Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tourism will generate business worth Rs 1,500 cr by 2020: Dhungel 777-DAY INCREDIBLE INDIA HIMALAYAS CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED

GANGTOK, 27 Sept: “The tourism industry in Sikkim will generate economic activities worth Rs 1500 crore per annum by 2020,” said Tourism Minister, Bhim Dhungel while speaking at the launch of 777-day ‘Incredible India Himalayas’ campaign in New Delhi today.
Union Tourism Minister, Dr. K Chiranjeevi, Uttarakhand Tourism Minister, Amrita Rawat and Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister, GA Mir were also present on the occasion. The ‘Incredible India Himalayas’ campaign is aimed at attracting both national and international travellers. Its launch today coincides with World Tourism Day.
The objective of the campaign is to spread awareness about the fact that 73 percent of the Himalayan range lies in India. The Indian Himalayas are an incredible tourism product that can attract both domestic and international tourists interested in adventure activities, the flora and fauna of The Himalaya and the Himalayan culture.
A press release from the Principal Resident Commissioner, Sikkim House, informs that during the launch today organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Dhungel said that economic activities worth Rs 1 crore was recorded under tourism trade in the year 1980 which increased to Rs 75 crore in the year 2000 and Rs 400 crore in the year 2010. Now the state hopes to generate economic activities worth Rs 1500 crore by the year 2020. The state also aims at attracting one lakh international tourists and 20 lakh domestic tourists by the year 2020.
The Minister informed that 12,862 domestic and 2,572 international tourists visited the state in the year 1980 which increased to 1,70,160 domestic and 8,794 International tourists in the year 2000 and added that 7,00,011 domestic and 20,757 international tourists visited the state in the year 2010.
“The Sikkim government has decided to promote tourism activities by opening more areas for domestic and foreign tourists, opening new trekking routes, crafting and enhancing major tourist circuits and undertaking aggressive marketing at global markets. Buddhist circuits are being developed to promote religious tourism in the state. Sikkim will be developed as the principal Tourism destination in South and South-East Asia by the year 2015”, said Mr Dhungel.
Speaking on infrastructure related to tourism, he said that the state government has opened various institutes like The Institute of Hotel Management, Sajong, The Food Craft Institute, Namchi, Indian Himalayan Centre for Adventure & Eco-tourism, Chemchey.
“The government has set up Sikkim Eco-tourism Directorate to give top priority to eco-tourism in the state and an eco-tourism co-operative network has been established under the Sikkim Eco-Tourism Council. Tourism has been accorded the status of ‘Thrust Sector’ in the state for the industry’s growth and ensure overall socio-economic development in the state”, informed Mr Dhungel.
He further added that Sikkim will be promoted as the ultimate eco-tourism destination in the country and the home stay scheme has been launched in the state for providing clean and hygienic facilities to tourists.
“The state’s different communities with their diverse customs, culture, traditions, cuisine, fairs and festivals offer a unique experience to the visitors. Events like Youth Adventure Festival, International Mountain Biking Expedition, International Para Gliding Festivals are also being organized to promote adventurous tourism in the state”, the Minister added.

Sikkim Milk records 28% growth in 2012-13, posts profits for sixth consecutive year

GANGTOK, 27 Sept: Sikkim Milk Union has recorded 28.27% growth in its annual turnover for 2012-13. The Union earned Rs 3,058 lakhs in the year 2012-13 as compared to Rs. 2,384 lakhs in the year 2011-12.
This was revealed during the 17th Annual General Body Meeting of the Sikkim Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd held today at the conference hall of the State Institute of Capacity Building, Karfectar at Jorethang.
Presenting the audited annual accounts for the year 2012-13, Managing Director, Dr. P. Senthil Kumar, stated that the Union has seen yet another successful year. For the sixth consecutive year, the Sikkim Milk Union has earned profit. The benefit of such performance is being provided in the form of better milk price to farmers and as price difference to societies, he informed.
A hike of milk price to the farmers to the tune of over 155.88% (more than two and half times) has been provided with the revision of 100 % increase in selling price within a period of six years, he added.
Dr Kumar informed that most of the societies have been provided with automatic milk testing machines for transparent testing while quality control laboratory at Gangtok and Jorethang Dairy plants have been renovated and are being handled by skilled manpower.
He stated that at present Sikkim Milk Union is managing 308 societies including both registered and unregistered with a membership of 9864. During 2012-13, total milk procured from the village milk cooperative was 45,50,755 kg, he informed. He also listed the various benefits being provided to the societies.
In comparative terms, the surplus earned during the year 2012-13 was Rs. 138.52 lakh. Out of this Rs.37.94 lakh of profit after depreciation, Rs. 7.91 lakh is depreciation, Rs. 35.35 lakh has been paid to Employees’ LIC Gratuity, Rs. 46.18 lakh has been provided for their price difference milk price revision, Rs.9.42 lakh to be paid towards employee ex-gratia and Rs. 1.72 lakh paid towards LIC leave Encashment scheme for the employees. The Sikkim Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd is confident that the progress achieved in the last six years since 2007-08 will be taken forward in the coming years as well with the help of all concerned.
Further, as per the recent amendment to Sikkim Cooperative Societies Act, 1978, three additional members consisting of two women members and one ST/SC member were elected in the AGM.
The Secretary, Animal Husbandry, DP Sharma and Registrar, Co-operative Societies, JM Pradhan appreciated the performance of the Sikkim Milk Union and assured all support to the Union. They also stressed upon the linkages required between the cow distribution beneficiaries and the village milk cooperatives societies.
Earlier, the Chairman, Sikkim Milk Union, MB Rai in his address appreciated the cooperation extended by the village milk cooperative societies and management for the sixth consecutive year. He informed that the dairy farmers are receiving incentives in the form of price difference for the sixth consecutive year and also stressed on the need for responsible participation from the village societies to further improve on the quality and quantity of milk procured by the societies.

SKM continues its door-to-door campaign in East Sikkim

GANGTOK, 27 Sept: In continuation of its door-to-door campaign, a Sikkim Krantikari Morcha team visited Upper Padamchey ward and Padamchey ward in East Pendam under Rhenock constituency today. The teams also visited Naya Basti in Chalamthang GPU and Mamzey ward in East Pendam, under Rhenock constituency on 25 and 26 September.
An SKM release informs that teams from the party have been busy interacting with people of the constituency for the past few months. The release claims that during their visit, people in the area alleged that the ruling government has neglected and misled them.  
It is further added that during the tour, people extended their full support to the party and thanked the team for visiting their area.

SGTA team calls HRD Minister

GANGTOK, 27 Sept: Executive members of Sikkim Graduate Teachers' Association [SGTA] met HRDD Minister, NK Pradhan on Thursday. As per a press release, the team was warmly welcomed by the Minister who listened patiently to all the grievances and demands placed by the association.
President SGTA, J. Targain highlighted the prime aims and objectives of the association while general secretary, Suresh K Subba placed an eight-point demand charter. The Minister, after going through the demands, assured to provide all possible support from the government to solve all the problems of graduate teachers soon, the release informs.
He also asked the teachers to undergo refresher or short-term training course provided by the department from time-to-time to enhance their teaching skills. The SGTA team included Meera Chettri [joint secretary], Manoj K Pradhan [treasurer] and executive members, DK Bhandari, Santa Sharma and Manju Tamang.


Better understanding of programs helps in better implementation: CL Gurung
NAMTHANG, 27 Sept [PIB]: The three-day Public Information Campaign on Bharat Nirman at Namthang concluded today.
Speaking at a program held to mark the end of the campaign, Zilla Adhyaksha, South, CL Gurung said better understanding of flagship programs and other schemes with direct interaction with the resource persons from their respective field will definitely ensure proper check and balance during its implementation. In this regard, the three-day PIC on Bharat Nirman has certainly played a crucial role in making people aware of such programs, he added.
He further said that those present should ensure that the knowledge gained during the three-day program should be shared among others as well.
Gram Vikash Adhikari, Robin Sewa expressed gratitude to all for making the program a grand success. The information disseminated during the program is sure to transform the mindset of people making them enabled and empowered with knowledge, he said. Only a conscious and aware citizen can contribute towards nation building, which is the main reason for organizing such public information programs, he added.
Meanwhile, a three day free medical camp organised by Dr. TK Mondol and his team of Ayurveda Regional Research Institute, Gangtok attended to a total of 441 patients. Most of the patients were found suffering from arthritis, skin disease, respiratory problems, ulcers and piles. According to Dr. Mondol, the patients were provided only temporary relief with recommendation of thorough investigation and long term treatment. He further informed that immediate attention was also required to address the health related problems among the students as more than half of the students who came for check-ups were  found infected with different kind of skin diseases, while others had severe vision and ear related problems.
Earlier, ICDS Supervisor Laxman Tamang informed the gathering that the trend of formal schooling at preschool age, which has become a common prevalence now, has been leading to depression among teenagers. Parents should understand that the pressure mounted on children at very tender age has a long term psychological negative effect and impact, he stressed.
At ICDS centres, he added, children are groomed in the play-way method enabling them to gradually catch the learning process and get eased into formal education system, he added.
In ICDS a centre, apart from nutrition and immunization needs, proper socio-psychological environment is provided for holistic development of a child, he said.
Similarly, Dr. Bijendra Rai informed that proper identification of impairment at an early stage can help in proper training and rehabilitation of differently-abled children. He was addressing the technical session on NRHM on the concluding day of three day PIC at Namthang. Describing the difference between impairment, disability and handicapped, he informed that early detection of impairment can help such child from being permanently disabled or handicapped. He also explained about various concessions and facilities provided to differently able people for travelling by air and rail besides other enabling provisions.

Dikchu PHC achieves 100% institutional delivery

GANGTOK, 27 Sept: An important review meeting was conducted in District Hospital Mangan on 25 September to discuss the working methodology for providing better service to the public at the grass root level.
As per an official release, Mission Director, National Rural Health Mission, PM Pradhan, complemented health officials for their work and also encouraged them to deliver their responsibilities with more efficiency. He also congratulated Dikhu PHC for achieving 100% institutional delivery. Entomologist Dr. Rosana Tamang presented a performance report of all PHCs of Chungthang, Dikchu, Hee-Gyathang, Passingdong and Phodong.
All sixteen indicators based on life cycle approach (RMNCH+A) were also highlighted. Various health related issues like Anemia, care during pregnancy, child birth, post-natal maternal & newborn care were discussed with CMO, MOs, BPM, LHV and DEOs from respective health centers.
Dr. Pradhan issued directions towards completely eradicating child delivery at home and further asked health personnel to improve the quality of work at various levels. Different challenging constraints at the field level were also discussed in the meeting. He also suggested district health authorities to revive the Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committee and to motivate them to take on leadership role in society. He also expressed hopes of full cooperation from the NGOs, Associations and different organizations for building a healthy society.
CMO Dr. D. Kerongi talked about requirements for making the work system more effective and also urged health workers to achieve targeted goals for smooth functioning of the system. Earlier Dr. Pradhan had a series of meetings with MOs and Health Staff at Samdong PHC and Dikhu PHC in the morning, the release adds.

Festival exemption for Shops from weekly closures

Notice:- In exercise of the powers conferred under Section 5 of Sikkim Shops and Commercial Establishments Act,  1983 read with rule 3 of Sikkim Shops and Commercial Establishment Rules, 1984, the State Government is pleased to exempt all shops and commercial establishments throughout Sikkim to which this Act applies from operation of Section 17 (1) and (2) of Sikkim Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1983 w.e.f. 6th October, 2013 to 7th November, 2013 and from 22nd December, 2013 to 11 January, 2014 keeping in view the ensuing festivals.
However, every employer of such shops and commercial establishments shall ensure that the employees engaged by them get their weekly holidays as per the provisions of the Act.

Election Deptt holds two-day training for officials of South and West

JORETHANG, 27 Sept [IPR]: The state government has started full on preparation for the General Election 2014 in the state. The Election Departments in the districts have also initiated the preparations. A two-day State Level Master Trainers Training Program by the State Election Department began yesterday at SIRD, Karfectar, for the officials from different departments of South and West Districts associated with the General Elections 2014.
Various topics and issues related to the process and execution of the election were discussed in the training. This training is carried out to prepare resourceful manpower with adequate and accurate knowledge of the election procedure for the proper and smooth conduct of General Election 2014.
Welcoming the officials, Additional CEO, MN Dhakal referred to this training as a cascading training in which the master trainers will have to impart training to the officers at the sub-division level and assembly constituencies involved in the election procedure. He informed that the resource persons who are the master trainers have been trained under India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management, New Delhi.
The officials were enlightened on important and necessary aspects of the election procedure by Special Secretary Home Department, KK Kafley. Topics like Role of State Level Master Trainers (SLMTs)/Assembly Level Master, Trainers (ALMTs), Model Code of Conduct and Vulnerability Mapping were discussed at length during the workshop. Mr Kafley detailed the dos and donts of the election to the officials. He asked the participants to share their knowledge with other members on election duty and emphasized that all the officials involved in the election duty have to be familiar with the election hand book to carry out their allotted duties in an efficient and hassle-free manner.
Later, Deputy Director Election Department, DK Chettri underlined the matters related to the polling day. He explained about the different procedures related to the Polling Day and highlighted on the role of Sector Officer, Presiding Officer and Polling Officer during the election. He also informed them in brief the role of District Collector who will be designated as the District Election Officer (DEO) during the election period. Information on Postal Ballot, Poll Day Arrangements, Dispatch and Receipt of Polling Parties and Counting of Votes were discussed by him.
Deputy Secretary Election Department Namchi, Bishal Mukhia elucidated the members on District Election Planning.
The second day of the training on 27 September will have ADM West, Bhim Thatal speaking on Law and Order and Paid News. Joint Director IT Department, T Samdup will speak on the topics of Election Expenditure Monitoring and Role of Observer and Micro Observer. Special Secretary, KK Kafley will again enlighten the members about Nomination and Qualifications and Disqualifications during the election procedure. Lastly the house will have Deputy CEO Election, Kishore Pradhan talking about Scrutiny and Withdrawal and Allotment of Symbols.
At the end of the workshop, the members will be given a self-evaluation exercise to evaluate on their training. They were provided with a soft copy from the election department with detailed information of the guidelines and other important materials essential for them to be acquainted with the whole procedure of election. Doubts and queries placed on the house by the officials were cleared by the resource persons. Total 100 participants attended the workshop today, 50 each from South & West Districts.


Letters :- This is regarding news items published in certain newspapers about the issue of permission to be granted to Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) for organizing a political meeting.
In the news it is stated that the permission to organize a political meeting at Paljor Stadium on 06 October, 2013 was granted to the SKM party and later on cancelled by the District Administration. This is purely concocted news, mis-representing the facts. In fact the SKM Party had approached the District Collector, East through its vice president, Tseten Lepcha on 23 September, 2013 asking for a permission to hold a meeting on 06 October, 2013 at Sikkim Guard’s Ground. He was advised to get mike permission from the police and clearance from the concerned department for the purpose and same was assured by the applicant.
After that nobody from the SKM Party had approached the office of the District Collector, East. Some leader along with the vice president of the SKM Party, Tseten Dorji Lepcha again come with another application only on 27 September, 2013 and they also refuted the news-item in front of the District Collector.
The concerned news papers never approached the district administration for any clarification. The status in this matter so far is that neither the permission has been granted to the party nor denied. It is still in the process. No complaint regarding the issue has been made by the SKM leaders, even when they met with the District Collector, East. Instead, they also were surprised on the news item and regretted it. The district administration reserves the right to initiate suitable legal action against the concerned newspapers for such irresponsible reporting.
DAC East, Gangtok

Justice Jain to be sworn in on Monday

GANGTOK, 27 Sept: Justice Narendra Kumar Jain of Rajasthan High Court will take charge as the next Chief Justice of Sikkim following the retirement of Justice Pius C Kuriakose on 01 October.
Justice Jain is expected to arrive in Gangtok on 29 September and Governor Shrinivas Patil scheduled to administer the oath of office on 30 September at Raj Bhawan, it is learnt.
Justice Jain is the second most senior judge of the Rajasthan High Court and will retire on superannuation upon attaining the age of 62 in October 2014.
Justice Narendra Kumar Jain was born on 8 October, 1952 at Newai, District Tonk, Rajasthan and completed his Bachelors of Law (LL.B) in the year 1977 from University of Delhi.
He was elevated as a permanent Judge of the Rajasthan High Court on 2 September 2004. He was nominated as the Administrative Judge on 21 November 2012. He was the Acting Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court from 14 December 2012 to 2 January 2013. He was appointed as the Executive Chairman of the Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority on 17 January 2013.


A street play on HIV/AIDS, “Kartavya”, written and directed by Deepak Sharma Dhakal, is currently travelling through Assam Lingzey, Pakyong and Rorathang. The performances began on 25 September and are scheduled to continue till 07 October. The street-play, under the banner of Mahila Kalyankari Sangh of Arithang, is sponsored by Sikkim State AIDS Control Society [SSACS].  (text and foto JOSEPH LEPCHA)

Assembly’s monsoon session to begin on 04 Oct

GANGTOK, 27 Sept: The Governor of Sikkim has summoned the Sikkim Legislative Assembly to meet on 04 October, 2013 at 11 AM in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly Secretariat.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mary Kom writes to HRD Ministers to incorporate PETA’s “Compassionate Citizen” in school curriculum

GANGTOK, 26 Sept: On behalf of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), India, Olympic medalist and five-time world boxing champion Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom, has written to the HRD Ministers of the country, including Sikkim, that PETA's humane-education programme, “Compassionate Citizen”, be incorporated into the official curriculum of schools in the region for children aged 8 to 12. In the letter, Kom points out that violence against animals by children is often an early sign of future acts of violence against humans.
A press release informs that Kom has written similar letters to other state and union territory education ministers in the country.
“One of the best ways to knock out cruelty to animals is to teach compassion to young people. Animals need us in their corner. With violence seemingly all around us, it is more important than ever that we teach lessons of respect and kindness in the classroom,” Kom writes.
Compassionate Citizen has been voluntarily used in more than 15,000 private and government schools and has reached more than 3 million children across India. Recently, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) issued a notification to CBSE schools asking them to use it as an official part of their curriculum. The Animal Welfare Board of India – a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests – has also asked the state and union territory education ministers to incorporate Compassionate Citizen into their official curriculum.
Most children naturally feel concern and affection for animals but often lose sight of their compassion. A lack of respect for other species can translate into cruelty towards humans, too. Compassionate Citizen offers teachers tools and lesson plans designed to teach children to view animals as feeling, sensitive beings, the release informs.

Update: 2nd Sikkim Inter-Church Football Tournament 2013

GANGTOK, 26 Sept: Three matches were played in the ongoing 2nd Sikkim Inter-Church Football Tournament 2013 today here at Paljor Stadium. Out of them, two matches were decided through penalty shoot-outs.
In the first match of the day, Bethany Church Ranipool thrashed Bethesda Gangtok 5-0. In another nail-biting match, EPCS Gangtok edged past United Church of Mangan in the tie-breaker 5-4. Similarly, in another closely played match, Vishwavani Sikkim outplayed Alfa Masihi Mandali in another tie-breaker 5-3.


Letters - On 19 March 2008, NOW! carried an article, “To Yumthang, to Ski”. Every hotelier was really excited to read the article and welcomed the news of skiing being introduced in the North. Even the visiting tourist were really overjoyed, especially the young. The skiing program was initiated almost for 15 days till there was ice and snow on the slopes of Phuni and Yumthang. A very encouraging speech was made by the then area MLA and bureaucrats of the district. Daring stunts were even performed by the SMA experts. The tourists returning from Yumthang on that day enjoyed thoroughly. Yumthang was pointed out as the best location for the sport in the entire state. It's been almost 5 years, there is no sign of this sport being introduced. The slopes and ridges of the North district still receive plenty of snow till the end of March to mid-April. This is another factor which would make the sport very viable. Yet another reason for encouraging skiing is that it eco-friendly since no damage can occur to the surrounding environment. Have the organizers lost all interest of introducing this sport? But our snowy icy ridges and slopes have not lost hope, they are waiting with their snowy gowns for humans to ride down them gracefully!  
Deki Choden Dahdul, MG Marg [recvd on email]

SNPP welcomes Supreme Court ruling against Aadhar Card

GANGTOK, 26 Sept: The Sikkim National People’s Party [SNPP] has welcomed the recent Supreme Court order stating that the Aadhar Card was not a mandatory document.
Addressing media persons at a press conference today, Delay Namgyal Barfungpa [chief coordinator, SNPP] said, “Now we hope that the state government departments and other central agencies will not ask for Aadhar Cards any more”.
Mr Barfungpa said that the SNPP has been against the implementation of the Aadhar Card in Sikkim since the very beginning as it is convinced that Aadhar dilutes the value of the Sikkim Subject Certificate.
“People did not believe us then, but now with the ruling of the Supreme Court on the issue, we hope that people will change their minds,” he said and added that Sikkim Subject Certificate was the mother of all documents for the Sikkimese people.
The SNPP has also opposed Aadhar cards as it threatens national security since illegal immigrants from other states along with illegal foreign nationals from surrounding countries have been issued these cards in Sikkim, adds a release issued by Mr. Barfungpa.
He informs that the SNPP meeting held today unanimously resolved to place three demands- that all Aadhar Cards issued in Sikkim till be cancelled with immediate effect as these have been issued without any verification of nationality of recipients and constitute a real and credible threat to National Security; condemned and accused the SDF government of “acting like a sycophant to New Delhi by implementing this initiative without any thought or care for Sikkimese rights and identity as defined by Sikkim Subject Certificate, and blindly going ahead to destroy the sanctity of this document”; and appealed to the people of Sikkim to stop giving any credence to the Aadhar Card and use only the Sikkim Subject Certificate whenever required.

SKM forms block-level committee at Hee

 GANGTOK, 26 Sept: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha constituted its block-level committee for Hee Gram Panchayat under Maneybong-Dentam constituency today during a meeting held at Bhaktaman Limboo’s house in Hee, West Sikkim. The meeting was chaired by Kul Bahadur Bisht and Jit Bahadur Phurumbo and had youth wing vice-convener Topzang Bhutia as the chief guest.
An SKM release informs that the newly constituted body has JB Bisht as president, Sonhang Subba as vice-president, Pahalman Subba as general secretary, Laxmi Bhandari as joint secretary, Raju Pant as publicity secretary, Sumitra Subba as assistant publicity secretary, Ashok Gurung as treasurer, Renuka Chettri as women’s wing convener and Bhim Maya Limboo as women’s wing vice-convener.
It is informed that 32 persons were also appointed as members of the block level committee.
The chief guest, Topzang Bhutia congratulated the new office bearers of the block level committee and encouraged them to work sincerely for the people. He also alleged that the ruling party has failed to make Sikkim a poverty free state and solve the unemployment problem during its 20-year tenure.

Workshop on stress management held for TNA students

GANGTOK, 26 Sept: Rotary Club of Gangtok conducted a workshop on Stress Management for the students of Tashi Namgyal Academy appearing for the board exams. This half-a-day workshop was conducted on 20 September.
As per a press release, the resource persons for the workshop were Dr. Praveen Somani and Dr. CS Sharma. Tirtharam Sharma of the Rotary Club also gave a motivational speech to students on the day.
The idea behind holding a series of such workshops for students appearing for the board exams is to help develop better coping skills and problem solving skills amongst students so that they can manage stress arising from various sources, not only studies, much better.
It was emphasized during the workshop that usually, board exam is the first event in a student’s life when he/she is subjected to stress.
The way students learn to handle stress during this juncture of life will determine what their future will turn out to be. Correct stress manage skills learnt during teenage will pay good dividends throughout their lives.
The release informs that Rotary Club of Gangtok plans to organize such camps at various other schools in Gangtok over the next two months well before intensive preparations for board exams begin.

Founder of Bethesda Church-Sawney ordained as pastor

GANGTOK, 26 Sept: Bethesda Christian Church of Sikkim, Sawney, West Pendam organized an Ordination Ceremony at the Church on 25 September.
As per a press release, founder of the Church, Elder Chandra Prakash Rai, who is currently working in the Forest & Wildlife Department, was ordained as a Pastor by Rev. Dr. Samuel Lepcha of Shilo Church, Singtam and Rev. Daniel Berdeo of Himalayan Christian Fellowship Church, Monsung, Kalimpong in the presence of 30 Pastors, elders of different churches of Sikkim & Kalimpong area and villagers of Sawney.
The programme started with the opening prayer by Pastor Mojesh Tamang, master of ceremony was Indira Lepcha while the welcome speech was given by Church secretary Peter Lepcha. The word of god for the ordination was presented by Rev. Daniel Berdeo while the oath taking ceremony was executed by Rev. Samuel Lepcha. The ordination ceremony ended with vote of thanks by Hem Kumar Gurung and closing prayers by Pastor Philoman Rai.
The newly ordained Pastor CP Rai has so far worked for many social causes and extensively served the people on passing god’s messages in Singtam and West Pendam area. He opened Sapley Church and Adarsh Gaon Church at Singtam which comes under the Bethesda Christian Church of Sikkim, Sawney which was established in 1997.
Also present on the occasion were former Panchayat President, Lokmaya Silal along with Bhupal Das Rai.

Induction of new Duche of Old Rumtek Monastery

GANGTOK, 26 Sept: A general meeting of the newly formed Duche and Zinda [sponsors] representatives from thirteen blocks of Old Rumtek Monastery was held under the president-ship of Rinzing Bhutia of Rumtek on 24 September to discuss issues relating to the Old Rumtek Monastery and its development.
A press release informs that the meeting discussed the 2013 Gutor Puja, induction of Duche Committee Dorchung-Uchung, handing over of assets of Monastery to new Duche and provision of food for the monks.
The meeting was convened by Lama Sonam Pinto [Chultimpa]. Both the Lama and Zindas of Sha Chusom participated in the discussion and expressed their views during the meeting. The prominent speakers were Lama Karma Dorjee [Dorji Lopen], Lama Palden Bhutia [Chikhayabo], Lama Rinchen [Omjey]. Also present were Karma Tshering Bhutia of Tirkutam, CN Bhutia of Sang, Rinchen Lepcha [Panchayat].
After thorough discussion Lamas and Zindas of Old Rumtek Monastery appointed Lama Chopel Bhutia of Martam as ‘Dorchung’ and Adup Lepcha Lama of Marchak as ‘Uchung’, the release informs. In the meeting, it was also decided that the upcoming Gutor puja will be performed in a grand manner. The public and dignitaries will also be invited for the puja, it is added.
Regarding handing over of assets and accounts of the monastery a legal notice was served to Lama Dup Tshering [former Dorji Lopen] one month before but no response has been received from his side, the releases mentions.
In this regard Lamas and public have decided to approach the government and the Ecclesiastical department on 30 September. The meeting concluded with vote of thanks presented by Chultimpa of the Monastery.


NAMCHI, 25 Sept: A five-year-old girl admitted at the District Hospital Namchi died of suspicious injuries here on 22 September. The minor had been admitted to the district hospital on 20 September after being referred by the Jorethang PHC. Doctors at the hospital examined her thoroughly and provided all necessary treatment but could not save her as her condition deteriorated.
The medical report indicates a case of sexual assault on the minor, but the parents have denied any such incident, it is informed. On 22 September, SDM Namchi on the directions of District Collector [South] had also visited the ailing girl at the Namchi hospital.
The girl’s relatives in Nayabazar inform that she had recently returned from a visit to her native village in Bihar. She had reportedly returned with the suspicious wounds and injuries which led many to suspect that she was a victim of sexual assault.

Governor’s Gold Cup to start from 07 Nov

GANGTOK, 26 Sept: The 34th All India Governor's Gold Cup Football Tournament will be held from 07 to 19 November at Paljor Stadium here.
A press release issued by Sikkim Football Association general secretary, Menla Ethenpa, informs that sixteen teams are likely to participate in the tournament including two from Sikkim. The organizer, Sikkim Football Association is all geared up to make the tournament a grand success, he adds.

MGNREGA social audit conducted at Hee-Gyathang

MANGAN, 26 Sept: The MGNREGA social audit process of Hee-Gyathang GPU in Dzongu was conducted by Kapinzal Social Foundation [an NGO] from 20 to 24 September.
The social audit process included bill segregation, document verification, implementation of MGNREGA details, field visit and measurement of works and Jan-Sunwai [public hearing].  The exit conference will be held on 27 September at Mangan.
North Zilla Adhyaksha Anguli Lepcha in her address stated that, all the works should be carried out with proper transparency and added that public participation is most important.
The programme was attended by ADC (Development), ADPCAPO (HQ), Gram Vikash Adhikari (Passingdang), APO Zilla, DPC representative, GRS, SAU director, Panchayat secretary, Zilla Panchayat, job card holders and the local public.

Fisheries team inspects under construction fish tanks

GANGTOK, 26 Sept [IPR]: The Directorate of Fisheries had provided financial assistance of Rs. 30,000 each to fish farmers under Running Water Fish Culture (RWFC) funded through NFDB and State Plan.  The first installment of Rs. 15,000 was released in April 2013 and the second installment is to be released after construction of the fish tank by the beneficiaries.
In order to have an on-the-spot assessment of the progress on construction of fish tank, Secretary, AHLF&VS, DP Sharma accompanied by Addl.Director-II Fisheries, IP Chettri, Fisheries Block Officer, DB Chettri and Fisheries Guard, Durga Nepal inspected the tanks constructed by the farmers. The inspection was carried out at Lower Luing [Thami dara], Lower Berbing, Lower Lingdum, Upper Lingdum, Mindu,   Ray, Rumtek, Martam, Masa [Nazitam], Beng Khambong and Sirwani Chalamtam / Pegu Lakha.
The team from the Directorate of Fisheries met each and every beneficiary and expressed their satisfaction over the construction of the fish tanks.  All tanks are stocked with fish seed and fish have grown to fingerling size. Within the next 6 months there will be a good production of Carp fish from the above areas. The Secretary, AHLF&VS has expressed his satisfaction and happiness on the progress in field and congratulated the field officers and staff of East District for their sincere, devoted and hard work.
The effort of the Directorate of Fisheries is to bring local fish in the commercial centers throughout the State.

Allow the Young to Think for Themselves

Editorial -
What Sikkim requires its schools to create are sensible citizens who can think for themselves, analyse situations, weigh options and make practical decisions. If education was approached with this end in mind, the quality that everyone seeks to infuse into the system will also become a reality. What the present system delivers, force-feeds in fact, and this is an all-India scale malaise, is contagious indecisiveness. This indecisiveness does not mean that students have been made more confident and clear, instead, the indecisiveness is inflicted on their instinctive inquisitiveness. Too many classrooms discourage children from speaking up and too many teachers opt to indoctrinate students instead of facilitating discovery. Education is being regimented too early and learning structured even before children decide why they want to learn. It is rare to find students with wide-ranging interests anymore. And even when the young show flashes of interest beyond the curriculum, these are almost always immediately directed by the elders or teachers. Increasingly, even hobbies and games are being decided for the children. Student projects for interschool competitions are invariably prepared by teachers [just as homework and exams are more about parents] and every intonation of a poetry recital for competitions dictated to them. More and more teachers, despite even the recent confusion of CCE, are so scared that students will fail them that they end up spoon-feeding them. At the other extreme are teachers who see no hope for or in their students, so they don’t get involved either and make no efforts to add some life to the uninspired syllabus. Through either scenario, the student meets the same fate – a confidence slapped down even before it could grow. A good way to start delivering Sikkim a more confident, less disinterested generation would be by allowing students to discover some things by themselves and in doing so, they will also discover the confidence required to think and decide for themselves later in life. Unfortunately, at a stage when the planners should be devising ways and means to allow the next generation more individuality, unpardonable experiments at infantilizing grown-ups by ordering them into uniforms for college have been allowed to happen and stay…


GANGTOK, 26 Sept [IPR]: The Chief Secretary, R Ongmu along with Secretary, Home Department, MG Kiran, Secretary, Buildings Department, MB Gurung and a host of engineers and architects from both Building and UD&HD departments visited the office of Rajya Sainik Board, just below General Post office here in the capital, this afternoon.
The Chief Secretary was received and accorded a warm welcome by the Secretary Rajya Sainik Board Retd Colonel, DN Bhutia along with the other officials of the board.
The Rajya Sainik Board wants a Sainik Guest House and new office for Rajya and Zilla Sainik Board to be constructed in the area. The infrastructure there is an old one and the Board wanted a new office and a guest house there with the help of the government.
In this regard the board and the officials wanted to inform the government and get the said premises constructed with the help of the government.
During her visit the Chief Secretary inspected all the old buildings situated at the premises and also proposed to have a War Memorial in the compound of the Rajya Sainik Board. She directed the concerned department to prepare a blue print of the area in a holistic way incorporating the guest house, war memorial and landscaping of the area and submit it to the government by mid-October. She assured the board that the government will give a positive response to the request made by the Board.
During her visit, the CS was also presented with her portrait sketched by one of the members of the board as a token of appreciation.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

2nd edition of Sikkim Inter-Church Football Tournament gets underway

GANGTOK, 25 Sept: The 2nd edition of Sikkim Inter-Church Football Tournament 2013 was kicked off by Gangtok MLA Dorjee Namgyal here at Paljor Stadium today. A total of 24 teams from the state are taking part in the tournament, which is being organized by Sikkim Christian Sports Committee [SCSC]. The tournament started with prayers by Pastor RS Yonzone.
The inaugural match was played between Bethany Church, Gangtok and Shyari Baptist Church, in which the former outplayed the latter 2-1.  In other matches on the first day, HCPC Bye Pass thrashed Shiloh Church Gangtok 6-0 and AG Church Gangtok went down to HFC Gangtok 1-2.
The tournament is being played on a knock-out basis and carries cash prizes along with the trophies. The final match is scheduled to be played on 06 October.
Baptist Church, Gangtok is the defending champion of the tournament, while CNI Church, Gangtok was the runner-up of the last edition.

SGMI turns 50, celebrates smart bouquet of achievements

GANGTOK, 25 Sept [IPR]: Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute (SGMI) completed fifty years of establishment today. The golden jubilee celebration was held at Chintan Bhawan. It was on this day, in 1963, that the Mountaineering Institute was established in Gangtok. Following the demise of Late Sonam Gyatso, the first mountaineer of Sikkim and the founder Principal in 1968, the Institute was re-named as the Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute.
The Golden Jubilee celebration function was presided over by the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and attended by his Cabinet colleagues, Chief Secretary, Director, Intelligence Bureau and other officials along with senior officers of the State and Central Government.
While addressing the gathering the Chief Minister highlighted that SGMI in its 50-year-long journey has added several feathers to its cap, including the successful ascent of the Mt. Everest. He stated that it was a matter of pride for the Institute and for the State of Sikkim that Late Sonam Gyatso was the founder Principal of SGMI and the first Sikkimese to climb Mt. Everest. As a mark of respect to him, Tibet Road in Gangtok has also been re-named as Sonam Gyatso Marg, he added.
Speaking on the state government’s initiatives, the Chief Minister expressed that the State Government has implemented a large number of policy decisions in the field of sports and adventure tourism. The State Government is providing Grant-in-Aid to 17 Sports Institutions since 1996 and has also instituted Sikkim Khel Ratna Award, the highest award in Sports category in the State, which has been bestowed to Bhaichung Bhutia, Tarundeep Rai and Phulmaya Tamang.
Special Cash award along with other incentives is also being provided by the State Government to those sports person who bag gold, silver and bronze in the national and international arena.  He also expressed gratitude towards SGMI for imparting mountaineering training to the unemployed youth of Sikkim which would enable them to excel in the tourism sector.
Director, Intelligence Bureau, S Asif Ibrahim in his address mentioned that the primary objective of SGMI is to train the officers and staff in high altitude mountaineering and survival skills which are required for operating in high altitude border areas. Besides, producing trained and confident Intelligence Bureau officers for difficult and arduous duties in high altitude areas the institute has earned laurels for the country and the Bureau in the field of mountaineering, he added.
He informed that the Institute has so far conducted 159 Basic Mountaineering Courses, 29 Advanced Mountaineering Courses and trained more than 8000 personnel from the IB, Assam Rifles and NSS besides helping the local youth from Sikkim in attaining proficiency in mountaineering. He also spoke about the successful Everest expedition launched by SGMI in 2008.
During the function the Chief Minister was also felicitated by SGMI. The CM also presented mementos to distinguished guests, renowned mountaineers and SGMI Instructors. A documentary on SGMI was also screened during the function.
Earlier, Deputy Director, SIB, Gangtok welcomed the guests and highlighted the achievements of SGMI in the field of mountaineering.

Sikkim Sub-ordinate Accounts Service Association to elect new exec body

GANGTOK, 25 Sept: The Sikkim Sub-ordinate Accounts Service Association has resolved to hold elections for the new executive committee on 27 October. This was decided in a meeting held today informs a press release.
The association has also urged all the members of the East district to participate in the election process for the East District Committee and also witness the formation of the new Central Executive Committee by elected members of the four district committees.
The release further informs that the meeting also emphasized on the necessary activities and responsibilities of the association so that the new office bearers can place the association’s demands and grievances before the state government in time.
The meeting also deliberated on different issues and has urged the state government to fill the vacant posts of Accounts Officer by promoting the Sr. Accountants. The association has also urged the government to give weightage of past service to sit for the departmental competitive examination and enhancement of grade pay of Accountants.

SSP meets in Pakyong

GANGTOK, 25 Sept: Sikkim Sangram Parishad held a meeting at Pakyong Bazaar today which was presided over by former Chief Minister of Sikkim and the party president, Nar Bahadur Bhandari.
In his address, Mr Bhandari stressed on safeguarding Article 371 [f] of the Indian Constitution which provides for the protection of Sikkim’s old laws. He also highlighted issue of Sikkim Subject certificate, inner line permit amongst other issues.
Mr Bhandari stated that work which is pro-poor and pro-Sikkimese will be started as soon as the SSP party comes to power. If the party comes to power, the government will provide 50 units of free electricity to the poor and needy, he added.
The party’s working president, Rajendra Upreti highlighted that it was during SSP’s tenure that the Nepali language was included in the 8th schedule of the constitution. He went on to allege that under the SDF rule the old laws protected under Article 371 [f] are being diluted time and again.
Other office bearers of SSP also addressed the meeting today.

SKM forms constituency-level committee for Daramdin

GANGTOK, 25 Sept: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha [SKM] held a constituency-level meeting for Daramdin constituency at Sombaria Bazaar today. The meeting was chaired by party advisor, NT Bhutia and former Panchayat president, DK Chettri and had party vice-president, Birbal Subba as the chief guest.
An SKM release informs that during the meeting a constituency-level committee was formed with Manjit Lepcha as the president, Dhan Bahadur Subba as vice-president, Dilli Ram Sharma as general secretary, Mingma Sherpa as assistant secretary, Om Prakash Dhungel as publicity secretary, Lal Bahadur Chettri as assistant publicity secretary, Dev Kumar Gurung as treasurer, Ram Kumar Pradhan as assistant treasurer, Ramesh Gurung as youth convener assisted by Mangal Dhoj Subba as vice-convener, Devlata Chettri as women’s wing convener assisted by Indra Kala Gurung as vice-convener.
The release also informs that 110 people were inducted as members of the constituency-level committee who also pledged loyalty to the party. After the formation of the constituency level committee, all party workers were urged to play an active role in the grand welcome function for PS Tamang [Golay] on 06 October. People from every ward in the constituency were requested to go to Gangtok to welcome Mr Golay.
The chief guest Mr Subba alleged that the ruling party has been giving false assurances to the Sikkimese people.
The meeting was also addressed by publicity secretary, Jacob Khaling, West district convener secretary, Birendra Tamling, DR Sharma, Madhukar Sewa, Tika Hang Subba and others.

News of Salghari families joining SKM false: SDF

GANGTOK, 25 Sept: Sikkim Democratic Front CEC member, Purba Viswa from Dorap Salghari has contended that the news published in local dailies of 70 families from Salghari joining Sikkim Krantikari Morcha is false.
A press release issued by Mr Viswa states that every person from this constituency has accepted the Chief Minister and SDF president Pawan Chamling as their leader based on the party’s policies, principles, vision and programmes.
He has further alleged that SKM is an “anti-social party” and its “self-proclaimed leaders” are spreading such false news.

Ex-Deputy CM to lead Trinamool Congress in Sikkim elections 2014 bid

GANGTOK, 25 Sept: Former Deputy Chief Minister, PT Lucksom, the president of the newly installed Sikkim unit of the Trinamool Congress party today stated that the party will contest the 2014 Assembly elections with full vigour.
“We will contest elections with full force and try to oust the ruling SDF because our party has already shown our model of developmental politics in West Bengal by pulling down the Left rule,” said Mr. Lucksom.
Mr. Lucksom had served as the Deputy Chief Minister during SDF’s first term in in 1994 but was soon stripped of his post and expelled from the party two years later.
Asked on his choice for a non-local yet non-national party in Sikkim’s politics, he said he was impressed by TMC’s politics for development. “They approached us to form a unit and we formed the unit after meeting TMC leader Mukul Roy recently. We will put forward some Sikkim specific agendas with the party high command soon,” added Mr Lucksom.
The TMC-Sikkim president further indicated that he plans to meet Mamata Banerjee on 30 September and discuss strategies to mobilize the party’s support base in Sikkim. According to Mr Lucksom, his party may even forge an alliance with local outfits for the 2014 polls.
The 65-year-old politician who floated NEBHOLA party after exiting the SDF said the ruling party in Sikkim has failed to keep its promises. “Some are calling for Parivartan (change), but we want Su-Parivartan (positive change) in Sikkim for which we will rope in fresh yet politically mature people in our fold. People will see how positive changes this party intends to bring”, said Mr Lucksom.

Sensitization held on Rural Godown Scheme

GANGTOK, 25 Sept: A district-level sensitization programme on Rural Godown Scheme organized by NABCONS (a subsidiary of NABARD) was conducted at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Gyaba, West Sikkim.
The programme was attended by Programme Coordinator, KVK West Sikkim, Dr. Laxuman Sharma, Bankers of West district, officials from Agriculture department, officials from NGOs functioning in West Sikkim, Officials of KVK and members of Farmers Clubs.
General Manager (IOC), NABARD, Gangtok, RP Bhargava inaugurated the programme and briefed the participants on the Scheme and apprised the house that Bankers and Agencies can play a very important role in popularizing the Rural Godown Scheme and its benefit of credit linked back-ended subsidy, informs a press release.
The major objectives of the scheme is to create scientific storage capacity with allied facilities in rural areas to meet the requirements of farmers for storing farm produce, processed farm produce and agriculture inputs; promotion of grading, standardization and quality control of agricultural produce to improve their marketability; prevention of distress sale immediately after harvest by providing the facility of pledge financing and market credit; strengthen agricultural marketing infrastructure in the country by paving the way for introduction of national system of warehouse receipts of agricultural commodities stored in such godowns and reverse the declining trend of investment in agriculture sector by encouraging private and cooperative sectors to invest in the creation of storage infrastructure in the country.
AGM, NABARD, V Savardekar detailed that the scheme assistance is available to individuals, farmers, group of farmers/growers, partnership/proprietary firms, NGOs, SHGs, companies, Federation, Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees, Marketing Boards and Agro processing corporations in the entire country. Under the scheme subsidy at 33.33 % for Northeastern states, hilly area, women farmers, SHG, cooperatives and SC/ST entrepreneurs and their groups/cooperatives subject to maximum ceiling of Rs 62.50 lakh is available. Whereas, 25 % subsidy can be availed by the agriculture graduates, farmers other than SC/ST, cooperatives, State/Central warehousing corporation subject to maximum limit ceiling of Rs 46.87 lakh. NABARD will be administering the subsidy and monitoring the progress of the scheme.

Master trainers for electoral roll revision complete 2nd phase training

GANGTOK, 25 Sept [IPR]: The 2nd phase training of State Level Master Trainers in connection with the special summary revision of electoral rolls is being organized on 26 and 27 September for South and West districts in the conference hall, SIRD, Karfectar, Jorethang.
The training is being held as per the directives of Election Commission of India as a preparatory measure for the field level officers and trainers on matters connected with the special summary revision of electoral rolls and for the conduct of the forthcoming General Election to Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assembly-2014.
About 50 officers each from South and West districts will participate in the said training. Similar training will also be organised on 28 September, 2013 in the conference hall of Election Department for the concerned officers of East and North districts. Training will be imparted by the State Level Master Trainers (SLMTs) who have been trained by the IIIDEM, Nirvachan Sadan, New Delhi. The training will start at 9:30 AM. All appointed officers are requested to participate in the said training on the appointed date and time.

Visit Sikkim

Editorial -
Sikkim’s tourism graph has been on a consistent upward swing in the past two decades, save the 2011 Earthquake spoilsport which, well, spoiled about a season and a half. On the average though, Sikkim has grown substantially from a destination that people stumbled upon when left with free days on an itinerary for Darjeeling. Sikkim has now been a stand-alone destination with its own clientele and with a whole array of tourist spots, most  with their own niche clienteles. This has been a praiseworthy transition and those in the travel trade should pat themselves on the back. What one cannot lose sight of here is that there were many outside factors which led to Sikkim’s growth as a tourist destination. The turmoil in the neighbouring Darjeeling hills and Sikkim’s presence as a ready alternative, the closing down of Jammu & Kashmir for tourist traffic, the congestion on other tourist destinations like Nepal [which also had Maoist trouble] and Himachal Pradesh and the ever inquisitive zeal of inveterate travellers to seek out new destinations; all these are the real factors which contributed to the tourism boom in Sikkim. As far as professional packaging goes, Sikkim has still more to learn and implement. In the age of marketing, for instance, Sikkim has still not worked out that one element of the Sikkim experience that it wants to promote and sell. No event/ destination/ experience is yet synonymous with Sikkim when every tourist destination has at least one special week in the year when tourists know they are assured of a special treat. And it is not as if Sikkim does not have enough events happening which would excite tourists. But it has wasted most of the events with unprofessional planning and bureaucratic organization, so much so that most ‘tourist festivals’ are not even organized anymore. The traditional events and occasions have also lacked coherent projections and still await professional packaging. Tourist festivals, even when they are held, are hastily put together. These are not events that are targeted to attract only locals. But if it is tourists that the organizers seek, then the events should e worked out much more in advance and publicised widely giving prospective visitors enough time to plan their vacations. Even when flawlessly planned, tourist festivals take several years to become mega-events as word of mouth and mass media publicity catches on. And it is not even as if tourist festivals are necessary. Sikkim, with its Khangchendzonga, Buddhist heritage, new pilgrimage destinations like the Char Dham, border trade haat, lakes and trekking routes is already cast in the perfect foil for a tourist destination of much bigger potential than what it receives at present.

CPCR inspects Namchi District Prison, confirms it as no underage inmates

GANGTOK, 25 Sept: A team of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights visited the Namchi District Prison on Tuesday to check if the prison has any inmates below the age of 18 years.
A press release issued by the Commission informs that the team led by Chairperson, Manita Pradhan did not find anyone below 18 years of age in the prison. The State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has been directed by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to inspect prisons in the state to see whether any children under the age of 18 years were lodged there.
The Chairperson met the SP [Prison], KL Tenzing and also interacted with the prison staff to inquire about the total number of inmates present in the Namchi District Prison. It was informed that there were 93 inmates out of whom 05 are women.
The chairperson also inspected the women’s cell and interacted with the inmates about their food, hygiene, sanitation and other facilities. It was also found that 03 boys were lodged in the prison but were sent to the Juvenile Observation Home after the ossification report revealed that they were below 18 years, the release adds.
The chairperson thereafter visited Asar Education Institute and met Yanzee Pinasa [general secretary]. Illiterate domestic servants are given classes for 03 hours everyday at the institute to motivate them to be literally empowered. Ms Pradhan appreciated the work of the institute and also requested that the health checkup of all the domestic helpers coming to the institute be done and their blood group ascertained for their benefit, the release informs.
The Commission further visited office of the Namchi Municipal Council and had an interaction with Chairman, Vice Chairman and one of the Councilors. She informed them about the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 and its importance.
She also talked about the recent State Level Consultation Programme organized by the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights wherein stakeholders like Senior Medical Officers, Police and Voluntary Organisations discussed on the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012.
Ms Pradhan urged the Chairman, Namchi Municipal Council to hold an awareness programme at the district level on the above issue involving all stakeholders for the safeguard and interest of the children in the state, the release adds.

Bikers from Maharastra ride on NE tour, call on Governor

GANGTOK, 25 Sept: A delegation of around seventy two bikers from different parts of Maharashtra, riding under the banner of ‘Poorvottar Bharat Maitri Abhiyan’ [Northeastern India Friendship Mission] and as part of ‘Shasakta Bharat Abhiyan’ led by Dr Sandeep Mahind, called on Governor Shriniwas Patil at Raj Bhawan today.
A press release from Raj Bhawan informs that Poorvotar Bharat Maitiri Abhiyan is an endeavour mandated under the ‘Shasakta Bharat Abhiyan’, with the aim and objective of spreading the message of national integration, and honouring the martyrs of the north-eastern region, who have contributed in India’s struggle for freedom.
The team of bikers had started from Kolkata on 21 September, 2013 and arrived in Sikkim today. The team also visited Nathula today.
The group was accorded a warm welcome at a function organised in Raj Bhawan. During the course of interaction, Dr. Praveen Somani, president of the Rotary Club, Gangtok, made a welcome speech.
Thereafter, the gathering was addressed by the group leader of the bikers’ delegation, Dr. Mahind. He highlighted the objectives and activities of his organisation. On behalf of the entire delegation, Dr Mahind also thanked the Governor for sparing some of his precious time.
Speaking on the occasion, the Governor lauded the efforts being made by the bikers’ organisation. He also stressed on the importance of national integration for building a healthy nation, and urged every citizen of this country to come forward and help in this noble endeavour. The Governor also applauded the will power and tenacity shown by the bikers team which included a few children and women for covering such a long and challenging journey.
Dr Sandeep Mahind and Neelam Bhosale were felicitated by the Governor.

Dengue awareness in West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 25 Sept: District Hospital Gyalshing, West Sikkim organized an awareness programme on Dengue at Nayabazar, Reshi School, Legship School, Gautam Dharmasala of Legship, Toyang ICDS centre, Langang ICDS centre and Tikjeck ICDS centre respectively.
Dr. Bikash Pradhan [DSO/W], Rikki Lhamu Lepcha [Sr. CNO], Bindya Subedi [HE IEC/Cell], BB Basnett [NMS] and Chandra Kala Sharma were the resource persons for the programme. During the awareness programme, the public were informed that dengue fever is a vector borne disease mainly caused by the Aedes mosquito; the signs and symptoms of dengue fever and that people suffering from fever should immediately visit a doctor and get tested for dengue.
The resource persons also spoke on the preventative measures to be taken like keeping the surroundings clean and use of mosquito net and repellents at night. The District Hospital Gyalshing also distributed medicated mosquito nets to BPL families.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

SKM office inaugurated in Suldung-Kamling

GANGTOK, 24 Sept: Suldung-Kamling block office of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha under Rinchenpong constituency was inaugurated by West district coordinator of the party, Birendra Tamling at a party supporter Bijay Golay’s house at Reshi Bazaar in West Sikkim today.
In a press release, SKM publicity secretary, Ugen Namgyal Bhutia informs that following the inauguration, a meeting was also held at JB Rai’ house. Various speakers in the meeting spoke on the policies, principles and programmes of the party.
It is informed that the meeting also discussed the resignation of former MLA, PS Tamang [Golay] from the ruling party and his subsequent disqualification from the Sikkim Legislative Assembly and passed a proposal welcoming the same.
The meeting also welcomed news of Mr. Tamang taking over the command of SKM party on 06 October. It is informed that the meeting also constituted a block level committee for Suldung-Kamling.


Traveling along the Mangan-Singtam highway has always been a pain with heavy vehicles too heavy for the rough roads causing regular disruptions. Unable to make the climb at Kholey Dara near Mangshila on Tuesday, this truck had to shed some of its load before it could proceed further. While this happened, other vehicles had to wait is a jam which stretched long on both sides. [from WANGCHUK BHUTIA]

Two-month training for weavers inaugurated in West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 24 Sept: Two-month training for weavers organised by the Sikkim Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd., Zero Point, Gangtok was inaugurated at Rimbi and Nerdang in West Sikkim on Monday. The training is being organised under the Integrated Handloom Development Scheme Sponsored by Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
A press release informs that at Rimbi, Zilla Panchayat, Dorop Chumbung was present as the chief guest while Panchayat President, GB Bista was the chief guest at Nerdang which falls under Tashiding constituency.
In both the functions, the Assistant Directors, Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom informed the beneficiaries about the training programmes initiated by the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, and its components. The weavers were informed about Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Weavers Credit Card, Yarn Pass Book, subsidy on yarn purchase through National Handloom Development Corporation Ltd.
The chief guests of both the functions, in their address, stressed upon the importance of training and protecting and preserving the traditional handloom designs while also earning a livelihood. The other speakers from Panchayats also addressed the gathering and thanked the department for organizing such capacity building training programme in their area.

Stop! This is no longer stop-and-go… keep going - ANAND OBEROI

GANGTOK, 24 Sept: No Parking signs and marked Traffic Stops in-and-around Gangtok have been temperamentally inconsistent to the needs of the commuters, playing more to the whims of officials and demands of cabbies. And in the latest instance, this has been proven with the removal of the ‘stop and go’ taxi stop below the Tourism office [opposite Police HQ and a few metres ahead of Titanic Park stop] for downhill moving vehicles. The Titanic Park stop is for taxis to pick up fares, and the stop and go stop was for vehicles to drop off passengers. This latter stop has been declared a no-parking zone, much to the inconvenience of passengers.  
It has been almost a month since the stop was turned into a no parking area by the traffic police supposedly due to the inconvenience it caused to vehicles coming from or headed for the Police Headquarters. Minor traffic hiccups and heavy honking in the said area near Tourism Department’s gate could also be the reasons behind the stop being lifted. No cop will after all admit that the lay commuters were being inconvenienced on their behalf.
Whatever the actual reason, what it has imposed is that unlike earlier when passengers could get off just next to town, they have to now disembark either at Hospital Dara or further down at the stop near Hotel Orchid, opposite Sher-e-Punjab.
Giving the blistering vehemence with which the days tend to heat up nowadays, share-cab preferring town-bound commuters are not too pleased.
“I agree that the people can walk town even from Hospital Dara, but why change something that was so convenient for everyone. There are many people who are facing problems now,” one such passenger shared.
The authorities keep changing the rules and keep drivers and commuters confused, complained an office-going lady who lives in Baluakhani and used to get off at the stop every day until it declared a no parking zone.

Third meeting of State Board of Livelihood Schools convened

GANGTOK, 24 Sept: The State Board of Livelihood Schools convened its third meeting on Monday at the conference hall of Directorate of Human Resource Development, Khadi Bhavan, Deorali, Gangtok. The meeting was presided over by Minister of Human Resource Development Department, NK Pradhan who is also the Chairman of the State Board of Livelihood School.
A press release informs that the objective of the meeting was: to formulate the principles, guidelines in curricular development, restructuring of the training modules and updating of syllabi; to make sure the culture of the progress, focus and outcomes is put in place in all livelihood schools; to review the working of all Livelihood schools so that there is alignment in standards and performance; to devise Methods, Rules and Regulations for full proof and standard examination system for Livelihood Schools by formulating examination by-laws and akin themes, and; to work out the road map to achieve the goal of youth empowerment policy of the State Government.
Chief Administrator, SICB, SD Dhakal who is also the Member Secretary of State Board of Livelihood School, in his address conveyed the gathering about various works accomplished by State Board of Livelihood School (SBLS) till date.
He explained the aims and objectives of SBLS viz promotion of skill development by providing certificates and Mark Sheets to successful trainees of Livelihood Schools, creation of quality vocational institutions within Sikkim State in the generic name of Livelihood Schools, providing viability gap to build vocational training initiatives, providing support systems such as quality assurance, information systems, curriculum, faculty and their training, standards and quality assurance, technology platforms, student placement mechanisms and setting up standards and accreditation systems in partnership with industry associations. All these with participation of industry would improve quality of human resources and training the trainer academies either directly or through partnerships.
The meeting was chaired by Chairman of State Board of Livelihood School (SBLS), HRD Minister NK Pradhan. The members of SBLS discussed various agenda viz Certification of Syllabus of newly introduced Courses/ Trades like Primary Teachers Training, Home Stay, Orange Rejuvenation and Computerized Financial Accounting (Tally), Framing of rules and regulation for running of State Board of Livelihood Schools, functioning of Member Secretary of SBLS, Appointment and functioning of Controller of Examination SBLS, Constitution and function of Academic Council of SBLS, and construction of various Livelihood Schools, Collaboration with Pandit Sunderlal Sharma Central Institute of Vocational Education (PSSCIVE), a constituent of NCERT, MHRD, Government of India, Bhopal and IGNOU, New Delhi.
The Minister in his presidential address elaborated on the vision of the state government of making the Livelihood Schools people-centric to provide the skills to the disadvantaged section of the society at their doorstep.
“This gives equity and justice to the marginalized section of the society,” he said.
He asked the Board Members present and SICB officials to work as a part of the State Skill Development Mission (SSDM) to fulfill the growing need in Sikkim for skilled manpower across sectors and narrow the existing gap between the demand and supply of skills. This Board should function in Mission mode and address the challenge of imparting the skills required by a growing economy, said the Minister.
Principal Secretary, HRDD, Thomas Chandy stressed on obtaining support and coordination from private sectors and for Industry linkages of Livelihood Schools. He also called for significant operational and financial involvement from the private sector and focus on the unorganized or informal sector workforce.
He mentioned that with fast changing skills in the labour market, focus should be on short, relevant and effective courses that would get candidates into the workplace. He further suggested in bringing the elements of CBSE and National Vocational Education Qualification Framework [NVEQF] in the syllabus /course content developed by the SICB.

Folk media campaign against substance abuse

GANGTOK, 24 Sept: Tumin-based NGO, Navajyoti Sangh Namrang in East Sikkim organized a Mobile IEC Folk Media campaign on HIV/AIDS. A press release informs that the campaign covered 35 locations.
It is informed that the programme was sponsored by Sikkim State AIDS Control Society and was held from 12 to 23 September and covered 35 different locations in East Sikkim. During the programme along with folk songs the organization also staged street plays on HIV/AIDS written and directed by Rohit Raj Luitel.
The campaign is an initiative of SSACS to educate the population on HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and other related issues.

NPS wins Bhojraj Memorial Basketball Tournament 2013

NAMCHI, 24 Sept:  Namchi Public School boys have won this year’s Sikkim Bhojraj Memorial Basketball Tournament that was conducted by the Basketball Association of Sikkim at Paljor Stadium, Gangtok.
A press release informs that NPS defeated St. Xavier’s School, Pakyong in the boys’ finals by 67 points to 31. NPS’s Dennis Rai was declared the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament.  NPS Principal, Rev. Fr. George A. D’Souza, in a colourful ceremony felicitated the team members for winning the tournament and for being a dominant force throughout the tournament.
The Principal also thanked the Coach, Suhas Bhattacharjee and Manager, Francis Rai for training the team and making the NPS Boys’ team a force to reckon with in basketball, in the hills, the release mentions.
In the Quarter-finals NPS defeated Holy Cross School, Tadong, by 57 points to 7.  In the Semi-finals, NPS defeated Tashi Namgyal Academy, Gangtok, by 63 points to 40.

Month-long Positive Intervention Programme for the youth in South Sikkim

NAMCHI, 24 Sept: A month-long Positive Intervention Programme on HIV/ AIDS, substance abuse, alcoholism, voluntary blood donation and life skills is underway in South District. The programme is being organized for the youth, panchayats, Block Development Officers, members of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Self Help Groups (SHGs), ASHA and other similar organizations.
Launched on 23 September, the programme is being organized and sponsored by Red Ribbon Club, South District in collaboration with Sikkim State Aids Control Society.      
The month-long programme with the theme “Youth with strong roots for a healthy future” has begun from a remote village of Rolak Block under South District. All the Block Administrative Centers (BACs) under South District will be covered during the programme.
In order to convey the message on social and self development among the participants the programme includes many informative items like short skit on substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and other social evils showing their ill effects on an individual’s life and society, the skit will also be performed by members of RRC South District.
The programme also includes open quiz competition, creative games based on social issues and short speech on motivational topics with prizes for the best performers. The resource persons for the entire programme are members from Red Ribbon Club South District, members of NGOs, medical officers and members of Primary Health Centers (PHCs) and ASHA who will address the gathering and enlighten them on different aspects of life.

High Court quashes notice demanding service tax from Future Gaming

GANGTOK, 24 Sept: The division bench of Sikkim High Court has rejected the notice served to Future Gaming Private Limited by the Superintendent of Central Excise and Service Tax, Gangtok Range, Gangtok in 2012 demanding that the company pay service tax.
Future Gaming Private Limited is a Company registered under the Companies Act, 1956 and is engaged in the business of sale of lottery tickets organised by the Government of Sikkim [Respondent No. 4] under an agreement of 2009 for a term of five years. By that agreement the Petitioner procures the lottery tickets in bulk from the Government of Sikkim and resells those to the public through various agents, stockists, resellers, etc.
Future Gaming had challenged the notice demanding the service tax in the Sikkim High Court on several grounds. According to the company, with the amendment to the Finance Act, 1994 in 2012, ‘lottery’ and ‘transaction in actionable claim’ were kept outside the purview of the service tax. Specific reference was made to Sub-Sections (1), (34), (44) and (55) of Section 65B as well as Sections 66B and 66D of the Act to indicate the change in the law in clearly excluding ‘lotteries’.
The division bench of Sikkim High Court has said that the impugned letter demanding Service Tax does not have the sanction and authority of either the Constitution or the law as there is no provision anywhere for imposing of service tax on ‘lottery’.
The next ground of attack was that there is no element of service in Future Gaming’s relation with the Government of Sikkim, in respect of the Sikkim State Lotteries. The petitioner purchases lottery tickets in bulk and sells them to stockists, resellers, etc., by adding a profit margin. The stockists, resellers, etc., in turn sell these tickets to retailers who in turn sell them to the ultimate participants of the draw. As the tickets are sold to the company by the state government, the transaction is one of sale and purchase of lottery ticket and not one of rendering of any service and the company is not involved in rendering any ‘taxable service’.

Review meeting discusses preparations for CM’s Gold Cup

JORETHANG, 24 Sept: A review meeting regarding the 7th All India Chief Minister’s Gold Cup 2013 to be held in Jorethang was conducted at State Institute Rural Development (SIRD) Karfectar, South Sikkim today which was chaired by Minister Roads & Bridges, RB Subba. The tourney is been organized by South District Football Association (SDFA) in collaboration with South District Administration and other government and non-government organizations for the first time at Jorethang, South Sikkim. The tournament is set to begin from 19 October 2013.
During the meeting, Mr. Subba emphasized on active participation of all the members for the successful execution of the Gold Cup is essential for the success of the tournament. Due to the limited time available for preparation and due to the upcoming Dasain and Diwali holidays, he asked the committee to utilize time in an efficient manner.
Assuring complete support from his office for the tournament, he informed that the upgradation works going on at the Jorethang playground will be complete by 20 October. He appealed to each department, organization and Self Help Group to start work with utmost sincerity, smooth collaboration and positive motivation.
Sports & Youth Affairs Minister, NK Pradhan in his address assured hundred percent cooperation from his department for the successful execution of the tournament.
Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, KN Rai said that Jorethang shares its border with West Bengal and requested the SP (South) to maintain stringent law and order during the period to avoid unnecessary hassles which could disrupt the ambience of the tournament. He further asked the committee to provide opportunity to rural sportspersons during this type of tournaments to help them gain exposure. He further called for collective participation from all those responsible in the organizing of the tournament to make it a success.
MLA Zoom Salghari, Madan Cintury extended gratitude to the SDFA and district administration for organizing the tournament in Jorethang and suggested that the committee involve the youth of Jorethang in the tournament by handing them proper responsibilities. He also spoke on other related issues like selling entry tickets, food and refreshment arrangement, accommodation for players etc in the house for discussion. Chief Whip Ugyen Gyatso Bhutia also addressed the house.
Earlier JD Sports & Youth Affairs, Kamal Chettri placed the latest report of the organizing committee and informed the house that the last review meet to update the house regarding the progress of the preparation will be held on 19 October after the puja holidays. He said that 18 teams will be participating in the tournament wherein prestigious teams like AIR India, Bhaichung Bhutia’s United Sikkim, and many more from the North East and other countries will be seen in the Gold Cup. He also highlighted that this CM’s Gold Cup stands in the 7th position at the National Level and added that Jorethang playground also required quite an amount of renovation and repair work to prepare to host the football tourney.

DC South Prabhaker Verma welcomed the gathering and SDM Jorethang Tenzing Denzongpa ended the meeting with the vote of thanks. The review meet was attended by Minister Power Sonam Gyatso Lepcha, Minister RMDD  CB Karki, former Minister SB Subedi, MLAs, South and West Zilla Adhakshyas, Upadhakshyas, Chairpersons, Secretary Sports Department, HODs, members of Self Help Groups, Business Community, Driver Association of South & West and other eminent guests.

Two suicides

GANGTOK, 24 Sept: Two suicides have been reported in the state in the past two days.
A 35-year-old resident of Siliguri, residing at Tadong committed suicide by hanging in his rented room on 23 September. In another case, a 60-year-old resident of Luing committed suicide by hanging from a tree on 22 September.

One crushed by tree, another falls to death

GANGTOK, 24 Sept: One person was crushed to death when a tree fell on him on the under construction PMGSY road at Relling on Monday. The deceased, Bhaichung Lepcha [23] was a resident of Naitam, 12th Mile, Bhusuk.
On the same day, Passang Tamang, resident of 4th Mile, JN Road died when he slipped and fell down approximately 800 feet below the road at 14th Mile at around 6.30 PM.

Make Better Introductions

Editorial -
The rest of the nation knows very little about Sikkim. The State’s two most recognisable faces – Danny Denzongpa and Bhaichung Bhutia – are in semi-retirement and hence not much in news [or posters]. And Sikkim politics, despite all it passion and spite, carries no national-level interest, and the sports, including football, in which Sikkim consistently does well, find no space on TV news, hence, unless the Chinese act up in the Fingertip area or something of the scale of 18 September 2011 happens, the rest of the country does not get to hear of Sikkim. Few in the mainstream can point Sikkim out in the map of India and even this number of those who can has been boosted by the fact that China started showing Sikkim as a part of India on its maps. When this news was reported on TV, many in India would have noticed the corner of the country that Sikkim inhabits. Even as the cartographical knowledge might have slightly improved, fewer Indians would know when Sikkim joined the nation. Generalisations are rarely accurate, but when it comes to claiming that India does not know Sikkim, the generalisation is uncomfortably precise. It is reasonably established then that the mainstream is fuzzy when it comes to Sikkim, and while such ignorance need not always be a worry, in Sikkim’s case, it needs redressal because the ignorance often imposes avoidable heatburn in Sikkim.
What compromises Sikkim’s introduction rather severely is the fact that even people in the important ministries are unclear about even Sikkim’s geography which makes it impossible for them to be able comprehend the State’s unique political identity. The mainstream, it appears, developed partial amnesia with regard to Sikkim almost immediately after Sikkim merged with India in 1975 and corrective surgery is still awaited. Who should be playing the surgeon here? Obviously, Sikkim’s elected leaders and its bureaucrats. In the 38 years since merger, Sikkim has achieved only partial success in reintroducing itself to those who matter in Delhi. Coalition governments in the Centre have also gone against Sikkim’s interest because Delhi is either busy scheming or keeping its too many constituent partners happy to be able to understand Sikkim in any detail. But again, the responsibility to demand their attention and time is Sikkim’s. It has to get itself better understood. It hasn’t. The continued failure to do so has cost Sikkim heavily since 1975. To expand some of the points mentioned earlier, has anyone noticed that the first elections in Sikkim as a democracy were held in 1979 on the basis of an Act that was passed in 1980, in retrospect? The first Chief Minister of Sikkim was elected in 1974, a year before the merger, following elections called on the basis of Representation of the Sikkim People’s Act, 1974. It was only when the government elected after this election had already run out its term that Delhi realized that fresh elections could not be held on the basis of an Act passed under a monarchy, a system which the people had supposedly voted out in a referendum five years back. The LD Kazi government had to be given an extension because there was simply not enough time to get the constitutional processes required for ‘proper’ elections completed in time. Eventually, a hastily drafted Representation of Peoples [Amendment] Bill, 1979, was tabled in the Parliament. Before it could be debated, the Janata government in Delhi collapsed. In Sikkim, the fallouts of Bill continue to remain sore. The 1979 elections were held on the basis of an Ordinance passed by the Vice President. Elections were held and a new government elected, but this was ratified only after the Ordinance was brought to the Parliament, very close to its expiry date of 6 months, and passed despite reservations registered by those who participated in the debate. If Delhi could become so casual about a Protectorate that had become a full-fledged State by choice within five years of the history-making moment, then its inclination to study and understand Sikkim 38 years down the line would be that much more depressed. It thus becomes the responsibility of everyone who ever gets a chance to address any occasion that offers a larger national audience to highlight what Article 371F is and what makes it special.
What has instead happened so far is that only the Sikkimese keep getting reminded about this path-breaking inclusion to the Constitution of India. It does not help for the Sikkimese to learn that they are special, Delhi has to be educated about this Constitutionally guaranteed special status. Half of Sikkim’s problems will fade away if this is achieved.