Thursday, January 17, 2013

Training begins to improve disaster preparedness

GANGTOK, 16 Jan: A five-day [16 to 21 January] training on Incident Response System [IRS] and Simulation Exercise organized by the National Institute of Disaster Management [NIDM], Ministry of Home Affairs, in collaboration with the Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department began at the conference hall, Election Department situated at Balwakhani from today.
The training is being conducted as part of the Disaster Management Support Project under GOI-United States Agency for International Development [USAID] and United States Forest Service [USFS] and is imparted to the officials and Councilors of GMC, officials of the District administration, nodal officers of line departments, Army, BRO, ITBP SSB, along with the officials from Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority and the Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department.
Keeping in view the occurrence of disasters on a frequent basis and the difficulties faced in responding to such emergencies, the Government of India has collaborated with USAID for institutionalizing the Incident Command System [ICS] of America to India which is known as Incident Response System [IRS]. Accordingly, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie was initially designated as the Nodal Training Centre for this purpose and NIDM is the nodal Institution for all training and development on such matters.
Arun Sahadev [Consultant, NIDM], Col. Supanekar [Disaster Management Head from YASHDA Training Institute Pune], C Balaji Singh [Disaster Management Expert and Country Liason US Forest Service], Steve Heil [US Forest Service, type one Incident Commander] and Rajesh Bhatia [Assistant Director, Administration Training Institute, Government of Delhi] were the resource persons who will impart training on the principles and features of IRS, organization and staffing, incident resource and resource management etc.
Gangtok Mayor KN Topgay, while speaking at the inaugural session, stated that this training is imperative for the State as it is prone to disaster of various types. Therefore, preparedness is the solution to reduce the impact of disasters. Nevertheless, the State machinery along with other line departments and paramilitary forces had responded well in the disasters which had occurred in the past, but still there are shortcomings which need to be addressed, he added. The Mayor also felt the need of such training at ground zero so that each and every individual has an important role to play in preparedness initiatives to prevent hazards from turning into disasters.
SBS Bhadauria [Relief Commissioner cum Secretary, Land Revenue and Disaster Management] in his address mentioned about the Incident Response System that incorporates all the duties that may be performed in case of any disaster or event. It envisages a complete team with various sections to attend to all possible requirements. The Secretary, further added that if the IRS is put in place and stakeholders trained in their respective duties and roles, it will help reduce chaos and confusion during the management of actual incident and everyone involved will know what all needs to be done.
An understanding of the Incident Response System in the event of any disaster is crucial since the roles of each authority are laid down in advance and personnel earmarked and trained in their respective roles. This would help in effective disaster management in the State, he informed.
C Balaji Singh [Disaster Management Expert and Country Liason, US Forest Service], who was the resource person in his brief address expressed that IRS is at the initial stage in the state of Sikkim with an objective of making response process much more effective.  The inaugural session was followed by a technical session.

Jorethang Maghey Mela 2013 concludes with sports

JORETHANG, 16 Jan: The three-day Maghey Mela officially concluded here at Jorethang playground today with a number of colourful programmes.
The main attraction of the closing day was the final football match of the Inter Constituency Rural Sports Festival 2013 played between Zoom-Salghari Constituency and Soreong-Chakung Constituency. In a neck-to-neck match Soreong-Chakung emerged as the champions with a score of 1 goal to nil.
Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Department, NK Pradhan was the chief guest of the valedictory function while it was also attended by Minister cum MLA Soreong Chakung Constituency, RB Subba, area MLA Zoom Salghari cum Patron in Chief, Jorethang Mela Celebration Committee, Madan Cintury and Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, KN Rai.
The winner of the Inter Constituency Rural Sports (Football) Festival, Soreong Chakung Constituency team was awarded with the cash prize of Rs. 30,000 along with winner’s trophy while Zoom Salghari team received the cash prize of Rs. 20,000 and a runners-up trophy.
Later the chief guest, Mr. Pradhan formally declared the closing of the Jorethang Maghey Mela. Even though the mela has been announced closed formally but the stalls of readymade garments and others along with Meena bazaar will continue till Sunday.
This time the mela was organized after a gap of one year as the organizers stayed away from any kind of celebration last year following the earthquake of 2011. This year the mela resumed with the same spirit and enthusiasm with visitors from across the state and outside as well gathering at the venue.
Beside the famous river side stalls of Jorethang Mela, the visitors equally enjoyed the taste of different communities of Sikkim in their respective traditional stalls. Saras Mela was another attraction of Jorethang Mela 2013 where a number of Indian states displayed their respective traditional items, handlooms and handicrafts. Visitors enjoyed the exhibitions and also had a good time shopping.
The main event which entertained the people during the three days was the evening musical concert. Deep Raj Rai and Rosalin Sahu rocked the stage on the evening of the opening day while Nepali Sakira, Indira Joshi (Nepali Tara) enthralled the gathering with her latest Nepali songs on the second day.
The third and final day of the mela witnessed Nepali singer Thupden Bhutia live in concert. The local artists from Jorethang Prabal Sangeet Sansthan also performed during these evening programmes while Taal Dance and Music Academy, Jorethang and Namchi presented their dance items.

Sikkim bags best pavilion prize at Intl Flora Expo

GANGTOK, 16 Jan [IPR]: Just a week after hosting a grand Curtain Raiser event in Sikkim House, New Delhi, the State Horticulture department bagged first prize for best pavilion in the 8th International Flora Expo organized by Media Today Group from 11-13 January, 2013 in New Delhi.
The Sikkim Stall stood out as one of the most attractive amongst various stalls put up by state governments, private companies and Govt. of India organizations. The splendid display of Cymbidium orchids in bloom, beautifully arranged cut flowers complimented by green fillers and ornamental kale mesmerized each and every visitor to the stall.
The show was inaugurated by the Transport Minister for Delhi State. The other dignitaries visiting the event included Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Tariq Anwar, Member of Planning Commission and various senior level officers from Ministry of Agriculture and State departments.
Besides display of large varieties of flowers and potted plants, various kinds of stalls advertising interrelated products and services like greenhouse manufacturing, tools & equipments, automated irrigation systems, seeds and fertilizers, landscaping materials, disease and pest control systems, books & journals also featured in the exhibition. In total there were more than 100 participants.
This event served as the best platform to advertise our upcoming International Flower Show that is being organized at Saramsa Garden in the last week of February. Many visitors have show keen interest to visit the State during the flower show and most of the important states and companies have confirmed their participation.

IRB Ranipool lifts 1st Kunzang Namgyal Lamtha Memorial Cup

GANGTOK, 16 Jan: IRB Ranipool has won the 1st Kunzang Namgyal Lamtha Memorial Cup Open Football Tournament held here at Tenzing Namgyal Memorial Ground [the erstwhile Old Guards Ground], Tathangchen. In the closely played final match today, IRB beat Upper Tathangchen FC in a tie-breaker to emerge champions of the tournament.
The tournament had former Indian football team skipper and United Sikkim FC co-owner, Bhaichung Bhutia as the chief guest, who was accompanied by the Speaker, KT Gyaltsen as the guest of honour.
In the final match, IRB finished the first half with a 4-2 lead. In the second half, Upper Tathangchen leveled the score to 4-4 with a good come back in the game and the match ended in a draw. The match was further extended for tie-breaker through penalty shoot-out to decide the winner, in which IRB scored 4 goals while Upper Tathangchen players managed to score just 3 goals from 5 shots.
Sanjay Chettri of Upper Tathangchen FC was awarded with the Man of the Match trophy, while goalkeeper of Shangrila FC, Pintso Tashi received the Man of the Tournament trophy. Highest Scorer trophy was awarded to Bir Bahadur Pradhan of IRB Ranipool for his 9 goals in the tournament.
The winning team was awarded with cash prize of Rs 50,000 along with trophy and medals, while cash prize of Rs 30,000 along with trophy and medals were given to the runners-up team.
The tournament was kicked-off on 25 December. A total of 20 teams participated in the Open Men’s Football, while U-14 Boy’s Talent Hunt had the participation of 16 teams.
On the occasion, the organizing committee also felicitated former India football team skipper, Bhaichung Bhutia, former footballers, Karma Loday Bhutia and Karma Thinlay Bhutia and India’s Got Talent finalist, Deep Raj Rai. The final day also witnessed a performance by Deep Raj Rai along with cultural presentations by local groups of the area.
In his address, Bhaichung congratulated the organizing committee for successfully organizing the tournament and further appreciated their efforts in providing a platform to local players of the state to showcase their talent and skills. He also congratulated the winning team and appreciated the fighting spirit of the runner-up team.
Mentioning that USFC was successful in bringing the I-League to the state to motivate young local talents of the state, he urged fans of the club from the area to support the club.
Likewise, the Speaker congratulated the Lamtha family for coming forward in organizing this tournament in the memory of late Mr Lamtha to encourage young footballers. He encouraged them to continue with this tournament to encourage rural and young talented footballers to play well to reach to national and higher levels. Football is not just a game but it also teaches leadership, discipline and unity, said the Speaker.
In his brief report of the tournament, organizing committee convener, Tenzing Norbu Lamtha, informed that a total of 320 mostly young footballers along with experienced players from 20 teams participated in the Open football. He further informed that 290 young footballers from 16 different teams participated in U-14 Boy’s Talent Hunt, which was also part of the tournament.
Out of 290 players, 20 best players were shortlisted by a selection committee to train them further in the Sikkim Himalayan Sporting Club [SHSC], he informed. He also thanked the area MLA, councilor, elders, youth and other involved in the tournament for their support in successful organization of the tournament.
Late Kunzang Namgyal Lamtha was a footballer and had also represented Sikkim in many international tournaments before its merger with the Indian union during 1955 and later. He was also felicitated by the Sikkim Football Association during the Governor’s Gold Cup in 2009 for his contribution towards the development of football in the state.

CM not committed to preserving Sikkim’s Old Laws, Golay alleges

GANGTOK, 16 Jan: Dissident SDF MLA, PS Tamang [Golay], has alleged that Chief Minister Pawan Chamling’s assurances regarding the repeal of the Companies Act 1961 were a mere “eyewash” to mislead the people.
In a press release issued today, the Upper Burtuk MLA has further alleged that the CM failed to keep his commitment of not allowing Direct Taxes into Sikkim which led to the repeal of Sikkim’s own tax law. In its 1998 party manifesto, SDF had promised that it would not allow the implementation of direct tax in the State and would raise its voice in the Lok Sabha. However, Mr. Tamang states that this did not happen and the state withdrew the Supreme Court case challenging the implementation of direct tax “betraying” the Sikkimese public.
Further stating that the Sikkim MP, PD Rai has not uttered a single word against the Companies Act in the Parliament, Mr Tamang has alleged that his silence reveals the ruling party’s true intentions.
The MLA has also criticized the Sikkim Land Transfer Act-2007 and said that the CM and the SDF government has violated an old law - the Sikkim Land Revenue Act - and has allowed Sikkimese land to be leased out to non-Sikkimese and industries.
Further condemning the alleged statement made by the CM at Jorethang he has stated that the schemes and benefits are meant for all the needy in the country including Sikkimese people who have paid taxes to the government.

All Sikkim Limboo Krantikari Yuva Sangh calls for Sikkim bandh

GANGTOK, 16 Jan: An organization introducing itself as the All Sikkim Limboo Krantikari Yuva Sangh has called for an indefinite ‘Sikkim bandh’ soon [dates not announced yet] to press the demand for Assembly seat reservations for the Limboo and Tamang communities. The communities are required to be provided reserved seats by virtue of being included in the Scheduled Tribes seat.
A press release of the Sangh informs that a meeting of the group expressed displeasure over what they see as the Centre’s and State’s insincerity in pursuing the matter.
The Sangh’s general secretary, PS Limboo has said that under the banner of All Sikkim Limboo Krantikari Yuva Sangh, the Limboo community will call an indefinite Sikkim bandh and has urged the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front and All Sikkim Democratic Labour Front for their unconditional support to the bandh when it is called.
The Sangh has also appealed to all political, social and student organisations to support their demand as well.
The meeting of the Sangh has also passed a seven-point resolution which includes seat reservation for Limboo and Tamang communities in the State Legislative Assembly as per the 2011 census without touching the 13 seats reserved for Bhutia-Lepcha and Sangha; construction of Mangkhim at Gangtok by the government; increase in wages of Muster Roll employees to Rs 10,000 per month; regularization of Ad hoc employees as per their age and relaxation of age bar for all government employees.
The Sangh has further stated that it is not affiliated to any political organisation and will remain apolitical in days to come.

Editorial: More to Political Debate than Exchanging Allegations

Before the Rhenock madness, there was the Namthang episode. And these are only the bigger incidents; many smaller skirmishes, being localised in nature and fallout, in the scramble for political space having gone largely unreported. Posturing can be expected to get still nastier as politics becomes more heated with a new, much announced party bound to finally be formalised sometime soon and the countdown begins in earnest for elections 2014. The level of political debate has been uninspiring thus far, and since real politicking has not really begun yet, here’s to hoping that political exchanges become more mature and meaningful instead of free for all rounds of allegations and counter-allegations that they have almost always been in Sikkim.
While one can sympathise with politicians for the pressure they face to remain relevant and important in these times of vacuity and distrust, what defies logic is their continuing propensity to opt for abrasive shallowness instead of correcting course and engaging people on issues of public concern. Leaders, the established as well as the hopefuls, hold forth on their pet peeves, targeting their opponents and running them down. They invariably articulate only what they want to hear, apparently not bothered with what the audience is hoping to learn. Where one hopes for reasoned debates, one receives empty rhetoric. Politics has been reduced to a performance art in our country, and debates limited to shouting matches and name-calling. The convenience of press releases and the oratory smugness of addressing crowds of the already converted or disinterested have conspired to reduce political statements into rants instead of reasoning. There is an almost snobbish disdain among those who claim political voices to speak for the people- they flaunt offensively self-indulgent stances. Politicians, by devoting their time and space in the public domain to character assassinations and public ridicule of their opponents, end up signalling that they are competing not to come out as the more profound or visionary, but vying hard to establish that their opponent is worse than them. The contest really should be about whose plans and visions are better, whose reasoning on an emergent situation better. Political exchange has been overwhelmed by the vocabulary of defamation and political adroitness reduced to adeptness at embarrassing and ridiculing others. Is it too much to hope for this approach to change?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bail hearing for 13 arrested in Rhenock rioting set for 17 Jan

GANGTOK, 15 Jan: The bail hearing for the 13 accused in the rioting and ransacking of the Rhenock police station on 11 January has been set for 17 January. Supporters of dissident SDF MLA, PS Tamang [Golay], along with their legal counsel had arrived at the District & Sessions court, Gangtok, this morning to seek bail for the accused persons presently in judicial custody.
It is informed that the bail application was submitted today at the court and the hearing set for 17 January.
Meanwhile there have been no more arrests but the police on 14 January seized a private Alto vehicle from Rangpo which, according to them, was involved in the Rhenock incident. The driver, however, claims that he was not involved and that the vehicle was being used by someone else.
It is informed that the police, quite obviously, are objecting to the bail application and are seeking the surrender of all the accused persons involved in the rioting which took place at Rhenock bazaar on 11 January. In the same vein Golay supporters contend that it is the job of the police to arrest accused persons and that application for bail is a different matter. On the other hand Janak Chettri, the driver of KB Chamling in whose vehicle the police found the 228 supposedly defamatory booklets has been released on bail.
It is now learnt that among the accused who have been named in the FIR at the Rhenock police station are also Neema Theeng and MK Subba. In fact there are close to 30 people named in the FIR and among them are Sonam Lachungpa, Phuchung Bhutia, DB Chettri, V Khatiwara, NR Pradhan, Santosh Pradhan, Pravin Subba, Dawa Tamang and KT Adhikari.
As per the SP East, Dr. MS Tuli, all these accused are presently absconding; the police have been searching for them but they are not available in their respective residences.
Apart from sections of the Indian Penal Code covering rioting having been imposed against them along with damage to public property etc they also stand accused of criminal conspiracy. The police has been on the lookout for them for the past few days; in the process nakabandhi has also been done in Ranipool and other places by the police with the help of IRB personnel in their search of what they call ‘anti social’ elements.
In the meantime the 13 arrested so far for rioting are still at the State Jail at Rongeyk and among them are Bishal Tamang, 29; Ajay Rai, 23; Jitu Gurung, 26; Mahendra Subba, 30; Bikash Limboo, 30; JB Basnett, 47; KN Sharma, 23; Laxmi Niroula, 38; YT Lepcha, 45; Bikash Limboo, 18; KT Bhutia, 45; Sandeep Gurung, 21 and K Manger, 26.


The forest fire at 7th Mile on JN Road reported on the afternoon of 14 January has damaged around 10 hectares of forest land falling under Lagyap Reserve Forest area. A press release issued by the Forest Department informs that the fire is still on and the extinguishing operation is also underway.
Kyongnosla Territorial Range succeeded in controlling the forest fire to some extent with the help of Sikkim Fire Brigade, Check Post police staff, JFMC members, local public and panchayat JN Road while the Officer Commanding Ordinance (Army) extended full help to extinguish the fire with Army Fire Brigade and other necessary equipments, the release mentions.

Foundation training for Panchayats begins in Dentam

GANGTOK, 15 Jan: Five-day foundation training for Zilla and Gram Panchayats organised by State Institute of Rural Development [SIRD] started at Dentam BAC, West Sikkim today.
As per a press release, the inaugural session was chaired by Maneybung Dentam MLA, Chandra Maya Subba, Additional Director SIRD, HK Sharma, BDO Dentam, Himmat Rai and Panchayat Inspector BAC Dentam, Devika Thapa.
The MLA, in her address urged all panchayats to attend this training and actively participate. H K Sharma informed about the salient features of the 73rd Amendment Act, 1992 and also spoke on the role and responsibility of Panchayats in different areas.
Bishnu Chamling was present as the Resource Person for the training and spoke on the history of Panchayati Raj in Sikkim. Suraksha Rai [Faculty SIRD] and Arbind Thapa [FF Dentam BAC] were the main co-ordinators for the training which will conclude on 19 January, the release mentions.

Still Waters invited for gigs abroad

GANGTOK, 14 Jan: The rock band, Still Waters, has been invited to play in Macau, Malaysia and Singapore in major concerts.
A press release informs that the band recently finished their month-long headlining tour which got underway on 03 December 2012 with Moksh, Kathmandu, IIAM, Kolkata, Attic, Kathmandu, Sisha, Kathmandu, India Club, Guwahati and ended on 06 of January 2013 with the Tea and Tourism Fest, Darjeeling. At the moment, the band is looking for sponsors for their tour of Macau, Malaysia and Singapore.
Formed in 2001, Still Waters is the only band from North Eastern States to have featured twice in the Great Indian Rock and also nominated among the list of best Indian bands after having played their brand of so called "Feel-good High-Energy Riff Rock".
After a series of line - up changes over the years, the band now has Abhishek Lemo Gurung (Vocalist), Sonam Lachungpa (Lead guitar), Lokes Loko Mangar (Bass), Samir Gurung (Rhythm Guitar) and Ronald Pradhan (Drums). The band is also currently working on their 3rd full-length album which is scheduled to be released this year, the release adds.


At around 2 PM Tuesday, a private vehicle [Maruti Alto] was hit by a GREF truck at Sang Khola. The Alto was heading towards Singtam while the GREF truck was coming from the opposite direction. The sole occupant of the car was injured in the accident and was taken for medical treatment, it is learnt.

53 bands register for Red Ribbon Unplugged contest

GANGTOK, 15 Jan: The countdown to the AIDS awareness mega event, the Red Ribbon Unplugged competition under Red Fest 2013, has begun. With the first leg of registration of the performing bands over now, auditions for the 53 bands that have registered will begin on 19 January.
Registration for the unplugged competition started from the first week of 2013 with no registration fee charged and the auditions will be held at 31A Studio at SNOD Complex, Deorali.
The Project Director, SSACS, Dr. Uttam Pradhan today said that this year SSACS has included an open drama contest to the programme in the Red Fest 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 Rs 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.
It may also be informed that the 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.
It may be mentioned that the date for the South and West district Red Ribbon Unplugged audition is slated for 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.

Fortnight dedicated to Oil & Gas Conservation begins

GANGTOK, 15 Jan: The inaugural ceremony of Oil and Gas Conservation Fortnight [15 to 31 January] under the theme ‘Save fuel yani save money’ was held at the SNT Bus Stand Complex today. The ceremony was attended by Jemima Pradhan [Secretary, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department] as the chief guest.
Also present were Ranjan Bhowmick [Manager, Retail, Siliguri] and Kaushik Chattarjee [Deputy Sales Manager, Retail Sales. Siliguri] both from Indian Oil Corporation [IOC], petroleum dealers from in and around Gangtok and school children.
Speaking during the function, the chief guest, Secretary, Jemima Pradhan stated that she was happy to be part of such a programme, which was being held for the conservation of natural resources. It is also good to see children being involved in such a programme as it is they who need to be educated about conservation, she added.
“People and children have to learn to conserve and save not only oil, but also water, gas and electricity. People should learn not to waste a single drop of oil when they fill up their petrol tanks at the gas stations as even a single drop is very precious”, she said and added that even children need to be taught to switch off the lights when not being used and this applies to drinking water too.
She further urged the organizers to invite housewives to such programmes in the future as they run the homes and know more about cooking gas than their male counterparts and instead of bringing small children for such programmes, senior students, such as from classes VIII and above should be invited as they would understand more about conservation than these small children, she stated.
Stating that ‘good things always last long in life’, she asked the people present to take a pledge today to start saving and conserving oil, gas and water.
The gathering was also addressed by the Indian Oil Corporation officials. A ‘Sit and Draw’ competition for children was also held earlier in the day. The first prize was won by Rabiya Khatoon, while the second and third prizes were won by Amrita Kumari Gupta and Akash Rai, respectively. A special prize was given to Siddharth Subba and consolation prizes for very small children were won by Akrita Pradhan and Kabir Chettri.
After the oil and gas conservation fortnight pledge was taken by the people, the chief guest also flagged off the mobile van and mass rally, which culminated at the Paljor Stadium.


It is a matter of delight that the concerned departments considered it fit to remodel the Water Garden at Lower Martam complete with a state-of-the-art swimming pool so badly needed and got it inaugurated. But somehow the name of late Naren Rai, the gifted landscape architect cum forester, Sikkim has ever known and trained in the Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh and who conceptualized the idea and got it established way back in 1988, somehow, did not figure anywhere. It was his dream project and he had many other excellent ideas to upgrade the Garden all related to water, plants and fish life. This somehow did not materialize due to paucity of funds and importantly due to his untimely demise. Some five years back, if I am correct, the Cabinet had decided to name the Garden after him. It might be in the fitness of things and an honour to do so to one of the great Sikkimese for the posterity to remember and importantly to make the historical record correct.
KC Pradhan [recvd on email]

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Panchayats asked to deliver, people invited to keep watch

JORETHANG, 14 Jan: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling inaugurated the Jorethang Maghey Mela 2013 here at the public play ground today. The CM was present as the chief guest of the opening ceremony.
The Chief Minister was accorded a traditional welcome by the organizing committee near Akar Bridge from where he was escorted till the main venue with traditional jhakis [floats]. Here, the CM officially declared the Jorethang Maghey Mela 2013 open.
While addressing the huge gathering here at Jorethang play ground, the CM congratulated the newly elected Panchayats, especially the women representatives. The SDF Government, he underlined, has spearheaded women’s empowerment and in the political sphere, not only are 50% of panchayat seats reserved for women, but even the Adakshyas and Upadakshyas posts have been equally divided between men and women this time.
He further asked the panchayats to work for the betterment of the people in their respective areas and also asked the public to go through the party manifesto released before the recent panchayat elections and demand of their elected representatives to fulfil all the promises made by the party.
“This is the 21st century where the public is aware and their representatives right from the Chief Minister, Minister, MLAs, Chairman and Panchayats cannot intimidate the people with their posts or positions,” he said.
He further said that till date the government has been providing a number of benefits to the underprivileged of the state and now the panchayats should look at the still unaddressed and overlooked genuine problems of the people, which, he assured, will be taken up in earnest.
The CM also announced that from now onwards he will meet only those people who come to him with the recommendation of area Panchayat and MLA, except in the case of financial assistance for medical emergencies for which he assured to meet the public directly.
Stating that the water supply work of Chakung-Chumbung in West Sikkim sanctioned by the government many years ago is still lying incomplete, the CM said that now people should question the mistakes and lapses made by the Government, officers of the concerned departments, engineers and the contractors. In the case of Chakung and Chumbung also he urged the people to ask the concerned authorities and the contractor regarding the delay in water supply work.
Here he said that people should oppose the government if it fails to sanction the demands of the people and also oppose the concerned department officers, Engineers and contractors if the sanctioned work is not completed within the prescribed timeframe.
He also urged the people to check the quality of the works underway in their respective areas.
Providing an update, he informed that till date, the government has sanctioned 1,400 CMRHM houses and the target has not been achieved, he stated and asked the recently elected panchayats to carry the work forward.  The government has been giving Panchayat Shree award to the best panchayats of the state as per the recommendation of the area MLA and now the recommendation of the people of the area will also be included, said the Chief Minister.
Similarly, the best MLAs and Officers will also be awarded as per the recommendation of the panchayats. These awards will be conferred on the occasion of the state day, he informed.
The CM also noted that the green house construction scheme started under the Horticulture Department last year is still incomplete for which he asked the panchayats to look into the matter. The shortage of teachers in school, doctors and supply of medicines in Medical centres should also be addressed by the panchayats, he added.
Regarding the problem of LPG distribution in the state, the Chief Minister informed the public that besides STCS other private LPG distributors are answerable to the petroleum ministries and not to the state government. If something is wrong in STCS, then the state government is responsible but it is not so in the case of private distributors, he explained.
However, reading out the list of names of private LPG distributors in different parts of the state the CM said that whether it is STCS or the private distributors people of the state should get their rights and there should not be any problem in getting their refilled cylinders in time.
He further informed the gathering that during the year 2012 the state government sent a total of 140 graduate students for IAS and allied service coaching to different parts of the country as well as abroad and this year the target is to even more graduates for the same for which the government has decided to use 10% of the state budget.
He urged parents not to encourage children not to go for ad-hoc and MR service but to cooperate with the government in making them the true rulers of the country. Speaking on the proposal to raise a Sikkim Scouts Battalion, the Chief Minister said that this year 1400 boys will be recruited for the Battalion for which class X passed is the eligibility criteria.
“During the 18 years of SDF government, Sikkim has witnessed real peace and harmony, but now there are some intent on destroying this. To guide people on the right path is tough, but to misguide them is very easy; some people have opted for the latter ploy”, said the CM and added that people should decide whom to choose for the better future of Sikkim.
Speaking on the issue of Adhaar cards diluting the importance of Sikkim Subject as alleged by some, the CM said that the government has always preserved the value of Sikkim Subject and this is evident from the fact that Sikkim Subject holders are exempted from paying Income Tax in Sikkim. While on the Companies Act 1961, he said that the central government is trying to introduce a uniform rule throughout the country, but since this comes in conflict with an existing Old Law in Sikkim, his government has requested the Centre to exclude Sikkim from the same. The SDF Government, he said, will not allow FDI into Sikkim. The Companies Act, it may be recalled, is to facilitate FDI in retail in the country.
He also announced that the two martyrs of the state, Shahid Sanjog Chettri of Namchi and Shahid Binod Rai of Rakdong, East Sikkim will be honoured by the government with the installation of their statues and establishing scholarships in the name of these martyrs besides naming important roads or places after them. He also announced an increase in maternity allowance for women from Rs 3500 to Rs 5000 from April 2013.
The CM also spoke on overcharging by taxis which he said is ruining the state’s image at the national as well as international level. He further said that 90% hotels in the state are run by outsiders, which, he said, was neither good for tourism nor the local economy.
Finally, he said that the recent IBN7 Diamond State Award has highlighted good governance of the state and the peace and harmony here at the national level. He urged the people of Sikkim to help the government to maintain this tempo in the future also.
Earlier, the Chief Minister was felicitated for the IBN7 award by the Jorethang Maghey Mela Organizing Committee and by representatives of 15 major communities of Sikkim.
Area MLA cum chief patron, Jorethang Maghey Mela Organizing Committee, Madan Cintury also addressed the opening function where he highlighted the uniqueness of the Jorethang Mela and thanked the Chief Minister for his support in making this a grand success. He also thanked every individual for their support and wishes.
Earlier, Akhil Kirat Rai Sangh felicitated Deep Raj Rai for his recent achievement in India’s Got Talent and mountaineer Santi Rai. The general secretary of the organizing committee, Kamal Chettri delivered the vote of thanks. The evening session of the opening ceremony witnessed live cultural performances by Deep Raj Rai and others.

USFC Juniors return with runners-up trophy

GANGTOK, 14 Jan: United Sikkim Football Club juniors, which comprises of players from the Sikkim Sports Academy are back home with the runners-up trophy from the U-19 Football Tournament for football academies held at Kalna in Burdwan district of West Bengal.
In the closely played final match on Sunday, USFC Jrs lost to East Bengal by a solitary goal. They had defeated George Telegraph Football Academy 2-1 in the semi-finals to reach the finals.
Apart from the runners-up trophy, United Sikkim FC junior’s Yogyal Lepcha received the Player of the Tournament trophy while Tshering Zangpo Tamang was the Highest Scorer with his 3 goals in the tournament.

Forest fire rises from Bhusuk Khola to JN Road

GANGTOK, 14 Jan: A forest fire at 7th Mile on Jahawarlall Nehru Road was reported this afternoon. It is learnt that the fire broke around 5 kilometers below the road near Bhusuk Khola and eventually spread up to the road level.
After receiving a fire call from a Chongey [near Bhusuk Khola] resident this afternoon at around 1:30 PM, a team from the Gangtok Fire Station led by Fire Station Officer Subash Subba immediately rushed to the spot. After reaching the spot, the fire personnel along with the Forest Department personnel started their operation to control the fire.
It is informed that after many hours of fire fighting on the slope below the road at 7th Mile, the fire was brought under control.

Namchi plans grand R-Day celebration

NAMCHI, 11 Jan: District Administrative Centre, Namchi, along with Republic Day Celebration Committee headed by District Collector, South, has decided to celebrate this year’s Republic Day in a grand manner here at Namchi.
Apart from the official programme, the main attraction of the celebration will be the Open Half Marathon for Men (14 to 35 years old.), 15 km Run for Women (14 to 35 years old) and Cross Country Race for Under 14 Boys and Girls. The Winners will be awarded with Medals, Certificate, T-Shirts and Cash Prizes.
In the Open Men category, the winner will be awarded cash prize of Rs 15, 000 while the first and second runners-up will be awarded Rs 10, 000 and Rs 7, 000 respectively. In Women’s category, the winner will get Rs 10, 000 while the first and second runners-up will be awarded Rs 7, 000 and Rs 5, 000 respectively.
In Under 14 Girls/Boys, the first prize is Rs 5, 000 while the second and third prize is Rs 3, 000 and Rs 2, 000 respectively.
Nehru Yuva Kendra, South, will also organize various cultural programmes at Central Park, Namchi. Sports and Youth Affairs Department, Namchi, has been given the responsibility of organizing Half Marathon and other races. The committee has also decided to invite national media for the occasion as the theme for the programme will be 'Run For the Country'.
Entry forms will be issued from the Sports Office Namchi and NYK Office Namchi.

Jorethang Maghey Mela 2013 promises not to disappoint

NAMCHI, 14 Jan: Jorethang Maghey Mela has gained popularity and recognition over the years and it attracts people from all over the state and outside which include those from the neighbouring countries of Nepal and Bhutan. This annual event is attended by people of all walks of life, some for the shopping and local treasures they can pick up for their houses, some for the thrill of being in a “mela” and some for just the evening cultural programmes, the wining and dining.
This year too, the organizers headed by their patron-in-chief, Madan Cintury have promised not to disappoint the people who throng the small town in the South district. Local artistes from within the state and from Nepal have been invited to perform during the cultural extravaganza apart from a host of other events which will be unique in their concept.
Traditional food stall courts have been set up for the foodies, a Meena bazaar has also been set up near the riverside, the SARAS Mela which is an annual event in conjunction with the Maghey Mela, the inter-constituency football tournament under the aegis of the rural sports festival shall also be held.
For adventure lovers, there is paragliding where the participants can take off from the top of the Chakung hill and land near the Mela on the riverside. The traditional cultural event shall kick off in the evening with a Musical fire night attended by the Nepal Tara, the ‘Nepal ko Shakira’, Indira Joshi. The Indian idol participant Rojalin Sahi will also enthrall the audience with her singing as will local artistes like finalist Deepraj Rai, India’s Got Talent and renowned Nepali singer, Thupden Bhutia.
The organizers further stated that in case of medical emergencies, the District Hospital Namchi, Jorethang PHC and surrounding PHSCs have been asked to be on stand-by.
While talking to this correspondent, SP South, Manoj Tiwari stated that security has been tightened to maintain law and order during the Mela. A total strength of 295 personnel has been deployed in Jorethang. DIG Range will look after the overall situation along with the DC, AK Singh and SP South. Both the SDMs, Gloria Namchu and Karma R Bonpo have been deputed for magisterial duty during the period.
Traffic shall be managed by OC, Melli Bijoy Subba for the Jorethang–Melli stretch and OC, Ravangla, KB Gurung has been given the Namchi-Jorethang stretch. SDPO Soreong will supervise the traffic coming from the West. Besides the Jorethang Thana, four Police booths have been set up in various locations for assistance and quick response, two near the river bank, one at Akar Bridge and one near the Taxi stand, informed SP South.
Further, the Fire stations and the fire engines have been asked to stay on high alert. The SP South Manoj Tewari also said that the police are always on high alert and shall continue their line of duty and in case of a situation arising, the police shall act as per the demand of the situation and as per the law.

Bhoj Raj blames administration for Rhenock incident

GANGTOK, 14 Jan: Bhoj Raj Rai, former MLA and close aide of the dissident MLA, PS Tamang [Golay], while stating that the Rhenock incident on 11 January [in which Gloay supporters vandalized the police station] was very unfortunate and should not happen again, also alleged that the incident was a result of the administration’s biased handling the defamatory booklets case.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Mr Rai alleged that the involvement of a government vehicle proves the involvement of the ruling party in the distribution of anonymous pamphlets.  He was referring to the seizure of booklets mocking the dissident MLA from the vehicle of former MLA and present chairman, KB Chamling’s vehicle in Rhenock on 10 Jan. The police have only arrested the driver but still no action or enquiry has been made against KB Chamling, he stressed, amplifying the demand of the mob at Rhenock.
“If some opposition leaders had been involved in such an act the administration would have surely taken strong action immediately,” said Mr Rai, adding that the ruling party and government should not resort to such acts if they claim to be transparent and instead should openly debate on issues of concern.
According to Mr Rai, the rising popularity of the dissident SDF MLA “has forced the ruling party to engage in such acts”. Urging supporters to remain calm, he said, “We still have faith in the law enforcing agency and that they will take appropriate action on the FIR filed”.
He further urged the police to arrest KB Chamling and others involved in the incident and also demanded the immediate release of all supporters arrested by the police at Rhenock.

SDF condemns and denies hand in distribution of booklets

GANGTOK, 14 Jan: Sikkim Democratic Front spokesperson, Bhim Dahal has strongly condemned the circulation of anonymous pamphlets, booklets and CDs by anti-social elements with an intention to defame its leaders and office bearers.
In a press release issued recently, he mentions that it has been reported to the party that even a pilgrimage tour of their leader and his family members have been distorted to defame in a mudslinging propaganda by “so-called members of a party yet to be announced”.
He further states that one MN Dahal of Soreong, Daragaon, has issued a press release purportedly defaming one of the senior members of the SDF party. The release also condemns the vandalizing of Rhenock Police Station by elements inimical towards peace, harmony and development of the state.
“SDF party feels proud to declare that it needs no anonymous leaflets or booklets for its march towards victory and service of the people. It has its own policy declared in public by the leader through various media including official party organs, books and magazines to inform the public,” the release adds.

Late A. K. Giri- An Epitome of a Gentleman

-B. B. Subba Ijam

“And now the time has come when we must depart: I to my death, you to go on living. But which of us is going to the better fate is unknown to all except God.” –Socrates

It was only the second day of the New Year (2013) and for those who had indulged heavily in the celebration the day before, the day seemed just perfect to recuperate, relax and reflect. The day was also a state government holiday owing to Barahimizong. However, for the family, friends and well-wishers of Ashok Kumar Giri, the celebratory mood was suddenly eclipsed by a pall of shock and grief as they got the news of his sudden demise. Those who heard the news- mostly the employees and people associated with Energy and Power Department from Gangtok head office and district offices alike - immediately rushed to the Central Referral Hospital, Tadong. But it was too late even for even those who could arrive early at the CRH. They had already lost within a span of an hour or so their beloved boss, friend or “Giri Sa’ab” as he was fondly addressed to by many. He was reportedly declared D.O.A. by the doctors at the CRH. His body was escorted back to his home at Upper Syari the same day afternoon. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
Officially speaking, the death of AK Giri was a matter of loss and grief for the State Government as well since he was a sitting Secretary of one of its departments. Among many dignitaries, the Chief Secretary of the state called on the same day to pay his respect to the departed soul and to condole the bereaved family.
The father of late AK Giri who is popularly known as Dr (P.S.) Giri was a doctor in the Sikkim government and is a renowned figure among the senior citizens. Dr Giri also has the distinction of having served as the physician to the royal family of the erstwhile kingdom of Sikkim. The late AK Giri attended as many schools - West Point Gangtok, Singtam, Pelling and TNSSS Gangtok- as the places his father was transferred to. He then graduated as an electrical engineer from Bengal Engineering College, Sibpur. He joined Energy and Power Department (called simply Power Department at that time) in January 1978 as an Assistant Engineer. Having served at various places of the state in different positions as engineer, he was ultimately promoted as Principal Chief Engineer cum Secretary of the department in May 2011.
It would not be an overstatement to say that people like AK Giri are very rare to come across in this world.
The persona of a bureaucrat is often defined by his official position and the power and authority he wields. But in the case of Giri Sa’ab, his qualities as a human being transcended his persona as a bureaucrat. He was first a nice human being before he was anything else. “Extremely simple and humble” are perhaps the attributes that come to our mind first when we talk of his nature. He was a calm and composed man and always spoke in a soft voice. During all these years of association with him, this writer never heard him speak in a raised voice or lose his temper even when people were confronting him and intentionally getting on his nerves. And believe me, it is very, very difficult for the person sitting on the chair of ‘Power Secretary’ not to lose his/ her temper and maintain composure all the time. At present Energy and Power department is perhaps the most complex, complicated and challenging of the departments by virtue of its sheer size and the nature of issues it is engaged in.
Executives have their own style and preferred theory / methodology of providing leadership to their organization. Giri Sa’ab liked to persuade and convince his subordinates rather than dictate to them in order to get a job done. He was a very sincere and dedicated technocrat-bureaucrat of the government who worked hard to raise the performance of his department to the level expected by the government and the public. He used to work overtime in his office to avoid files and papers from getting piled up on his table due to his perpetually busy schedule of meetings and conferences. He also used to encourage his colleagues and subordinates to work overtime for disposing of urgent works. He treated everybody who came to him- whether the person was a general public, a contractor / supplier or his own employees- with politeness and compassion. Consequently, even the most skeptic and foul-mouthed persons known to the department always had nice words to say about him. It was impossible to even imagine that he would ever hurt a soul while discharging his duty as a government servant.
In an interesting contrast to his ever benign personality, Giri sa’ab had an amazing sense of humour which often livened up the moment and made it a little easier for the persons involved to face a situation however difficult and unpleasant. I would like to recall two out of many such instances. It was during a meeting with officers who were to accompany him to New Delhi for an important official meeting. He wanted to prepare himself and his officers thoroughly before starting for Delhi. At one point in the course of the meeting, I pointed out to him that the figure of aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses for our state- an all important term in the field of electrical engineering- that he was telling us right then and those available with accounts section and revenue section of the department all differed from each other. It was a serious matter and obviously everybody looked concerned. But before I could gloat over my observation, he responded, “No problem. If the Delhi people ask for our AT&C loss figure then we’ll first ask them whose figure they want- whether that of secretary’s or of accounts section’s or of revenue sections’. Then we’ll give the figure accordingly.” Everybody broke into laughter. He then patiently explained why all had to stick to the figure that he had taken as correct.
The other incident took place when three officers from the department, including me, had accompanied Giri Sa’ab to Delhi to attend the above mentioned meeting. In fact there were a series of meetings due to which we had to stay at Delhi for couple of days. One morning, the officer of a PSU who had accompanied him the previous night informed us that our boss was severely grilled and pulled up the last night (but for lapses he was not directly responsible for) after he was summoned by higher authorities of the state stationed there to prepare for a crucial high level meeting with the central government authorities. So, when we started the next morning for another meeting in the shared vehicle, all of us were tense and kept quiet. After sometime, just to break the ice, one of our senior officers spoke pointing towards a tree standing at a distance from the road that we were driving on- “Look at that tree, do you all know what it is called? It is the famous Ashok tree under which lord Budhha had meditated.”
“Which one, sir?” Enquired one among us.
“Don’t you see there, the one with all its leaves sloping downwards?” Replied our colleague. I found out later from Wikipedia that in fact that tree was called “false Ashoka” which has all its leaves pointing downwards and somewhat resembles a Dhoopi from a distance. Against the wildest of our expectations, Giri sa’ab spoke in his typical calm and soft voice- “Yes, yes, that Ashoka tree with all its leaves pointing downwards. Similar to this “Ashok” here.  My wings too are all pointing downwards with the last night’s thrashings.” All of us broke into a loud laughter.
The atmosphere became light instantaneously and we found ourselves relieved. I could not help marveling at our boss’s courage to laugh at himself and not to take oneself too seriously.
When he was alive, Giri Sa’ab must have won many a hearts and touched many a lives with his kindness and benevolence because of which people from all walks of life spontaneously poured in to pay their last respects to him and participate in his funeral procession which started from his home at Upper Syari and ended at Shantisthal at Ranipool on 4th January 2013. A subtle phenomenon was observed at Shantisthal that day. As per the customs prevalent in Sikkim, it is okay for the malamis to leave the place of cremation once they offer mutti. But even after offering mutti that day, many malamis were seen lingering around there looking at the burning pyre as if they were trying to find some answer to the sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction created in their heart due to the sudden, unexpected and untimely demise of such a fine human being, an epitome of a gentleman that late AK Giri was.

Golay supporters vandalise Rhenock Police Station, 10 arrested

GANGTOK, 11 Jan: First there was strong sloganeering, then the shops downed shutters, then the police station was gheraoed, then vandalized and finally Section 144 imposed on Rhenock bazaar. By late evening, 10 persons had been arrested on charges of rioting and other sections of the IPC for their alleged involvement in the incidents of the day. The East district town of Rhenock went through a tense Friday today.
Rhenock bazaar is presently under imposition of section 144 by which assembly of 5 or more people is not allowed and such assembly liable to arrest by the police. In the process of vandalisation today, the official vehicle of former MLA KB Chamling was damaged, several window panes at the police station broken, furniture upturned and the police have registered criminal cases of rioting and damaging public property against the perpetrators. As mentioned, by late evening, 10 persons had been taken into custody in connection with the events of the day. The details of the arrested persons could not be confirmed till the time of going to print. Officials inform that more arrests will follow.
It all started yesterday with the arrest of Janak Chettri, the driver of former MLA and present Chairman, KB Chamling, at Rhenock on charges of allegedly being in possession of over 200 booklets carrying derogatory and defamatory content against dissident SDF MLA PS Tamang. Today, supporters of PS Tamang, around 60 of them, reached Rhenock police station demanding the arrest of KB Chamling for allegedly masterminding the distribution of the defamatory pamphlets against Mr. Tamang.
When the response of the police was not in accordance to their demands, there was vandalizing of the official vehicle of KB Chamling [seized yesterday and impounded at the Police Station] and also stone pelting and damaging of the Rhenock police station this evening at around 4 p.m.
Golay supporters reached Rhenock at around 10 AM today demanding the arrest of the former Chief Whip of the SDF party, KB Chamling. SDPO Rongli and Rhenock police engaged them in a dialogue for most part of the day but there was no backing down from their demand. Mr. KB Chamling, as per sources, was at Aritar above Rhenock today.
When dialogue broke down, the agitating party of Golay supporters are reported to attacked the police station. IRBn personnel who had been deployed in view of potential law and order problem likely to arise, dispersed the mob and section 144 was imposed. Shops had closed down much earlier following an advisory of the police, it is learnt.
As per DIG [Range], V Vinayak, the situation is now more or less under control and criminal cases of rioting and damage to public property along with obstructing public servants from discharging their duties have been registered against those involved in the vandalisation today. Furthermore, as per the DIG Range, the culprits have been identified and will be rounded up and arrested.

East leads State in construction of pucca earthquake-resilient houses

GANGTOK, 11 Jan: East District administration has been working on a war-footing to complete all houses sanctioned under the Chief Minister’s Rural Housing Mission [CMRHM], Reconstruction of Earthquake Damaged Rural Houses [REDRH] and Construction of Earthquake Damaged Houses under the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund [CEDH-CMRF] by the end of 2013 financial year. The East district has also been leading the state in the completion and handing over of houses under CMRHM and REDRH schemes.
Addressing a press conference today, District Collector [East], D Anandan, informed that the East district has received a significant achievement in CMRHM by completing 544 houses out of the 1,887 sanctioned so far. Out of these 544 houses handed over to beneficiaries, 325 fall under Model-A, 36 under Model-B and 183 under Model-C. He further mentioned that the remaining houses are also in various stages of construction and scheduled to be completed at the earliest.
The DC informed that the CMRHM scheme was envisioned by the Chief Minister as an initiative to make Sikkim a Kutcha House Free State. Under this scheme, 1,887 beneficiaries were identified from 10 blocks in East Sikkim.
Speaking on REDRH, the DC informed that construction under this scheme was also making good progress. He informed that out of 2,596 houses to be constructed under this scheme, allotment orders have already been issued to 1,385 beneficiaries so far. He mentioned that the respective BDO’s have been directed to work on these schemes in earnest and complete these houses at the earliest.
He informed that East district is the first in the State to complete a house under REDRH – at Khamdong, which has already been handed over to the beneficiary. He further informed that 2 houses each in Pakyong and Parakha blocks have also since been completed and scheduled to be handed over to the beneficiaries soon.
The DC informed that many houses in the urban areas also sustained complete damage and several houses in the rural areas fall under the major damaged category not suitable for habitation any more, so for these houses, a new scheme the CEDH-CMRF was launched this year.
A total of 58 beneficiaries were identified by Land Revenue Department in the State under this scheme.  21 of these beneficiaries are in East Sikkim. In East District, Gangtok block has 12 beneficiaries, 1 each in Khamdong, Rakdong-Tintek and Rhenock, 2 in Duga and 4 in Regu block.
The Land Revenue Department has provided the amount through support from CM’s Relief Fund wherein a total of Rs 2,78,40,000 has been sanctioned for the scheme and the unit cost of the house is Rs 4.8 lakh.
The DC informed that the construction of the houses will have the same earthquake resistant design and estimate of REDRH and the implementation mechanism will be owner-driven as is being practiced in CMRHM. The administration has targeted to issue allotment orders to all these 21 beneficiaries by the end of this month and the construction is likely to be started from February.
Zilla Adhyaksha [East], Bimal Dawadi, in turn stated that the East district has been moving ahead by working hard in the completion of the houses in the CMRHM to hand over to beneficiaries in earliest. He also congratulated the officials and staffs of the district administration for working hard to achieve the target in the earliest.
Zilla Upadhyaksha [East], Kalpana Moktan also urged people today to come forward to help beneficiaries in their respective areas in constructing their houses under the various schemes and stressed that the government has been providing everything to the people and now it’s also the duty of the society to extend their support in such scheme.

First Gurung film premieres

GANGTOK, 11 Jan: A Gurung movie, ‘Aage Thagu’, [elder brother] was released today by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling at a special premiere held at Mannan Kendra here at Development Area today. The movie is based on a family and how an elder brother has to cope with family problems and take care of the family.
The movie, which is the first Gurung film, has been shot in Sikkim [Temi Tea Gardens and Tarey Bhir] and in Nepal. It has Gaman Ghaley in the lead and Unika Gurung as the female lead. The story has been written by Golay Gurung and has been produced by Khil Bahadur Gurung. The length of the movie is about two hours and ten minutes.
Earlier, before the movie was screened, the Chief Minister also felicitated the people involved with the movie.

Selection test for CM’s Scholarship Scheme held across Sikkim

GANGTOK, 11 Jan [IPR]: The Selection Test for the Chief Minister’s Merit Scholarship Scheme for the academic session 2013 was conducted in all the four districts of the state today.
In East district, the selection test was conducted in Deorali Girls SSS where 161 students sat for the test.
In the same manner in West district 134 students sat for the test at Kyongsa SSS, 50 students in North district at Mangan SSS and 107 students in South district at Namchi Girls SSS. The selection test was held for the 200 seats and the meritorious students will seek admission in various reputed schools within and outside the state in Class VI.

Tollywood director begins hunt for local actors

GANGTOK, 11 Jan: Aspiring actors of the state have received a chance to be part of a Bengali film slated to be shot entirely in Sikkim. “Every Day is Sunday”, a Tollywood film will be casting 99 percent of its acting crew from Sikkim and the movie will be shot exclusively in locations across Sikkim.
The film is being directed by Suvendu Ghosh (Raj) who has already made five films including ‘Konkal’, a 2-minute film which will be competing for the prestigious National Awards in the short film category this year, while his last venture was ‘Chetona’.
“We chose Sikkim as the location keeping in view the beautiful people here and the natural setting. The film will be shot 100 percent in Sikkim and will have all actors, including the heroine, from here. Only the hero will be from outside Sikkim. Since the story line was written keeping Sikkim in mind, there is no better way for the film to be made other than shooting here,” says Suvendu.
‘Everyday is Sunday’ is inspired from the Ben Stiller-Drew Barrymore starrer, Hollywood flick, ‘51 first dates’. Auditions started here at Hotel New Castle this afternoon. A total of 25 actors auditioned for the film on the first day and auditions are also slated for tomorrow. The film-makers are expecting around 50-60 actors to audition for the film which has around 40 roles especially reserved for actors from Sikkim.
“We are actually representatives from Kolkata and we ensure that everything will is done with utmost transparency. We are here to bridge the gap between filmmakers from Sikkim and Tollywood and we are sure that after this film many more filmmakers will choose Sikkim as the next shooting destination,” he stated.
It may also be informed that the film is being supported by Tata Motors and by DV Studio, Deorali, Sikkim and shooting is scheduled to start from 15 February. Also present today for the auditions was the veteran film editor, Raj Singh Sidhu.
Mr. Sidhu informs that the film is on the right track since shooting locations have also been decided and recces made. The film will be shot in Lachung, Sang Khola and areas like Tashi View Point and MG Marg in Gangtok. He also said that the music of the film is being given by Souman Hazare who has based his music on the mandolin instrument.
Speaking to NOW! Pavi Sakhya, MD, DV Studios, Deorali who is the main person behind coordinating the shoot for the entire film here informed that Sikkim was now being recognized as a favorable shooting destination and film makers from outside the state were recognizing the potential of manpower, artists and scenic locations.
“After DV Studios managed to provide expertise to companies such as IDEA for its ‘honey-bunny’ advertisement where three prominent artists from Sikkim were cast, many phone calls have started coming in. This film has also come about through DV Studios. We know that Sikkim is emerging as a great shooting locale and we wish to give film makers from outside all help and support for the film industry to grow here,” stated Pavi Sakhya.
He also informed that DV Studios is providing a platform for all local artists by tying up with film makers from outside and that the company’s involvement in the film was basically to give this platform a big boost.
“We are actually just a company that would ideally give the cine equipment for hire, but we thought that we have a bigger role to play in this endeavor since it is for the benefit of local artists and the small film industry here. Tourism which is a main stay of Sikkim’s economy will also benefit a lot from such exposure so we are into this film with all dedication,” informs Sakhya.  
Interested artists can also contact 810194068/9932295813 and come to the audition venue at Deorali with their respective bio-data and passport size photographs.

Golay camp blames SDF, says pamphlets incited Rhenock incident

GANGTOK, 11 Jan: MN Dahal and Jacob Khaling, close aides of the dissident SDF MLA PS Tamang, alleging that the ruling Front was circulating offensive literature against Mr. Tamang, blamed it for the Rhenock incident [read accompanying news report] arguing that the incident was triggered by the circulation of the said pamphlets.
Accusing the ruling party of indulging in such pamphleteering in the past as well, the release goes on to contend that a cache of such pamphlets was confiscated from a former MLA’s official vehicle by a group of ‘alert’ youth at Rhenock on Thursday following which an FIR was lodged. The release goes on to state that although the driver was booked and the vehicle seized, the demand to have the former MLA arrested as well was ignored and upset the people. The police delay was unfortunate, the release goes on to state, further demanding an independent inquiry into the circulation of the pamphlets in question.

Governor and CM extend Maghe Sankranti greetings

GANGTOK, 11 Jan: On the auspicious occasion of Maghe Sankranti [which falls on Monday, 14 Jan], Governor Balmiki Prasad Singh has extended warm greetings to the people of Sikkim.
The Governor’s message reads, “Maghe Sankranti, heralds the reawakening of hope and progress. I sincerely hope and pray that the festival brings a new and brighter phase in the lives of the people of Sikkim and ushers in good health and prosperity to all.”
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Smt Tika Maya Chamling have also extended their warm greetings and best wishes to the people of Sikkim on the occasion of Maghe Sankranti.

Water Garden inaugurated after revamp

GANGTOK, 11 Jan [IPR]:  Martam Rumtek MLA, Menlom Lepcha inaugurated the newly developed Water Garden at lower Martam in the presence of Minister Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Bhim Dhungel and other officials and staffs of the Tourism and Civil Aviation and Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim, today.
The project was carried out at an estimated cost of Rs 86 lakh funded by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and implemented by the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Government of Sikkim.
While presenting a brief report of the project, Chief Engineer, Tourism and Civil Aviation, RD Bhutia informed that the work had commenced in 2010 and was completed last year. The project consists of remodelled swimming pool with filtration unit, children’s swimming pool, remodelled Gazebo, entire garden fencing of knitted GI wire with ankle iron and redesigned footpath.
In his brief address, Menlom Lepcha who was the chief guest on the occasion, expressed his gratitude to the Tourism Department for the development of the Water Garden which was destroyed by the 18 September earthquake last year. He also added that the remodelled swimming pool with filtration unit has been developed for the people and asked the department for proper maintenance as well.  The chief guest also expressed the need for a trained swimming instructor for further guidance and support.
The Minister for Tourism stated that the project which is located near the capital has been developed by the Tourism Department.  Modern techniques have also been applied in the construction of the swimming pool thereby making it a hygienic one.
The Minister suggested that a concrete wall should be constructed on the road side to protect it from dust and planting flowering plants in the Garden. He also informed about another swimming pool which is being developed at Majhitar, South Sikkim.
Later the handing and taking over of the assets between Tourism and Civil Aviation and Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management also took place.

Editorial: Kirtey Parchas Debase Political Debate

Pamphlets have a history in political activism. These cheaply produced tracts were used extensively in the times before mass-media to convey ideologies and infiltrate public opinion. In all its political manifestations though, pamphlets have always been about propaganda - communicating essentially one-sided arguments and foisting a one-sided world-view. As mentioned, this was before the mass-media industry became what it is now – a more effective plank to hold forth and get heard. In its earlier avatar, pamphlets at least had an ideological grounding, and even though biased, attempted to at least make a point. This space is now offered by the contemporary forms of media. But to address people from that forum, one needs to attest what is being claimed; not prove it, but claim it. Anonymity won’t do. Anonymous pamphlets are thus taken recourse to when the allegations and tone are too noxious and spiteful for even political opponents to be seen making. Its intent thus, is limited to providing voyeuristic entertainment to recipients of the pamphlets. Anything substantive needs to be conveyed on record. One may also add here that even some recent public addresses by some leaders have been offensive and criminally defamatory, but then a public meeting offers a much limited audience, and hence the recourse to offensive printed literature. Such options are routinely taken by most political outfits, at least those with the resources to publish such material and manpower to circulate them. This applies as much to Sikkim as it does to the rest of the country and the State is currently witnessing a fresh bout of pamphleteering and some vicious violence has also emerged as a fallout.
What no one can deny anymore in Sikkim is that every hue of the political landscape here now has access to presenting its version of the situation and communicate its allegations and defences. When this release is now available, why then are there still so many anonymous pamphlets, infamous as ‘kirtey parcha’, in circulation? The answer is obvious; because their contents are unsubstantiated, unverified and libellous. Its creators and circulators, even if they have mediums through which they can address their respective constituencies, do not want to go on record with such offensive drivel. Of course, the Kirtey Parchas do not proclaim their anonymity, and invariably appropriate an identity, almost always claiming to be ‘concerned citizens’. What is obvious though is that they are agent provocateurs instead, instigated by personal stakes and ambitions. The cover of anonymity allows them room to vent their frustrations in acerbic tones and repugnant simulation that offend all recipients of their vitriol, save those who relish voyeuristic muck-raking. Even while agreeing that many fall in the latter bracket, fact also remains that even though they might see these pamphlets as ‘entertaining’, they do not ascribe any authenticity to its contents. The problem sets in when people start circulating the contents of such anonymous contentions by word of mouth. Sikkim has consistently proven its weakness for rumours and whispers. The ease with which con-artists have cheated Sikkimese with clumsily-designed promises, solely on the strength of word-of-mouth promotion presents itself as an apt example of the scale of damage the grapevine can wreck on the society. It is in this light that the proliferation of such drivel needs to be roundly condemned. The condemnation should be strong, but not violent as the Rhenock episode ended up becoming, because when that happens, the focus gets diverted. Those who indulge in the tit-for-tat of pamphleteering invariably see their posturing as a political show of strength, but what is really required is a social condemnation of kirtey parcha politicking because that debases political debate; in Sikkim, where political engagement is still far short of refinement, further perversion of this dialogue should be discouraged... by the people.