football, said Mr Rai. He admitted that Pealsang had told the club that he is from Sikkim when he first came for trials and impressed everyone including club co-owner Bhaichung Bhutia with his football skills.
 “Seeing the poor financial condition of a talented footballer from the hills, Bhaichung gave him the opportunity to play for United Sikkim. He is under trial and tagging him a foreign player would ruin his football career and livelihood as professional clubs in India are allowed only three foreign players. He may not be from Sikkim but is definitely an Indian and United Sikkim is helping him to trace his relatives”, Mr Rai further said.
Pealsang’s father is said to be from Darjeeling who came to work in Rhenock, East Sikkim as a carpenter. Unfortunately, Pealsang lost his father when he was just one year old and his Nepalese mother took him back to Nepal and raised him there. He does not have any uncles from his father’s side while his grandmother is said to be from Sikkim.
“Pealsang has no knowledge of his relatives either in Sikkim or Darjeeling. He used to come and play in Sikkim for Nepal clubs in the past and stays with a well-wisher here. He has seen lot of hardships and football is a way out for him. We will help him in his paper work and we request the SFA not to recognize him as a foreign player which will have a damaging effect on his dreams. We also request SFA to allow him to play on humanitarian grounds”, urged Mr Rai.
The United Sikkim senior manager further said that the club has been respecting the rules of SFA for fielding seven local players in the senior division S-League matches. “United Sikkim always believes in local talents and has signed on a dozen local players including two fresh talents from the State Sports Academy on handsome salaries this season. We have been fielding nine local players in the matches and only in the match against SAI Namchi, the matter got complicated with the introduction of Pealsang”, he said.
Mr Rai was not present during the particular match as he was out of Sikkim while the local assistant coach Pranay Subba was away to attend an AIFF coaching seminar.
Commenting on the poor run of United Sikkim at this league, the senior manager said that the club is obviously not happy with the results. “But we are giving maximum opportunities to the local players and they have got valuable exposure and game experience”, said Mr Rai.

RBI to extend subsidy to banks in Sikkim for satellite connectivity and opening off-site ATMs

GANGTOK, 30 July: In a major boost to commercial banks and State Co-operative bank operating in Sikkim, the Reserve Bank of India has decided to extend subsidy to them for providing Satellite Connectivity and Off-site Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the State.
A press release issued by RBI informs that this facility is being extended through the “Satellite Connectivity Scheme” of RBI under which the RBI will provide financial incentives in the form of subsidy to branches of commercial banks, State Co-operative banks and off-site ATMs for providing satellite connectivity in the State.
The scheme is to be implemented subject to certain terms and conditions. The branches of commercial banks and State Co-operative bank in the State of Sikkim providing satellite connectivity to their branches and those opening off-site ATMs with separate connectivity on or after 01 April, 2012 and not later than 31 March, 2013 would be eligible for 100% subsidy subject to a maximum of Rs. 12,000 (Rupees Twelve thousand only) per month per branch/ ATM or the actual expenditure incurred by the bank whichever is less, subject to the condition that the branches would offer services of electronic funds transfer free of charge to its customers. The subsidy will stand closed for fresh claims with effect from 01 April, 2013.
Each connection will be eligible for subsidy for a period of 36 months. Therefore, if a branch/off-site ATM obtains connectivity on 31 March, 2013 it would be eligible to receive subsidy up to 31 March, 2016.
Bank branches adopting technology solutions irrespective of the technology deployed for connectivity shall be eligible for the incentive under the Scheme.
The subsidy covers the cost of VSAT, bandwidth charges, AMC, alternate sources of power and routers required for implementing the security layer.
The subsidy also covers both the operational expenditure (OPEX) and capital expenditure (CAPEX) models for deployment of satellite connectivity. For the OPEX model, the subsidy would be linked to the actual monthly lease rentals paid by the bank but for the CAPEX model the actual cost of the equipments deployed by the bank (including installation and commissioning) and recurring charges incurred such as equipment, AMC, bandwidth charges etc. would be eligible. The CAPEX model would take the total cost of ownership over a period of 36 months and arrive at the monthly cost for the purpose of claiming reimbursement from Reserve Bank. The subsidy would, however, be subject to a maximum of Rs.12,000 (Rupees Twelve thousand only) per branch.
Gangtok Office of the RBI will be the Nodal Office for monitoring the Scheme here.
The banks have to lodge consolidated annual claims in respect of their branches after the end of the financial year and will be settled by Gangtok Office after scrutiny on an annual basis. The banks will be penalised if false claim(s) are submitted by them.
It is expected that all the 26 commercial banks operating in the State will take full advantage of this Scheme and extend banking connectivity to the remotest areas and villages in the State.

TT tourney in memory of late coach, Thupden Kunga Bhutia in August

GANGTOK, 30 July: The first Thupden Kunga Bhutia Memorial Table Tennis Championship will be held from 18-20 August at Paljor Stadium indoor gymnasium hall, organized by the Sikkim Table Tennis Academy, Tadong.
The tournament is being organized in the memory of late Thupden Kunga Bhutia who was the Chief Table Tennis coach of Sikkim and to pay tribute to his contributions in the development and promotion of the game in the State. The tournament which aims to provide a platform for young and promising paddlers of the state will be organized every year in August by the Academy, it is informed.
The championship will be held in all categories from cadet to veterans. It is informed that this tournament will also be a selection trial for participants from East and North Sikkim. Those paddlers who reach upto the quarter-final round in this tournament will be allowed to take part in the upcoming State Open Table Tennis Championship scheduled to be held in October this year.
The interested should contact the Academy for further details. The last date to submit the entries is 10 August.

BJP Sikkim petitions CBI to register case against SMU

GANGTOK, 30 July: The Bharatiya Janta Party’s Sikkim-unit president, Padam Bahadur Chettri, sent a petition today to the Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI] Director with the request to lodge an FIR against Sikkim Manipal University and its affiliate colleges and against all officers associated with SMU.
Mr. Chettri has requested the CBI to register multiple cases against Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and former Chief Minister, NB Bhandari, former Speaker, CB Subba, Health Ministers, Chief Secretaries, Education and Health Secretaries of India and Sikkim and others concerned and launch investigations immediately.
The BJP state-unit president has taken this initiative following the registering of a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act against the former IGNOU Vice-Chancellor, V N Rajshekharan Pillai by the CBI on 27 July, for permitting two private universities- Sikkim Manipal University [SMU] and Punjab Technical University [PTU]- to run distance learning courses allegedly in violation of laid down procedures.
It is informed that according to CBI, both the  universities did not get the approval of the  joint committee of AICTE, UGC and IGNOU but the former IGNOU VC still gave approval for the courses setting aside the laid down guidelines.
Addressing a press conference today at the Press Club of Sikkim, Mr Chettri stated that since the main headquarter of the SMU is in Sikkim, the CBI should conduct its investigation in Sikkim. He further alleged that the main persons behind the entire “crime” were Dr. Ramdas Pai and others mentioned in the FIR, should be investigated.
“If SMU itself is a university then why does it need to take permission from IGNOU to run distance education courses,” he also questioned.
Mr Chettri informed that apart from this petition to the CBI, he will also write an open letter to the Prime Minister and others concerned on these issues related to the SMU. He shared that the party will inform the people about SMU in their upcoming meetings and through other party programmes. The party is further likely to take up this issue in the upcoming sessions in the parliament, he added.

140 out of 146 transferred PRTs have joined duty

GANGTOK, 30 July: Out of the 146 Primary Regular Teachers [PRTs] who had been transferred in May 2012 by the Human Resource Development Department [HRDD] from the East District to join as teachers in the other three districts, 140 have reported to their respective schools and have joined duty, informed HRDD Secretary, CS Rao, while speaking to NOW! today.
The HRD Department had taken out transfer orders for 146 excess PRTs in the East District who had been given postings in the other three districts as there was a need of PRTs in schools in the districts [65 in South, 65 in West and 15 in North], he said and added as on date out of the 146 teachers transferred 140 had joined their respective duties.
One of the six teachers has applied for VRS [Voluntary Retirement Scheme] while four others are in the process of applying for VRS, the Secretary informed, adding that the transfer of one teacher was withdrawn because his eyesight was failing so he was granted permission to remain in his present place of posting.

Accident claims one near Burtuk

GANGTOK, 30 July: A taxi [Bolero] went off the road near the Christian Burial Ground between Burtuk and Bojoghari this evening claiming the life of the driver.
The driver, Prakash Chettri, was alone at the time and died on the spot when the Bolero he was driving fell off the road at around 4 PM today. The body of the deceased has been recovered.

Editorial: Get People Involved in Disaster Preparedness

The Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority has set up district level units and revived the Civil Defence teams in the State. Next up, it plans to conduct training and awareness programmes for these units. This is welcome news for a State, which, although not untouched by natural disasters, had suffered them only as localized events until the 18 September 2011 earthquake rolled through the entire state and unraveled all disaster preparedness plans its token efforts on that front had drafted. The immediate days after the earthquake were of confusion and panic, a condition made worse by the collapse of communication networks. A detailed checklist on things to do and a clear chain of command on how a coordinated response should be mounted in the event of such a situation arising again should figure among the first undertakings. The district authorities, police deployments and civil society organizations have a proven track record of handling localized disasters with reasonable effectiveness, what the State is in desperate need of is a preparedness and mitigation plans when disasters leave a wider footprint and the regular channels of communication and connectivity are disrupted. A ready-reckoner on alternatives needs to be in place in advance to expedite response time and every professional required for such emergency situations should know where to report in such an eventuality. The Disaster Management Authority should also work closely with the local residents and build their plans with inputs from them instead of talking down to the ‘stakeholders’ as is the norm with government officers. The residents will be able to flag potential ‘disasters’ better with their collective memories of having lived in particular areas for generations and their involvement is important even for reaching the affected areas when the road network [the first casualty in the case most disasters in Sikkim] is no longer available and the helicopter option not always feasible. While the general templates for disaster preparedness plans can be prepared with expert inputs at workshops and government offices, the finer details have to be customized down to the village level and nuanced for region-specific ground realities, threats and mitigation possibilities. This requires working with the people against the general tendency among officers and “service providers” of “working for” the people. Efforts to get the people involved will have to be earnest and once their confidence has been won, Sikkim could have a fighting chance at gifting itself the most practical and effective of disaster preparedness and mitigation plans.

Chinese officials remain defiant to Indian traders’ requests; No more truancy of Indian traders to be tolerated

GANGTOK, 29 July: The Chinese trade officials have made it clear that they will have nothing do with the rates at which goods are sold by traders, either way, who are engaged in the Nathula border trade and more over, have laid down the rules of trade for the Indian traders in as much as the items and the quantity of items that they can bring over.
While there is no cap on the quantity of a particular item that can be traded on any day, the Chinese customs officials as well as the Trade officer at the trade mart on the Tibetan side at Tongchengaang have made clear that they will not allow more than 2 sacks of any particular good. The haughty attitude of the Chinese officials led the Indian traders into a huddle once again and a meeting was held today at Gangtok to come up with a response.
Sources inform that a contingent of 8 Indian traders crossed over to the trade mart at Tongchenqaang on the Chinese side earlier this week and had a meeting with the Trade officer there on the issue of prices and the confiscation of goods being brought into Tibet. “Excess” Indian goods being sold over the border at the Chinese trade mart have been confiscated and locked into a godown at the mart. This has led to losses to the Indian traders taking the goods over for export.
The Chinese trade officer is reported to have chastised the Indian contingent saying that the Indians were always ready to take advantage when the Chinese did not monitor their items and allowed them to trade freely (including in unlisted items). However now they would not permit it, especially the trade of unlisted items. Subsequently it was made clear that not more than 2 sacks of any item would be permitted through and any excess would be confiscated.  During earlier seasons Chinese officials used to only send back the excess goods but this time they have started confiscating them in a clear message that truancy would not be tolerated any longer.
The Indian traders had also wanted to seek intervention of the Chinese officials to regulate the prices which were falling drastically leading to losses to the Indian traders. However in this regard the Chinese customs as well as the Trade Officer washed their hands. It was mad clear to the Indian traders that prices and rates of goods and items were up to the traders of both sides to decide upon and not to be regulated by any official machinery. Earlier it had been reported that the introduction of new traders into the trade had led to the downfall in prices, especially in Rice and Sugar, major items of trade. Furthermore going via Rongli, the longer route due to the closure of the JN Road, had also led to an increase in transportation costs with a single journey up to the border costing as much as Rs.7000.
The trade had been suspended the past week in order to enable the Indian traders to engage the Chinese officials in dialogue over items of trade as well as prices.

CM continues interaction with students, shares Quality Education plans with the young at Pakyong

GANGTOK, 29 July [IPR]: After Ravangla and Gangtok, the Chief Minister interacted with students and teachers of five constituencies under Pakyong and Rongli sub divisions of East Sikkim at the St. Xavier’s School, Pakyong, today. Addressing the students under the Orientation Programme on Quality Education and Development organized by the Human Resources Development Department, the Chief Minister announced a cash prize of Rs. One lakh, Rs. 75,000 and Rs. 50,000 for the first, second and third state toppers respectively of arts, science and commerce streams in Class XII from the next academic session and also the same amount to the first, second and third toppers of Class X board examination.
The Chief Minister also announced enhancement in the cash award incentive for Olympic medal winners and declared to award Rs. 2 crore, Rs. One crore and Rs. 50,00,000 to gold, silver and bronze medal winners respectively in the Olympic Games.
The address of the Chief Minister revolved around quality education, role of teachers, students and the society as an education family and its relationship to the development of society. He talked about the holistic approach to be adopted for the transformation of society through life oriented and value based quality education.
Highlighting the role of teachers in shaping the children for their future, the Chief Minister said that teachers carry the responsibility to prepare children to face future challenges of life. Besides imparting text book education, the teachers should impart life-oriented education amongst the students, he said.
It is essential to prepare a professional and a skilled human being but it is even more important to prepare a person who values life and the society around him - a nice person who can be an asset to the society, he stressed.
The Chief Minister urged the teachers to be responsible enough to shoulder the responsibility of shaping the future of the students.
Highlighting the programmes and schemes initiated by the government for the development of human resource of the state, the Chief Minister advised the students to be serious, honest and dedicated in their studies and take maximum benefit from the opportunities provided by the government in this sector. Besides the Chief Minister Meritorious Scholarship Scheme and many more scholarship programmes of the government, the state government has a scheme named CM Special Scholarship Scheme under which cent percent sponsorship is provided to those students who get admission in top 20 universities of the world, he informed and added that two students are  being benefitted under this scheme.
Establishment of ATTC, CCCT, ITI, Agriculture Post harvesting College, medical, engineering, management institutes, skill development, capacity building and livelihood schools was with a youth oriented vision to create professionals which  guarantees placement to our professionals, who graduate from these institutes, throughout the world.
Many youths of the state are being benefitted through placement in reputed service sectors as a result of the  Capacity building and Skill development programme of the state government which are being appreciated and replicated in other parts of the country. This is a result of vision oriented schemes initiated by the government in human resource development sector, he said.
Talking about the future plans of the government in the human resource development the Chief Minister said that the government is planning to sponsor students for the coaching courses for IAS and allied services, defense services, English language and many more other examinations. The government is also trying to obtain state quota for aeronautical engineering for the children of our state. E-textbooks and teaching in digital format is also on the anvil of the government, he added. The government also has a programme of establishing SRM University for technical education and hotel management institute in every district of the state in order to cater to the demand of ever increasing service industry of the world.
The Minister HRDD NK Pradhan in his address deliberated on the rights and responsibilities of teachers, students and the society under Right to Education Act. The Minister said that the concept of responsibility on education has changed through this act. The responsibility of education under this act not only lies on the teachers but also to the students, parents and the society as a whole.
Earlier, Secretary HRDD said that the orientation programme has been organized to motivate the students and teachers for quality education, build confidence in the minds of the students and to enable them to choose the right path. Besides this it is also to create awareness about the opportunities made available and facilities provided in education sector amongst the students, teachers and parents, he added.

Cash award announced by NEC for outstanding Olympic performance

GANGTOK, 29 July [IPR]: The North Eastern  Council Secretariat has announced cash award of Rs. 40.00 lakhs,   Rs. 20.00 lakhs and Rs. 10.00 lakhs respectively for the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalists of the Olympic Games as a part of its never ending endeavor in promoting Sports in the Region  as per information received from Smt. Sherry Lalthangzo, Director (HRD&E).
It had, in the past, given out Rs. 10.00 lakhs, Rs. 5.00 lakhs and Rs. 3.00 lakhs for the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalists respectively of the Asian and Common Wealth Games and Rs.3.00 lakhs, Rs. 2.00 lakhs and  Rs. 1.00 lakh for the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalists of the Jarkhand National Games under the scheme “North Eastern Council Chairman’s Sports  Award  for Excellence”.
For the Jarkhand National Games, altogether Rs. 7.82 crores was given out to all the Medal winners of the North Eastern States during the 61st Plenary Meet of the NEC recently held in New Delhi.   Cash award was given to the outstanding sport persons from all the North Eastern States for the Jharkhand Games – Arunachal Pradesh Rs. 21.00 lakhs, Assam Rs. 146.00 lakhs, Manipur Rs. 556.00 lakhs, Meghalaya Rs. 10.00 lakhs, Mizoram Rs. 11.00 lakhs, Nagaland Rs. 18.00 lakhs, Tripura Rs, 15.00 lakhs and Sikkim Rs. 5.00 lakhs.

Lingdok villagers apprehensive over damage to only link road and cracks appearing in houses due to blasting by Sneha Kinetic

Sagar Chhetri
GANGTOK, 29 July: The people from different wards under Lingdok-Nampong GPU, East District, have expressed their deep resentment towards the deplorable road conditions from Pangthang Nursery to Lingdok due. The roads here have been affected with the plying of heavy vehicles of Sneha Kinetic Power Project [SKPP] which is developing the 96 MW Dikchu HEP. As this is the only connecting road for villages in this area the villagers further expressed that they could be stranded should the road get any worse that it is already. It is the only road to the hospital and for students too who use it daily among other local folk.
SKPP is developing the project on a river below these villages. The movement of heavy vehicles has increased since this year and even 18 wheelers are using this road. The road between Pangthang Nursery to Lingdok, around 11 KM, has been seriously affected due to heavy vehicles.
A meeting was called today among villagers and the company officials on this issue during which these apprehension and misgivings of the people was brought out. Highlighting that they had taken up this matter with company officials earlier too the villagers lamented on the unresponsiveness of the company. It was demanded that immediate steps be initiated in the interest of the people.  “This road is used daily and as it is the life line of the area but due to present road condition the people have been facing difficulties” stated a driver representative adding that local taxis are also used as an ambulance in emergencies. A panchayat member informed that despite visits by senior company officials  there had been no change nor was there any  approaching the panchayats in any of the initiatives taken up by the company.
Among other grievances, the people informed that blasting undertaken by the company had begun to damage their houses as well with cracks appearing in walls and floors. In this regard the company officials were urged to conduct an inspection of the houses. In response the Asst. General Manager, Karma C Lepcha assured that the company would take up all the suggestions and grievances and act upon them immediately. He urged the people to list out the areas on which where the company should start working immediately.
AGM informed that the company has already approved 10 additional labourers and 1 JCB just to look after for this road stretch and undertake immediate repairs and inspections as well for the good health of the road. On the complaints of cracks developed in houses, the AGM assured the people to conduct an inspection to take necessary action upon the same. Also present was senior manager, TR Sharma.

Bar Assc to sponsor 7 earthquake affected children till PG level

Vishnu Neopaney
GANGTOK, July 29: The Bar Association of Sikkim (BAS) is sponsoring the education of seven students till the Post Graduation level from this academic session 2012-13.
The 7 students are from underprivileged families affected by the 18 September 2011 earthquake and had been taken into shelter by social activist Keepu Tshering Lepcha at Chandmari Chongey Raod, Gangtok under Children’s Village. At present, the students are studying at Human Development Foundation School at Rongyek.
BAS resolved in its general body meeting to contribute sponsorship from their ‘18 September, 2011 Earthquake victim Relief Fund’ in which they raised a total of Rs. 16.36 lakh.
BAS president DR Thapa informed NOW! that the children were identified through a process of selection from different places of Sikkim. A Trust has been created to operate the funds which would be kept in a fixed deposit and the yearly interest utilized for the children’s up keep.
Various people and organizations have contributed towards the fund including many from outside the state informed Mr. Thapa. These include various Bar Associations of India and also the Supreme Court.
The decision to sponsor the education of the seven students was unanimously welcomed and appreciated by the members of the Bar Association of Sikkim and also applauded by High Court of Sikkim and Supreme Court Judges.  
The BAS had reached out to the victims of devastating earthquake to aid and help them and had travelled the length and breadth of Sikkim including places totally cut-off by the earthquake and had delivered the relief materials to the victims.

CM announces Rs.1 lakh cash award for Class 12 & Class 10 toppers

Quality education not to be compromised: Chamling
Ameet Oberoi
GANGTOK, 27 July: The State Government will be rewarding the top students of Class 12 and Class 10 with cash prizes amounting to Rs. 1 lakh, said the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling while addressing the congregation of students and school teachers gathered at Tenzing Namgyal Memorial Ground [Guards Ground, Tathangchen], here today. The Chief Minister said that the toppers of Class 12 and Class 10 students will be given Rs.1 lakh, followed by a reward of Rs. 75000 and Rs.50,000 to the second and third state toppers, respectively.
He was speaking during the Orientation Programme on Quality Education and Development organized by the Human Resource Development Department [HRDD], which was witnessed by 12,269 students from Class eight to twelve and 2,312 teachers from six constituencies from in and around Gangtok. It may be mentioned here that the Chief Minister has been touring the state to meet and interact and exchange his ideas with the students on quality education.
The CM stated that in the past 18 years the state government had made education up to college level free which is found in no other state or country. Citing few examples of the first world countries where the education and health sectors are more expensive, the Chief Minister informed the gathering that education is the basic component of human development which is free of cost in the state.
Continuing with the facilities developed and provided for the student community in the state the CM said that his government had completed all necessary infrastructure needed and was providing all the needed facilities for education to children. This, he said, was being done because he cannot compromise with the future of children of the State. College education in Sikkim is just 25 years old, while University education is only 05 years old, he informed.
While speaking on quality education, he stated that quality education has been the major concern of the government and consistent efforts have also been laid on quality at all levels. The government is spending 20% of the state budget towards education sector and has a target of making Sikkim the second 100% literate state in the country after Kerala by 2015, he added.  He also asked the teachers to impart value based education to the students so that they are prepared for the future besides being successful and a good human being.
In this regard, the Chief Minister highlighted about the various schemes and programmes like the Chief Ministers Meritorious Schemes, opening of Livelihood Schools in the nook and corner of the State, Comprehensive Education loan scheme and many more initiated by the State Government in the education sector.
Talking about the further plans of the government towards the enhancement of capacity of the students the Chief Minister informed about the government’s plan to provide coaching for national competitive examinations, including UPSC, engineering and in various other disciplines. In this way we will be preparing a well equipped human resource that can face the future challenges, he added. The Chief Minister also announced that pre-primary classes will also be started in the schools from next academic session for the students.
The Minister for HRDD, NK Pradhan while addressing the gathering of teachers and students talked about the concept of education which has been given utmost importance by the state government for the holistic development of the human resource of the state. But to be disciplined is most necessary for students, he added.
Present for the programme were Cabinet Ministers, MLAs, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Advisors, Chairpersons, Chairman, Member of Parliament [Rajya Sabha], Chief Secretary, Secretaries, Mayor, Deputy Mayor, DGP, SP [East], DC [East], Zilla Adyaksha, officials of HRDD and a host of other dignitaries.

Block level review coordination meeting of school heads at BAC, Passingdang

HMs asked to also discuss school related problems in gram sabhas

GANGTOK, 27 July: A block level co-ordination meeting was held on 25/07/12 at   BAC, Passingdang ,                                                     with HRDD officials and head of the respective schools under the chairmanship of BDO, Passingdang  BAC  Dr. S.R Lepcha.  The meeting was attended by Dy. Director HRDD North, R.N Singh, A.D  HRDD Passingdang  BAC, N.T Lepcha, AD, R. Dong, AEO, Kalzang. G. Bhutia , Sr Accountant  HRDD(N) D.T  Bhutia, head of the all schools and office staffs.
The meeting started with the welcome speech by R. Dong, AEO, HRDD, BAC Passingdang. One of the main issue was to inform the school heads regarding the RTE Questionnaires and on how to fill them. AD, Passingdang gave a brief regarding the format provided by SSA. He also informed that all the schools representatives should be careful while filling up the forms. It was urged that all Headmasters provide factual information so that there was no complication in future. Similarly AEO, Mr.Dong requested heads of the respective institutions to keep an Mid Day Meal attendance register, stock register and balance registers; these, he stated should be maintained properly with up to date records and presented  whenever inquired and investigated. Further, he added that all the concerned Headmasters should check the MDM regularly to make sure that it is nutritious  and beneficial to health of the students.
Dy . Director HRDD (N) stressed upon quality teaching and asked the Headmasters to be strict in their  school administration .  He also urged them to take prior permission of the concerned authority while taking leave; any such violation would be treated as leave without pay.                                      
APC (N) Mr. Kalzang Gyatso Bhutia   provided information regarding the SSA and RMSA funds. He also explained the guidelines for the fund utilization.  During the discussion the present Headmasters placed a number of problems they were facing. Dy . Director assured to place the school problems to the higher authority for solution. In the course of discussion it was also impressed upon the HMs that they should keep a healthy relationship with the panchayats and guardians which would help the school to solve much of the problems they were facing.    
Finally BDO, Passingdang in his address informed  that construction works and maintenance works of schools done by SMCS were  not meeting the standards. He pointed out that construction work of Lingdong S.S should be hastened as it was affecting the smooth functioning of the school as a whole . He urged Dy. Director to send all the copies of every correspondence to the BAC regarding the activities, taking place so that he could extend possible help for the same.  He also informed that the HMs could place a number of their demands including those such as toilet construction, drinking water problems to the concerned GPU where such issues could be placed before gram sabha and be resolved through various schemes like MGNREGA etc.
At the end of the meeting, SSA grants, such as maintenance grants and teachers grants were handed over to headmasters through the BDO , Passingdang, BAC.  The day long co- ordination meeting concluded with the vote of thanks by R. Ongmu Lepcha , the Resource Teacher of Inclusive Education under BAC, Passingdang, Dzongu  block.    

Sikkim’s Chuing Dorjee Bhutia in top 15 of Yamphel Open Archery Tournament in Bhutan

GANGTOK, 27 July: Chuing Dorjee Bhutia of Upper Sichey has become the first Sikkimese archer to enter the list of the top 15 archers in the prestigious 16th edition of Yamphel Open Archery Tournament in Bhutan. Mr Bhutia entered the top 15 with his 40 hits on the target in 45 rounds.
Mr Bhutia started playing archery last year and is taking part in this tournament for the second time. It is informed that he is the first and only Sikkimese archer to be included amongst the top seeded players in the said tournament.
He will be competing for the Best Archer 2012-13 title in the tournament scheduled to be held in mid August this year.
Sikkim Archery Association [SSA] publicity secretary, Karma Denzongpa has congratulated Mr Bhutia on behalf of all the members of SSA and all archers of Sikkim. He further expressed his best wishes to Mr Bhutia for the upcoming competition.

South district meeting discusses Independence Day celebration

NAMCHI, 27 July [IPR]: A district level meeting regarding the celebration of 66th Independence Day was organized by the South District Administration at the conference hall of DAC today. The meeting was attended by Chairmen Tea Board and Welfare Board, HODs, Line Department officials, Adhyaksha SDZP, Vice Chairman Namchi Municipal Council (NMC), members of NGOs, NMC, and Panchayats.
At the outset, it was decided that this year the Independence Day would be celebrated in the new venue that is Singhithang playground since Bhaichung Stadium is under construction. Secondly the work allocations for different line departments of the organizing committee and matters like sanitation, restrooms, changing rooms for the participants, water supply, snack distribution, awards, sitting arrangement, cultural programme, refreshments for the guests, selection committee for competitive categories, sponsorship for other categories etc were discussed at length in the meeting.
It was informed in the meeting that the Independence Day Football Tournament (IDFT) would kick off from 05 August at Singhithang playground. SDM Hqr Purna Yonzon read out the different work allocations of the line departments and organizations.
Area MLA, Binod Rai speaking as the chief guest informed that the up-gradation works at the new celebration venue like construction of permanent pavilion and additional public gallery were underway. Mr Rai added that the line departments and the contractors are attempting to complete the necessary up-gradation works before the commencement of the celebration day.
He asked the engineering departments and concerned line departments to inspect the necessary arrangements at the venue. The area MLA emphasized that the Chief Minister’s Gold Cup Football Tournament which is a prestigious event in the South District headquarters should be given consistency as this tournament has already been missed last year due to the earthquake.
In this context, he informed that since Bhaichung Stadium is under renovation, the new alternative venue for the CM’s Gold Cup tentatively would be Jorethang playground. He also mentioned that the objective of organizing football tournaments in the district is to provide exposure and platform to the rural sportsmen to hone their football skills and participate not only in their state but at national and international levels as well.
Further adding he said that the Sports Youth hostel of Namchi has produced many talented players who have moved on to join prominent National Football Clubs in the country.
SP South, Manoj Tewari stressed on the fact that not everyone is allowed to hoist the National Flag on their vehicles on Independence Day and it would be considered as violation of law if anyone is found doing so except for the vehicles of cabinet rank and above officers he informed. He also emphasized that the use of National Flags made of plastic is prohibited and only flags made of Khadi is actually allowed. He also asked the public to honor the National Flag and not throw them around.
DC South, AK Singh stressed on the appropriate presentation of Independence Day celebration as he said that this is the day of national pride and its presentation sends out a message of national integrity. In this regard, he also discouraged participants from performing western songs which he said is opposed to the theme and encouraged to present only traditional cultural songs and dances. He asked the organizing committee to avoid causing inconveniences to the participants especially the school children.
He also suggested forming a team of volunteers to help the march past contingents for smooth coordination of the programme. The DC said that last hour entry in the competitive categories should not be entertained to avoid last minute hassles for which he asked the organizing committee to coordinate on this matter with the participating groups. He further called for active participation and cooperation of all the members to make this event a successful one.
It was informed in the meet that the next review meeting would be held on 05 August at Singhithang Playground prior to the commencement of IDFT and all the members of the organizing committee were asked to positively attend the meeting.