Saturday, November 2, 2013

Army dedicates cantonment gate to Ganju Lama

GANGTOK, 01 Nov: The main gate of the Military Cantonment at Deorali has been dedicated to the Captain Ganju Lama, the only Victoria Cross holder from Sikkim. ‘Ganju Lama Dwar’, designed and constructed by Black Cat Division on traditional Sikkimese lines, and was dedicated to the people by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today.
The dedication ceremony was held in the presence of the late Ganju Lama’s wife, Pema Sangmo, his two sons and daughter, Lt Gen KJ Singh, GOC 33 Corps and Maj Gen D Anbu, GOC 17 Mountain Division. The ceremony was also attended by Ministers, Chief Secretary R. Ongmu, DGP Jasbir Singh and other senior officials of the state and army officials.
On the occasion, as a token of Indian Army’s organizational commitment to conservation and preservation of the environment, Lt Gen Singh presented the antlers of the Sikkim Stag [also known as ‘Shou’] recovered from the Gyamtsona in North Sikkim some months back, to the Chief Minister, who is also the Chairperson of the State Wildlife Board and Arvind Kumar, the Chief Wildlife Warden.
Speaking to media persons, Lt Gen Singh said, “Gangtok is a beautiful place so the main gate of the Military Station has been conceptualized keeping local ethos in mind. Since the state gets huge numbers of tourists, this gate has been designed to reflect local architecture”.
The gate has been named after Ganju Lama, Sikkim only Victoria Cross recipient [from WWII] to encourage and inspire the young generation to come forward to serve the country, he said.

Yes, it’s become that cold!

The winter chill is here and even the waste bin is feeling it! The Met Department recorded temperature in Gangtok at 12.8 degree Celsius in the evening today. Maximum temperature was recorded at 14.3 degree Celsius with minimum temperatures at 10.2 degree Celsius. Some good Samaritan decided to jacket-up this monkey waste bin on NH 31A leading into MG Marg.

With recognition, comes responsibility KC PRADHAN

With Lonely Planet recognizing Sikkim as the world’s best destination as far as regional tourism is concerned for the year 2014and laying special emphasis on natural beauty and cultural riches with the theme: Sikkim- Green is the Colour, the Government has got full marks in this sector and if the tempo continues with further refinement, this engine of economic growth is bound to put Sikkim on a higher plane. The people of Sikkim should applaud the Government and all the stakeholders in the travel trade for this excellent, and rather unexpected, recognition which has made Sikkim and the country as a whole proud.
However, this recognition has thrown a lot of responsibility on the Government and stakeholders. As the saying goes, ‘heavy lies the head that wears the Crown”. Lonely Planet is the Bible for the average foreign traveler and once the name of places of interest and accommodation which they think is value for money are indicated, the visitors seek out the destination with high expectations. Visitors start planning their vacations a good six months to one year ahead. Hence, the visitors that plan to visit Sikkim in the year 2014 might be overwhelming. This requires pulling up our socks and getting prepared to receive the visitors who will come with very high expectations. This entails up gradation of our tourism infrastructures on a war footing. It is time for the concerned department to chalk out a calendar of events and publicize it in a manner befitting the recognition with due assistance of the Ministry of Tourism and the External Affairs at the Centre.
All our Embassies should be provided with appropriate literature with request for wide publicity. Also, an imaginative website with correct information should be launched with translations in all major languages. All the websites on Sikkim Tourism are filled with high superlatives and visitors usually get something else when they actually land here. Approach should be to impart correct information. Rating like good, moderate, not recommended should be adopted.  
Our road connectivity has to be improved in earnest. Telecommunication in far flung tourist destinations like Lachen and Lachung besides Dzongri must be ensured and maintained for which the Dept of IT should be put on the job. The traffic congestion in Gangtok has to be tackled, perhaps on the lines suggested to the Government by the Traffic De-congestion Sub-Committee constituted by the Sikkim Senior Citizens’ Society as immediate remedial measures. The possibility of bringing the dateline of commissioning of Pakyong Airport closer could be given a thought. Some additional helicopters with higher passenger load could be worked out even if it has to be chartered from private organizations in case of increased demands. Trial landing of helicopters at Dzongri with a helipad well positioned would go a long way in building a sense of security among the visitors.
Every hotel and home-stay should be inspected by competent teams with a view to upgrade the facilities and kept under close watch as regards the hygiene, cleanliness and various food ingredients they use considering that at most tourist destinations in the country, the stakeholders are out to make a fast buck at the expense of the health of the visitors. Beautification of roads, highways, homes, etc. should be launched in the right earnest. All the tourist vehicles should be in proper condition and the drivers given crash courses on proper etiquettes. The owner driven vehicles should be given due prominence and encouraged. Tourism police as conceived as early as in 1989, preferably with ladies, should be put in place in all tourist destinations with all round patrolling for visitors’ safety and assistance. Government must work in tandem with the TAAS, SAATO, Sikkim Hotels & Restaurant Association, various cultural groups etc. and all assistance extended with funds sourced from DoNER or NEC or Ministry of Tourism as a special case. The recognition is not only for the state but the country as a whole and Sikkim could well lead the way for the other states to follow.
The oft repeated complaint of entrepreneurs who are in travel trade is that they are hobbled with bureaucratic hassles and the huge amount of paper work required  for various taxes and levies. This sort of thing does not suit the temperament of the Sikkim people. All these rules should be monitored by one single agency and the best way is to calculate a combined annual fee or tax and let them get relieved of all the hassles. Getting good hands to work in the hotel business is another complaint. Sikkimese people don’t like to take up such jobs within the state considering it beyond their dignity whereas outside the state they merrily plunge into it. This dilemma is strange but true and has to be solved.
There are a number of organizations initiated by our local young energetic groups like Sikkim Ornithological Society, Sikkim Anglers’ Society, Cultural groups etc, who can contribute substantially in enhancing tourism in the state. They are languishing for lack of financial assistance and patronage by the Government. Some grant-in-aid on an annual basis could go a long way. Bird watchers are high spenders, only next to Golfer, and SOS deserves all encouragement including relaxation in entry to protected areas. To open the park only at 8 am when the birds wake up at 5 in the morning are some of the issues that need to be addressed. Personnel who man the institutions must understand the point of view of enthusiasts instead of sticking to a set of rules made somewhere by unimaginative and disinterested people. Some brainstorming sessions to overcome all these hassles are the need of the hour. Perhaps, in the given scenario, the Chief Minister known for his decisiveness is truly the only answer.
Even though 2014 is an election year, the people of Sikkim should give equal importance to this unique opportunity to take a quantum leap in the field with determination and confidence. Once you reach the top you should be able to hold on and step further to still higher plane as sliding down though easy will be painful. Just a thought at this moment of glory of the institution where many hands have joined together in the years gone by ever since Tourism was conceived and launched with meager resources and the foundation laid is still there for all to see.

Sikkim Sachet Swarojgar Berojgar Sangathan condemns black flag incident

GANGTOK, 01 Nov: Sikkim Sachet Swarojgar Berojgar Sangathan has strongly condemned the recent incident where members of a political party reportedly waved black flags as the Chief Minister’s convoy was passing by at Gyalshing, West Sikkim.
In a press release issued today, general secretary of the Sangathan, Dev Gurung has called the act a “misuse” of democratic privileges guaranteed by the Constitution.
He has requested the authorities to take stringent action against those involved in the incident.
The Sangathan has also strongly opposed the on-going strike called by the All Sikkim Ad-hoc Teachers Association. With the final exams approaching and school syllabus yet to be completed, the students are facing a lot of problems, Mr. Gurung states.
The ad-hoc teachers’ demand for relaxation in TET is against the policy of appointing quality teachers for schools and not in the interest of students, he adds.
The Sangathan has appealed to the ad-hoc teachers to end their strike and resume their duties in order to be able to complete the school syllabus on time. “Accordingly, we also appeal to the government to conduct the TET soon and call for interviews to appoint fresh and eligible teachers before the next session begins,” the release mentions.
The Sangathan has also welcomed the decision of the government to provide monthly allowance to educated unemployed youth of the state. For this purpose, it has suggested that the government come up with a minimum and maximum age limit along with minimum qualification and other relevant conditions as deemed fit by the government.
Expressing its gratitude towards the government on distributing free laptops to the state’s students, the Sangathan has appealed to the students, parents, teachers, Panchayats, NGOs and individuals to ensure proper use of those laptops for the welfare of the society at large.

SFA XI to replace Sikkim Police in Governor’s Gold Cup

GANGTOK, 01 Nov: Sikkim Football Association [SFA], in a meeting held today, decided to field a team in this year’s Governor’s Gold Cup named ‘SFA XI’ with the idea of giving exposure to local footballers.
A press release issued by SFA general manager, Menla Ethenpa, informs that the team will consist of “good Sikkimese players selected from all the clubs of Sikkim”. The task of selection has been assigned to Suresh Mukhia, who has been named as the coach and Geden Lepcha who has been named as the Manager of SFA XI.
“SFA feels that our local boys will get a platform to show-case their talent. This decision of SFA has been welcomed by one and all of the football fraternity”, the release adds. SFA XI will replace Sikkim Police who will not be playing in the tournament as the All India Police Meet is being held at the same time.
It may be mentioned here that the recently formed Football Club Association of Sikkim [FCAS] had demanded that SFA invite Sikkim Himalayan Sporting Club [SHSC] to play in the upcoming Governor’s Gold Cup Football Tournament [in place of Sikkim Police] which is set to begin in the second week of November. SHSC was defeated by Sikkim Police in the finals of the Independence Day Cup. Being the runners-up and with the winners Sikkim Police unable to play, SHSC had also requested SFA to allow the club to play in the Governor’s Gold Cup. Two local teams are invited to play in the Governor’s Gold Cup - the winner of the Independence Day Cup and the senior division Sikkim-League champions.


The festive season is here beginning with ‘Dhan Teras’ today. MG Marg and Lall Bazaar saw hoards of people out to shop for some precious metals or metal utensils customary on this day when Lakshmi - the Goddess of wealth - is worshiped to provide prosperity and well-being. It is also the day for celebrating wealth, as the word 'Dhan' literally means wealth and 'Tera' comes from the 13th (trayodashi in Sanskrit and Teras in Hindi).  The 15th day will of course be Diwali- Laxmi Puja.

Upper Sichey GMC Councilor resigns

GANGTOK, 01 Nov: Councilor from Upper Sichey ward of Gangtok Municipal Corporation, Nilu Chettri, resigned from his post today accusing the ruling SDF government of attempting to divide the state on communal lines.
As per a press release, in his resignation letter addressed to the Gangtok Mayor, Mr. Chettri states that he was resigning on moral grounds, disturbed after watching a VCD released by the SKM against the Chief Minister accusing him of involvement in the circulation of a communally inciting book.
Mr. Chettri had resigned from the SDF’s primary membership in February earlier this year and has aligned with the SKM.

‘Ten-Ten-Ten, a Literary Celebration’ on 08-09 Nov

GANGTOK, 01 Nov: National Book Trust, India, Ministry of HRD, Government of India and Cinedarbaar Welfare Society in collaboration with Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department, Government of Sikkim are organising 'Ten-Ten-Ten, a Literary Celebration' on 08 and 09 November in MananBhawan, New Secretariat Building, Development Area, Gangtok.
A press release informs that this celebration,on the occasion of National Education Day,is an initiative toencourage and promote literature amongst the youth of the city. Literature, reading and writing have always been an integral part of any culture around the globeand it becomes important to bring the youth today, closer to the literary world and inculcate writing and book reading habits. The festival will see participation from schools and colleges in large numbers.
Ten-Ten-Ten will open with a Dastangoi performance by artists from Delhi. The word Dastangoi refers to the art of storytelling, it is a compound of two Persian words, Dastan and Goi which means 'to tell a Dastan'. Head the Department of Management Studies, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology,Dr.AjeyaJha will take a presentation focused on collecting Lepcha folklores depicting specific behaviour of a few bird species and assessing the scientific veracity of the fact they depict by direct observation or through literature and experience survey in his session Folklores through a Scientific Eye.
Acoustic Traditional will also put up a performance exploring the oral folklores and storytelling traditions. Professor BalramPandey will throw light on the Nepali Literature followed by a poetry recital by ApsaraDahal and MeenaSubbu. YisheyDoma will explore the origin of the Lepchas in the context of her book, Legends of the Lepchas. The second day will also see a panel discussion on topics like Blogging - the emerging new media, Publishing Scenario in Sikkim and Word of Mouth- oral storytelling traditions.
Books are known to stimulate inquisitiveness and imagination, increase knowledge and patience in an intellectually challenging way, expose to various cultures and societies, help learn about the past and understand the present to develop a vision for future. North East India is a treasure trove of culture, heritage and hence literature. It has given the world many eminent poets and writers. The potential in this region lies far and beyond and this event is a small effort to explore, promote and encourage it, the release adds.

‘Good News Sikkim’ to be launched on Saturday

GANGTOK, 01 Nov: The Ladakhi Group of Companies is all set to launch a monthly magazine- ‘Good News Sikkim’, scheduled to be launched at Mayfair Resorts on 02 November.
Speaking to media persons today, Chief Editor of the magazine, Ugen Ladakhi, informed that the new magazine will have “only good and positive news” and will not carry any negative or political stories.
“The magazine will have inspirational stories of the unsung heroes of the state and of the people all over the world who are doing well or have brought laurels to Sikkim,” he said and added that this will be a feel good magazine for the people, especially for the young.
“We will not carry any political stories nor any stories that bring sorrow to the heart, this magazine when people read will bring smile and warmth to the heart”, he stated.
The magazine owned by the Ladakhi Group of Companies has at present 10 people in the editorial team, is priced at Rs. 30 and contains 80 pages. Initially it will be sold only in Sikkim as it is a Sikkim-based magazine but there are plans to expand the horizon in future.

Enchey school students trained on disaster preparedness

GANGTOK, 01 Nov: Two Master Trainers, Nima Tamang and T P Dahal, conducted a programme on the 'safety measures to be taken during an earthquake' at Enchey Senior Secondary School today.
Today’s programme was conducted as a follow-up to the training conducted by District Disaster Management, East on 28 and 29 October, informs a press release.
The trainers conducted mock drills with the message “never panic, always keep a cool head and always follow the duck, cover and hold method” especially during an earthquake.
The programme was chaired by the Principal of the school, Tsheringkee Chingapa along with members of the teaching fraternity.

Consultation workshop held on enhancing institutional and community resilience to Disasters and Climate Change

GANGTOK, 01 Nov [IPR]: State consultation workshop on Enhancing Institutional and Community Resilience to Disaster and Climate Change was held here in the capital today.
Organized by Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority, Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department, Government of Sikkim, with support from Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India and UNDP- India, the inaugural secession was chaired by the Secretary, Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department, K S Topgay.
In his inaugural address Mr. Topgay gave an overview of status of Disaster Management and Climate Change initiatives in the state and also hoped that the workshop will not become a mere regular exercise, but will be fruitful and productive.
The work shop which was attended by the concerned department as well as the line departments saw a comprehensive discussion with a power point presentation on topics like Mainstreaming of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, where the identification of entry points for mainstreaming, development of guidelines for mainstreaming, capacity building of government and non government and elected representatives were discussed in detail along with geographical coverage, scope of the programme, key programme components and management and implementation arrangements.
Urban risk reduction, technical assistance and capacity building initiatives, knowledge management and enhancing resilience of vulnerable communities were also comprehensively discussed, by the project officers, Ashok Malhotra and Prabha Mishra of UNPD-India.
Special Secretary, Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department, Sonam D Chankapa presented an overview and activities of Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority.

CM’s Diwali greetings

GANGTOK, 01 Nov [IPR]: The Chief Minister of Sikkim, Pawan Chamling and wife Tika Maya Chamling have extended their warm Diwali greetings and best wishes to the people of Sikkim.
In his message, the Chief Minister has wished that the festival of lights illuminate the lives of the people, and fill their hearts with peace, joy and happiness.

CM announces construction of tourist spot at Lingmoo in South Sikkim

LINGMOO, 01 Nov [IPR]: Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling today made an announcement to construct a tourist spot in Lingmoo, Upper Tokday which is a remote area in the far corner of South Sikkim while speaking as the chief guest at a function here.
He was attending the inaugural function of the three-day Sikkim Adventure Tourism Festival 2013 in Lingmoo organized for the first time in this place by the Lingmoo Heritage Conservation Society in collaboration with other government departments.
The Chief Minister announced this while informing the public about the aim of the state government to create 100 tourist points in various parts of Sikkim. He further shared that the tourist spot in Lingmoo would be constructed in such a way so as to usher in urbanization in the place in a productive manner for the welfare of the public.
He called upon the public of Lingmoo for positive cooperation and participation in this developmental venture.
Speaking to the students he drew their attention towards changing their mindset to change the world. While highlighting about the various efforts of the government to encourage students from all the communities, the Chief Minister declared to provide for the first time in the state post-matric scholarship to the OBC students from the coming year.
Addressing the female students, he urged them to aim higher in life and dream big going beyond the common limit to take up extraordinary professions. Informing about the various facilities provided to empower women in all aspects, he asked them to avail all the benefits to empower themselves and move ahead to become exemplary leaders in the society.
Emphasizing on his mission to make the children of the underprivileged section competent in every aspect, Mr. Chamling said that it is his mission to provide all kinds of educational benefits to the children from the underprivileged section to make them equally capable and competitive as those of the privileged section.
It is the state government’s effort to prepare the students in such a way in order to be capable to meet the current demand of employment, said Mr. Chamling while informing them about the State Capacity Building initiatives.
Talking about the current issue of Ad-hoc Teachers strike, he appealed to the Ad-hoc Teachers to call off the strike and to resume their duties for the sake of the students’ future and studies. He said that the government would take their matter into consideration and come up with suitable solutions to handle their quandary. Meanwhile he informed that the Ad-hoc teachers who fulfill the qualification criteria as required by the HRDD will be regularized and the rest would have to get qualified as per the criteria.
The criteria would be to acquire B Ed certificate with 50%, secondly to pass the Teachers Eligibility Test and mandatory TTI training for the primary teachers. The state government will not compromise with the future of the students underlined the Chief Minister and asked the teachers to give top priority to building the future of the students.
He assured to look into the developmental demands placed before him by the committee on behalf of the Lingmoo public and take positive action upon the same.
Mr. Chamling along with the dignitaries visited the 11 traditional stalls set up at the venue. He was welcomed by all the communities in a traditional manner wherein they displayed an array of their respective culture and customs.
The organizing committee felicitated the Chief Minister during the program for his dynamic role in the development of the state. The festival was also attended by CB Karki [Area MLA/ RMDD Minister], Bhim Dhungel [Minister Tourism], Ugyen Gyatso [MLA], NK Subba [Chairman STDC], TN Sharma [Chairman OBC Board], CL Gurung [SDZP Adhakshya], HoDs, other dignitaries, students and local gentry.
Situated in the far corner of South Sikkim, Lingmoo is a remote village falling under Yangang Rangang constituency and so with the aim to gain positive exposure and make a mark in the tourism sector, the Lingmoo Heritage Conservation Society had organized this fest for the first time here. This fest also aims to highlight the traditional and cultural aspects of the different local communities in the three days program.

Namchi School NSS volunteers donate blood

NAMCHI, 01 Nov: Ushering in the auspicious occasion of Deepawali, 24 NSS volunteers of Namchi Senior Secondary School today donated blood voluntarily at district blood bank of Namchi. The blood donation programme was organized by Namchi Senoior Secondary School in collaboration with Voluntary Blood Donors Association of Sikkim [VBDAS].
VBDAS member, Kishor Banya informed that the association along with the Red Ribbon Club is regularly organizing such programmes in Namchi and also motivating youth about the importance and benefits of voluntary blood donation.
NSS coordinator of the school, Basant Pradhan said, “Our school is continuously participating in such social awareness programmes and we thank the volunteers for donating blood for needy patients”. He also thanked the principal of the Namchi Sr Sec School for encouraging the students to come forward for such a good cause.
The blood donation programme was conducted under the supervision of DMS, Dr. Baroon Subba along with the technical team of Namchi District Hospital blood bank.

Ad-hoc Asst Profs extend support to Ad-hoc teachers on strike

GANGTOK, 01 Nov: Ad-hoc Assistant Professors of different colleges of Sikkim convened a meeting on 31 October to discuss the issues related to the on-going hunger strike by Ad- hoc Teachers of Government schools of Sikkim.
A press release issued by Lobsang C. Lepcha, Roshan Rai, Elvis Lepcha and Santosh Basnett on behalf of Ad-hoc professors, informs that after a protracted discussion and taking a holistic view of the situation, the body eventually decided to pass a resolution tendering their support to the demand of the Ad-hoc Teachers.
The meeting also expressed their deepest faith on the people-centric government in dealing with the matters of Ad-hoc Assistant Professors and Ad-hoc teachers of the state expeditiously and judiciously.

Friday, November 1, 2013

CM sanctions Rs 1.10 cr for St Xavier’s School pavillion ST XAVIER’S STUDENTS ALSO TO GET FREE LAPTOPS

PAKYONG, 31 Oct [IPR]: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today announced that the class XI and XII students of St Xavier’s School, Pakyong, will also be provided free laptop computers by the State government as is being done for government school students. The CM also sanctioned Rs 1.10 crore for construction of the pavilion of the school ground. This fund will be released in the next financial budget. The CM made these announcements while speaking on the occasion of the closing ceremony of diamond jubilee celebration of the school.
The CM, who was present as the chief guest, was all praises for the institution and highlighted that St Xavier’s School was one of the most renowned and reputed educational institutions of the state. He further conveyed gratitude towards all those who contributed in the school’s establishment.
“Education should never be an industry or treated as business otherwise the soul of education will get corrupted,” he stressed.
With the sense of ownership will come real development, therefore dividends as well as deficits of democracy should be shared by the people in order to be a developed individual and state in real terms, the Chief Minister affirmed.
Earlier, Principal of the school in his welcome address informed that St Xavier’s School Pakyong is the first Roman Catholic educational institution of Sikkim and some 80 students are studying in the school under the Chief Minister’s meritorious scholarship.
The closing ceremony also saw songs, dances and skit presented by the students.
During the function the school also presented the Chief Minister with a memento.
Later, in the afternoon Chief Minister Mr. Chamling also attended a literary function organized by Sikkim Pratibha Pratisthan, Pakyong. Prominent literary figures like Mahananda Poudyal, Nar Bahadur Dahal and Uday Thulung were also present in the function.
During the function Mr. Chamling released the annual magazine “Pardeshi” and a music album.
The function also saw the Chief Minister being felicitated by the organizers while litterateur Mahananda Poudyal was also felicitated and presented with a citation letter and memento. Speaking on the occasion the Chief Minister expressed his joy and happiness and termed the occasion an auspicious gathering of intellectuals and literary figures from in and outside the state.
He also lauded the efforts and contributions made by Mr. Poudyal while urging the people to be more responsible and accountable in order to usher the state towards the path of prosperity.

Two special secretaries promoted as Secretaries

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: The State Government has promoted Laden Tshering and LP Barfungpa in the suppertime grade-I and on officiating capacity to the post of Secretaries.
In a promotion order issued recently, Ms. Tshering, presently posted as Special Secretary, Food Security and Agriculture Development Department, has been posted as Secretary, Sikkim Housing & Development Board, on deputation.
Similarly, Mr. Barfungpa, presently posted as Special Secretary-cum-Director, Commerce and Industries Department has been posted as Secretary, Administrative Reforms Commission, on deputation.
Meanwhile, SK Shilal, Managing Director, State Bank of Sikkim, on deputation, has been repatriated and posted as Secretary, Science & Technology Department in place of TB Gurung who retires on 01 November.
Jitendra Singh Raje, Joint Secretary, DPER&NECA Department has been posed as Managing Director, State Bank of Sikkim, on deputation.

SKM accuses State Govt of misappropriation of earthquake relief fund

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: A Sikkim Krantikari Morcha team led by party vice president, TN Dhakal, today submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Office accusing the state government of misappropriation of Prime Minister’s Earthquake Relief Fund.
In a press release, MN Dahal, the SKM spokesperson, informs that Mr. Dhakal submitted the memorandum to the PMO on 28 October alleging “gross misappropriation of earthquake relief funds” and that only 5 percent of 8000 damaged houses have been reconstructed.
Interestingly, the party contention builds from a report published in Outlook magazine on 30 September carrying similar allegations.
The memorandum also alleges that a senior MLA of SDF has threatened people of denying them earthquake relief if they support opposition parties.

Local cable TV violating broadcasting rules, SKM alleges

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha [SKM] has sought clarification from the Urban Development and Housing Department for what it sees as overlooking of alleged violation of broadcasting rules and norms by the local Cable TV Network.
An SKM release informs that SKM vice president, Tseten Lepcha along with Navraj Gurung met the UD&HD Secretary, Topjor Dorjee, seeking clarification on allegations of the local cable TV network supporting the ruling party and its use as an election campaign tool.
As per TRAI Act 2005 Cable TV Networks are prohibited from carrying any political news other than prescribed programmes under the Act, the release mentions. SKM has demanded that the broadcasting rules be strictly followed.


GANGTOK, 31 Oct [IPR]: The nation today paid tribute to India’s first and only woman Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi on her 29th death anniversary. The day is observed as Rashtriya Sankalpa Diwas (National Re-dedication Day) on 31 October every year throughout the country.
Sikkim also observed Rashtriya Sankalpa Diwas at Chintan Bhawan here in the state capital organized by the State Home Department to commemorate the death anniversary of the Late Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.  The observation was attended by the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling as the chief guest.
In his address, the Chief Minister highlighted the significance of the day and recalled selfless contribution and sacrifice made by the Late Prime Minister for the interest of the country. He also urged the people to follow the footsteps of Late Indira Gandhi who was committed to the welfare of the downtrodden and worked for the communal harmony of the country.
The Chief Minister also called upon the people to fight against any form of violence and urged the people to keep away from forces intending to disintegrate communal harmony. The CM called upon government employees and officers to work for the state with a sense of ownership. He urged one and all to become duty conscious and contribute towards the development of the state and the country.
On Sikkim topping Lonely Planet’s 2014 Top 10 Regions list, the CM said that it is a matter of great pride for the state.
The programme also included prayers by priests of different faiths, patriotic songs by students and reading of excerpts from the speeches of Late Indira Gandhi.

ASGDGEA hands over prizes to raffle winners

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: The winners of the raffle draw of the All Sikkim Group D Government Employees Association [ASGDGEA], which was held on 27 October were handed over their prizes at a special function held here at Hotel Mayur today.
The first prize, a Chevrolet Enjoy [Ltz] was won by KK Deokota, a retired Divisional Engineer, resident of Sichey, Gangtok, while the second prize, a Maruti Alto 800 [Lxi] was bagged by a monk - Thendup Kazi Lama, from Sumick Aritar in East Sikkim. The third prize, a Bajaj Pulsar bike has not yet been claimed. The five consolation prizes [HP Laptops] were won by Tshering Sherpa and Pushpa Lal Neopaney. Three of the consolation prizes are yet to be claimed.
In his short speech, MB Gurung [president, ASGDGEA] congratulated the winners and said, “We are holding this programme today to show that there is transparency in the raffle draw held by the association and it has been held in a fair manner”.
“We shall also be donating a small amount of the money raised towards Gumpas, Mandirs and the Churches as a goodwill gesture”, he said and added that a total of 30,000 tickets had been printed and sold by the association.
The short programme was also addressed by the raffle winners.

Rashtriya Sankalp Diwas in North Sikkim

MANGAN, 31 Oct: ‘Rashtriya Sankalp Diwas 2013’ the death anniversary of former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi was observed here at the premises of Mangan Senior Secondary School, North Sikkim, today.
The programme was organised by the District Administrative Centre North. District Magistrate, North, CP Dhakal addressed the function. Bhavishya Bharat Foundation handed over 267 desks and benches, sponsored by Teesta Urja Ltd. to the school while Councilor, MNP, Prakash Mallu also donated 10 nos. of wall fans to the school.
Similarly, the Tasa Tengay Secondary School Chungthang in collaboration with SDM Office also observed the day which was chaired by SDM Chungthang, ST Tashi Dhakarpa as the chief guest along with SDPO Chungthang, Deputy Director Animal Husbandry, police personnel, students and teachers.
The chief guest read out the pledge and addressed the gathering.  A rally was also taken out from the school to SDM Office which was participated by all.

2-day fest begins at Namchi Girls School

NAMCHI, 31 Oct: Starting from today, Namchi Girls’ Senior Secondary School (NGSSS) is organizing a two-day school fest ‘Spectrum 2013’ with the theme ‘If you have a dream… live it!.’  The school fest was formally inaugurated today by the area MLA, Binod Rai.
The programme today was also attended by BT Tamang [Chairman Namchi Municipal Council] and NH Ansari [Vice Chairman Namchi Municipal Council] as special guests along with distinguished guests SP South, SDPO Namchi, SDM Namchi, Officials from HRDD Namchi, principals from Namchi Government College and DIET College Namchi, and teachers of various schools from in and around Namchi, officials of various departments and invited guests along with participant students from guest schools.
The chief guest informed that the students of Namchi, South District would be provided with laptops after the Diwali holidays and that next year the government will provide laptops for students of class IX and X. The laptops provided by the state government need not be returned, he added.
Mr. Rai also congratulated the school principal and teachers for conducting such a programme which helps in the all round development of a student. Furthermore, he praised the talented students who presented their dance and songs, not only from the host school but also from other invited participant schools from in and around Namchi.
He informed about various schemes of the government which is underway for development in the education sector, and informed the host school NGSSS that necessary infrastructural development for NGSSS would be provided soon.
The inaugural programme today also included inter-school competitions, dance competitions in fusion form which was participated by various government and private schools of Namchi along with singing competition. An enthralling band performance was presented by Government Senior Secondary School and a fashion show on ethnic traditional wear was presented by NGSSS.
This was followed by the inauguration of gala fete by the chief guest and other invited guests. The gala fete will continue till Friday. The other attractions of the fest are raffle draw and performance by a guest band. The inter-school girls’ volleyball tournament was also conducted as part of the school fest, and the finals were held on Wednesday.

SMCON students spread awareness on TB and Dengue

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: The fourth year B.Sc. Nursing students of Sikkim Manipal College of Nursing (SMCON) under Sikkim Manipal University of 5th Mile, Tadong organised a mass health education programme at Chuksing, Arithang on ‘Tuberculosis and Dengue’ today.
A press release informs that the mass health education was conducted for the community people and the class VIII students of C S Rai Junior High School at Radio Quarter premises, Arithang. The programme was conducted with prior permission from the principal, SMCON Professor, Mridula Das, the Councilor, Ashish Rai of Arithang and under the guidance of Associate Professor SMCON, Thoibi Devi, assistant lecturers SMCON, Sandhya Gurung and Yangchen D.Bhutia,
The programme started at 10 30 a.m with a welcome speech by the students where headmaster of C S Rai Junior High School, Rinzing Tamang was present as the chief guest. Around 210 people including school students along with the teachers attended the programme, the release informs.
In his address, Mr. Tamang said “It was a wonderful programme and TB is a preventable disease but still people die of it even when good treatment is available. This is mainly due to ignorance towards the disease and such programmes should be organised regularly”.
The programme ended with the vote of thanks from students and chanting of slogan “Pura Course, Pakka Eelaaj” by the students and audience.

Awareness on Labour Laws and HIV/ AIDS in North Sikkim

MANGAN, 31 Oct:  The Sikkim Building and Other Construction Worker’s Welfare Board under Labour Department, Government of Sikkim organized an awareness programme on HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis for the construction workers of 86 RCC GREF at Rangma Range near Chungthang, North Sikkim on Wednesday. Around 250 workers attended the programme.
The programme was attended by Dr, Uttam Pradhan [Project Director, Sikkim State Aids Control Society (SSACS), Gangtok] as the chief guest who briefed the gathering about the preventive and curative measures for these two diseases.
Joint Labour Commissioner, Labour Department, DS Kunwar informed the workers about all the prevailing Labour Laws which are enforced and implemented in Sikkim. He also urged the workers to register themselves and pay their monthly contributions in time in order to avail the facilities and other schemes which are being provided by the Sikkim Building and Other construction workers Welfare Board in a phased manner.
The mobile team of ICTC under (SSACS) also checked the HIV status of the workers.  A cultural programme was also performed by local artists to entertain the gathering.
Also present were officers and staffs of 86 RCC GREF, BP Bhattarai, Deputy Labour commissioner, North, Arjun Kr, Sharma and Tashi Pintso Bhutia, (Inspectors). Later, on the same day a similar programme was organized for the workers of SEW & NEC companies under Teesta Urja Company in the presence of company officials and around 300 workers.
Another programme was also held at Singhik in North Sikkim for the workers of GREF, Abir Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd and Teesta Urja Company. A cheque of Rs. 4000 each was handed over to two workers for maternity assistance under BOCW Act 1996 as per the scheme under Sikkim BOCW Workers Welfare Board.

State Innovation Council meets

GANGTOK, 31 Oct [IPR]: The first meeting of the recently constituted State Innovation Council was held today at the conference hall of Manan Kendra, Gangtok.
The meeting was chaired by Chief Secretary R. Ongmu and attended by ex-Chairman, NASSCOM and Mentor for Sikkim State Innovation Council, Kiran Karnik and Former Secretary, Government of India, Veena Upadhyaya. The purpose of the meeting was to set an agenda for promoting innovation in the State, and to assess already existing innovations in various sectors.
In her opening remarks, the Chief Secretary informed about the innovative initiatives of the State Government in the form of missions like the Organic Mission, the Green Mission, Capacity Building Programmes, innovations in health, education and agriculture sectors.
She welcomed advice from the experts from the National Innovation Council to help the State formulate an efficient mechanism to showcase these innovations through technological aid.
Chairman of the National Innovation Council, Sam Pitroda, available for discussion through video conferencing, while complimenting the State for having formed a well-constituted State Innovation Council, suggested inclusion of representatives from Non-Governmental Organisations, women’s groups, and educated youth from diverse fields for a wider perspective.
He stated that Sikkim is a leading State in terms of providing quality of life to its citizens and in the environmental field, and that it has the capacity to provide leadership in these areas at the national arena.
The progress should extend to fields like education, health, governance, forestry, agriculture and industry by way of innovation, he suggested and stressed that technology is just a means to achieve a larger goal of inclusive development, and that the State should constantly innovate.
“The current progress should pave the way for inter-generational development. While the National Innovation Council acts as facilitator, the real work in the field is to be done by the State Innovation Council”, Mr Pitroda further stated.
In his reply to issues related to problems of fibre connectivity in the state, Mr Pitroda suggested that wi-fi connections can be established at 4-5 major towns and sub towns on pilot basis and subsequent efforts should then be made to take the connectivity to the panchayat centres.
Speaking on the occasion, Development Commissioner cum Secretary Planning, Nim Ethenpa shared that the State could benefit from capacity and skill development in the IT sector so that the opportunities in these sectors could benefit the Sikkimese people and the state could restrict outsourcing in such sectors. She also requested for a CGM office of the BSNL to be established in Sikkim to tackle the issue of connectivity. Her suggestions were received positively by the experts.
Secretary, IT, Rajesh Verma, in his presentation, highlighted the vision 2015 statement of the State Government, the Missions of the Government and their progress, path breaking initiatives, IT related innovations and awards and recognitions bestowed upon the State Government.
A presentation on the path breaking 'cyber village' in Melli Dara constituency in South Sikkim was made by Member, Gram Planning Forum Melli Dara, Ganesh Rai.
Mr Kiran Karnik, in his address, acknowledged the innovations of the State Government in various sectors. He drew parallel from the innovation models used by smaller countries like Japan and Switzerland and encouraged the Sikkim Government to consistently innovate to sustain the limited resources and maintain its reputation as a happiness powerhouse, by providing value to every little initiative.
Former Secretary, Ms. Veena Upadhyaya briefed about the roles and responsibilities of the State Innovation Council and suggested that a clear road map be provided through convergence and consolidation to meet the objectives. She stressed that cross-sectoral collaboration would lead to optimum utilisation of resources in a sustained and economic manner.
She laid emphasis on the need for proper documentation of activities, creation of a web portal dedicated to SIC, encouragement in areas like taxonomy and biotechnology, and extensive study of biodiversity to tap the medicinal benefits of rare species of plants.
The meeting was also attended by Development Commissioner DPERNECAD, Principal Secretary HRDD, Secretary IT, Secretary Agriculture & Horticulture, Director, Commerce & Industries Department,representative from Sikkim University, and officers from IT Department Government of Sikkim.

Sensitization prog held on HIV, AIDS, drugs and blood donation

NAMCHI, 31 Oct: A sensitization programme on HIV, AIDS, substance abuse and voluntary blood donation was conducted for Nehru Yuva Kendra [NYK] volunteers and youth club members at Phodong [North Sikkim], Marchak [East Sikkim] and Namchi [South Sikkim] from 26 to 31 October.
A press release informs that District Youth Coordinator, NYK from North and South district, doctors from STNM Hospital and Namchi District Hospital, consultant (youth) SSACS, Counselor (ICTC) Namchi District Hospital and Coordinator Red Ribbon Clubs were the resource persons.
The main objective for conducting this sensitization programme was to disseminate information on HIV/AIDS to the rural masses for ‘early prevention’ and encouraging youth towards regular voluntary blood donation, it is mentioned.
Participants were encouraged to be active agents who can bring change in the society by educating others on HIV/AIDS, Drug Abuse and Behavioral Change.
Interactive session was conducted after the programme followed by on-the-spot HIV Testing which was taken by 26 participants at Namchi, the release adds.

Namo Dixit named for Grameen Patrakarita award

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: Press Club of Sikkim has decided to confer the Second ‘Grameen Patrakarita Award’ on Namchi based journalist, Namo Dixit.
A press release informs that Ms. Dixit, who has over 15 years of experience as a journalist, is the South district correspondent of Sikkim Express. Her name was selected by the award selection committee during its meeting today. News reports pertaining to rural infrastructure, public health and sanitation, rural achievers, self employment and water and connectivity issues published during the past one year were examined by the committee as part of the selection process, the release adds.
The Minister for Information & Public Relations Department, CB Karki will present the award comprising of Rs 10,000 cash, citation and a shawl during the celebration of National Press Day on 16 November in Gangtok. The award for Rural Journalism was jointly instituted by Press Club of Sikkim and Raj Bhawan last year and carries a citation. Wangchuk Bhutia was its first recipient.

EMRS girls win U-19 CBSE NE tourney for fourth straight time

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: Eklavya Model Residential School, Gangyap in West Sikkim has become the Regional Champions for the fourth consecutive time winning the Under 19 CBSE Cluster-I [North East Region] Basketball Championship. This win also gives the girls from EMRS-Gangyap entry in to the Under-19 CBSE Nationals scheduled to be held at Agra from the 21 to 26 December later this year.
EMRS’s Diki Doma Bhutia was adjudged the ‘Most Valuable Player’ trophy and the Highest Scorer trophy was also lifted by Tashi Tshering Sherpa of EMRS with 40 points in her three games.
EMRS beat Indus Academy in their opening game of the championship. Being the defending champions, EMRS was given a direct berth in the quarter finals as the other teams battled it out on the first day. The final score read 57-06.
In the semi final EMRS faced a good and strong team from St. Francis, Narangi. However, EMRS brushed them aside with ease winning the shortened game 61-10. They clashed with the home team Kaziranga English Academy, Guwahati in the finals which they demolished with poise and grace to win 64-14.
The team has thanked the sponsors Ladakhi Constructions, Casino Majhong and Hissey Lachungpa [Rajya Sabha MP] for their generous support.

Resolve Never to Allow a Repeat of 1984

The nation observed Sankalp Diwas on Thursday; a day when officials at official functions make officious resolutions towards national integration. India is an integrated nation in that it has only grown in size since Independence, not disintegrated, but regions still remain fractured, the people still segregated; so yes, the people could use integration. For that process to resume, people need to demand that events of the year 1984 which followed the day we now observe as Sankalp Diwas are never repeated. That is a wish that every Indian [and when we say Indian we mean the people, not its leaders who live by misplaced priorities and have no qualms about dredging up selective recollections of 1984] harboured in 1984, and yet, twenty years on, the wish remains unachieved. Politics and its mechanizations still manage to cleave the country, set the ground for every spark to become a conflagration, push integration further away. Such players find willing allies in the media which routinely loses focus, pushes tokenism and celebrates sensationalism and offer simplistic solutions. The Gujarat Riots, an undefensible scar on the country’s secular claims, hogs the media space [with or without sting operations] with demands for the head of the government and punishment for the perpetrators. All are valid demands and should be delivered, but can it be expected in a country where a worse pogrom of two decades earlier remains not only largely unpunished, but also largely ignored. This is not an attempt to excuse the sluggishnes that inflicts the Gujarat inquisition, these are not things that can be justified, but an attempt to put things in perspective. As a nation, we have not learnt anything since 1984 [taken as a watershed because it was with this year that State machineries really started getting compromised for communal and political settling of scores].  For a Nation that was born to the wails of communal rioting, it is inexcusable that we still lack the wherewithal to stop communal rioting or punish its perpetrators in time.
The media and the civil society need to ask why situations and incidents are still allowed to deny the people their instinctive desire for communal amity. Had the policy-makers realised their failings back in 1984, the Gujarat riots of 2002 would not have achieved the scale it did. Gujarat happened because 1984 remains ignored. 1984 receives only token mentions because the media and the civil society shy away from it because it complicates the simplistic analysis they have developed of what and who are communal in our country. The post-Godhra riots were a result of the powers-that-be subverting the power to serve to become power that colludes in pushing political agendas. As a people, we continue to pay the price because the people who occupy the public domain do not ask the right questions, do not address the malfunction in the system. Yes the country and its people need to rededicate themselves to the idea of India, an India that was imagined to be secular but today actively segregates its people; an India that was to have public servants but they mutated into subservient attendants to politicians; an India that was to be run by people’s representative has been usurped by autocrats; an India which started democratic but is now foisting dynasties. The nation needs to resolve a lot of ironies to rediscover the idea that it was imagined as. History needs to be remembered and understood so that we are not condemned to repeat past mistakes. The shame need to accepted because then we can move past them. Once that happens, leaders who survive and remain relevant by keeping past nightmares and imagined horrors alive in public minds will have to make way for representative who keep people first.

Celebrate Diwali with Cookie Man

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: Yavachi foods has given Gangtokians another reason to celebrate Diwali this year bringing Australia and India’s number one cookie brand to your doorstep. The Australian cookie brand has set up an outlet here at Nam Nang which opened today. The store offers more than 30 varieties of cookies.

Names of ‘fake’ CoI holders not released by Department

The department of Land Revenue & Disaster Management would like to clarify that the name of assumed fake COI Holders being reported by some organization in social media has not been provided by the department to the RTI Forum as claimed by certain section of people.
In this connection the department clarifies that the department had handed over a CD to one Jit Bahadur Chettri S/o Shri G.S. Chettri, r/o Rayong Tinkitam, South Sikkim in response to his RTI application dated 26/08/2013 containing the data of 3,36,043 COI holders which was prepared by the department in the year 2005.  The department would like to categorically emphasize that the data provided to the above RTI applicant does not specify any fake or doubtful COI holders.
The department sincerely states that anyone aggrieved by such post on social media may seek the redressal from the concerned person mentioned above as the department has not intended to hurt sentiments of any section of people or community and the onus of such assumption/action lies with the person responsible behind such act.
Joint Secretary/SPIO, Land Revenue & D.M. Department.

Training on broom binding held in West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: A series of training on broom binding was conducted for the villages of West Sikkim which fall under the Micro watershed of Integrated Watershed Management Program project implemented by State Level Nodal Agency, Forest Environment & Wildlife Management Department.
The names of the micro watershed that falls under the IWMP- I West Sikkim are Munsabhung- Ramgaythang MWS, Thingling MWS, Rimbik MWS, SindrangSingpheng MWS and Upper Chumbung MWS.
A press release informs that a total of 180 beneficiaries from all the four districts participated in the training. The series of training, which had started from 21 October 2013, conducted under Capacity Building Programme of Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), West District concluded today.
One-day awareness programs were also conducted in the five micro watersheds in which total of 152 villagers participated. The training was conducted in the presence of TsheringPintso[DFO-cum-PIA], Watershed Secretary, Watershed President, Committee, Panchayat, and SLNA experts.
The resource person for the training on broom binding was KB Thapafrom Samdong andExperts of SLNA for the Awareness Program.
Participants were made aware of the project, its importance and its implementation.The villagers also thanked the department for thetraining on broom binding, the release adds.

Adhoc teachers express full faith on HRDD committee

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: All Sikkim Ad-hoc Teachers’ [ASAT] has expressed full faith in the committee constituted by the Human Resource Development Department to address issues raised by them. Members of the association stated that their next course of action would be based on the report that the committee submits to the State Government.
It may be mentioned that the HRDD has constituted a committee headed by the Special Secretary who met representatives of the protesting ad-hoc teachers on Monday and is expected to submit its report on Saturday.
Addressing a press conference today, ASAT general secretary, Asish Lepcha said that the representatives have placed all their issues with the committee and the Association is hopeful that the committee’s report would be in favour of all ad-hoc teachers.
The ongoing dharna and hunger strike will continue till the submission of the report, he added. Prakash Sharma, Khemraj Thansin, Prakash Dahal, Ashish Lepcha and Sandeep Jairu are on hunger strike.
On students being affected by the strike, they stated that they have been performing their duties till now and were forced to call a strike when the Department continued to ignore their demands.
“When no one heard our grievances, we were compelled to take this step as the future of around 2,300 ad-hoc teachers is at stake,” they said.
“According to the Indian Constitution no one can be employed on ad-hoc basis for a long period otherwise it has to take steps for regularization,” they said. “If there is shortage of teachers then why has the government been appointing teachers on ad-hoc basis instead of regular employment every year?” they questioned.
They further said that the first point of the ruling SDF party’s 2009 manifesto assures regularization of all ad-hoc teachers which has not been fulfilled till now.
Mr. Lepcha stated that some antisocial elements have been trying to disrupt the movement by spreading rumours and further urged all ad-hoc teachers not to believe any such rumours and directly contact the Association in case of any doubts.
The association further mentioned that they will not be celebrating Diwali this year.

Truck crushes woman to death

GANGTOK, 31 Oct: In an unfortunate incident, a 35-year-old woman was crushed to death by a speeding truck this morning near IBM Colony at Rangpo.
At around 10 a.m., Neha Singh [35] who works at the Cipla Pharmaceutical Company situated at Kumrek near Rangpo was walking along the road near IBM-Rangpo when she was run over by the speeding truck. The truck was going towards Siliguri.
She was immediately taken to Rangpo District Hospital in a serious condition from where she was referred to Central Referral Hospital, Tadong, but succumbed to her injuries on the way.
The driver of the truck Rajesh Pradhan has been arrested by the Rangpo police and a case of rash and negligent driving has been registered against him at the Rangpo Police Station.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sikkim traders export more than a crore worth of goods over Nathula in Sept VISHNU NEOPANEY

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: The unreliable road infrastructure and inclement weather conditions notwithstanding, border trade between Sikkim and Tibetan Autonomous Region posted record transactions in September with exports from Sikkim in the month crossing the crore mark!
Records put together by the Customs Department reveal that Sikkim traders exported goods worth Rs. 1,40,70,400  in September last month while bringing in imports to the tune of Rs. 21,14,466 over Nathula. As far as official statistics go, border trade over Nathula is still heavily in Sikkim’s favour.
Sikkim traders imported mostly carpets, readymade garments, blankets and quilts in September. In the export segment, vegetable oil alone accounted for Rs. 64,14,400, records reveal.
As compared to business transactions made in the month of August this season, September recorded two times higher business, the report states. In the month of August, Sikkim traders exported goods worth only Rs. 64.80 lakhs while making imports to the tune of Rs. 10,60,114.

TMC inducts new members in Sikkim

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: Sikkim Pradesh Trinamool Congress inducted new members into the party at its East district meeting held today.
A TMC release informs that the new members inducted today were BS Rai (vice president), Sonam Gyatso Bhutia (vice president, administration), Namsay Bhutia (secretary), Gyatso Lachenpa (convenor, North), Bikash Gurung (convenor, East), Kamal Lepcha (member), Kunchok Bhutia (member), Niren Thapa (youth vice president ).
The meeting was chaired by TMC-Sikkim president, PT Lucksom.

TAAS congratulates Sikkim on topping Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel list

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: Travel Agents’ Association of Sikkim [TAAS] has congratulated the people of Sikkim on the state topping Lonely Planet’s list of Best in Travel 2014 – Top 10 Regions.
Sikkim has come out on top in the list published by the global travel guide ‘Lonely Planet’ on 28 October. Sikkim is followed by the Kimberly in Australia and Yorkshire in England respectively in the top 10 regions to visit according to the travel guide.
In a press release, TAAS president, Satish Barewa has congratulated the efforts of both the Private and Government sector for this recognition and has also requested all stake holders to keep up the good work.
TAAS president also congratulated the people of Sikkim for being helpful and friendly to tourists and for maintaining peace and cultural harmony which are the foremost strengths and USP of Sikkim.
Calling Sikkim “India’s cleanest state with the most innovative tourism project”, the travel guide has credited the state for setting “new benchmarks for responsible travel in the country”.

SKM welcomes inquiry commission’s report on lathicharge

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha has welcomed the inquiry report submitted by former DGP of Uttar Pradesh, IC Dwivedi, to the Supreme Court on the lathicharge incident on SKM office in February earlier this year.
Mr. Dwivedi was appointed by the Supreme Court to enquire into the lathicharge and the allegations leveled by Kala Rai and others in petition filed with against the incident.
“I am happy that the Truth has prevailed and the report clearly shows that the lathicharge by the Sikkim Police was not justified and that the conduct of the I.G.P. (Law & Order) was illegal and improper. We have full faith in the judiciary and we await further order from the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India,” a press release issued by Sonam Bhutia, general secretary (Legal Cell) of the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha conveys.

SKM student wing demands explanation on cancellation of SPSC prelims

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: A delegation of the students’ wing of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha met the Sikkim Public Service Commission Chairman, ML Arrawatia, at his office here today. The delegation demanded an explanation for the cancellation of the SPSC preliminary examination held on 06 October.
An SKM press release issued by its publicity secretary, Ugen Namgyal Bhutia, informs that the delegation also demanded that the present board at SPSC be declared ‘incompetent’ and a new board constituted.
The SKM student’s wing also asked the commission to compensate expenses incurred by candidates who came from different parts of the state to give the examination which has now been cancelled. They further demanded that the re-examination be conducted as soon as possible.
The release claims that the SPSC Chairman failed to explain the reason behind the cancellation of the examination or give the dates for the re-examination.
SKM students’ wing has given a one-week ultimatum to SPSC to come up with a proper explanation on the issue, failing which the party will take to the streets and also initiate legal action, the release informs.

SDF convinced of SKM’s antisocial tendencies

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front has reiterated its allegations of the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha being involved in antisocial activities.
In a press release issued today, the SDF has drawn attention to the arrest of two persons at Melli Checkpost recently with a huge consignment of prescription drugs of abuse. The duo, the SDF maintains, were SKM party workers; a status borne out by the SKM flag they also had in their possession, the release states.
This bust is being held up as further ‘evidence’ of SKM being deeply involved in antisocial activities and in misleading the youth and herding them in the wrong direction.
The SDF press release goes on to appeal to the younger generation not to get carried away by the rhetoric of the SKM and remain on guard against its misdirection. The release has also appreciated the police action to crackdown on drug peddling in Sikkim.

SDF ward level meeting at Belbotay

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: SDF Ward level party meeting was held on Tuesday at Belbotay Ward of Kitam-Manpur GPU under Melli constituency. Area MLA, Tulshi Devi Rai was present as the chief guest at the meeting.
A press release informs that the MLA listened to the grievances of the people of the area and informed that their demand for road connectivity is being fulfilled and construction work will commence before the assembly election.
Citing various examples of the developmental works initiated by the SDF Government, she urged the people to support SDF party which has been working towards making the dreams of rural Sikkim come true. She informed about the various government benefits and cautioned people against the opposition. The MLA thanked the people of Belbotay for their support to SDF party and expressed hope for their continued support in the future as well, the release adds.
The meeting was also addressed by Deepak Subba [South District Vice Youth Convenor], KB Pradhan [CEC member], Savitri Chettri [Panchayat President] and Chandramani Bhujel [Panchayat Vice President] while it was attended by all Panchayats, former Panchayats, all the voters of the ward and the public of GPU, all CEC, CLC, BLC and WLC members.

Countdown for Tadong School Sports Day begin with Marathon

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: The annual sports day at Tadong Government Senior Secondary School is being jointly organised with the SAATHI programme. Scheduled to be held on 01 November at Paljor Stadium, the games began today with open marathon.
SAATHI is a program that seeks to secure every child a bright and healthy future. This is a programme under the Chief Minister’s Youth Empowerment & Self Reliant Mission 2013 (CMYESRM-2013) and it aims to keep present youth and the society away from Drugs guiding them to the right track.
As part of the sports day, an Open Marathon Race was organised today in separate categories for Boys and Girls. The starting point for the marathon was Ridge Park, White Memorial Hall Complex, Gangtok and the finishing point was at Tashi View Point. The Marathon was flagged off by Project Director, SAATHI, Tempo Bhutia.
The release informs that around 200 students from different classes participated in the marathon.
Sherap Zangpo Rai (XII), Mahesh Thapa (VII D), Diwash Rai (XI Arts) stood 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Boys category while Julie Tamang (XII Arts), Srijana Chettri (IX C), Ganga Chettri (X B) stood 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Girls category.
Also present were Principal of Tadong Govt. Sr. Sec. School, Doma L. Zimba, Vice Principal, KD Bhutia and school staff. The final concluding event of the sports day, as mentioned earlier, is scheduled to be held at Paljor Stadium on Friday.

Durga Mandir inaugurated at Rang Rang

MANGAN, 30 Oct: Power Minister Sonam Gyatso Lepcha inaugurated a Durga Mandir here at Rang Rang in North Sikkim on 28 October. He was accompanied by DC North, CP Dhakal, SP North, RN Yadav, President and councilor of Mangan Nagar Panchayat, Headmaster and teachers of Rang Rang JHS, panchayat members and local populace.
The Durga Mandir was established in the year 1999. A short function was held after the inauguration where one of the founder members of the mandir, Doma Tamang informed about the mandir’s history. MB Thapa highlighted about the construction of the mandir and expressed gratitude to well-wishers and donors who have extended support in the mandir’s construction.
Also during the function, the mandir committee felicitated Gyami Tamang who donated land for the mandir.
DC North, CP Dhakal in his address, urged the youth to stay away from drugs and alcohol and focus on making their future better.
The Minister said that the SDF government has provided equal benefits to all religions in Sikkim and further urged all towards maintaining unity and brotherhood in the state. Rang Rang can be developed into a model village and the people of the area should join hands in making this possible, he said. The Minister further spoke on the Sanskrit Mahavidhyalay established at Samdong in East Sikkim.
On the occasion, the chief guest and other guests also offered prayers in the mandir.


What I’d give for the joys of Tihar,
in those golden days of yore,
when I was a carefree young buck.
All decked out in my festal garb,
dhaka topi at a rakish tilt,
the waistcoat snug and the tapering suruwal.
The crimson dab of tika,
the swaying marigold mala,
sacred talismans of a doting sister’s deference.
Yes, I was a picture of dashing, careless elegance.
The thud-thudding throb of the maadal
in sync with my festive verve.

The clime and setting has not changed,
the same languid November air prevails.
Only back then, the old home town
was unfettered by the snarl of cables, cars and chaos.
It’s a digital Deoshee these days;
electric guitars, blaring speakers and filmi dhun;
somehow too crass, too trite and too impersonal.
It simply doesn’t mesh with the spirit and cheer
of the Tihar I knew.

Where is the homely ambience of the good old days,
and the infectious spontaneity
sparked by bouts of laughter and home brew,
as we sang and danced far into the starlit night…

Old dastoors seemed a cumbersome load
that I cast by the wayside
in my frantic rush to progress.
Now all too late, I retrace my steps
to retrieve this precious bundle.

Training held on prospects of Organic Farming in Sikkim

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: Three-day training on prospects of Organic Farming in North East commenced on 29 October at SAMETI Hall, Tadong. The training is jointly organized by Extension Education Institute (EEI) Jorhat, Assam and State Agriculture Management Extension Training Institute (SAMETI) under FS&AD department, Sikkim. Forty extension functionaries participated in the training.
A press release informs that Principal Director FS&AD Department, P Tshering Bhutia was present as the chief guest in the inaugural programme. The Associate Professors of EEI Jorhat, Dr. Arup Kumar Bhattercharja and Dr R. Barua were the resource persons. At the outset, the Director SAMETI welcomed the chief guest, eminent resource persons from Jorhat and the participants.
P Tshering Bhutia in his inaugural address highlighted on the initiation of organic farming and mentioned that the soil health is the basic factor for organic farming which depends on the microbial load present in the soil. He also mentioned that those who are present in the training will be the trainers of trainings of the state.
Dr. Arup Kumar Bhattercharja and Dr R. Barua mentioned that this training was proposed in the regional meeting of NE Zone by the SAMETI Directors while formulating the training need of North East which includes Sikkim. The programme concluded with vote of thanks by Shyam Das [Dy. Director IPM].

Monday storm damages crops and power supply up North

MANGAN, 30 Oct: The heavy storm and rain on Monday evening has damaged crops and vegetables in several areas of North District. Areas at Swayem, Lungtsok, Naga, some parts of Dzongu have been severely affected. Power and drinking water supply to different areas have also been disrupted.
Roads were also blocked at some places which were immediately restored while power supply to different areas was restored by Wednesday evening.
At Swayem, crops belonging to Norden Lepcha, Tenzing Lepcha, Sangta Lepcha, Dathik Bhutia and Tashi Bhutia have been damaged. Paddy at Upper and Lower Tintek, Upper Kambal in East Sikkim have also been damaged.

Consultation meeting of NE States on Forest Act concludes

GANGTOK, 30 Oct [IPR]: The inaugural session of the concluding day of the consultation meeting with North Eastern States and Sikkim organised by Ministry of Tribal Affairs on 29 October was chaired by Economic Advisor, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Sangeeta Verma. The session dealt with planning, implementation and monitoring of Tribal Sub Plan.
In her opening remarks, Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, Vibha Puri Das stressed on the need to make tribal affairs knowledge-based and not simply allocation and expenditure based. She urged the participating States to get an individual status profile prepared in three major areas namely health, education and employability through help from concerned agencies. She said that the States needed to ensure development of these three sectors in terms of access and service delivery.
The Secretary's address was followed by a presentation by the Ministry of DoNER.
As part of the state-wise presentation, Secretary, Social Justice, Empowerment & Welfare Department Government of Sikkim, GB Upadhyay apprised about the schemes and programmes on Tribal Affairs being implemented by the State of Sikkim.
He maintained that adequate impetus is given to development of Scheduled Tribes in the States in terms of infrastructure, health, education, employability and capacity building. He also highlighted the various Missions of the State Government and explained how they have integrated with tribal affairs to extend benefits to the tribal population.
Similar presentations were also rendered by senior officers of Tripura, Manipur and Assam. The states explained their individual status reports in terms of planning, implementation and monitoring of Tribal Sub Plans.
Summing up the discussions, Principal Secretary, Tribal Affairs Department, Government of Manipur, Dev Burman stressed that for TSPs, indications need to improve in correspondence with the allocation and consultation process needs to be strengthened. Further, he mentioned that knowledge enrichment and capacity building of the Tribal Departments is very important to identify gaps because if Tribal Departments are not adequately staffed, it affects the performance.
Another issue he raised was the importance of good governance and the capacity of stakeholders in implementing schemes, importance of submission of TSP documents on time and the need for proper coordination between concerned departments.
The second half of the consultation dealt with Grant-in-Aid under NGO, schemes in the North Eastern States, conservation-cum-development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PTGs), and review of other schemes or programmes. Principal Secretary, SJE&WD, Government of Sikkim summed up the recommendations.
The closing remarks were made by the Economic Advisor, Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

SUTWA reminds protesting ad-hoc teachers of affect on students

NAMCHI, 30 Oct: The Central Committee of Sikkim United Teachers Welfare Association (SUTWA) has highlighted that students are bearing the brunt of the ongoing standoff between the ad-hoc teachers and the state government. A SUTWA release states that the strike called by ad-hoc teachers has directly hampered the future of students.
In this regard, SUTWA Central Committee has welcomed the state government’s initiative to regularize the incumbents if they get through the TET. The general secretary of SUTWA West District, Govind Lohagan, along with president SUTWA Central Committee, Kumar Subba, state that it is the students who have become the real victims of the ongoing strike and have appealed to all to consider the problems faced by the students.

ICAR organises exposure visit for Nandok farmers

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: Krishi Vigyan Kendra, ICAR Sikkim Centre, Ranipool, East Sikkim organised an exposure visit for the farmers of Nandok Farm School on Tuesday which was sponsored by ATMA (East), Deptt. of FS&AD, Govt. of Sikkim.
The Farm School Programme on Quality Vegetable Seedling Production under Low-cost Structure is a profit oriented entrepreneurial farm venture at Nandok Village of East Sikkim recently launched by KVK, Ranipool in collaboration with ATMA (East).
A press release informs that this exposure visit programme was arranged at Chhota Singtam village of Assam Lingzey in order to have a face-to-face interaction with a successful vegetable grower D P Sapkota, who has excelled in vegetable cultivation and proved that it can be a lucrative enterprise by establishing a strong marketing network. More than 30 farmers of Farm School, Nandok led by Gokul Rai, the Farm School Teacher participated in this programme.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. A K Mohanty [Programme Coordinator, KVK, ICAR Sikkim Centre, Ranipool] commended the efforts of Mr Sapkota and hoped that this type of exposure visit to a successful farmer’s field would be an eye-opener for the emerging agri-preneurs to excel in their efforts and boost their self-confidence and motivate them to replicate such activities leading to large scale organic vegetable cultivation. It is noteworthy to mention that Mr Sapkota has created an organic vegetable centre at his own village, the release adds.
During the exposure visit, DP Sapkota of Chhota Singtam, Assam Lingzey, an award winning and highly acclaimed vegetable grower of that region shared his experience starting from failure to success and his journey to become a successful vegetable grower which has enabled him to supply an average of more than 50 quintals of vegetables daily to the Gangtok market. Farmers–to-farmer interaction was made on vegetable farming like tomato, cauliflowers, cabbage and knol-khol.  
Pratima [BTH, ATM (East), Gangtok] also stressed upon the importance of the exposure visit and said that this is the right place for the Nandok Farm School to get first-hand experience on the most relevant field i.e., vegetable production.
Earlier Tezoshi Khawas [SRF, NICRA-KVK] welcomed the gathering and highlighted that the commodity oriented exposure visit for the farmers will help Farmer- to- Farmer extension. Similarly Dr. J K Singh [SMS, Plant Breeding, KVK, Ranipool] opined that this exposure visit has encouraged the farmers of Nandok for wide scale adoption of vegetable production.

Holy Cross School donates Rs 3.19 lakh to HelpAge India

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: The Principal of Holy Cross School, Tadong, Sr. Celine Antony, along with Vice Principal, Sr. Lissy Mathew, teachers and students handed over Rs. 3,19,026 to Urmi Manna [Manager – RM of HelpAge India, Kolkata, NE & Sikkim region].
A press release informs that the amount was collected by the students from Classes IV-XII and will be used by HelpAge India for the Ration and Clothes distribution to around 55 beneficiaries in-and-around Gangtok. These beneficiaries were identified by the HelpAge India team.
Ms. Manna thanked the school after receiving the amount and assured the money will only go for the welfare of the older persons of Sikkim region, the release adds.
HelpAge India is the only registered national Non-Governmental Organisation working for the development and welfare of older persons. The other programme undertaken by the organisation includes livelihood programme, counselling, advocacy programme, etc. The introduction of Mobile Medical Van is also in the plan for the future.

Workshop review Family Planning programme in NER

GANGTOK, 30 Oct [IPR]: A two-day regional review workshop on Family Planning Programme for the North Eastern States including Orissa and West Bengal began here at a local hotel today. The workshop is being organised by the National Health Mission in Sikkim in collaboration with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GOI.
Director General cum Secretary Health Care, Human Services and Family Welfare Department, Dr K. Bhandari inaugurated the workshop in the presence of Dr. S K Sikdar [Deputy Commissioner I, Family Planning, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare], Consultant Family Welfare Division, MoHFW, representatives of North Eastern States, Orissa and West Bengal.
Dr. K. Bhandari in his inaugural address focused on health care facilities being provided by the State Government. Sikkim is emerging as a better performing state in primary and secondary health care in terms of birth rate, infant mortality rate, immunization, institutional deliver etc., he added. Further the introduction of Hepatitis B, MMR Vaccine, ban on gutka and tobacco and smoking in public places are the few examples which show the state’s approach towards healthy Sikkim, he said.
He also spoke about the CATCH, Mission Healthy Sikkim programme of the State Government. Regarding family planning programme he mentioned that it is not only to limit the family size but it also plays a key tool in reduction of maternal mortality. He also observed that education and socio-economic up-liftment are the best ways for family planning and also hoped that the revamped Family Planning Programmes will address the issues pertaining to controlling population growth in the country.
Dr S K Sikdar in his address mentioned that the main aim of family planning programme is providing access to choices in family planning and overall a healthy population. He also appealed to all the representatives present to deliver service with dedication and sincerity for the well-being of all individuals. He lauded the CATCH programme of the state as an exemplary achievement towards contributing overall health care. He further elaborated on the current use of family planning methods in India, factors affecting population stabilization and the impact of literacy and adolescent fertility.
Earlier, Dr. P M Pradhan, MD-NRHM, Government of Sikkim in his welcome address gave an overview of the health scenario and universal health coverage in the state.
The inaugural session was rounded off by the vote of thanks proposed by Dr. M N Lepcha, NRHM.
The second session included presentations on policies, programmes and thrust areas of Family Planning Programme in India by the officials of MoHFW followed by presentation and discussion by different states.
The second day will have review and presentation of the states and GOI followed by discussions.

DA of State Govt employees hiked to 90%

GANGTOK, 30 Oct: The State government has enhanced the rate of Dearness Allowance of state government employees and Dearness Relief for state government pensioners from the existing 80% to 90% of the basic pay.
As per a circular issued on 26 October by the Finance, Revenue and Expenditure Department, the revised rate comes into effect from 01 July 2013. Government employees will be getting arrears for the months of July-October while they will be getting the revised DA from November onwards, it is informed.
The revised rate is applicable to All India Service Officers and Central Government Employees working under the Government of Sikkim on deputation.
The revised DA rates will also be applicable to employees appointed on contract basis and work-charged establishment drawing revised pay in the regular scales of pay of the State government.