Saturday, May 3, 2014

National Green Tribunal admits ACT petition challenging MoEF clearance for Teesta Stage-IV

GANGTOK, 02 May: Affected Citizens of Teesta [ACT] has petitioned the National Green Tribunal [NGT] against the grant of environmental clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forests [MoEF] for the construction of 520 MW Teesta hydro electric power project stage IV in North Sikkim. The letter petition dated 09 January 2014 has been admitted by the NGT.
An ACT press release informs that the petition was filed by four ACT members in their capacity as indigenous land owners namely Tenzing Lepcha, Chopel Lepcha, Norphey Lepcha and Norzang Lepcha. Following this, the National Green Tribunal has issued notices to Ministry of Environment & Forest, Sikkim State Pollution Control Board and National Hydro Electric Power Corporation as per the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. The MoEF had issued Environmental Clearance for the Projects on 09 January 2014.
The Teesta stage IV hydro power project is planned on the Teesta near Chandey village on left bank and near Hee Gyathang village on the right bank of North District of Sikkim.
The release informs that some of the issues raised by the petitioners are that the Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA] report has “grossly failed” to consider the socio-cultural aspect of indigenous Lepcha community and Dzongu’s cultural landscape.
The EIA report as well as Expert Appraisal Committee [EAC] and MoEF have ignored the sacredness of Kanchendzonga which is embedded in the culture and value system of various communities and ethnic groups of Sikkim. The Expert Appraisal Committee and MoEF ignored the large scale opposition to the project and the affected communities of Lepchas who have been protesting against the project.
The hearing will commence after all the notices are served and other formalities are completed, it is informed.
The 520 MW Teesta hydroelectric project stage-IV envisages construction of a 65 m high concrete gravity dam across Teesta down-stream of the confluence of Runchu with Teesta for the generation of 520 MW Hydropower. The project is located in Mangan subdivision of North Sikkim. The said project is located between the 1200 MW Teesta Stage III project currently under construction and the already commissioned 510 MW Teesta Stage V project. The project with a catchment area of 3,910 sq km includes a 65 metre high concrete dam with a gross storage capacity of 18.60 million cubic metre.

Petition seeks judicial inquiry into alleged torture in police custody

GANGTOK, 02 May: The High Court of Sikkim has issued notice to respondents including the Sikkim Police in a case concerning alleged torture of a juvenile in police custody in the run up to the elections.
Chief Justice NK Jain took up the matter after hearing the plea of counsel Dr. Doma Bhutia that this was a grave matter concerning human rights violation and non-implementation of DK Basu’s guidelines as per the order of the apex court. These guidelines pertain to the constitution of a panel of approved doctors to examine arrested persons during their detention in police custody. The arrestees have to be examined every 48 hours.
The petition also alleges violation of the Juvenile Justice Act. A judicial inquiry into the alleged torture has been sought.
The petition has been filed by Prem Kumar Rai of Lower Barfok, Gyalshing, West Sikkim. He is a national-level boxer. He alleges torture by the police when he was arrested along with 2 others in Gyalshing on 08 March. The resultant injuries are said to have been recorded in the medical examination report of the Gyalshing district hospital.
In fact, as contended by Mr. Rai, who was at the time of his arrest under 18 years of age, was not involved in any party activity but was picked up by the police as he was present outside the SKM party office where a meeting was taking place. On being picked up he told the police that he was a sportsperson and not involved in any party or political activity.
Two others arrested along with him were namely Chandan Gurung and Narendra Pradhan also of Gyalshing. These two are also petitioners. Among the respondents are the Secretaries Home and Health departments and the Director General of Police.
The three were reportedly on their way to a public meeting on 08 March at the SKM party and were stopped by one of the respondents, an SI of Gyalshing thana, who was reportedly dressed in jeans and T-shirt and who started abusing them for attending a meeting of the opposition party. He is even alleged to have threatened them.
As per the petition, later, at around 2 pm, as the meeting was underway at the party office the SI arrived with 10 to 15 IRBn jawans and started manhandling the party workers including women and also started abusing the party workers. They were told to stop the meeting and the police personnel allegedly assaulted them with batons and threatened them with a pistol, the petition contends.  Several people are alleged to have been illegally arrested by the police that day. It is alleged that the petitioners were beaten on the way to the thana as well as in the thana.
Later, when taken for medical examination the lady doctor on duty is informed to have initially refused to examine the petitioners as they had multiple bruises and injury marks with some of them bleeding as well. The next day, Narendra and Prem Kumar were admitted to the CRH Hospital, Tadong.
The petition alleges that youth are gagged by the state machinery, that is, the police and illegally detained and tortured in police custody and prevented from exercising their fundamental right as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution. They have sought a judicial inquiry into the incident. They have also sought adequate compensation for their medical treatment to the tune of Rs.5 lakh from the police personnel involved in the torture. Suspension of the police personnel has also been sought. Furthermore their counsel has also sought that a citizen’s charter of DK Basu’s guidelines be put up in all police stations. This charter informs all those in police custody of their rights.

Two minor tremors felt in North Sikkim

GANGTOK, 02 May: Two minor tremors were felt in North Sikkim today. According to the North district administration there were two earthquakes, one at 4:45 PM and again at 6:40 PM. Following this, the district administration also issued alerts to the public.

Break-in and theft at Assam Lingzey

GANGTOK, 02 May: Three juveniles broke into a shop at Assam Lingzey today and stole few items from the shop. The miscreants have been apprehended and stolen items recovered. The juveniles have been sent to Juvenile Observation Home after thorough examination by the police, a post on the Sikkim Police facebook page informs.

SKM Labour Day celebration

GANGTOK, 02 May: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha celebrated International Labour Day on 01 May in a function chaired by the party vice-president, Phuchung Tshering Bhutia. The celebration was attended by more than 1000 workers from different parts of the state and SKM party workers, a party press release informs.
SKM general secretary [organisation] Kala Rai read out the message of the party president PS Tamang [Golay] while the party Labour Front chief convener, Padam Sharma said that in the SKM government, workers of Sikkim would get equal rights and facilities.
In his address, Mr Bhutia also stated that after coming to power, SKM would work to provide equal rights and opportunities to labourers and farmers of the state. The celebration was also addressed by Binod Adhikari, Ramesh Subba, Indra Chettri, Chewang Gyatso Bhutia, Kul Bahadur Subedi and others, the release mentions.
It is informed that due to the election process this year the party has confined the celebration to the function at the party head-office.

New crematorium at Singtam

SINGTAM, 02 May: Singtam Baikunth Sewa Samiti has developed a new crematorium at the Teesta river bank. The construction was funded by NHPC. In order to prevent anti-social elements from loitering in the area, the Samiti has decided to put bars around the crematorium. The president of the samiti, Sundar Rai has thanked NHPC and Kumar Agarwal for their contribution in building the new crematorium. The samiti has appointed a watchman for the crematorium and plans to plant trees, flowers and maintain cleanliness in the area. There are also plans of building toilets and provide drinking water as well as benches. Sudden release of water from the Stage-V reservoir upstream by the NHPC had created a nuisance for the area, washing away a dead body from the pyre in a recent past, it may be recalled. [from NANDU DUTRAJ]

SICUN convenes 36th board meeting

GANGTOK, 02 May [IPR]: The 36th Board meeting of Sikkim State Cooperative Union (SICUN), an apex organization of the state cooperative movement, was held at Smile Land on 02 May 2014 with the objective of accelerating cooperative movement in the state.
The meeting was chaired by the president of SICUN, Ganesh Kr. Rai and was also attended by vice president, Laxmi Kafley, Managing Director, Denzong Agriculture Cooperative Society MT Sherpa, Joint Registrar from Cooperative deptt. M. Khatiwara, representatives from government departments, Chief Executive officer, Board of Directors and member of SICUN and representatives from Cooperative societies.
The meeting unanimously approved the proposal with regard to segregation of four divisions under the union viz. as Administrative and Accounts Division, Cooperative Education and Training Division, Cooperative Development Division, and Cooperative Advocacy, Publicity, Public Relations and Agenda Notes Publication Division. The meeting also passed Rs. 74,23,000 for its various activities to be undertaken during the financial year 2014- 15. Different issues like calendar of training programmes for the year 2014-15, appointment of manpower in the union and its financial status were discussed during the meeting. The Union also decided to begin the constituency wise training programme all over the state from mid-June.
Addressing the gathering, president of the union Ganesh Kr. Rai said that SICUN can play a pivotal role in generating human resources by motivating educated unemployed in this sector. He stressed on target audience while conducting training and awareness programmes in order to strengthen Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society at the grass root level. SICUN should execute its roles and responsibilities in effective way to earn recognition in the state, he added.
SICUN thanked various departments for their support and also urged various concerned departments to help in the development of Cooperative Movement in the state.

ASDLF celebrates Labour Day

GANGTOK, 02 May: All Sikkim Democratic Labour Front [ASDLF] celebrated International Labour day on 01 May at the Sikkim Democratic Front party office here. The function had he party vice president KB Chamling as the chief guest accompanied by Lok Sabha MP PD Rai, Neeru Sewa, Bhim Dhungel, DB Thapa, Norzang Lepcha, SK Pradhan, DN Sharma amongst others. Members of ASDLF were also present.
A press release informs that the program began with Mr. Norzang Lepcha giving detailed report of the work done by ASDLF in the year 2013. In his short address, he thanked the laborers for their contribution in the country’s development. Industries Minister Neeru Sewa reiterated the government’s continued commitment towards protection and facilities for all laborers and extension of security and legal support as well. She thanked all labour organisations for supporting the party and promised to work for the development of the people, the release mentions.
The chief guest, KB Chamling mentioned that SDF has always been working for the benefit of workers and their organizations in the state. He stated that under the SDF government, the standard of living of laborers has improved and more steps are being taken for the betterment of workers and their organizations. The program concluded with a short speech by Hari Chettri.

Study tour on long term monitoring of climate change impacts on Sikkim Himalayas

GANGTOK, 02 May: A team of scientists from Sikkim State Council of Science and Technology (SSCS&T), Space Applications Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad and CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow conducted a study tour to Gnathang, East Sikkim and Thangu, North Sikkim from 20-29 April.
A press release informs that the study tour, a first of its kind project titled "Study of Alpine Ecosystem Dynamics & Impact of Climate Change on Sikkim Himalaya- HIMADRI" aims to identify a suitable site for long term monitoring of climate induced impacts on alpine and tree line habitats.
The scientific team consisted of Dr. C. P. Singh [Project Head cum Scientist/ Eng from Space Applications Centre (ISRO)] along with Research Fellow, C. Prabhakaran [Scientists from CSIR- National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow], Dr. Baleswar, Dr. K.K. Rawat and Dr. Rajesh Bajpai and host scientists from State Council of Science and Technology, Sikkim, N. P. Sharma and R. K. Sharma.
The release informs that the current programme is based on the study manual produced by Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments (GLORIA), Europe, for long term monitoring of alpine ecosystem dynamics and same has been prepared by Space Applications Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad to start GLORIA programme in the name of Himalayan Alpine Dynamics Research Initiative (HIMADRI), India. This programme has been also initiated in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh.
The major objectives of the Project included: Establishment of long term ecological records in alpine ecosystems of Indian Himalaya; Understanding alpine ecosystem response using remote sensing data, in-situ data and Modeling; Remote sensing based seamless geospatial database development of the alpine Ecosystem towards creation of baseline national data; Reconstruction of past alpine tree line with state-of-the-art techniques; Simulation of future climate change impact on alpine landscape.
The team first selected the 3 highest summit points (HSP) at Gnathang, East Sikkim and studied the floral diversity. The objective was to find and select permanent ecological site for the long-term monitoring of flora, for which, Gnathang near Kupup, East Sikkim and Thangu, North Sikkim were selected. However, in Thangu, North Sikkim, the scientific team has unable to locate appropriate highest summit points, which can fulfill the objectives of the project.
Further, the team will again survey the West district of Sikkim to get the perfect ecological site to study the climate induced impacts on the alpine and tree line habitats. At the end, one permanent site would be finalized for the state of Sikkim for long term monitoring of alpine ecosystem dynamics, where Temperature logger and Phenocam would be installed.
The Project was funded by Space Applications Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad, Government of India to Sikkim State Council of Science and Technology in which Sikkim State Remote Sensing Applications Centre under Sikkim State Council of Science and Technology is the Nodal Centre for the project, it is informed.
The results and outcomes of the project would lead to a current tree line database for the state of Sikkim, tree line shift database of 3-4 decades, long term ecological sites fully characterized and equipped for monitoring long term changes, GPS tagged data on alpine species occurrence (dominance), phenological derivatives for the Himalayan vegetation (3-4 decades), simulated scenario maps of alpine landscape and lichenometric analysis based past climatology of alpine ecotones.
It is expected that the programme would have long term monitoring since quantifying the results of climate induced impacts on alpine flora and their phenology requires at least 30 years of time series data, the release adds.

Rotary invites applications for Peace Fellow Scholarship

GANGTOK, 02 May: The Rotary Foundation offers Rotary Peace Fellow Scholarship to suitable candidates from around the globe for studying in Rotary Peace Institute located in Thailand, Japan, USA, England, Australia and Sweden.
A press release informs that candidates should have a Bachelor's degree with strong academic achievements, strong leadership skills, high proficiency in English and relevant work experience in community service activities. Details are available on
Interested persons may apply to the President Elect, Rotary Club of Gangtok South, C/O Prakash Sundas, Department of Pathology, STNM Hospital, Gangtok. The last date for the submission is 12 May 2014. Applicants will be called for interview on 14 May 2014 and other details will be given on phone, the release mentions.

Marathon Man interacts with students at Rhenock College

GANGTOK, 02 May: A four-member team from West and South Sikkim visited Government College Rhenock on 01 May 2014. The team was led by Marathon Man, Amar Subba along with Binay Gazmer, Bhuwani Gurung and Sujeet Gurung.
A press release informs that an awareness programme on long distance running as a career was organized by the National Service Scheme [NSS] unit of the college where the Marathon Man also interacted with the students.
Amar Subba highlighted the technicalities, process, and other subjects related to long distance running. He stated that in order to take up long distance running as a career one should have discipline and dedication. He further said that sports along with academics can make everything easy in life. The Marathon Man also spoke on healthy eating and basic physical exercises to keep fit.
Extending his help to those interested in long distance running, he expressed hope that Sikkim would also produce athletes like Jamaica and Ethiopia in future. Binay Gazmer of Ravangla highlighted the objectives of such kind of interactive programmes while Bhuwani Gurung urged students to take inspiration from Mr Subba, the release mentions.
NSS, Program Officer of the College, Roshan Rai stated that the goal of the programme is to make students aware about long distance running and other sporting activities.
Vice principal of the college, Harjit Goswami, expressed gratitude to the Marathon Man, Amar Subba and the team on behalf of the college. He encouraged the NSS Unit of the college to conduct more programmes in the days to come.
Open Quiz competition on sports and current affairs was also held on the day. The quiz was conducted by assistant professor, Deepak Sharma. NSS Volunteer, Sabita Sharma, of VIth Semester also addressed the programme. The programme was attended by assistant professors, students and the non-teaching staff of the college.

Law scholar awarded PhD degree

GANGTOK, 02 May: Binita Pradhan, an Assistant Professor at the Law College, Burtuk, has been successful in her endeavour to earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree. Ms. Pradhan attained her PhD from Singhania University, Rajasthan, when she successfully presented her thesis.
Ms. Pradhan undertook her thesis on “The role of the Indian Judiciary in protecting the rights of women in India – A critical study”. The viva for her thesis was held on 28 March and she was awarded with the provisional degree on 22 April, 2014. She conducted her thesis under the guidance of Principal, Central India College of Law, Dr. SM Rajan.
Binita Pradhan hails from Sadam, South Sikkim and is the daughter of KB Pradhan and Kamala D. Pradhan. She did her schooling from Paljor Namgyal Senior Secondary School and followed it up with a degree in Law (B.A LLB) from Sikkim Government Law College. Later she got her LL.M degree from North Bengal University. She has since been teaching law at the Government Law College, Burtuk.

NHPC Employees Association observes Labour Day

MANGAN, 02 May: International Labour Day was observed here at NHPC Teesta Stage IV office at Pheedang Lower Dzongu, North Sikkim on 01 May. The function was organized by NHPC Employees Association under the aegis of its president RB Singh.
Highlighting on the function, Mr. Singh appealed to the workers to be united and dedicated in their duty for the development of the society and the nation. He further stressed that the working class contributes a lot to the development of the nation and without which the infrastructural development would not be possible.

The function was also attended by all the members of the Employees Association including senior members Rajesh Singh, Babulal Yadav, Jigmee Lepcha and others.

Mother alleges assault on children

NAMCHI, 02 May: One person has been accused of assaulting two children in Perbing, South Sikkim. The mother of the two children has lodged a complaint with the Namchi Police against one Passang Norbu Sherpa for allegedly assaulting her children with a weapon on 01 May. The parents were away when the incident occurred. The children are admitted in Namchi hospital. A case has been registered at Namchi Police Station, Under Section 307/354 IPC, and is under investigation.

KVK introduces SHGs to new agri technologies

GANGTOK, 02 May [PIB]: Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Ranipool, East Sikkim and ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Sikkim Centre organized a programme on “Dissemination of Technologies through Input Support System” under the project National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) at Upper Nandok on 30 May, 2014. Around 80 farmers of seven SHGs from Upper and Lower Nandok attended the programme.
The programme was chaired by Dr RK Avasthe [Joint Director, ICAR Sikkim Centre, Tadong, Gangtok]. Foremost, he appreciated the large participation of women farmers during the programme and highlighted the relevance of women’s empowerment in agricultural and allied activities in the state.
The necessity of unemployed rural youth to adopt agriculture as their business for their livelihood security was mainly focused upon.
The Joint Director also emphasized that the farmers should utilize their fallow land with proper cropping pattern capitalizing on the available improved production technologies. He urged the farmers to understand the importance of timely adoption of all organic production practices for effective and successful organic farming.
Dr Ashish Yadav [Sr. Scientist, Horticulture] elaborated the package and practices of summer vegetables cultivation during the programme. The farmers present were also made aware of the effect of climate change in the crops and the farmers were suggested to implement every possible technology for converting horticulture in to a profitable venture in the region.
Dr R. Gopi [Scientist, Plant Pathology] and Dr. N. Johnson Singh [Subject Matter Specialist, Plant Protection] shared information on diseases and pests incidence in different summer vegetable crops in great detail. They also focused on highly effective, preventive crop protection measures to protect the summer crops from various biotic and abiotic stresses under organic management.
Boniface Lepcha [Programme Assistant, KVK] interacted with the farmers in relation to the most significant production problems in summer vegetables and their relevant organic solutions.

INTUC celebrates Labour Day

GANGTOK, 02 May: Indian National Trade Union Congress [INTUC] celebrated International Labour Day on 01 May at the party’s head office at Tadong, Gangtok. The celebration was attended by Dr AD Subba [president, Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee] as the chief guest. Also present were Major [Retd] T Gyatso [SPCC working president], Tara Shrestha [spokesperson], Kinlay Gyaltsen Bhutia [State president, INTUC] and Ranjeet Gajmer [East district president].

A press release informs that Dr Subba and Major Gyatso highlighted on the importance of workers in the development of the state, their rights and facilities they should get. Mr Gyaltsen spoke on the role of INTUC and other related issues. 

No reports of damages to crops in East district

GANGTOK, 02 May: East district has been in the grips of extreme weather pattern the past few days. There has been severe rain and hail followed by strong sun. With the weather pattern expected to continue in the same erratic pattern further and especially in light of possibility of rain and hail the east district administration is on alert in case of any damages especially to fields and crops.
DC-East, AK Singh stated that he has not received any reports of damages following the severe hailstorm of 01 May; however, he has alerted all the Block Development Officers and Revenue Supervisors to visit their respective areas for inspection for any damages.

In case they come across any damages the same is to be reported. 

Nathula reopens for trade, weather and road condition deny trading

GANGTOK, 02 May: Bad weather marred the opening of the new season of Indo-China border trade at Nathula as no trade could take place on the first trading day this season on 01 May. Road blocks due to heavy rains and landslides in several places on the way to Sherathang Trade Mart on Thursday morning caused traders and officials to reach the trade mart four hours later than scheduled which allowed for barely enough time to formally reopen the border pass for trade. Weather and road conditions permitting, trading should begin Monday.
Border Road Organisation sources inform that the road was blocked at Thulo Khola at 13th Mile at JN Road which was cleared after some hard work put in by BRO officials and labourers.
As per information received from the Commerce & Industries Department, around 15 Indian traders and only 5 traders from the Tibetan Autonomous Region managed to reach the trading mart. Border trade will continue till 30 November with Monday to Thursday every week being trading days.
The Commerce and Industries Department has applauded the job done by the BRO JCB driver who cleared the landslide at Thulo Khola despite 01 May being a holiday.
Joint Secretary of the Commerce and Industries department, Sumitra Pradhan, who is also nodal officer of the border trade states in a press release, “Despite heavy rain, falling boulders and heavy sludge, the JCB driver managed to clear the road risking his life”.
The Department has also appreciated the SHO Sherathang, Diki Lhamu Pakhrin and ASI Budha Subba for their commendable job in clearing the road for vehicular traffic and facilitating the movement of vehicles plying towards Nathula and back.
The opening of the trade on 01 May was attended by the Secretary, Commerce and Industries, PT Euthenpa, Director Bijendra Swaroop and other concerned officials including the officials from Customs, Army, ITBP and SIB personnel and other agencies associated with the Nathula border trade.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cabbie grievously injured in attempt to flee police custody

GANGTOK, 30 Apr: A taxi driver from Lachung suffered serious injuries while trying to flee from police custody at Mangan on the evening of 29 April. 37-year-old, Samdup Dorjee Lachungpa had been booked under section 169 of Sikkim Police Act, 2008 by Lachen Police Station on 29 April on the complaint of a group of tourists from Mumbai.
The driver had reportedly left this group of tourists stranded at Thangu while returning from Gurudongmar after an argument as the tourists suspected that he was in an intoxicated state and not in a condition to drive the vehicle safely.
Upon receipt of the complaint, Samdup Lachungpa was arrested by Lachen PS and sent for Medical Examination to Chungthang PHC. A press communiqué from the DIG-Range informs that since there was no Medical Officer available at Chungthang, the police team travelled to Mangan Hospital for the medical examination.
After completion of the medical exam, the police personnel and the accused halted at a hotel in Mangan Bazaar for dinner, from where the accused in an attempt to flee, jumped from the third floor of the adjoining building and sustained serious injuries. He was immediately referred to Gangtok for treatment and is undergoing treatment at CRH Manipal. His condition is reported to be critical.
A criminal case u/s 224 of IPC (escape from custody) has been registered at Mangan PS and taken up for investigation. Departmental action is also being initiated against the police personnel under whose custody the accused had been sent for medical examination, the DIG-Range informs further.

Glenmark sponsors 7 Tarcon Lee children

MANGAN, 30 Apr: Glenmark Pharmaceutical Ltd of Marchak has sponsored the education of 7 children of Tarcon Lee, a shelter home for children at Upper Zimchung, North Sikkim.

24 employees of the HR Department of the pharma company visited the home and met the caretaker, Keepu Lepcha a few days back. They also handed over text books for the students. Ms Lepcha on behalf of all students thanked Glenmark pharmaceutical Ltd for the support. 

Management prof at SMIT defends doctoral thesis on Sikkim’s industrial scenario

 GANGTOK, 30 Apr: Manjushree Mishra, a research scholar in the Department of Management Studies, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology (SMIT) has successfully defended her PhD thesis on 26 April, 2014 on the topic “Post reform industrial scenario of Sikkim with special reference to hydroelectricity, tourism, pharmaceuticals and tea” under the guidance of Prof (Dr) Ajeya Jha [Head, Dept. of Mgt. Studies, SMIT].
A press release informs that Mrs Mishra has been recommended for award of degree by the Board of Examiners of Sikkim Manipal University. The Doctor of Philosophy will be awarded to her during the forthcoming convocation.
Ms. Mishra is a Post-graduate from Utkal University, Vanivihar, Odisha, in Analytical and Applied Economics. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of Management Science, at Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, Faculty coordinator of Departments of Humanities and Masters of Hospital Administration of the Sikkim Manipal University and In-charge, Faculty Development Programme of Sikkim Manipal University, the release mentions.

Nepal’s Saraswati Samman for Pempa Tamang

GANGTOK, 30 Apr: Sikkim-Nepal Literary, Arts and Music Society and Sahitya Kala Mandir, Kathmandu, have decided to confer this year’s Saraswati Samman to noted literary figure of Sikkim, Pempa Tamang who is also the president of the Sikkim Akademi.
A press release informs that the Society was formed on 22 November last year and the decision to confer the award to Mr Tamang was taken jointly by the Society and the Sahitya Kala Mandir recently.

The award will be conferred on 10 May at Kathmandu. The award consists of Rs 51,000 [NC], a citation and token. Mr. Tamang is the first person from Sikkim to receive the award.  

NDCMPU organises awareness for dairy farmers of Ringhim

MANGAN, 30 Apr: North District Co-operative Milk Producers Union Ltd (NDCMPU) organized an awareness programme for all the Dairy farmers of Ringhim of Ringhim-Nampatam GPU of Mangan district today at Ringhim.
The awareness programme was held on strengthening infrastructure for quality and clean milk production for quality marketing. The programme was attended by chairman NDCMPU, Choden Lepcha, MD, NDCMPU, Dr.BB Subba, Deputy Director, BB Subba, Panchayat, PL Lepcha, staff and farmers.
MD, NDCMPU, Dr. Subba in his address gave information on proper dairy milk production, better feeding system and maintenance of hygiene to keep mulching cows healthy. Chairman, NDCMPU, Mr. Lepcha shared his experience in the field of successful dairy farming and keeping them disease free with a proper system.
The farmers were also provided free medicines and other essential materials for their mulching cows and open interaction was also held where problems and solutions were discussed. The department has also setup bulk milk chilling plant of 500 litres capacity at Ringhim and at present the dairy farmers of the area are producing minimum 200 litres of milk.

Golay wishes workers on Labour Day

GANGTOK, 30 Apr: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha president PS Tamang [Golay] has expressed his best wishes to workers of all industrial units, agriculture laborers, road laborers and government employees on the occasion of the International Labor Day on behalf of the party.
In a press release issued today, Mr. Tamang alleges that in the past 20 years, workers have been oppressed with many local laborers being forced to work as bonded labour. It is further alleged that workers of the state have been exploited and that many labourers in the state still cannot feed their families.

The release goes on to add that due to the model code of conduct Majdoor Samman Diwas of the SKM will be celebrated in a simple manner at the party’s head-office. 


After one-sided contests, some more keenly fought games
GANGTOK, 30 Apr: Sikkim Himalayan Sporting Club [Blue] held Football Club Pakyong for a draw today in the ongoing Second Division Sikkim-League qualifying round here at Paljor Stadium. The closely contested match ended in 1-1 draw. Both teams missed some good opportunities to score more in the match.
In the tightly played second match of the day, JVC FA of Singtam beat Kokkivo FC of Burtuk 2-0.

On Thursday, Denzong Boys will take on United Nandok FC in the first match while the second match will be played between Brotherhood FC and Renzong FC. 

For Labour

They power development with their sweat, plodding away even though they themselves tend to get bypassed from the benefits they help create; they are often humiliated and yet they persevere. Had it not been for them, the short-sighted planners who chart development for the country would have won and we would have been a century more behind times. Take a look around, the sewage line does not get laid only because there is a budget for it, but because there are stomachs desperate enough to work through cold, wet nights to lay them. Cardamom is not a cash crop because Sikkim has progressive farmers, but because there are backs willing to take the load by the maund. Trekking is possible not only because Sikkim is pretty, but because realities are quite ugly for some making them carry loads wearing slippers and plastic shoes up trails where even the tougher trekkers slip despite being shod in much firmer soles. They do not figure in the pecking order and in most cases, don’t even get to enjoy the infrastructure they build. Unfortunately, they also make easy targets. Take for example the only violence recorded in the anti-hydel protests in which labourers employed by hydel developers were beaten up in North Sikkim. They also made up the abandoned hundreds when everything collapsed in Sikkim on 18 September 2011. They lost wages, walked to their escapes, would not have received any compensation and many are probably back at work in Sikkim. Such cases, one hopes, are rare. What is definitely not rare however is the general anonymity in which the labour force works and fades. This again, is not a government’s failing, but a societal shortcoming. It is because we, as consumers, do not pay enough heed to basic human rights that the labourers, as a class, get denied. Sikkim might still lack adequate labour protection laws, but the only agency treating the labourers well is the government with its respectable daily wage rates. The question that needs to be asked next is how many private employers recognise this minimum wage and pay their labourers accordingly? How many domestic servants, even discounting meals, are offered such remuneration? The labour force does not require a more compassionate government, it requires fellow citizens who notice them, listen to them, respect them and when the situation demands, speaks for them. This is one commitment the people can resolve to make this Labour Day.

Canine Distemper and its Control Dr. KINZANG C. BHUTIA

Over the last three years in Sikkim and other hilly areas of India, many dogs are succumbing to the disease called Canine Distemper (CD) and Parvo. CD, in particular, has a high mortality and morbidity rate but can easily be prevented, if the Pet owners play a responsible role. A major outbreak of CD was reported in 2011 where many dogs died. This disease will remain in the environment for quite some time and it will be a herculean task to completely eradicate it. Thus, it is highly imperative that all dog owners take preventive measures. Despite numerous appeals and publicity, majority of the dog owners are still unaware or choose to remain ignorant of these diseases and their dogs are still not vaccinated. It is still being found that majority of pet dogs in Sikkim are not vaccinated against Distemper, Parvo virus, Influenza, Canine Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, etc. except for Rabies. It is highly advisable that all dogs should receive these vaccines annually including Rabies. This serious lapse on the part of the dog owner is leading to serious disease outbreak. The Dept. of AH, LF & VS appeals to all dog owners/animal lovers to get their pets vaccinated against these diseases. We encourage responsible pet ownership where we expect the dog owners to show their commitment, respect towards these creatures.
Distemper disease has been in the state for a number of years and outbreaks are regularly occurring in the state. Symptoms seen are cough, fever, nose and eye discharge, loss of appetite and failing condition. After some weeks, nervous symptoms may develop when the virus affects the brain.  Most commonly fits or twitches. Many dogs will die from the disease, particularly younger animals, sometimes after a long drawn out illness. Morbidity and mortality is extremely high in distemper as there is no direct treatment. Treatment is usually symptomatic and success is achieved only in the initial stages by raising the host immunity. Due to the generality and universality of its symptoms, it is difficult to detect. When the patients exhibit CNS symptoms (twitching and seizures) which are confirmatory, it is too late and the damage done is usually irreversible.
Though younger animals are most susceptible to the infection, susceptibility is enhanced in older dogs not adequately vaccinated or with concurrent stress or immunosuppressive conditions.  CD is highly contagious, large viral concentrations occur in respiratory secretions and commonly spread by aerosolization. The Infective virus is also present in urine and other body fluids and recovered dogs can shed virus up to 1-1 1/2 months.
Hence it is extremely essential that the animal with CD be isolated which should include its food, bedding and people handling.
Both these diseases are extremely contagious, spreading readily from dog to dog. They are both caused by viruses, so treatment is difficult and often unsuccessful.
Unlike Rabies they are not spread to humans – only dogs are affected!
Contact your local Veterinary establishment for advice as to the injections needed. They are very effective. Remember also that periodic booster shots are needed to maintain immunity.
Remember owning a dog and not vaccinating is like having a child and not vaccinating against polio, measles, Hepatitis etc.
Prevention: Both these diseases can be easily prevented by getting the dogs vaccinated annually. However it is imperative that prior to vaccination the dog is adequately dewormed and healthy. Vaccinating a dog with suppressed immunity or recent history of exposure could be contraindicative and is to be strictly avoided. Pet dogs should receive the vaccinations in a proper schedule (which would include - 3 doses from 6 weeks upto 3 months (6weeks,10weeks,14weeks) or (8weeks,12weeks,16weeks) depending on the vaccine/brand used). This should be followed by annual boosters. The vaccine is available in any Veterinary stores and costs up-to 400-500 per dose.
Few points to remember during an outbreak:
1. Proper disposal of carcass either through deep burial or burning and never to dump in the open field.
2. The beddings or cloths should be burnt immediately.
3. Movement of dogs from one place to another should be avoided, especially from CD affected areas.
4. Good nursing care and highly nutritious food is advisable for ailing dogs.
5. The owners whose dogs are infected with CD should maintain cleanliness and hygiene. They should be encouraged not to spread infection to other healthy dogs. Bleaching powder which comes cheap is an effective disinfectant and should be adequately used.
6. Once the dog is dead, owners should make sure that the place should be thoroughly sanitize and dispose the carcass properly and no new dogs should be introduced for at-least 3 months.
7. Always buy or bring well vaccinated dogs especially from outside state. Ask for vaccination details of the dog form the dog dealer where a registered Vet would issue such certificate. The full protection of the vaccine against the disease will occur only after 20 days post vaccination.
In order to inculcate a responsible pet ownership as well as to make the vaccine affordable, the State Veterinary Polyclinic of the Dept. of AH,LF &VS has arranged Distemper and Parvo vaccine at a subsidized rates. Any interested pet owners willing to get their dogs vaccinated are requested to visit Polyclinic, Veterinary complex, Tadong from 01 May 2014 to avail this facility at the subsidized rate of Rs 300. The facility will be available for a limited period of time.
[The writer is Superintendent, State Veterinary Polyclinic]

Bus overturns near Sang Khola, students escape with minor injuries

GANGTOK, 30 Apr:  A group of 27 students from Nagaland had a close shave when the bus they were travelling overturned at S-Turning, a few kilometers short of Sang Khola here this morning.
As per information received from the officer in charge, Singtam PS, PI Parsuram Sharma, the students were on their way to Siliguri after an exposure tour to Sikkim when the driver lost control and crashed the bus at the main turning at around 7:20 a.m. this morning.
It was further stated that ten students suffered minor injuries and were rushed to the trauma centre at Singtam district hospital where they received first aid and discharged. However, one student was referred to CRH, Manipal for further treatment and is now informed to be out of danger.
The driver of the vehicle, one Mani Kumar Mukhia from Mirik in West Bengal has been arrested by Singtam police and a case of rash and negligent driving registered against him.
Police sources inform that the driver during investigation revealed that the brakes of the vehicle failed because of which he lost control and the bus overturned at the spot. However, a case has been registered and the actual cause of the accident will be known only after further investigation.

The accident at S-Turning this morning also disrupted traffic when the evacuation of the victims was being undertaken by police personnel assisted by locals of the area and later because the bus was blocking the road. Long traffic jams continued till around 12 pm after which normal traffic resumed. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

No increase in electricity tariff this year ANAND OBEROI

GANGTOK, 29 Apr: The Sikkim State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SSERC) notified the Tariff Order for the financial year 2014-15 on 15 April earlier this month in response to the petition filed by the Energy & Power Department, the only deemed distribution authority of power in the state.
Good news for the consumers comes with the SSERC ‘retaining the same tariff with no enhancements’ for this financial year and maintaining a “balanced approach” for the overall benefit of the state’s consumers.
“We had increased the tariff previously and realized that increasing the same every financial year is not feasible in the overall interest of the general public,” informed Director (T), SSERC, Palchen D Chaktha, while speaking to NOW! today.
The Director further informs that the Energy & Power Department had filed the petition on 29 November last year seeking enhancement of the existing tariff which was admitted by the Commission on 10 December 2013 as case no: TR1/2014-15. Following this, the Commission issued a public notice calling a public hearing on 25 and 26 March at Chintan Bhawan earlier this year.
“The general public had been invited but even after so much awareness through the local media the participation was lukewarm. Maybe, it was because of the elections that made the participation from the stakeholders unsatisfactory and not as expected,” the Director (T) comments.
While stating that the Commission would shortly host its own website where all details related to the notification of the Tariff order would be put online for the convenience of the general public, Mr. Chaktha informed that the Commission would make all details available online very soon as work on the same was underway.
The Director (T) however stated that the Commission has set certain targets for the Energy & Power Department to increase power and revenue generation within this financial year and has set a series of guidelines with various recommendations to enhance the department’s overall performance.
“Instead of enhancing the tariff, the Commission has notified the Power department to improve its overall efficiency for the interest of the public. Enhancing the tariff every financial year did not seem feasible which is why the Commission has taken-up a balanced approach and the same has been notified,” stated Mr Chaktha.    

Sikkim starts with a win at Sr Women’s National Football c’ship

GANGTOK, 29 Apr: Sikkim’s women’s team has made a good start at the 20th Senior Women’s National Football Championship 2014 being held at Dibrugarh, Assam which started on 27 April. Playing the first match of the championship today, Sikkim edged past the strong team from West Bengal 1-0.
Sikkim’s midfielder Nim Doma Bhutia scored the winning and only goal of the match in the 6th minute of the match itself. Next, Sikkim will take on Bihar in its second match on 01 May.
Speaking over the phone from Guwahati, the team manager, Palden Bhutia said that every member of the team played an outstanding game. “Defeating a team like West Bengal is a good start for the state team”, he said. He further added that the team is now looking forward to register its second victory against Bihar.
In the preliminary round of the championship, Sikkim has been placed in cluster “C” along with Delhi, Bihar, Tripura, Kerala and West Bengal.

SKM’s Rhenock candidate visits Taza GPU

GANGTOK, 29 Apr: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha candidate for Rhenock constituency, Hemendra Adhikari visited Taza GPU on 28 April and interacted with the villagers there.
An SKM release informs that Mr Adhikari thanked the villagers and assured support.
SKM is always with the people regardless of victory or loss in this election, the release mentions. Sikkim Democratic Front only interacts with people during elections but SKM is different and will always value the public, it is added.


REEMA SHARMA, class IX, Middle Gyalshing Secondary School

My class is nine,                                          
and we are not so fine.                             
When a teacher is teaching,
we start with our screaming.
When our teachers scold,
our ears they hold,
and when they hold our ears
our eyes become full of tears.
When Math period starts,
we seem to be blind,
because we are one of a kind,
my class is nine,
and we are not fine.
We always play a game,
as usual the same,
we are not fine,
because we are class nine.
But then o' ye dear friends,
please don’t mind,                                      
I will tell you one thing,                            
although we are not fine,                         
study we must,                                           
for our future we must not destruct.

Jigme N Kazi made Sikkim unit president of All India Patriotic Forum

GANGTOK, 29 Apr: Author and journalist, Jigme N Kazi has been made the president of Sikkim unit of the All India Patriotic Forum (AIPF). The main objective of the Forum is to “bring patriotism back to the forefront of consciousness in all citizens” with special focus on the youth of the country.
A press release informs that former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, Justice MN Venkatachaliah is the Patron-in-Chief of the Forum. Other prominent members of the Forum include Gen. (Retd.) SF Rodrigues, Lt. Gen (Retd.) and former Governor of Assam and JK SK Sinha, former Judge of Supreme Court N Santosh Hegde and former Chief Secretary of Sikkim KS Rao.
Kazi has also been made a member of the 11-member National Advisory Council of the Forum. Sonam Dorjee, a senior teacher of Tashi Namgyal Academy (TNA), Gangtok, has also been appointed Secretary and Treasurer of the Forum’s Sikkim unit.
The release mentions that Mr Kazi also called on Justice Venkatachaliah this week where he thanked the former CJI for the Supreme Court’s historic verdict in the Assembly seat case. In 1993, Justice MN Venkatachaliah had given a historic verdict upholding reservation of the Bhutia-Lepchas and Sangha seats.
Mr. Kazi also presented his books – Inside Sikim: Against the Tide and The Lone Warrior: Exiled In My Homeland – to the former CJI.

High Court takes up 4 letter petitions from North Sikkim

GANGTOK, 29 Apr: The High Court of Sikkim has taken up four fresh letter petitions as Public Interest Litigations [PILs] against the BRO roads, BSNL connectivity and with regard to grazing in North Sikkim.
In a letter petition addressed to the Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court, the Pipon and public of Lachen on 19 April last week had stated that the practice of grazing by yak and sheep, although having a negative impact on environment, was an important source of livelihood for people of the region. Due to the extreme weather conditions in Lachen, there are few other options available for the local people, the letter had said.
The letter petition further urged the High Court to pass a direction to the concerned authorities of Army to allow grazing by yaks and sheep even in restricted areas. This practice was going on smoothly but after frequent changes in the Army units stationed at Lachen, it has disturbed grazing in the area, the letter stated.
The Pipon and public have urged the High Court to pass an order or direction or mandamus allowing practice of grazing by yak and sheep herds which has been a traditional practice.
The letter petition also urges for grazing to be allowed in restricted areas near the Indo-China border since herders with large herds of yaks and sheep usually stay above the Thangu belt most of the time. They have urged that permits for the same be issued from Lachen through the SHO or Pipon for the convenience of the people. It is difficult for people to go to Gangtok and Mangan for the permits, it is added.
The letter petition further urges the High Court to pass an order regarding the attestation of landed property of people of Lachen and Lachung. The survey of land has been conducted twice but the land owners are yet to get the authentic parcha, it is added.

The letter petition also raises the issue of poor road conditions from Lachen to Giagong where it is mentioned that despite repeated requests no action has been taken so far.

Play for the Young

Sikkim is notorious for its disregard for the young. Of course, there are the routine gestures and lip service claiming to look out for their interest, but fact remains that the society at large has remained consistently inconsiderate when it comes to the young. Examples of this thoughtlessness abound, and around Gangtok it takes on a wicked form with such places as “Old West Point School Private Bus Stand” [there is neither a school nor even a bus stand there anymore] and “Old Children’s Park taxi stand”. These are but examples of two spaces which were meant for children, but were taken over to accommodate adult excesses. The State Government had announced a welcome initiative some years back of establishing a playground at every government school and in every village. This, unfortunately, appears to have become one of the initiatives which got sidelined in the post-earthquake set of priorities. Hopefully the new government will return to this task. And like always, we digress. The young were remembered here with regard to the ongoing second division football qualifiers being played in Gangtok. Thirty teams have signed up for this tournament, many, as the hammerings some teams have received, clearly motivated by passion and not so much by skill. And this is a good sign. A tournament like this would not have received such a large participation some years back. The young, despite our efforts to steal spaces from them, are still playing, are still interested in sports and still capable of forming teams and clubs. This spirit needs to be nurtured, and that will require collaboration, but one does not see a lot of that happening. Take the tournament mentioned for instance, the football clubs association of Sikkim has thumbed down Sikkim Football Association’s organization of the tourney. FCAS has raised valid points and SFA has clearly done a halfhearted job of this tourney. But when FCAS criticizes SFA, it does not make anyone in Sikkim, especially not the footballers, any wiser because there is nothing new in what they said, SFA, as they say, “is like this only”. But that does not mean that all hope be abandoned, instead, a different approach needs to be explored – that of collaboration. Instead of public criticism, a nudge to make better arrangements would have sufficed and if SFA still remained unmindful, a much stronger public rebuke should have come because even if one keeps aside the larger interests of the sport, how the tournament is organized still affects 330 [counting only the playing elevens] young players and the need to treat them with respect and fairly. Professionals showing up for a match is expected because to play is their job, but when the young put together 30 teams and show up on the ground, they deserve appreciation because in their case it is purely passion and love for the game. The least that SFA can do for them is treat them to a professionally organized tournament. As for the rest of us, we could at least give the teams a respectable crowd for their matches. Imagine how special the experience would be for these players if, apart from the organizers doing a proper job, they actually had spectators cheering their game!

Sikkim Cooperative Society Rules amended to reserve seats for SC, ST and women on boards

GANGTOK, 29 Apr: With an amendment affected to the Sikkim Cooperative Society Rules, 2013 the government has also gone ahead and made reservations for different sections of the population in the Board. As per the amended rules one seat is to be reserved for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories; 2 seats are to be reserved for Women in the Board of every Cooperative Society. Each Board of a Society will have a term of 5 years. The amendment was made before the model code of conduct kicked in for Elections 2014.
In another significant amendment all members of a cooperative society now have been accorded right to access all information about the particular Society. With the insertion of Rule 29A every member of a society has a right to access its account books and other connected records and information. These information or records may be related to transactions.
Further to streamline the administration of such societies elections to the Society Boards will now be conducted before the expiry of the term of the Board; this has been decided upon in order to ensure that the newly elected members of the Board assume office immediately on the expiry of the office of the outgoing Board. All Cooperative Societies can have a maximum of 21 directors.
By the insertion of another rule it has been made mandatory for all cooperative societies that the annual general meeting be conveyed within 6 months from the end of each cooperative year i.e, before 30 September.
Effort has also been made to streamline the transactions and business of such Societies. In this respect all Cooperative Societies will have to be able to furnish all relevant records to the prescribed authority within the given period. Every Society is to furnish a report of its activities, an audited statement of accounts and its plan for disposal of surplus generated during the year.

These statements have to be submitted within 6 months from the close of each cooperative year. Furthermore Societies are also to furnish a statement of amendment made to the Bye laws, declaration regarding holding of general body meetings and conduct of elections and any other report as per rules and information required by the Registrar.

ASDLF to tone down Labour Day celebrations in light of ongoing election process

GANGTOK, 29 Apr: All Sikkim Democratic Labour Front [ASDLF] has urged workers at different industrial units and companies across the state to celebrate the International Labour Day 2014 at their respective places and units on 01 May. ASDLF has also decided to celebrate International Labour Day this year in a simple manner here at Sikkim Democratic Front head-office.
Addressing a press conference today, ASDLF vice-president BM Ramudamu said that ASDLF has always celebrated this occasion in a grand manner by bringing all workers of different industrial units and companies together in one place.
This year however the organization will not be able to celebrate the occasion in a grand manner owing to the ongoing election process and since the ASDLF president, Pawan Chamling is also out of the state, he informed.
Further, Mr. Ramudamu said that due to various reasons the ASDLF has asked workers of different units and companies to celebrate the International Labour Day at their respective places this time. He also informed that in the celebration at the SDF head-office only a few representatives from all industrial units and companies have been invited.
The International Labour Day celebration here will have the SDF vice-president [administration] KB Chamling as the chief guest, and is likely to be also attended by CEC and other office bearers of SDF party.
While conveying best wishes to all workers across the state, Mr Ramudamu mentioned that after the formation of the new government the ASDLF will be organizing the state-level celebration for workers in a grand manner. 
ASDLF office bearers also thanked the SDF government for announcing the regularization of the MR & WC employees with 5 years of service and above. On behalf of all workers, they thanked the party president for taking such a step in the interest of workers.
ASDLF general secretary Hari Chettri mentioned that ASDLF has been working in favor and interest of workers across the state since its formation. While speaking on the achievements of the front, he informed that one member of the 63 affected families of NHPC Stage V has been provided a job in the NHPC after meeting the required qualifications.

It is informed that many industrial units in Sikkim have not signed MoUs with the state so they are bringing laborers from outside the state. ASDLF’s efforts to get such MoUs signed has led to many local people getting employment in these units, informed Mr Chettri. He added that on the initiative of the ASDLF, the state government has also increased the daily wages of workers. Mr Chettri further informed about various other achievements of ASDLF. 

AJKS condemns Baba Ramdev’s derogatory comment against Dalits

GANGTOK, 29 Apr: Anushuchit Jati Kalyan Sangh, Sikkim, a registered organization working for the Scheduled Castes of Sikkim, has strongly condemned the statement made by Baba Ramdev and accused him of “nsulting” the Dalit community with his controversial “honeymoon” remark.
Baba Ramdev, a supporter of Bharatiya Janata Party, made this remark in Lucknow on 25 April. Although Ramdev later contended that his statements were taken out of context, his comment has received across the board condemnation.
The AJKS has stated that such unwanted remarks have hurt the sentiments of Dalits in the country and the Scheduled Castes residing in the State of Sikkim as well.
Anushuchit Jati Kalyan Sangh, Sikkim has sought action against Ramdev under section 3(1)(X) of the Prevention of Atrocities Act which stands for making insulting remarks pertaining to the caste or community.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Judgment reserved on Tashiding hydroelectric project

GANGTOK, 28 Apr: The verdict of the High Court of Sikkim will now decide the fate of the contested Tashiding hydro power project. The judgment on the writ petition filed by Sonam Lama and others challenging the construction of the hydel project on the Rathong Chu in West Sikkim has been reserved by the court.
The 97 MW Tashiding HEP in West Sikkim is being developed by Shiga Energy Private Limited. It has been 2 years since the petition was filed in the courts challenging the project on the primary grounds that it was an affront to the religions and cultural values and sentiments of the Sikkimese Buddhists. The petition is being supported by SIBLAC and NASBO. The main petitioner is Sonam Lama, originally of NASBO, who is now the Sangha candidate for the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha.
The petition has come a long way and, among others, has also seen a change in petitioners with one of the original petitioners, Tenzing Chewang, having died in a car accident during the pendency of the petition. It was taken to the Supreme Court which returned the matter to the High Court here since it had to do with local concerns.
It is also this petition which led the High Court to direct the Ministry of Environment & Forests to issue a notification on the extent of buffer zone or ecologically sensitive zone for the state of Sikkim. In February this year, the MoEF reduced this zone from the previously accepted 10 km radius to just 50 m to a maximum of 200 m radius of notified wildlife parks and sanctuaries.
What is interesting apart from the religious attachment and weight surrounding the Tashiding project is the investment put into the project by Shiga Energy, the private developer. The High Court had earlier made it known that the company would be liable for its own losses should the court come to the conclusion that the project was not viable or tenable. However Shiga Energy went on with the project construction and till date has invested crores of rupees into it. The final arguments on the petition were heard last week and now the judgment has been reserved.

Vipassana for Deorali School students

GANGTOK, 28 Apr: Sikkim Against Addiction Towards Healthy India (SAATHI) in coordination with Padma Odzer Choeling School, Chongyek organized a day-long Anapana Meditation (Vipassana) for the students of Deorali Girls Sr. Sec School. 46 students of standards 8, 9 and 10 participated in the daylong session.
Vipassana means to see things as they really are; it is a logical process of mental purification through self-observation. Keepu Lepcha along with Ms Pushpa and Sanu Subba carried out the daylong session. The session included mediation, interaction with the students and painting. The aim of the event was to help students achieve peace of mind and lead a happy, useful life. The meditation was held in Dhamma Hall, Chongyek.

Students from Enchey Sr. Sec School, West Point Sr. Sec School, Modern Sec School and Tashi Namgyal Sr. Sec School will also take part in the forthcoming sessions.


Gangtok teams register big wins on day-One
GANGTOK, 28 Apr: The Second Division Sikkim-League qualifying round kicked off here at Paljor Stadium this afternoon. Thirty teams from different parts of the state will be participating in the qualifying round of the league, which is being organized by Sikkim Football Association.
In the inaugural match, Gangtok Sports League thrashed Mutanchi Rong 8-3. In the second match of the day, Ranka FC went down to Sikkim Royal SA 1-2.
The inaugural day had the Sports & Youth Affairs Secretary, PR Poudyal as the chief guest, while the Rajya Sainik Board Secretary, DN Bhutia was present as the guest of honour.
Speaking to media persons today, SFA general secretary Menla Ethenpa informed that there are 5 new teams in this season of the second division qualifying round of the league. This time there are teams from Gyalshing, Mangalbaria, Namthang, Central Pendam, Ranka, Singtam, Pakyong and in and around Gangtok. This time a team of Sheda Rendzong FC is also taking part in the league.
These 30 teams have been divided into 10 groups with 3 teams in each group. Mr Ethenpa informed that only the topper of each group will then advance to the Super-10 knockout stage.
Two matches will be played every day where the first match will start at 12:30 PM which will be followed by the second match at 2:30 PM.
On Tuesday, Pendam FC will take on Invincible FC [Middle Tadong] in the first mach, while the second match will be played between Young Boys FC [Gyalshing] and New Star [Middle Tadong].

Dalapchand students on picnic cum cleanliness drive at Lampokhari

GANGTOK, 28 Apr: A picnic cum cleanliness drive was organized by Scouts and Guides (Dalapchand Senior Secondary School) and Generous Students Dalapchand SS at Lampokhari today. Chandra Maya Rai, Panchayat President, MK Rai, Panchayat Secretary, Teaching and non-teaching faculties of Dalapchand SS and the students were present on the occasion.
A press release informs that CD Rai, senior teacher of Dalapchand SS enlightened the gathering about the cleanliness drive and the role of Generous Students. Mr Rai went on to speak about different activities undertaken by Generous Students Dalapchand SS in the last few years. Panchayat President, Chandra Maya Rai expressed her happiness on the activities conducted by Dalapchand SS and promised to support the school for other social causes. She presented an amount of Rs. 1000 towards Generous Students Dalapchand SS’s fund. Senior teacher of Dalapchand SS, BB Rai gave the vote of thanks.
GT (Bio) and Scout Master of Dalapchand SS, SD Bhutia said Lampokhari is the pride of Dalapchand and the drive was conducted to keep the area clean. Students of classes IV to X participated in the drive.
Scouts and Guides (Dalapchand SS) and Generous Students Dalapchand SS have thanked the Panchayats, School Head and staff and students for their presence.

Mr Sikkim donates cash award to Mangan orphanage

GANGTOK, 28 Apr: Mr. Sikkim 2014, Arun Gurung on Saturday contributed his prize money to an orphanage in Mangan in North Sikkim.
Mr. Sikkim handed the cash award he recently won in the competition to the caretaker of the orphanage Tarcon Lee, Keepu Lepcha. The home presently houses 35 children.
“There are so many people in this world that need care and support, I am so happy to visit the shelter home which is doing a wonderful job. I have been touched by the love and affection given to the children by the lady who runs the home. This contribution is just to motivate her,” said the 38-year-old Mr. Sikkim who also spent some time with the children.
In the year 2011 as well, Mr. Gurung had donated the cash prize after winning his first Mr Sikkim title to Sita Panchawati Ashram located at Ranka.
“We are very happy that Mr Gurung visited our shelter home, May god bless him with more success in the future,” said the caretaker of the shelter home.

North District administration’s SMS service works for the people

MANGAN, 28 Apr: North District Administration’s Mobile SMS service initiated by ADC North, Raj Yadav in order to disseminate information to the public has been receiving good response here in the district.
Timely delivery of important information has resulted in the completion of many pending works and problems of the people are also being addressed in a short span of time. The SMS service has more than 3000 subscribers who get regular information updates of the district.
In a recent episode, one person of Mangan who had lost Rs 50,000 while traveling between Mangan-Gangtok highway recovered the amount due to the SMS service. On receiving information about the loss of money, the district administration made announcements through the SMS service and the money was retrieved immediately.
Likewise, the North District Administration also runs a Facebook page titled “ADM North Sikkim” where the public can access information. There are also plans to launch a website of the North District Administration soon, it is informed.

Workshop on Life Skills at Deorali Girls school

GANGTOK, 28 Apr: A four-day workshop on Life Skills Training was concluded today at Deorali Girls School, Gangtok. The workshop was conducted by Skill-Ed (PARTH) which is the authorised training partner of PeoplePro International, Bangalore.
A press release informs that the topics covered in the workshop focused on positive self-growth with an emphasis on Stress Management, Peer Pressure, Identity Crisis, Loving Yourself and Early Marriage. The workshop was coordinated by Arun Awasthy along with a group of Counselling/Clinical Psychologists and trainers. The group comprised Pragyan Deep Dewan (M.Sc in Counselling Psychology), Angela Lama (M.Sc in Counselling Psychology), Tseyang Palzom (M.Sc in Clinical Psychology) and Jikme N. Bhutia (M.A. Political Science/Lifeskills Trainer).
Students from class IX, X and XII participated in the workshop and took part in several team building programs, discussions and self-awareness activities. The activities conducted were all geared towards the larger goal of harnessing positive growth and prevention of self-harm and suicidal behavior, the release mentions. The feedback from the students was positive and upbeat with a focus on learning aspirations.
The principal, SSL Chettri provided the necessary support and guidance for the entire program. PeoplePro International has thanked the Principal and staff members along with all the trainers. With regard to the future, PeoplePro plans to hold Psychoeducation/Lifeskills Workshops for school teachers and educators.

HRDD organises training for SMDCs

GANGTOK, 28 Apr: Human Resource Development Department, Government of Sikkim, East District organised training for SMDC’s (School Management & Development Committee) under Rashtriiya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMS) today at Modern Secondary School, Gangtok.
SMDC members from all Senior Secondary Schools and Secondary Schools under East District attended the programme.
A press release informs that the main objective was to sensitize the SMDC members about their role and responsibility in the school. The welcome speech was presented by Prakash Pradhan [Joint Drector (E)]. Tempa Targen Bhutia [Joint Director (RMSA)] made a power point presentation on RMSA and requested the SMDC to be actively involved in the overall development of the school.
Further, Basant Sharma [Assistant Director, Duga] addressed the gathering on School Development plan. Durga Prashad Sharma [AD Rakdong Tintek] informed about the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Saakshar Bharat mission. At the end, CS Subba informed about Mid-Day-Meal scheme and requested for proper implementation of the programme.
The vote of thanks was delivered by KT Wangchuk, Deputy Diirector (East), HRDD.

Rehabilitating with football

GANGTOK, 28 Apr: On Saturday afternoon, recovering addicts and alcoholics from Serenity Home played an exhibition match here at TNSS School Ground against a combined team of members of RUN (Recovering Users Network) and LIFE “Living Free” Society braving the cold and heavy rains to prove a point.
The match in itself was an exemplary one for the many people who are still under the grips of this disease (WHO declared addiction and alcoholism a relapsable but treatable disease in 1980).
“Games like these give us the motivation to prove to the world that even drug addicts and alcoholics have it in them to play the game at the top level. We had practiced for this game for a long time and even if we lost in penalties, we know next time we will definitely beat them with more practice and dedication,” shared Rinchen Lepcha, captain of Serenity Home a rehabilitation centre here at Lower Burtuk.
The match that was a very contesting one went into penalties after both the teams scored three goals each before the final whistle. The combined team of RUN and LIFE won 5 goals to 3 in the penalty shootout. The winning team was awarded a trophy and medals while the runners-up team also received a trophy and mementoes for all the participating members. The man of the match trophy was awarded to Kalzang Bhutia, the goal keeper from the winning team.
The match which was sponsored by Bishal Chamling from Garigaon, Tadong has immensely motivated the youth who have appreciated the initiative of the sponsorship, which they say is one of the first of its kind from an “outsider” since no one other than organizations and individuals belonging to the recovering users fraternity has ever come up and offered such generous support for the ‘cause’.
“We wholeheartedly thank Bishal Chamling and Promode Pradhan who have come forward and shown their support to encourage recovering addicts and alcoholics. This sponsorship has lifted spirits and given a morale boost to these youth, many of whom who were either professional footballers and sportspersons before the disease took over their life,” stated Khituk Tongden Lepcha, general secretary, LIFE “Living Free” Society.
The trophies, medals and mementoes were handed over by Promode Pradhan on behalf of Bishal Chamling who in his address assured all support to such a noble cause and maintained that similar sponsorships would be made to the recovering addicts in the coming future.

Free Fibroscan camp held at STNM Hospital

GANGTOK, 28 Apr: A free Fibroscan camp was held in the STNM hospital from 23-25 April. A similar camp was held earlier in February this year. 406 individuals took benefit from this camp, informs Dr. Suresh Rasaily [Gastroenterologist, STNM Hospital].
A press release informs that Fibroscan is a new technology which is a screening tool to look into the stiffness of the liver which is a measure of the health of the organ. Being a non-invasive technique it serves as an alternate to doing a liver biopsy. This technology is available in very few hospitals in India and a single scan could cost anywhere between Rs 3000 to Rs 5000.
Individuals who consume alcohol or are suffering from different forms of Hepatitis or Non Alcoholic Fatty liver disease were able to benefit from the camp.
Also, on 26 April the 7th scientific session was held for the doctors of STNM hospital which was addressed by eminent Gastroenterologist from Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi, Dr Anil Arora who spoke on the recent advances in Gastroenterology like capsule endoscopy, the release informs. He also spoke on the benefits of a fibroscan and gave an update on the management of Alcoholic liver disease.
The session was chaired by Secretary, Health Department, Dr K Bhandari and had participants from STNM hospital. The session was moderated by Principal Chief Consultant, Dr Namgyal T Sherpa while the welcome address was delivered by Medical Superintendent, Dr Yogesh Verma.
The follow-up free fibro scan camp shall be held in the month of September /October this year, it is informed.

S-League poorly organized, FCAS contends

A stretcher lies next to empty chairs. If a player was evacuated from the field on this stretcher, who would he be taken to in the absence of doctors or physios or even an ambulance on standby?

GANGTOK, 28 Apr: Football Clubs Association of Sikkim [FCAS] has alleged that the opening matches of the Second Division Sikkim League qualifying round which began today at Paljor Stadium were poorly organized.
A press release from the association informs that there was no medical team comprising of a Doctor, Physiotherapist or stand-by ambulance during the matches played today. This, as per the association, is in violation of the All India Football Federation rules.
FCAS has requested Sikkim Football Association, the organisers of the Sikkim League, to look into this matter immediately and take necessary action.

Make Them Drive Safe

Anyone driving down from Gangtok towards Ranipool Monday morning would have noticed a car crashed into a roadside wall near 5th Mile. The vehicle was clearly driving uphill and has ploughed into the wall on the wrong side. It appears that this vehicle was overtaking a vehicle on a blind turn, lost control and crashed. This is a surmise, but anyone who has seen the disregard for safety, their own as well as of others, with which too many people drive nowadays, this scenario appears very plausible. Also today, a vehicle sped up Rumtek, irritating other drivers with persistent honking to claim passage. Even this reckless run ended in a mishap when the vehicle hit a child. A few days ago, a speeding passenger jeep missed a turn on the highway and claimed seven lives. Rash driving unfortunately has become the norm on Sikkim roads and not the aberration anymore. What is worse, agencies empowered to do something about it would rather keep busy getting into ego tussles with people over one-way traffic regulations, shifting practical taxi stops to save their officers from the occasional traffic jam and sniffing around for vehicles to put clamps on for unauthorized parking. Even when mishaps occur, one reads only of the incident being investigated and of drivers in question being booked under different sections of the Indian Penal Code. Such cases are obviously being compromised in the investigation stage itself, except in the rare case when the driver is without connections or means. One is yet to hear of anything concrete being done to curb reckless driving, but now that traffic on all Sikkim roads has increased to dangerous levels, it is time that something was done.
To start with, better driving courtesies need to be ensured. Drivers who make a U-Turn without care for the traffic they have held up, or drivers who jump lines in a traffic jam and those who take off without warning, are most likely to endanger others with their rude attitudes because they will also almost be the ones who overtake on a blind curve or speed through cramped spaces unmindful of pedestrians, including children, who could come under their wheels. And penalizing such driving attitudes would be a good place to begin the process of making the roads safe. Challan drivers who jump lanes in traffic jams, book drivers who signal wrong or display rash driving; take such action often enough and maybe responsible driving will become an instinctive skill. Another option worth exploring will be replacing the driving advise graffiti with phone numbers into which people can sms registration numbers of vehicles they feel are moving dangerously. Cops can then a lookout for such vehicles and take action accordingly. Earlier, when there were fewer vehicles on the roads, people could take precautions and keep themselves safe; now, there are simply too many vehicles and too much recklessness on the loose for precautions to work and more proactive action from all sides is required.

Candidates inspect EVM strong-room at TNA

GANGTOK, 28 Apr [IPR]: As per the instruction of the Election Commission of India, an inspection of the strong room area ay Tashi Namgyal Academy, East Sikkim was done on 27 April at 11 am by the representatives of all political parties as well as by the candidates in the presence of AEROs, ADC (HQ), ND Bhutia and ADC (E), East District, Aishvarya Singh.
An official release informs that during the inspection, the candidates and representatives were also taken to the control room.
It was also informed to all the candidates/representatives that there are 18 CCTV cameras kept in and around TNA Auditorium (Strong room) to capture and record the footage. These CCTVs function round-the-clock (24/7) capturing all movement in and around the strong room.
All the candidates and the representatives are satisfied with the arrangements of the security at the strong room at TNA Auditorium, the release adds.