Friday, January 4, 2013

Attempt at secret and unassisted childbirth claims mother and newborn

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: Social stigma continues to haunt women in these days of supposed liberalization, whether it be due to rape or unwanted pregnancies. A 25-year-old woman was found dead beside a kholcha in Pakyong sub division along with her new born infant on 01 January. The woman, as per initial police investigations, had gone to the secluded place on the night of 31 December and delivered the child by herself.
Neither the mother nor the baby survived the childbirth. The mother probably succumbed to the immense trauma coupled with complications arising from the unassisted delivery while the newborn infant, a male child, is believed to have succumbed to the lack of care and the severe cold. The infant was found about 3 feet away from the mother. The place of delivery and death is Namphey Kholcha, Pakyong.
The deceased had married 4 years ago and had left her husband a year and a half back when he took on a second wife. During her marriage, she had been residing with her husband at Chanmari, Gangtok. After having left her husband, she came to Pakyong to live with her father at Namphey basti.
The woman was found lying in a supine position as was the deceased infant. No external injuries were found on either the deceased mother or child apart from an injury in the skull area of the woman.
The SDM Pakyong was soon requisitioned to conduct an inquest and the body thereafter forwarded to the STNM Hospital. During the inquest by the SDM accompanied by police personnel and witnesses, it was found that the woman had come prepared to deliver the child herself.
The police do not suspect any foul play in the incident and the assumption is that the woman had come prepared for giving birth to her child and had also chosen a secluded area which is covered with bushes and shrubs.

Family and friends unaware of woman’s pregnancy

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: Police are presently investigating into the death of the 25-yr-old woman and her new born infant at Namphey basti, Pakyong. What is surprising is that none of her acquaintances knew about her pregnancy. An examination of the deceased infant by investigation agencies has revealed that it was fully formed and ‘quite healthy looking’.
The post mortem report is yet to be submitted however one look at the deceased male child and it is clear that the child had undergone the due period in his mother’s womb i.e nine months, inform sources. In this context it is surprising that neither her family members nor her friends claim any knowledge of her pregnancy.
The deceased used to work at a poultry farm at Samsing, Pakyong, it is informed. Four years ago, she had married and moved to Chandmari, Gangtok. About a year and a half ago, her husband took a second wife and she returned to her father’s house. She had been working at the poultry farm for some time now and her colleagues there have also been questioned.
What has come out is the fact is that the deceased woman had somehow managed to hide her pregnancy from others. In fact it is claimed that she always wore an extra large coat at work never taking it off. Whenever she left the house she used to wear the large coat. This is given as the explanation by friends and colleagues as to their ignorance about her pregnancy. However even her family members claim the same; her father, as reported, claims that he had no knowledge of his daughter’s pregnancy.
The police have not been able to investigate the case much further as the family is in mourning at present but the police will be questioning them again, it is informed. Friends and co-workers at the poultry farm are being interrogated and statements have been taken in. Police are also checking mobile records of the deceased woman and other belongings to ascertain the father of the infant. Police are quite clear that there is no foul play and the woman had come prepared to give birth to her child alone. The doctor doing the post mortem has been asked to preserve the blood samples of the child and mother for investigation.

Barahimizong celebrated at Kamling

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: Barahimizong, the main festival of the Mangar community, was celebrated by the Akhil Sikkim Mangar Sangh [ASMS], west district committee, in grand manner at Kamling School playground on Wednesday.
The festival had the Cultural Affairs and Heritage Minister, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha, as the chief guest accompanied by Health Minister, DN Takarpa, UD&HD Minister DB Thapa, historian Dr Nalini Panda, former MP, OT Lepcha, former MLA, Manita Mangar, panchayat members and members of Mangar community.
A press release issued by publicity secretary of the Sangh, Bishnu Rana Mangar informs that the celebration started with prayers and offerings by priests followed by inspection of exhibition stalls at the venue by the chief guest and other guests.
On the occasion, the organizing committee also felicitated the first State Minister from the Mangar community, DB Thapa and the first MLA from the community, Manita Mangar. Artists from Kadamtam, Gangtok, Suldung, Tinzerbung, Salghari and Mangar Sangh of India presented dances and other cultural items of the Mangar community, while young singer from Darjeeling, Prayat Rana also performed.
In his address, the chief guest stated that everyone needs to come forward for the protection and preservation of the language, culture and traditional heritage of any community and added that the state government has been supporting every community in the state in this regard.
ASMS’s language-literature development committee advisor, Santosh Alley spoke on the significance of Barahimizong festival, while ASMS president, Asal Thapa thanked the Chief Minister for financial support from the government to construct the Mangar Bhawan.
Health Minister, Mr Takarpa, ASMS West district president, JM Thapa and other members of the organizing committee also addressed the programme.

SPDCL restores 3 MW Lachung HEP

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: Sikkim Power Development Corporation Ltd [SPDCL] has restored the Lachung HEP [3 MW], North Sikkim and commenced generation from this plant. The plant had suffered extensive damage during a major landslide in August 2012 and about 70 mtrs of Water Conductor steel pipe had to be replaced.
A press release issued by the SPDCL Managing Director informs that the plant commenced generation from the evening of 30 December 2012.
Earlier, SPDCL had also carried out necessary repairs in one of the units of Manglay HEP [2 MW], South Sikkim. Out of two units of Manglay HEP, one unit has not been operational for the past more than one year, the release mentions. This unit has since been repaired and now both the units are available for generation of electricity subject to availability of water in the river.
Furthermore, SPDCL is on the course of bringing the organisation to a professional level and result-oriented, the release adds.

Winner of Red Fest Unplugged to record at Viacom Studio, get video made by Prashant Rasaily

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: A coordination meeting was held here at the chamber of the Project Director, SSACS, Dr. Uttam Pradhan this afternoon where various issues related to the implementation of its annual programme, Red Fest was deliberated upon.
The meeting was attended by representatives of NGOs, judges for the Red Ribbon Unplugged and Red Ribbon Open Drama contest, officers from SSACS and members of the organizing committee.
It may be informed that this year SSACS has included an open drama contest to the programme and also transformed the Red Ribbon Super Band contest into the Unplugged contest. Prizes for the unplugged contest have been declared as Rs. 1 lakh, Rs. 50,000 and 30,000 respectively for the first, second and third positions while the winners of the drama contest will receive Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 15,000 respectively.
Winners of the Unplugged competition, rounds of which will be held in all the four districts have also got the option to choose between the prize money or get a winning package of getting their album recorded at Viacom Studio, Mumbai along with videos of the album which will be directed by local film maker, Prashant Rasaily. Registration for the Unplugged competition is free and is going on at present.
The meeting also provided a tentative date for the auditions of both the competitions. For the unplugged competition, the audition dates are 19 or 20 January at Gangtok and 26 January at Jorethang. The Quarter Finals of the competition have been scheduled for 02 February at Gangtok while the Semi Finals will be held on 09 February at Namchi and the Grand Finale to be held on 17 February at Gangtok.
The Judges for the Unplugged competition are S.K. Pradhan, Niki Rai and Albert Gurung.
Similarly, the Auditions for the Open drama contest will take place on 05 January at Mangan, North Sikkim, 08 January at Namchi, South Sikkim, 10 January at Gyalshing, West Sikkim and 18 January at Gangtok, East Sikkim.
The Finals for each district will be held on 27 January at Namchi, South Sikkim, 30 January at Gyalshing, West Sikkim and 14 February at Gangtok, East Sikkim. The Judges for this competition are Gayatri Rai, Phurba Lepcha and Dr. DS Kerongi.

Dept mourns loss of much-liked HoD

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: Personnel at the Power & Energy Department are in deep mourning, still in shock over the sudden demise of their Head of the Department, AK Giri, who passed away on Wednesday. Officials of the department convened a condolence meeting today and mourned the loss, it is informed. The late Mr. Giri, Power Department officials convey, was among the most able officers and a senior technocrat who commanded well earned respect from all. He was well liked in the Department and touched many lives with his compassion and humility through his years in service, his colleagues and juniors recall, stressing that his loss was being deeply felt by all in state administration and even more so by all in his Department.

One booked for attempt to murder

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: An attempt to murder charge has been made against one Laxuman Rai of Linkey basti, Pakyong by the Pakyong police. As per reports the accused is charged of having attacked Jeewan Gurung of Lower Linkey basti at around 1 AM on 02 January.
The accused is reported to have entered the victim’s house and attacked him with a GI pipe on the head while Jeewan was asleep. Laxuman fled immediately when others in the house noticed his presence.
Jeewan Gurung is said to be in a critical state; he was rushed to the Pakyong PHC then forwarded to the STNM hospital and then again to the CRH, Tadong. Meanwhile the accused Laxuman is absconding.

Jorethang police foil fake COI case

GANGTOK, 03 Jan: The Jorethang police has registered a criminal case against one Sona Lepcha of Denchong basti, South Sikkim and his 4 sons for having obtained their Certificates of Identification through fraudulent means.
Acting upon a complaint lodged with the SP [South], the Jorethang police began a suo moto investigation on the report that Phurden Lepcha, son of Sona Lepcha had made his Certificate of Identification by way of cheating.
An investigation by the police later found that Sona Lepcha and his four sons had obtained their domicile documents fraudulently through the Sikkim Subject Certificate of one Tshering Wangdi Lepcha by having named the latter as the older brother of Sona Lepcha. It was later revealed that Tshering Wangdi Lepcha is actually the husband of Sona’s sister. The accused are in the process of being arrested.

College students hold free coaching classes at Mangshila

MANGAN, 03 Jan: A winter coaching camp for students from class I to IX has been underway here at Mangshila Senior Secondary School in North Sikkim since 20 December onwards. The coaching camp is being voluntarily organized by the local students of Mangshila who are pursuing graduation and post graduation courses and are on their winter break at present. More than 100 students are attending these classes. The coaching camp here has also been supported by Mangshila-Tibuk Gram Panchayat, government employees and the villagers.

Editorial: Another Year...

A New Year has begun and a noticeably uneventful year passed. Year 2012 in Sikkim was mostly about the earthquake rebuilding efforts, and save a significant blip of dissidence in the ruling camp in the otherwise unimpressive political space, there was not much that made 2012 remarkably significant. Perhaps people and politics are taking a breather, conserving resources for 2013 when politicking is bound to escalate in the run-up to Assembly Elections 2013. Perhaps ‘uneventful’ is the wrong term, because even though a majority of the past year lacked the frenetic activity of some previous years, 2012 was still special; and apart from the obviously positive developments like the recognition the year secured for the State at the national and international levels, even the apparently negative events had an optimistic feel to them - the more confrontational Opposition politics for example [minus the violence of course]. Even though they have not made any serious dents in the politics of things in Sikkim, hopefully the Opposition has learnt well, and since so many of them of former ruling front leaders, they might just make the democratic process that much more contesting in 2014. For the ruling front, which at times got more rattled than the Opposition rhetoric justified, the year ended well with substantial victories in the courts and handsome endorsement of the electorate in the Panchayat polls. Now is perhaps the time for it to give its office bearers a refresher course on party and state affairs. The past year also saw some substantial initiatives find their tempo and gather significance – the Chief Minister’s Rural Housing Mission and the REDRH effort, for example. Admittedly, when the CMRHM programme was announced, few, including initially the officials, understood its significance or even took it seriously. The resilience of the CMRHM houses in the 18 Sept 2011 earthquake and the smartness of the constructions as more and more houses were inaugurated, became apparent and now the scheme is being celebrated for what it is genuinely worth. One hopes for a similar realisation to dawn among the executive and the stakeholders with regard to the CATCH programme this year. It is also heartening to note that the Chief Minister’s Meritorious Scholarship Scheme is also delivering well on ground. The Livelihood Schools continue to evolve and the Organic Mission moves along. Few can fault the intent behind these moves, but good intentions on their own are hardly sufficient. For these initiatives to be sustained and improved on this year, an honest appraisal will have to be undertaken. The beginning of the year is the best time for such an exercise because the budgets are almost spent, leaving more time for stock-taking, and the New Year optimism still high to actually accept mistakes and take criticism in the right spirit.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Privileges and exemptions enjoyed by companies registered under old law will continue
GANGTOK, 02 Dec: The Companies Bill 2012 has worked up certain sections of the society here in Sikkim as it seeks to repeal an old law of the state. The Bill was introduced in Parliament on 18 December, passed the same day in the Lok Sabha and is expected to be passed in the Rajya Sabha in the upcoming session of Parliament. Chapter 29, Section 465 (1) clearly states that “The Companies Act, 1956 and the Registration of Companies (Sikkim) Act, 1961 shall stand repealed.”
That said, companies already registered and operating under the old law [of 1961] will continue to be valid and deemed registered. The Bill also provides, in section 465, that offices already existing for registration of companies shall continue under provisions of the new Act as far as the Act to be repealed is concerned. Clause 2 (g) of Section 465 further states that “the incorporation of companies registered under the repealed enactments (Sikkim Companies Act, 1961) shall continue to be valid…”
While earlier the Sikkim Companies Act of 1961 was only for Sikkim-based companies, an amendment was brought about in the Act in the year 2007. By this amendment, any company registered under the Companies Act, 1956 had to also apply for enlistment under the Registration of Companies Act, Sikkim 1961. In other words, companies from outside the State seeking to open a branch here but already registered in their respective headquarters had to seek registration again here. However for all purposes such companies continued to be governed under the central Act of 1956 and the enlistment under the state Act was only for the purpose of maintaining records of outside companies operating in Sikkim.
However as far as the repealing of the Sikkim Registration of Companies Act, 1961 is concerned, the new Bill provides that “…anything done or action taken including rule, notification, inspection, order or notice made or issued or any appointment or declaration made or any operation undertaken on any direction given or any proceeding taken… in so far as it is not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act be deemed to have been done or taken under the corresponding provisions of this Act”. In other words not only will the companies already registered under the old Act continue to be deemed registered under the new Act any action taken or directions issued under the old Act will continue to be in effect once the new Act is enacted.
Section 465 (2) (b) further states that any order, rules, regulations issued or thing done under the repealed Sikkim Act, if already in force, will continue to be in force and shall have effect as if made under the new Act. This includes any appointments made, mortgage and deeds or documents and agreements made under the old Act. It also includes resolutions passed under the old Act. The new bill also goes on to provide that no principle or rule of law, custom, privilege, restriction or exemption derived from the Sikkim Companies Act of 1961 shall be affected. At the same time, clause 2 (e) of section 462 also details that any custom, right, privilege, restriction or exemption not already in existence shall not be revised or restored in respect to the Sikkim Companies Act, 1961.
Finally and with particular reference to the Sikkim Act the new Bill provides that the above mentioned and other matters “…shall not be held to prejudice the general application of section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 with regard to the effect of repeal of the enactments as if the Registration of Companies (Sikkim) Act, 1961 were also a Central Act.”

All four accused of raping minor near Pakyong taken into custody

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: All four accused in the rape of a 14-year-old minor at Bharlang near Pakyong in East Sikkim on 28 December are now under custody, confirmed Pakyong Police Station PI Mahindra Subba.
After the immediate arrest of the two accused in the crime, 26-year-old Purney Kami and 29-year-old Nar Bahadur Kami on 29 December, Police apprehended the 14-year-old juvenile involved in the crime early on the morning of 31 December from Takchang basti while another absconding, Man Bahadur Kami, 24, was apprehended by Pakyong police from his residence at Kit Golai, Pacheykhani near Pakyong at 4 PM the same day.
“Police had already deployed sources and plainclothes men to make quick arrests of all the accused. Police had information about the residence of Man Bahadur and had gone there before the arrest was made and spoken to the family members including his wife regarding the grievousness of the crime. When the accused returned home on 31 December, the family members informed the police and the police made the arrest immediately,” stated the PI.
It is informed that, Man Bahadur Kami is said to have stated that he had gone to Siliguri to find the 14-year-old juvenile [allegedly involved in the crime] to clear his name in the incident and once he returned home, his family insisted that he surrender before the police instead of evading police if he was not involved in the crime as reported.
“The family members were told about the crime and the severity of the case which is when they started to cooperate with the police and also managed to convince the absconding Man Bahadur Kami to surrender. He is in police remand for five days and is being interrogated, angles related to his involvement in the crime is being investigated,” informs the SHO.
The 14-year-old juvenile in the meantime is informed to have been produced before the Principal Magistrate, Juvenile Justice Board the same day he was arrested and was remanded to the Juvenile Observation Home at Sichey, Gangtok.
The other two accused have in the meanwhile been sent to judicial custody [on 29 and 30 December].
“The investigation is on the right track and the chargesheet will be submitted shortly. At present, there are some samples that have been sent for testing to Kolkata which will arrive after which the charge-sheet will be filed. The police will leave no stone unturned in the investigation and the guilty will be punished as per the law,” stated PI Subba.

Former Roads & Bridges CE convicted in Vigilance case

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: The District and Sessions Judge convicted one more former technocrat, a former Chief Engineer of Roads and Bridges Department, in a disproportionate assets case on the last day of 2012 here in Gangtok.
Dhan Subba, a former technocrat of the Sikkim government, was found guilty of misusing his official position and amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income and sentenced to serve a sentence of two years imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 10,000, on the default of which he could undergo six further months of simple imprisonment.
The former CE has been accused of amassing wealth beyond his known sources of income through misuse of his official position. He was accused of acquiring assets to the tune of Rs. 20 lakh during his service beginning as Assistant Engineer to Chief Engineer in the Road & Bridges Department.
The Designated Special Judge [East and North], under Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, Meenakshi Madan Rai pronounced the judgment in an open court convicting Mr. Subba in the case made out under Section 13(1)(e) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 corresponding to the section 5(1)(e) of P C Act 1947.
The investigating agency, Sikkim Vigilance Police, in its charge-sheets had accused Mr. Subba of amassing wealth of Rs 28 lakh beyond his known sources of income but could only prove him to be guilty of acquiring Rs. 20 lakh worth of disproportionate assets in court.
While reading the operative part of the judgment, the Special Judge said that “…in consideration of the entire evidence and documents on record, the court has found that the prosecution has proved their case beyond the reasonable doubt against the accused person under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988”.

State issues fresh directives on holding of public meetings

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: With the upping of the ante on political activity in the State, the administration too seems to have woken up to the need to regulate the same. Lately there have been various political developments including the formation of the Democratic Alliance of Sikkim and the imminent floating of a political party by PS Tamang. With Assembly elections little over a year away, political meetings are bound to come more often. In this regard, it is not just the South district administration but the East district administration as well which has issued directives on the organizing of political or public meetings in the districts.
As per the directives, if any meeting is to be held on a private property, the organizing party or association has to furnish a no objection certificate from the owner of the private property. This will have to be submitted to the concerned authority at the time of submitting application seeking permission to hold a public meeting.
There will also be various fees required to be paid for public meetings the rates of which have not been issued by the East district administration. These include user charges and any other fee applicable. The directions further state that no public meetings will be allowed to be held at haat bazaars on haat days.
The administration has issued a list of venues where public meetings can be held and it has further directed that no other venue apart from those listed would be permitted for the holding of any public meeting. No protest, rallies, dharna or demonstrations will be allowed at Titanic Park or MG Marg, Gangtok.
In the event that a public meeting is to be organized in a school ground the district administration will first enquire with the Director, HRD department on the availability of the ground before granting any permission. Moreover, such meetings in school or college grounds will only be permitted on non-working days.
It has also been directed that permission for public meetings is to be acquired only from the administration and not any department. As far as holding public meetings in Gangtok are concerned, there are 17 notified venues of which 13 are either school or college grounds. The other venues listed are Guards Ground, Paljor Stadium, Taxi stand outside the district administration centre and the old fish pond. Venues have also been notified for Rangpo, Singtam, Ranipool, Pakyong, Rhenock and Rongli.

Packaged Lum oranges now available for Rs 150 per carton

MANGAN, 02 Jan: Lum Orange Growers Association (LOGA), promoted by Krishi Vigyan Kendra [KVK] Mangan, has started the supply of packaged Lum oranges for markets within and outside the state.
The initiative was launched by Minister for Energy & Power, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha here at Gor, Lower Dzongu, North Sikkim in the presence of Zilla Adhyaksha North, Anguli Lepcha, Programme Coordinator KVK Mangan, Tshering Thendup Bhutia, panchayat vice president, Tshering Gyatso Lepcha and other members.
The oranges packed in cartons will be supplied within and outside the state, informed Tshering Gyatso Lepcha. The packaging has been done by the LOGA members in Lum Village with each carton containing 30 large sized oranges costing Rs. 150 per carton.

Senior citizens from Yangang-Rangang GPU treated to pilgrimage tour

NAMCHI, 02 Jan: Yangang Cultural Village Tourism Cooperative Society [YCVTCS] organized a daylong pilgrimage programme for senior citizens (above 50 years) belonging to Below Poverty Line families of Yangang-Rangang Gram Panchayat Unit.
The tour programme covered the Solophok Chaar Dham, Samdruptse, Sai Mandir and the Buddha Park at Ravangla, all in South Sikkim, where they were escorted by president YCVTCS, Karma Subba, general secretary YCVTCS, Gopi D. Pophiel and other members of the society.
Speaking with this correspondent, president YCVTCS, Karma Subba informed that total thirty senior citizens were present in this tour which was solely financed by the organisation. The main objective of the programme was to generate awareness among the senior citizens since most of them were unaware of such pilgrimage destinations due to lack of exposure and cannot afford to take such a tour by themselves.
Every year the society provides other benefits to the senior citizens of the locality and this year the society decided to provide them this tour programme and selected 5 senior citizens from each ward under Yangang-Rangang and Sripatam-Gagyoung GPUs, he added.
He further said such programmes will also help to educate them about developmental works carried out by the State Government towards the preservation and promotion of the religion and culture of the land. He informed that senior citizens of Sripatam-Gagyoung GPU were also taken on a similar tour.
Mr. Subba extended immense appreciation to the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for developing such pilgrimage destinations in state. The senior citizens also thanked the organisers of the society and expressed that some of them had never known such places exist in Namchi and were very happy to offer prayers in such places.

ASESEUA condoles passing away of Power Secretary

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: The All Sikkim Educated Self Employed and Unemployed Association [ASESEUA] has condoled the sudden demise of Secretary, Energy & Power Department, AK Giri today.
“Our association on number of occasions had interacted with Late Mr Giri. He was a gentleman, a good human and one of the good technocrats of the State. his demise is certainly a great loss to the people of Sikkim”, states an ASESEUA press release.
On this sad day we are with the family members of Late Mr Giri in offering prayers to the departed soul, the release adds.

New Year and Barahimizong greetings from CM

GANGTOK, 02 Jan [IPR]: The Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Smt Tika Maya Chamling have extended their warm greetings and best wishes to the people of Sikkim on the occasion of New Year 2013 and Barahimizong.
In his greetings the Chief Minister has said, “I convey my best wishes and warm greetings to the people of Sikkim on the occasion of New Year 2013. May this New Year bring joy and happiness to the people of the state. In this New Year let us pledge and rededicate ourselves to work for progress and prosperity of the state.
In the coming year let us consolidate our achievements which we have attained so far in the various fields, maintain peace and harmony in the state and aspire further to work even harder, honestly and selflessly with dedication, new zeal and enthusiasm for the betterment of our society in a holistic manner.”

Sikkim Ornithological Society launches year 2013 calendar

GANGTOK, 02 Jan: Sikkim Ornithological Society (SOS) launched the second edition of its calendar titled ‘Feathery friends of Sikkim 2013’ in a simple function held in the presence of its chief patron, retired IFS officer, KC Pradhan at his residence at Tadong 6th Mile on 31 December 2012.
As per an SOS release, the calendar consists of photographs of twelve extremely beautiful birds of Sikkim and with this SOS hopes to promote and arouse interest in birds amongst the younger generation of Sikkim. Last year’s calendar carried pictures of rare birds of Sikkim.
SOS has discovered a new species called 'terek sandpiper' at Gurudongmar lake, North Sikkim which was recorded for the first time in this region, the picture of this rare bird is also highlighted in this edition, the release mentions.
This international standard calendar costs Rs 150 and will be available from 06 January at various leading outlets of Gangtok. For advance bookings and information please contact: Pempa Tshering 9547558545, Niraj Thapa 9434867082, Karma Tempo 9933442275, Chewang Bonpo 9735900165.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Minor gang-raped near Pakyong

GANGTOK, 30 Dec: Disturbing news continues to ambush people already in shock over the Delhi Shame. At a time when the national capital and most other metropolitan cities in the country are seething over the recent brutal rape and eventual death of a 23-year-old medical student, comes news of a gang rape of a minor here in Sikkim.
A 14-year-old girl was allegedly raped by four persons, one of them suspected to be in his early teens and a minor himself, on 28 December.
The victim was found in the jungles of Bharlang, East Sikkim, 24 hours after she went missing. Sources inform that even when she was initially found, she was too disoriented and too deep in shock to reach out to the person who found her. In fact, as reported, when Shriman Gurung, a villager of Bharlang, found her on the morning of 29 December, and approached her with kind words and questions as to her home, the girl hid and eventually fled deeper into the forest.
Shriman Gurung returned to Bharlang to inform the people that the missing girl was in the forest and then her proceeded to the spot and brought her home.
As soon as Pakyong police received the information, they rushed the victim to the Pakyong PHC from where she was forwarded to the STNM Hospital. The medical report is awaited. The police also got into action and made a quick arrest, starting with 26 year old Purney Kami who was initially rounded up on suspicion for questioning.
It was during interrogation that he is alleged to have revealed details about the incident.
Based on police investigation into the case, four persons, including a teenager, stand accused of the gang rape. Of the four, two are already under custody. Behind bars along with Purney Kami is 29 year old Nar Bahadur Kami. The two have managed to avoid arrest and are absconding at present are Man Bahadur Kami, 24, and the juvenile who is informed to work as a ‘handy-boy’.
All the accused are reported to be from Chitgolai, which is about half a kilometer from Bharlang from where the victim hailed. Bharlang itself is about 18 km from Pakyong police station towards Rorathang. The first complaint was incidentally lodged at the Rorathang police outpost and the case was later shifted to the Pakyong police station.
It is now reportedly learnt that the accused had also molested the victim a few days earlier. Meanwhile, the Pakyong police have raided all known ‘homes’ of the handy-boy who has night pads at Changey Senti, Machong and other places as well. As per police, the case is being investigated with utmost seriousness.
As per police the 14-year-old girl had gone out taking the family goats for grazing on 28 December. She didn’t return that day or even during the night. A search party of her family members and villagers went out the same day itself in search of her but had to return empty handed.
Meanwhile, speaking to NOW! today over the phone, Chairperson, Sikkim Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Manita Pradhan, strongly condemned the incident. She expressed that the commission has full faith that the Sikkim Police will take immediate and appropriate action to nab the absconding culprits. The Chairperson also demanded that the perpetrators be served stringent punishment.

KYC registration will continue even after 31 Dec, STCS clarifies

GANGTOK, 30 Dec: State Trading Corporation of Sikkim [STCS] has been working on a war-footing to complete the registration process of Know Your Customer [KYC] of its customers. STCS plans to complete the KYC registration process by the end of January next year.
The STCS had 1.20 lakh households registered with it in 2008 but after appointment of 5 private distributors by the IOC and after area demarcation, the STCS presently has 80,000 households sourcing their LPG supplies from it.
Addressing a press conference today, the STCS Managing Director, Sonam Gyamtso Pulger mentioned that STCS being the pioneer distributor of LPG in the state, it has been doing its best for the convenience of its consumers. He informed that STCS has 80% of the customers registered with it.
The Managing Director informed that KYC was a continuing process and further appealed to its consumers not to panic regarding the deadline. He clarified that the KYC registration will continue even after 31 December, however, those who do not register till 31 December will be able to get their subsidized LPG cylinders only after March next year.
The KYC process had started on 19 October. He informed that the KYC process is going on nation-wide so the network is jammed most of the time due to which the verification process of a single applicant is taking a lot of time. STCS plans to start the new connection process from February next year after completing the KYC process of the existing consumers.  
On the cap on subsidized LPG cylinders by the central government, Mr Pulger said that the concerned Ministry had decided on the quota of 6 cylinders per household and the state had no say as such on it. He further added that all distributors were also directed by the IOC to maintain the history of their consumers for the same.
“On the quota of 6 subsidized cylinders per household, the Chief Minister has already taken this matter to the Ministry of Oil and Natural Gas to increase the number of subsidized cylinders in view of the hilly terrain and geographical condition of the state,” he said.

Recruitment for Sikkim Scouts to begin in March 2013, battalion in place by 2015

GANGTOK, 30 Dec: Sikkim is soon going to have its own military unit in the form of “Sikkim Scouts”. The Ministry of Defence has approved the proposal to raise the Sikkim Scouts battalion which will be completed by 2015. Following the same, the Rajya Sainik Board has already begun work on facilitating the process.
Addressing a press conference today, Rajya Sainik Board Secretary, Col DN Bhutia, detailed actions being taken to raise the Sikkim Scouts Battalion.
He explained that the idea behind raising a Battalion comprising of ‘sons of the soil’ emerged immediately after the 1962 Indo-China war where the forces engaged in action found it difficult to gain local information and intelligence in terms of enemy activities due to language problems and lack of adequate knowledge about the local topography. It was then that the Ladakh Scouts was raised, a force which delivered exceptionally well during the Kargil war.
The Secretary informed that the recruiting process will begin in the first week of March 2013, and initially, around 170 to 180 recruits will be enrolled to undergo military training at the designated Training Centre as per directions from the Army Headquarters.
“This will be besides the normal recruitment of Sikkimese youth to regular Gorkha Infantry Battalions”, he added. The dates and duration for recruitment will be from 01 to 06 March next year.
Col Bhutia mentioned that many are associating the Scouts Battalion with the concept of Scouts & Guides in schools, which he clarified was not so. He informed that the Sikkim Scouts Battalion will be raised and organized on the lines of an Infantry unit with its five companies with Battalion HQs, trained and equipped to take on operational role like any other Infantry unit in the event of hostilities.
“Sikkim Scouts Battalion will be deployed in the high altitude regions of Sikkim and will comprise of more than 80% of its manpower drawn and enrolled from Sikkim,” he informed.
“The credit for realizing the dream of having a Sikkim Scouts Battalion goes to the untiring efforts put in by the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling to convince the central authorities time and again since 2005,” said Col Bhutia. On behalf of all ex–servicemen, serving soldiers and the public in general, the Secretary conveyed gratitude to the Chief Minister.
“It is going to create a major job opportunity and employment to local youth. It will also generate a culture of discipline and unity not only among the troops but this will get inducted into the psyche of local people since the Battalion will be stationed in Sikkim,” he stressed.
The physical standards and the educational qualifications required will be the same as that of normal recruitment for Infantry Battalion. However, if there are any changes, the same will be communicated to the public well in advance, he mentioned.
He also urged those boys who had qualified in all the physical tests but could not make it through written exam during the last Recruitment Rally to come forward again since they are now confident that they can pass all the physical tests. It is informed that like last time, the coaching classes for written exam will also be conducted in a more refined manner. He called upon all young boys to come forward and join our own Sikkim Battalion.

PEAs set to become School Mothers again in 2013

GANGTOK, 30 Dec: Secretary, Human Resource Development Department [HRDD], CS Rao, while speaking to media-persons on 29 December informed that School Mothers will be transferred back to their respective schools from the 2013 academic session onwards as the pre-primary section is being resumed at government schools. The proposal has already been moved and the file put up by the Department sent for approval to the Chief Secretary’s office.
The kindergarten sections at pre-Primary level were closed in government schools in August 2010 and the School Mothers responsible for these classes shifted as Panchayat Education Assistants [PEA] to the Gram Prasashan Kendras [GPK]. The main reason for doing so was to achieve total literacy in every village of the state, the Secretary explained.
The PEAs were given a target to cover people who had left school at an early age and grown up illiterate. They were to be coached till they were able to at least read and write, Mr. Rao informed.
“The department is also planning certain changes in the education sector for which well trained teachers are to be recruited so that at least our students can secure a good percentage and be counted in the top ten of CBSE board throughout the country”, he added.

Gurung community celebrates Lhochar

GANGTOK, 30 Dec: The Gurung community of the state celebrated Tamu Lhochar [the Gurung New Year] today. Here in Gangtok, it was celebrated with special prayers and offerings at the Urgen Pema Choling Tamu Gumpa situated at Burtuk near the Helipad. Former Chief Minister BB Gooroong and members of the Gurung community from South and West Districts were also present for the celebration.
“Today, we are celebrating our new year and so we are holding prayers here in the Gumpa to appease the gods and pray for the well being of the community”, said HB Gurung [president, All Sikkim Gurung [Tamu] Buddhist Association], while speaking to media persons today. Pujas are being held all over the State, but this being the main monastery of the community, the main celebration and prayers are being held here and Gurungs from all over have gathered here, he added.
The celebrations had started on 28 December at Gurung homes where the old Lungtar [prayer flags] were replaced by new ones, but the New Year is celebrated today, he said and added that till yesterday they were in the year of the Dragon but from today they were entering the year of the Snake and taking blessings from elders.
“As we also follow Buddhist rituals and since most of the people cannot perform the pujas at home, so we hold the prayers here in the Gumpa for the convenience of the people, so that everyone can come and take the blessings from the Rinpoche”, he stated.
This year the Gurung community is dedicating their new year to safe guarding of women folk and earlier before beginning of the puja, they observed a two-minute silence to pay respect to the Delhi rape victim who died yesterday.
A rally was also taken out which started from the Gumpa past Bojoghari, crossed Hospital Point then went down to Deorali and going through Indira Bye Pass ended back at the Gumpa. Later in the day a cultural programme was also performed by the children of the community.

4th Susakurtot organic mela underway at Lower Dzongu

MANGAN, 30 Dec:  Three-day organic mela ‘Susakurtot’ is underway here at Gor School ground in Lower Dzongu, North Sikkim. The mela started on 29 December and will go on till 31 December. This is the fourth time that the Susakurtot mela, during which traditional food and equipments of the Lepcha community is displayed, is being held here.
On the second day of the mela today, Minister for Energy & Power, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha was present as the chief guest accompanied by Zilla Adhakshya North, Anguli Lepcha as the special guest. The chief guest and other guests visited all the organic stalls and also inaugurated the sale of packaged Lum oranges initiated by Lum Orange Growers Association (LOGA) and promoted by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Mangan which will be supplied for marketing.
Delivering the welcome address, Tshering Gyatso Lepcha underlined the importance of Susakurtot mela and further said that the committee has allowed only organic local products to be included in the mela.
The function also saw competitions in traditional games like pumpkin breaking, fastest hair combing, shot-put etc, among five wards of Lum/Gor/Sangok GPU. The Zilla Adhyaksha North in her address appreciated the initiative of the organic mela conducted by the villagers and further expressed that organic products have more demand in present times. She also stressed that people should supply their products outside the state and not only in Dzongu and North Sikkim.
Addressing the gathering, the chief guest Mr Lepcha said that people with positive thinking can do good work and progress and appealed to all for positive thinking.  “If we don’t preserve our tradition and culture, we won’t be able to preserve our identity”, he added.  Maximum development in Dzongu has been undertaken during the SDF government’s rule whose main focus is development, the Minister added.
Colourful cultural programmes were presented by different dance troupes. The function was attended by Deputy Director Agriculture, TT Lepcha, MO Dist Hospital Mangan, Dupzor Lepcha, Zilla member, LUM/Gor/Sangtok, Chedup Lepcha, panchayat members of respective wards and the general public.

Editorial: Distressing...

The year is closing on an extremely distressing note, the kind which drains hope from mankind. It took a brutal gangrape of a 23 year old student in a moving bus in New Delhi to draw real attention to the insecurity which haunts women in our country. The collective shock of the country turned to shared anguish when the victim succumbed to her injuries over the weekend. And even as Sikkim was joining the nation in mourning and shame, it was served its own horror when a 14 year old was rescued from the forests of out-of-the-way Bharlang in East Sikkim. She had been missing for 24 hours, a period during which she was gang-raped and left to suffer the trauma on her own, hiding and cowering in the same forest where the reprehensible assault was perpetrated.
It goes without saying that in the Sikkim incident, the police need to deploy all resources at their disposal to round up all the four accused and prepare a watertight case against them. Two of the accused, one of whom is reportedly the same age as the victim, are still absconding. Their arrest has to be priority as far as the law and order agencies are concerned. The police can even consider releasing photographs of the two accused in newspapers published from Sikkim and Siliguri because this would be the general area where they will be hiding and can be ferreted out from. Given the nature of their crime, especially in light of the public anger over such deeds, it is unlikely that they will receive asylum anywhere once their involvement is known.
All this is for the police to deliver. What is of even more importance is the care of the victim. She has suffered a violation which demands the strongest condemnation and even as Sikkim condemns the incident, what she requires more urgently is therapy, not just to recover physically, but also psychologically. She has to be extended psychiatric assistance which does not usually reach victims of sexual assault. The laws do not provide for such attention, and while informed doctors would automatically refer victims of such abuse to psychiatric counselling, this is not necessarily always the case. It should be. All victims need professional counselling, even more so when they are so young of age and have suffered such an inhuman attack. Not just the victim, but even her family needs counselling. While we may know of such crimes, no one really knows how to handle the fallout. The victim and her family are also similarly handicapped. They need to be reached out with empathy. No family should be left to suffer such pain in isolation. The conflicting emotions and shock and trauma can leave very permanent effects not only on the victim but also her family. To ensure that the vile perpetrators of the attack do not continue to psychologically haunt the victim, proper and professional counselling should be reached to the victim and her family.