Saturday, May 17, 2014

PEOPLE DECIDE 22:10 IN FAVOUR OF SDF Sikkim speaks – brings SDF back to government for fifth term, votes in an Opposition as well RANJIT SINGH

GANGTOK, 16 May: It was a long counting day in Sikkim today, but at the end of it all, the results played out to a more or less expected pattern in that although the contest was keener than some recent elections, the SKM challenge was not enough to stop SDF from returning to government for a record fifth consecutive term in Sikkim. SDF, even if it saw its vote-share dip, found its rural stronghold still intact and learned of the fickleness of urban voters, again. Be that as it may, SDF president Pawan Chamling led his party to a record return to office in Sikkim with a convincing 22:10 margin.
As for SKM, its call for “parivartan”, did not gain much currency in State as it blanked out in South and West districts, managed a very slim victory in one seat in North Sikkim and secured a majority of its 10 seats from constituencies in and around the capital, Gangtok. A cluster of six constituencies within and around Gangtok brought SKM to its present stead. Upper Tadong, Arithang, Gangtok, Shyari, Upper Burtuk and Kabi-Lungchuk, all of which border Gangtok went to SKM.
What is welcome for the Legislative Assembly in Sikkim is that after a drought of ten years, it will have more than one Opposition member in the Assembly. The last time this happened was in 1999-2004 when SDF had 24 MLAs, SSP 7 and One Independent.
SKM, though the party has made strategic inroads both into the polity as well as into the Sikkim Assembly with 10 seats, has to accept that the Sikkimese have voted convincingly for peace, stability, development and democracy under SDF’s watch. It will also have to be acknowledged that even in defeat, the SKM managed to unseat and defeat 4 sitting MLAs including 2 ministers and 2 sitting Councillors of the Gangtok Municipality.
As for the day, it began with news of both SKM and SDF going neck to neck with the SDF winning the opening constituencies of West and South and just making it past the finishing line in East with Khamdong Singtam with a slim margin of around 300 votes.
While the opening constituencies of South and West, Barfung and Yuksom – Tashiding, were comfortably won by the SDF it lost Kabi in North Sikkim by 126 votes. Then began the grand road to victory of the SDF with one constituency after another falling into the Mr. Chamling’s kitty with the SKM left wondering where it had gone wrong, especially with Namthang Rateypani, the seat from where PS Tamang [Golay] contested going to the SDF. Another shocker came when Soreng-Chakung also fell to the SDF in the late afternoon. The south and west districts provided more or less comfortable wins for the SDF.
It was in East and North Sikkim that some voting excitement was seen. Upper Tadong went SKM’s way with SKM candidate Timothy William Basnett making it through by a margin of less than 130 votes and Mr. Tamang himself winning Upper Burtuk by just over 500 votes to defeat SDF’s DR Thapa.
Earlier, with the trend of how the numbers would go becoming obvious by 1 pm, even SKM parliamentary constituency candidate TN Dhakal accepted the verdict. “Maybe we failed to convince the people; maybe we could not take our message to the people,” he said.
Another cause for the less than satisfactory performance of the SKM, he said, was the lack of funds with the party.
At the end, it was East District which provided some kind of solace for the SKM and those swayed by the idea of parivartan. SKM entered the Sikkim Assembly with the win of Gopal Bareilly in West Pandam; he defeated SDF’s KK Thatal by around 1600 votes. “This is the first sign of parivartan,” stated Bareilly to the press after his victory. “The win is as expected,” he said.
Bhim Dhungel, a sitting MLA of SDF who lost, was not as gracious in his defeat to Hemendra Adhikari of the SKM by close to a 1000 votes. “This is not a mandate on the performance of the government,” he said after his defeat. “This is a victory of the destructive forces and for those who do not believe in development,” he stated. On the other hand, Mr. Adhikari was all jubilant and stated that for the first time in 40 years Rhenock would have a MLA who was a ‘son of the soil’.
OP Bhandari, former Advisor and an Independent candidate from Rhenock shared that it was not his intention to win but to ensure that Rhenock got a candidate who was a ‘son of the soil’.
Neighbouring Chujachen, in contrast, voted staggeringly in favour of SDF with Bikram Pradhan taking 7,836 votes against 4,425 polled by SKM’s KB Gurung.
Gnathang-Machong also came comfortably to SDF with DT Lepcha coasting through with 5,017 votes, comfortably ahead of the 3,101 votes polled by SKM’s Sonam Dorjee.
Namcheybong was projected to be a touch-and-go affair, but was taken reasonably well by sitting MLA BB Rai of SDF who beat SKM’s Dilip Rai 5,577 to 4,955.
By the time the Namcheybong result was declared, an SDF Government was in place with only the final numbers to be decided. And with it, the cluster of constituencies around Gangtok started getting counted and the SKM set of constituencies came about, starting with neighbouring Shyari where SKM’s Kunga Nima Lepcha, who was the State Congress party president till weeks before the elections, easing past Speaker KT Gyaltsen. Mr. Lepcha locked in 5,324 votes against Mr. Gyaltsen’s 4,588.
The final outcome was however clear by then and Paljor Stadium, the venue for SKM supporters wore a forlorn look for most of the day and by the time news of SKM victories in East started pouring in most supporters had already left.
Next, SKM’s Dr. Mechung Bhutia secured 6,055 votes in Martam-Rumtek to beat SDF’s Menlom Lepcha who polled 5,576.
Then the SKM resurgence picked up with Upper Tadong [Timothy Basnet], Arithang [Shyam Pradhan], Gangtok [Pintso Chopel] and Upper Burtuk [PS Tamang] going to SKM. Of these, only Upper Tadong and Upper Burtuk were close contests and the rest swept strongly by SKM.
And then the Sangha also went to SKM and the final tally of 22-10 tied up in favour of SDF.
At the end it was a victory for the public of Sikkim who had come out in large numbers to vote for the government of their choice. Both the major players were presented before them in the form of the incumbent SDF and the contenders, the SKM party. At the end the people gave a convincing and clear message as to what they want for the next 5 years and that it, seems, will now be what they get in the form of peace and development.

It’s 8/8 for SDF from West as well

GANGTOK, 16 May: Yoksam-Tashiding enjoys the No. 1 in the listing of constituencies for Sikkim and opened the account for SDF on a strong note in the Assembly election results today. SDF debutante for this elections, Sonam Dadul Bhutia, won with a strong margin, securing 6,777 of the 9,755 votes polled in Yoksam-Tashiding. His closest rival, SKM’s Thutop Bhutia [a former SDF Minister], received 2,559 votes. This victory opened up the district for SDF which went on to comfortably win all eight constituencies here.
Next up, Yangthang had SDF’s sitting MLA, Chandra Maya Subba, register a comfortable victory, receiving 5,211 votes against SKM’s Khaka Bahadur Subba’s 3,571 votes.
Maneybong-Dentam secured among the strongest victories for SDF this election with Narendra Kumar Subba bagging 7,737 of the 10,373 votes polled. SKM’s Birbal Tamling received 2,519 votes.
Gyalshing-Barnyak, from where SB Subedi was staging a return for SDF after a one-term layoff, saw a keener contest with Mr. Subedi emerging victorious with 4,529 votes against LN Sharma of SKM’s 3,890 votes.
Rinchenpong, in contrast, had SDF winning big again with Karma Sonam Lepcha snapping up 7,347 of the 10,592 votes polled. Pema Kinzang Bhutia of SKM was distant second with 2,891 votes.
Daramdin had seen its share of controversy in the run-up and even on the day of voting, but that did not spoil things for SDF as here too it won comfortably. Danorbu Sherpa of SDF polled 6,250 votes and won. SKM’s Mingma Norbu Sherpa received 4,646 votes.
Soreng-Chakung was the big ticket constituency for West Sikkim because it is from where the SKM president PS Tamang [Golay] hails and from where the SKM working president Bharati Sharma was contesting. SDF had fielded Ram Bahadur Subba from this constituency and he won the constituency, reasonably comfortably in the end, for the party. Mr. Subba received 6,596 votes against Ms. Sharma’s 4,667 votes.

The final constituency of West Sikkim, Salghari-Zoom, also voted in favour of SDF, whose Arjun Kumar Ghatani won with 4,250 votes against the 3,471 polled by SKM’s Bhanu Pratap Rasailly.

Sikkim celebrates 40th State Day

GANGTOK, 16 May: Sikkim celebrated its 40th State Day in a brief official function held at Chintan Bhawan today where the Chief Minister and Governor applauded Sikkim’s growth in the past 40 years as compared to other states in the country.
Extending his best wishes to the people of Sikkim, the Governor expressed that the day holds a special significance in the heart of Sikkimese people as they became a part of the vibrant democracy of India.
Remembering the architects of transformation, he added that the state must not forget the leaders of the past who ushered the state in the democratic process. Stating further, the Governor mentioned that Sikkim embarked on a journey in 1975 towards peace, prosperity and progress.
“As Sikkim enters into the 5th decade of democratic government, it has witnessed unprecedented growth in the developmental front”, said the Governor and added that sustained growth in various sectors has made the state the most progressive in the country. Launching of various missions on priority basis yielded positive results in the healthcare sector which is reflected in the declining IMR, MMR etc, said Mr Patil. Similarly, priorities in human resource development have ensured access to education facilities to all the children of the state, resulting in impressive growth of 82.2% of literacy rate, he added.
While touching upon various other sectors like tourism, hospitality and related infrastructure, the Governor maintained that these sectors have unparalleled potentials of generating employment to ever growing educated mass. He also showed his concern over road connectivity in the state which is vulnerable to natural calamities. The Governor also called upon everyone to work with renewed vigour and dedication for the development and prosperity of the state.
The Chief Minister in his address also remembered the leaders of the past and termed the day as a historic step towards development of the mountainous State. Today, Sikkim has achieved remarkable developments in terms of literacy rate, growth rate and overall development of the people. He also recalled his involvement in bringing democracy in the state and added that it is the democratic responsibility of the people to maintain peace, security and the developmental tempo in the State. 
The Chief Minister also pointed out certain fields like fulfillment of basic minimum rights of the people, highest growth rate and prevalence of less BPL category.  He also cited health, education, opportunities and other sectors which show the notable improvement in the past decades, resulting in marked improvement in the quality of life of the people. He added that the state has seen vast transformation in respect of tourism and allied activities, health care facilities, education and social and economic aspects of the people.
Conveying his best wishes to the people, the Chief Minister also appealed to the gathering to cooperate in making Sikkim the best state in the country.
While presenting his welcome address, the Chief Secretary, AK Shrivastava said that it is a solemn, serene and significant occasion as on this day, the state joined the mainstream of the nation. Owing to counting of votes today, the State Government is compelled to compress the function and the State Award Ceremony will be held at a later date, announced the Chief Secretary.

Also on the day, students of Modern Secondary School and Deorali Girls’ Senior Secondary school presented two patriotic songs during the function. 

SDF makes clean sweep of South and West districts

NAMCHI, 16 May: Sikkim Democratic Front secured its march into its fifth straight term in office in Sikkim with a clean sweep of South and West Districts, snapping up all 16 constituencies in the two districts and reaching the halfway mark from this stronghold alone. Among the big losers for Sikkim Krantikari Morcha from South Sikkim was the SKM president PS Tamang who lost to SDF’s Tilu Gurung from Namthang-Rateypani constituency. SDF president, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, won from both the constituencies he contested from - Namchi-Singithang and Yangang Rangang. Several SDF veterans make a comeback to the Legislative Assembly from the two districts and it some debutantes of the party have also recorded impressive victories here.
SDF’s victory march in South Sikkim started with Berfung constituency where three-time Minister DD Bhutia was returning after a one-term layoff. His victory was never in doubt and he swept up the constituency handsomely for SDF, winning by a margin of 3,127 votes. Of the 10,211 votes poleld here, Mr. Bhutia received 6,639 and his closest rival, SKM’s Pema Wangyal Bhutia managed 3,460. Congress got less than the NOTA votes here.
Poklok-Kamrang, the constituency which Mr. Chamling represented in the last term and relinquished this time for his close aide KN Rai, was set up as a keen contest because it had SKM founder-member and former SDF MLA Bhojraj Rai in the fray. This however proved an easy win for SDF with Mr. KN Rai cruising into victory with a handsome margin of 4,671 votes. This is a big constituency, and of the 11,655 votes cast, SDF received 7,996 while the SKM candidate bagged 3,325. Here again, the NOTA votes [178] came third, ahead of Congress whose candidate received 115 votes.
It was Namchi-Singithang which threw up a keen contest with for its 8,722 votes. The SDF president won by a margin of 1,084 votes getting 4,774 against SKM’s Milan Rai’s 3,690 votes. The Congress candidate here, Khush Bahadur Rai, got 92 votes while 112 voters took the NOTA option.
The sitting MLA from Melli, Tulshi Devi Rai, expectedly won with a huge margin of 4,249 votes against SKM’s Prem Karki. Ms. Rai received 7,655 votes against Mr. Karki’s 3,406 votes. The Congress candidate MB Rai got 132 votes while 178 votes were polled under NOTA.
Namthang-Rateypani, the constituency which was the focus of the South Sikkim battle, had seen 11,093 votes polled. The SDF candidate here, Tilu Gurung, led all rounds and beat SKM party president PS Tamang [Golay] by a margin of 1,155 votes. She snapped up 5,947 votes against Mr. Tamang’s 4,792 votes.
The SKM rout in South Sikkim continued with Temi-Namphing handing over a respectable victory to SDF’s GM Gurung. Of the 10,275 votes cast here, Mr. Gurung received 5,507 while SKM’s Lalit Sharma came second with 4,107.
Yangang-Rangang, the Chief Minister’s home constituency from where Mr. Chamling was contesting for the first time, secured a comfortable victory for the CM, providing him a victory margin of 3,142 votes from the 9,976 votes polled. Mr. Chamling received 6,343 votes against SKM’s Bikash Basnet’s 3,201.
Tumin-Lingee, the eighth constituency of South Sikkim is a big one with 11,578 votes cast. SDF candidate, its chief whip, Ugen T. Gyatso Bhutia, secured victory with 7,191 votes against the 3,991 of his closest rival, SKM’s Nedup Lepcha.
Speaking with this correspondent, DD Bhutia who emerged victorious from Berfung said, “Now that we have won this election, I want to carry on the ongoing developmental works of the SDF government in the constituency. I would like to thank the people of Berfung constituency for having faith in me.”
KN Rai, similarly said that he will now work with full commitment to fulfill all the promises made to the people during the campaign and will work to made Poklok-Kamrang a model constituency of the state. He gave the credit of his victory to the party workers and party supporters. “I am only a means, people have trusted SDF party and this victory is the victory of the people,” he said.
Ugen T. Gyatso, in turn, said that with this victory contributing to SDF’s overall victory in Sikkim, truth has won over propaganda. He thanked all the party supporters and party workers who made this victory possible.

All the candidate were provided with the certificate by the Returning officer South Pravakar Verma. 

SKM wins Sangha

GANGTOK, 16 May: The last constituency to be counted is also the smallest. The Sangha has an electoral college of 2,904 voters and of these, 2167 votes were polled. SKM’s Sonam Lama, formerly of NASBO, won this as SKM’s tenth seat in the Assembly by securing 1,096 votes against the 971 polled by SDF’s Palden Lachungpa. Congress’ Acharya Tshering Lama, a former Sangha MLA as was the SDF candidate, received 108 votes.

Golay congratulates Chamling and SDF on victory

GANGTOK, 16 May: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha president PS Tamang [Golay] has conveyed that the SKM party whole heartedly accepts the mandate given by the Sikkimese people. A press release issued by Mr Tamang adds that the party respects the verdict and recognizes that the aspirations of the people are top priority in a democracy.
Accepting the mandate of the people, Mr Tamang has congratulated the Sikkim Democratic Front president Pawan Chamling on forming the government again in Sikkim. The SKM president has also congratulated all the winning candidates - of SKM and SDF parties.
He also thanked all party workers, voters and everyone for supporting the SKM party. The release adds that with the election process over, the party appeals that peace be maintained in the state and further urges party workers not to panic and instead continue with their work for the people.

The party president also thanked all voters, employees, students, drivers, farmers, laborers, businessmen and others and urged them to keep patient.  

SDF congratulates people of clear mandate issued by them

GANGTOK, 16 May: Sikkim Democratic Front has welcomed the people’s verdict of awarding the Pawan Chamling-led SDF party a fifth consecutive term in government as an endorsement of his good work and service to the people. The party has further added that with this verdict, the people have vanquished “class enemies” and created a new history for Sikkim.
A SDF press release issued by its publicity secretary, Amber Rai states that Elections 2014 were a contest between progressive thinking and regressive elements and underlined that the people have supported the progressive ways of the SDF.
The release adds that the people have endorsed the SDF poll plank of sustaining peace and development in Sikkim and given continuity to the security and rights to the people and to the development in the state. “The party will work respecting this order of the people,” the release adds.
The release adds that the love and trust enjoyed by SDF has been reinforced with this convincing victory which has turned anti-incumbency on its head.
The party has urged the people to now join hands with the new government to take development to new levels in the State.
The party has also thanked all party workers for their hard work which made this victory possible.
The party has also expressed that loss in the elections should not be a source of discouragement or disappointment to the losing candidates or parties and also thanks all leaders and supporters of the opposition parties for taking part in the election process and making this celebration of democracy possible.

The party has congratulated and thanked the administration for the maintenance of law and order to conduct the election process peacefully in the state. 

PD Rai to represent SDF in Lok Sabha

GANGTOK, 16 May: Sikkim Democratic Front tied in the Lok Sabha elections in its favour as well today, with its candidate, PD Rai, the sitting MP, riding SDF return to power and securing 53% of the votes polled. His closest rival, TN Dhakal of the SKM polled 39.5% of the Lok Sabha votes in Sikkim.
In absolute numbers, SDF received 1,63,698 votes.
The runners-up polled 1,21,956 votes.
Interestingly, SDF polled fewer votes in Lok Sabha than its vote-share in Assembly elections [where it polled 55% of the votes at 1,69,986 votes]. These fewer votes, interestingly, did not go to SKM either since SKM’s Mr. Dhakal bagged slightly fewer votes than his party’s performance in the Assemblies – his 1,21,956 votes a shade lower than the 1,26,024 votes that SKM received in assembly elections.
The Lok Sabha voting pattern continued to play different from the assembly elections as BJP pipped Congress to the third post here.
While in the Assembly elections, INC and NOTA were level at 1.4% of the votes, with BJP [which fielded fewer candidates] bagging only 0.7% of the votes at 2,208. In the Lok Sabha contest, NB Khatiwada of BJP came ahead of INC’s Dr. AD Subba.
Mr. Khatiwada bagged 7,279 votes at 2.4% vote share against Dr. Subba’s 7,189 at 2.3%.

4,332 [1.4%] voters for the Lok Sabha took the NOTA option while 2,541 voted for AAP and 1,972 voted TMC.

Bhaichung loses to BJP-GJM combine in Darjeeling

Darjeeling, 16 May: BJP national vice president Surinder Singh Ahluwalia Friday won the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat in northern West Bengal, humbling former Indian soccer captain Bhaichung Bhutia of the Trinamool Congress by 1,96,795 votes.
The Bharatiya Janata Party candidate, who had the backing of the dominant party Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), secured 4,87,564 votes, while Bhaichung had to be satisfied with 2,90,769.

Communist Party of India-Marxist aspirant Saman Pathak finished third, garnering 1,67,069 votes. BJP retained the seat. In 2009, Jaswant Singh was elected from the constituency. 

North goes 2:1 in SDF’s favour WANGCHUK BHUTIA

MANGAN, 16 May: North Sikkim missed joining South and West districts in posting a clean sweep for SDF by a mere 126 votes. Of the three constituencies in North district, SDF won comfortably in two and lost one by 126 votes.
Counting in North Sikkim started with Kabi-Lungchuk from where SDF’s four-term Minister TT Bhutia was taking on SKM’s Ugen Nedup Bhutia. This was always expected to a close contest and the candidates won a round each during counting. In the end though, the SKM candidate won by polling 4,615 of the 8,879 votes cast. Mr. TT Bhutia lost by 126 votes, polling 4,489 votes. Interestingly, the NOTA votes at 152 were more than the victory margin.
The remaining two constituencies of North Sikkim however went convincingly into the SDF kitty with Dzongu getting counted next. Sitting Power Minister Sonam Gyatso Lepcha won convincingly here, polling 4,618 votes against the 2,443 received by SKM’s Dawa Tshering Lepcha.

While Dzongu had been projected as an expected win for SDF, Lachen-Mangan was being seen as too close to call. Sitting MLA, SDF’s Tshering Wangdi Lepcha was going up against SKM’s Samdup Lepcha, who, till the declaration of tickets was an SDF supporter. Here, Mr. Samdup Lepcha led the first round of counting, but then the pattern shifted in SDF’s favour and on final count, Mr. TW Lepcha polled 3,127 votes to post a comfortable win against SKM’s 2,570 votes.

Friday, May 16, 2014

SDF victorious in 13 constituencies, SKM in 3

So far,

1.       Khamdong Singtam, Somnath Poudyal

2.       Dzongu, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha

3.       Barfung, DD Bhutia

4.       Poklok Kamrang, KN Rai

5.       Yuksom Tashiding, Sonam Dadul Bhutia

6.       Yangthang, Chandramaya Subba

7.       Lachen Mangan, Tshering Wangdi Lepcha

8.       Namchi Singithang, Pawan Chamling

9.       Chujachen, Bikram Pradhan

10.   Maneybong Dentam, NK Subba

11.   Melli, Tulsi Devi Rai

12.   Namthang Rateypani, Tilu Gurung

13.   Gnathang Machong, DT Lepcha


1.       Kabi Lungchok, Ugen Nedup Bhutia
2.       West Pendam, Gopal Baraily
3 .    Rhenock, Hemendra Adhikari

People’s mandate gets unveiled today, counting begins at 8 a.m. RANJIT SINGH

GANGTOK, 15 May: It all boils down to today. The country gets a new government, but as far as Sikkim is concerned, the focus of all attention here will be on how the State has decided for itself for the next five years. It’s counting and results declaration day today. The month of being on the campaign trail, speeches, meetings, strategizing, and wooing the public with all means possible all building up to the 16th of May when the report cards will be handed out. It is a secret ballot, so only guesses can be made until the actual counting is done, but what cannot be ignored is that Election 2014 is keeping everyone guessing more than the recent elections and none, save the invested parties, are willing to stick their necks out to make a guess or offer projections on who will take the day today. This, like most recent elections is a two-way battle, so things can get close.
Sikkim had a handsome voter turnout on 12 April, the date of voting, with the voting percentage touching 82%. Out of an electorate of 3.69 lakh voters, about 2.80 lakh turned up to vote for the next government. There were approximately 70,000 first time voters who will decide, in a major way, the outcome of the counting process.
Over 1,200 Electronic Voting Machines, the recipients of the sacred votes have been in the strong rooms ever since, and now, more than a month later, their seals are set to be removed. Counting begins at 8 a.m. Friday starting with the opening of the postal ballots. The counting from the EVMs will begin at 8:30 a.m., half hour after the postal ballots have been opened.
The TNA auditorium for East, the Zilla Bhawan at Mangan in North, Kyongsa Girls Senior Secondary School in West and Namchi Senior Secondary School in South Sikkim are the respective counting centres.
The counting halls have been equipped with a total of 14 tables in two rows of 7 each- One row for counting of Assembly votes and the other row of 7 tables for the parliamentary constituency; the counting of votes for the parliamentary constituency will be held in tandem with that of the assembly constituencies for the respective polling booths.
Another 4 tables have been provided for the counting of postal ballots; two each for assembly and parliamentary constituencies. There is time till 8 a.m. Friday for the remaining postal ballots to arrive in order to be counted.
The Chief Electoral Office has provided for 3 officials to be stationed at each table; they consist of a Counting Supervisor and two counting agents. The Counting Supervisor is a gazetted rank officer while the Counting agents are of the rank of senior accountant/ accountant. Once the votes in the EVM have been counted, the Counting Supervisor tabulates them in the form provided to him. The tabulation is done according to total overall votes and votes per candidate.
Then comes the total number of postal ballots polled which are also tabulated in the same fashion.
Once the counting and tabulation has been completed, an official of the rank of ADC will collect the filled tabulation forms from each table and take them to the Returning Officer. Here again, the figures will be crosschecked. Only then will the election results be declared for the particular constituency. Before that, the RO also has to fill in the figures in the electronic form provided by the Election Commission of India and forward it to the Commission.
It has to be noted here that the counting of postal ballots has to be completed before the counting of votes from the EVMs are completed. In case the counting of postal ballots is not over, the last 2 rounds of counting of votes from the EVM will be delayed till all the postal ballots of that particular constituency have been counted. 
Officials are unwilling to specify the time by when the counting process will be over and the overall results declared; however it is expected that counting should be over by late afternoon of 16 May.
Interestingly, the office of the CEO has made arrangements for the live telecast of the counting process in its office for its officers and staff. From here they can monitor the counting in all the counting halls in the districts. In fact the CEO’s office has also been monitoring the security in the strong rooms in the same way – through webcasting.
Authenticated results will be available on the website and results will also be available on the official website of the east district administration and its Facebook page
As for post poll violence, these can never be written off, and for this purpose, the Sikkim Police has again deployed large number of personnel including SAP and IRBn to various places. It is, however, hoped that there will be no untoward incident and the losing party, as well as the victors, will accept the mandate of the public with humility. The two major parties are informed to have reined in their cadres with directions to maintain peace; more volatile personnel have been told to keep away from the counting centres, it is informed.
Separate arrangements have been made for supporters of SDF and SKM in all the district centres in order to ensure peace. For Gangtok two venues have been provided, the Paljor Stadium for SKM supporters and the Guards Ground for SDF supporters. For West District the segregation is not so absolute. While counting will be done at the Kyongsa School Auditorium, the supporters will be kept at the Kyongsa ground but segregated by a partition. There will be exclusive points of entry for supporters of both parties. Similar arrangement has been at Namchi where the counting will take place at the Namchi Girls’ School. Supporters of both parties will be at the school ground but segregated by a partition.

Also provided are security personnel at each counting venue who will be deployed in 3 cordons. The inner most cordon will be manned by central forces, the middle cordon by SAP and IRBn personnel and the outermost cordon by the Sikkim Police. 

Three major slides between Ratey Chu and Selep troubling water supply RESTORATION WORKS UNDERWAY - ANAND OBEROI

GANGTOK, 15 May: For almost a month now, water supply in Gangtok and surrounding areas has been frequently disrupted owing to the onset of the pre-monsoon rains combined with high velocity winds and hail stones. Three major slides - at 11.4 km, 9.2 km and 4.4 km - along the 15 kilometer stretch from the main source at Ratey Chu to the reservoir at Selep has left the Water Security & Public Health Engineering Department workforce trying hard to ensure supply at least once a day to taps in the capital.
Official sources inform that the department responded immediately to such damages and is working on a war-footing in dangerous conditions to restore water supply. Two teams of the PHE have been stationed at 4th Mile and 8th Mile respectively to respond instantly to any situation that could disrupt supply to Gangtok.
“These teams are working 24x7 in conditions which are life threatening. Restoring water pipes amidst falling boulders and incessant rains is not an easy task but still these men are working day and night to deliver water supply at least once a day to Gangtok,” stated an official of the PHE.
It is also informed that the restoration works are taking longer than usual because of the terrain has become unstable because of the 2011 earthquake. The landscape has changed drastically and the hills have become fragile making the entire restoration work process a tenuous battle against nature.
Further, heavy cracks on the rock faces along the water source give way frequently, destroying the repaired water supply lines on a daily basis. Heavy rains in the catchment area is also a serious concern for the many working at the sites.
“It is a very difficult situation for the work force to actually negotiate the terrain, repair the water pipes and see it getting destroyed with fresh spells of rains. And not only the rains, even when it is sunny, brittle rock faces give way and are creating havoc for the workers,” added the PHE official.
He went on to add that once the water supply is restored, the first priority of the PHE is to fill-up the Selep reservoir, treat the muddy water and then release it to the various other water tanks in and around the capital. He also states that the repair works cannot be carried out effectively in the dark; however the work force stationed at the two locations have done their best to maintain supply so that Gangtok receives supply at least once a day.
“The intake at the main source at Ratey Chu is being choked almost on a daily basis due to the debris of the flowing river. Moreover, the high velocity winds have uprooted trees and resulted in numerous mud slips and minor landslides which is dislocating and disturbing the raw water line of Gangtok water supply,” informs the official.
In the meantime, the department has appealed to the general public that restoration works could take some more time and that the water supply could be less than the normal quantity thus all consumers should bear with the department and use water judiciously during the monsoon season because the system is prone to be affected by natural causes during this period.

Monitoring committee meeting for Wadi Project held in West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 15 May: Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) West Sikkim conducted 3rd Project Monitoring and Implementation Committee meeting today for Integrated Tribal Development Project being implemented at different villages of Soreng subdivision. The project implemented by KVK, West Sikkim is sponsored by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
A press release informs that the project covered major components of Horticulture Development, Capacity Building, Community Health, Child Care and Women Development. The project has covered 357 households during 2013-14. The meeting chaired by Additional Director, FS&ADD, NT Bhutia was attended by Vasant Sarbodekar [AGM NABARD], Dr. Laxuman Sharma [Programme Coordinator, KVK West Sikkim], Uttam Saikia [APM, NABARD], Arun Sharma [ADO, Soreng], Bhison Pradhan [Project Officer], Subject Matter Specialists, Rinchen Denzongpa, Dr. Rinchen Ongmoo, Rohini Silwal, representative of BAC and the Field Staff.
During the meeting, Dr. Laxuman Sharma presented the annual progress report of the project and proposed the new action plan. Major issue of convergence of all the government schemes at the tribal villages, Financial Inclusions,  awareness on major schemes of NABARD and other central government schemes and subsidy, formation of Farmers Organization for regulating market chain of major cash crops, formation of self help groups and linking them with livelihood projects were discussed in detail in the meeting.

The committee has recommended the proposal of extending 100 households in the project for the financial year 2014-15, the release informs. 

‘Teesta Bongthing’ Passes Away, a Tradition Ends SD TSHERING

Bongthing Pem Tshering, popularly known as “Teesta Bongthing”, passed away at his home in Chakra Basti above Teesta bazaar in West Bengal on Wednesday. His funeral is scheduled for 16 May. The death of the Teesta Bongthing brings to an end a very rich tradition of Lepcha Bongthings who were specially trained to perform special prayers for Sikkim. The death of Khangchendzonga Bongthing some years back left a vacuum that cannot be filled and with the death of the Teesta Bongthing the era of worship of Khangchendzonga and rituals associated with Pang Lhabsol have come to an end.
The Teesta Bongthing clan had been performing the puja dedicated to Yabdu, the guardian of Sikkim’s Southern Gate [at Kalijhora], during Pang Lhabsol when the guardian deities of Sikkim are propitiated. Both, the Khangchendzonga as well as the Teesta Bongthing were given the duty of performing the pujas for all deities of the mountains and the plains for the benefit of Sikkim and its people. Generations of these Bongthings continued their duty even after the fall of the monarchy and even though they never received any special treatment or financial help from the government for their services.
Prayers dedicated to Khangchendzonga and Teesta are an important part of the Pang Lhabsol puja, but neither Bongthings ever came into limelight for their important service until recently when their contributions were remembered and they were felicitated by the Tsuglakhang Trust last year [the Khangchendzonga Bongthing posthumously]. The only attention given to them was during the Chogyal’s time when the king paid special attention to them during Pang Lhabsol. Though both Bongthings died in penury, they remained true to their tasks despite the neglect and their poor economic condition.
It is a sad day for Sikkim since from now on there will be no one to offer prayers in the traditional way to the guardian deities of Sikkim for their protection. The death of the Teesta Bongthing in such privation also portrays the neglect of the people and government of Sikkim in preserving an important aspect of the rich heritage of Sikkim. The government spends lakhs of rupees on Pang Lhabsol celebrations every year but the real people like Khangchendzonga and Teesta bongthings who have dedicated their lives to performing the pujas die penniless and forgotten.
[The writer is Director General cum Secretary, Department of Economics, Statistics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Government of Sikkim]

Road safety awareness for students

GANGTOK, 15 May: 85 students from 11 schools participated in a road safety awareness programme organised by Rongli Police Station at Chujachen Sr. Sec. School on 09 May.

Meeting on pre-monsoon preparedness held at Chungthang

MANGAN, 15 May: A meeting on pre-monsoon preparedness was held in the chamber of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Chungthang on 14 May. The meeting was attended by Chungthang Zilla Panchayat; Bop Panchayat; GVA/Chungthang; AE/GVK, Chungthang; Headmaster, Tasa Tengay Government Secondary School; Incharge/Chungthang Gurudwara; Representatives from Power Department, GICI, ICDS, GREF, Forest Department, Bazaar Committee, Health Department, Horticulture Department, Teesta-Urja, SEW, NEC and Him-Urja.
SDM, ST Tashi apprised all of the need for proper coordination among all, at all times, and especially during times of natural calamities. He stressed on the need for quick response and also for each to step-up and take responsibility in tackling emergency situations.

The meeting discussed various issues and passed directions: all Panchayats/Pipons were requested to report immediately regarding natural calamity in their area jurisdictions; all QRT members were directed to submit daily report regarding natural disasters/calamities to SDM, Chungthang; Report regarding treatment of drinking water supply to be submitted by AE/PHED, Chungthang; steps to prevent contamination of drinking water sources to be taken by AE/GVK, Chungthang; debris and muck in various irrigation Channels in the Sub-Division to be cleared by Sub- Divisional Irrigation Department; presence of stray animals, especially in Chungthang bazaar, to be controlled by Forest Department assisted by Panchayats of Chungthang GPU; problem of stray dogs in and around Chungthang bazaar to be taken care of by Chungthang Veterinary Department; a joint team from Forest Department, Power Department and Panchayats/Pipons to conduct a survey regarding possibility of removal, as per norms, of potentially dangerous over-hanging trees over power lines, public and private properties and submit report; maintenance of adequate stock of medicines, especially for combating water-borne diseases by PHC, Chungthang and Army 417 Field Ambulance, Deorali; adequate stock of rice, sugar, kerosene oil and other essential items to be managed by In-Charge, Food and Civil Supplies Department; Chungthang Divisional Engineer, Power Department to take measures to prevent occurrence of electric short-circuits; all blocked drains and jhoras along the road-side at Lachen, Lachung, Chungthang and Toong-Naga to be cleared by GREF (86RCC and 107RCC). Further, AE/GVK, Chungthang, in collaboration with concerned Panchayats and Pipons, to do the same in various Wards; Blockages, especially at vulnerable spots along the highway at Naga, Supply-Khola, Kalapathar, Bop Veterinary Farm and Khedum to be immediately cleared by GREF (86RCC and 107 RCC); Disaster rescue teams to be formed by Panchayats/Pipons for every ward and list to be submitted to SDM/Chungthang; and a cleanliness drive (Safai Abhiyan) at Chungthang to be organized in the first week of June.

Counting to begin with postal ballots

GANGTOK, 15 May: It will be postal ballots with which the counting begins today. At 8 am sharp the counting will kick off with the opening of the first postal ballot. Counting of postal ballots for the sole parliamentary constituency and for assembly constituencies will take place simultaneously with two tables each being provided for Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies.
While most postal ballots have arrived and are in the process of being collated and recorded by the respective Returning Officers, there is still time till 8 a.m., 16 May for any remaining postal ballots to arrive in order to be valid for counting.
Postal ballots are for service personnel who are engaged in election duty in the state as well as outside Sikkim; the postal ballots are also for those government officers who are deployed on election duty to various parts of the state. The total strength of postal ballots for the entire state is 11,850.
As of now the total number of postal ballots received for the single Parliamentary Constituency of Sikkim is 10,361. These will be opened at the East District counting room at TNA. The district wise break up for the parliamentary postal ballots is 1,719 for West, 735 for North, 2,751 for South and 5,205 for East District. Others make up for 1942 of the postal ballots to take the total to 10,361.
As per figures available for assembly constituencies in East District the total number of postal ballots received so far is at 4,303, the highest number for all the 4 districts. These include ballots cast by service personnel as well as officials on election duty. There are 52 postal ballots for Sangha voters in East District.
The highest number of postal ballots is from Chujachen followed by Gnathang Machong and Rhenock. West Pendam has the least number of postal ballots at 211; Gangtok has 250 postal ballots as of now and those received for Upper Burtuk is at 385 as of now.

The postal ballots received till date for constituencies of North district is 640 as of now with those for Kabi Lungchok at 305, Dzongu at 171 and Lachen Mangan at 154. Postal ballots for constituencies in West District are currently at 2392. Figures for South district were not available. 

3 SATA members confirm participation in 7th Asian Senior Poomsae Taekwondo C’ship

GANGTOK, 15 May: Three senior members of Sikkim Amateur Taekwondo Association [SATA] have sent their confirmation to the Taekwondo Federation of India (Bangalore) regarding their participation in the 7th Asian Senior Poomsae Taekwondo championship.
A SATA release informs that Sabitri Pradhan from Sikkim Police will represent India in the 1st. Master Women Individual event and Pair event with Master Trilok Subba. Amit Pradhan from SSB and Ganga Ram Pradhan from SAP, Pangthang will take part in the Senior team event with Master Trilok Subba. They are undergoing rigorous training at the MCM Dojang, Gangtok.
They were selected on the basis of their medal winning performance in the 6th. Senior National Poomsae championship 2013 held at Imphal, Manipur, the release informs.
The 7th Asian Senior Poomsae Taekwondo Championship will be held on 25 May 2014 at Tashkent, Uzbekistan and the championship is being organised by Asian Taekwondo Union (ATU) under the banner of World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). SATA has wished them good luck for the championship, the release adds.

Governor’s State Day greetings

GANGTOK, 15 May: On the occasion of Sikkim’s 40th State Day, Governor Shriniwas Patil has extended heartiest greetings and good wishes to the people of Sikkim.
The Governor conveys, “On this historic day, 40 years ago, the people of Sikkim witnessed the dawn of democracy as they decided to be a part of democratic India. The wise choice of people has found vindication in overall prosperity, progress and well being that the people of the state have achieved over these years. The peaceful transition of Sikkim into a democratic jewel of Eastern India has demonstrated the unwavering faith of Sikkimese people in the ideals of democracy”.
The Governor further said, “On this day, let’s renew our pledge to work with greater commitment and conviction for the betterment of the state in true democratic spirit, which our founders of democracy had envisioned when they led Sikkim to take this historic decision. I urge my fellow Sikkimese to join hands for the realisation of that vision duly preserving the identity of Sikkim as a land of peace, progress and prosperity in the years to come”.


Five teams survive Super-10 knock-out stage
GANGTOK, 15 May: Tadong United FC edged past FA Namthang in the last match of the Super 10 knock out stage today in the ongoing Second Division Sikkim-League qualifying round here at Paljor Stadium. In the contesting match played today, Tadong United won the match in a tie-breaker.
FA Namthang finished the first half with a 1-0 lead. In the dying minutes of the second half, Tadong United scored the crucial equalizer and the match ended in 1-1 draw.
In the tie-breaker through penalty shots, Tadong United registered its victory with 5 goals against 3 goals by FA Namthang. With this loss, FA Namthang has also been knocked out from the qualifying round.
With the end of the Super 10 knock-out stage, five teams have emerged as winners who will now again be playing league matches from 18 May. These five teams are Sikkim Royal Sports Academy, Pendam Football Club, JVC FA Singtam, Brotherhood FC and Tadong United FC.

On 18 May, the first league match will be played between Sikkim Royal Sports Academy and Pendam FA which will be followed by another match between Brotherhood FC and Tadong United FC. 

Two-day Handicraft Fair concludes

GANGTOK, 15 May: An exhibition cum sale of traditional handicrafts ‘Handicraft Fair-2014’ was jointly organized by Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department, Government of Sikkim and Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Kolkata in collaboration with Sikkim Rural Development Agency (SRDA), Government of Sikkim on 13 and 14 May, 2014 at Khangchendzonga Shopping Complex, Gangtok.
A press release informs that the inaugural function was attended by the Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department, Government of Sikkim, Secretary, RMDD, CEO, SRLM/RMDD, Additional Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Cultural Affairs & Heritage and officials from the concerned Departments.
A wide range of products from Handloom, Handicraft & Metallurgy were displayed by the artisans. The exhibition was held mainly to showcase traditional handicraft and also to facilitate marketing of the products.

15 Self Help Groups from all the four districts participated in the two-day exhibition. Certificates were also awarded to the artisans by the Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department. 

When People Speak, Listen

Before it is time for the evening tea today, the people’s verdict for the next five years will be clear. There will celebrations in some corners, dejection in others; and surprises and shocks as rejections and endorsements are dished out in ample measure. Psephology is a very uncertain science when applied to our country and speculations on what the EVMs hold are best made in private, but what is certain though is that the State government for the next term, irrespective of the seat-share, will be one voted into power by the most number of Sikkimese, ever. The voter count has gone up substantially since 2009, and the voter turnout has held steady at around 82%, as a result, 2.80 lakh people cast their votes on 12 April 2014. Compare this with the 76,299 voters who elected the first Bhandari-led Government in Sikkim in 1979, or even the 1,78,023 who voted in 1994 [when the first SDF Government was elected], and the scale of endorsement that the new government will enjoy becomes apparent. In a country where governments are being formed by opportunistic alliances and slim shares of the now-finally-warming-up voter response, Sikkim will again have a government that most of its adults [82%] decided to have a share in electing to power. And this should be the message that underlines the verdict that Sikkim posts today.
Once the elections results are declared, analysis and commentary will start pouring out from the woodwork. There will also be allegations ranging from condemnations of communal voting patterns to intimidation and definitely some imaginative suggestions in line with some of the hilariously puerile arguments that the campaign trail in Sikkim was littered with. That is expected, because politics has not yet matured to the level of giving Sikkim sporting losers or even gracious victors [except in clean sweep scenarios]. The rumour mill is already suggesting that the post-verdict scenario will not necessarily have victors as magnanimous as is easy to be in victory. Let’s hope that the whisper brigade is wrong once again in Sikkim. What needs to be borne in mind is that Elections 2014, even if the campaigning was a tad boring when it comes to debating issues and too vitriolic when it came to running down opponents, was the strongest celebration of democracy in Sikkim thus far. The campaigning was peaceful even if the pre-campaign days were violent, and the polling passed without any untoward incident. Most of the ingredients required for a healthy democracy were noticeably present – the number of candidates was respectable enough even though the contest was essentially two-way and the expressions of support open and loud confirming a maturing democratic space, and as mentioned, the voter turnout the highest ever in Sikkim. These factors deserve universal celebration, cutting across party lines in Sikkim. While this celebration is underway, let us also bear in mind that when so many free citizens express themselves, unanimity is not always possible; majority opinion will definitely be there, but unanimity might not only not be possible, but is perhaps not even healthy. Democracy requires a certain amount of dissent to stay sharp and healthy itself and also keep governments responsive and responsible.

Now, to see how Sikkim has spoken. And for those who care to listen, remember, this is the time for celebrations, irrespective of victory or loss, not the moment to settle scores or even dish out rewards. This is also the moment to listen and understand what the people have said through the EVMs.

Tourist killed in road mishap

GANGTOK, 15 May: One tourist was killed when a taxi ferrying tourists from Baba Mandir to Gangtok met with an accident at 20th Mile, Chipsu. There were eleven tourists in the vehicle including three minor children. One of the tourist succumbed to injuries on the spot while other ten occupants escaped with injuries. The injured, including the driver have been admitted at CRH Manipal. One of the injured is in the ICU and the others are under medical observation. The case is under investigation.

ITBP personnel injured in road mishap at Ambithang

GANGTOK, 15 May: Three persons were injured when a vehicle belonging to ITBP met with an accident at Ambithang, North Sikkim on 14 May. The injured were forwarded to District Hospital, Mangan for medical treatment. A case under section 279/337/338 IPC has been registered against the driver of the vehicle and is under investigation.


GANGTOK, 15 May: A 42-year-old man has reportedly committed suicide by hanging on 14 May at Chakung in West Sikkim. The deceased was a resident of Lepcha Gaon, Chakung and was found hanging in the bedroom by his wife. She had gone to visit a neighbor when her husband hung himself. The dead body has been forwarded to the District Hospital Gyalshing for autopsy. No foul play has been detected.

Gangtok Central Dojang runner-up in Janki Das Subba Memorial Spring Taekwondo C’ship

GANGTOK, 15 May: Gangtok Central Dojang lifted the runner-up trophy of the team championship in the 5th Janki Das Subba Memorial (JDSM) Spring Taekwondo Championship which was held on 11 May at Kalimpong. A press release informs that more than hundred participants from Gangtok, Namchi, Uttarey and Kalimpong took part in this championship.
The gold medal winners from Gangtok Central Dojang were Bindya Jairu, Peggyla Bhutia, Yogendra Rai and Ritu Rai. The silver medal winners were Namgyal Tshering Ladingpa, Sandhya Saha, Ekta Sharma, Sabina Gurung and Puja Dhimal. The bronze medal winners were Vesu Rai, Kapil Gurung, Chultim Palmu Bhutia, Devi Maya Sharma, Roshan and Md. Azmal.

The team was led by Bijoy Gurung, Sanjay Subba along with Suman Tamang, Phurba Sherpa and Dipen Rai while Rinchen Dorji Kazi of Gangtok Central Dojang was appointed as technical official, the release mentions. 

Sikkim bodybuilders to take part in Senior Nationals

GANGTOK, 15 May: A three-member Sikkim State Body Building Association team is taking part in the 54th edition of Senior National Bodybuilding & 9th Women Fitness Championship 2014 scheduled to be held at Aurangabad in Maharashtra from 21 to 23 May.
The state team has Arun Gurung, Tika Ram Pradhan and Navin Pradhan, who will be accompanied by National Judges, IB Gurung, Sunil Gurung and Rabin Pradhan. The team is scheduled to leave on 18 May for the championship.

It is informed that around 500 bodybuilders and 150 officials from across the country are participating in the championship.  

Election 2014 Counting update

So far SDF has won in 7 constituencies of the state while SKM has won in 3 constituencies.

SDF has taken Khamdong Singtam [Somnath Poudyal], Dzongu [Sonam Gyatso Lepcha], Barfung [DD Bhutia], Poklok Kamrang [KN Rai], Yuksom Tashiding [Sonam Dadul Bhutia], Yangthang [Chandra Maya Subba], Lachen Mangan [Tshering Wangdi Lepcha].

SKM has Kabi Lungchok [Ugen Nedup Bhutia], West Pendam [Gopal Baraily] and Rhenock [Hemendra Adhikari]

Lok Sabha
Till 12 34 pm today, SDF had 54.2 % [50,782] of votes followed by SKM with 37.7% [36,226]. AAP and SPTMC have got less than the NOTA share i.e 1.5% [1369]

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Finally in the offing - Ban on trucks carrying protruding loads HIGH COURT ASKS DGP FOR ACTION TAKEN REPORT AND PROPOSED ACTION RANJIT SINGH

GANGTOK, 13 May: Travelling along the roads and highways of Sikkim is set to become safer with the likelihood of a ban on goods carriers carrying protruding rods, poles and other such materials which endanger motorists and pedestrians alike.
Constructions materials such as iron rods and poles which extend beyond the rear end of a goods carrying vehicle are known to have been the cause of thousands of accidents and deaths across India. In this regard, the High Court of Sikkim has taken note of a petition filed by SaveLife Foundation, New Delhi for directions to the authorities to enforce a ban on goods carriers carrying construction materials such as rods and poles which extend beyond 1 metre of the rear-end of the vehicle.
In fact, the Court has sought a compliance report from the concerned agencies, namely the Transport Department and the DGP, Sikkim Police, on banning goods carriers from carrying protruding material beyond 1 metre as notified by the central ministry.
The petition, a public interest litigation, was filed in the court in April by the Foundation’s head, Piyush Tiwari. Taking note of it, the High Court had admitted the petition and sought response from the State government agencies particularly the Transport Department which is the concerned agency which looks into and governs all matters concerning motor vehicles.
In fact it needs to be noted that the central government, through the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had issued a notification on 05 March, 2014, by which it withdrew the provision in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 which allowed goods carriers to extend their load consisting of poles or rods or indivisible load. Trucks could now carry such loads only “…so long as the projecting part or parts do not exceed the distance of 1 metre beyond the rear most point of the motor vehicle”.
This is a recent notification, the draft of which was published by the Ministry in October 2013 inviting objections and suggestions. As there were none forthcoming the notification came into effect from 05 March, 2014. SaveLife Foundation has sought that this notification be given immediate effect in the state of Sikkim as well. It also claims that such practice by goods carriers by which they are allowed to carry such rods and poles which extend beyond their rear has caused many accidents and deaths.

In light of the notification issued by the Union Ministry and the letter petition submitted, the High Court had sought a compliance report from the concerned department. On 09 May, the last date of hearing, the state Transport Department filed its compliance report which the division bench of the high court took on record. However, the court made it known that it wanted the action taken report and proposed action to be taken by the Director General of Police by way of an affidavit in this regard.  A time period of three weeks has been allowed for this. 

Wushu team prepped for 8th NE Open Martial Arts c’ship

GANGTOK, 14 May: A nine-member Sikkim Amateur Wushu Association [SAWA] team is all set to represent Sikkim in the 8th North East Open Martial Art Championship to be held at Imphal in Manipur from 17 to 20 May. The state team accompanied by Binita Rai as coach and OS Singh as manager will be leaving on Thursday for the championship.
The team has Som Bahadur Tamang in 65 kg, Badal Rai in 60 kg, Dinesh Rai in 56 kg and Ashu Lama in 60 kg of junior category, while the sub-junior category has Rakesh Singh in 48 kg, Yogesh Chettri in 36 kg, Ashish Gupta in 40 kg, Arjun Tamang in 32 kg and Royal Gurung in 40 kg.
Mr Singh informed that in the last edition of the championship at Kokrajhar in Assam, Binita Rai and Arjun Tamang had won Best Fighter trophies for the state and this time also all martial artists were all set to win more medals for the state.

Final training on counting process in West Sikkim

GYALSHING, 13 May [IPR]: A second and final round of training with the Micro-Observers, Supervisors and Assistants for the Counting Day was held at Community Hall, Gyalshing on 12 May.
General Observer for West district, Anwaruddin Chaudhary, in his brief address urged the officials to be sound with the rules and regulations of the counting process framed by the ECI to avoid any mistake and hoped that the counting of votes will end without any incident.
RO, West, Tshewang Gyachho appealed to the trainees to be cautious and steady during the counting process and report to him immediately in case any confusion arises.
SDM, Gyalshing, Jigme W Bhutia as a resource person gave a power point presentation on the various “Dos & Don’ts” of the counting process. Hands-on training on EVM counting was also imparted to the trainees.

State Day function to be brief, awards ceremony to be held later

GANGTOK, 13 May: This year’s State Day function will be a brief one, with the awards ceremony postponed for a later date. Since the counting of votes for the general elections 2014 is also to be held on the same day [Friday], the State government has postponed the conferring of the State Civilian Awards, officials inform.  
The State Day function will be held at Chintan Bhawan in a brief function of around one hour and is expected to be addressed by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Governor Shriniwas Patil.
The programme is scheduled to begin at 9AM and conclude by 9:45 AM.
Home Secretary MG Kiran informed that it has been decided that the State Civilian Awards will be conferred after the formation of the new government. This year, 37 persons will be conferred the State Awards.

Golay confident that SKM will form next govt in Sikkim

GANGTOK, 13 May: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha president PS Tamang [Golay] chaired a workshop for the party’s contesting candidates, counting agents and other poll related functionaries yesterday.
Speaking at the programme, Mr. Tamang said that his party was fully prepared to accept the responsibility of governing the state when they emerge victorious on 16 May.
He added that in the unlikely event that they do not manage to get a simple majority, SKM would play the role of a responsible opposition and fight for the rights of the Sikkimese people, an SKM press release informs.
Addressing the party’s candidates he stated that SKM was a cadre-based party and behind every candidate was the hard work and sacrifice of many others because of whom the party is strong today. He asked the candidates to take upon themselves the responsibility of working and holding together all the party workers.
Mr Tamang said that there is no doubt that SKM would be forming the next government and asked all the candidates to be humble should they win and serve the people sincerely. Should SKM form the government, they must bring all Sikkimese people together and not discriminate against opposition supporters in any way, he added.
“SKM will teach SDF what respect of opposition means,” the release quotes Mr. Tamang as saying.
The SKM president also appealed to all party workers and supporters to maintain peace at all costs after the results are declared. He said that SKM will take upon itself the responsibility to ensure that there is no violence and that peace prevails.
However, he said that facing certain defeat, SDF party is making full preparation to disturb peace in the state and indulge in violence. “They may set fire to their own vehicles, stone their own houses and assault innocent people and blame us for it,” he said.
Mr Tamang has asked all party workers to work closely with the police and administration to ensure SDF does not succeed in this conspiracy, the release adds.

SDF scoffs at SKM’s victory ‘daydreams’

GANGTOK, 14 May: Sikkim Democratic Front has said that the claim of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha president PS Tamang [Golay] of his party having already won the 2014 election was “just wishful thinking”. Mr. Tamang had made this announcement at an SKM meeting held at Baiguney on Tuesday.
SDF has said that the claim of the SKM party and the decision of the people of Sikkim are two different things.
An SDF press release states that such wishful thinking should be kept to oneself and not shared with others. Instead of preparing to form the government, Mr. Tamang should be preparing to accept defeat in the elections, the party has said.
SDF asked for votes to continue the series of developmental works in the state but SKM asked for votes after spreading unrest, committing murders and other kinds of violence, the release alleges.
It is further stated that the SDF party went to poll on the basis of issues in the interest of the people, peace, security and development but all SKM had were photocopies of SDF’s programmes and issues. In this context, SKM’s claim cannot be taken seriously, the party states.
SDF has alleged that Mr. Tamang has shown distrust in people’s decision and votes by keeping his people to guard the EVMs which were already placed under strong security. After all this, any allegations of rigging after the results are announced would be unacceptable, the release highlights.
The party has also dismissed Mr. Tamang’s allegation of the SDF party planning post poll violence in the state as baseless. Stating that SDF believes in non-violence, the party has in turn alleged that Mr Golay could incite his party workers towards violence on losing the election.
SDF party has urged its party workers to stay alert after the counting process and to avoid any post poll violence and also to keep the people safe.

Visitors caught smuggling drugs into Rongyek jail

GANGTOK, 13 May: Sadar Police arrested two persons for attempting to smuggle contraband substances into the Sikkim State Prison at Rongyek. The banned substances in powder form were hidden inside two detachable toothbrushes meant for the inmates of the State Prison, the Sikkim Police online page informs. However, the alert prison staff while checking the materials seized the contraband substances and intimated Sadar Police. The two involved persons have been arrested and the case is under investigation. 

SDF group lobbies for RN Chamling as Rangrang-Yangang in-charge

GANGTOK, 14 May: Sikkim Democratic Front’s Panchayat members and party workers from Rangrang-Yangang constituency were in the capital today, convening a press conference to lobby for RN Chamling to be appointed in-charge of the constituency.
SDF party president, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling is contesting from Rangrang-Yangang and Namchi-Singithang constituencies and can retain only one of the two if he wins from both seats. The SDF delegation in town today was confident that Mr. Chamling will win from both constituencies and SDF will sweep the elections.
The group is requesting that RN Chamling, Mr. Pawan Chamling’s brother, be made in-charge of the constituency if the CM retains the Rangrang-Yangang seat. In case the party president chooses to retain the Namchi-Singithang seat instead, then they want RN Chamling to be given the party ticket for the bye-elections from Rangrang-Yangang.
Addressing a press conference today, SDF CEC member, Dil Hang Subba said that the people of the area are fortunate and happy about getting Pawan Chamling as their candidate this time. He added that the area will reach new levels of development under the leadership of the SDF party president.
Mr. Subba added that since the party president will have the responsibility of the whole state and its people [as the CM], the people of the area want RN Chamling to be appointed in-charge of the constituency.
It was informed that a delegation of around 150 vehicles had earlier submitted this demand to the party office and the party president as well. The conference was also addressed by other panchayat members and people of the area.

Second round training for counting agents in North

MANGAN, 13 May: Second round training for the counting agents was held here at conference hall, DAC, Pentok in the presence of the RO, North, T N Kazi while ARO, Raj Yadav imparted the said training.
During the technical session, Mr. Yadav explained in detail about the objectives of counting of votes as provided by the Election Commission to the counting agents. It may be added here that similar training session was conducted on 07 May.
On the same day, segregation of postal ballots was also done in the presence of RO, North and representatives of all political parties at the DC's chamber.

Segregation of postal ballot papers and sealing in North district

MANGAN, 13 May: Segregation of postal ballot papers and sealing process of North district was held at District Magistrate (N) office, North district today in the presence of RO, TN Kazi, ARO, Raj Yadav, SDM Dzongu and all political party representatives. Ballot papers of other districts will be dispatched under the supervision of election department and party representatives on 14 May.
The total number of postal ballot papers received and segregated till today for Assembly and Sangha elections, constituency wise is Kabi-Lungchok (305), Dzongu (170), Lachen-Mangan (154) and Sangha (11). Similarly, the total numbers of postal ballot papers received for Lok Sabha (Parliamentary) elections till today is 735.

It was informed to all the political parties that the postal ballot papers will be received till 16 May upto 8 am, after which no ballot papers will be accepted. The party representatives have been told to be in the District Collector’s office on 15 May by 2 30 pm for the inclusion of postal ballots received from other districts of the state.

Namchi Taekwondo team wins 16 medals at Kalimpong tourney

NAMCHI, 14 May: Namchi Taekwondo Dojang team bagged 16 medals (4 gold, 5 silver and 7 bronze) in the 5th Janki Das Subba Memorial (JDSM) Spring Taekwondo Championship 2014 held in Kalimpong on 11 May. The Championship was organised by JDSM Taekwondo Dojang under the banner of Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI) and World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).
The 14-member team of Namchi Taekwondo Dojang was led by Coach Pradeep Mukhia. The medal winners are Tajel Lal Singh [bronze], Smitika Sharma [silver], Ashimita Chettri [bronze], six-year-old Ashlesha Sharma [bronze] and Shawan Gurung [gold] in Sub-Junior Category.
In Junior Girls, Priyadarshini Jyoti Baniya won one gold and one bronze, Shina Gurung won a silver medal and Pranisha Gurung won bronze. In Junior Boys, Pawandeep Rai won silver and bronze. In Senior Girls,  Sudha Pradhan won one gold, silver and bronze while in Senior Boys, Pema Gyacho Sherpa won one gold and silver.
The judges for the championship were Sunil Biswakarma, Black Belt 1st Dan, Kajol Chettri, Black Belt 1st Dan, Amit Pradhan, Black Belt 1st Dan and the officials from NTD.

Mother’s Day surprise

GANGTOK, 13 May: This Mother’s Day, Saraswati Pradhan was treated to a pleasant surprise when she saw a hoarding of herself with her daughter, Prity Pradhan, on the highway near CRH Tadong. The hoarding was part of DDB Mudra Group’s campaign to surprise Mothers of its employees on Mother’s Day. Prity works for DDB Mudra Group in Bangalore.
A press release informs that the Outdoor campaign was directed towards Mothers who don’t live in the same city as their kids. OOH hoardings/ billboards were picked in the city in which the employee’s mother resides, and a special message by the DDB Mudra Group, thanking her for bringing up a star, was put up for all to see.

Promoters picked up moms from the cities, and brought them to the location of the hoarding.  Their reactions were also captured and uploaded on Youtube, the release adds.

Melli residents irked by frequent power cuts

NAMCHI, 14 May: Frequent power cuts have left the people of Melli and its surrounding areas like Sadam, Turuk, Melli Dara, Payong unhappy with their daily lives getting adversely affected. These areas have been experiencing frequent power cuts over the past two months.
Although such power cuts are being done to prevent any serious damage during heavy rainfall and thunderstorms, power is cut even when there is just a slight drizzle. For the past two weeks it has been observed that there is a power cut even when there is normal weather. This has especially affected students and the impact is also being felt by poultry farmers in Melli. Residents and farmers of Melli and surrounding areas feel that the concerned department is not responding properly to this problem.
When contacted, the Assistant Engineer, Melli, informs that there is no problem of frequent power cuts in Melli and surrounding places. He informs that the station cuts power only during heavy rainfall and thunderstorms or when repairs need to be undertaken. Moreover, their office has not received any complaints from the public and has invited complaints if any areas are suffering from extensive, unexplained power cuts.

Demonstration of Hand Pollination Techniques in Kiwifruit held in West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 14 May: In an initiative to promote kiwifruit production in West Sikkim, a ‘Demonstration of Hand Pollination Techniques in Kiwifruit’ was jointly organized by the Horticulture Department and ICAR Sikkim Centre on 13 May for kiwifruit growers of Chumbong, West Sikkim.
The programme was held under the guidance of Khorlo Bhutia [Principal Director, Horticulture and Cash Crop Development Department] and Dr. R.K. Avasthe [Joint Director, ICAR Sikkim Centre].
Inaugurating the program, Jagdish Pradhan [Joint Director, Horticulture and Cash Crop Development Department, Govt. of Sikkim] highlighted the importance of kiwifruit as high value cash crop and emphasized that this jointly organized program by state department and ICAR will be very effective in transfer of horticultural technologies among the farming community and farmers shall be able to produce large quantity of kiwifruit for domestic as well as export purpose.
Dr. H. Kalita [Principal Scientist, Entomology] presented the overview of the program and its signficance for the region. He also discussed the role of pollinators in kiwifruit and organic pest management in kiwifruit.
Dr. Ashish Yadav [Senior Scientist, Horticulture] detailed the organic kiwifruit production techniques in Sikkim and practically demonstrated the hand pollination techniques in kiwifruit to the progressive farmers of West Sikkim at ICAR Research Farm.
Dr. R. Gopi [Scientist, Plant Pathology] shared information on disease and pest management in kiwifruit under organic production system and also proposed vote of thanks.
Avinash, Yamuna Pandey and Geetanjali assisted actively in organizing the whole programme.
Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh are leading producers of kiwifruit in India. In Sikkim, West Sikkim is taking lead in its area and production where it is growing well in Rinchenpong, Deythang, Soreng and Chumbong areas. The ICAR Sikkim Centre is playing a vital role in strengthening the technological backstopping to increase horticulture production in the state.