Saturday, December 7, 2013

2,261 laptops handed over to West Sikkim students

KALUK, 06 Dec: A total of 2,261 students of class XI and XII from 10 schools of Soreng Sub Division received free laptops today. Chief Minister Pawan Chamling handed over the laptops to the students at a programme organised here at the Sardar Ran Bahadur Gurung Senior Secondary School. The Chief Minister, in his address paid homage to the late Sardar Ran Bdr. Gurung who donated the land for the school and in whose memory the school was renamed.
Explaining the delay in the laptop distribution in the district, the CM informed that the machines were being imported from outside the country and went out of stock after the distribution at Gangtok and Gyalshing. Due to this, the distribution in other parts of the State was delayed and is being resumed as fresh laptops have finally arrived, he said.
He further stated that the aim behind distributing laptops to the students was to make them more competitive and advanced. “I want the students of Sikkim to be as capable as those from other parts of the globe,” he added.
On rumours of the laptop distribution was being funded by the Central government, the Chief Minister clarified that the distribution is completely envisioned and funded by the State government. This year the laptops were provided to students of class XI and above, next year the students of class IX and above will get the laptops, he said.
“If it was funded by the Central government then why are governments of other states not doing the same?”, he asked further adding that this is a result of the government’s policies and aim to produce a capable, competitive and intelligent human resource. Unemployment has increased due to the development in education and government jobs are not the only solution, he said.
The State government is working tirelessly to make Sikkim’s students more competitive so that they can get jobs anywhere in the world. Addressing the students he said, “The world is not readymade for anyone, you have to create your own world as I created mine. I am helping you build your world. Sikkim is passing through the golden era and students should take advantage of it”.
Addressing the teachers, especially the ad-hoc teachers, the Chief Minister said that in pursuit of their individual gains, they should not jeopardize the future of students. He assured all possible help within the powers of the State government to the ad-hoc teachers.
The CM also approved the demands of the school on the spot from the Chief Minister's relief fund. He urged the students to start thinking for the betterment of the state and country as a whole. He further informed that Sikkim will be the next place, after Greece, to provide vaccination for cervical cancer which he said would begin from 15 December 2013. Sikkim is the only state to give such priority to the health sector, he added.
He further said that all the demands of new roads will be sanctioned by December end, Rs. 400 crore has already been sanctioned to double lane the highway from Singtam to Gyalshing. For the construction of new school buildings, he will sanction Rs 24 crore from the Chief Minister's relief fund by the end of December, he added.
Earlier, area MLA [Rinchenpong], the Health Minister DN Thakarpa delivered the welcome address.
On the occasion, the school felicitated the Chief Minister for upgrading the school to Senior Secondary level in the year 2008. The family members of Late Sardar Ran Bdr. Gurung were also felicitated by the school.
This laptop distribution programme was organized on the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee celebration of Sardar Ran Bdr. Gurung Sr. Secondary School which was established in 1938.

SKM a group of frustrated politicians, says Ugen T Gyatso

GANGTOK, 06 Dec: Sikkim Democratic Front’s youth convener, the Tumin-Lingee MLA Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia, today dismissed the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha as “a group of unhappy politicians” who are frustrated by their failures and disgruntled for not having continually been allowed to profit at the cost of the people. Addressing an SDF party meeting at Upper Kambal ward, Mr. Gyatso, who is also the area MLA, said that Upper Kambal is an example of SDF’s unity and strength at the grassroots level and urged them to continue to remain united.
“The opposition cannot break the hold of SDF party in the area since they have no political agenda or even the will to serve the people. People with vested interests are mounting an attack on the SDF party hoping to defeat the party in the upcoming assembly election but will not be successful since they have nothing to offer but resentment,” said Mr. Gyatso.
SDF has delivered more than what it promised in the last elections and the people will again bring the party to power in 2014, he added.
The public of Upper Kambal Ward have placed various demands for infrastructure development including the proposal to construct models of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’ in Kambal. They have also demanded the construction of wind mill at Gumauney Dara for which they have urged the government to conduct a feasibility study in the area. The public have further agreed to donate land for the construction of a playground dedicated to the poet Late Sridas Bhattarai ‘Bekari’ who passed away some years ago.
Mr Bhutia assured the people to take up their demands and place it during the next Legislators’ Meet scheduled to be held later this month. He also appreciated the proposals for wind mill and Seven Wonders model projects as a great way to boost tourism in the area.
Tumin-Lingee constituency has three major tourism projects in the pipeline namely the Jurassic Park which is under construction, Ramayan Village and Jantra-Mantra-Tantra for which land has been acquired.
The meeting was also addressed by Lhakila Tongden, DB Kutwal, Saraswati Chettri and Dorjee Chopel Lepcha and the Ward Panchayat.

Bamboo craft training under IWMP concludes

GANGTOK, 06 Dec: Department of Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management under Capacity Building of Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) III, South District organised a 45-day training on bamboo craft starting from 21 October which concluded on 05 December.
A press release informs that seven beneficiaries from different micro watershed of IWMP III South underwent the training conducted at IWMP Training Centre, Daragaon, Gangtok. Beneficiaries were motivated to make products learnt during the training when they go back to their villages and also to motivate other villagers and set a good example.
This is the fifth time that bamboo craft training has been conducted in Sikkim by SLNA under IWMP Project, the release mentions. All the four districts falling under IWMP Project have been given training on bamboo craft. The training was conducted by Karna Bahadur Thapa of Samdong as Master Trainer and Ram Bdr. Pradhan from Chujachen as Assistant Trainer.
The valedictory function was attended by Chief Conservator of Forests, CS Rao, CF-cum-CEO SLNA, DC Nepal and SLNA Officers.
The release informs that the training completion certificates and bamboo kits & tools were distributed to the trainees by CS Rao and DC Nepal. Mr Rao congratulated the participants for successfully completing the training and maintaining sincerity and punctuality throughout the training period. He added that bamboo products have good demand in the local markets as well as outside and assured all possible assistance from the department.
He also thanked the trainers for conducting the training in an effective manner.
The beneficiaries of IWMP III South thanked the Department for conducting such beneficial training for the villagers and carrying out other developmental activities under IWMP, it is added.

Two booked for misappropriating precious stones worth Rs. 90 lakh

GANGTOK, 06 Dec: Two persons have been booked by the Sadar police on charges of misappropriating goods worth around Rs. 90 lakh. Bishal Subba of Chandmari and Puspha Subba of Tathangchen were picked up by the police today and charged under sections 403 and 409 of the Indian Penal Code.
The complainant, a Gangtok resident, had reportedly handed over precious stones, 9 of them said to be collectively worth Rs. 93 lakh, to Pushpa Subba to help her sell them off. Pushpa Subba in turn, reportedly handed them over to Bishal Subba to do the same.
However they have not been able to return the stones or the money to the complainant. In light of their inability to return the precious stones they have been detained and booked by the police for misappropriation of property as well as criminal breach of trust.

Teenager commits suicide

GANGTOK, 06 Dec: A 17-year-old boy has reportedly committed suicide in West Sikkim on 05 December. The dead body of the boy, a resident of Rohtak in West Sikkim, was found on the morning of 05 December at his house. He had committed suicide by hanging.

Sikkim needs experienced leaders: SSP

GANGTOK, 06 Dec: Sikkim Sangram Parishad Party held a general meeting at Singtam Bazaar, East Sikkim today. An SSP release informs that the party president, Nar Bahadur Bhandari leveled various allegations against the ruling SDF party and its government during the meeting.
Accusing the present government of corruption, incurring heavy debt and dilution of old laws, Mr. Bhandari stated that Sikkimese will have to vote for experienced hands in order to set things straight in the state which SSP can offer.
Various government schemes started by the SDF government in the name of development has only led to the state incurring huge debt amounting to more than Rs. 20,000 crore, he alleged. He further alleged that Article 371 F will be lost if the SDF party is voted back into power.
The meeting was also addressed by SSP working president, Rajendra Upreti, vice president Sikkim Mahila Parishad, Sumitra Rai, vice president, Rinzing Namgyal Bhutia, general secretary, DB Basnet and others.

SFA congratulates AIFF on bringing U-17 FIFA World Cup to India

GANGTOK, 06 Dec: Sikkim Football Association has congratulated AIFF president Praful Patel and general secretary Kushal Das on winning the bid to host the FIFA Under-17 World Cup Football Tournament in 2017 in India.
It is a historic day for Indian football and it will be a turning point for the development of Indian Football, said SFA general secretary Menla Ethenpa today.
The decision was taken at the FIFA Executive Committee meeting held on 05 December at Sauipe Fun Hotel, Salvador de Bahia in Brazil. FIFA handed India the hosting rights ahead of Ireland, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts South Africa.
The tournament, in which 24 teams will be taking part, will be held in six venues which are to be selected from eight prospective venues - New Delhi, Goa, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata, Kochi and Guwahati.
The FIFA Under-17 World Cup was first held in 1985 in China. It began as a Competition for Players under the age of 16 with the age limit raised to 17 from 1991 onwards.
The last edition of the Tournament was hosted by the United Arab Emirates which was eventually won by Nigeria. The next edition is slated to be hosted in 2015 in Chile.

SDF condoles Nelson Mandela’s demise

GANGTOK, 06 Dec: Sikkim Democratic Front party has condoled the demise of South African leader, Nelson Mandela.
A press release informs that the party held a condolence meeting at the party head-office today where the party paid homage to Late Mandela.
Even during times of struggle, Mandela shared good relations with India which also conferred the highest recognition of the country ‘Bharat Ratna’ to him, the party has stated. 

SDF appoints district and state level office bearers

GANGTOK, 06 Dec: Sikkim Democratic Front has handed over different posts and responsibilities to various members of the party. An SDF release informs that eleven members were chosen for different posts during a meeting held here at the party head-office.
Avinash Yakha was chosen as the state-level secretary [organization] in-charge South district, Rudra Khatiwara as state-level secretary [organization] in-charge East district, Norden Lepcha as state-level secretary [organization] in-charge North district and Nawin Kiran Pradhan as state-level secretary [youth]. Basant Kumar Rai, Kedarnath Sharma and Am Prasad Sharma have been appointed as state-level secretaries.
Others include Deepak Sharma as secretary South district working committee, Chewang Dorjee Bhutia as secretary, East district working committee, Vinu Tamang as secretary [Cheli Morcha] South district working committee and Gyanu Gurung as secretary [youth] West district working committee.

CS inspects Ngadak Gumpa construction

NAMCHI, 06 Dec: Chief Secretary R. Ongmu today visited the construction site of Ngadak Gumpa, Namchi in South Sikkim where the final touches are being given to the monastery which is being constructed at a cost of Rs 22.7 crore. The construction of the monastery started in 2009 and is scheduled to be inaugurated on 15 January 2014 by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling.
During her visit, the CS inquired after the construction works and directed workers not to compromise on quality. She also asked the concerned department and the committee members of the Gumpa to coordinate and complete the works by January.
Sikkim is a secular state and it is the state government’s policy to take up such mega projects to preserve and promote our religions, culture and customs, she said. The department’s officers and engineers along with the Gumpa committee share equal responsibilities, she stressed.
A member of the Gumpa Committee informed that prayers and preparations for the inaugural ceremony will begin from 13 January onwards. Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche from Shimla will arrive on 13 January and perform the Rabney on 14 January along with other Rinpoches and monks from different parts of Sikkim, it is informed.
Gunzang Rinpoche, Lachen Rinpoche and Alley Rinpoche will perform the Phurba Dupchen puja from 17-23 January. Wang will be distributed on 24-25 January.
The Chief Secretary was accompanied by Sangha MLA, Phitook Tsh. Lama, CE (B&H) Rinzing Bhutia, DC (S) Prabhakar Verma and other officers from the departments and the Gumpa Committee members.

Training on mushroom cultivation begins in South Sikkim

NAMCHI, 06 Dec: A three-month long skills up-gradation training on mushroom and vegetable cultivation for the unemployed women between the age group of 18 to 35 years of Jorethang Block started at Nandugaon, South Sikkim today. The training is being organized by Ratna Jyoti Club, Nandugaon and is sponsored by Nehru Yuva Kendra, Namchi.
The inaugural function today was attended by president of Ratna Jyoti Club, Tikaram Sharma, National Youth Corps volunteers of NYK Namchi, Ranjit Darjee and Nim Laki Lepcha and other members of the club. During the function the trainees were informed that NYK Namchi has sponsored this training programme with the objective to enable unemployed women to generate income and become self reliant.
It was also informed that NYK will be conducting similar trainings for women in 10 different blocks of South District and this is the second block of South District selected for the training programme.

Governor and CM condole Mandela’s passing away

GANGTOK, 06 Dec: Governor Shriniwas Patil and the first lady of Sikkim, Rajanidevi Patil, have expressed heartfelt condolences over the demise of the civil rights crusader and the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
In his condolence message the Governor has said, “popularly known as Madiba in South Africa, Mr Mandela was an icon of anti-apartheid movement and spent his entire young age in prison for 27 years at Robben island. Madiba selflessly and passionately stood up for the rights of the people who were discriminated and suppressed because of the apartheid policy of the then African regime. He was a symbol of forgiveness for millions of people around the world. Madiba was also passionate for sports and charity, and under his dynamic leadership and passion, South Africa won the Rugby World Cup in 1995 which was a turning point in rejuvenating and uniting the whole nation.
May the Almighty bestow his grace especially upon the entire people of South Africa at this time of sorrow”.
Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and his wife, Tika Maya Chamling, have also conveyed deep and heartfelt condolences on the demise of Nelson Mandela.
The Chief Minister in his condolence message has said that Nelson Mandela was a true Gandhian and the first coloured President of South Africa who fought apartheid, spent 27 years in prison and led his country to democracy. He had a vision of the society in which none is exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another.
In his condolence message the Chief Minister has wished for strength and courage to his near and dear ones especially the people of South Africa to bear this irreparable loss in their hour of sorrow and grief.


Nelson Mandela lived a full life. Born in apartheid South Africa, he trained to be a boxer, studied to be a lawyer, but eventually suffered to become a leader – a leader who rescued South Africa from being reviled as a country of repulsive social segregation to the country celebrated as the Rainbow Nation. He is saluted as the Father of Democracy in South Africa, but his influence, like Gandhi who inspired him, flows much beyond his country or continent. The world is definitely a much better place for having had the man loved as Madiba live in it for a glorious 95 years. He is truly the last of the Giants, and in him one finds an era; a spirit so clear that it inspired several generations. Mandela’s contributions to South Africa are obvious, and to the world he delivered many gifts, the most important clearly being the spirit of forgiveness. He taught people to forgive and led the reconciliation by example. It was always inspiring to see Mandela smile and engage so evidently free of spite or hostility despite having been imprisoned for 27 years and having watched whites humiliate him and his people and torture and murder those who challenged Apartheid. He was shipped away to the Robben Island Prison when was 44. He was released when he was 71. And yet, he spoke of nonviolence and reconciliation. And these was not token talk; he walked his ideology and worked tirelessly to help his country heal. That is his legacy – proof that change need not lead to revenge, that reconciliation is possible even when most people instigate only retribution.

Official team inspects proposed Heritage Handicrafts Museum site in Namchi

GANGTOK, 06 Dec: A team of officials of Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom and Building and Housing Department conducted a joint inspection of the proposed site for the Heritage Handicrafts Museum to come up in Namchi.
A press release informs that the team was led by the DHH Director accompanied by technical engineer of the Buildings Department, Namchi-Singithang MLA Binod Rai and Councilor, T Prasad.
Various aspects of the project were discussed in detail and the Committee directed the official of the Buildings & Housing Department to submit the complete Project Report, Design & Site Plan before 12 December, 2013 for onward submission to the NEC, the release mentions.
The inspection committee also requested MLA Binod Rai for necessary help and assistance in constructing a Traditional Gate on the main road at the entry point of DHH Namchi.

State to seek more time to decide on 99 MW Lachung HEP

GANGTOK, 06 Dec: The state government is to seek more time from the High Court on the matter pertaining to the “reconsideration” of the termination of the 99 MW Lachunghydel project.
The developers of the Lachung Hydro Electric Project had a meeting with the Chief Secretary, R Ongmu last month [on 18 November] as per the directives of the High Court of Sikkim on the issue regarding the termination of the project by the state government on 21 June, 2012.
The High Court had earlier set aside the order of the state government terminating the 99 MW Lachung HEP on a technical point pertaining to the fact that it had not been a speaking order, in that the termination had not been communicated directly to the project developers by the government.
Thereafter it had been directed by the court that the developers approach the Chief Secretary to present their case; the Chief Secretary, in turn, was to give an opportunity for hearing the project developers. It had also been directed by the court that the Chief Secretary was to conclude the matter and give her decision within one month.
It is informed that the hearing was done in the chamber of the Chief Secretary, and there was, in all probability, more than one meeting on the issue. However, as informed, it is being felt that the time period of one month may not be sufficient to arrive at a decision. As such the State government is expected to seek more time from the court in order to come to a decision on whether or not to allow the project to continue. The developer still has the opportunity to approach the high court in the event that the decision of the Chief Secretary is not in their favour.

Handmade and flawlessly crafted to suit every wedding ANNA’S BRIDAL BOUTIQUE OFFERS TRADITIONAL WEAR WITH A TWIST

GANGTOK, 06 Dec: For those looking for bridal wear or traditional wear designed to suit your individual taste with some exquisite embellishments, Anna’s Bridal Boutique is the place to go. If you want to spice up your traditional wear wardrobe or want your wedding dress to have that extra pizazz, this boutique located in the Shopping Complex, Old Children Park, Gangtok gives you the option that was not there some years ago.
Anna Lama started this boutique in 2010 with the view to promote fusion wear, blending the traditional with the modern. The idea was also to offer people here the option to make or alter wedding dresses instead of going outside the state. “Most people had to get such dresses made from outside since there was no one who could do it here which is why I thought of setting up this boutique”, says Lama.
A simple dress takes around 2-3 days to complete while a bridal dress will take more than a week, she informs. However, it also depends upon the design, length and type of fabric. The boutique designs Bhutia, Lepcha, Christian, Nepali [Mangar, Gurung, Subba, Rai, Newar] dresses. Interestingly, they can also design Korean, Japanese and Singaporean dresses. “We are the only ones making such dresses in Sikkim and we don’t have any branches”.
The price of a Bhutia dress ‘Bakhu’ or ‘Kho’ ranges from Rs 6000 to Rs 15000 while a Nepali dress ‘Chaubandi Cholo’ costs around Rs. 4,000-Rs. 6,000. The price, however, also varies from dress to dress, Lama mentions.
Bridal dresses are the best selling items here in the boutique with Christian, Bhutia, Lepcha wedding dresses selling the most. A Christian wedding dress will cost Rs. 13,000 and if pearls are part of the design then it can go up to a lakh. Bhutia wedding dresses start at Rs 10,000 going upto Rs. 30,000 while Lepcha wedding dresses will cost Rs 10,000 to Rs30,000.
“We also have the exclusive Bhutia wedding scarf [khati] which is a part of Bhutia bridal wear. It is completely handmade and is not available in any boutique or shop in Sikkim or outside. This scarf is available in China but those are made by machine and are not handmade,” she adds.
All the dresses are handmade by around 15 workers that the boutique employs. While some of them are locals some have been brought from outside the state as well.
One of the workers, MD Sarfaraz from Arithang, who had done a two-year course in Zari designing in Delhi says he feels happy to work in the boutique. “Initially it was a bit tough but with time I gained experience. It is my source of income”, says Sarfaraz.
Another worker, Mohammad Ismail who hails from Bihar has also trained in boutique design for four years in Delhi.
On how her business is doing, Lama shares that it is yet to gain a foothold but is optimistic about the future. There is still a lot of room for improvement in terms of infrastructure, she adds. She hopes to take school dropouts under her wings and to enable them to make a living through designing. “I am looking forward to train such youth in bridal and traditional wear design so that one day they can open their own shop”, she shares.
Lama went to Korea to undertake a diploma course on handmade bridal design but could not complete the whole course. She says that she learnt a lot in whatever time she spent there and adds that Korea is the perfect place for such training.
Lama set up the boutique all by herself and is proud of the fact as well. “I opened this boutique with no financial aid from the government or anyone else. It is because of my own willpower and today am very happy”, she asserts.

SIBLAC to be part of BL convention

GANGTOK, 06 Dec: The two convenors of Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee [SIBLAC], Tseten Tashi Bhutia and Rinzing Chewang Lepcha will be attending the National Bhutia-Lepcha Convention to be held on 08 December.
A press release from the Bhutia Lepcha Protection Force, which is organizing the convention, informs that the two SIBLAC convenors have consented to attend the convention being held at Gangtok. “We look forward for their continued guidance and cooperation for all times to come”, it states and appeals to all the community members to attend the Convention.

Three-day Bharat Nirman Public Information Campaign concludes in Rongli

RONGLI, 06 Dec [PIB]: The three-day Bharat Nirman Public Information Campaign (PIC) organized by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India to inform and create awareness among the people about Central Government’s developmental and welfare schemes and programs at Rongli, East Sikkim came to an end this afternoon. The PIC which began on 04 December was inaugurated by Zilla Adhyaksha East, Bimal Dawari, who was present as the chief guest.
Prizes and certificates were also distributed to winners of various categories of competitions held among school students and healthy baby competition organized by the DFP in the course of the three-day programme. Area MLA, Puran Kumar Gurung, the chief guest of the valedictory function, Director PIB Gangtok, CK Dorjee and Sub Divisional Magistrate, Normit Lepcha were among others who gave away the certificates and prizes to participants and winners in various competitions.
Announcing the formal conclusion of the Public Information Campaign, CK Dorjee thanked the local administration, PRIs, SHGs, NGOs and the local people for the success of the programme.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Deptt releases funds for Blind School

GANGTOK, 05 Dec: The Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department today released Rs. 4.55 lakh towards the salaries and administrative costs of the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Institute for the Blind at Boomtar, Namchi. The institute, it may be recalled, had not received the required funds for the past five months from the Department [read “No funds in sight still for Namchi’s Blind School” in NOW! Issue dated 03 Dec 2013].
The 14 employees at JNMI, including teaching and non-teaching staff, who themselves are visually impaired had not been paid their salaries [ranging from Rs. 2,400 to 7,000 per month] or provided funds for maintaining the residential school which has 38 students for the past five months.
Speaking to NOW! today, Secretary, SWE&JD, GP Upadhaya, while confirming the release of funds, explained that the delay was due to the regularization process that was underway and the entry of the names of the employees in the state government roster. The institute was earlier funded by National Association for the Blind and was recently transferred to the Social Justice Department.
While informing that the department had released Rs. 4.55 lakhs towards the pending salaries of the employees [and advance salaries upto December] and funds for upkeep of the institute, he added that the process for issuing the order of appointments had caused the delay.
He also said that the employees would be able to draw their salaries up-till December starting tomorrow and that the pending funds for administrative costs had also been included in the Rs. 4.55 lakh that would enable the school to run smoothly in the future.
“The process has definitely taken time but finally the appointment orders are ready and all the employees of JNMI will be regularized within January 2014. I assure that everyone will be given their salaries before the holidays begin,” he stated.
Here, he informed that the confusion over the regularization criteria being set on merit was also something that needed to understood more clearly. He explained that as per the Sikkim State Direct Recruitment Rules, posts in government service were created for both the existing employees and also for new candidates. He added that 50 percent reservation was kept for existing employees and the remaining 50 percent for new appointments.
He added that this was also a rule that had been made mandatory by the Supreme Court of India and also the DoPT which is why the process needed proper verification from police and intelligence wings and took so long to complete.
Here, he also added that similarly, the Special School for Hearing Impaired, Namchi, Working Woman’s Hostel, Deorali and Destitute Home at Kaluk, West Sikkim have also been taken over by the SWE&JD.
“The office orders are ready and appointment letters of eight of the employees have already been typed. The remaining employees will get their appointment orders by end of January 2014. All the 14 employees will be absorbed but it has to be done by the book. There are no shortcuts and every aspect of the process has to be followed as it is the present norm,” he told NOW!
“I personally feel really bad that the process took so long to complete, the difficulties faced by the staff and the residents of the school is hard to justify but I assure all that the process is now over and the salaries will be deposited in their respective accounts,” stated the Secretary.


The Annual Athletics Meet concluded at Government Senior Secondary School, Soreong, in West Sikkim, today. Played over two days, different track and field events were organized by the Physical Education students of Class XII of the school. Around 250 athletes participated in different categories held for senior boys and girls, junior boys and girls. All the winners will be presented their certificates and medals on 10 December during the School’s Annual Function, it is informed.

SKM continues door to door visits

GANGTOK, 05 Dec: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha continued its door to door visit in North Regu and Sudunglakha on 03 and 04 December and convened closed-door meetings with the party workers and people at large.
An SKM press release states that six families from the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front joined SKM at the meeting chaired by Anirudra Gurung.
Another SKM press release goes on to counter Gangtok MLA Dorjee Namgyal’s statement claiming that SKM will not get more than 500 votes in Gangtok constituency in the next assembly elections and claimed that SKM will show who gets ousted in the next assembly election.
The party has also constituted a ward level committee for Gangtok constituency for Namnang and also held a meeting for Arithang constituency, the release informs.

SJS-Rhenock felicitates ex-student for academic excellence

GANGTOK, 05 Dec: St. Joseph’s School, Rhenock, today felicitated an ex-student, Manisha Thakuri, on her being conferred a Gold Medal for obtaining distinction in Master of Philosophy in English from the Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Andhra Pradesh.
Ms. Thakuri, the daughter of Jyoti and Amrit Thakuri of Kopchey, started her studies at SJS-Rhenock and completed her school education from Paljor Namgyal Girls School in Gangtok.
The Gold Medal, instituted in the name of Dr. Tamuku Rama Rao, and was handed over to Ms. Thakuri by the Chancellor of the Andhra Pradesh University and former Chief Justice, MN Venkata Chaliah, during the convocation of the Institute on 22 November, an SJS-Rhenock press release informs.
At her alma mater today, a short cultural programme was held along with introductory speeches and reading out of the citation by Principal Fr. Lawrence Monteiro.

Auditorium inaugurated at Samdong School

MANGAN, 05 Dec: An auditorium building was inaugurated for Government Senior Secondary School, Samdong, in East Sikkim on Wednesday, 04 December, by HRD Minister NK Pradhan who was accompanied to the event by area MLA [Tumin-Lingee], Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia, Secretary HRDD, Thomas Chandy and other departmental officials.
The Samdong Senior Secondary School also organized its Annual Day celebrations on the day.
The day long program organized by the SMC, SMDC and the school management included cultural performances by students, painting and science exhibition and sports events. The Principal presented the annual report of the school and the school management tabled a demand letter with the chief guest detailing the concerns of the school.

ICAR-Sikkim hosts capacity building exercise for scientists to boost rice production

GANGTOK, 05 Dec: Realising the need to evolve strategies to improve the production and productivity of rice through capacity building, a seven-day training was organized under the NAIP-I funded project “Development and Maintenance of Rice Knowledge Management Portal” (RKMP) from 28 November to 04 December here at ICAR Sikkim Centre.
The aim was to train professionals working in the field about recent developments in rice production technologies. 35 participants from across the country comprising of professionals from KVKs, ICAR institutes, CAUs and SAUs participated in this training programme, an official press release informs. They were introduced to various rice production technologies through open interaction with scientists and field visits.
The need for such a training was necessitated by the fact that rice is one of the major food crops of India in terms of area, production and consumer preference. India is the second largest producer and consumer of rice in the world with substantial share in the global rice production that hovers in the range of 19.5 to 24.5 per cent. India earns foreign exchange of more than Rs. 7,000 crores and tops the list of rice export in the world (2012) with a figure of 10.3 million tonnes followed by Vietnam (7.7 million tonnes) and Thailand (7 million tonnes).
However, in spite of having several breakthroughs in rice production technologies and rice development programmes, some major rice growing areas are still lagging behind due to several constraints associated with rice production; amongst which existing rice information sharing mechanism is found to be prominent.
Chief guest for the valedictory programme on 04 December, PT Bhutia, Principal Director-cum-Secretary, FS&AD Department, expressed concern over the negative impact of green revolution and emphasized upon the need for “evergreen revolution” the term coined by Prof. MS Swaminathan and also called upon the trainees to utilize the knowledge and benefits gained from this trainingfor the welfare of farming community.
Present as the guest of honour Dr. MC Diwakar, Director, DRD, Patna, stressed upon the need to go for high yielding/ hybrid varieties in rice in order to achieve the goals of Nutritional Security Mission and reduce the hunger and malnutrion in the country. Dr. RK Avasthe, Joint Director, ICAR Sikkim Centre, in his deliberations highlighted the role of ICAR in technology development and voiced his will to extend full support and cooperation to Govt. of Sikkim for the improvement of agriculture and allied sectors in the state.
He also said that agricultural professionals are seriously concerned for feeding the people of India and urged the participants to carry forward the technologies gained from this training to the farmers of their region.
Dr. AK Mohanty, Prog. Coordinator, KVK, East Sikkim and Co-PI, NAIP-RKMP gave a brief introduction about the RKMP Project and also highlighted the significance of organising such capacity building programmes. Earlier, Chandan Kapoor, Scientist (Plant Breeding) welcomed the gatherings and at the end, Dr. R. Gopi, Scientist, (Plant Pathology) proposed the vote of thanks.

People informed that school toilets cannot be kept locked under flimsy excuses

Rongli, 05 Dec [PIB]: School heads and the teachers as well the students must ensure that available sanitation infrastructure and facilities are brought to optimum use instead of keeping it under lock and key on flimsy excuses of inadequate water supply or else. Since sanitation is directly and indirectly related to the performance of a student, the available facilities if desisted from its usage, the major brunt have to be borne by the girl students which may either lead to absenteeism or even dropping out of the school.
This was informed by Field Facilitator, Sumbuk Shri Suren Mohra while addressing the technical session on Total Sanitation/ Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan on the second day of three day Public Information Campaign on Bharat Nirman. Stating that sanitation is not only related to health, but also has wider and larger ramification on the incumbents’ economic and social aspects, he said that household without sanitary toilets will have dangerous repurcusrsion on the heralth of the family and the surrounding neighbourhood.
Similarly, highlighting various aspects of Right to Education, CRC, HRDD Shri KP Dawari informed that even the private schools are supposed to be recognised under this Act. Apart from redefined duties and responsibilities of teachers and students, the Act also emphasises on the role of the local self government and the parents of the students in making Right to Education more effective. Under the RTE, teachers are not only restricted from engaging in private tuitions and business, but are also prohibited to be deployed in different activities by the government apart from census and disaster relief operations, he added.
Aadhar and smart card are supposed to be two different part of the same coin, the former provides with a unique number to the individuals, the latter contains all the detailed data, making it a multipurpose card. Since it is supposed to be linked with many schemes and facilities in the near future, it becomes imperative on the part of every single Indian citizen to have their names enumerated. This was informed by Assistant Director, Census Operation PK Chettri while addressing the technical session on Aadhar and Direct Benefit Transfer.
Highlighting the importance of smart card, he said that the enumerators and operators designated for this purpose are also required to reach the house of those who are physically unable to reach the designated enumeration camp for this work. Besides the original Indian citizens, foreign national residing in India for more than six months or more are  enumerated in view of national security during the enumeration schedule, he added. This is being done not with the intent of extending the facilities, but to ensure that such persons are monitored. Making fervent appeal to the people to get enumerated during the designated camps, he said smart card will become one of the most important documents in near future.
Similarly, addressing the technical session on Prime Ministers 15 point program for welfare of minorities, Assistant Director, Social Welfare Department Shri Vikash Diyali informed that though Aadhar has been delinked under the direction of Supreme Court of India, personal Bank Account in nationalised and scheduled banks including the private banks has to be provided by the intending beneficiary along with required other documents to avail different scholarship under this scheme. Besides the pre and post matric scholarship, merit cum means scholarship is also being provided under this scheme to the students belonging to economically weaker sections, he informed. In view of the ignorance and unawareness on the part of parents and guardians, the school heads and teachers are supposed to play pivotal role in finding brilliant but needy students for the scholarship, he added. The scholarship are awarded to those studying in government including private schools selected in transparent manner, he further informed.
Being a public representative requires knowledge on wider spectrum of governmental activities and programs directed towards upliftment of the common people. Public Information Campaign on Bharat Nirman has been an eye opener in many fronts as it has not only enriched our knowledge on number of flagship programs but also cleared many doubts, Zilla member Ms Srijana Rai said.
Speaking as the chief guest on the second day of PIC at Rongli, she further added, since the panchayats represents the lowest strata of government, every individual member of the panchayats are required to at least have basic knowledge on various schemes and programs directed towards rural development and upliftment of the people. This kind of program will certainly make our people more vigil and enlightened, she added. Further she urged upon everyone present to disseminate the knowledge and information gained during the program with others who could not make it to the venue.
Earlier, Gram Vikash Adhikari, Regu GVC Shri Subhendra Rai highlighted the achievements made in the implementation of MGNREGA and IAY in the area. More than 35 hundred job card has been issued and four hundred different works worth more than 12 crores have been executed in the area, he informed.  

Monastic & Sanskrit Pathshala teachers seek regularisation

GANGTOK, 05 Dec: Monastic and Sanskrit Pathshala Teachers’ Association has submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister and also apprised the Chief Secretary of their demand seeking regularization and confirmation of service on the same lines as Government Teachers employed under the Human Resource Development Department. This demand, the association informs is pending with the HRDD and is pending consideration despite several assurances.
The association has urged the state government and Department of Ecclesiastical Affairs to consider their plea as per the decision take way back in 1997 endorsing the regularization and confirmation of their services at par with government teachers.
Following the memorandum submitted him on 26 November, the Chief Minister had directed the Chief Secretary for needful action.
The Chief Secretary has also assured to expedite the process and confirmation of the teachers who are currently working under the Department of Ecclesiastical Affairs as Monastic teachers and Sanskrit Pathshala teachers.

MGNREGA- Dhara Vikas Programme in Sikkim Villages YESI D/ PIB

Tangaymendang ward under Kewzing Bakhim gram panchayat in south district is like any other sleepy village in Sikkim, but thanks to the highly innovative Dhara Vikas programme launched under the banner of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), this village is now prospering and self-reliant.
Implemented in all 20 drought-prone GPs with a fresh approach since 2008, ‘MGNREGA-Dhara Vikas’ or ‘Spring-shed Development’ in Sikkim has clicked like nowhere else. As of now, 400 hectare land has been covered up under the spring shed development with a total investment of Rs. 250 lakh resulting in an annual ground water recharge of 900 million litres. This has led to a revival of 50 springs and four lakes in 20 drought-prone GPs.
Among these is the Chukudum spring, the only water source for Barfung Zarrong GP and Kewzing Bakhim GP. About 80 percent of the rural households of Sikkim are mainly dependent on springs for drinking water and irrigation needs throughout the year.
The revival of Chukudum spring meant enough water for 75 households of Tangaymendang ward – situated at around 6000-ft – which suffered acute water problem from many years. Even the people of New Sada ward under Barfung Zarrong GP have selected the same source for drinking water supply.
For restoration of Chukudum spring, people dug percolation pits of one feet diameter in large numbers. Percolation ponds of 6x3x2 feet were also dug, covering the forest land of five hectares, which resulted in an increase of the spring water discharge from 40 liters per minute to 60 liters per minute. As per official records, June 2010 recorded 60 liters in just one minute, successfully demonstrating spring shed development to revive springs using the concept of recharging ground water in mountain terrain.
With the revival of this spring, beneficiaries of both the wards have enough water not just for their basic needs, but have also seen better crop yield.
A local farmer when asked by a survey team about his opinion on the matter had narrated the success story of his village, the same of which was incorporated in a book published by the Sikkim Rural Management and Development department. He had said: “Chukudum had been providing water for us for as long as I can remember. But lately, the water discharge had become very less. We were worried it would dry up entirely. Fortunately, with MGNREGA intervention with Dhara Vikas Programme, our spring is definitely showing signs of rejuvenation. Now even in the lean seasons, we have enough water for us.”
Before artificial intervention was done, the discharge of Chukudum spring, although covered by dense vegetation was very low due to the area dominated by red soil. Such springs in Sikkim were drying and turning seasonal due to an increase in population, erratic rainfall and developmental activities.
The other success story is the rejuvenation of Deythang Lake under Barfung-Zarrong GP, west district. Carried out in convergence with Horticulture department, the people through NREGA constructed walls around the lake and planted herbal plants and rhododendrons. Today the lake with a capacity of 84,000 litres is sufficient to meet the requirements of 90 households to support floriculture, agriculture and horticulture activities, thus earning appreciation from national level monitors. Since it is located near the road, it has also served as a place of tourist interest and a picnic spot.
RMD special secretary Dr. Sandeep Tambe, the official credited with much of the success in Dhara Vikas describes the process in one of his presentations like this: “During the first year, local expertise and experience was developed to identify the recharge area of the springs based on the structure, weathering and fracture patterns of the rocks. To provide specialized training and skills to existing manpower in the field of rainwater harvesting, geohydrology, spring discharge measurement, use of GPS and laying of contour trenches, the whole of 2009 was utilized in organizing over 20 capacity building programmes jointly with SIRD in coordination with various NGOs like WWF-India, Peoples Science Institute – Dehradun, ACWADAM – Pune, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Mines and Geology, Government of Sikkim, Central Ground Water Board and the G. B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development.”
According to an independent study by Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science, the Dhara Vikas programme has led to 15 percent enhancement in the spring discharges in Sikkim.
How did Sikkim achieve this? Although the guidelines permit 50 per cent of MGNREGA implementation to be taken up by line departments, in Sikkim, the State government devolved 100 per cent implementation of the programme to gram panchayats. Hence the scheme grew on the foundation of strong social-cultural fabric at the village level, and took the form of a community-led social movement.
Secondly, as a strategy to facilitate demand, the programme shifted from planning just a few macro works per village to promoting several micro-works across the mountain terrain to encourage involvement, especially womenfolk. Thirdly, MGNREGA familiarity was done through regional expert trainings/workshops among district and block teams, and NGOs.
Sikkim’s Dhara Vikas programme has not only been successful in reviving the rain-fed springs (dhara) and streams (kholsa, jhora), but also earned awards and accolades and attracted teams from WWF Nepal, Bhutan Government, Arunachal Pradesh Government and others to learn more about the spring revival initiative and implement similar programmes in their respective places.
MGNREGA programme in Sikkim was introduced in north district in Phase I, since its enforcement on February 2, 2006, and in east and south districts in Phase II during 2007-2008, and in west district from 2008 in Phase III.

Students write and paint about their ‘living icon’ for INTACH competition

Gangtok, 05 Dec: Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Sikkim Chapter organized an all-India Essay Writing and Painting Competition for students from classes VI to IX yesterday at Deorali Girls Senior Secondary High School here.
Despite many of the schools already being closed for winter vacations, 31 students from five schools participated in the competition, an official press release informs.
Students were asked to write essay or paint on the topic, “My Living Icon” [on a living person of the State, district or their town who has contributed in the enhancement or preservation of art, crafts, performing arts, literature or a person who has contributed to the history of the town, natural environment or monument].
Students and teachers alike found the topic highly stimulating, the release informs.
Principal, Deorali Girls School, Sashi Chettri, who was the chief guest for the event, urged INTACH Sikkim that such competitions be held on a regular basis, preferably in the month of October before the annual examination fever sets in or winter vacations start. Bina Sharma, ex president of Rotary and senior teacher, and Surinder Sarda, co-convenor of INTACH, also addressed the students.
At the end of the competition, the INTACH Convenor PK Dong said, “The standard of essay writing and painting was quite good. We are quite hopeful that many of them would get regional prizes and some may even bag national prizes. All the entries would be evaluated in Delhi and results would be announced from there some time in March or April. One interesting feature was that at the instance of Sikkim Chapter INTACH headquarters in New Delhi accepted essay writing in Nepali being a major national language. Most of the students who painted portrait found the Chief Minister of Sikkim Pawan Chamling as their Living Icon.”

Land Revenue and Tourism Secretaries visit airport site, check on progress and inspect impact

Gangtok, 05 Dec [IPR]: Secretary Land Revenue Department, KS Tobgay, who is also the Relief Commissioner, along with Secretary, Tourism & Civil Aviation, C Zangpo, and the District Collector [East] J Raje visited the Pakyong Greenfield Airport site today to take stock of the progress and to assess the damage to land and buildings around the project site. The Airports Authority of India was represented by SP Yadav, General Manager.
During the visit, the Tourism Secretary iterated the need to complete the project by December 2014 as scheduled. Secretary Land Revenue interacted with the people whose houses were damaged and gave assurance to provide adequate compensation.
Pakyong SDM, U Poudyal, was directed to prepare a consolidated proposal on compensation and other damages.
The Tourism Secretary informed the AAI that all pending issues would be brought to the notice of the State and Union governments and necessary action taken for the smooth implementation of this prestigious project which was a gift from the Prime Minister to the State.
The visiting team also included Special Secretary LRDM S Chankapa and engineers of the Buildings Department.

Divided by Rule

Today, 06 December, is the 21st anniversary of that winter day in Ayodhya in 1992 when an unresolved issue as old as Independent India snowballed into the tragic demolition of the Babri Masjid and pulled the entire nation into a vortex of communal violence that threw up no victors and left behind only victims. The Babri Masjid vs. Ran Janmabhoomi debate is something that the dissenting sides refuse to resolve and the political parties typically refuse to get constructively involved in. As a result, we are left with an issue that is always kept on simmer, irrespective of the court verdict some years back, ready to be sizzled whenever political exigencies so demand. The nation and its people have suffered in the hands of Ayodhya, rather the fault-lines that it marks out, and yet people’s representatives refuse redress the situation, the latest move of bringing a Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill notwithstanding. This Bill is unlikely to get through in the Parliament this session, and while it all well if MPs and parties find it inadequate and hence send it back to the drawing board, it is more likely that the debate will be forced more out of political attrition than public interest. That has been the unfortunate conduct of politics and politicians in the country for a long while now and showboating will only increase as the stakes go up with more elections due in the coming months.
So where does that leave the nation on this anniversary of the downing of Babri Masjid? Unfortunately, still floundering on the same crossroad as it blundered on in the partition riots, the post Babri riots, Godhra etc. At the root of the problem is a tendency to paint problems and reiterate them but never offering solutions [save the “my way…” impossibility]. It is obvious that at the individual level, the nation harbours more empathy than hate. Somehow, however, paranoia dominates the public domain when ‘leaders’ speak up. Such a scenario in a country that has been secular since birth is unfortunate. What has happened instead is that we have created more grounds for division than the religious divides we were born as a nation fighting. Region, community, language, caste… these have all been impregnated with the potential to split people and spew violence. Where we bungled was in not allowing law to take its proverbial course when it came to matter which divide people and drive them to violence. Had law been allowed to process violations without interference, communal violence would have substantially gone done, even ended; but we interfered too often and created Frankensteins. Secularism should have meant a system under which all human beings are entitled to equal respect and consideration, equality before the law and equal protection of the law. This would have marginalised extremists. Secularism needs to become a reality under which there is no discrimination between persons on the grounds of their religion, and where a State that does not interfere in religious matters unless it becomes necessary to do so in order to protect the fundamental human and democratic rights of its citizens. But the State interferes too much in our country, untrusting perhaps of the capacity of its citizens to find their peace. Interference fans suspicion and from it is born deeper paranoia which soon gets projected on the ‘others’. Individual prejudice can be addressed only through clearer information and social reforms on a wider scale, but at a community level, some leaders need to step up to demand that traditional suspicions are not allowed to be teased for party politics. It has begun happening at the national level [with pokes from Modi and dodges from Congress] and one sees it play often in Sikkim as well when past allegations are frequently returned to the communal space and perceived threats sought to be whipped into ‘issues’. These are not nice places to be in and the least that needs to be demanded of the people are informed choices…

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chamling inaugurates Fauji green initiatives

GANGTOK, 04 Dec: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today inaugurated three “eco-friendly” projects at the Trishakti Battle School of the Indian Army in Gnathang here in East Sikkim on the Nathula-Jelepla axis. The projects have been developed by the Army and financed by the State government under the Border Area Development Programme.
A press release informs that the projects consist of a 7.5 KVA Micro Hydel power plant, a 10 KVA Solar Power plant and a 30 kg waste paper recycling plant. These non-conventional power projects will go a long way in ensuring the availability of power in Gnathang village and conserving the ecosystem in the area, the release mentions.
While the Army has been involved in construction of micro hydel projects and other renewable forms of energy projects in remote border regions of the country, this is the first of its kind micro hydel project in Sikkim, it is informed.
The construction of these eco-friendly projects in Gnathang is a part of this initiative and a contribution of the Army to the eco-system and people of Sikkim and Gnathang in particular.
The commissioning of these projects is a shining example of civil-military cooperation between the Black Cat Division and Sikkim government towards preserving the fragile ecosystem of the state, the release expresses.

Samiti formed to conserve pokhari at Yangang

GANGTOK, 04 Dec: A group of people have come together to form Yangang Pokhari Sangrakshan Samiti to preserve and conserve the lake at Yangang in South Sikkim, Tig Dey Cho,.
A press release informs that the Sangrakshan Samiti has decided to organise cleanliness drives and other such initiatives towards conserve the water body. The samiti has also decided to raise funds to purchase GI pipes to connect the lake to PHE’s main water source to increase the lake’s water volume. It has also decided to approach the concerned departments and authorities to chalk out plans to conserve the lake. Regular monitoring of the lake to protect its natural environment is also part of the organisation’s plans. The release informs that the samiti will soon be conducting prayers for universal peace to which religious leaders from various religions will be invited to take part.

Sports selection trials for SAI SAG Centre at Namchi

NAMCHI, 04 Dec: The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is scouting for fresh talent to be admitted at SAI Special Area Games [SAG] Centre, Namchi, South Sikkim. SAI will be conducting selection trials for both girls and boys between 14-16 years of age, however age relaxation will be considered in case of meritorious individuals. The trials will be conducted at SAI SAG Centre, Allay, Namchi from 13-14 December.
The selection trial will be conducted in various disciplines like archery, boxing, football and taekwondo. The selection committee will comprise of District Collector South, Superintendent of Police South, Joint Director Sports and Youth Affairs South, Assistant Director Sports and Youth Affairs South, Assistant Director SAI SAG Centre Namchi, Medical Officer along with the coaches of the respective disciplines.
Preference will be given to players of Sikkimese origin. Financial assistance will also be provided for selected Residential Trainees.

Awareness through song & dance

GANGTOK, 04 Dec: Public awareness campaign through cultural programmes by the Song and Drama Division, Eastern Region, is underway in Yuksom Block of West Sikkim. Organized under the supervision of Block Development Officer, Yuksom Block, West Sikkim, all the programmes are being performed by North Calcutta Prayasi, informs a press release. The campaign will continue till 14 December.

No question of debate on Article 371F: SNPP

GANGTOK, 04 Dec: As the debate on Article 370 of the Constitution of India related to Jammu and Kashmir picks up pace in national media, Sikkim National Peoples Party [SNPP] here also joined issue and held forth on Article 371F even though this part of the Constitution has not been brought into question anywhere. SNPP held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss Article 371 F and passed three resolutions.
Addressing a press conference today, SNPP president, Biraj Adhikari, explained that the national debate on Article 370 led to queries regarding Article 371 F from the people, which is why the party held a meeting on the issue.
“Article 371 F is a permanent article for Sikkim so there is no question of debate on the Article under any circumstance. If there is any debate it should be on the violation of the Article or on its importance in protecting the aim and spirit of the 8th May Agreement”, said Mr. Adhikari on the first resolution passed.
Speaking on the second resolution, Mr Adhikari stated that the party appeals to all political parties to give party tickets only to Sikkim Subject Certificate holders to contest the upcoming Assembly elections. He further appealed to the people to protest if any political party fields candidates who do not have a Sikkim Subject Certificate.
Responding to media queries, he said that at present, the party was working on making people aware on important issues of the state rather than fighting the upcoming assembly election. However, he also hinted at the possibility of an alliance with another party.

SKM ward-level meeting held at Gnathang-Machong

GANGTOK, 04 Dec: A ward-level meeting of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha was convened at Akuching-Ungrung under Gnathang-Machong constituency today, which was chaired by the party advisor, Dubo Tshering Bhutia.
An SKM press release claims that at the meeting, residents accused the ruling party of discrimination on the basis of political affiliation and community in the distribution of government benefits. Zonal president of the party, Chopel Bhutia accused the government of dilution of old laws of Sikkim.
The release further claims that during the meeting 18 houses joined the SKM party and assured to work dedicatedly and actively in the party.

SDF party office for Gangtok constituency opened in Development Area

GANGTOK, 04 Dec: A Sikkim Democratic Front party office for Gangtok constituency was inaugurated by Gangtok MLA, Dorjee Namgyal, here near Mannan Kendra in Development Area today.
In his address, Mr. Namgyal urged party supporters to use the party office to carry out welfare works for the people of the area following the programmes and policies of the party. It is time for party workers to give back and support the party for all it has achieved till now, he said.
He pointed out that some leaders and supporters of opposition parties are going around trying to mislead people. “These people are not from Gangtok but have had their names transferred to Gangtok’s voter list, so they cannot be trusted,” he added.
Those unhappy with the party for not getting the desired post or party ticket are the ones going to other parties, but those who genuinely believe in the party’s programmes and policies are still very much in the SDF, said the MLA. He further contended that the SDF will be voted back into power.
Development Area Councilor, YB Thapa, in his address, called upon all SDF supporters to step out on the field to support the development works of the SDF government.
SDF East District youth vice-convener, TB Rai, in turn urged the people not to listen to rumors spread by the Opposition but to continue with their work for the welfare of the people.
The function was also addressed by CLC president, Santosh Mangar and Cheli Morcha convener, Hishey Doma. Earlier, the function started with the welcome address by former MLA, DB Thatal and concluded with the vote of thanks by Cheli Morcha vice-convener, Sahara Tamang. The function was also attended by Deputy Mayor, Shakti Singh Chaudhary, CLC and BLC members of the party, councilors and party supporters.

SDF condemns misreporting on CM’s comments

GANGTOK, 04 Dec: Sikkim Democratic Front today condemned what it believes to be intentional misreporting by some newspapers in how the speech of the Chief Minister delivered at the inauguration of Yul Dru Sum community hall was presented. The said news-reports had quoted the CM as saying that now Sikkim Subject Certificates were no longer required in Sikkim. This, an SDF press release states, is the opposite of what the CM had said. The party is convinced that a section of “anti-Sikkim forces” have been at work for a while now to misrepresent and misreport facts in a conscious effort undermine the Chief Minister and the State Government. The release adds that legal recourse will also be explored against those trying to foist false news. The release underlines that the Chief Minister has consistently worked for the protection Sikkim Subjects and Sikkim Old Laws which have emerged stronger under his watch.

NPS students bag gold in National Handwriting & Colouring Contest

NAMCHI, 04 Dec: Sumit Subba and Sachetna Sharma of Namchi Public School have won gold medals in the National Handwriting & Colouring Contest 2013, organised by Students Development Society, Pune, Maharashtra.
A press release informs that Namchi Public School’s students from the Primary Classes had taken part in the National level contest in big numbers and the two winnershave made the school and the state proud.
Principal Fr. George A. D’Souza felicitated the two students and the Art & Craft Teacher, Deependra Prakash Rai, for grooming and training the winners. Other students who participated in the contest were also awarded certificates, it is added.

NHPC constructs safety fencing around Upper Mangshila school play ground

GANGTOK, 04 Dec: Teesta-IV Hydro Electric Project, NHPC Ltd has constructed a safety fencing around the playground of Govt. Primary School, Upper Mangshila, North Sikkim, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
A press release informs that the Chief Engineer (Civil), AK Chaudhary dedicated the structure to the school at a function held at the school on 03 December.

Public information campaign explains New Land Acquisition Bill

GANGTOK, 04 Dec [PIB]: The proposed new Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill aims at putting an end to the 120-year-old law to make it more people friendly and ensure fair and proper compensation in a most transparent manner. The Bill is further directed towards making suitable rules to ensure that neither the people are forced to part away with their land nor they are displaced owing to acquisition of the land.
This was informed by Dr. Manish Chaubey, Head of the Department (Economics), Sikkim University while addressing the technical session on Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill on the first day of a three-day public information campaign on Bharat Nirman at Rongli, East Sikkim.
While the earlier Act had given absolute power to the District Collector in terms of formulating the rate of the land, the new bill proposes to provide this right to the Gram Sabhas in determining the rate, and the rate to be provided for the land acquired will be four times the market rate in rural and two times more in the urban areas, Dr. Chaubey added. Further, the provision of subsistence allowance for the maximum of twenty years along with cash emoluments for transition and transportation to the place of resettlement has been included, he stated.
Similarly while highlighting the provisions of Food Security Act, Dr. Chaubey informed that this Act has been promulgated to ensure Right to Food to the people, wherein they will be provided food grains at an affordable rate. The Act will cover almost 75 percent of the rural and 50 percent of urban population, where the State shall have to play greater responsibility in identifying the beneficiaries, he informed.

Annual Sports Day at Kendriya Vidyalaya Gangtok

GANGTOK, 04 Dec: The 36th annual sports day of Kendriya Vidyalaya Gangtok was held at the Vidyalaya Playground here today. Brig. HS Madan [Deputy GOC, 17 Mtn. Division] was present as the chief guest along with a host of guests and parents.
A press release informs that the day’s programme began with the chief guest declaring the annual sports meet open. Events included some interesting ones like Banana Race, Spoon Race and Relay Race.
Brig. Madan gave away the certificates, prizes and trophies to the winners of different events. Addressing the gathering, he highlighted the importance of sports and games, team spirit and competitive attitude. He appreciated the enthusiasm of the children, the hard-work of the teachers and leadership of the Principal to organize such a grand Sports Meet that would inculcate different values and inspire them to pursue their career in sports.
Principal Anjani Kumar, in his welcome address highlighted the mission of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan that aims at holistic development of the students through curricular, co-curricular and sports activities. Despite infrastructure constraints in a place like Gangtok for sports, KV-Gangtok ensures all provisions for the students for games and sports, he said.
Besides, the students of this Vidyalaya have excelled in KVS Regional and National Level Sports events and have brought laurels to the institution, he added.
Milli Laber [PET, KV Gangtok] was the Convener of the Meet. Swaminath [PGT Maths] proposed the vote of thanks and singing of the National Anthem marked the closing of the sports meet, the release adds.

Jan Sunwai for two GPUs under Namchi GVK called for 10-11 Dec

NAMCHI, 04 Dec: Social Audit under MGNREGA is being conducted in two Gram Panchayat Units namely Kitam Manpur GPU and Sorak Shyampani GPU under Gram Vikash Kendra, Namchi by Pacific Club, West District. This Social Audit is for all the MGNREGA works which have been completed in the year 2011-12 and 2012-13. The date of Jan Sunwai has been fixed on 10 December 2013 for Kitam Manpur GPU and 11 December 2013 for Sorak Shyampani GPU.
As learnt, for the Jan Sunwai, 30% attendance of MGNREGA workers from amongst the Job Card holders is mandatory. Hence, for successful conduct of Jan Sunwai all the Job Card workers under MGNREGA of the above two Gram Panchayat Units have been requested to be present in their respective Gram Prashasan Kendras (GPK) on the given date.
Further, ex-panchayats, the suppliers, ex-officers or staffs who were responsible for the implementation of MGNREGA works during the period have also been requested to participate in the Jan Sunwai.

Chujachen hydel project developer terminates 71 workers

GANGTOK, 04 Dec: Hydel projects continue to hog the news and not for very good reasons. This time it is Gati Infrastructures which has undertaken the 99 MW Chujachenhydel project in East Sikkim whose employees are alleging that they are being arbitrarily terminated from employment in the company.
Some of the employees who lost their jobs, while talking to NOW!, disclosed that the local employees who have been working with the company are being retrenched in phases. This, they claim, is being done in violation of the agreement with the State government and the assurances given by the company to them. In fact, it is alleged by them that not only are the local employees being discharged but even those who have parted with their lands for the project are being laid off. This, they say, is a betrayal of the trust they have put in the company as well as in the government.
Of the around 123 local employees engaged with the company, 71 have been let off and it is expected that more will be let off as new lists are drawn. The first list of employees to be discharged was released on 21 November; the second list of employees to be retrenched was released by the company on 29 November, it is informed.
The total number of employees to be terminated in both the lists is 71 and as claimed by the terminated employees, there is to be yet another list in the coming days.
“The employees who have been terminated include drivers, office boys, labourers, casual workers, cooks etc. Some of them have also given land to the company for the project. This is in total violation of the agreement and the assurances given to us; as it is we have not been provided with any benefits nor has the company even given us appointment letters,” alleged one of the terminated workers who had been engaged as a driver. The lot of terminated workers informed that they would approach the concerned department as well as the Chief Minister with their grievances.
The workers are feeling a tremendous sense of having been let down.
“Some of us have been working with the company for the past 8 to 9 years; we had been promised that the project, which would be with the company for 35 years, would engage us for that many years, but we are being let off already,” said an aggrieved worker on behalf of the terminated lot of workers.
Pertinent to their issue is the claim that they had been treated dismissively by the company and provided only with salaries without any other kinds of benefits such as increments, promotions, bonus etc. In this regard, questions over the benefits of the project to locals as per the promises of both the company and the state government are being raised.
Responding to the issues raised, Administrative Head, Gati, Mr. Shukla stated that workers are being let off as the company does not require as many workers at present as compared to when the project was under construction.
It may be mentioned here that the project has been commissioned and started generating power from early this year. He, however, stated that no one who had given land for the project and was employed with the company has been terminated. He did not divulge more information on the matter.

Parked vehicle catches fire

GANGTOK, 04 Dec: A private vehicle belonging to one Kishore Kumar Pradhan of Rongtu, East Sikkim, was completely damaged in a fire on Tuesday. The incident took place last night at around 11:30 PM. The vehicle, a Spacio, was reportedly parked at Rongtu Village under Ralap-Rongtu GPU of
Khamdong-Singtam constituency.
While a case has been registered no one has been arrested so far. It is also unclear whether the incident is a result of a political fallout with rumours circulating that both the ruling SDF as well as the SKM are claiming the complainant to be one of theirs. On the other hand it is also rumored that he had recently joined the SKM party. SKM has introduced him as a former SDF member who is now an active SKM member.
Meanwhile, on police investigation no incriminating evidence was reportedly found to suggest that the vehicle was set on fire. It is being suspected that the fire could have been the result of a short circuit as the engine of the vehicle has been completely damaged in the fire, suggesting that this was where the fire was concentrated. Mr. Pradhan, it is informed, noticed the fire after it had begun to rage. A fire engine from the Singtam Fire Brigade put out the fire eventually.
Meanwhile, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha [SKM] party has claimed that Mr. Pradhan is an SKM supporter and has alleged that Panchayat members of the locality tried to put pressure on him not to lodge an FIR on the incident. An SKM release further claims that the panchayat members assured to repair the vehicle by February next year.
However, Mr. Pradhan has lodged an FIR at the Singtam Police Station. SKM has questioned the Panchayat members’ attempt to pressurize the vehicle’s owner and has accused the ruling party of torching the vehicle. SKM has further demanded that the Panchayat members be arrested and questioned. SKM states that Krishna Bahadur Pradhan joined SKM recently and was an active member of the ruling party earlier.

Protect Children Better

The accused in a case of sexual abuse of a minor was taken into custody on Tuesday in Gangtok. The crime is nearly a week old and came to light late. It was however not too late, and the accused was nabbed. Now comes the question, what next?
Legally, child sexual abuse is a rather grey area. Our laws dealing with sexual offences do not specifically address child sexual abuse. It is disconcerting but true, the India Penal Code 1860 does not recognise Child abuse. Only rape and sodomy can lead to criminal convictionon sexual assault charges. Anything less than rape, as defined by the law, amounts to ‘outraging the modesty’. It goes without saying that sexual molestation of a minor does more damage than just “outrage the modesty” of the child in question. The Indian Penal Code [section 376] seeks to provide women redress against rape, but it is rarely interpreted to cover the broad range of sexual abuses [particularly of children] that actually takes place. The ongoing Tehelka incident will hopefully lead to this aspect of the law get debated and discussed on a much wider scale. But that distracts from the topic at hand, the abuse of children. The word ‘rape’ is too specific [in extant laws] and the prescribed laws do not include abuse of ‘boys’. Most of these forms of abuse are sought to be covered under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code as a violation of a woman’s modesty. Offences under Section 354 of the IPC are cognizable offences but are also bailable, which has its limitations in that it allows perpetrators the chance to intimidate families of the victims into a ‘compromise’. Child abuse then becomes an offence which does not necessarily always attract a strong enough punishment [even though there can be no doubting the deposition made by a minor].
What do we do then? Protect the children as best and as effectively as we can. Child sexual abuse typically occurs in three ways: incestuous abuse [i.e. by family members of victims], sexual abuse by strangers, and child prostitution. In the first category will also fall neighbours and family friends. In most societies, the first form of abuse is unlikely to be reported to the police because of fear of social disgrace. Families often choose to ‘resolve’ the issue privately because they view it as not a criminal matter. This has happened many times over and was dragged to the public domain recently when a father beat up the perpetrator, not because of the sexual abuse of the child but because the punishment of social ‘boycott’ worked out by the ‘family’ was being lifted too early. People tend to overlook that from the victim’s point of view, incest [including abuse by family friends] may be more traumatic than rape by strangers, because such behaviour may be continued over a period of time and the victim remains helpless to protect him/herself from such abuses. In addition, it may have long-term psychological effects. The victim develops an inner sense of guilt and depression, which may have long-lasting effects on her personality development. Pedophilia is rarely something committed at the spur of the moment; it is a personality flaw in the individuals which leads them to prey on minors. Even the accused in the present case must have revealed his tendencies in the past, but because most people tend to ignore even the possibility of the presence of a pedophile in their midst, no one obviously noticed.
One is not trying to foment mass paranoia here, but we do need to accept that children are not always safe. Since their safety is our responsibility, we have to do our best to protect them. The government, civil society and concerned citizens also need to be prodded to play a more active role in promotion, respect and appreciation of the rights of the child. Once we start respecting the rights of the children as a society, we may even start protecting them better.

Bharat Nirman PIC begins in Rongli

GANGTOK, 04 Dec [PIB]: The 24th edition of Bharat Nirman Public Information campaign at Rongli, East Sikkim was inaugurated by Zilla Panchayat Adhyaksha East, Bimal Dawari. Speaking as the chief guest, he stated that Panchayats being the bridge between the government and the people must be well informed about various schemes and projects being implemented under the flagship programs.
To further enhance their knowledge about it, Public Information Campaign is being organised at their doorstep so that they are well informed about it. This platform can be used by them to clear away any kind of disinformation and doubts about the schemes and projects through direct interaction with the resource persons from different implementing department and agencies, he said.
Making a fervent appeal to the Panchayats to become more vigilant and well informed, he also appealed to monitor every single developmental activity to ensure its proper execution and the quality. He also urged the people present to inform others and ensure greater participation during the remaining two days of the PIC. He added that many instances of water supply schemes being implemented to suit the interest of contractors have come to light depriving the people of real benefits.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

CM inaugurates community house for Lachen, Lachung and Chungthang residents

GANGTOK, 03 Dec: The Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today announced that a high level Attestation Committee will be constituted by the government to look into problems related to land ownership [dealing with land records] in Lachen, Lachung and Chungthang areas of North Sikkim. This has been a vexed issue for a while now. The Chief Minister was addressing the inaugural function of the community house of the community at lower Sichey here in the capital.
Yul Rru Sum Dzom Lee, the community house for the people of Lachen, Lachung and Chungthang, was formally inaugurated by the Chief Minister in a colorful function held today.
Yul Rru Sum Dzom Lee is a multi-purpose community house covering an area of 2500 sq. feet having all modern facilities. The six-storied structure is constructed on a government allocated site and has also been sponsored by the government. This building will be used for social functions, weddings, preservation of identity, culture and tradition and customs of Lachungpas, Lachenpas and people of Chungthang valley including offering free housing for students of these areas for higher studies and preparation for any state or national level competition.
The CM was all praises for the Yul Rru Sum initiative and commented that other communities should learn and take inspiration from them. He added that that Yul Rru Sum Dzom Lee was not only an infrastructural development but also signifies the culture and tradition of the people of North Sikkim.
“We should all come together and work in tandem with a sense of belonging and ownership to usher Sikkim towards complete development. Only material or infrastructural development is not enough, spiritual development is also of paramount importance to see overall development in the state”, he stressed.
The Chief Minister also appealed to the people of Sikkim not to blindly believe in the rumours going around in the state about Article 371F and Revenue Order No. 1, he vowed to protect these with utmost sincerity. He further stated that protecting all old laws and rights of the people of Sikkim are his and his government’s top priority.
While speaking on road conditions in the State, the Chief Minister said that all the roads including the border roads are being upgraded and double laning work is in the last phase and within another two years all the major roads of the state will be surfaced and upgraded. The state government has taken this issue up with the centre on priority basis and we hope that the upgradation and double laning works will be completed within the stipulated time. Urging the people to be patient he said that once the upgradation work is complete it will further boost tourism in North Sikkim.
The Chief Minister also released a Bhutia Lepcha Music and Video Album and Bhutia Notation Book. He was felicitated by the patron of Yul Rru Sum, T. Lachungpa who presented the Chief Minister with a statue of Guru Padmasambhava and a citation letter along with offering of Jeyju from Lachen, Lachung and Chungthang by the Pipons and Panchayats of the respective areas.
On the occasion the Chief Minister also presented all those involved in building this community centre with certificates and mementos.
Rajya Sabha MP and patron Yul Rru Sum, Hishey Lachungpa who also addressed the gathering thanked the Chief Minister for his visionary and progressive plans, policies and programmes which he said has ushered the state towards the path of prosperity.
The MP also placed a few pending demands on behalf of the people of North Sikkim, to which the Chief Minister assured full cooperation and positive response.