Saturday, October 26, 2013

Positions get more entrenched in Adhoc teachers vs HRDD confrontation Ad-hoc teachers to continue strike till demands are fulfilled

GANGTOK, 25 Oct: Members of All Ad-hoc Teachers of Sikkim [AATS] stated today that “until and unless” all the demands raised by them with the State government and the concerned department are fulfilled, the pen-down, chalk-down and indefinite hunger strike [underway in front of the District Administration Centre, East] will continue.
The strike entered its fourth day today and no representative from the state government or concerned department has approached the teachers on strike, the teachers on dharna said today.
Addressing a press conference today, president AATS Prakash Sharma stated that four members of the association - Prakash Sharma [member], Asish Lepcha [general secretary], Prakash Sharma [president] and Khemraj Thangshing [vice president] are sitting on an indefinite hunger strike until the demands placed before the state government for the welfare of the ad-hoc teachers are met.
“Today the Human Resource Development Department [HRDD] is stating that Teachers Eligibility Test [TET] is a must and the department cannot bypass the central act, but the act was implemented in the year 2009 as RTE then why did the department not conduct TET earlier? If the department feels it cannot bypass the central Act then they must create a provision of forming a separate State Board for Sikkim. As there are certain criteria in the RTE Act 2009 which the state can use for the welfare of the state education along with its teachers,” AATS members said.
“Apart from that Sikkim even holds a special provision under the Constitution of India under Article 371 F which we demand that the state government use for the upgradation of the state education sector”, they further stated.
They said that they would not accept any formal or verbal assurances and want the State Government to pass a resolution in the Assembly to deliver on the demands raised by the ad-hoc teachers.
Khem Raj Thangshing [vice president] mentioned that there are a few states which have not introduced any percentage bar or asked for B Ed or DIET from the aspiring candidates to sit for TET. The states that have already conducted TET have also allowed fresh graduates, post graduates to sit for TET with no additional clauses, and once the candidates passed their TET the state allowed the selected candidates to undergo technical education as required after appointment. The states that have bypassed the norms are Assam, Harayana and Bihar, he said.
“The HRDD introduced TET after the ad-hoc teachers placed their demands before them 19 times. We believe that the introduction of TET is to suppress our genuine welfare demands,” alleged Asish Lepcha [general secretary].
He further urged all political parties of the state not to mix politics with their ongoing protest. If the political parties are willing to support our cause then they can take a stand on their own respecting our issues and not as one of their agendas, he stated.
The general secretary on behalf of all the ad-hoc teachers appealed all not to tag the peaceful protest as being related to the opposition in any way and further called for support and cooperation in order to resolve the issue.
He further contended that the protest initiated by ad-hoc teachers has been supported by 95% of ad-hoc teachers from across the state especially from those teaching in rural schools.
With respect to the loss of teaching hours and problems being faced by the students, he said that the parents, guardians and the local public must approach the department and state government since it is because of the government that the students are facing such problems.
The dharna at DAC was attended by over 40 members of the AATS today.
“We will continue our protest until our demands are fulfilled and if the government fails to respond then we will have to consider sterner steps”, the members added.
HRDD warns protesting teachers of disciplinary action
GANGTOK, 25 Oct: The Human Resource Development Department [HRDD] has appealed to all the Ad-hoc teachers participating in what the Department sees as “unlawful activity” of going on strike to return to their respective schools and resume their duties immediately.
A press release issued by the Principal Director HRDD states that “in case of anyone not following the same the Department of HRD will initiate disciplinary action against such teachers as deemed fit”.
It further states that the on-going strike by Ad-hoc teachers of the state “is not only detrimental to the discipline and misconduct of Government employees (temporary) but is also directly affecting the education and future of the students whose exams are round the corner”.
The release explains further that the State Government has constituted a Committee consisting of senior officers of HRDD to look into the grievances of the Adhoc teachers. This Committee is chaired by the Special Secretary, HRDD, and expected to submit its report shortly, the release informs.
“The State Government is committed to provide quality education to every child of the State. To achieve that goal the Administrative Department needs to follow certain norms and guidelines as per the rules in effect under the Right to Education Act, 2009 and National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE) norms,” the release adds.

Annual conference of Urology Society of India gets underway

GANGTOK, 25 Oct [IPR]: The 23rd annual conference of East Zone Urology Society of India [USI] got underway here at Mayfair Hotel yesterday. The inaugural session of the Conference had Chief Minister Pawan Chamling as chief guest, accompanied by Health Minister DN Takarpa as guest of honour.
In his address, the Chief Minister spoke about the initiatives taken by the Government in upscaling healthcare system of the State. He pointed out the schemes and facilities managed by the State Government and further detailed that the Government was working on both preventive and curative health measures.
He drew the attention of the audience on the innovative CATCH program, which aims at providing comprehensive promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative care with focus on health promotions and prevention. He further stated that the State will fulfill it's target of 100% coverage of the population under the CATCH program by 2015.
The Chief Minister further shared the Government's aim of nurturing the citizens of the State with the longest life span found in the Country, and that the Government is working towards making Sikkim MDR free and AIDS free.
He called on the medical fraternity present to extend their expertise in the field of medical system of the State, and invited the association of USI with the State Health Department to build specialized healthcare which are mutually beneficial.
The Health Minister in his address shed light on the infrastructural facilities available in the State. He expressed hope that the Conference would help create interest among young doctors in the State to take up treatment of maladies related to kidney, urinary bladder and prostrate.
Earlier, the presidential and secretarial addresses were delivered by Prof (Dr) Mahendra Singh and Prof (Dr) Rajesh K. Tiwari respectively.
The three-day Conference focuses on discussion on the latest technology and clinical advancement in the field of Urology today, the treatment of Prostrate and kidneys affecting millions of people will be refined and analysed, resulting in more productive health care delivery. The meeting will also discuss the latest technological advancement in the field and its usefulness in the setup. Around 300 delegates will participate in the discussions and research on ways to improve common health problem.
The inaugural session had the presence of dignitaries like Dr. Dilip Karmakar, Chairman Organising Committee, Dr. Rajesh Tiwari, Secretary East Zone USI from Patna, Prof (Dr) Mahendra Singh , President EZ-USI, Dr. R.M. Mayupatti, President USI, and Dr. Bibhas Kundu, Organising Secretary of the Conference.

INTUC demands implementation of Trade Unions Act in Sikkim

GANGTOK, 25 Oct: Indian National Trade Union Congress [INTUC] Sikkim unit today demanded the implementation of the Trade Union Act in the state. The state unit of the Congress-affiliated organization has stressed that due to the absence of this Act, workers in the state have been denied various rights and benefits and are also facing difficulties.
Addressing a press conference today at Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee office, the INTUC state-unite advisor, RK Bhatt stated that the Trade Union Act is especially meant for the welfare and benefit of workers and should be implemented in the state as it has already been extended to other states.
“INTUC wants to bring together different labour unions and associations of the state for the benefit and rights of all workers,” said Mr. Bhatt. He also demanded an increase in the HRA and DA of the workers of Sikkim.
Mr Bhatt said that the INTUC fully supports the ongoing movement of ad-hoc teachers and wants the state government to fulfill their demands at the earliest.
SPCC general secretary [communication], Doncee Lama stated that the SPCC has been moving forward with its long term programmes for the state under the new leadership of the party. She added that the party has various programmes especially for the youth and would also be visiting rural areas of the state.
“Recently the party had organized a day-long workshop on Social Media and received an encouraging response. The party will continue with such activities for the youth of Sikkim”, she stated further adding that the party will bring all central government schemes and programmes for the people of Sikkim.
The press conference was also attended by INTUC president, TT Bhutia and Seva Dal member, Sonam Tshering Bhutia.

SKM condemns removal of Majhi community from SC list

GANGTOK, 25 Oct: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha has condemned the removal of the Majhi community from the Scheduled Caste list which was reported in some local dailies today.
An SKM press release issued by general secretary [publicity], MN Dahal informs that upon learning of the development, the party found out that on 31 January 2004, Sikkim State Backward Class Commission had demanded that the Majhi community be excluded from the SC Order 1978. It is further informed that on this basis the Social Justice and Empowerment 2011-12 Report of the 55th Lok Sabha Standing Committee recommended the removal of members of Majhi community from the SC list.
The release alleges that both the MPs of Sikkim did not take any action when this report was placed in the Parliament on 24 August 2012. Excluding the Majhi community from the SC list without the knowledge of any member of this community is proof that no community is protected in the state, SKM argues.

Rakdong-Tintek holds special gram sabha

MANGAN, 25 Oct:  Tumin GPU under Rakdong Tintek GVK, East Sikkim, held a Special Gram Sabha with regard to the claims and objections pertaining to the ‘Socio Economic and Caste Census’ (SECC) Draft list.
The Gram Sabha was attended by all the Gram Panchayat Members, general public, GVA-Rakdong Tintek, APO (MGNREGA), J.Es, RDAs and other staff.
The GVA, Pema Wangchen Bhutia explained in detail the process and importance of filing claims & objections by the individuals and households in case of incorrect information/date, house left out during 2011-SECC census, and scrutiny of Foreign-Nationals in the Draft List.
The household Draft List (Ward Wise) has been displayed in all the GPKs for public to cross check their individual details. He also informed that various Forms (A/B/C/D/E) are available for specific claims & objections and the last date for receiving claims & objections is 11 November, 2013.
The Gram Panchayat President and Sachiva also spoke on the importance of public being aware and coming forward to check their respective household details.
The role and significance of Village Water & Sanitation Committee (VWSC), Vigilance & Monitoring Committee (VMC) and various other GPU level committees was also discussed in detail. Group photographs along with the Name/ Contact No./ Bio Data of the members of the various committees were also undertaken in the Gram Sabha. The same would be circulated to all stake holders for record and display.
The Gram Sabha ended with the vote of thanks delivered by the Panchayat Vice President of Tumin GPU.

Mangan boys and Namchi girls emerge champs at Namchi Interschool TT tourney OPEN CATEGORY TO BEGIN SUNDAY

NAMCHI, 25 Oct: Mangan Senior Secondary School has emerged the champion of the 2nd Namchi Inter School Table Tennis Championship 2013 in the boys’ category defeating CCCT, Chisopani, in the final match of the team event today. Similarly, Namchi Girls’ Senior Secondary School defeated Ben Secondary School to become the champions of the girls’ team event.
VCGL Rabongla and Namchi Senior Secondary School secured the third place in the boys’ category while in the girls’ category Sakyong Secondary School and Temi Senior Secondary School shared the third place.
The finals of the Inter School events of the ongoing 2nd Namchi Inter School and Open Table Tennis Championship 2013 was held today here at indoor stadium, Namchi which had MLA Zoom Salghari, Madan Cintury as the chief guest while Zilla Adhakshya South, CL Gurung was the guest of honour.
While addressing the occasion, chief guest Mr. Cintury said that the state government under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has always promoted sports in the state. Facilitating sportspersons with better infrastructure, the present SDF government has always encouraged them. Appreciating the efforts of Namchi Table Tennis Association in organizing the Inter School Table Tennis Championship, he further said that this has provided a platform to the upcoming TT talents and inched closer towards turning the dream of the Chief Minister into reality. Those playing today at Namchi can make the entire country and state proud one day, he added.
The guest of honour, CL Gurung also appreciated the efforts of NTTA to encourage rural talents.
Later, the chief guest and the guest of honour handed over the prizes to the winners of the team events of both the girls and boys category. Later NTTA president and also SDM Namchi, Karma R Bonpo presented the NTTA souvenir to the chief guest and guest of honour.
The open events will start from Saturday while the final of the events will be played on Sunday. The open events will include Veteran's Mens singles and doubles, Veteran's mixed doubles, Open Men and Womens singles, Junior boys and girls singles, Sub Junior boys and girls singles. Participants are already reaching Namchi from different corners of the state as well as from outside the state.
MLA Namchi Singithang, Binod Rai will be the chief guest of the opening ceremony of the open events while Upadhakshya South, Devi Maya Baraily will be the guest of honour.

West Point School’s Interact Club organizes blood donation camp

GANGTOK, 25 Oct: Interact club of West Point Senior Secondary School in collaboration with State Blood Transfusion Council STNM Hospital Gangtok organized Blood Donation Camp at the school premises today. The camp was sponsored by Rotary Club of Gangtok South.
A press release informs that 40 units of blood were collected in the camp where teachers, students and Rotarians donated blood.
Interact Club has thanked Dr. C M Sharma [Consultant cum HOD Blood Bank STNM Hospital], and all the staff of Central Blood Bank for the technical support. The Club has also extended its gratitude to Principal of the school, faculty advisor, Deoraj Bagdas for allowing the club to organize this camp. The Club has also thanked all the students who donated blood.
“We the members of Interact Club of West point Senior Secondary School would like to thank Prakash Sundas for his support in making this camp a success”, the release adds.

Rashtriya Hindi Academy to organize Rajbhasa Shield Samman and international conference on language and literature in Gangtok

GANGTOK, 25 Oct: Rashtriya Hindi Academy, Rupambara, has announced plans to organize the “International Conference on Language and Literature, Seminar, Poet’s Meet, National Award on Literature & International Rajbhasa Shield Samman” function here from 27 to 29 October. Eminent dignitaries of SAARC countries along with authors and representatives from government ministries, PSUs and other organizations are scheduled to participate in the three-day deliberations spread across nine sessions.
This was announced by Rashtriya Hindi Academy Chairman, Dr Swadesh Bharati here today. He is a Hindi writer with around 100 books, 26 poetry collections, 9 novels along with more than 90 works of criticism and stories edited works to his credit.
Dr Bharati informs that to commemorate the 144th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and the 66th anniversary of the Independence, the academy was organizing the International conference on language and literature. He informed that the Academy has already organized 25 language conferences in almost all the states of India between 1989 to 2012.
It is informed that 15 government ministries and public undertaking companies have been selected for International Shield Honour, National Rajbhasa Shield Award and Rajbhasa Patrika Shield Award and 5 eminent writers will also with Vishisth Hindi Seva Samman. Likewise, international seminar on Literature will focus on Information Technology and development of Hindi, Indian and SARC languages in India and abroad.
Dr Bharati mentioned that the RHA has played a key role in recognition and inclusion of Nepali, Konkani and Manipuri language in the 8th Schedule of Indian Constitution during 1992.

Sikkim HDR advisory council meets on Monday

GANGTOK, 25 Oct [IPR]: The Advisory Council Meet of the Sikkim Human Development Report, 2013 has been called for 28 October, Monday at 10:15 a.m. at Mannan Bhawan here. The Chief Minister, who is also the Chairperson of the Advisory Council for the Sikkim HDR, will be chairing this Meet. Executive member, Lok Sabha MP PD Rai and Advisor Member, Dr. A. K. Shivakumar, who will be presenting an overview on the Sikkim HDR, will also be present.

Temp Terms for Permanent Requirements?!

The ongoing Adhoc teachers’ confrontation is wrong on all levels – from the manner in which the HRD Department continues to hire teachers on temporary basis for clearly permanent requirements to the mode of protest chosen by the teachers.
First, the hiring process... For all the excuses that the department might proffer, none can justify how and why such a large number of teachers continue to hired by the academic session for such a long time on such exploitative terms. The present lot of adhoc teachers are posted to schools when an academic session begins and begin draw a consolidated salary once they join their duties and stop receiving pay from the day the school closes for the winter break; and then the wait begins for the next academic session. Such an arrangement should be allowed only when the HRD Department has to fill a sudden, unforeseen vacancy. When a teaching post falls vacant mid-term and students need to be attended, such a temporary appointment can be considered. But the Department has been resorting to such hiring for several years now. It is clear that the practice continues because the insecure pool of the unemployed seize even these clearly inconsiderate terms in the hope that it will eventually lead to regularization of service and the more than handsome emoluments that such employment offers. There have been ample instances when rules have been bent to absorb adhoc employees into permanent service to inspire the adhoc teachers to make such demands now and expect them to be met. It is time that the State’s employed demanded that such relaxations be banned because it is tantamount to double denial of opportunities to the unemployed. Adhoc/ temporary employment rules are lax and open to abuse and/ or compromise. To then regularize services which were not appointed under the strictest and most transparent hiring processes can be seen as a second denial of opportunities to others who could have bid for the job. That said, given how such matters have been handled in the past, one could even overlook the aspiration for more permanent employment among the adhoc teachers [for the record, the protesting teachers are not demanding outright regularisation but are seeking more secure employment even if on adhoc basis]. What cannot be overlooked however is the mode of protest chosen by the group. Even after accepting that idealism is lost in the present times, one expects teachers, even those of adhoc nature, to have no priority but the interests of their students. One cannot deny teachers their right to demand, protest, aspire or lobby; but one hopes that they can devise more innovative ways of doing so, modes which do not end up denying students.
At present, the situation has become one of confrontation between adhoc teachers and the HRD Department, and that is probably how it will be addressed and resolved. The situation is however about more than that and what needs to be addressed more importantly is why permanent requirements continue to be filled on temporary basis allowing for uncertainty to prevail, unfair service terms to be imposed, unclear demands to be raised and unmerited aspirations to be voiced.

Australian runs in Sikkim to raise funds for environmental protection Down Under

Gangtok, 25 Oct [HMN]: An Australian from Melbourne, Kim Shore, recently ran a half marathon in Sikkim to raise money and generate awareness for environmental protection internationally.
On 11 October, Mr. Shore ran a course of 21.1 km between Rumtek and Sang, East Sikkim. The purpose of his run was to raise funds for the Environment Defenders Office, a community environmental law centre (advice and litigation) in Melbourne.
Mr. Shore chose Sikkim to inspire people in Australia with the ecological diversity and environmental heritage in Sikkim. He hopes to eventually create an international event in Rumtek, raising money and awareness for local environmental protection in Sikkim and Australia.
He has historical links in Sikkim through his father, Lama Chime, who has been a friend of Sikkim for over 40 years. Lama Chime has a long-standing relationship between Dharma teachings in India and Australia.
Mr. Shore was visiting Sikkim with his father at a time when he ordinarily would be running in an event called “Run for the Environment” in Melbourne. The event has been successful in raising over $500 Australian dollars.
This event, he says, could become an annual event to enable international fundraising efforts for environmental protection and awareness in Sikkim since, environmental degradation and the rapid onset of climate change require global efforts at the local and international level.
With collective will and opportunity, this small event could initiate an annual marathon event in which Indians and Australians would run together with the object of putting the integrity and health of the environment at the forefront of our conscience, he says.
[Hill Media Network]

Two Army porters killed in road mishap

MANGAN, 25 Oct: Two porters employed with the Indian Army were killed in an accident that occurred on Thursday near Rangma Range, 4 kms from Chungthang towards Lachen, when an Army Gypsy carrying porters fell off the road.
Out of 9 people on board the vehicle, 8 were army porters. Two porters died on the spot while three others with grievous injuries were taken to Siliguri after rescue. The driver and three other porters sustained minor injuries and were taken to Mangan district hospital. They were referred to the Army hospital, Gangtok today.
The two dead bodies have been brought to Mangan District Hospital for post mortem while the family members of the deceased are yet to arrive at Mangan from Siliguri.

Army personnel on trekking-cum-cycling expedition

GANGTOK, 25 Oct: A trekking cum cycling expedition by army personnel was flagged off today on a 66 km march along Ratey Chu on the Tamzey–Kabi–Penangla–Kyangnosala–Thegu axis.
An Indian army press release informs that the expedition, involving ten army personnel, has been organized under the aegis of the Black Cat Division and was flagged off by Brig SK Sengar.
The aim of the expedition is to make residents of East Sikkim aware about the work undertaken by Army in sectors such as environment conservation as well as explaining the flora and fauna of Sikkim. The medical team of the expedition will be providing medical aid in the remote area of Ratey Chu, the releaseadds.
All members of the expedition team and Brig Sengar planted a tree at Tamzey before setting out on the expedition.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Interschool and Open TT championship gets underway in Namchi

NAMCHI, 24 Oct: The 2nd Namchi Interschool and Open Table Tennis Championship 2013 was inaugurated at the Indoor Stadium here today by Chief Whip, Government of Sikkim, Ugen Gyatso Bhutia, accompanied by area MLA Namchi-Singithang, Binod Rai as the guest of honour.
In his welcome address, the Namchi SDM, Karma R Bonpo, stated that the primary objective of the tournament was to promote upcoming rural TT talent in the state. He further said that though there are financial constraints, the event saw the light of day due to the financial assistance provided by hydel project developers, departments and likeminded people.
Addressing the opening ceremony, chief guest Mr. Bhutia congratulated NTTA for organizing this tournament especially for the students and budding TT talent. He informed the gathering of students and public that the present ruling Government is pro-education and pro-youth. Mentioning the recent distribution of laptops to students, he stated that the aim was to open the minds of the young generation of Sikkim. The chief guest also handed over an amount of Rs.25000 to the NTTA.
The programme was also addressed by president of SVTTA, Kuber Bhandari. He stated that they were impressed by the scale of the event that was being hosted today.
These sentiments were echoed by president STTA, CK Basnett who is also the president of the Sikkim Olympic Association. He informed the TT players gathered today that from now on all equipment needed by them could be bought through STTA at 50% discount on the retail price. He further went on to say that Namchi Table Tennis Association should concentrate on sending players for national and state level tournaments too.
Speaking on the occasion, the DC who is the patron of the NTTA said that they were pleased that the event being hosted had received such a tremendous response and even though there were some initial hiccups, the event is sure to succeed as they had the support of the parent associations and of the Government.
Students from seventeen government and private schools are participating in the inter-school competition. Friday would see the finals of the Inter-School Competition which would be attended by the MLA Zoom Salghari Constituency, Madan Cintury as chief guest and Adhakshya, CL Gurung as special guest.
The event was also attended by Zilla Adhakshya South, CL Gurung, Upadhakshya South, Devi Maya Baraily, Chairman Namchi Municipal Council, BT Tamang, Vice Chairman, NH Ansari, president Sikkim Table Tennis Association and Sikkim Olympic Association, CK Basnet, general secretary Sikkim Veteran's Table Tennis Association Kuber Bhandari, Joint Secretary STTA, Tashi Wangyal Lepcha, DC South cum Patron NTTA, Prabhakar Verma, ADC (Dev) Namchi, Benu Gurung, ADC (Dev) Ravangla, Tashi Chopel, president NTTA, Joint Director (S/W) Sports and Youth Affairs, Kamal Chettri, president and the members of various NGOs and Association, school heads, teachers, students and the members of NTTA.

Ex-gratia released to West Sikkim family which lost home to fire

GYALSHING, 24 Oct [IPR]: The two-storied house of Phurba Sherpa of Bhareng under Ribdi GPU was destroyed in a fire that broke out in the intervening night of 22 and 23 October. All belongings of the family, including documents and ornaments were consumed by the fire.
No one was thankfully hurt in the incident.
MLA Daramdin, Tenzi Sherpa, SDM Soreng, Gaayas Pega, GVA Daramdin, Karzang Lassopa and Panchayats reached the spot the next morning. SDM Soreng handed over ex-gratia relief of Rs. 35,000 to Mr Sherpa.
Further, MLA Daramdin assured to provide a CMRHM house to the victim as well. SDM Soreng thanked local Panchayats and villagers of Bhareng for their participation in extinguishing the fire and saving the village from further damage.

Annual Convention of Indian Association of Women Veterinarians concludes in Gangtok

GANGTOK, 24 Oct: The two-day XIIth Annual Convention of Indian Association of Women Veterinarians on ‘Empowering Rural Women for Sustainable Animal Husbandry through Bridging the Knowledge and Policy Gap’ concluded here today. Such a convention is being organized for the first time in Sikkim.
More than 150 participants from states across the country along with SHG representatives of Sikkim participated in the convention. The convention was organized by the Sikkim chapter of the Indian Association of Women Veterinarians in association with the department of Animal Husbandry, Livestock, Fisheries & Veterinary Services.
The valedictory function of the convention held this afternoon had the Chief Secretary, R Ongmu as the chief guest, who was accompanied by Development Commissioner, N Ethenpa as the guest of honour.
Deputy Director, Dr Karma Doma stated that the state chapter has organized this convention for the first time in the state in a successful manner. She added that the organizing committee has received an encouraging response from all delegates and participants. She further added that from Sikkim 27 women veterinarians and one honorary member participated in the convention and was fruitful for all participants. She also expressed her gratitude to all for the support for making the event a grand success.
Dr Doma stated that the convention was a platform for veterinarians from across the country to discuss on various agendas, to exchange ideas, find solutions on various issues and to disseminate information to rural folks. Another objective of the event is also to create awareness among rural women to increase dairy and poultry production by using the latest scientific methods.

MikInk has designs for you

GANGTOK, 24 Oct: “Tattoos are the only thing that you take to your grave and having tattoos does not make you delinquent or a thug. Basically, tattooing is an art form practiced by many religions and communities across the globe. And since art is about self expression and creativity, there is no better way to express yourself than through ink,” holds forth Michen Lepcha, a 24 year old from Namchi who took his passion for art to the next level by becoming among the first from the region to take up tattooing as a profession. He goes by the call sign, MikInk.
Michen is now creating waves amongst the youth in Sikkim with enquiries about his first open tattoo and painting exhibition to be held at Chullah Karaoke Bar & Restaurant Tadong from 01 to 05 November and at YOLO [You Only Live Once] at Deorali from 05 to 07 November.
NOW! caught up with the artist who is currently working in a studio in Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal and is all excited about his first major splash here in Sikkim.
NOW!: What has the response been like since you announced the dates for the exhibition cum studio and what do you think about the tattoo scenario here?
Mik Ink: In Sikkim initially it was a bit difficult but due to television shows like L.A Ink and Miami Ink, people at some point of time started understanding and respecting the art of a tattooist or getting tattooed themselves. Sikkim youth especially now, are embracing this art.

What has been your inspiration and where do you rank yourself as an artist?
My inspiration has always been driven by my love for nature and at times it basically happens according to my mood and trying new art and designs have always challenged me till now. I’ve always been engaged in art since my childhood and was always encouraged and motivated with the people around me. And tattooing showed me an insight to the perfect art that i could pursue for my future and thanks to my family for always believing in me and supporting me. If i had to categorize myself i would grade myself C, because i believe the best is yet to be achieved.

Does the taboo associated with body art discourage you as an artist? Can you make a successful living out of tattooing??
Yes, there were times when people told me that what I was doing was pretty stupid but these days the culture of tattooing is being embraced in India, we might be moving at a tortoise pace but it has definitely been making an impact on the Indian society with even Bollywood backing this trend. However, If we take Sikkim’s take on this then, there is hardly any opportunities right now but in rest of India, places like Delhi,Mumbai,Pune,Kolkota,Goa etc has a lot of opportunities,there are tattoo studios everywhere in these places and Conventions are always held, where Indian tattoo artists get to come together and showcase their talents.

What is your message to the aspiring tattoo artists from the region?
For aspiring tattoo artists I would advise them to be honest, to use their own creativity, make sure one uses proper equipments, be hygenic, dont use copyright and never to give wrong notion about tattoos. Respect all. Advice for people who wants to be inked be an adult first, to decide what you want in your own canvas.

[Those who want to make appointments or have any enquiries about MikInk can email at or contact: +919593985444]

SKM claims more converts

GANGTOK, 24 Oct: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha has claimed that with the formal joining of PS Tamang [Golay], the party was now expanding on a rapid clip. An SKM press release informs that in this process, a block-level committee of the party was formed at Bongten under Maneybong-Dentam constituency. The release adds that the 31-member committee has Ashok Gurung as the president. Another SKM press release further informs that 17 families of Denchong-Dong ward under Poklok Kamrang constituency of the ruling party has joined the SKM today.

Sikkim Solidarity Forum approaches Governor with complaint against AOSS

 GANGTOK, 24 Oct: Sikkim Solidarity Forum submitted a memorandum to the new Governor of Sikkim on 22 October to take “appropriate action” against Association of Old Settlers of Sikkim for terming members of the Sikkimese Nepali community as “foreigners”.
The five-page memorandum signed by the president, Bharat Basnett along with other members of the forum also includes a copy of the FIR filed by the Forum with the Superintendent of Police [East] on 1/8/ 2013 to investigate alleged illegal activities of money laundering and tax evasion carried out in the state in the past.

Road Safety and Traffic Education Week begins Sunday

GANGTOK, 24 Oct: Sikkim Police [Traffic Division] is all set to observe the 24th Road Safety and Traffic Education Week here in the Capital from 27 October to 02 November, informed Ongmu Bhutia [DSP, Traffic, Sikkim Police], during a press conference held at the office of the Superintendent of Police [East] today.
The first day [27 October] of the road safety week will see spot painting and quiz competitions on road safety which will be held at Deorali Girls Senior Secondary School at Deorali from 9 a.m. onwards.
On 28 and 29 October the Sikkim Traffic Police are going to do undertake checking of vehicles on usage of mobile phones while driving, use of seat belts, drunken driving and documents of the vehicles.
On 30 October, a road safety walk with placards carried by school children, drivers association, NGOs and other concerned organizations starting from Titanic Park all the way upto Zero Point and back will be organized by Sikkim Traffic Police.
The walk will begin from 9 a.m. onwards and then from 11 a.m. onwards while a visit of the road safety exhibition at Titanic Park by school children and general public will also be held. Later, announcement of road safety at different intersections, taxi stands, bus stand and truck stands will be done.
On 31 October and 01 November, the Traffic Police will do vehicle checking, challaning on drunken driving, over speeding, over loading, dangerous driving, driving by unauthorized persons, qualities of helmet, lane discipline and proper vehicle documents will be done.
On 02 November, a closing event is going to be held at the Titanic Park.

Land Revenue Deptt inspects progress of PMRF and NDRF works in South district

NAMCHI, 24 Oct [IPR]: Secretary LR&DM Department, KS Tobgay along with Principal Chief Engineer cum Secretary Roads & Bridges Department, TB Rajalim and Additional Chief Engineer Roads & Bridges, Ranjan K Pariyaar were here in the South District today for an inspection tour of roads under Prime Minister’s Relief Fund [PMRF] and National Disaster Relief Fund [NDRF] schemes.
Mr Tobgay informed that this inspection is being carried out mainly to assess the progress status of the projects under PMRF and NDRF central schemes in the areas of South District where they have been implemented. He further updated that these schemes were sanctioned in the financial year 2011-12 and are of 3 years duration and so for a midterm review, the team had come to the district to physically verify the works. He said that the District Collector and the SDM in the districts have been directed to look after the progress report of these schemes. Mr Tobgay also added that during this tour, inspection of ICDS Centers and restoration works of government schools will be carried out as well.
“We found the works in the inspected areas to be satisfactory”, remarked PCE cum Secretary, TB Rajalim. He further notified that directions have also been received from the Planning Commission of India to direct the line departments to physically oversee the works so as to complete all the repair/restoration works quickly within the scheduled period.
The engineering team from Roads and Bridges comprised of SE (Namchi) R&B, Mohan Gurung, DE R&B, Bildat Rai. AEs R&B, Sanjeev Rajalim (Namchi circle), Santosh Rai (Jorethang Circle) and Susan Rai, JE R&B (Namchi circle). Also present during the inspection tour were SDM Namchi, Ravindra Kumar and SDM Jorethang, TD Denzongpa. Areas covered in South district today are Manpur-Sumbuk-Rong-Namchi and from Namchi-Nangdang-Mamley-Assangthang via Dhargaon to Possong to CCCT till Jorethang.
The team will proceed towards West District in the evening for the same inspection tour on 25 October.

Khoj for Pratibha to be held at Gyalshing

GANGTOK, 24 Oct: “Khoj for Pratibha – Pride of Sikkim 2014”, a talent hunt for underprivileged children organized by the Young Energetic Society [NGO] is slated to be held at Community Hall, Gyalshing on 26 October.
Young Energetic Society has kicked-off a drive to search for talent from the underprivileged section and mold their talent so that they become Sikkim’s young superstars. Awareness campaigns about AIDS, TB, Drug Abuse and Breast Cancer will also be conducted.
The event was kicked off successfully at Mangan, North Sikkim on 01 September 2013 and has now reached Gyalshing. Deputy Speaker Sikkim Legislative Assembly, MB Dahal is expected to attend the event as the chief guest along with football star Bhaichung Bhutia.

Pune District Cooperative Society Federation members and bikers call on Governor

GANGTOK, 24 Oct: A group comprising of thirty members of the Pune District Cooperative Society Federation, led by the Secretary of the Federation, Sahaji Ranawade called on the Governor of Sikkim, Shriniwas Patil at Raj Bhawan today.
In a special function here at Raj Bhawan, the Governor felicitated all the group members for their noble cause, informs a press release. The group was on a three-day study tour to Sikkim. The Secretary on behalf of the Federation was grateful to the Governor for having spared his valuable time and words of encouragement, the release adds.
Also today, a delegation of bikers comprising of six members of the Namaskar group led by Ajit Pradhan called on the Governor.
The Governor felicitated the group [which moves on the theme “on wheels in quest of knowledge”] for their effort and tenacity in travelling on motorcycles from Pune to Nathula.

Everyday’s still a Sunday at Denzong Cinema Hall

GANGTOK, 24 Oct: “Everyday is Sunday” continues to hold audience interest in Gangtok as it enters a strong second week at Denzong Cinema Hall here. The film, produced under the banner of Deorali Varieties by Pabi Ratna Sakya and Rakesh Mohora, is the second Hindi film produced from Sikkim and has been shoot completely in locations across the State. Trishala Tamang, a student of Deorali Girls School, has made her debut in the lead role. The movie is scheduled to release on 25 October in Kalimpong and Siliguri (Payal Cinema Hall), Maalbazar and Birpara. The Nepali version of the movie will also be released all over Nepal after Diwali it is informed.

Traffic Jammed

Traffic is a problem in Gangtok. The jams are becoming longer and denser and parking has emerged as a challenge for which no one has presented an enforceable, practical solution. There is, after all, only so much road for the march of vehicles which show no sign of tapering off. A recent meeting to discuss these problems floated some options. While accepting that the problem has now grown so big that a solution will not be painless, it is important that the policy-makers, before they unleash more rules and regulations, see to it that the personnel who will be given more rules to enforce and hence more ‘power’, are first groomed with better interpersonal skills. Traffic and parking problems are ubiquitous to urbanization and the only places which have managed to ease the situation to more manageable levels have done so through participatory policing where traffic cops, beat cops and community representatives worked together. Some localities in Gangtok too have managed to manage their parking problems by building consensus on locality-specific regulations and then leveraging police assistance to ensure compliance which they oversee themselves at a community level. This convenience contrasts starkly with the confusion that has returned to the highway where only traffic personnel toil away. Even here, the portions where individual taxi stand associations assist traffic flow, the management is better. Elsewhere, it is traffic and police personnel with clamps scowling and hyperventilating their writ on the roads. The call for induction of better interpersonal skills for cops was made because at present, the police, both beat and traffic personnel, engage with defaulters as if they were criminals. Traffic and parking violations do not constitute criminal transgressions and people can be challaned, even taken into custody, but should not be shouted at and screamed off the roads as often happens. And now the policy-makers are even contemplating stricter policing against jay-walking. This, without proper sensitization, is again a bad idea because there have already been embarrassing incidents of grown-up people new to Gangtok being screamed at by traffic cops for having walked across the road instead of having taken the pedestrian flyover. Civic habits are the most resilient when they are inculcated, when enforced by people in uniform, they only agitate people and make chances of collaborative solution finding that much more difficult. And traffic and its regulation has really become a big problem for Gangtok, making a collaboration to ease it important.

Dans Energy donates medical equipment to Namchi Dist Hospital

NAMCHI, 24 Oct: Hydel project developer Dans Energy donated medical equipment to Namchi district hospital yesterday. The hydel developer donated drip stands, BP measuring instruments, oxygen flow meters, electric sterlizers, oxygen trolleys, x-ray view boxes and stethoscopes.
These were handed over to the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Bimal Rai, by the social welfare officer, Dans Energy Pvt. Ltd in the presence of DC South Prabhakar Verma.  DMS South Dr. Baroon Subba was also present on the occasion.

Price rise pulls onions out of alu-chewra servings Anand Oberoi

GANGTOK, 24 Oct: Escalating onion prices over the past four months have forced restaurants and eateries that depend mainly on the ‘priceless’ commodity to come up with ingenious ways to tackle the price rise.
With onions now costing around Rs. 70 per kilogram in Gangtok, businesses like the alu-chewra stalls are now serving radish that costs around Rs. 30 a kg as a supplement to the onion. Shriram, an alu-chewra vendor at Lall Bazaar informs that since there was no way they could increase the price of alu-chewra and other items at their stalls as the administration is keeping a strict check on any such changes, the only option left was to change the menu.
“We decided to serve radish with a touch of the precious onions as the special ingredient. We cannot raise the prices on our own whims thus all of us decided that we would cut down on the onion expenses and instead buy radish which is much cheaper. We are now buying around 7kgs of radish per day to meet our customers’ demands,” he tells NOW!
He added here that earlier his business required purchasing around 4 kilograms of onion per day to meet the demand of the customers who throng his stall every day; however since the price rise he and other vendors buy only around 1 kg onions instead of 4 kgs per day.
And it is not only the alu-chewra walas who have improvised their menus. The tea stalls that earlier used around 60 kgs of onions (a sixty Kg sack) are now purchasing around 10 kgs per day. According to Ajay Prasad a tea shop owner, most of the tea shops have stopped selling items like Chola that require onions as garnish. However, they are serving veg momos for Rs 30 per plate of eight pieces.
“We have to maintain the size and quality or the customers will stop coming to our shops. We felt that veg momos had a bigger demand than chola so we cut down on chola to give the customers veg momos. We can’t help it so we will cut down on our items and wait till the prices of onions are stable again,” explains the tea shop owner.
Adding to the existing onion price woes is the increase in the prices of potatoes (White) that is used exclusively in restaurants and tea stalls, the price of white potatoes in Lall Market has increased from Rs. 11 to Rs. 17 in the past ten days. With the tea stalls now bearing the brunt of maintaining prices, this rise in potato prices might also lead to increase in prices of items at the tea stalls in the coming days.
It is not just veg restaurants but those serving non-veg items are also feeling the heat of sky high onion prices. A restaurant owner who has a large fan following informs that they cannot compromise with the quality of items and that they would wait it out for a while before deciding to change the menu or increase prices. And now with onion prices close to reaching the Rs. 80 mark, a plate of beef momos has soared to Rs. 80.
The general secretary of the Bihari Jagran Manch, Lall Bazaar, Aswini Jha informs that the hawkers and wholesalers in Gangtok have not raised the prices and have been working with the Gangtok Mayor, KN Topgay to keep a check on any unwanted rise in prices.
“The biggest vendors in the market are selling around 20 kgs at the most where earlier around 120 to 180 kgs was sold per day. The hawkers and wholesalers have devised means to maintain the prices and have suppressed profits to keep the prices at the present rate. Wholesalers sell onions at around Rs. 68 per kg and the hawkers are selling it for Rs. 70 per kg, keeping the profit margin at Rs. 2. This profit is also not stable since the demand of onions in the market has gone down considerably,” states Mr. Jha.
45 per cent of the onion produce in the country comes from the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. As a result, if harvest is hit in just one-two states, onion prices tend to rise.
July-September is considered the lean period for onion, during which demand is met from rabi (summer) stocks. The kharif (October-November) crop, which starts arriving in markets at the end of September, has been damaged by unseasonal rains.
Earlier, rains had also damaged the summer or rabi crop (March to May) in key onion-producing states, making the supply squeeze worse. The rabi crop accounts for over 50 per cent of onion production in the country.
The economics of demand and supply is playing out currently. Onion supplies are less than 50 per cent of the country's monthly estimated total demand of 9-10 lakh tonne, PTI said citing analysts. Shortage of onions in the festive season, when demand spikes, has led to a surge in prices, traders say.
Summer onions, which can be stored for more than six months, have been exhausted. These onions, which are mostly exported and used by restaurants and the food-packaging industry, command a higher premium. Now, the new kharif crop, that has lower shelf life, has also been hit by rains, so price volatility has gone up sharply. []

BJP youth president welcomes Golay’s endorsement of woman CM for Sikkim

GANGTOK, 24 Oct: President of the BJP Sikkim’s youth wing, Shanti Sharma, has welcomed former MLA PS Tamang’s [Golay] recent statement encouraging women to aspire for the post of Chief Minister.
“Sikkimese people including I, eagerly wait for the day when the most educated, able, visionary deserving woman with utmost caliber and farsightedness would be declared as the Chief Ministerial candidate”, she has stated in a press release.
Women’s empowerment till date exists just as an idea but this kind of political development would in the actual sense make Sikkimese women empowered in all aspects, she adds.

Open FITA/ Indian Round Archery Tournament on 26-27 Oct

GANGTOK, 24 Oct: Sikkim Himalayan Sporting Club [SHSC] has announced plans to organize an Open FITA/ Indian Round Archery Tournament here at Tenzing Namgyal Memorial Ground [erstwhile Guards Ground] on 26 and 27 October. More than 30 archers from different parts of the state will be taking part in this two-day tournament.
SHSC publicity secretary, Zigmi Y Lepcha, who is also the State Chief Archery Coach, informs that archers from all four districts will be taking part in the events of Indian Round, Recurve and Compound of the tournament.
Speaking on the objective of the tournament, the SHSC president, Tenzing Lamtha stated that being a sporting club, SHSC wants to promote modern archery as a sport in which local youngsters can excel and build a career. He further added that the main objective of the tournament is to encourage local children by providing a state-level platform and exposure.
To create awareness on modern archery the club has also invited students from Enchey SSS, Modern SS, West Point SSS and Tathangchen SSS. This event also seeks to support the initiative of the Sports Department and Sikkim Archery Association to promote and develop archery in the state, he informed.
Mr. Lamtha added that after its formal registration recently, the club has organized Tiger Five Football Tournament and will continue to host such sporting activities and provide coaching for local children in other disciplines too.
Organizing committee president, Dadul Bhutia invited all to witness the tournament to encourage and motivate local archers on both the days.
The tournament is scheduled to be inaugurated by Princess Hope Leezum Namgyal as the chief guest, who will be accompanied by the Speaker, KT Gyaltsen, who is also the area MLA, as the guest of honour.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sikkim students treat Chandigarh to celebration of Sikkimese culture

GANGTOK, 23 Oct: Students of Sikkim organized ‘Sikkim fest’ at ITFT [Institute of Technology and Future Management Trends] College Chandigarh on 22 October on the theme “Identity lies within culture” to showcase the varied culture, tradition and to promote Sikkim tourism.
Minister of Forest, Himachal Pradesh, Thakur Bharmur Singh was the chief guest and Executive Director of ITFT, College Dr. Gulshan Sharma was the special guest of the festival.
As per a press release, the main attraction of the programme was the stall showcasing different traditional food items, ornaments and equipments of the different communities of Sikkim. Students also gave presentations on the different pilgrimage destinations in the state.
Earlier, the programme began with the song ‘Jahan bagcha Teesta Rangeet’ and a cultural show wherein the students performed wearing full traditional attire.
The chief guest Thakur Bharmur Singh appreciated the programme while Executive Director of ITFT College, Dr. Gulshan Sharma congratulated the students for their hard work and effort to promote the culture and tradition of their state.
The Sikkim Fest 2013 was an initiative taken up by the students of Sikkim studying in that ITFT college Chandigarh and it was supported by the Chief Minister of Sikkim both financially and morally.
“On behalf of the student community, we the students of Chandigarh would like to thank our honorable Chief Minister for his encouragement and being a paternal figure for us. Such support from him shows his concern and love for students”, the release mentions. The students also acknowledged Kavita Subba of the student cell of the Sikkim Democratic Front for the guidance and support extended.

SSP challenges SDF claims of Companies Act 1961 not being repealed

GANGTOK, 23 Oct: Sikkim Sangram Parishad Party president, Nar Bahadur Bhandari, has rejected the ruling party’s claim that the Registration of Companies (Sikkim) Act, 1961, has not been repealed as “false propaganda”.  Mr. Bhandari contends that the Companies Act 2013 has already been extended to Sikkim.
An SSP release informs that when Mr Bhandari was the president of Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee, he had written to Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Sachin Pilot regarding the Companies Bill 2012. In response, Mr Bhandari recently received a letter from Mr. Pilot explaining that the extension of Companies Act 2013 to Sikkim and the repeal of Registration of Companies (Sikkim) Act, 1961, did not violate Article 371F of the Constitution.
Pointing out that Article 371F provides for ‘competent’ authorities to repeal old laws, the letter states “Companies Act, 2013 is a Law enacted by the competent Legislature as contemplated by Article 371F (k) and its application to Sikkim is strictly in accordance with that provision.”
The letter further explains, “The registration of Companies Act, Sikkim, 1961 is a summary Legislation providing only such matters as incorporation and registration of Companies. It does not address matters so crucially required for smooth functioning of Companies such as raising/ maintaining Capital, borrowings power and limits. Level of accountability in the management/ administration and role of various organs therein; manner of decision making. Protection of minority share holders, corporate restructuring and winding up/ dissolution of Companies etc. The Company Act, 2013, on the other hand, is a comprehensive Legislation incorporating all relevant provisions on all such matters.”
The SSP press release argues that the main agenda of the party has always been to protect special provision under Article 371F and counters that Mr. Pilot’s interpretation is flawed and stresses “we stick on no such order shall be made after the expiry of two years from the appointed day [1975].”
It may be mentioned that the SDF party had recently claimed that the status quo on the Companies Bill, 2013, remains as far as Sikkim and its interests are concerned. It had quoted Section 1(3) of the Companies Act, 2013 as stating, “the remaining provisions of this Act shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the official gazette, appoint and different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act.”

SSASA discusses East District and CEC election

GANGTOK, Oct 23: A meeting of Sikkim Sub-ordinate Accounts Service Association [SSASA] was held today under the chairmanship of general secretary [SSASA], Chultim Bhutia. The meeting discussed the upcoming election of East District Executive Committee and Central Executive Committee [CEC] scheduled to be held on 27 October at Janta Bhawan here.
A press release informs that the election process will be conducted by the Election Committee which has Hira Narayan Pradhan as election commissioner and three other members under the observation of Joint Director [Accounts] Finance Revenue & Expenditure department, Norbu Dadul Bhutia, and Deputy Director [Accounts] Irrigation & Flood Control Department, ML Sharma.
The nomination process for both Executive Committee i.e East District & Central Executive Committee [CEC] for all posts as mentioned in the constitution is scheduled to be held between 10 am to 10:30 am while withdrawal of nomination can be done by 11 a.m. The election of the East District Committee will be held first according to the constitution of the association Vide part: V, Article No. 49 & 50 i.e. secret ballot or by nomination from 11 am while declaration of result of East District Committee will be done at 12 noon. Voting process for Central Executive Committee [CEC] will be held at 12:30 pm onwards and results declared at 2pm, informs the release.
While addressing the meeting, the general secretary, Mr. Bhutia, emphasized on the activities and responsibilities of the association along with the importance of the formation of new Central Executive body scheduled to be held on 27 October from 9:30 am onwards, so that the new office bearers could place the association’s demands and grievances before the government in time.
The gathering was also briefed by Prem Sapkota [publicity secretary] on the process of formation of new Executive Committee which will be held at Janta Bhawan and he urged all the SSASA members of East District and newly elected body of the three district committees to participate in the voting process for formation of East District Committee and CEC and witness the formation of Central Executive Committee [CEC] as per the constitution by the elected members of four district committees.

SKM meets in Lower Samdung

GANGTOK, 23 Oct: A Sikkim Krantikari Morcha meeting was held at the house of Durga Bahadur Basnet at Lower Samdung under Namcheybong constituency on Tuesday. SKM supporters and workers welcomed PS Golay in the meeting. The release informs that 41 local residents joined the SKM party and assured to extend full support to Mr Golay to bring change in the state.

SIRD begins refresher course series for panchayats

GANGTOK, 23 Oct: The State Institute of Rural Development (SIRD), Karfectar, South Sikkim, has commenced its Refresher Course series for the Elected Panchayat Representatives of Sikkim.
The inaugural programme, held at its campus in Karfectar on Tuesday had MLA, Zoom Salghari Constituency, Madan Cintury as the chief guest, as per a press release.
Welcoming the participants, Director, SIRD, Suchitra Rasaily informed the gathering that the series of three-day Refresher Courses would be held for all the Gram and Zilla Panchayats from 23 October 2013 to 31 March, 2014. She said that usually the inauguration of each training is conducted on the first day of the training itself. However, with a view to save time in the actual training in order to assure that the entire three days is exclusively utilised only for training, this inauguration programme has been held before the start of the training itself. Speaking on the occasion, the Secretary, RM&DD, D R Nepal advised Panchayats to strengthen and empower themselves by actively participating in the trainings and also by reading various books and reports published by the department. He also answered various queries raised by the participants and also directed all the officials of his department to sincerely fulfil their responsibilities despite the heavy work load in a department like RM&DD.
The participants discussed the proposed training calendar and the training schedule of the Refresher Course wherein the participants made numerous suggestions for change in training calendar and the topics that needed to be taken up in the trainings. The Director, SIRD, stated that she would accommodate all possible suggestions.
The chief guest spoke of the need for sincerity, dedication, hard work and transparency on the part of the Panchayats for the development of the people who had trusted them to be their representatives. Adhyaksha, East, Bimal Dawari and Adhyaksha, South, C L Gurung also spoke on the occasion.
As part of the programme, Field Facilitator of SIRD, Suren Mohra, posted at Sumbuk BAC, was felicitated for receiving the Bharat Jyoti Award, a National Award, which boasts of a high profile recipient list including Mother Teresa, Sunil Gavaskar, many Chief Ministers and Dhan Raj Pillai, amongst others, the release mentions.
The programme ended with the vote of thanks by Bikash Subba, the Programme Director of the event.

Denzong Sherpa Association congratulates Kazi Sherpa on selection for Khel Ratna

GANGTOK, 23 Oct: Denzong Sherpa Association has congratulated two-time EveresterKazi Sherpa and his family for being named as one of the recipients of the Sikkim Khel Ratna award 2014 which is awarded by the Government of Sikkim.
The association has thanked the Government of Sikkim for the award which it has said will further encourage all the young upcoming mountaineers and the Sherpa people who are earning their livelihood from Adventure Tourism in the state and outside.
The association has also expressed gratitude to Manipur Mountaineering & Trekking Association for appointing Everester Kazi Sherpa as their Deputy leader, Technical Climbing for their Everest Expedition 2013 whose sole responsibility was to ensure the successful summit of every climbing member which he efficiently fulfilled.

Benefits based on voter ID belittles Sikkim Subject Certificates: SKLC

GANGTOK, 23 Oct: Save Kabi Longtsok Committee [SKLC] has condemned the state government’s recent announcement of providing GCI sheets and subsidized rice even to those with just voter ID cards in the state. In a press release, president Sonam Tashi Bhutia has stated that this is another step to “belittle the significance of the Sikkim Subject Certificates”.
Mentioning that non-locals also figure in the voters list of Sikkim, he has expressed that such exercise if allowed is detrimental to the cause of India’s national security, which cannot be allowed. Even if such policy decisions are to be taken, it can be done only once the existing voter list of the entire State is rectified, he adds.
Mr. Bhutia further states that the State government’s decision to enforce Aadhar card followed by the repealing of Sikkim’s old laws (Companies Act) has already revealed the “hidden agenda” of the policy makers that ultimately aims to do away with Article 371 F of the Indian Constitution vis-à-vis Sikkim’s distinct identity within the Union.  “We call upon authorities in Sikkim to get wary of such low-graded politics at the stake of our very identity and posterity”, he adds.

Sikkim’s read for a Bandslam YESHI LHAMU

New bands have been forming with welcome frequency of late in Sikkim. Be it an all girl band or an all boy band, forming bands has definitely gained a lot of popularity in our State. It’s a good thing too seeing and observing the youth especially because they are getting to do what they love! They gradually gain some amount of confidence and with it develop a sense of responsibility.
We know not whether we are to say that our Sikkimese youth have been influenced or inspired by the Korean pop culture (k-pop) or by the Nepal pop bands that have been doing extremely well in this profession. Still this is definitely a good effort being put up by the Sikkimese youth. Appreciated!!
I accordingly came across one such band formed by our own people named “Verbalize” through the famous social networking site that is Facebook. When I happened to listen to their debut titled “Something about Us”, I began developing interest in the group and so decided to get in touch.
Verbalize was formed by two boys - Nipendra Singh and Roshan Chettri - early last year. They came up with this idea of recording a song because they wanted to come together and do what they love- that is to make music. They said they were kind of inspired and encouraged by the fact of how well the Sikkim originated band “Girish and the Chronicles” were doing despite the instability of this profession. They have until now negotiated with OMAS, have performed at NH 31A and are looking forward to reach out to a larger audience in the coming future.
Nipendra says, “Even though we don’t have much support compared to others but we hope to make it big one day”.
This discussion, or an interview if you would rather call it that, made us think about the idea of the battle of the bands in Sikkim. It would be very interesting to have a battle of bands - a “Bandslam” - in Sikkim. Considering, the enthusiasm which has been seen over the years, especially among the teenagers! And now that we think even the organisation which takes the initiative to organize it would earn a good profit if we are to think financially as, the return would definitely be good as never has such a thing been organised in Sikkim.  
If this was to take place I think the confidence of the teenagers would definitely be on high and those who plan to pursue their career in this field would definitely emerge more confident. Whether they win or not would be a secondary but simply the platform provided would be made best use of.
Therefore even though this is no less than a fantasy but let’s hope and look forward to encountering a program as such and if we are to observe then it seems to me that it won’t be long before some organisation takes the opportunity to organise one such program or a competition in Sikkim very soon. Bandslam according to us will be declared very soon!!
Our best wishes to all the upcoming bands like Verbalize, Genesis of pink, Still waters, Sagar Pradhan who is a rapper and many others who are yet to come in the spotlight. Meanwhile, Verbalize has invited readers to find them on facebook and check out their work…
[the writer is a class XII student in a Gangtok school]

TET mandatory as per RTE, HRD explains

GANGTOK, 23 Oct: Even as the pen down, chalk down indefinite strike of the All Ad-hoc Teachers of Sikkim [AATS] enters the second day, along with the dharna in front of the District Administrative Centre, East the Principal Secretary, Human Resource Development Department [HRDD], Thomas Chandy, while speaking to NOW! today informed that it is very clear that the appointment of teachers would be done based on the Teachers Eligibility Test [TET], which is going to be conducted shortly by the department.
According to the Right To Education Act, 2009 it is mandatory for all teacher aspirants to pass the TET exam and the HRD Department will conduct the TET exams on 24 November, this year, he said and added that this was being done for the first time in Sikkim.
Education is on the concurrent list of the Indian Constitution and this is a Central Act which the State Government cannot surpass and so it becomes compulsory that the teachers sit for the TET exams and moreover it is the national norm that all regular teachers be trained [B Ed or Diploma in Elementary Education [DL] for primary teachers] by 2015, he stated.
“The quality of teachers and the students who pass out from these schools have to match the national level since many will also venture out to get better jobs, so if the regular teachers have to sit for the TET then the ad-hoc teachers teaching in these schools should also sit for the TET,” he said and added that then this becomes a requisite qualification for all teachers.
“Even the ad-hoc teachers should aim to become regular teachers and this they can attain by passing all the exams required. This is the reason why the department has brought TET this time around so that every teacher becomes a regular teacher”, said Mr Chandy.
There may be some ad-hoc teachers who may not measure up or have the required qualifications, for such cases the department will have to consult the state government and also see if other states are providing any relaxation, he stated.
Regarding the issue of reservation and other demands of the AATS, the department will look into what can be done during the selection process and take necessary action, he added.
TET Background & Rationale 
In accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 23 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) has laid down the minimum qualifications for a person to be eligible for appointment as a teacher in class I to VIII, vide its Notification dated August 23, 2010. A copy of the Notification is attached in the following. One of the essential qualifications for a person to be eligible for appointment as a teacher in any of the schools referred to in clause (n) of section 2 of the RTE Act is that he/she should pass the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) which will be conducted by the appropriate Government.
The rationale for including the TET as a minimum qualification for a person to be eligible for appointment as a teacher is as under:
i. It would bring national standards and benchmark of teacher quality in the recruitment process. 
ii. It would induce teacher education institutions and students from these institutions to further improve their performance standards. 
iii. It would send a positive signal to all stakeholders that the Government lays special emphasis on teacher quality. 

Time for a woman CM in Sikkim, says Golay

GANGTOK, 23 Oct: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha women’s wing organized an awareness programme today here at the party head-office. The meeting, which was chaired by the working president, Bharati Sharma, was attended by women party supporters from all four districts.
An SKM press release issued by the publicity secretary, Jacob Khaling claims that during the meeting 65 women of the ruling party joined the SKM.
The release further informs that in his address, PS Tamang [Golay] expressed his gratitude to the women folk for supporting SKM and stated that so far women in the state have been voting for male Chief Ministerial candidates and have not been able to make a place for themselves at that level. On the same, he stressed that now it was time for women to see themselves as the next CM.
Mr. Tamang expressed that he has the desire, vision and dream to see a woman hold the post of Chief Minister. He added that now the men also have to work together in the mission to empower women. He further stated that it was his wish that the party’s command be handed over to a woman. If women come forward then the party is ready to field women candidates in all 31 territorial constituencies, he added.
He went on to state that the ruling party says that it will win the upcoming election with its money power but if money can buy votes then the SDF government would not have come to power in 1994.
Working president, Ms Sharma, women’s wing chief convener, Mingma Lhamu Bhutia and other members of the women’s wing also addressed the meeting.

Dzongu monks meet and confer with Sangha MLA

DIKCHU, 23 Oct: Monks from different monasteries of Dzongu today convened a coordination meeting with Sangha MLA, Pheetuk Tshering Lama, here at Namprikdang Forest Guest House in Upper Dzongu, North Sikkim.
During the meeting, the monk representatives placed demands of their respective institutions and other suggestions for proper functioning of monastic schools, repair of the damaged monasteries and other requirements and also expressed gratitude towards the Chief Minister for his consistent efforts in upgrading Buddhist pilgrimage sites.
The representative of Namok monastery urged for early completion of construction work at Namok Monastery while the representative from Tholung Monastery highlighted the pathetic state of the damaged monastery and requested for early sanction of project for construction of a new monastery.
Some of the monks requested a general meeting of the monks with the Sangha MLA since owing to some communication gap some monastic work are being delayed and pending.
MLA Lachen Mangan, Tshering Wangdi Lepcha informed that the upcoming Janta Mela will start from North Sikkim and that all the communities in Sikkim are equal before the state government.
The meeting was also addressed by Power Minister cum MLA Dzongu, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha who urged all the lamas to be responsible and dedicated towards their religious duties. While responding to the monk’s grievances regarding delay in restoration of some monasteries, the Minister admitted that there have been some problems which have led to such delay.
The Sangha MLA, Pheetuk Tshering Lama while addressing the meeting highlighted that the SDF government has developed more infrastructure and pilgrimage sites for the Buddhist community and appealed to all the monks to be more active in religious activities. He further highlighted different schemes under the welfare department.
Similarly, the president Monk Cell, Rinzing Namgyal Bhutia highlighted about the different schemes for the lamas and monasteries from the government.
A similar meeting was also held on Tuesday at Chungthang for the three monasteries of Lachung, Lachen and Chungthang along with a meeting at Ringhem monastery in Mangan.

DACS records 168% growth in five years

GANGTOK, 23 Oct: Denzong Agricultural Cooperative Society Ltd has recorded a growth of 520% in local broiler marketing within four years (2009-10 to 2012-13) and 168% growth in overall business within five years from 2008-09 to 2012-13.
This was informed by the DACS Managing Director MT Sherpa during the eleventh Annual General Meeting for the year 2012-2013 held in Hotel Denzong Regency here today. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of its Chairman, Puran Kumar Gurung.
The AGM included disbursement of Price support amounting to Rs 22,49,755 to farmers and release of ISO 22000:2005 Certificate for food safety management obtained by DACS. Among the beneficiaries, Sadam Turuk Poultry Cooperative received Rs 4,33,712, while Melli Dara PGS, Lali Gurash Cooperative, Melli Dara MPCS  and  Daring Labour Cooperative received Rs 2,86,882, Rs 2,16,913, Rs 2,12,200, and  Rs 2,04,048 respectively, beside other cooperatives.
The Managing Director presented the Annual Report, Audited Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Accounts for the year 2012-2013, Business Development Plan and Budget Estimate for 2013-2014. He also highlighted that there has been 29% hike in the prices granted to local farmers by DACS.
The marketing of local broiler during 2012-13 amounted to Rs 4.34 crore, whereas local orange worth Rs 5,10,251 was marketed during same period. Similarly, he highlighted the unprecedented profits earned by the Society during the year. The AGM also announced the dividend of 10% for 2012-13 in which State Government will receive Rs 6,31,500 against its share capital.
The Chairman in his address highlighted the achievements of the Society and its continuous march towards new heights of achievements thereby making positive impact in the lives of local farmers. While addressing the house, the Chairman expressed his gratitude to the Chief Minister and other stakeholders including Cooperation Department and other related agencies. He commended the exceptional efforts and hard works put in by the Managing Director and entire staff of the Society to achieve wonderful performance year after year. He further stated that the Society has been rendering valuable services to the people of Sikkim for the last 48 years. While dwelling upon the performance of the Society, the Chairman attributed the wonderful performance of the Society to dedicated, trained and hardworking manpower, effective internal control, organizational discipline and spirit of competition etc.
While appreciating the proactive marketing of local produce by DACS, Secretary, AHLF & VS, DP Sharma stated that the Department has been putting all efforts to support local production.  Dass Tamang [BOD] and N B Pradhan [president Melli Dara PGCS] also participated in the interaction and provided valuable suggestions. The vote of thanks was proposed by Arun Nepal [GM, DACS].
The AGM was attended among others by Principal Director, FRED, Joint Registrar, Cooperatives, CEO, SECUN, officials from Horticulture, Board of Directors, Shareholders and Managing Director and other officials of DACS.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Vodafone launches its first store in Gangtok

GANGTOK, 22 Oct: Gangtok Area MLA, Dorjee Namgyal, launched the first new Vodafone Store here in the capital today.
Vodafone India, one of India’s leading telecommunications service providers, expanded its retail footprint in Sikkim getting closer to customers with the launch of its new large format Vodafone Store in Gangtok.
During the occasion of launch of the new store, Business Head [Kolkata-Bengal], Anand Sahai, said that, the new store will enable more customers to avail the bouquet of services offered by Vodafone and enhance their experience.
“This store offers a one-stop solution for all mobile related information and service needs of our customers, and this store will also help meet the growing demand for our services and will enable faster service and greater convenience to our subscribers in the city”, he added.
Prominently located in the heart of the city, the store also aims at being conveniently accessible to all the customers. The look and feel of the store is designed to cater to every customer’s aspiration whilst capturing Vodafone’s core brand attitude, he said, and also added that, the store will also deliver a complete Vodafone experience to its customers.

STTA team to play in National Ranking TT Championship East Zone

GANGTOK, 22 Oct: A 20-member Sikkim Table Tennis Association [STTA] team is all set to participate in the National Ranking Table Tennis Championship East Zone to be held in Municipal Corporation Indoor Stadium, Siliguri from 24 to 29 October. The team led by the coach, Norden Bhutia will be leaving on Wednesday for the championship.
The state team has Ram Bishwakarma, Kanchan Rai, Siddharth Bhujel, Amod Subba, Dinesh Chamlagai, Passang Tamang, Sumesh Chettri, Ayush Agarwal, Jigmee Shenga, Arpan Tamang, Chitiz Rai, Anurag Pandey, Jeewan Tamang, Paras Khatiwara, Bivek Rai, Moshina Khan, Tenzing Doma Sherpa, Neha Lama, Kritika Rai and Namsela Subba.
The team members have been shortlisted on the basis of their ranks in the 18th Sikkim State Open Table Tennis Championship 2013 held during the month of September. The team members underwent a rigorous 15-day coaching camp under the coach, Mr Bhutia at Paljor Stadium indoor gymnasium.
During a small function organized by STTA this evening, STTA president, CK Basnet expressed his best wishes to the team members and urged them to give their best in the championship. He stated that there is a lot of scope to make table tennis a career and to earn well.
He added that this championship would also have observers from different reputed organizations to pick players for their respective organizations. In this regard, Mr Basnet encouraged the paddlers to play their best in the championship to win the attention of observers.
Sikkim Veterans Table Tennis Association president, SB Subba encouraged the team members to give their best to make the state proud at the national level. Likewise, a senior veteran player, PJ Lama urged the players to maintain discipline and bring laurels to the state.
The function started with the welcome address by general secretary, Karma Bhutia and concluded with the vote of thanks by publicity secretary, Lomden Bhutia of STTA.

Khamsel at Tholung Monastery from 21 to 24 Nov

MANGAN, 22 Oct: The much revered Tholung monastery in Upper Dzongu, North Sikkim that houses relics belonging to Lhatsun Chenpo, will host the Khamsel ceremony from 21 to 24 November this year, coinciding with Lhabab Duechen. This was decided today in a preparatory meeting for the ceremony chaired by DC [North], CP Dhakal along with the Tholung Monastery committee, officials from line department and the Panchayat members.  
This time, the North District Administration and Khamsel Ceremony committee have unanimously decided to organize the ceremony in a grand manner. Tholung Monastery hosts the Khamsel ceremony every three years when the clothes and other belongings of Lhatsun Chenpo are put on display for devotees who come from across the world under the supervision of the Ecclesiastical Affairs Department.
During the meeting, various aspects such as road connectivity, sanitation, accommodation and basic amenities for visitors, security etc were discussed at length. One such important component, electricity supply was extensively affected by the 2011 earthquake and in this connection DM, North, Mr. Dhakal has asked the Superintendent Engineer, North, Power Department to look at alternative remedies like installing generators.
Similarly, Deputy Secretary, RMDD, was asked to initiate necessary action for sanitation, AE, Passingdang, BAC, has been entrusted with the restoration work of foot-path as early as possible. Regarding medical facilities, CMO, North, Dr. DS Kerongi was  asked to make medical teams available at two points - one at Tumlung forest guest house (on the way to Tholung Gumpa) and the other at the monastery itself while SP [North], RN Yadav assured to provide police personnel for security measures.
DM North advised the committee to approach the Tourism Department for assistance regarding accommodation of visitors. Mr. Dhakal informed that Rs 5 lakh has been sanctioned by the Department of LR&DM for reconstruction log-bridges and committee to start the construction immediately.
JD, Ecclesiastical Department informed the house that as per the demand placed by the Khamsel ceremony committee, the department has approved and sanctioned an amount of Rs 2 lakh for the Khamsel ceremony.  It is also learnt that porters will also be available for hire for the walk up to the monastery.