Saturday, January 25, 2014

Training on IRS concludes with mock drill in Namchi

NAMCHI, 24 Jan [IPR]: The three-day Capacity Development Training Program on Incident Response System (IRS) which started on 22 January concluded today in Namchi with the hands-on execution of IRS field exercise. The Mock Drill headed by DC (South), Prabhaker Verma was participated by all the concerned departments which were identified into different categories of Task Force as per the Incident Action Plan (IAP).
The whole mock drill exercise was carried out under the guidance of Retd Maj. Gen. VK Dutta who is a Senior Specialist on Nuclear Biological, Radiological and Chemical Disaster and an expert in mock exercises. Mr Dutta was the resource person during the second and third day of the training program. The selected sites to carry out the mock exercise were Central Park Namchi bazaar, DC Office and Namchi District Hospital with staging area set up in Namchi Singhithang Ground.
On the second day, table top exercise for IRS was delineated to the house. The roles and responsibilities designated to all the concerned departments under the IAP Plan were discussed at length in the house. HODs of different departments included in the task force of IRS presented their respective disaster management plans like SDM Namchi, SP South for District Police and Traffic Management, CMO South for Medical response, Fire Officer for Fire Services response.
This training was conducted for the Officers of various government departments from South and West Districts in order to become more systematically prepared to deal with emergency situation in cases of natural disasters in the state.
Commandant Nishit Upadhaya NDRF 2nd Battalion also participated in the mock drill and shared his experiences. Mr Upadhaya lauded all the departments for demonstrating seriousness and positive involvement during the mock drill.

Organic Mission service providers reminded of need to improve awareness levels SAGAR CHHETRI

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: Horticulture Department Principal Director, Khorlo Bhutia, has strictly directed service providers for the Sikkim Organic Mission to conduct massive trainings and awareness in their respective areas to educate people about the virtues of organic farming to make Sikkim Organic Mission a sustainable programme after 2015. He stressed that until all farmers, people and officials of the state are educated clearly on organic farming, the mission would not be effective.
Mr. Bhutia, who is also the Executive Director of Sikkim Organic Mission [SOM], was speaking to the representatives of service provider organisations today here at the Krishi Bhawan conference hall. The meeting was also attended by Additional Directors and Joint Directors of the department.
In the meeting, he expressed dissatisfaction over the level and quality of awareness and training programmes being conducted by service providers. These, he said, were not upto the mark.
On the same, he mentioned that training and awareness were the main components of the mission. He directed that monthly review meetings be held in earnest from now onwards.
Mr. Bhutia strictly directed all service providers to conduct 4 training and awareness programmes in each ward of their respective areas by 15 February, engaging good resource persons. He added that in case any service provider fails to conduct such programs, then that agency would be considered a defaulter and action initiated against it.
He added that funds will be released until the completion of training and awareness within the scheduled time with up-to-date documentation.
There is a strong directive from the State government that all farmers should be informed well on the advantages and benefits of organic farming, said Mr. Bhutia and added that the organic mission was conceptualized by the Chief Minister and was a historic step for Sikkim.
Sikkim has been applauded by many other states and organizations and several states have invited officers from Sikkim to support them in implementing organic mission in their respective states, he added.
“We cannot take any risks in Sikkim Organic Mission, so we must be serious in our efforts to turn Sikkim into an organic state by 2015,” he stated, adding that the response from farmers so far has been tremendous.
During the meeting, representatives also placed their issues and problems. Responding to them, Mr Bhutia gave suggestions and further urged them to take the mission as their personal responsibility and try to influence and convince people on their personal level as well.
It is informed that in the SOM Phase-I project an area of 18,242.493 hectares and 14,234 farmers attained organic status, while in SOM Phase-II project, an area of 18,897.143 hectares and 17,594 farmers got C-II status and will be attaining organic status by December this year.
Likewise, in SOM Phase-III project, an area of 22696 hectares got C-I status and will attain organic status by January 2015. In the pre-SOM projects carried out by some agencies, an area of 8,128 hectares and 8,031 farmers have already got organic status.
Similarly, for large cardamom, an area of 9,512 hectares have been newly registered for the organic certification programme.

SKM accuses West SP of biased policing

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha has accused the West District Superintendent of Police of political bias in discharging his duties.
An SKM press release issued today alleges that first the SP ensured that no action was taken on an FIR filed by SKM’s Sanchabir Subba at Kaluk thana, and then followed it up by taking an SKM leader Topzang Bhutia in custody over a trivial issue.
The release contends that the FIR in Kaluk Thana was against SDF’s Avinash Yakha and accused him of attacking SKM party workers in Bermiok on 21 January. When no follow-up action was initiated, SKM took out a protest rally when Mr. Bhutia was stopped on charges of driving an overloaded vehicle.
The release contends that instead of just challaning Mr. Bhutia for the alleged traffic violation, he was dragged to the lock-up and assaulted. Agitated SKM supporters gheraoed the thana and it was only when the party’s Gyalshing constituency in-charge arrived that tempers were eased. The release adds that an FIR has been lodged with SDM against the SP and rues that no action has been taken yet on their complaint.
The party goes on to level a series of allegations against its former colleague, Avinash Yakha, who is now in the SDF and was victim of an assault on 22 January. SKM contends that Mr. Yakha was the instigator of the violence and maintains that its youth leader Roshan Pradhan has been falsely implicated in the incident.
In this connection, the SKM release goes on to question the police raid on Orange Village Resort yesterday which led to the arrest of two Nepal nationals employed there without valid documents along with Mr. Pradhan’s father, Chin Kazi Shrestha. Accepting that employing foreign nationals without valid documents would attract police action, the release questions why this is being implemented exclusively on opposition sympathizers and was never invoked in the past.

SDF chelis condemn attack on South district working committee secretary

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: Sikkim Democratic Front’s women’s front, the Cheli Morcha, has condemned the assault on the party’s South District working committee secretary, Beenu Tamang, by alleged SKM party workers yesterday.
Ms. Tamang was reportedly attacked at a wedding in Namthang-Palitam Thursday evening by people she has identified as SKM party workers.
SDF’s Cheli Morcha secretary Phurmit Lepcha has condemned the incident and held it up as further evidence of SKM’s ideology of violence and believes that SKM reverts to violence so often because it is frustrated by the lack of any issues to go to the people with.
She goes on to reiterate that SDF was a disciplined party which held the safety and security of the lay Sikkimese on highest priority and towards that end, has displayed restraint even in the face of open provocation by SKM. This resolve and respect peace should not be mistaken for weakness, she stresses.

State-level Bharat Scouts & Guides rally at Majitar

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: A state-level Bharat Scouts and Guides rally was held in Majitar, Rangpo (East Sikkim) from 17 to 21 January 2014. A press release informs that various competitions were held like March Past, Traditional dance, Quiz Competition, Painting, Slogan writing and Folk dance. Dikling Senior Secondary School team escorted by Anita Pradhan (SOC Guide) stood first in the competition. The state Chief Commissioner, Dr. HP Chettri gave away the prizes and announced a tour for the students of Dikling SSS as reward for their excellent performance, the release adds. 

2nd Intl Sasonians Alumni Meet in Gangtok from 13 to 15 Feb

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: Sasonians Alumni Association (St. Augustine’s School, Kalimpong), Sikkim Chapter, is organizing the 2nd International Sasonians Alumni Meet from 13-15 February in Gangtok.
A press release informs that SAS alumni from Nepal, Bhutan, Taiwan, Canada, United States and other parts of India are expected to attend the Meet. The theme of the Meet is to network, deliberate and strengthen the bond of camaraderie and also to showcase Sikkim, it is informed.
These delegates would bring in a host of ideas, experiences and knowledge with a prospect for investment and business opportunities for Sikkim in the near future, it is added.
All Sasonians in Sikkim are invited for a general body meeting to be held at 2.00 pm on 25 January, 2014 in the Conference Hall of Yatayat Bhawan, SNT, Government of Sikkim.

Sikkim chess players to take part in 7th NE FIDE Rating Tourney

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: A 14-member Sikkim Chess Association [SCA] team is all set to represent Sikkim in the 7th edition of North East FIDE Rating Chess Tournament to be held in Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh from 29 January to 04 February. The team accompanied by SCA general secretary, Mahendra Dhakal, who is also the International Arbiter, will be leaving on 27 January for the tournament.
During a press conference today, executive members of SCA expressed their best wishes by offering khadas to participating players.

While expressing his best wishes, SCA president, HS Sharma encouraged players to do their best to bring more medals for the state as compared to the last edition of the tournament. In the last edition of the tournament, SCA players had bagged 10 medals for the state. 

Five-week training on weavers and artisans concludes

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: Five-week training for weavers and artisans funded by the office of the National Centre for Design and Product Development, (NCDPD), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India concluded today.
A press release informs that the training conducted by Empanelled Designer, Chemi Ongmu Bhutia was held under the guidance of the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom, Government of Sikkim in 5 (five) batches for 100 numbers of weavers and artisans from 09 December 2013 to 24 January 2014.
The training was held on Capacity/ Skill Development in Entrepreneurship Development Programme, Design and Product Development, Manufacture Processes and Technological Developments, Marketing, Compliance, Trade Terms and Payments, Packing Techniques and Trade Show Participation.
The programme concluded in the presence of officers of Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom, Government of Sikkim along with officials from Marketing, Service and Extension Centre (MSEC), Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Deorali, Gangtok, Sikkim and officials from the NEDFi, Gangtok.
Speaking to all artisans and weavers Deputy Director (Training), Chozang Tshering Lepcha urged them to take full advantage of the training provided to them and become self-reliant and generate income to earn livelihood through traditional crafts. Certificates were also distributed to all the participants, it is added.

RMDD Minister inaugurates new Panchayat Bhawan in South

NAMCHI, 24 Jan: RM&DD Minister, CB Karki, inaugurated a Panchayat Bhawan (Gram Panchayat Kendra) here at Mamley-Kamrang, South Sikkim, today. This was followed by a brief tour of the Gram Panchayat Kendra premises.
The Minister was accompanied by Chairman Labor Welfare Board, Passang Rinzing Sherpa, Advisor Ecclesiastical Department, Lakpa Ghising, Director Panchayat Cell RM&DD Gangtok, HB Gurung along with Assistant Engineer, DT Bhutia.
The technical report of Gram Prashasan Kendra was presented by Assistant Engineer, DT Bhutia, who informed that the project was sanctioned under the chargeable head of 13th Finance Commission in 2012.
The tender proceedings and work was executed within one year from given time, the work was awarded to Purnima Mangar as per work order No. 93 (Ref. dated 30.7.2012) at civil cost Rs. 23,48,978 which includes building construction works, water supply and sanitation.
Excluding the cost of electrification that was Rs. 1,76,025, since the estimate was framed in 2006 schedule of rate the estimate was framed for additional sanction taking the difference of cost of stock material and labor rates and further processed it to head office for financial implications.
The Chairman Labor Welfare Board, Passang Rinzing Sherpa in his brief address highlighted the importance of Gram Prashasan Kendra which he said can help the rural people in many ways. He added that it will help in solving the problems of rural people and also keep them updated.
The Advisor of Ecclesiastical Department, Lakpa Ghising also addressed the gathering where he said that the concept of Gram Prashasan Kendra aims to help the people. The GPK will function for the people of that area and will be of help for them in many ways especially in official tasks, he said.
He also told the people not to be misguided by the so-called opposition party and informed that SDF is the only party that genuinely works for the welfare of the people. The Director Panchayat Cell RM&DD Gangtok, HB Gurung informed the gathering on the importance of GPK and its functions.
The Minister RM&DD, CB Karki in his address reminisced on the social scenario of Namchi and surrounding areas during the 80s when elders and senior citizens used to say that it is impossible to bring infrastructural development in Namchi and surroundings. Here he said that the same Namchi and its surrounding areas have undergone a drastic change when it comes to development and this positive change highlights the work done by the ruling government.
He appealed to the gathering to support and help in the development of human resource and play a vital role in the overall development of society. He further stressed on the development of manpower in the state and highlighted the importance of newly inaugurated Gram Prashasan Kendra for the rural population.
Focusing on the upcoming poll the Minister said that the ruling government has worked for the overall welfare of the people and so people will vote for them. He said that the SDF party will sweep the upcoming polls and will come back to power this time too.
“Our Chief Minister has worked for the upliftment of the people which in itself will pave way for the victory of SDF party”, said Mr Karki and urged the people to evaluate and judge the works done by SDF party. He told the gathering to bring back SDF party to power as it is the only party which is pro-people.
The programme also witnessed various cultural presentations by children along with presentation of abinandan patra/felicitation to the land donors. A minute’s silence was also observed in memory of Late Dipen Rai who passed away in September last year (2013) when he was still a part of the project. The programme was also attended by office staff including RDA, Office Supervisor, Panchayat Account Assistant and other members including people from five wards.

North in Black Out for past 4 days

MANGAN, 24 Jan: Most of North District has had no power supply for the past four days. The black out, it is learnt, is due to the breakdown of a transformer in Mangan which has snapped supply to places like Mangan, Naga, Singhik, Shipgyer, Dzongu etc. Apart from general inconvenience to the people, the outage has also affected banking facilities in the area.
North Zilla Upadhakshya, NT Lepcha, while speaking to NOW! commented that the problem could have been mitigated if the Meyong Power Project had been in operation. Here he said that this power project should be restored as early as possible to provide the district the much needed back-up.
It may be mentioned here that the Meyong Power house had been damaged by a landslide triggered by the 2011 earthquake.

National Girl Child Day celebrated

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: National Girl Child Day is celebrated on 24 January every year. The day was celebrated in the state at the European Commission Hall of National Health Mission Building at STNM Complex under the chairmanship of Principal Chief Consultant-cum-Medical Superintendent STNM Hospital, Dr. Yogesh Verma.
A press release informs that Dr. Verma highlighted the need for a change in the attitude towards a girl child so that they get deserving attention and support. Society and the law enforcers need to enforce Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique act in letter and spirit so that the state can further be improved, he stated.
Earlier Mission Director, National Health Mission, Dr. PM Pradhan, presented the objectives of a National Girl Child Day celebration and status of girl child in Sikkim. Sikkim is one of the progressive states in terms of reduction of Infant Mortality Rate and in the sex ratio which is 957 compared to the national level which is only 914, he said.
Overall performance of women of younger generation in many fields is better than their male counterparts as the policy of the government is favorable to the girl child, he added. However, there is concern of minimal decline in sex ratio in 0-6 yrs age group and slightly higher infant mortality rate in girl child which was explained in detail to the participants, the release mentions.
In addition to the service provided and becoming more sensitive to the need of the girl child there is need for strict enforcement of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique act, it is stated.
Steps to be taken up for enforcement of PCPNDT act in Sikkim are: Massive awareness through VHSNC, VHND, regular programmes, etc; Sensitization of judiciary; Training of district appropriate authority and programme officers; Strict enforcement of PCPNDT Act through regular inspection, surprise raids including decoy (sting operation).
Through interaction it is observed that family with girl child seems to be happier than family with only male child which is very positive in Sikkim, the release informs.
The Mission Director urged all the participants to commit themselves and to enforce and work hard towards providing quality care so that there can be further improvement in sex ratio in the age group of 0-6 years and further bring down the Infant Mortality Rate in girl child.
However, there is need to fill the gap to ensure proper attitude of the government and civil society together to give girl child the place they deserve to make Sikkim a better place. The meeting was closed with vote of thanks by Deputy Director (NHM), Dr. Indra Chettri.

Training under Bagan Development Project held in South Sikkim

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: Krishi Vigyan Kendra South, Namthang organized Training cum Capacity Building under Bagan Development (Wadi) Project funded by NABARD at Lower Kateng and Lower Bokrang, South Sikkim today.
A press release informs that the programme started with welcome note by Subject Matter Specialist Agri Economics who gave a clear picture as to the objective of the programme. The farmers of the concerned villages under Bagan (Wadi) Project were given training and awareness on Orchard Management and allied fields like animal husbandry which also is an important sector in Agriculture.
The resource person for the programme was Horticulture Development Officer, Namthang who shared his experience and gave training to farmers regarding horticultural crops, the release mentions. The programme included experience sharing and healthy interaction between farmers and KVK officials and official guest HDO, Namthang regarding their grievances in the field and the problems faced by them. Total of forty farmers participated in the programme.

EPCYFS 20th Annual Youth Convention 2014 held at Mangshila

MANGAN, 24 Jan: The Evangelical Presbyterian Church Youth Fellowship, Sikkim organized the 20th Annual Youth Convention’2014 at Mangshilla, North Sikkim from 23 to 26 January. The inaugural function on 23 January was attended by MLA Martam-Rumtek Constituency cum Chairman Estimate Committee, Menlom Lepcha as the chief guest while Zilla Adhakshya North, Anguli Lepcha was the special guest.
Also present in the function were Up-Adhakshya North, NT Lepcha, Chairman Convention committee, Elder PW Lepcha, President Convention Committee, PB Subba and the general public.
The function started with the declaration of the commencement of 20th Annual Youth Convention’2014 by Deputy Moderator (EPCS), Rev. Shyam Subba followed by the introduction of the convention committee.
Also in the function, a Christian music album produced by EPCYFS was released by the chief guest. A colourful cultural programme by dance troupes from different churches, words of God, and the prayer and benediction were part of the programme.
The chief guest in his speech appealed to all the Christian youth to set an example as many youth are getting into drugs and other anti-social activities. He further urged the youth to bring awareness among the people to refrain from all such unwanted activities.
Earlier, the function was welcomed by Chairman Convention Committee, Elder PW Lepcha and ended with the vote of thanks delivered by President Convention Committee, PB Subba.

Election Deptt refutes SKM allegations on voter list deletions

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: The Election Department has refuted allegations leveled by Sikkim Krantikari Morcha which has alleged arbitrary deletion of names from the voters list by the State Election Commission.
In a press release issued today, the department has stated that as per Electoral Laws, a person cannot have his name more than once in the voters list and as per the instructions of the Election Commission of India, the Electoral Registration Officers have to suo moto delete one of the entries of such voters.
“This Office strongly denies the allegation that the names of voters of a particular party have been deleted from the Electoral Rolls. The Electoral Registration Officers are quasi-judicial authorities and function independently as per the Law. The entire Electoral Roll of Sikkim has been made available in the official website of CEO, Sikkim for full public view and transparency”, the release states.
On Thursday, SKM had accused the state government of trying to prevent supporters of the opposition from voting in the upcoming election by deleting names of many on the pretext that their names have registered in more than one place.
Meanwhile, the Election Department adds that the Office has given wide publicity to all the voters of the Sikkim through Print and Electronic Media requesting them to check whether their names are present in the voters list or not and have also appealed to apply for inclusion of their names in case their names are not available in the voters list.
This has been informed to all the political parties of Sikkim also, the release adds.
Facilities for searching of names in the voters list have also been provided to the voters and the same has been advertised through Print and Electronic Media, it adds.
The department has further asked those who do not have their names in the Electoral Roll but possess voter Id-cards to apply to the Electoral Registration Officer at the D.C. Office with a copy of Voter Card and supporting documents for inclusion of their names in the voters list and such applications will be considered as per the Law.

Safe Travel

Road mishaps normally go up in the prevailing weather. Everyone is in a hurry to reach the huddled warmth of homes, visibility tends to be low, the road relatively smooth and policing difficult. Although news-reports of road accidents have noticeably come down, that is perhaps more due to reduced traffic on the roads than safer driving conditions or habits. The reasons mentioned earlier still hold and contribute to every accident. These factors, added to the still dubious driving skills sitting behind most wheels, remain a worrying concern. While in a perfect society, everyone would drive responsibly, Sikkim should leave that option for the time when Utopia is attained; till then, the roads require stronger on-street interventions to back the on-table policy initiatives already undertaken. The policy decision making it mandatory to have drivers with licences from outside Sikkim re-evaluated for the Sikkim roads before they drive public carriers here was an intelligent piece of legislation. It needs to be applied more responsibly and what is also required now is more practical and vigilant monitoring of on-road conduct. The traffic police personnel are among the most over-worked in the State, so, to begin with, it would be a good idea to increase their numbers. The flagrancy with which traffic rules are violated on Sikkim roads when there are no traffic cops around is embarrassing hence more of them should be deployed. Since most of the road-space is occupied either by taxis or government vehicles, any sensitization effort should address them first. Given that most taxis operate as share-cabs, their driving habits need to be amended. Taxis moving downhill, whenever their engine makes allow it, roll down with the engine switched off. The ignition is not fired not to save the environment but to keep the running costs low. In the bargain, they make the travel riskier. Because they are moving on momentum, they resist the need to slow down till the last moment; they swerve a lot and are ill prepared to make sudden adjustments [many bruised knee passengers will attest to this]. What is worse, this becomes a habit and it is not rare to have a taxi spring out of the fog in sudden silhouette even after dark. The road sides at night are claimed by parked vehicles and in such cramped highways, accidents could, and do, happen. Also unnerving are the impromptu driving classes that taxi drivers tend to give whenever the traffic appears to thin. Nervous arms stretching out from the front passenger seat while the driver chats with someone at the back are actually priming for a collision. Sikkim should count itself lucky that not too many of these happen. Then there is the all round ignorance on speed limits. The turns and curves of hill roads used to keep maximum possible speeds within in-control limits, but the improved torque of new engines thumbs its nose at these past natural controls. Vehicles can accelerate to frightening speeds on any stretch nowadays and near head-on collisions are frequent on any reasonably long drive. Control is inversely related to speed and since it is the former that is required, the latter should be checked more efficiently. The traffic police personnel do a commendable job of managing the traffic, those above the personnel on the highway should plan ahead and bolster their strengths to make their performance even more effective. It is obviously their limited strength which keeps traffic personnel away from the real highway, save when the document verification exercises are undertaken. Up-to-date documents do not avert accidents, regular monitoring of in-motion vehicles could…

One arrested on charges of sexual assault

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: One person was arrested by the Singtam police on 23 January for allegedly molesting a 32-year-old deaf woman.
It is informed that on the intervening night of 22-23 January, an unknown person sexually assaulted the victim. During investigation, the Singtam police arrested one suspect Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia [22], resident of middle Pachak, Rangpo, who later reportedly admitted to have committed the crime.
Both the victim and the accused were sent for medical examination to STNM Hopsital and a case under section 457/ 376 [lurking house-trespassing or house-breaking by night in order to commit offence punishable with imprisonment and punishment for rape] of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against the accused at the Singtam Police Station. The case is under investigation.

Road mishap claims one

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: A road mishap near Dokan Dara, Decheling, Chandmari here early this morning claimed the life of one person while three others escaped with injuries.
As per the police, at around 6 a.m., the vehicle [a Maruti taxi van: SK-01T-0796] skidded down around 500 feet from the road near Dokan Dara, Dechiling resulting in the death of the driver Dawa Bhutia [42], a resident of Penlong and grievously injuring three other occupants.
The injured occupants were evacuated from the spot and sent for medical treatment to STNM Hospital. A case under section 279/337/338/304 ‘A’ r/w section 177/ 184 CMV Act has been registered against the driver at the Sadar Police Station.

SCA chess team records encouraging performance in three tourneys

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: The State’s chess players from Sikkim Chess Association [SCA] have returned home after a hectic tour within and outside the country. The SCA team recorded good performances at three tournaments they covered in their tour.
A big achievement for Sikkim came when Thendup Tamang [FIDE rating of 1760] drew against Ukrainian player, Neverov Velorie [FIDE rating of 2515] in the Grand Master Chess Tournament held in Gurgaon from 01 to 08 January 2014.
SCA general secretary, Mahindra Dhakal said that it was a historic moment for a player from Sikkim to draw against such a high rated player. “It is a very big achievement and encouragement for chess players of the state”, he added. Applauding Thendup’s performance he mentioned that the players and spectators in the tournament highly appreciated his game.
In the same tournament, Rahul Gurung defeated Uzbekistan’s Grand Master K Farida in the last round to win the first prize, while Thendup defeated the current FIDE Master Champion of Nepal.
Likewise, in the Grand Master Chess Tournament held at Parsunath in Delhi from 09 to 12 January 2014, Rahul Gurung stood second in U-20 Boys category and Rahul Gurung also stood second in U-15 Boys. The tournament had 800 players from 20 countries.
An SCA team also participated in the Dhurba Tara International Rating Chess Tournament held at Damak in Nepal from 25 to 30 December. In the tournament, Manisha Gurung won first prize and Priya Chettri stood second in women’s category. Rahul Gurung won first prize in U-13 Boys’ category.
Likewise, Thendup Tamang came in 13th, Rakesh Gurung in 14th position and Rohit Gurung in 23rd position in the same tournament.

Bodybuilding seminar on 15-16 Feb

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: Anga Iron Pump, a gym here in Tadong, in coordination with Bobby Fitness Centre [Gangtok], has announced plans to conduct a two-day Open Seminar for all sportspersons here at the SDF Bhawan Hall, Bye Pass, Gangtok on 15-16 February 2014. Bodybuilding Training, Supplementary, Diet & Nutrition, Anabolic Steroid Growth Hormone are some of the topics to be discussed in the seminar, it is informed.
While addressing the media here today, owner of Anga Iron Pump, Sunil Gurung said, “It’s an international seminar and this is for the first time in the North-Eastern Region that such a seminar is being held”. Around 300 participants are expected to take part in the seminar, he informs.
Dr. Mahesh Kumar of Mumbai will be present as the resource person in the seminar.

Mr Gurung has appealed to all sportspersons to attend the seminar.

15 ATTC students placed with Hitachi Auto company

GANGTOK, 24 Jan: A placement drive was conducted at ATTC, Bardang East Sikkim by renowned company Hitachi Automotive Systems (India) Pvt Ltd on 21 January 2014, initiated by the Training and Placement Officer (TPO), Deependra Chettri.
A press release informs that the placement procedure involved a written examination for the final year students, after which successful candidates were invited back for a personal interview with the Hitachi team.
A total of 15 students (9 girls and 6 boys) were selected from various branches such as Diploma in Mechatronics, Diploma in Computer Science and Diploma in Tool & Die Making, the release informs. Selected students are scheduled to join after the completion of their diploma in July 2014. The placement offer for these students also includes a 3-month training at the parent company, Hitachi in Japan, it is added.
The names of the students who have been selected are Sunaina Gurung, Sneha Pradhan, Elina Lepcha, Chumkit Lepcha, Arati Tamang, Laxmi Sharma, Priyanka Kumari Gupta, Mahendra Kumar Yadav, Ankita Kumari, Ngima Ongchu Sherpa, Pronab Dahal, Sagnik Bhattacharya, Anugra Wangchuk Lepcha, Yanu Hang Subba and Vivek Chettri.
ATTC Bardang has congratulated the successful students and wished them all the best for a bright and prosperous future.

Friday, January 24, 2014

DC orders Madhya Bharat to stop tunnel blasting works

GANGTOK, 23 Jan: The DC [East], J Raje, has once again stopped the tunnel blasting works being undertaken by Madhya Bharat company in developing the 96 MW project on the Rongni Chu in East Sikkim. It was only about a week ago that the company had resumed blasting works at Sumin, East Sikkim, the site of the project, with the permission of the DC. The blasting works for the construction of the head race tunnel of the project at Sumin had been stopped for the past almost one month and only on 16 January had the company received permission to resume work.
Speaking on the decision taken today, and on the grievances submitted by residents of the area, the DC East said that there would be immediate site verification by his office along with an official from the Mines & Geology Department and till that time the blasting works were to be halted.
Today, affected residents of the area approached the DC to impress upon him the need to stop the blasting works once again as they feared for the safety of their lives and property. It needs to be mentioned here that the residents have also filed a petition in the High Court of Sikkim seeking a stay on the project on grounds primarily alleging violation of certain conditions by the power developer.
The fear of the residents of the area is that the tunnel blasting works can cause extensive damage to their houses and other properties. The additional and more acute apprehension of the people is that there could be a repetition of the earlier incident where the tunnel had collapsed at Adit II. “We have absolutely no faith in the technical competency of the company”, stated the residents.
In fact the reports of the Mines and Geology as well as that of the SPDC similarly criticize the company on these grounds as well. The tunnel collapse had occurred due to the fact that the company which was supposed to be digging 70 metres underground was actually only 3 mtrs from the surface.
The residents of the area are fearful of the fact that the tunnel, which is directly under some of the dwellings, can once again, collapse thereby leading to immeasurable losses. Further more they have also alleged that some of the conditions as stipulated by the DC, East to the company for resumption of blasting works are being violated.
Earlier, the High Court had directed that the blasting works be done under strict supervision. Keeping this in mind, the DC had included certain conditions for Madhya Bharat to follow, including the direction that there be no blasting at night. Furthermore there was also the stipulation in the order granting resumption on 16 January that the local police had to alert that people before hand that there was blasting going to happen in the area. These conditions are alleged to have been violated. The High Court had also taken note that night blasting had to be stopped.
In fact the DC East while granting permission to resume blasting to the company had further stipulated that there should be daily reports, that is, within 24 hours, to be submitted to his office along with other weekly technical reports. The strength of the blasting had also been drastically reduced from the normal 5 mm/ second to 1 mm/ second. The residents still felt that the strength of the blasting was strong leading to their apprehensions.

WW II veterans to be felicitated on Republic Day

GANGTOK, 23 Jan: The State Government has decided to felicitate some of the World War II veterans of Sikkim by inviting them to the Republic Day Parade at Gangtok on 26 January 2014.
A press release from the Rajya Sainik Board informs that the aim of this felicitation is to remember them and thank them for their “immense contribution” in defending the nation. It is also to let them know that they have not been forgotten by the younger generations.
The state government has made it a mission to look after these old warriors and their families who are in the twilight of their lives, it is stated. Most of these WW –II soldiers are without pension since they were released on Demobilization immediately after the end of the World War on account of reduction of forces.
The state government has increased the ex–gratia grant to these veterans. The veterans and the WW II widows are now paid Rs 3000 per month as ex–gratia allowance. We are all proud of these veterans, the release adds.
Some of those who have been invited for the felicitation are:
Singh Raj Newar of Sang Basti, East Sikkim: He was enrolled in 4 Gorkha Rifles on 07 April 1943 at the age of 21 from GRD Ghoom, Darjeeling. After completing his recruit training at Chakrata, he joined his unit and moved to Burma as part of the British forces for the offensive operation against Japanese and capture the enemy administrative base at Moulmin, South Burma. Singh Raj Newar participated in all the operations that his unit carried out.
He served with his Battalion in Thailand, Kuala Lumpur, Combodia and Singapore. His unit also took part in 1947-48 Indo-Pak war in Poonch & Rajouri sector in J&K.
He has been awarded with medals like Burma Star, South East Asia Star and Independence Medal for his dedication to duty and selfless service. He finally retired on 12 Sep 1958 and settled at his native place of Sang, East Sikkim. He is 95 Years old and stays at Sang.
Padam Singh Bhujel, resident of Gangtok, East Sikkim: Sepoy Padam Singh Bhujel was born on 01 Sept 1923. At the age of 18 years, he joined 3 Gorkha Rifles on 31 December 1941. His unit was ordered to move by sea from Madras to Rangoon and be part of the British Division to capture strategic location of PROME, an important administrative base across Rive Irrawady. Sepoy Padam Singh Bhujel served his unit with utmost dedication and participated in all operations .
His dedication to duties and selfless service was recognized by his superiors and was awarded with Burma Star, Second World War Medal and South East Asia Star. He retired on 22 May 1944. After retirement he was employed as Mess Cook at the Royal Palace. His served under Sikkim Guards from 01 Sep 1966 to 01 Jan 1969. He is 90 years old and is living happily with his family at Gangtok.
Temba Dorjee Sherpa, resident of Tarey Bhir, Sombaria, West Sikkim: Rifleman Temba Dorjee Sherpa joined 1 GR on 11 Apr 1944. His unit was ordered to advance from Nagaland as part of the offensive operation under 64 Mountain Brigade and take up defences at Tiddim after crossing River Chindwin. Tiddim fell in the hands of British forces in Nov 1944. The fighting at Tiddim cost 1 GR with heavy loss of men and material. Accordingly, Unit was ordered to stay at Tiddim for rest and recuperation as well as take up defences in their area of responsibilities.
This unit was finally relieved from Tiddim and was ordered to move back to Bishanpur, North East of Imphal for Jungle Warfare training. Rifleman Temba Dorjee served his unit with dedication and contributed immensely towards the defence of our country. He retired on 31 December 1945 from Shilllong.
After his retirement from Army, he served for another 24 years with Central Reserve Police (CRPF). He is 87 years old and lives with his daughters at his native place, Tarey Bhir, Sombaria.
The Nation salutes him for his immense contribution in World War –II for the defence of the motherland and his selfless service under CRPF for maintenance of internal peace in the country.

Sidhiman Gurung, resident of Tokal Bermiok, South Sikkim: Rifleman Sidhiman Gurung enrolled himself in 5 Gorkha Rifles on 25 May 1942 at the age of 19 years. He completed his initial training at Abotabad, now in Pakistan and joined his unit located at Karachi.
The Battalion moved to North Africa and reached Cairo in August 1942 and fought wars in Egypt, Alexandria and Libya. Rifleman Sidhiman Gurung participated in all actions with his unit during this period. After this, his unit was inducted in to Italy and participated in the battle for capture of Cicily and Rome. Rifleman Sidhiman Gurung served his unit with full dedication and loyalty.
He finally retired on 18 Apr 1946 on demobilization of his unit. He is 93 years old and is living with his two daughters and two sons at Tokal Bermiok. The entire Nation feels highly indebted for his selfless service and salutes for his immense contribution towards the defence of the motherland.
Chandraman Tamang, resident of Lingdum, Ranka East Sikkim: Rifleman Chandraman Tamang was born in the year 1923 at Ranka, East Sikkim. He joined 7 Gorkha Rifles on 30 November 1943 when the Second World War was at its peak. After completing his recruit training at Palampur, Rifleman Chandraman Tamang joined his unit at Allahabad. 7 GR was in the process of moving to Dimapur for offensive operations in to Burma. His unit was part of British forces to launch offensive operations across River Chindwin and advance towards Meiktila and Mandalay which were captured by the Allied forces by August 1944.. He served with his unit in Burma for full three years till the surrender of Japanese forces in the eastern theatre.

Rifleman Chandraman Tamang participated in all the operations that his Battalion carried out and he was awarded with King George Medal, Far Eastern Medal and Independence Medal for his selfless service and patriotism. He retired on 22 January 1952 after having served the Nation for 08 Years and 04 months.

He is 83 years old now and is living happily with his family at his native place, Lingdum, Ranka. Entire Nation salutes you for your valour and courage and the selfless service to the motherland.

Ongdup Bhutia, resident of Namchi Bazaar, South Sikkim: Rifleman Ongdup Bhutia is the son of Late, Havildar Major Gorakh Lama of 10 British Gorkha Rifles who saw actions during the First World War in Afghanistan and later in Italy to fight against the German forces. Havildar Major Gorakh Lama won three medals for his courage and bravery. After his retirement, Late Shri Gorakh Lama was appointment as Block Mandal for Singhithang, Mickhola and Kopchey from 1950 to 1979 during Chogyal’s time. He donated 538 hectares of land at Namchi to establish the Sainik Board and hostel. Hav Major Gorakh Lama died at the age of 84 years.
Rifleman Ongdup Bhutia followed his father’s footstep and joined 1st Assam Regiment on 03 Sep 1977. After having served for three years, he was discharged from service on 26 Oct 1980. Shri Ongdup Bhutia was appointed Block Mandal from 1980 to 1984. After that, he became Panchayat President from 1985 to 1990.
Govt of Sikkim and the people appreciate the valuable contributions made by Late Havildar Major Gorakh Lama and his son Rifleman Ongdup Bhutia for the preservation of peace and integrity of the Nation during the crucial period  of World War and commendable social service rendered to the society.

Kul Bahadur Chettri, resident of Siktam Basti, Sombaria, West Sikkim: Subedar (Honorary Captain) Kul Bahadur Chettri was enrolled in 9 Gorkha Rifles on 03 July 1941. After completing his recruit training at 39 Gorkha Training Centre at Dehradun, he joined his unit which was deployed in J& K. His unit was part of the offensive operations that was conducted by Indian Army in 1948 -49 to save Kashmir from Pakistani annexation. After that the unit was moved to Nagaland for Counter Insurgency Operations from 1956 to 1958.
During the Indo Pak war of 1965, his unit was again deployed in J& K. During his service, Subedar (Honorary Capt) Kul Bahadur Chettri served with his unit in Poonch& Rajouri, Nagaland, Manipur and Assam with dedication. He has been awarded with Good service medal, War Medal and 1965 Samar Sewa Star.  He retired on 03 July 1969 from Gorakhpur.
He is 93 years old. The Nation salutes him today for his valuable contribution and selfless service.

SSB lends a helping hand at Uttarey

GANGTOK, 23 Jan: 19th Battalion Sashastra Seema Bal distributed various items to the local residents at Uttarey in West Sikkim on Wednesday.
A press release informs that during the programme organized at Government Primary School Uttarey, SSB distributed 9 cycle mounted organic pesticide spraying machines and 14 sets of traditional dress [Bhutia dress] to the local stakeholders of Uttarey and it’s surrounding villages.
Zilla Panchayat Member, Uttarey, Jhamu Sherpa was present as the chief guest of the programme who appreciated the work being carried out by SSB in such far-flung areas of Sikkim, it is informed.
The items were distributed to Gombadara Self Help Group Uttarey, Rose Mary Pulch Club lower Begha, Sangam Sanstha Sanku lower Begha, Gombadara Samaj Uttarey, Simphok Farmers Club Uttarey bazaar, Thomkei Club Uttarey, Sopaka Samaj Sopaka, Intake Self Help Group and Lingey Sopaka Samaj.
Assistant Commandant, Giriraj Singh Bisht and Assistant Commandant, Navin Kumar Sah of 19th Bn SSB Gangtok organised the said programme, the release adds.

MGNREGA Social Audit at Pakyong and Parkha

GANGTOK, 23 Jan: Social Audit on MGNREGA Jan Sunwai was conducted at Chalamthang Pacheykhani GPU under Pakyong GVK and Thekabong Parkha GPU under Parkha GVK from 16-20 January.
A press release informs that the social audit was conducted by the District Research Institute [DRI] East, Youth Development Society of Sikkim [YODESS] with the support of Rural Management and Development Department [RMDD].
After document verification and field visit by all related District Resource Person (DRP) the Jan Sunwai was held which was attended by Gram Vikash Adhikari, APOs, AEs, JE, Accountants, Horticulture Dev. Officer, Panchayats, GRS, Mate, Job Card Holders and local public.
ADC [Dev] Pakyong, Roshni Rai attended the Jan Sunwai at Chamlamthang Pacheykhani.
Similarly Social Audit on MGNREGA will be conducted in Panchey Samsing and Barapathing GPU from 22 to 27 January and the Jan Sunwai for both GPUs will be held on 27 January, the release informs.

4 SKM supporters booked for rioting

GANGTOK, 23 Jan: With the Assembly elections fast approaching incidents of political violence were expected and the first such clash this year has been reported from the South and West districts on Wednesday.
According to reports, on 22 January a group of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha [SKM] supporters interrupted a constituency level meeting being organized by the Sikkim Democratic Front [SDF] at Bermiok Secondary School in West Sikkim. The SKM supporters allegedly blocked the roads, used abusive language and pelted stones at the SDF gathering. No severe injuries were reported. The identified SKM supporters have been booked for rioting and causing hurt.
One Topzang Bhutia has been arrested while the police are on the lookout for other accused namely Roshan Pradhan of Ranipool; Phurden Lepcha of Nandugaon and Tika Hang Subba of Sombaria all of whom are reportedly absconding.    
Meanwhile, a ruling party press release details another attack by SKM supporters the same day. The release states that its supporters were attacked by SKM supporters at Papong under Temi-Namphing constituency of South Sikkim on the evening of the same day. SDF supporters were returning from the meeting held at Bermiok.
It is stated that the West district party organization secretary of the party was injured in the attack and is admitted in the Central Referral hospital, Tadong. Former Minister SB Subedi narrowly escaped the attack, it is added.
SDF has alleged that the same group of SKM supporters had earlier disturbed the SDF meeting at Bermiok. SKM has once again revealed its true nature by indulging in violence, the release alleges further demanding that the police arrest all involved in the attack. 

The ruling party has also urged its workers to keep calm and not to take law into their own hands or disturb the law and order situation in the state. 

Shiloh Christian Church Council Leaders seminar

GANGTOK, 23 Jan: A seminar of Shiloh Christian Church Council Leaders was held in India Campus Crusade for Christ complex at Shiv Mandir, Siliguri from 16 –18 January 2014. A press release informs that the seminar was attended by 121 Shiloh Christian church council leaders. The main attraction of the seminar was the ordination 29 Pastors and Church Leaders. The ordination ceremony was conducted followed by the delivery of the challenging Word of God by Rev. Dr. Samuel Lepcha.
The speakers at the seminar were Rev. Dr. Samuel Lepcha, Rev. Dr. S.S. Rai, Rev. Anos Simick, Rev. Nowraj Rai and others. This kind of annual seminar has touched and benefitted the lives of the leaders, they testified. At the end of the seminar their relatives and well-wishers expressed their heartiest congratulations to the ordained leaders, it is informed.

SDF Chelis convene GPU level meet at Lingdok-Namphing

MANGAN, 23 Jan:  The Sikkim Democratic Party Women’s wing convened a meeting at Lingdok-Namphing GPU of Kabi-Lungtsok Constituency today.  The meeting was conducted under the aegis of Cheli vice convenor, Dawa Phuti Lepcha along with district convenor, Khimoo Lepcha, secretary, Pintso Doma Bhutia, Zilla Member, Devi Khatiwara, CEC member, Sumitra Subba and other women workers and party workers.
The meeting was especially held for the welfare of cheli members and to discuss their support to the party in the upcoming election. The Zilla member of the GPU, Devi Khatiwara highlighted about the importance of the meeting and further informed that women of Sikkim have been given great opportunities by the present government.
Vice convenor, Dawa Phuti Lepcha stated that there is no substitute for SDF government in Sikkim as it has left no stone unturned in bringing about development and peace in Sikkim together with the welfare of women.
Speaking on the opposition, she urged the public not to get carried away by “seasonal politicians” who have no agenda and appealed to party workers to alert those who have been misguided. She further urged all the women present in the meeting to hoist the SDF flag and renew their membership.
CEC secretary, Sumitra Subba informed about the different schemes and grants for women being provided by the government and further stressed that unmarried women above the age of 45 years are also being provided stipend from the government.
Open interaction was also held where the village women placed their grievances and suggestions to the party. The meeting was being welcomed by Panchayat President of Lingdok-Namphing GPU.
A similar meeting was also held at Kabi-Tingda GPU on 22 January. In order to give a strong message, a one kilometre rally from 9th Mile to Lingdok School was conducted by the women after the meeting.

Raid for son accused for rioting leads to father’s arrest


GANGTOK, 23 Jan: The hunt for Sikkim Krantikari Morcha office-bearers accused on different counts of rioting and reportedly absconding at present led to the arrest of the father of one of the accused in an unrelated case which surfaced during a raid carried out in search the accused.
Chin Kazi Shrestha, father of Roshan Pradhan, the SKM youth leader accused in the two incidents of political violence reported from West and South Sikkim yesterday, was taken into custody when a raid at his hotel, “Orange Valley Resort”, in search of Mr. Pradhan led to the reported discovery of two Nepal nationals employed at the hotel without the required permits. Mr. Shrestha, the Managing Director of the Resort, was taken into custody along with the two alleged Nepal nationals.
The Ranipool police conducted a raid at the Orange Valley Resort in search of main accused in the attack against SDF party members at Temi Tarku last night [read accompanying news-report, “4 SKM supporters booked for rioting”, for details]. While the main accused is still absconding, the police did not return empty-handed and arrested 3 persons from the Resort including the father of the main accused.
All three have been booked under different sections of the Foreigners’ Registration Act, the two Nepali waiters for having been employed here without proper documents, as alleged by the police; and Mr. Shrestha for having “harboured and employed” them at his resort.
The arrest and raid at the Orange Valley Resort and the arrest of Mr. Shrestha, a senior citizen and also a known supporter of the SKM party, had raised tensions at Ranipool today; this led to rumours that the SKM supporters would be swooping down at the Ranipool thana and gherao the police station. As a precaution, one battalion of the India Reserve Battalion was deployed at Ranipool this afternoon which stayed there till late this evening.
There was no untoward incident and the battalion has returned to Pangthang.
Speaking to NOW! SP [East], Manoj Tiwari, confirmed that the police had raided the premises of the Orange Valley Resort and arrested the Manager, Mr. Shrestha, under section 13 of the Foreigner’s Act for employing foreign nationals and two Nepali waiters for working there without proper documents.
Furthermore other omissions on the part of the manager included not having a CCTV and also not recording the entry of guests checked into the hotel. The main motive of the police, however, in raiding the hotel was to find Roshan Pradhan, the main accused in yesterday’s incident.
Police sources state that they had information that Mr. Pradhan had stayed at the Resort the night before but, as per police, his stay also was not recorded. Mr. Shrestha meanwhile developed health complications and was soon taken to the Central Referral Hospital where he is admitted at present.

National Voters’ Day celebration on 25 Jan

GANGTOK, 23 Jan: The Election Department will be celebrating National Voters' Day on 25 January at Chintan Bhawan here. As per a press release, around 300 new voters and the Heads of Departments will participate in the celebration which is scheduled to have Chief Secretary R Ongmu as the chief guest and the DGP, Jasbir Singh, as guest of honour.   

Legal Aid Clinics to be established in all subdivisions

GANGTOK, 23 Jan: Sikkim State Legal Services Authority [Sikkim SLSA] convened a meeting of Para-Legal Volunteers and Retainer/Panel Lawyers on 22 January 2014 at High Court of Sikkim, Conference Hall, Gangtok. The meeting was chaired by Justice, SP Wangdi, Judge, High Court of Sikkim and Executive Chairman, Sikkim SLSA and was attended by the Judicial Officers.
A press release informs that the meeting was held to work out the modalities of establishing “Legal Aid Clinics” in all the sub-divisions of the State. Member secretary, KW Bhutia welcomed all the participants and informed them about the purpose of the meeting.
Justice Wangdi informed that legal aid clinics would be established in all the sub-divisions of the State manned by the para-legal volunteers and retainer/ panel lawyers.
Explaining the meaning of legal aid clinic, he said that the facility established by District Legal Services Authority will provide basic legal services to the villagers with the assistance of Para-Legal Volunteers or Lawyers, on the lines of primary health centre providing basic legal services to the people in the locality. It includes the legal aid clinic run by the law colleges and law universities, he added.
He urged the para-legal volunteers to work tirelessly for the benefit of the people particularly disadvantaged people to solve their legal problems, whenever needed. He encouraged those willing to enroll themselves as para-legal volunteers.
During the course of the meeting, the para-legal volunteers were informed about their functions in running the legal aid clinics, the hurdles they could face and the means to overcome them. A short film on ‘Mediation’ [in Nepali] produced by the Sikkim SLSA was shown to the participants to demonstrate their role as para-legal volunteers, the release mentions.
The meeting was called in pursuance with the proposal of Justice, RM Lodha, Judge Supreme Court of India and Executive Chairman, NALSA to launch a program for setting up of one legal aid clinic in each taluk/sub-division throughout the country. The inaugural program would be held on 24 January, 2014 at 4:15 pm at the Supreme Court of India through video conferencing/webcast, it is added.

Two-month handloom weaving training begins in Lachung

GANGTOK, 23 Jan: Two-month skill upgradation training programme on handloom weaving was inaugurated at Lachung, North Sikkim, by both the Pipons of Lachung, Lakpa Tshering Lachungpa and Phuphu Lachungpa on 22 January. The programme was also attended by local gentry and public of the Lachung at Thomchi, DHH complex, Lachung.
The training programme is sponsored by the office of the Development Commissioner (Handlooms), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India and implemented by the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom, Government of Sikkim.
A press release informs that the weavers for the said training were selected in consultation with the Area MLA, Tshering Wangdhi Lepcha and Pipons of Lachung.
The Pipons and the public of the area were delighted and thankful to the department and government for organizing new kind of handloom weaving on frame looms in their locality, the release mentions.
Deputy Director (North), D.H.H., Mangan, Tshering Dorjee Bhutia informed the weavers and gathering about the programme and the different schemes and programmes being formulated by the central government to up lift the weavers like Health and Life Insurance of the weavers, 10% Subsidy on yarn purchase through Yarn Pass Book, subsidy on transportation and yarn depot, Weavers Credit Card (WCC) etc.
The Master Trainer, Sukdev Sen was invited from Kolkata in consultation with the Weavers Service Centre, Kolkata, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, the release adds.

SDF deleting names of SKM supporters from voters list, alleges Golay

GANGTOK, 23 Jan: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha [SKM] leader, PS Tamang [Golay] has accused the state government of trying to prevent supporters of the opposition from voting in the upcoming general election.
In a press release issued today, Mr Tamang has alleged that the State Election Commission has deleted names of many voters on the pretext that their names have been registered in more than one place. He states that as per the rules set by the Central Election Commission if anyone complains about any person having his name in the voters’ list at more than one place, then the Election Commissioner has to send a notice and then hear the complaint. Only after this process can a name be deleted, he adds. Here he has alleged that names have been deleted without the knowledge of the person concerned.
Mr Tamang has further alleged that the ruling party’s MLAs and panchayats have been threatening villagers of deleting their names from the voters’ list if they support the opposition. The names of voters being arbitrarily deleted proves that there is a conspiracy to manipulate the 2014 election, he alleges.
On the same, the party has demanded that all deleted names of those who have voter IDs be included in the voters list. It has also demanded that the Central Election Commission take legal action against officials who deleted names of voters without any legal notice and hearing.

Play by the Book

Under the pressure of an election countdown, Politics invariably becomes too much about violence and too little about ideology or public service. Another election approaches, and political violence, which comes visiting every time there are serious contenders in the fray, was always expected to return to Sikkim’s streets, nooks and crannies. And sure enough, less than a month into the New Year, the uglier side of confrontational politics slugged its way into the news starting with skirmishes in remote west Sikkim on Wednesday to ripple effects lapping into Gangtok on Thursday evening. As always, the incident snowballed and shot off on many tangents. Such situations tend to take on a life of their own, bouncing into so many corners that it becomes easy for different sections to latch on to different aspects of the various incidents to have their say and claim their positions as the wronged. Invariably, there are so many voices and so many versions being thrown about that all that one is left with is a string of allegations and counters which unfortunately, despite all their name-calling, take the discussion away from the reprehensibility of violence. It is thus important for the unattached to look at political violence as the disturbing sabotaging of democracy that it is and for people at large to unanimously condemn every incidence of violence; rejecting excuses and demanding that all sides play by the book.
The latest incident involves heckling, confrontation, muscle-flexing and hounding. Normally, the ‘hardcore’ supporters get snared in incidents of direct violence, but in the present instance, lay sympathizers, even journalists and family were drawn in. Soon, the entire episode will become one of political one-upmanship, but before that happens, it becomes necessary for all agencies of the civil society [and also the media because some journalists also had a close shave in the incident] go public with their condemnation of violence in any form and demand that all parties turn a new leaf. The political environment is only going to turn more hostile in the coming days, the face-offs more violent and the collateral damage higher. In fact, social and other representative organizations should come together and draw up an advisory for political parties to abide by. If enough such groups, genuinely representative of the lay people can come together and demand better conduct, Sikkim could actually enjoy violence-free elections. The people will have to however agree first that they wish politicking to abandon violence. People’s groups, for example, could demand that parties prove their commitment to peaceful campaigning by abandoning sloganeering [which does tend to set up confrontations by inflaming passions and instigating response]. That would be a public display of respect for people’s wishes since it is their votes that many will soon be trying to win and influence.

Rangpo police arrests 2 for contraband trafficking

GANGTOK, 23 Jan: Two persons have been arrested by the Rangpo police for trafficking contraband substances. The two were apprehended during a routine checking of vehicles at the Rangpo check post at around 9 pm on 22 January.
Man Bahadur Chettri, 24 and Bijay Biswakarma, 22, both residents of Bardang, East Sikkim, were coming into Rangpo from Siliguri late in the evening when the vehicle in which they were travelling, a Commander jeep, was stopped for checking. The contraband substance was found concealed under the bonnet of the vehicle which amounted to 70 bottles of a cough syrup called Lupicof and 141 tablets of Spasmo Proxyvon.

Student laptops stolen

GANGTOK, 23 Jan: Laptops belonging to two students of North Sikkim were stolen on the night of 21 January. According to reports, unidentified persons broke into the residence of the two, who were staying at Pentok on the night of 21 January and made away with two Lenovo laptops along with a mobile phone. No one has been arrested so far.

Boy crushed by boulder

GANGTOK, 23 Jan: A 13-year-old boy was crushed to death by a boulder at Sajong basti, Rumtek today. According to reports the deceased, Passang Tamang along with two other boys had gone into the forests to collect fodder for cattle. Passang, while climbing a big stone accidentally led the boulder to move and was crushed under it. He was immediately taken to the Central Referral Hospital but succumbed to his injuries.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Govt schools to reopen 10 Feb; Disaster Management and Moral Science to be introduced as individual subjects

GANGTOK, 22 Jan: All the State Government schools in Sikkim are set to reopen on 10 February when the winter holidays will come to an end. This was confirmed by Principal Secretary, Human Resource Development Department, Dr Thomas Chandy, while speaking to NOW! today.
On the changes that the children could expect in the new academic session, the Principal Secretary informed that two new subjects will be introduced in schools this new session.
“Disaster Management was already part of the course for all classes, but is being introduced separately for the middle schools in conjunction with the Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department”, said Dr Chandy.
The other subject being added this year is Moral Science which is to be re-introduced from this year onwards. “The subject was there in the curriculum earlier but had been dropped for some years and will be started again this year as advised by the state government”, he further informed.
Speaking on the issue of books and uniforms for the children, he stated that the books and uniforms for distribution to the children have already arrived and have already been dispatched to all the districts. The books and uniforms have reached most of the schools in the districts and those schools that have not received will be getting their lots within the next two weeks in time for distribution to children with the reopening of schools, he added.
The books and uniforms will be distributed to the children once the schools reopen for the new session, he said and added that this year the books and uniforms will be distributed to children on time.

Eastern Army Commander calls on Governor and CM

GANGTOK, 22 Jan: Eastern Army Commander, Lieutenant General MMS Rai, called on the Governor Shriniwas Dadasabeb Patil, and Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and briefed them on the security aspects in the state.
He called on the Chief Minister at his official residence Mintokgang, this evening here in the capital.
An official release informs that during the brief meeting, Lieutenant General MMS Rai, expressed his pleasure and happiness to see the state of Sikkim striving forward towards the path of prosperity and credited the Chief Minister for the overall development of the state.
The changes in the state of Sikkim and the developments are very visible and other infrastructural development which are taking place in Sikkim are commendable, added the army commander.
The State government and the Army have always had a cordial relationship and the Lieutenant General assured that this will continue.
He also expressed his happiness during the meet about Sikkim Scouts Battalion which has been introduced in the state and said this is a good way to bring about discipline and integration among the youth of Sikkim, it is informed.
He also assured full co-operation from the army to the Chief Minister, and his government, while Mr. Chamling added that the Army and the state government have always worked cordially in Sikkim and maintained a good relationship.
Mr. Chamling also expressed his happiness and satisfaction at having Scouts Battalion in the state.        Lieutenant General MMS Rai also presented the Chief Minister with a memento.
The Lieutenant Commander MMS Rai also called on the Governor of Sikkim, Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil today. He was accompanied by Lieutenant General, KJ Singh, Commander Trishakti Corps, and Major General YVK Mohan, GOC Black Cat Division.
A press release from Raj Bhawan informs that the Governor greeted the Army Officers and said that the nation was grateful to the members of the Armed Forces for their sacrifice in maintaining the security of the nation.

Eastern Army Commander reviews operational readiness

GANGTOK, 22 Jan: Eastern Army Commander, Lt Gen MMS Rai, reviewed the Operational preparedness of troops deployed along the international border in Sikkim and the security situation in the area. He was accompanied by the Corps Commander, Trikshakti Corps, Lt Gen KJ Singh, AVSM and Maj Gen YVK Mohan, SM GOC Black Cat Divison.
A press release informs that though this was his maiden visit as Eastern Army Commander, Lt Gen MMS Rai, has served in the Black Cat Division earlier and is an old hand at Sikkim.
The Corps Commander briefed the Army Commander on the operational and logistics issues. The Corps Commander assured the Army Commander that the Trishakti Corps is fully geared to meet all challenges.
The release mentions that the Army Commander visited forward areas and interacted with cross section of troops deployed in forward area. The Army Commander travelled to Nathu La and congratulated all ranks on their morale and motivation in performance of their duties in the exacting weather conditions on the border.
He also laid a wreath at the War Memorial at Nathu La In keeping with the tradition. The Army Commander also gave gifts to the Chinese troops deployed at Nathu La.

The Army Commander appreciated the enormous efforts put in by all ranks of Trishakti Corps in maintaining peace and tranquility along Indo-China Border, the release adds. 

Thukchuk returns to warm welcome by Healthy Self members

GANGTOK, 22 Jan: Thukchuk Lachungpa was given a warm welcome at Burtuk helipad here today by members of the Healthy Self organization he heads.
Mr. Lachungpa was returning from Pune where he received the Global Indian of the Year award from Citizen Integrity Peace Society of India for promoting health and industries in Sikkim and the Northeast region. Former President of India, Pratibha Devi Singh Patil conferred the award to Mr Lachungpa on 19 January in Pune it is informed.
While addressing members of the Healthy Self Organisation, Mr Lachungpa said that the award has inspired him to work with more dedication in promoting healthy living in and outside the state.

SPCC interacts with Daramdin residents

GANGTOK, 22 Jan: Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee [SPCC] held meetings at different villages in Daramdin constituency under the party’s ongoing people interaction programme on 19 and 20 January.
An SPCC press release informs that the programme was led by Daramdin constituency in-charge, Laden Lepcha who discussed problems, issues and other grievances of the people. The release claims that during the visit it was revealed that the people of the area have not received the benefits of the government’s programmes properly.

It is informed that the public interaction programme has been underway in East, West and South districts in full swing. The release alleges that the SDF government is trying to garner votes by organizing the Janta Mela just as the Assembly elections are approaching. 

Samdong resident bags national youth award

GANGTOK, 22 Jan: Hari Nepal of Khesay, Samdong in East Sikkim has been conferred the National Youth Award for the year 2012-13 in recognition of his outstanding services to the community. 28-year-old Mr Nepal was among the 32 recipients of this award from all over the country.
He was conferred the award on the occasion of National Youth Festival organized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports at Ludhiana, Punjab on 12 January.
Hari Nepal has been mainly working in the field of community awareness and organizing awareness programmes in drug abuse prevention, HIV/AIDS and other motivational programmes especially for the youth.
Speaking at a press conference today, Mr Nepal said that he wants to dedicate his achievements to the youth of the state and would continue with his social work for different sections in the state.
“Since my childhood days I have been engaged in social work, especially in creating awareness in the society. While working with the Nehru Yuva Kendra I got many opportunities to work outside the state and go on exposure tours which motivated me to work more efficiently”, he said.
He further suggested that the concerned government department should engage youth in the age group of 13 to 18 years in different motivational programmes to steer them away from anti-social activities and to show them the right path.

South officials begin training on Incident Response System

NAMCHI, 22 Jan [IPR]: Three-day Capacity Development Training Program on Incident Response System (IRS) commenced today in the South District headquarter Namchi. The training is being organized by the South District Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) in collaboration with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) & State of Sikkim Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) at DAC Conference hall.
The introductory session was attended by SDZP Upadhakshya, DM Baraily as the chief guest while others present were DC South, DC West, SDMs, ADC, HODs and representatives of various government departments of South and West districts.
District Collector South, Prabhaker Verma in his welcome address informed that the NDMA has come up with a system called Incident Command System (ICS)/Incident Response System (IRS) which is known to be one of the world’s best practices. This system has proved to meet the desired objective of saving lives and properties during disasters and the NDMA Officials who have been trained in this system would guide and teach the stakeholders regarding ICS/IRS with roles and responsibilities, he added.
Specialist IRS NDMA, BB Gadnayak informed the members about IRS background and other related topics through a power point presentation and he also conducted a Group exercise based on disaster scenario during the program which was actively participated by the members.

Training held for Midday Meal cooks and helpers in Namchi

NAMCHI, 22 Jan: A day-long training on safety, hygiene and quality for cooks-cum-helpers under the Midday Meal Scheme of HRDD under South District was held today here at Namchi Girls Senior Secondary School auditorium hall.
The main objective of the training was to create awareness on maintaining safety, hygiene and quality of food cooked for school children under the Midday Meal Scheme among the cooks-cum-helpers who are the primary people involved in the scheme.
A total of 76 cooks from different schools from Junior High School to Senior Secondary School level of the South District participated in the training. The training was attended by the Joint Director (S), HRDD MK Rai, Deputy Director (S), HRDD DK Rai and AEO (HQ) KK Sharma and Coordinator MDM (HQ) Sonam Paljor Bhutia.
The resource persons for the training were Director, Bharati Ghanashyam, Executive Director, Suresh M, and Trainer-cum-Consultant from the Akshaya Patra Foundation, Ujjwala Jatkar. Other resource persons for the training were Social Worker from District Hospital Namchi, Binita Sharma who spoke on safety and hygiene in the workplace. Fireman KB Gurung and Fireman Chandra Baraily presented a demonstration on fire safety measures.
The programme started with the welcome address by the Deputy Director, DK Rai who highlighted the aims and objectives of the training. The Joint Director in his address emphasized on the role and responsibility of cooks in the Midday Meal Scheme. He stated that a healthy, nutritious meal cooked by them would go a long way in nurturing healthy children who would be mentally and physically agile as a result of the balanced and proper nutrition provided to them. He stressed that the health of the future generation was in the hands of these cooks.
The session was followed by a practical session for the trainees. An open interactive session between the cooks and trainers was also held. The resource persons responded to the queries raised by the trainees. The trainees were handed over cooking kits and certificates at the end of the training.

Awareness programme on polio immunization at Luing

GANGTOK, 22 Jan [PIB]: Directorate of Field publicity, Gangtok organized an awareness programme on polio immunization today at Luing Primary Health Center in coordination with ASHA.
Addressing the programme, Loden Lepcha [FPA] said that immunization is one of the best tools to safeguard children against the polio disease. During the programme various video clips were shown along with conducting a quiz to create awareness among the people.
On this occasion, Kalpana Chettri [ANM, PHC Luing] said that it should be the duty of mothers to ensure that children are given vaccination in order to save them from various diseases.

Government of Sikkim regarding revision in the L.P.G. distributors commission

Consequent upon revision in the L.P.G. distributor’s commission, the State Government is hereby pleased to refix the retail sale price of Domestic subsidized LPG Cylinder (14.2 kg), as under by allowing minor local transportation allowance.
1. At distributor’s godown: Rs. 429.50 per refilled cylinder
2. Distance within 10 kms form the distributor’s godown: Rs. 450.00 per refilled cylinder
3. Distance between 10 km to 25 Km from the distributor’s godown: Rs. 455.00 per refilled cylinder
4. Distance between 25 km to 40 km from the distributors godown: Rs. 460.00 per refilled cylinder
5. Distance beyond 40 km: Rs. 470.00 per refilled cylinder
Any person /dealers found contravening this Order shall be prosecuted under the Essential Commodities Act 1955 and Prevention of Black Marketing and maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act 1980.
This Order supersedes the Notification No 16/FCS&CA Dtd. 8.10.2012 and will take immediate effect.

KVK-West organizes health checkup for farmers

GANGTOK, 22 Jan: Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Gyaba Gyalshing in West Sikkim organized a health awareness and health check up programme at Timborbong West Sikkim for farmers from surrounding areas. The programme was organized under the NABARD sponsored Integrated Tribal Development Project, an official press communiqué informs.
The inaugural function was chaired by UK Sharma, Zilla Panchayat member of Timborbong-Karthok- Tharpu territorial constituency and was also attended by Panchayat Secretary and all members of the GPU, Dr. Laxuman Sharma, Programme Coordinator of KVK, Geyzing, Uttam Saikia, APM, NABARD, Dr. Biren Subba and Roshna Thapa of PHC Soreng, Bhison Pradhan, Rinchen Denzongpa and Tulasha Sharma of KVK, Staff of Soreng PHC and about 80 farmers with their children.
The Panchayat Secretary highlighted the various problems faced by the farmers in the ward while Dr. Biren Subba briefed the gathering on the common diseases prevailing in the villages of Sikkim and called on farmers to come forward to share their health problems during the health check up. He specially focused on mental health and depression among rural youth.
Ms. Thapa of PHC Soreng highlighted diseases caused by lack of hygiene in the village and Mr. Saikia from NABARD spoke on the different schemes offered by NABARD and the importance of Tribal Development Project.
Dr. Sharma of KVK highlighted all the components of project and also briefed on the activities taken up and the future strategies of the tribal development project in the village. Various parameters in Nutrition garden for continuous supply of nutrition to the farm family were also discussed.
The chief guest thanked the KVK fraternity for conducting such a required programme in the village and stressed on the need of reaching health education to all strata of society for society.
Later, a health checkup was organized for about 80 farmers and an awareness programme held for women on childcare. CDPO Soreng Subdivision was resource person for the programme.

MG-NREGA Social Audit Jan Sunwain West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 22 Jan: MG-NREGA Social Audit Jan Sunwai for 2011-2012 & 2012-2013 was conducted by Chinthang Gram Panchayat under Hee-Martam Gram Vikash Kendra, West Sikkim at GP premises on 20 January.
A press release informs that the Social Audit process in this GPU was conducted by Himali Vikash Sansthan, District Resource Institution for MG-NREGA Social Audit, West District empanelled under Social Audit Unit (SAU) Voluntary Health Association of Sikkim (VHAS) Gangtok and funded by RM&DD Govt. of Sikkim.
The audit process startedfrom 16 January 2014 and ZillaPanchayat Member Chinthang Territorial Constituency, Sashi Kumar Rai chaired the Jan Sunwai on 20 January.
On the same day, MG-NREGA Social Audit Jan Sunwai for 2011-2012 & 2012-2013 was conducted by Tadong Rinchenpong Gram Panchayat of Kaluk Gram Vikash Kendra, West Sikkim under Rural Management & Development Department at GP premises. Social Audit process in this GPU was also started by Himali Vikash Sansthan on 16 January, the release mentions.
The Jan Sunwai was chaired by Zilla Panchayat Member Sangadorjee-Rinchenpong Territorial Constituency, Indra Gurung. Gram Vikash Adhikari, AE, Panchayat of Tadong Rinchenpong GPU, Block official and workers from villages were present.

Foisting Stereotypes

Parochial politics never fails in delivering ugly outcomes. It is however easy to play because it makes no demands of even basic intelligence. As regards dredging the bottom where identity politics is concerned, the requirements are easy to put together - a strong dose of prejudice, grating intolerance, extant paranoia and intentional misinformation. Because this brand of politics requires people, communities and issues to be bracketed, it lends itself to stereotyping and ‘othering’ which is especially vindictive of minorities and marginalized communities. Our subcontinent appears cursed with leaders and personalities who fall easily for this style of politicking and it was disheartening to realize that Delhi’s AAP, a political collectif one earnestly hoped to be ‘different’, has emerged no better.
People from these parts have often been at the receiving end of distasteful prejudices when in the ‘mainland’, but conveniently ignore the fact that they serve out similar uncivility themselves on their turf. Clearly, one offensive gesture does not balance out the other, so it becomes important for Sikkim to look at what transpired with AAP’s misadventure in the targeting of Africans and turn the mirror on some of its own prejudices. For all the defences being forwarded on behalf of the Delhi Law Minister, his savagery cannot be glossed over. There will be many, perhaps even a majority, who stand with him in his madness of painting Africans as being involved in sex and drugs rackets, but that does not make his actions justified. He was manifesting the prejudices of an ill-informed people and while such prejudices are more of less harmless when individually held, they become dangerous when thrown about in righteous anger by elected representatives. So it’s not enough for some organizations of Khirki Extension [where the drama played out] to have complained to the police in the past, because even those were clearly born from the same racist and hyper-moralistic prejudice that convinced Somnath Bharti that he had to lead a midnight raid. He and his mob displayed the same intolerance that any violent mob marshaled often for damage in our country displays. This mob was however made up of ‘normal family type’ people, and that is what makes the whole incident more scary and should frighten anyone who does not ‘look’ like the ‘regular’ Delhite. This group was intolerant and saw enemies in everyone who disagreed with them and so paranoid that it painted villains out of everyone who wanted them to reconsider their stand. This played out in the two-day dharna in Delhi and on television studios where the only ones on the right were AAP members backing their law minister and everyone else part of the elite who have denied the Aam Aadmi for the past six and half decades. At one time, the Delhi CM, when confronted with the fact that the urine samples of the Ugandan women came back negative for drugs, quipped, “But they refused to take a blood test”. This, irrespective of the fact that even if the tests had come back positive, it would only have proven that were under the influence of drugs on that night, not that they were peddlers or prostitutes as was being alleged and being sought to be proven through these ‘tests’. The Delhi Drama unfolded like Sikkim situations where the real issue is lost within hours and events allowed to go on tangent, coasted away to ‘angles’ which suit the players better. The AAP dharna began as a demand for action against police officials who did not do the law minister [and another minister’s] bidding, but within hours it had become a demonstration for the safety and security of women [including foreign women] in Delhi. And misinformation reigned as well. A letter from the Ugandan embassy was waved around as an endorsement of the AAP vigilantism. The letter was a year old and obviously unrelated.
Few things are more dangerous than leaders who are so certain of their beliefs that they hold themselves above the law and see everyone who disagrees as ‘compromised’. Scaremongering and painting villains to defend party embarrassments or promote personal political ambitions does not bode well for anyone. This is clearly obvious, but given the embarrassments that have been abounding, the obvious needs to be reiterated more often and occasionally more forcefully.