Saturday, November 3, 2012

It’s Independents vs SDF today

Ruling Front’s only contest for 420 panchayat wards comes from 535 Independents
GANGTOK, 02 Nov: Panchayat elections 2012 will be held Saturday and despite the Sikkim Democratic Front having swept more than half the panchayat wards uncontested the remaining seats may still witness some fight. There are a total of 535 independent candidates in the electoral fray all over the state, which is by far the highest number of independent candidates the state has seen in panchayat elections thus far.
These are only the independent candidate figures minus the SDF candidates who altogether will be contesting the 420 panchayat wards going to poll in the state. The rest - 566 wards - have already gone to SDF uncontested.
There are a good many panchayat wards which have a three-way contest; a total of 66 panchayat wards all over the state which will witness a 3 way contest or even higher. There are some wards with as many as 5 candidates contesting the polls at the ward level.
There are also a handful of wards where the SDF has not fielded a candidate. There are as many as 14 panchayat wards in the state where the SDF has not put up a candidate.
The East district has the most number of independent candidates contesting the panchayat elections. As many as 214 independent candidates in the district are contesting the 137 wards.
The total number of panchayat wards in East district is 290. Out of the 137 wards which will see a contest, there are 35 wards which have a three way contest; this includes 7 wards which have a 4 way contest.
This is also the only district which has a Congress candidate contesting a ward seat - in Rumtek. Interestingly there are 5 wards in the district where the SDF does not have an official candidate.
South has a total of 141 Independent candidates for the 99 wards going to poll. 133 wards in the district have already been bagged by SDF party. Of the 99 wards there are as many as 25 wards which have 3 or more candidates contesting and this includes 2 wards which have a 4 way contest and another 2 wards with a 5 way contest. There are also 7 panchayat wards in the district where the SDF has not put up a candidate for the polls.
In West, the total number of independent candidates is 151 who will contest for the 136 seats which are going to polls tomorrow. Out of a total of 317 panchayat seats the SDF has already won 181 seats uncontested. There are 6 panchayat wards which have 3 or more candidates and there are at least 3 wards where the SDF has no candidate.
North district has only 29 independents in the poll for the 28 seats which are being contested. Of the total 111 wards the SDF has got 80 uncontested. Of these 28 seats there is one ward without an SDF candidate; this is ward Manul under Toong Naga gram panchayat unit.  

113 Independents for 70 zilla berths going to polls today

GANGTOK, 02 Nov: The zilla panchayat elections all set for tomorrow also has a good many independent candidates in the fray. There are a total of 113 independent candidates contesting the zilla panchayat seats and also 1 state Congress candidate who is contesting the Rey Rumtek zilla territorial constituency in East district. The total number of contesting seats in the zilla panchayats this year is 70 out of a total of 108; the SDF has already won 38 of these seats uncontested.
The East district has the highest number of independents at 48 for the 26 zilla seats going to poll. 6 have already been bagged by the SDF. There are as many as 12 constituencies which have 3 or more candidates and in fact there are two constituencies namely Samdong Rakdong and Chalamthang Pacheykhani which have 6 candidates contesting. One constituency, Lingtam Pacheykhani has 5 candidates.
South district has 25 independent candidates for the total 15 zilla panchayat constituencies. SDF has already won 13 constituencies uncontested. There are 8 constituencies which have 3 or more candidates contesting. One constituency, Kolthang Manzing has no SDF candidate.
In West district there are as many as 31 independent candidates for the 23 zilla constituencies going to polls. SDF has already bagged 5 uncontested. Of these there are 6 constituencies which have 3 or more candidates contesting.
North district has only 9 independent candidates for the 6 zilla seats with the SDF already bagging 14 seats uncontested. There are 3 zilla wards which have 3 or more contesting candidates.

Security tightened in South Sikkim for panchayat polls

NAMCHI, 02 Nov: In view of the recent pre poll violence in various parts of South Sikkim, security has been tightened in the district. SP South, Manoj Tiwari while talking to NOW! said that, after the recent incidents security at the polling stations has been upgraded. The number of security personnel deputed in each polling station has been revised and increased owing to the situation, he added.
He further said that, with four hyper sensitive polling stations at Namthang (under Namthang-Rateypani Constituency), Yangyang and Neyabrum (under Rangang-Yangyang Constituency) and Suntaley (under Melli Constituency) and 19 other sensitive polling stations, police is keeping a close watch on the other polling stations  and leaving nothing to chance.
Returning Officer (DM South) AK Singh while talking to this correspondent informed that the Electronic Voting Machines were dispatched to the respective polling stations and no untoward incidents were reported.
A total number of 248 EVMs were distributed among 179 polling stations, 100 for Gram Panchayat poll and 148 for Zilla Panchayat poll. 15 EVMs has been kept as reserved for Zilla Panchayat and 12 for Ward Panchayat poll.  Each sector Magistrate has been provided with reserve EVMs, he informed.
DC South further said that, 12 Sector Magistrates and 10 Sector Police Officers have been deployed to look after the entire polling process in South district. Here, DM, Mr. Singh informed that one Electronic Voting Machine was found defective this morning while dispatching and was replaced immediately.
When asked how the polling stations like Neyabrum and Suntaley have been categorised as hyper sensitive, the DM said that, tension has been brewing in these areas as per reports and as there was maximum chance of disturbance during the poll, hence the stations were categorized as hyper sensitive along with the tension zone of Yangyang and Namthang.
The Panchayat Polls will see 39 candidates contesting for 15 Zilla Panchatays seats and 232 candidates contesting for 99 Ward Panchayats in South District. The Auditorium hall of Namchi Sr Secondary School has been set up as the "Control Room". The contact number of the control room is Phone: 03595-263734 and Fax: 03592-264734.
The polling parties are to report to their respective polling stations by 7 AM in the morning tomorrow and voting will commence from 8 AM and go on till 4 PM, he informed.
On the other hand, one of the Golay supporters, Jacob Khaling was also released on bail by District and Sessions Court South and West, Namchi, today.

EVMs distributed for East district

GANGTOK, 02 Nov: 395 EVMs were distributed for the 260 polling booths here in the East district today. The EVMs that were kept in a strong room at TNA auditorium were distributed at the school premises from where all the 1500 polling personnel were dispatched for their respective polling booths.
Around 300 vehicles had been requisitioned for the polling personnel during the elections. The voting will start at 8 AM tomorrow and continue till 4 PM after which the EVMs will be brought back to the TNA auditorium.
Counting will begin at 8 AM on 05 November and the results will be declared by 2 PM the same day.

Press Club to host national media conference

GANGTOK, 02 Nov: A national level conference on ‘Prospects and Problems of Northeast Media’ is being organized by Press Club of Sikkim (PCS) in collaboration with Information & Public Relations department here at Chintan Bhavan on 07 November.
The event is part of the decadal foundation day celebration of PCS and over 100 representatives from press organizations of all the states have been invited. Journalists from the neighbouring region of North Bengal including those from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Siliguri would also be attending the seminar.
Chairman of the Press Council of India, Justice Markande Katju would be chairing the seminar while Governor BP Singh will be present as the chief guest along with the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling as the guest of honour.
The representatives from press associations of different states will be making presentations on the theme during the seminar.


Mohunbagan SAIL beats SAI Darj to enter quarter final round
GANGTOK, 02 Nov: Mohunbagan SAIL Football Academy has entered the quarter-final round of the ongoing 33rd All India Governor’s Gold Cup Football Tournament 2012 here at Palzor Stadium. In the last pre quarter-final match today, Mohunbagan SAIL FA edged past Sports Authority of India [SAI], Darjeeling by a solitary goal.
Young boys in both the teams played their hearts out to take the lead in the match with their constant attacks and counter-attacks on each other. In the last minute of the first half, Mohunbagan got a golden chance to score the lead when the referee offered them a penalty shoot for a foul in the SAI’s D-box. But Mohunbagan missed this golden opportunity to take the lead when its captain, Seiboi Haokip’s penalty shot hit the goalpost. The first half, thus, ended in a goalless draw.
Both the teams made some good attacks in the second half but missed the net and nearing fulltime it looked like the match would end again in a goalless draw until Pijush Khelo turned the cross of his teammate into the winning goal for Mohunbagan SAIL in the 88th minute.
In the first quarter-final match of the tournament, Dimapur United FC will take on Bhawanipur Kolkata on 05 November. No matches will be held on 03 and 04 November owing to the Panchayat Election on 03 November and the I-League match between United Sikkim FC and Pailan Arrows on 04 November.


Mainam girls thrash Kabi XI 5-0
GANGTOK, 02 Nov: Mainam XI thrashed Kabi XI in the ongoing All Sikkim Women’s Football Tournament 2012 here at Paljor Stadium today. Mainam knocked out Kabi from the tournament with a score of 5-0.
Kripa Rai opened the goal account for Mainam in the early 6th minute of the match. In response Kabi girls tried their best to equalize the score but the first half concluded with the score of 1-0.
Keeping the pressure on in the second half, Mainam girls scored four goals to ensure their 5-0 victory. Sujata Rai scored her brace in the 45th and 47th minute followed by one goal each by Krishna Rai in the 57th minute and Somrani in the 61st minute. Kabi tried its best to come back in the match but could not score any goal.
In the next match in the tournament, Rabdentse XI will take on Fambonglo XI on 05 November.


This is in response to a recent report in a Nepali daily  regarding non completion of a pucca house under Chief Minister’s Rural Housing Mission at Gyaten Ward of Gyaten Karmatar GP under Maneybong Dentam constituency belonging to Bimal Rai. In the report, Bimal Rai, the pucca house beneficiary has given many irresponsible statements to which the undersigned would like to make some clarifications.
That Bimal Rai was given allotment order in 19.10.2011 for the construction of pucca house as prioritized by Gram Sabha of the GP on the merit of his economic category which falls under BPL category and not as per the desire of the concerned MLA or the Gram Panchayat members as reported. Further the allegation leveled against Mr. DR Rai [not BR Rai as reported], to be the contractor of his house is false as the scheme itself is owner driven with all the cheques for three instalments namely for 1st, 2nd and 3rd amounting to Rs. 50,000; Rs. 1,00,000 and Rs. 1,50,000 respectively were drawn in the favour of the beneficiary himself payable in his own account only. The total entitled amount upto the Stage 3rd, i.e upto the slab casting level amounting to Rs. 3,00,000 has been released by the BDO Office, Dentam. Mr. DR Rai is the beneficiary’s elder brother who in fact was very supportive and has voluntarily extended supervision in construction of that house and as a result the quality of the work upto slab level has come out as one of the best. So the question of Mr. DR Rai being the contractor is simply false. As per the rule, the beneficiary will get the final installment of Rs. 1,00,000 only on completion of the construction and at the work site even the necessary wooden panels required for the house has been prepared for use and the house can be completed within a month at the most provided the beneficiary himself takes initiatives on his part too.
The Government had granted pucca house to Mr. Bimal Rai who had no proper pucca house to live in a year back purely based on a baseline survey and his BPL economic status. While many are still waiting with high hopes to be covered under the kuccha house free scheme, the statement of Mr. Bimal Rai is not forthcoming. When construction had started he was happily undertaking land development for the house under MGNREGA and he is also one of the masons working on his house that has reached the 3rd Stage at present. So, his unhappiness with the progress of construction of his own house reflects on his own work as well since the construction is purely owner based. The allegation leveled by Bimal Rai of being prevented from cultivation of vegetables on his land is false too as the new house has been constructed exactly at the site where his kutcha house used to stand.
With the allotment of two pucca houses under CMRHM to two beneficiaries under Gyaten Ward including Mr. Bimal Rai’s in the first lot, the whole of Gitang Village which is visited often by foreign tourists will benefit and make the village more picturesque as these will be the first buildings to be constructed here in Gitang under Gyaten Ward. The villagers are in fact very positive and thankful to the Government for the allotment of pucca buildings at their village.
We know that the Maneybong Dentam constituency is the first constituency to handover three RCC Slab buildings to beneficiaries with the maximum number of houses completed and hence, the Gyaten Ward also pledges not to lack behind in this historic mission started by the Government. Being the former President of the Gram Panchayat and as the newly elected (uncontested) ward panchayat, the undersigned will be monitoring the construction of the house of Mr. Rai personally while re-counseling the beneficiary to understand the most important role in construction which is to be played by himself. Mr.Bimal Rai will surely understand and appreciate the effort of the Government once he starts living in his pucca house for years and years to come.
Therefore, I on the behalf of whole of Gyaten Ward, condemn the false allegations leveled against the Gram Panchayat and all concerned in the said news report. The concerned Nepali daily is also requested to print this rejoinder positively please.
Markit Lepcha, Former Panchayat President-Gyaten Karmatar & Ward Panchayat Elect -Gyaten Ward

Editorial: Well Done, Independents

Irrespective of how they fare when the EVMs churn out the results on Monday, the Independent candidates who have managed to get their symbols registered on the electronic voting machines for the panchayat level elections today deserve thanks and congratulations for having delivered where the collective flock in the Opposition camp have failed.
Participatory democracy requires mandate, and walkovers, as the opposition parties concede routinely in grassroots elections, are not healthy. The Opposition was demolished in the last Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, but the drubbing, instead of making them work harder to reconnect with the people, seems to have pushed them even further away, taking their political battles to the courts instead of among the people. And while they were busy politicking in the capital, the municipal elections passed without their participation, and now, the panchayats too have gone that way. Even if one were to excuse the shying away from the urban body elections to it having come too early in the present Government’s latest term in office, how does one explain the Opposition’s failure to still arrive at a position where it can go to the people for votes? And to now claim the Independents as their own is not only factually incorrect, but also disrespectful of the spine and commitment that the Independent candidates have displayed. The Opposition justification that they are boycotting the panchayat polls in protest against its party-based format and perceived discrepancies in the voter lists, are fig leaves which everyone can see through. Meanwhile, a substantial number of the Independents in the fray are overlooked ruling Front ticket aspirants and the rest genuine Independents – people who have taken the leap on their own and if they have received any support from Opposition groups, it has been opportunistic because it has come after they remained in the fray even after the last date for withdrawal of nomination forms. Not all of them are challenging the ruling party and most are essentially in the fray either because they believe they can work better for their village or because they want to themselves participate in grassroots democracy and want fellow villagers to have a choice. There are also many instances where Independents are contesting because they believe the previous representatives failed them and the party/ MLA hierarchy has refused to make amends. Even here, the decisions are very localised in nature and the Opposition response [over the years] has proven that this is not the level of local they can get to. May be the rough and tumble of panchayat elections and the sheer number of candidates required present a logistic impossibility for them, but that is their own failing and a disconnect which explains their continued failing in the hustings.
Given this scenario, the Independents, with their record participation this time deserve the collective gratitude of the Sikkimese people for keeping panchayat elections relevant. Very few of them will win the elections, but they have all already succeeded by registering their participation, and that, as mentioned earlier, is more than what leaders who find frequent mention in newspapers with their press releases have delivered to the people of Sikkim. For the record, there are 648 Independent candidates in the panchayat fray – 535 for panchayat ward elections and 113 for the Zilla Panchayat polls.

Friday, November 2, 2012

112 polling stations flagged as ‘sensitive’

GANGTOK, 01 Nov: A total of 112 polling stations in the State have been declared as “sensitive” for the upcoming panchayat elections scheduled to take place on 03 November. This is out of a total of 759 polling booths where polling will be held.
South district also has 3 polling booths categorized as “hypersensitive”. These are at Yangyang Yabrung, Namthang and Suntaley.
The sensitive polling booths all over the state are identified as per certain factors. These include their past history of violence, number of candidates in the fray and the degree of political activity in the particular area.
It is normally the police agencies which assess the sensitivity level of a particular polling booth in an area before declaring it sensitive. Officials inform that all sensitive declared polling booths will have more number of security personnel. Besides each district also has armed police and IRBn personnel in the event of any law and order problem.
In the East district there are a total of 39 polling booths spread all over the district which have been declared sensitive out of a total of 260 polling stations here. As many as 1,300 personnel have been engaged for poll duty on polling day with another around 520 security personnel at the polling booths.
These include sector officers, sub sector officers, sector magistrates, sector police personnel and the armed police. There will also be a section of SAP in each sub division and reserve armed police personnel in each district as well. Apart from the poll parties engaged on election duty at the polling stations there will also be mobile patrolling of the polling booths by sector officers and sector police personnel.
West district has the highest number of sensitive booths at 49 out of a total of 275 polling stations. These are also spread over the district and most of these are located at the government schools were polling is scheduled to take place.
As per DC West, there are a total of 1,532 personnel engaged on poll duty apart from the security personnel. In South district there are as many as 19 polling booths identified as sensitive due to various degrees of violence recorded in past. This is out of a total of 179 polling stations in the district.
Some have been declared sensitive since the opposition political activity and presence there has been strong leading to apprehension of violence; some others have been identified due to active campaigning by Independent candidates. There are about 1,000 personnel engaged for polling duty in South district apart from another 450 security personnel.
The North district has the least number of polling stations at only 45; out of these a total of 5 have been identified as sensitive booths. Most of these sensitive booths fall under Phensang gram panchayat unit.
There are a total of 420 gram panchayat wards out of 987 going to polls on 03 November and another 70 zilla panchayat constituencies out of 108 all over the state.

Five Golay supporters arrested in connection with Phalidara vandalism

NAMCHI, 01 Nov: Five supporters of the dissident SDF MLA, PS Tamang [Golay] were arrested today by Namchi Police on charges of vandalising the house and parked vehicles of former Panchayat, Dinesh Pradhan at Lower Phalidara, South Sikkim.
On an FIR filed by the former Panchayat, the police had registered a case against 13 Golay supporters [named in the complaint] under sections 147/ 148/ 149/ 427/ 452/ 506 of the IPC. They are accused of being part of the group which attacked Mr Pradhan’s house at Lower Phalidara. This was late last evening, at around 6:15 PM when the group was returning from the panchayat campaign meeting at Namthang. The mob, it is alleged, threw bottles and stones which damaged the house and two parked vehicles [belonging to Ratan Pradhan and Kumar Pradhan].
While speaking to NOW!, Dinesh Pradhan said that he was at home watching TV when the vehicles carrying Golay supporters stopped in front of his house and the people started pelting stones and bottles at his house. He claimed that some members of the mob also entered his house.
“We had never been involved in such an incident and with such acts by supporters of PS Golay the entire family is feeling insecure,” said Mr Pradhan and added that his son also got injured in the incident.
Today, SDF Youth Convener and also MLA Namchi Singithang, Binod Rai, South District party President Gagan Rai, Chairman Girish Chandra Rai and other party workers and supporters visited Mr Pradhan’s house where they alleged that it was a pre-planned attack. They further alleged that Golay supporters are spreading terror in the state, while the SDF government has always advocated and maintained peace and security.
Out of thirteen accused, the five who were arrested today are Milan Rai, Samuel Lepcha, N.D.Tamang, Indra Lall Sharma and Sonam Lepcha. They were subsequently released on bail by the District Court Namchi.

Mangan and surrounding areas face LPG supply shortage

MANGAN, 01 Nov: For the last ten days, LPG consumers of Mangan bazaar, Pakshep, Singhik and surrounding areas have been facing a shortage in domestic and commercial LPG cylinder supply.
The STCS had sent 180 cylinders before the Dusshera break and this was distributed to Upper-Singhik and Pentok consumers, but consumers of the rest of the area have not been able to get their refilled cylinders. Meanwhile, an LPG vehicle was sent only for Chungthang and Toong today.
The public of Mangan and surrounding areas have demanded that LPG refills be supplied on a rotation basis so that the people did not have to wait for more than a week. Consumers here have expressed that if STCS was unable to ensure timely supply on government subsidized rates, then consumers should at least be provided with the cylinders on the non-subsidized rate of Rs 1,071, which too is not available.
Meanwhile, the Sikkim Bihari Jagaran Manch, Mangan branch has submitted an application to the area MLA, TW Lepcha on the LPG supply problem faced by the general public of North district.

Darap students bag 2nd position in National Level CBSE Science Exhibition

GANGTOK, 01 Nov: Students from Govt Senior Secondary School, Darap in West Sikkim, who represented Sikkim at the 9th CBSE National Level Science Exhibition 2012 held at St Xaviers at Raj Marg, New Delhi have secured second position in the competition. The newly appointed Union Minister for HRDD, MM Pallam Raju and the Chairman of the CBSE Board, Vinit Joshi inaugurated the two-day exhibition that was held on 30-31 October.
As per a press release, the competition had over 177 exhibits from across the country as well as from schools from abroad affiliated to the CBSE like those from Oman, Nepal and others. The main theme of the exhibition was Science, Society and Environment and the sub theme was divided into 6 categories like disaster management, health, energy resources, agriculture and food security, mathematics in daily lives and environment.
Participants Basanta Chettri, Bishal Chettri and Mingso Hang Limboo displayed their presentation on agriculture and their sub-topic was on the ‘utililisation of local plant life and cow products in organic farming’. 50 schools were shortlisted on day one where Darap too booked its birth for the final round, the release informs.
Bagging the second prize, the students were awarded certificates along with cash prizes by the chief guest.
The students have credited hardwork and support from the school for this achievement while principal of the school, PL Limboo has also expressed deep satisfaction on this feat by the school’s students at the national level, the release mentions.
It may be mentioned that Sameer Chettri (GT), was guiding them for the competition.


USFC knocks out Calcutta Customs

GANGTOK, 01 Nov: A lone goal by Nima Tamang helped Bhaichung’s United Sikkim Football Club oust Calcutta Customs from the 33rd All India Governor’s Gold Cup Football Tournament 2012.
Playing the third pre-quarter-final match at Paljor Stadium today, USFC beat the Kolkata team 1-0 to enter the quarter final round of the tourney.
Nima Tamang scored the winning goal in the 40th minute.
Two USFC players Palsen Lama and Thupden Bhutia were flashed yellow cards in the 9th and 66th minutes respectively while John Oren of Calcutta Customs also got a yellow card in the 79th minute.
On 02 November, Friday, Mohan Bagan SAIL will take on Sports Authority of India at 2 PM.


Tumlong XI go down to Tendong XI in tie-breaker
GANGTOK, 01 Nov: Tendong XI edged past Tumlong XI in a tie-breaker in the second match of the All Sikkim Women’s Football Tournament held today at Paljor Stadium.
Both teams had scored a goal each by full time. Tendong Xl’s Anju Rai scored in the 18th minute while Tumlong XI’s Songkit Lepcha scored in the 61st minute. A penalty shoot-out was then held to break the tie in which Tendong XI managed to score 4 goals while Tumlong XI scored 3 goals.
With this, Tendong XI won the match by 5 goals to 3. On Friday, Kabi XI will play against Mainam XI at 12:15.

SDF party meeting for Tumin-Lingee wraps up at Lower Rakdong

MANGAN, 01 Nov: “The policy of the SDF government is to give priority to women and accordingly, 50% reservation has been provided to the women in the upcoming panchayat polls”, said UD&HD Minister, DB Thapa while addressing an SDF panchayat election meeting here at Lower Rakdong on Wednesday.
Stating that the government has given all political rights to the people, the Minister urged all the people of Lower Rakdong to vote for the SDF candidates. He assured that the party has chosen candidates who are dedicated to serving the people and in case any elected panchayat fails to deliver post elections he stated that the area MLA and the party president would look into the matter.
The Minister also highlighted the ongoing system of LPG cylinder supply under the Public Distribution System [PDS] as per the norms of the central government. Here, he appealed to the people to fill up the forms for the KYC which is mandatory.
HRDD Minister, NK Pradhan in his address urged the people to look past petty personal issues and consider the work done by the SDF government. He further urged people to get involved in the ‘Afno Gaon Afai Banau’ mission and works together towards development.
Similary, Gangtok MLA, Dorjee Namgyal highlighted that panchayats are the representatives of the village who will have to work in consultation with the MLA and the government. Here, he appealed to all to work for the party and endorse their valuable vote and make the party’s candidates victorious.
The SDF zilla candidate from Rakdong-Tintek, Saraswati Regmi assured that she will work more for the people if elected and appealed to all to be united.
The area MLA, Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia said that the people’s dream will be fulfilled as the government will work more for the people. He also stressed on awareness regarding the schemes and programmes of the government where he appealed to all the NGOs and youth to spread awareness among the rural public.
The MLA further urged the public not to believe in panchayat candidates who are not from SDF and added that such candidates do not have any programme and policy. Mentioning that schemes like CMRHM have had a high number of beneficiaries in the Tumin-Lingee constituency, he said that it is time for the people to prove their loyalty to the party.
The function was also addressed by the SDF vice president, Somnath Poudyal, who highlighted about the panchayati Raj system to the people and also informed that SDF is the only party which has brought development in Sikkim.
The uncontested panchayat candidate from Lower Rakdong ward, BB Gurung expressed his gratitude to the villagers of his ward.
Also present in the meeting were, Lhakila Tongden Lepcha [Member of State Planning Commission], former MLA Norjang Lepcha, Shakti Singh Choudhary [Dy Mayor GMC], SDF panchayat candidates from Rakdong-Tintek GPU and party supporters.
Earlier, the welcome address was given by Jigmee Tongden Lepcha (Coordinator) and ended with the vote of thanks by Nesh Lall Gurung, BLC member.

Sikkim’s Deepraj enters semi final round of India’s Got Talent

GANGTOK, 01 Nov: Sikkim’s entry into India’s Got Talent, 12-year-old Deepraj Rai has reached the semifinal round of the show. The three judges of the show were shortlisting participants till now but from the semi finals votes from the country’s masses will decide who goes on to the final round.
Deepraj’s mother, Bindu Rai today appealed to the people of Sikkim to vote for her son. Speaking to media persons here in the capital, Ms Rai said that although Deepraj is blessed with a good voice it is the people’s support that will take him to the final round of the show. She added that the Culture department and the state government has extended all necessary support to Deepraj and now all he needs is the people’s support.
Ms Rai also thanked actress Rushma Rai for sending the video footage of Deepraj to Mumbai which fetched him the invitation from Colors TV to participate in the show.
The semi final round of India’s Got Talent will be held on 04 November while the show is aired every Saturday and Sunday at 10 PM.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


CM urges youth to resolve to steer clear of hatred and violence

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: The state observed the 28th Rastriya Sankalpa Diwas here at Chintan Bhawan today with the Chief Minister declaring that a statue of Indira Gandhi would be erected at a “commanding area” in the near future. The day is observed to mark the death anniversary of former Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, and seeks to inspire citizens to rededicate themselves to the country.
Chief Minister Pawan Chamling was present as the chief guest for the function which also had former Chief Ministers, BB Gooroong and Sanchaman Limboo along with Lok Sabha MP, PD Rai and Chief Secretary, Karma Gyatso on the dais. Present in the audience were heads of departments, senior government officials, teachers and students.
In his address, the CM delved on the stature of the former PM and elaborated by stating that Indira Gandhi was truly one of the biggest woman leaders of Indian politics. While pointing out the main reason behind the Prime Minister’s tragic and untimely death, he stated that it was terrorism and extremism that played a major factor with its main focus to disrupt the growing national integration process.
While flagging terrorism as the next big plague to hit the globe, he underlined the need to understand the reasons that lead to such a situation and stressed on the need for the younger generation, specially the students, to understand the causes and effects so that they can guard against them.
“We only see terrorism on television and the effects it has had even on developed countries such as the United States, but now it is time for our younger generation to understand why this is happening and also think about the measures that could lead to a cleaner society. And what better example for adopting measures like those in their own state of Sikkim which is truly the only exemplary state with so many international borders and yet untouched by extremism,” the Chief Minister stated.
While urging the youth to avoid circumstances that have led to such situations in different countries including ours with major terrorist outfits still majorly in existence in the North-East of India, he stated, “Hatred is considered one of the major factors that lead to such a situation which is why our system of education should be focused on creating truthful and sincere human beings rather than being focused at attaining degrees.”
The Chief Minister, while lauding the efforts of the Sikkimese people and the state government in maintaining peace and security, also explained the present scenario as ‘proper and sustainable’ development.
“If peace and security are not factors that influence development then what is? This is what the youth and the younger generation should understand. Without peace and security, Sikkim would not have been what it is today and would not be the most progressive and developing state in the country in all sectors,” he told the gathering while further urging them to refrain from activities that facilitate different forms of extremism which included political extremism.
“It is time for the youth to compare and consider what makes Sikkim a terrorism free state and in the process also learn to appreciate and cherish this accomplishment for which we have won accolades from all over the world,” he told the gathering.
The Chief Minister further urged all to develop a sense of ownership and belonging towards the state and contribute positively to the vision of the state government. He added here that the existing ‘philosophy’ of Sikkim should be sustained under all circumstances to further strengthen the process of national integration.
“It is a collective responsibility and a commitment for all of us to avoid all forms of extremism and maintain the image of Sikkim as the land of peace and tranquility since this is the only way we can pave a more secure and positive future for the coming generations,” he explained.  
Earlier, the programme started with lighting of butter lamps and offering of scarves and garlands on the portrait of Indira Gandhi followed by prayers by priests of different religious faiths.
The students of Enchey Senior Sec School and Tashi Namgyal Sr Sec School also presented beautiful patriotic songs which was followed by the reading of excerpts from the speeches of late Indira Gandhi by Yangchuk Donka, PGT, TNSSS.

Day begins tense at Namthang, ends with ‘incident’ at Phalidara

NAMCHI, 31 Oct: The day began tense and confrontational at Namthang here in South Sikkim today, and although the final panchayat campaign meeting of the “Golay camp” passed without incident at this South district town [which was witness to a violent clash on 14 Oct], the evening, as the motorcades returned, delivered one incident of violence at Phalidara, near Maniram Bhanjhyang, allegedly by a group of Golay supporters returning from Namthang to Namchi.
As per an FIR filed by ex Panchayat, Dinesh Pradhan, his house and vehicle were vandalised by a group of Golay supporters late this evening. He has named 13 supporters of SDF MLA, PS Tamang, as being involved in the attack.
Speaking to NOW! over the phone, Mr. Pradhan informed that his children, who were at home at the time, suffered minor injuries when his house was allegedly stoned by Golay supporters returning from the Namthang meeting. His two vehicles, a utility pick-up and a jeep, parked outside were also vandalised, he adds.
When contacted, the SP [South] Manoj Tiwari confirmed that the FIR has been received and a case registered. While no arrests had been made till the time of going to print, the SP informs that team has been constituted and arrests will now follow.
Earlier, Namthang witnessed some tense moments in the morning when Golay supporters got into a heated argument with the SP and DC over the change in venue proposed by the DC today.
It is learnt that although the meeting organisers had received permission to hold their meeting at Namthang bazaar, the district officials today directed them to hold their meeting at the Namthang school ground instead. In fact, the school was given a day off for today, perhaps in anticipation of this shifting of venue.
The proposal did not go down well with the Upper Burtuk MLA, PS Tamang, and his supporters who then got into a heated discussion with the officials and refused to budge from the venue they had already received permission for and had been prepared. This stand-off continued for around an hour and a half, and eventually they were allowed to hold the meeting at the bazaar itself.
When contacted to explain the last minute direction to change the venue, the SP [South] Manoj Tewari informed that this was proposed in light of a complaint received from the UD&HD. The UD&HD, it is learnt, had written to the Namchi SDM suggesting that political meetings not be allowed in the bazaar area at Namthang in light of the 14 Oct incident when the construction material kept in the bazaar area for the beautification works underway there was used in the violence. The SP informs that permission to continue with the meeting was granted after two leaders of the Golay camp gave an undertaking that UD&HD stocks in the bazaar area will not be damaged.
Interestingly, all shops in Namthang bazaar also downed shutters today, just like Yangang had done the day before when the Golay camp had organised a public meeting there.
SD Tamang, secretary, Byapari Sangh, Namthang, while speaking to NOW! today explained that the shopkeepers unanimously decided to shut down their shops as a precaution and also because “it was important to condemn the violence of 14 Oct when several shops and vehicles in the main bazaar were vandalised”. He also clarified that they were not asked by the SDF or any other agency to down shutters and that this was decision taken by the shopkeepers themselves.
Today was the last day to campaign for the panchayat elections scheduled for 03 Oct, Saturday.

Bhaichung takes to the sky at Sikkim Paragliding Festival

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: Bhaichung Bhutia flagged off the first ever paragliding festival in the state this morning here at Bulbuley. The former Indian football captain also took a ride on a Tandem flight on the day.
Bhaichung also felicitated the two Nepalese paragliders Lakpa Sherpa and Sano Babu Sunwar, who are also the winners of the National Geographic 2012 People’s Choice Adventures of the Year [for their epic feat of climbing Mount Everest and then paragliding and kayaking to the Bay of Bengal].
Later, while speaking to media persons, Bhaichung said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the flight and the view of the beautiful Khangchendzonga. Paragliding is a very different experience”.
He added that paragliding is one of the sports which can be promoted in a bigger way in Sikkim. He was accompanied by his wife, the Gangtok Mayor KN Topgay and the Deputy Mayor Shakti Singh.
Tourists who had gathered there also showed keen interest and were taking photographs as the pilots took off. “I had never seen paragliding before, it looks like fun and I also took many pictures” said Manoj Das a tourist from Kolkata.
The pilots took off from Bulbuley in East Sikkim and landed at the Sports Complex at Reshithang. Around 58 prominent Indian and International paragliding pilots from USA, Sweden, South Africa, Austria and Nepal are participating in this festival.
Secretary General [PAI] Manoj Roy informed that the festival will include events such as free flying, spot landing contest, Acro show and sky diving demo.
“Since the professional paragliders will be showing Acro stunts it would not be safe for tourists to fly so we have decided to stop the tandem flights”, said the Additional Secretary of Tourism Department, Rinzing Chewang Bhutia. Arrangements of doctors, paramedical team and ambulance are all set at both the take off and landing spot, he added.
The event is organized by the Paragliding Association of India [PAI] and Tourism and Civil Aviation Department.

All Sikkim Women’s Football Tourney – a much needed platform for women footballers

Lako Phuti Bhutia [extreme left] with her coach Palden Bhutia and Nim Lhamu Bhutia, captain of Norbugang XI

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: “If it wasn’t for football, I would not have got the opportunity to represent the country at the international level”, said international footballer from Sikkim, Lako Phuti Bhutia on her debut at Malaysia recently.
Lako Phuti hails from Sreebadam in West Sikkim and has been training under coach Palden Bhutia at Women’s Football Academy, Mangalbaria since 2006. She is a member of the U-19 Indian Women’s football team and played for India in the Asian Football Confederation [AFC] championship in Malaysia earlier this month against Bangladesh and Uzbekistan at her stopper position.  
Sharing her recent international football experience, Lako Phuti mentioned that it was her dream and aim to play for the country. She added that she was very happy and excited on this achievement.
“The India camp was beneficial as I could further hone my skills and it also gave me confidence. I want to continue to play for my country and am thankful to my coach and family for their support”, said Lako.
She is will be joining the India camp again on 10 November.
Playing as Norbugang XI’s defender in the All Sikkim Women’s Football Tournament, Lako expressed her happiness on the starting of a women’s football tournament in the state. Such a tournament, she said would help in the development of women’s football in the state and at the same time it will also provide more platforms for women footballers to showcase their talent, skills and game.
Likewise, Norbugang XI coach, Palden Bhutia, who is also the chief coach of Women’s Football Academy, Mangalbaria, mentioned that this women’s tournament was a great initiative of the SFA to encourage and promote women’s football in the state.
“Such tournaments will generate more national and international women footballers from Sikkim in the near future” said Mr Bhutia and added that such tournaments should continue to be held for the development of women’s football in the state.
He also expressed his gratitude to the Sikkim Football Association and to Mangalbaria Senior Secondary School for their continuous support for the success of the academy.

EVMs sealed for panchayat polls in North Sikkim

MANGAN, 31 Oct: EVM sealing process and signature tagging of contested candidates on EVM sets was completed today in the presence of Panchayat poll Returning Officer, TW Khangserpa and Additional RO, P Verma, PW Lepcha and CG Bhutia and election department staff at the Zilla Panchayat Bhawan, Mangan, North Sikkim.
Total number of EVMs prepared is 70, out of which, 63 will be sent to all the polling stations for Zilla(T/C) and Ward panchayat elections and remaining 7 EVMs have been prepared as back up in case any machine faces technical problems.
There are 2 EVMs for ward panchayat election in Lachen-Mangan. In Kabi-Lungchok, 35 EVMs have been prepared, 19 for Zilla(T/C) and 16 for Ward panchayat while in Dzongu constituency, there is a total of 26 EVMs, 16 for Zilla(T/C) and 10 for Ward panchayat.
The total number 0f polling stations in North Sikkim will be 45, out of which 3 polling stations, Pakshep, Hee-Gyathang and Phensong are some of the sensitive wards.

Time for “an eye for an eye”, says Golay

NAMTHANG, 31 Oct: Dissident SDF MLA from Upper Burtuk constituency, PS Tamang (Golay) lashed out again at the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front government today in South Sikkim. While addressing a public meeting here at Namthang Bazaar, Mr. Tamang accused the SDF government of misusing power.
“The definition of democracy under the present regime is ‘Bye the people, Far the people and Off the people”, said the dissident MLA who maintained that he was still a member of the SDF party.  In this regard, he claimed that the SDF party supremo does not have the courage to remove him from the party since other founder members and party supporters will also leave the party if he makes such a move.
Also today, Mr. Tamang said that although he respects Gandhi and his philosophy, the era of Gandhism is gone and that he and his supporters should not be expected to leave aggression go unanswered.
“We will not tolerate high handedness”, he added.
He further claimed of saving the SDF government during the Employment Exchange movement of 1997 and contended that the CM continues in power because of this intervention by him.
Retaliating to allegations of misguiding the youth, he countered that it was the SDF which was misleading the youth through the power of money. He cited the raid on his wife’s house who is a government school teacher by the Vigilance as an example of the misuse of power by the ruling government.
He went on to allege that some of SDF colleagues like GM Gurung and others were scared of the ‘vigilance threat’ leveraged against them, he demanded that the Chief Minister allow the CBI into the State and investigate him as well as the CM.
On allegations of inciting violence, he put the ball in SDF’s court recounting the recent attack on Congress leader JB Darnal in Namthang and suppressive tendencies like forcefully stopping former CM NB Bhandari and Bharat Basnet from making public speeches, also in Namthang.
Here he expressed his condemnation on the recent clash at Namthang and blamed it on area MLA, Minister Tilu Gurung, and his former Ministerial colleague GM Gurung and SDF supporters of attacking his supporters. He also said that, the candle of democracy lit by Chamling has now become forced democracy where shutters are downed in violation of one’s basic fundamental rights. Namthang too had shut down today, like Yangang had done the day before when the Golay group had organised a meeting there.
Highlighting some of the agendas which his proposed political party will take up, Mr Golay said that his party will give preference to merit and will always oppose backdoor entries and corruption if the party comes to power. Further, he stated that indirect taxes will be done away with and payment of salaries as per scale will be made even during the probation period to all government employees. The latter, he alleged was stopped by the SDF government in order to redirect the funds to repay debts.
The meeting was also addressed by Bhojraj Rai, Jacob Khaling, Birbal Subba, MN Dahal, Bharat Basnet, Nima Theeng, Sonam Lachungpa and others.


BSF Jalandhar edge past SSA to enter quarter finals
GANGTOK, 31 Oct: BSF Jalandhar defeated State Sports Academy [SSA] with a solitary goal to enter into the quarter finals of the 33rd edition of All India Governor’s Gold Cup Football Tournament today here at Paljor Stadium.
SSA boys played their hearts out against the paramilitary soldiers till the final whistle. Even as both teams tried their best to score, the first half of the match ended in a goalless draw.
Soon in the second half, Avinash Thapa scored the lead for BSF in the 49th minute. The home team tried its best to equalize the score but could not find the net and finally the match concluded with the score of 1-0 in favour of BSF.
The match also saw the referee flashing yellow cards to Avinash Thapa and Amandeep Singh of BSF and to Inching Tamang of SSA.
The third pre quarter-final match will be played between United Sikkim Football Club and Calcutta Customs tomorrow at 2 PM.

SU Microbiology students participate in intl conference, one earns Best Presenter recognition

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: Four research scholars from Sikkim University attended an International conference on ‘Agriculture, Food Sciences and Environment Technology for Sustainable Global Development’ (AFSET -2012) on 28 and 29 October at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi  organised by Krishi Sanskriti. One of them, Kriti Ghatani, a PhD scholar from the Department of Microbiology at the university was awarded the Best Oral Presentation recognition.
The conference was the premier forum for the presentation of new advances and research results in the fields of theoretical, experimental and applied Agriculture, Food Sciences, Environmental Technology and its Applications from around the world.
Students, research scholars and doctorates from various universities in India and abroad participated. There were 163 research papers out of which 111 were selected for oral presentation and 8 for poster presentation.
A press release from Sikkim University informs that M Phil students of the Department of Microbiology, Sayak Das and Mingma Sherpa presented the Master’s dissertation work on Sikkim’s Tatopani. Kriti Ghatani and Shankar Prasad Sha both PHD scholars, the first batch of the, would be Doctorates of the Department of Microbiology, Sikkim University also presented their papers during the conference.
Each of their research papers were selected for oral presentation on Food Sciences. Kriti Ghatani’s paper was related to the efficacy of beneficial bacteria as a probiotic for cholesterol lowering under supervision of Dr. B M Tamang [Assistant professor, Dept. of Microbiology].
Shankar Prasad Sha presented his work on “Haria: A traditionally rice fermented alcoholic beverage” supervised by Dr Nagendra Thakur [Assistant professor, Dept. of Microbiology].
The three papers have been published in “International Journal of Agriculture and Food Science Technology”. Krishi Sanskriti also evaluated the delegates for the best poster presentation and oral presentation. Out of the 111 presenters, the award for Best Oral presentation was given to Kriti Ghatani from the Department of Micrbiology, Sikkim University, the release mentions.
“The scholars are highly indebted to their founding Vice Chancellor Prof. Mahendra P. Lama for introducing term paper presentation in core paper of their subjects. They acknowledge the present Vice Chancellor Dr TB Subba; Registrar and Professor, Dr JP Tamang; Fellow Academic, Dr CB Sunwar; Associate and Assistant Professors of Microbiology Department and Dakshita Lawer from the finance section”, the release adds.

Norbugang girls dazzle as All Sikkim Women’s Football Tournament begins

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: Norbugang XI [West Sikkim] thrashed T-sangu XI [East Sikkim] in the inaugural match of the All Sikkim Women’s Football Tournament 2012 here at Paljor Stadium today. In the completely one-sided match, Norbugang XI won 8 goals to nil.
Norbugang XI is made up of a strong team of girls from Women’s Football Academy, Mangalbaria and has the international footballer from Sikkim, Nima Lhamu Bhutia as the captain along with another international player from Sikkim, Lako Phuti Bhutia as the defender in the team.
The Norbugang girls dominated the match with total possession on the ball right from the start. Mongmit Lepcha opened the goal account in the 6th minute and completed her brace in the 11th minute and within two minutes, the captain Nima Lhamu scored the third goal in the 13th minute. In the 30th minute Mongmit scored her hattrick.
After that, Bhoj Kumari Subba in the 35th minute, Lako Phuti Bhutia in the 45th minute, Phurp Dolma Bhutia in the 50th minute and Pabitra Limboo in the 60th minute added one goal each for Norbugang XI’s victory.
Tendong XI [South Sikkim] will take on Tumlong XI [North Sikkim] in the second match of the tournament tomorrow at 12:15 PM.
A total of eight teams are taking part in the tournament, which is being organized by Sikkim Football Association.

“I had a story to tell”


With a book on Lepcha folktales, a widely popular coffee table book on Sikkim amongst some of her published works, Sikkimese writer Yishey Doma has now got herself a place in ‘She Writes: A collection of short stories’ published by one of the leading names in this line, Random House India.
Yishey is among the twelve winners of the short story contest organized by Random House India in association with MSN in May earlier this year. The contest asked participants to write on one of the three themes given and Yishey’s story ‘Mantras of Love’ got chosen from among 400 participants from all over the country. In conversation with Tshering Eden, Yishey D on “She Writes”:

NOW: What got you to enter the contest?
YISHEY D: Of course the big names – Random House and MSN. Moreover, I had a story to tell and one of the three categories ‘The man in my life’ with which we had to develop a storyline, fitted well. I changed a bit of my original idea and it worked.
The news about the contest was relayed to me by my friend in Delhi and I thought ‘why not take the opportunity’.

Tell us something about your story ‘Mantras of Love’ in She Writes.
‘Mantras of Love’ is about a self-styled nun, who finds an unlikely love in a Tibetan monastery in Dewachen (Sikkim). The love between Yangchen, a nun, and Philip Bryson, a photographer from New York grows as they trek to Dzongri.

Considering that your previous projects have been in other genres of writing, what is short story writing for you? 
Short story writing for me is like a poem in that there is nothing lost. Everything is savoured. It is therapeutic – it can vent your frustration, work out a problem or allow your imagination run wild or organize your thoughts, fictionally though. This happens in non-fiction and travelogue, but to a limited extent.

Writing as a career choice is a hard one to make for anyone living in any part of the world. In this context what is it like being a writer in Sikkim? 
I haven’t yet taken up writing as a career. Writing for me is a hobby, a passion, though it takes a lot of strategy, persistence, patience and plenty of effort. When I don’t write I feel unfulfilled.
Writing, as everyone knows, isn’t an easy career, not if you want to feed your family on what you earn. I feel that most writers in Sikkim (myself included) do other works to sustain their interest in writing. I also feel that Sikkim will take a long time to allow its writers make a living out of it.
The best and safe indication is having written and sold several books. Unless a writer continues selling, you don’t have a career. As some say a career in writing is five percent talent and 95 percent hard work.

Finally, is there anything you are working on at present?
I prefer to keep silence.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ban on import of eggs lifted for 3 months

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: With the demand of eggs remaining unmet as the festive and tourist season peaks, the AH&VS Department has, in what may be called a welcome decision, lifted the ban on import of eggs into the State. This lifting of the ban is only for a period of three months for now. As a result, egg prices have come down to Rs 5 apiece from the Rs 7-10 it was fetching in the local market when the ban was in place.
A notification dated 20 October 2012, the last working day before the Dasain holidays, announced that “in partial amendment of Notification No.1/AHLF&VS dated 22.04.2010 and in exercise of the powers conferred by the sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Sikkim (Livestock and Livestock Control) Act, 1985, the State government duly considering important festivals and tourist season is hereby pleased to lift the ban on import of eggs temporarily for a period of three months (01 October to 31 December, 2012).”
Significantly, the notification does not state that there is no longer any threat of bird flu.
At the same time it has also to be pointed out that while the ban had been initially imposed in April 2010 on the supposed threat of bird flu the notification lifting the ban temporarily does not mention bird flu at all.
It needs to be asked whether bird flu has taken a break due to important festivals and tourist season and will be back in 3 months time or was the ban on eggs and poultry for some other reasons? It also needs to be mentioned here that the lifting of the ban is only for eggs and not other poultry products, which itself again, is confusing.
Officials inform that the state government has lifted the ban keeping in view the interest of the local people who are, because of the short-fall of eggs, being deprived of protein availability in their everyday diet. Furthermore officials contend that lifting the ban would also facilitate sufficient supply of eggs in the market and cater to the huge and rising demand in Sikkim. This does not make much sense as people would, in all likelihood, still need proteins after 3 months and the huge demand for eggs was always there.  
The AH&VS, Secretary, DP Sharma, explains that through the next three months, the state government has desired that the department conduct a ground level survey of egg production, the requirement, the supply chain and in the process consider and develop a support mechanism for better economic generation initiatives for the local farmers.
“The department has already instructed the Additional Director, Poultry, who has written to the respective Joint Directors in all the four districts who are the district heads of the department to prepare and submit their viability reports along with the need for better marketing strategies for local produce within the stipulated time period,” informed the Secretary.
He adds that after the survey is completed, the department will reconsider its decision on the ban and formulate an action plan for enhancing production of locally produced eggs.
While speaking on the earlier ban on poultry import into the state, the officials informed that the consumers had expressed that there is sufficient poultry in the market because of which the department had not deemed it necessary to lift the ban.
Here too it needs to be pointed out that the ban on poultry, as per the notification of April 2010, was imposed due to threat of bird flu and not due to sufficiency in the market. Such a justification reeks of arbitrariness.
The government has imposed conditions for any person who wants to import eggs into the state which include a possession of a valid Trade License. Similarly, the trader shall pay all applicable taxes at all entry points. It is also required for a trader to produce a challan issued by the Firm, tax payment slip on demand by the authorized officials which is basically a No Objection Certificate.


Dimapur United edge out Siniolchu in penalty shoot-out
GANGTOK, 30 Oct: Dimapur United Football Club [DUFC] edged out Siniolchu Football Club, Namchi in the inaugural match of the 33rd edition of All India Governor’s Gold Cup Football Tournament today here at Paljor Stadium. In the neck-to-neck played match, DUFC won the match in a tie-breaker.
Both the teams made constant attacks and counter-attacks right from the start of the match but both missed the net. In the additional time of 2 minutes in the first half, Rocky Singh scored the lead for DUFC.
In the second half, Siniolchu FC made constant attacks and finally the equalizer came in the 54th minute when Palman Rai headed his teammate’s cross into the goal. Despite some good opportunities for both the teams, the match ended in a draw of 1-1 at full time.
During the 30 minutes extra-time, both the teams again scored one goal each. Bikash Thapa scored for Siniolchu FC, while Bapan Bhera scored for DUFC. Finally, in the penalty shoot-out DUFC managed to get all the 5 shots in while Siniolchu missed one shot to hand the match over to DUFC.
With this win, DUFC has advanced to the quarter-final round of the tournament and Siniolchu FC is out of the tournament.
The inaugural day had the Sports Minister, NK Pradhan as the chief guest, while Chief Secretary, Karma Gyatso was present as the guest of honour.
In the next match, State Sports Academy will take on BSF Jalandhar tomorrow.
A total of 12 teams from different parts of the country including 3 from Sikkim are taking part in the tournament. The other participating teams are Calcutta Customs, Army Green, BSF Jalandhar, Mohun Bagan SAIL, Bhawanipur Kolkata, Three Star Nepal, Southern Samiti, Langshing FC, State Sports Academy and debutant I-League team from Sikkim, United Sikkim Football Club.
Meanwhile, in the All Sikkim Women’s Football Tournament, Norbugang [West] will take on Tsomgo [East] tomorrow at 12:15 PM at Paljor Stadium. A total of eight teams, two teams from each district, are taking part in the women’s tournament.

Bangladeshis booked for illegal entry into Sikkim released on bail

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: The three Bangladesh nationals arrested by the Sadar police for having illegally entered Sikkim have been granted bail by the court. While bail has been granted, conditions have also been imposed including confiscation of their passports.
Furthermore it is informed that the three, who had been charged under the Foreigner’s Act, have been permitted to leave the state and are no longer in Sikkim. Their surety was paid by a company in Siliguri. They are also required to report to the investigating officer as and when required. The three had been arrested by the police on 17 October and had been remanded to police custody.
Apart from the Foreigner’s Act they had also been charged under section 420 IPC of cheating as the three, as per the police, had pretended to be Indians and a PAN card had also been fraudulently obtained by one of them. It had also been informed that the three had initially given false addresses but later on interrogation revealed their original addresses.
Sources claim that while Md Islam is from Mohammadpur in Dhaka, Md Atik Rahman from village Charadi in district Barisal and Mir Ali is from village Badra police station Shakira in Bangladesh. None of the three had valid documents or Inner Line Permits which is required by any foreign national to enter Sikkim. The three had claimed be working for a company and were supposedly in Gangtok on business purposes.

Sikkim Paragliding Fest sails today

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: The first Sikkim Paragliding Festival 2012 begins Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. here in the capital. Organized by the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department in association with Paragliding Association of India [PAI] the fest will continue till 03 November.
Former Indian skipper, Bhaichung Bhutia, will inaugurate the festival and a group of pilots will be flagged off from Bulbuley Dara who will then land at Reshithang where the Commissioner cum Secretary Tourism will receive them. Two young achievers from Nepal - Sanu Babu Sunwar and Lakpa Sherpa - will also be felicitated on the day.
Apart from para gliding arrangements have also been made for rock climbing, traversing, etc. TAAS will be holding a photo exhibition while a cultural programme at MG Marg will also be held every evening during the festival. The movie ‘Hanuman Airlines: Fly Over Everest’ on paragliding, which features Sanu Babu Sunwar and Lakpa Sherpa, will also be screened.
“The main aim of the Paragliding Festival is to promote tourism, particularly adventure tourism. We have thought of doing lots of activities at different venues. We finally decided to hold this fest here in the state as all the infrastructure is here. Sikkim has a huge untapped potential in adventure tourism and Paragliding being an adventure sport, we thought that it’s high time to host such an event in the state”, said Additional Secretary Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Rinzing Chewang Bhutia in a press meet today.
Secretary General [PAI], Manoj Roy added that the festival is named as a Free Flying Festival, as it is wind dependent, and no other form of power is being used. “All the medical facilities will be available at the take off and landing while we also have the support of a voluntary organization, Sikkim Amateur Mountaineering Association”, said Mr Roy.
Also during the fest, Acro Flying will be demonstrated by expert pilots from Austria Mike Laengle and Prin Peterson from USA, he mentioned and further added that the PAI website got tremendous response from all over the world.
A total number of 58 persons will be participating in the festival out of which 9 are special invitees. Paragliders from United Kingdom, Austria, United States, Sweden, South Africa and Nepal will be participating in the festival.
On 02 November at 3 PM, an interactive session with the Editor of Cross Country Magazine, Ed-Ewing from UK will be held at Manan Kendra, Development Area.

Special Court hears ‘consideration’ of corruption charges against Golay

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: The Special Court, Prevention of Corruption Act, East District at Gangtok will announce its order on charges leveled against dissident SDF MLA, PS Tamang [Golay] on Monday. It will be a big day on 05 November for Mr. Tamang as he may well be acquitted if the court is not impressed with the charges of corruption as framed by the Vigilance Directorate. In the event that the charges are considered to be sustainable, the trial phase on the Vigilance case against the MLA will begin.
Today, the Special Court conducted a comprehensive hearing on the ‘consideration of charges’ as leveled against Mr. Tamang. Sources inform that the ‘consideration of charges’ means whether the case, as made out, could be sustained or not.
After hearing both parties at length, the Court set the date of 05 November for its Order on the Consideration of Charges.
Mr. Tamang was present at the court today. Apart from him, there are 4 others accused in this Vigilance case.
The Vigilance case was initiated soon after the 2009 general elections. The case itself was initiated by Opposition party members in the year 2003 who had gone to Court with allegations of corruption against the former Minister and four others when Mr. Tamang was Minister for Animal Husbandry and the Court directed Vigilance to investigate.
He, along with the 4 others, was accused of criminal conspiracy, misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, cheating, forgery and criminal misconduct.
The case pertains to a welfare scheme of the State initiated in 1995 of free distribution of cows to farmers, initially in 18 constituencies. A year later, the Department proposed to implement the second phase covering 550 farmers in 22 constituencies at an estimated cost of Rs. 75 lakh.
However, as the Vigilance police is reportedly claiming, the department “did not engage in fair selection” of suppliers for the supply of cows and payments were released to them without verification or basis. Vigilance enquiries had revealed that the then minister ordered that a sum of Rs. 8.50 lakh be handed over to an employee of the department and further the Minister himself is alleged to have received two cheques amounting to Rs. 2.50 lakh.
There were also overpayments to some suppliers, both of whom were also indicted in the case. In some instances the cheques were alleged to have been received and encashed by unknown or unauthorized persons. Apart from the above, it was also alleged by the Vigilance that the entire purchase transaction was done without following any purchase formalities which finally led to the case being chargesheeted in 2009.

Golay and I are going to fight side by side: Bhandari

MALBASEY, 30 Oct: “There are talks going on in various circles on independent candidates belonging to Bhandari’s side or Golay’s side, but today I want to inform you all that there is only one side and that is the side of the people, as we are going to fight side by side,” stated Nar Bahadur Bhandari, President, Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee [SPCC] while addressing a gathering at Malbasey, Soreong, in West Sikkim today.
Mr Bhandari was addressing a gathering of people during the panchayat campaign rally for Phurba Singh Tamang, an independent candidate who has filed his nomination papers for the upcoming Zilla Panchayat Elections from Malbasey, Soreong Ward in West Sikkim.
“The aim of Mr. PS Tamang [Golay] and the people who are in support of his ‘change’ which is rightly needed for Sikkim is one and I fully support him”, he added.
Urging the independent candidates to stay united and work for the people, he asked them not to sell out. “Don’t fight among each other as this is what the Sikkim Democratic Front party wants so that their candidates win easily”, he said and urged them to fight together as independent candidates and win the elections.
Contending that the future of Sikkim was ‘very dark as politics is being played on the basis of caste and religion’, the former CM said, “Let’s do politics, but let’s play fair and not with the intentions of taking revenge on one another”
He urged the youth not to get intimidated or involved in criminal activities as this could be used against them by others and asked them to stay united and fight for the change they want.
Speaking on the upcoming Panchayat elections, he informed the gathering that during his term as Chief Minister, he did neither encouraged nor allowed panchayat elections on party basis. This all started after the Chamling government came to power and now this has become so rampant that elections are not fought but candidates chosen by the party. He further stated that this has to be stopped and the independent candidates could bring in the change this time by fighting the elections and winning.
He also spoke on various other issues, alleging that the amount of corruption has gone up in the last 20 years and that land was being given openly to pharmaceutical companies, power projects and big corporate houses.

SDF rallies for votes at Lower Sorok

NAMCHI, 30 Oct: A public meeting of the ruling SDF party for the upcoming Panchayat polls was held here at Lower Sorok playground under Sorok Shyampani Zilla territorial constituency. The meeting was held today for Zilla panchayat and Ward Level elections of Upper Sorok.
The meeting was held to campaign for the party candidate for both the above mentioned seats. Chairman Labour Welfare Board, Passang Rinzing Sherpa was present as the chief guest along with Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, KN Rai who was present as the special guest.
Others present were Advisor Ecclesiastical Department, Lakpa Ghising and other party workers, ex panchayat members, cheli convener Sanju Rai and secretary of Yuva Morcha South District, Uday Chandra Rai.
The chief guest Passang Rinzing Sherpa in his address urged the gathering to support the party candidate and said that if the independent candidate wins the panchayat poll with the support of the people then the party would not involve that candidate and his supporters in the party later.
He said that the candidate and his supporters would not be given any kind of benefits by the party and that the candidate will remain as anti-SDF after the polls. He also urged the gathering to support the party candidates.
KN Rai in his address said that the claim by some independent candidates that the SDF gave them tickets for the panchayat poll is false and are misguiding people by saying so. In this context he urged the people to be aware and to bring forth the party candidates as the winners of the upcoming panchayat polls with complete support.
Mr Rai further added that people should focus on support for the party rather than the panchayat candidate. The cheli convener of Poklok Kamrang Constituency, Sanju Rai, secretary Yuva Morcha South District, Uday Chandra Rai and secretary CLC Poklok Kamrang, Prakash Rai also addressed the gathering.
Following this on 31 October a similar meeting will be held at Mazitar Compound Ward, South Sikkim wherein similar issues related with the up coming panchayat poll will be discussed.

Editorial: A Resolution for Sankalp Diwas

The nation observes Sankalp Diwas today; a day when officials at official functions make officious resolutions towards national integration. The official English translation of the name of the day is “National Re-dedication Day” and marks the death anniversary of Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister who was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards on this day back in 1984. The ‘re-dedication’ that this day demands is not a firmer resolve to protect the nation’s VIPs better, but a commitment to integration, a united country not slivered in communal or regional factions. India is a well integrated nation in that it has only grown in size since Independence, not disintegrated; but regions still remain fractured and the people still segregated. Government officials will gather at official venues today and recite the pledge for the day, but a re-dedication is also required of the people – a commitment to themselves and everyone else that events that followed this day 28 years back are never repeated, ever again. Unfortunately, the anti-Sikh riots which scarred the nation at this time in 1984 continue to remain largely ignored and in this blindsiding, the lessons that need to learnt remain overlooked.
As a nation, we have not learnt anything since 1984 [taken as a watershed because it was with this year that State machineries really started getting compromised for communal and political settling of scores]. Governments might have changed, but attitudes did not. As a result, a Nation that was born to the wails of communal rioting, still does not display either the resolve or the wherewithal to avoid them. The media and the civil society need to ask why situations and incidents are still allowed to deny the people their instinctive desire for communal amity. Had the policy-makers realised their failings back in 1984, the BJP Government in Gujarat would never have gotten the chance to allow and assist the killings in 2002. The Godhra riots happened because justice for the killing of Sikhs in 1984 remains ignored. Only the malevolent learned from the 1984 riots and refined and deployed every tactic [including use of voter lists to target victims] used then to devastating effect in Gujarat 2002. 1984 however receives only token mentions because the media and the civil society shy away from it since it complicates their simplistic analysis of what and who are communal in our country. The post-Godhra riots were a result of the powers-that-be subverting the power to serve to become power-that-colludes in pushing political agendas. As a people, we continue to pay the price because the people who occupy the public domain do not ask the right questions, do not address the malfunction in the system. Yes, the country and its people need to rededicate themselves to the idea of India, an India that was imagined to be secular but today actively segregates its people; an India that was to have public servants but who mutated into masters; an India that was to be run by people’s representative but has been usurped by autocrats; an India which started democratic but is now foisting dynasties. The nation needs to resolve to rediscover the idea that it was imagined as. History needs to be remembered and understood so that we are not condemned to repeat past mistakes. The shames need to accepted because then we can resolve them. Then, leaders who survive by keeping past nightmares alive in public minds will have to make way for visionaries who deliver dreams for the nation to collectively achieve.
That is a wish that every Indian has always harboured. A wish which remains unachieved. For the record, more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed in the 1984 riots. The 2011 WikiLeaks revealed that the United States was convinced about the complicity of Indian Government ruled by the Congress in the pogrom [not that this was ever doubted]. Also in January 2011, the burned and abandoned village of Hondh-Chillar, where 32 Sikhs were killed on November 2, 1984, was discovered in Haryana. In March 2011, the site of another forgotten killing of 17 people in nearby Pataudi, was discovered. This, nearly three decades since the communal rioting. The resolve that the nation needs to make today should be obvious. And as we observe Sankalp Diwas, also spare a thought for the Sikhs in the UK who will be taking out a Remembrance March through London today...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Governor’s Gold Cup returns today


GANGTOK, 29 Oct: Even as the I-League matches continue to feed the football hungry in Sikkim, another football tourney, the Governor’s Gold Cup makes a return on Tuesday after an earthquake induced on year hiatus. Sikkim League champions, Siniolchu FC, will take on Dimapur United FC in the inaugural match of the 33rd edition of All India Governor’s Gold Cup Football Tournament tomorrow afternoon here at Paljor Stadium.
Chief Minister Pawan Chamling is scheduled to be the chief guest on the inaugural day of the tournament which is being organized by Sikkim Football Association [SFA].
A total of 12 teams from different parts of the country including 3 from Sikkim will take on each other in this tournament. The participating teams are Dimapur United FC, Calcutta Customs [2nd division I-League team], Army Green, BSF Jalandhar, Mohun Bagan SAIL, Bhawanipur Kolkata [2nd division I-League], Three Star Nepal, Southern Samiti [2nd division I-League] and Langshing FC [2nd division I-League]. The tournament also has debutant I-League team, United Sikkim Football Club, Siniolchu FC [Sikkim-League 1st division champions] and State Sports Academy [Independent Day 2012 champions].
Likewise, All Sikkim Women’s Football Tournament will also be kicked off on 31 October at Paljor Stadium. A total of eight teams, two teams from each district, will be taking part in the tournament.
The tournament has Norbugang XI and Rabdense XI from West Sikkim, T-sangu XI and Fambongla XI from East Sikkim, Kabi XI and Tumlong XI from North Sikkim and Mainam XI and Tendong XI from South Sikkim. In the inaugural match Norbugang XI [West] will take on T-sangu XI [East] on 31 October at 12:15 PM.
The final matches of both of these tournaments will be played on 11 November.

Golay campaigns in Yangang

NAMCHI, 29 Oct: The dissident SDF MLA, PS Tamang [Golay], convened a public meeting at Yangang today, taking his offensive against his party and its president, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, to the latter’s hometown. The public meeting was expected to be confrontational and aggressive, but save reports of some minor run-ins on roads in the outlying areas, no untoward incident was reported thanks to the elaborate police bandobast.
Interestingly, all shops in the south district town were closed today with the shopkeepers taking a day off and many going away for a picnic. Mr. Tamang, in his address today, alleged that the ruling party had forced the shops to shut down and expressed concern over the loss of business suffered by the people. He also alleged that this was a common ploy of the ruling party and contended that it has been trying to discourage people from attending his meetings and rallies. Such attempts have failed and now the tide was turning against SDF, he said.
SDF party workers from Yangang however countered that the shopkeepers had decided to close for business on their own accord. A shopkeeper added that the businessmen here have traditionally organized a Dusshera picnic every year and mentioned that this year’s picnic coincided with the meeting of the Golay camp.
Meanwhile, the public meeting saw the Upper Burtuk MLA launch into a scathing attack on the SDF Government, focusing his allegations on corruption and nepotism. He accused the State Government of having lost touch with the people and alleged that personal considerations had led to the Sikkim University land at Yangang not being acquired despite having been earmarked four years back.
He also accused the ruling party of intimidating the people with threats of withdrawing aid and other benefits from them if they spoke their mind or pointed out mistakes. He also challenged his party to expel him if it had the courage and also announced that he would be floating his own political outfit after the panchayat elections.
It is also learnt that the SDF party workers of Yangang today approached the sector magistrate appointed for the area for the panchayat elections with a complaint of offensive and personal attacks launched by Mr. Tamang against SDF leaders and their families.
A confrontation was expected and could very well have transpired today had it not been for the over cautious police picketing which ensured that SDF party workers, even those on panchayat campaign tasks in the vicinity, were not allowed through to Yangang bazaar. The precaution was well taken since some minor incidents still reportedly transpired, but were checked in time.
The other speakers from the Golay camp at Yangang today were Bhojraj Rai, MN Dahal, Avinash Yakha, Kala Rai, Nima Theeng, Phuchung Bhutia, Birbal Subba and MK Subba.

High Court attaches costs on MoEF’s delay in filing counter affidavit on Tashiding HEP land acquisition case

GANGTOK, 29 Oct: With the Union Ministry of Forests having failed to file its counter affidavit within the stipulated time frame as provided by the High Court, the court has directed costs of Rs. 5,000 on the central ministry only after which it can now file its counter affidavit.
On 17 October, counsel for the central government, Karma Thinlay, sought more time for the Ministry to file its counter on a petition which challenges the method of land acquisition resorted to by the state for the Tashiding hydro project in West Sikkim. His submission was that the counter has to be prepared in New Delhi. The court then directed that the amount be deposited within 4 weeks. During the last hearing, the court had given 4 weeks as last opportunity to file the counter affidavit on behalf of the Ministry of Environment & Forests.
This came about in the petition filed by a retired Forest official, Thupten Kalden Bhutia which challenges the process of land acquisition and alleges violation of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 by the state respondents. The petition alleges unnecessary invocation of the urgency clause by which public hearing is dispensed with and more importantly, the petitioner has also challenged the “public purpose” grounds on which the land was acquired.
The land acquisition notification issued by the Land Revenue department dated 26 July 2010 and 26 May, 2010, which are being challenged, notify the acquisition of land for the 97 MW Tashiding hydro project by SPDC in the blocks of Tashiding II, Gerathang, Lebing, Chungbing and Omlok in West Sikkim. The notification further states that as there is urgency to acquire the land the section 5A of the Act will not apply.
This particular clause requires the state to first seek a hearing of the affected parties. Not only does the petitioner claim that he was not issued any notice on the acquisition he also challenges the claim of urgency on the part of the state. It is further alleged that the SPDC was only acquiring the land on behalf of the project developer, Shiga Energy.
It is stated that the petitioner’s ancestral property was acquired by the state for the project which is informed to be around 5 hectares in Tashiding. The petition first came up for hearing earlier in March this year.