Friday, June 13, 2014

SAGA DAWA RALLY IN NAMCHI: Namdroling Monastery at Boomtar in Namchi organized a candlelight rally on Thursday evening as part of Saga Dawa even celebrations. The rally started from Namdroling Monastery and converged at Central Park and was attended by monks and a large number of followers.

Comprehensive Education Loan scheme footprint increases eightfold in seven years

GANGTOK, 12 June: From just 46 students in 2007-08 who took out loans under the Comprehensive Education Loan Scheme on its launch year for further studies within and outside the country, the number of students availing this loan to pursue educational prospects elsewhere has grown eight-fold to around 508 students in 2011-12 and 431 in 2012-13.
It might be informed that the Comprehensive Education Loan Scheme under the capacity building programme of the government of Sikkim has been designed to provide educational loans to students desiring to pursue their studies in technical/ professional courses and in post graduation courses in India and abroad. The quantum of finance is subject to repaying capacity of the parents and students stands at Rs. 10 lakh for studies within Sikkim, Rs. 12 lakh for studies within India and Rs. 15 lakh for students who want to study abroad.
The loan is disbursed by Sikkim Industrial Development & Investment Corporation [SIDICO] Limited, a government of Sikkim undertaking.
The number of students having taken this loan to study abroad has risen from 19 in 2007-08 to 42 in 2008-09, 35 in 2009-10 and 14 again in 2012-13. A total of 132 students have been gone abroad for further studies with loans secured under this scheme with 1,382 students opting to study at various Universities and colleges in the country under this scheme.
With the state government extending study loans to the tune of Rs 332.80 lakh in the year 2007-08, the amount spent in 2011-12 is a sharp increase at Rs 700.20 lakh and Rs 605.40 lakh in the last financial year 2012-2013.
Excluding the number of students who have been granted the financial assistance this financial year 2013-14, (for which data will be acquired after the month of August), the total amount that has been disbursed by the state government under the CELS stands at Rs 3,488.75 lakh.
The maximum number of students, a total of 647 are from East Sikkim, 438 from South, 356 from West and 73 from North Sikkim.  A total of 805 boys and 709 girls have already availed this facility of the state government with a maximum number of female candidates availing the loans during the first three years after the loan scheme was introduced.
It may also be informed that 237 students applied for additional loans under the scheme in the year 2011-12 while 275 candidates opting for additional loans during the year, 2012-13.

It may be mentioned that the state government has recently revised the loan amount. Application process for the Chief Minister's Comprehensive Educational Loan Scheme is scheduled to begin every June.

Training on Rapid Visual Screening concludes

GANGTOK, 12 June [IPR]: The four-day Training on Rapid Visual Screening for Civil Engineers and Geologist concluded today at the conference hall of Building and Housing Department. The Secretary Cum Relief Commissioner, Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department, CT Wangdi was present as the chief guest for the valedictory function. 
The training was organized by the Sikkim state Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) LR & DM, in coordination with the CSIR-NEIST, Jorhat, Assam and sponsored by National Disaster Management Authority. The training was given to the state government's Engineers and Geologist.
During the function, Mr. Wangdi gave away certificates to the trainees and also wished them a beautiful  and safe future. He urged the trainees to implement their acquired knowledge from the training to strengthen the infrastructure of the  society and the state.
The Secretary also urged the engineers and the geologist that they follow the ideas and techniques they have learned from the training period and adopt the same at the time of construction of buildings and other infrastructure. He requested them to utilize and share their knowledge to make Sikkim an earthquake resilient state.
Mr. Wangdi also thanked the resource persons for sharing their knowledge with the state's officials.

The function was attended by the Additional Secretary, Joint Secretary, Joint Director and staff of  LR & DM Department. The three resource persons, R Duarah [Chief Scientist, CSIR-NEIST, Jorhat], Shashank Mishra [Consultant, TARU Leading edge Gurgaon] and Dr. Hemant Kumar Vinayak [Assistant Professor, Civil Engineer NIT Hamirpur] were also present during the function.

Skill development training for personnel engaged in statistics collection and analysis

GANGTOK, 12 June: Ten-day training programme on Basic Statistics and Computer Application in Statistics was organized by the Department of Economics, Statistics, Monitoring & Evaluation in collaboration with the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata at Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok from 02 to 11 June, 2014.The ISI, Kolkata is a reputed institute of Government of India engaged in research and offers advance courses in statistics.
A press release informs, the inaugural programme was held on 02 June 2014 which had DG-cum-Secretary, DESME, SD Tshering and Head of Sampling Unit of ISI, Dr. Prasanta Pathak as the guests of honour. The main objective of the training programme was to upgrade the skills of the personnel working in the Statistical field.
The ISI faculty members gave lectures on the Importance of statistics in today’s world by using computer application in statistics with the demonstration using Excel and SPSS software. The topics covered were Normal distribution, Time series analysis, State Domestic product, sampling techniques, survey data processing techniques etc.

Altogether, 42 number of officials from different departments underwent the training, the release informs. The valedictory programme was held on 11 June 2014 and was attended by the guest of honour Dr Aloke Kar of ISI, Kolkata and DG-Cum–Secretary DESME. The programme concluded by awarding certificates to the trainees.

PM’s appreciation of Organic Mission a big encouragement, says Agriculture Minister

GANGTOK, 12 June: Minister for Food Security, Agriculture and Horticulture Department, Somnath Poudyal said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing his appreciation of Sikkim’s Organic Mission in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday was a big encouragement for Sikkim.  Mr Modi’s statement has further encouraged the state to work harder towards becoming a fully organic by 2015.
Addressing a press conference today, the Minister thanked the Prime Minister on behalf of the Chief Minister and the state government for appreciating and evaluating the works of the state government. He also thanked the CM for being the main person behind the success of the organic mission. The Minister further thanked farmers of the state and to the whole team of Sikkim Organic Mission.
The Minister mentioned that Sikkim is on its way to progress and development and with the PM’s compliment the whole team is now excited to carry forward the organic mission.
Responding to queries from the media, Mr. Poudyal said that strategies and policies have been framed to address challenges related to sustainability and marketing of organic produce once the state goes completely organic by 2015.
Sikkim Organic Mission Principal Executive Director, Khorlo Bhutia mentioned that the mission seeks to get farmers to adopt organic farming voluntarily and this is aimed at making the mission sustainable.
He added that for the sustainability of the mission, education and awareness sessions for farmers has been organized at different levels and at present it is going on in full swing at the ward level.
Apart from the economic gains of the mission, people should not forget the contribution of organic farming towards improving soil health, air and water, environment and good health in general.
Sikkim Organic Mission was launched in the year 2010 to convert the entire state into a fully organic one. 185 organic grower groups are operating in the state at present. Out of 74303 ha land including large cardamom, 26391.0666 ha of area has attained organic status, while 19216.1588 ha area is under IC-II status and 28696. 6170 has area is under IC-I status.

6 APEDA accredited Certification Agencies are involved in certification and 14 service providers, 8 local NGOs of Sikkim and 6 national NGOs, are involved in ICS management and trainings. 

SKM convenes CEC meeting, takes stock

GANGTOK, 12 June: The Central Executive Committee of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha party met today for the first time since the assembly and parliamentary elections. The party president PS Tamang [Golay], who is also elected as Member of Legislative Assembly for the fifth consecutive term, dissolved all the party organizations today.
An SKM press release informs that Mr Tamang was nominated the party president again and took charge of the party afresh today.
“We will honour the people’s mandate and will fulfill the people’s mandate while playing a responsible role in assembly,” he stated. He added that for a one and a half year old party to have ten 10 MLAs in a house of 32 was a sign of remarkable growth.
Earlier, the party’s West District in-charge, Birbal Subba resigned from his post on moral grounds taking responsibility of the party’s poor election showing in the district where it drew a blank.
While placing the party's election performance report at the meeting, Mr. Subba said that the party did not get enough time for campaigning and was not able to reach to all the people in time.
The party’s vice-president and South district in-charge, Bhojraj Rai also submitted his resignation and placed the South district’s performance report. The party got 43 percent of votes which shows the party's popularity in such a short span of time, he stated. He also alleged that SDF won the elections only on the basis of ‘money power’, the release mentions.

Both have meanwhile expressed their complete support to the party and vowed to work with full dedication in the coming days.

Shamar Rinpoche in Thugdam state

GANGTOK, 12 June: The 14th Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, who passed away on Wednesday morning in Germany, is currently in the meditative Thugdam state, his official website informs.
Shamar Rinpoche, his administration informs, died of a cardiac arrest in Germany. He was 62 years old. He had recently completed several days of teachings at his main European seat in Renchen-Ulm, Germany, it is learnt.
At approximately 7:30 a.m. (Central European Time), he experienced a heart attack and although emergency medical services were immediately summoned, nothing could be done, it is further detailed.
“Shamar Rinpoche’s unexpected death leaves thousands of his disciples in Asia and the Western world greatly saddened and in a profound state of shock. He touched the lives of countless numbers of people. His accomplishments as a spiritual leader will benefit sentient beings for years to come,” his office further conveys.

It has further been announced that his funeral will take place in Asia, the details of which will be announced shortly.

Seminar held on ‘Legal Aid and Constitution’

GANGTOK, 12 June: Eminent jurist and former Judge of Rajasthan High Court Justice (retd.) SV Dave interacted with young members of the legal fraternity on ‘Legal Aid and Constitution’ here at Chintan Bhawan today. The seminar on ‘Legal Aid and Constitution’ was organized by the Sikkim State Legal Services Authority.
Speaking during the seminar, Justice Dave stressed on the need to give a careful reading of Constitutional provisions basically the fundamental rights and duties and urged the students from various schools and colleges to understand the very basic structure and evolution of the Indian Constitution and accordingly to serve the nation.
The 84-year-old retired Judge said that the soul of the Indian Constitution is ultimately to dedicate ourselves to the people. “Whatever we are getting is from the people, whatever we are rendering is of the people and to the people”, he stated.
He also reminded the lawyers to dedicate their services to the people, since large number of jurists have sacrificed their lives for the nation and its people. This is the essence of being a learned member of the society, he added.
Justice Dave also urged the para legal volunteers to extend their services and not limit themselves. He appealed to them to inform the masses on their rights and duties.
In the seminar, Chief Justice of Sikkim, Narendra Kumar Jain underlined the need for delivery of speedy justice to the people where he mentioned that Sikkim does not have long pending cases in contrast to the nation which is overburdened with more than 3 crore cases pending for disposal.
Justice Jain said that the essence of Legal Aid is to make every person aware of their fundamental rights, which are guaranteed under the constitutional provisions.
Justice S P Wangdi, who is also Executive Chairman of the Sikkim State Legal Services Authority underlined the basic principles of 42nd Constitutional Amendment and said that SSLSA has tried its best to reach out to the public to render justice to the common people.
He also highlighted the initiatives undertaken by the Sikkim Legal Services Authority like Lesson in Law for classes IX and XI which includes the fundamental duties and rights.
The seminar was also addressed by Vice Chancellor of Sikkim University, Prof TB Subba.

Governor and CM convey Saga Dawa greetings

GANGTOK, 12 June: On the occasion of Saga Dawa, the Governor of Sikkim, Shriniwas Patil, extends warm greetings to the people of Sikkim.
In his message the Governor has said, “Saga Dawa, a holy occasion commemorating the attainment of enlightenment by Gautam Buddha, is the most sacred among the Buddhist festivals. The day has given the world a new spiritual perspective and way of living. The teachings of Buddha has provided mankind the ideals of non-violence, brotherhood and harmony among all sentient beings. Buddha’s call for adoption of middle path has become all the more relevant in the context of ever increasing greed and materialistic approach of present day world. The ideals of truth, righteousness and non-violence has not only enriched the psyche of our country but has also shaped our destiny.
On this day, I urge my fellow Sikkimese to remain committed to strive on the path of truth and righteousness transcending beyond caste creed, gender, religion and nationality.”

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Smt Tika Maya Chamling have also extended warm greetings and best wishes to the people of Sikkim on the auspicious occasion of Saga Dawa. In his message the Chief Minister has said that this festival reinforces the message of Lord Buddha on righteousness and Dharma which are universal and significant to one and all. He has called for the need to remember and abide by His teachings of love and compassion in our society.

Governor lauds Sikkim’s Organic Mission success

GANGTOK, 12 June: Minister for Food Security and Agriculture Development Department, Somnath Poudyal called on Governor Shriniwas Patil at Raj Bhavan today. He was accompanied by Principal Director, Food Security and Agricultural Development Department, K Bhutia on the occasion.
A press communiqué from Raj Bhavan informs that the Minister greeted the Governor and also offered a few varieties of organically grown vegetables. Interacting with the Minister, the Governor expressed his happiness over the mention of Sikkim’s Organic Mission’s success in the Address of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha on 11 June 2014 and congratulated the Minister and the department and on the achievement.
The Governor also conveyed his congratulatory message to the Chief Minister in a telephonic conversation, for his consistent effort and commitment towards this front.
It may be mentioned that Prime Minister, in his address in the Lok Sabha on 11 June had lauded the effort and success of the State of Sikkim in launching the Organic Mission in 2003 to transform the State into a 100% Organic State by the year 2015. He was thanking the President for his address to the Joint Session of Parliament in Central Hall.
The Prime Minister had acknowledged that Sikkim can lead the country in the movement of transforming the entire North Eastern Region of the country into an organic region in view of its climatic suitability.
Interacting with the Minister, the Governor stressed on the need to utilize the opportunity to take maximum leverage from the goodwill of Prime Minister and his new government towards Organic Mission. He urged the Minister to use the recognition provided by the Prime Minister and promote the organic produce of the State aggressively in the national and global market.
The Governor suggested that the policy of the new government in the state which will be outlined in the coming Assembly Session should be directed towards ensuring motivation and greater participation of the people of Sikkim in transforming the state into a 100% Organic State in the shortest possible time.
Dwelling on the commercial aspects of the Organic Mission, the Governor urged the department to introduce soil profiling system to choose soil specific crops in each farm area for higher yield. The cropping pattern if required needs to be changed accordingly, the Governor added.
On the subject of infrastructure and marketing of organic produce of the state, the Governor urged the department to come out with accurate data of the domestic consumption and volume of yield of organic produce to be marketed outside the state. The produce being perishable items, need proper cold storage facilities, transportation and easy market, for which the department should extensively  correspond and collaborate with Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, he suggested.
There is a need to promote the mission in the print and electronic media across the country and  an appropriate strategy for the same should be formulated by the government, the Governor stressed.
The Governor assured full cooperation in the efforts of the government towards improvement of infrastructure, transportation and marketing of the organic produce of the state towards realization of  the goal of becoming the first Organic State in the country in the near future.
In the telephonic conversation with the Chief Minister, the Governor also mentioned about another goal envisaged by the new government led by the Prime Minister of India for providing Pucca House with basic amenities to each and every household of the country by the year 2019, commemorating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. This was mentioned by the Prime Minister in the Lok Sabha on 11 June 2014.
During the conversation, the Governor conveyed that since Sikkim has already launched the Kutcha House Free Sikkim Mission to ensure pucca house for each household in the state by the year 2015 which is nearing completion, Sikkim could achieve the distinction of being the first state to achieve the goal by the end of the year 2014. It will be yet another remarkable achievement of the State and an exemplary feat for other states to emulate, the Governor mentioned in his conversation  with the Chief Minister.

NCW team on Sikkim visit impressed with women’s empowerment scenario here


GANGTOK, 12 June: Members of the National Commission for Women [NCW] appreciated the state government’s efforts in empowering women of the state. The NCW Members, Shamina Shafiq and Charuwali Khanna are currently on a visit to Sikkim.
They interacted with NGO members, lady police officials and other stakeholders during an interaction session on Violence against Women of Minority Communities today here at Samaj Kalyan Bhawan. The interaction session was organized by Sikkim State Commission for Women [SSCW], Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department.
In her address, Ms Shafiq congratulated the state government for its work in women’s empowerment and mentioned that the commission too has been working hard to protect and safeguard women.
Ms Shafiq informed that they were here in the state to study the basic problems related to women and also to learn about the good practices in the state.
Ms Khanna also applauded the innovative actions and ideas meant for women in the state. She stated that the state government’s initiatives for sanitation and hygiene and total LPG coverage in the state was also an important initiative in favor of women. Ms Khanna further said that lack of toilet facilities and the need to collect firewood from the forest has direct links with the incidence of violence against women.
“Real empowerment is when women can work independently and we have seen women in Sikkim who work independently”, she added.
SSCW Chairperson, Subhadra Rai spoke about the various schemes and initiatives of the government for the welfare of women in the state.
Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department Principal Secretary, GP Upadhaya said that the NCW members are in the state on a fact finding mission making field visits and interacting with stakeholders on the subject of violence against women, women trafficking and other related issues.
Pastor Zongmit Lepcha informed that there were no major reports of violence against women of minority communities except a few minor incidents. She stated that women are more forward and active in churches. The respect and honor provided by the state government to women has made them more secure, she added.
During the interaction session, NGO members, lady police officers and other stakeholders placed their queries which were responded to by NCW members and departmental officials.

The interaction session ended with the vote of thanks by SSCW member, Kavita Chettri. 

Border trade resumes over Nathula

GANGTOK, 12 June: Trade activity on the Nathula border has begun with a trickle of traders and items finding their way across the border pass. This is after more than a week since Indian traders had suspended trading in protest of steep and uncalled for customs duty levied by Chinese officials on Indian goods.
While trading activity is just about resuming, the volume of trade is nowhere near what it was and also the number of Indian traders crossing the border into Renquinngang, the Chinese trade mart has gone down substantially, inform sources.
The lukewarm resumption of trade is a result of failed negotiations between Indian traders and the Chinese Trade Officer.
A delegation of Indian traders had crossed over to Renquinngang on the Chinese side earlier this week to negotiate with the Chinese customs officers and Trade Officer.
Controversy had erupted over the excessive rates of customs duty being charged by the Chinese customs officials on the Chinese side of the border. The Chinese duties are so high so as to make it impractical and a loss inducing venture for the Indian traders to continue.
Traders informed that the custom rates on goods being charged by the Chinese customs for payment by the Indian traders was 40% to 50% the value of goods. It was to negotiate this that Indian traders, it is informed, had sought to meet with Chinese officials.
However, unlike the previous year, this time it seems the Chinese are clear about their stand and remained adamant at the rate of customs duties they wanted to extract, inform sources. With the Chinese unwilling to give in, the Indian traders, as informed, have no option but to resume trade albeit on a softer note.
However, it is informed, that instead of taking their items over to Tibet, the Indian traders have preferred to take their goods up to Sherathang on the Sikkim side of the border and from there, hand it over to their Chinese counterparts.
Last year, the Chinese Customs is reported to have restricted the supply of the most in-demand good - Vegetable Oils - to 10 jars per trader per consignment. This year, the limit has been reduced to a clearly unfair One jar per trader per trader. This limit is for the amount that Indian traders can supply duty-free. Every jar [irrespective of weight/ quantity] above this limit attracts customs duty of 54 Yuan (Rs. 499.50), it is informed. 
Not only vegetable oils, but they are trying to impose tax on other products like tea, blankets etc.  The Indian traders are currently facing tough competition with the traders at the Khasa border between Nepal and Tibet and the taxation will further affect the present market. 
In protest against what they see as violation of a bi-lateral agreement by Chinese authorities [by taxing goods in a duty-free trade] Indian traders were voluntarily “not participating” in the trade and were demanding proper guidelines on the subject.

It needs to be highlighted that the Nathula border trade has proven to be a lucrative source of income for many of the traders and a trader, it is informed, can make up to Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 7 lakh on average per trading season as profits alone and not including the so called custom duties on both sides. Given this margin the traders are not too keen to keep away from trade. 

Namchi Hospital doctors remove 250gm stone from patient

NAMCHI, 12 June [IPR]: Doctors at the District Government Hospital of Namchi, South Sikkim successfully removed a large stone from the bladder of a male patient in a procedure called Cystolithotomy.
Cystolithotomy is a type of surgery for Bladder Stones or Calculus (Removal) which is an abnormal concretion in the body, usually formed of mineral salts and most commonly found in the gallbladder, kidney, or urinary bladder.
Informing about this surgery, Dr Roshan Tamang who is the Consultant in the General Surgery Department at Government Hospital Namchi told IPR that a 24 year old male patient hailing from Zoom, West Sikkim had come to him with the complaint of acute back pain and urine problem few months back. After routine tests, he was diagnosed with the disease Vesical (Urinary Bladder) Calculi.
The patient’s x-ray showed a stone located in his bladder and the size of the stone found in this patient after the surgery was 8cm X 6cm and weighed 250gm. Dr Tamang claimed that this was the first time that a bladder calculi of a large size was found in a patient and this type of finding (disease) was rare among the young patients he stated.
Cystolithotomy surgery was performed in the this patient on 09 June 2014 in the Namchi Government Hospital and was executed by a medical team headed by Chief Consultant Dr SM Pradhan, supported by Dr Roshan Tamang and Dr Sanjay Rai with Staff Nurse Rosy Rai and Anesthetic Dr Sonam Diki Bhutia.
He added that this is the third case where Cystolithotomy surgery was performed and out of these three cases, stone of this large size was found in this recent surgery.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Namchi Government Hospital, Dr Bimal Rai, in his statement about this recent Cystolithotomy case said that this was a rare case (patient with large stone) which had come to their notice and after coming across this case he observed that there may be similar cases in the rural areas.
Many times people from rural areas hesitate to relay their ailments and their ignorance result in serious medical cases where the patient has to go through advanced surgeries he stated. “We would like to create maximum awareness amongst the rural people particularly who are economically backward about these types of free of cost medical services available to them”, he added.
Not only this surgery but many other advanced surgeries are performed free of cost for the local patients (Sikkimese citizens) in the State Government Hospitals and only in rare cases the patient has to purchase some drugs (medicines) which are unavailable in the hospital.
Giving a comparative detail, Dr Bimal informed that the minimum cost for this type of surgery if done outside Sikkim would come to around Rs 50, 000 excluding other expenses.
“I would like the local people to take benefit of the medical facilities provided by the State Government which at their doorstep and available at zero cost”, underlined the CMO. Lack of awareness regarding the availability of these kind of facilities maybe the reason why local people do not take advantage of these medical benefits and on the other hand it is our constant endeavor to reach out to the local people and help them avail these free medical services especially those from economically backward section so that they can avoid the heavy burden of medical expenses and recover from the disease trouble-free, added Dr Bimal.
In addition, the CMO shared other successful cases of high scale surgeries carried out by the General Surgery Department in the Namchi Government Hospital during the past year.
The male patient, Maniraj Biswakarma, who had undergone the Cystolithotomy surgery, shared that he is relieved and happy after the surgery.
“I was relieved when Dr Roshan Tamang told me that I did not have to go far away from my home to cure my disease and spend lots of money for the surgery; I thank our State Government for making this type of facility available to people like us who are financially weak,” said Maniraj.

Lakpa Shaerpa returns as ASTA vice-president

GANGTOK, 12 June: Lakpa Sherpa has been nominated as the vice-president of the All Sikkim Traders Association, the general meeting of the association today unanimously returning him to the post.
A press release of the Association informs that its president, Sangay Sherpa and general secretary Anil Sharma had called the general meeting to elect the vice-president. It is informed that 246 members who attended the meeting endorsed Mr. Sherpa’s nomination to the post. He was also the incumbent vice-president.

The release informs that Mr Sherpa thanked members for again nominated him as the vice-president and assured to continuously work for the welfare of members and association. 

Take a Call…


A recent study conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory in the United Kingdom revealed that reaction times of drivers slowed down by 46 per cent when s/he was making a call on a handheld mobile and by 27 per cent during hands-free calls. This study has put a specific number to what people have always known – that it is dangerous to use a mobile phone while driving. Response times slowing down to nearly half the normal reaction is a substantial debilitation and easily understood if one bears in mind that a phone call engages too many senses, and a hand. And the data bears this out since mild inebriation slows down reaction times by 13 per cent in comparison and a ganja trip reduces response quickness by 21 per cent. So there you have it, on the roads, the busy-body chatterbox on the phone is much more dangerous than the drunk or ‘druggist’ behind the wheels. In hills, where the roads receive more than their share of reckless drivers and poorly trained hands, such delayed reaction becomes even more dangerous. And yet, of late, talking on the phone while driving has become an almost routine affair on Sikkim roads. At one time, drivers would be very particular not to take calls while driving or would leave a quick message and call back when they had stopped. Not so anymore. Just about every ride on a share-cab in Gangtok has the driver taking and making calls. Of course, when talking on the phone comes so unhesitatingly in Gangtok, where a traffic cop prowls around every bend, it is routine on the highway wherever a call can come through. This has become so routine that even passengers don’t notice it as an aberration any more and drivers don’t appear interested in investing in Bluetooth earpieces which would make attending to such calls at least safer, even if not completely advisable. 

NCW members call on Governor

GANGTOK, 12 June: Members of National Commission for Women, Dr. Charuwali Khanna [Advocate] and Shamina Shafiq called on the Governor, Shriniwas Patil at Raj Bhavan today. They were  accompanied by, Nirnay John Chettri [Member Raid and Rescue, NGO, Sikkim Chapter]. Raid and Rescue is a  NGO working across the country for the control of human trafficking.
A press release informs that the Governor extended his greetings to both the members on the occasion. During interaction with the Governor, Dr. Charuwali Khanna informed that their visit to Sikkim was part of the Commission's  effort towards the safety and security of women in Sikkim with special focus on minority communities.
During the interaction, Dr. Charuwali Khanna also mentioned that there is persistent threat of human trafficking especially of women from weaker sections of society in the name of providing education and better care.
She expressed her happiness that despite being bounded by international borders on three sides, Sikkim has been able to check the menace of human trafficking. Sikkim has established itself as a state which is relatively safer for women than any other state in the country, she added.
Dr Khanna expressed her keenness to learn the best practices on the issue of women’s safety in Sikkim so that it could be emulated in other parts of the country where the rate of crimes against women is very high. She also mentioned that she has observed during her visit that the deployment of women police personnel in various public places and interiors of the state has contributed a great deal in the matter, the release mentions.
The Governor mentioned that despite its low population, Sikkim has a tradition where maximum freedom and respect is given to women folk. The status of women in Sikkim’s society is higher than the rest of the country, the Governor added.

Power Minister’s surprise visit to Jali Power House serve up rude shock

GANGTOK, 12 June: Power Minister DD Bhutia made a surprise visit to the Jali Power House here along NH 31A today and received a rude shock. This, once prestigious power generating units of the State, was found in a rather disconcerting state. The main agenda behind the visit was to find the status of the power house along with the income to expenditure ratio from power generation to staff expenses. The Minister discovered that only two of the six generators at the power station were in working condition. Also, the some of the staff, including seniors, were absent without having taken leave through the “proper channels”. The Minister also heard out the grievances of the staff on duty who complained of not receiving enough support or assistance of their superiors or senior engineers. 

DC West meets hydel developers to discuss safe release of dam waters

GYALSHING, 12 June [IPR]: DC West, Tshewang Gyatccho called a meeting with the Hydel power project officials of West Sikkim today at his chamber to discuss regulations on the release of water during monsoon and the mechanisms developed to alert the people.
The DC, highlighting the recent incident that occurred in Himachal Pradesh, said that such incidents should not happen in Sikkim and we should learn from their mistake.
He directed all the project In-charges to appoint one Nodal Officer from each project to deal with security and safety measures. He also said that all hooters placed at different places by the project developers should be checked periodically by the officer concerned and the details submitted to the DC office. Further, the DC told them to have specified designated locations for dumping and proper siltation tanks at their respective project areas.
Other issues like Scholarship Award Scheme under CSR & SD scheme, lack of updates of progressive report on the web site, natural calamities and its preparedness, pending liabilities, complaints from the public were also discussed at length.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Service regularization only for Sikkim Subjects

GANGTOK, 11 June: While the regularization process of over 6000 temporary employees has been “kept in abeyance” by the State government it has now been announced that services of only those temporary employees holding Sikkim Subject Certificates or Certificates of Identification will be regularized. While this is a standard practice for all appointments to government service, it has been reiterated in the present case since regularization formalities were reportedly completed for several who did not have CoI’s.
The Chief Minister had announced regularization of all Muster Roll and Work Charged employees having put in more than 15 and 10 years of service in two batches; this announcement had been made before the elections and a notification to the effect had also been issued. Subsequently the regularization process had been put in abeyance till further notice.
While the regularization of MR and WC employees is still in abeyance it has now been decided that only those with valid local documents will be regularized. This order was issued last week by the Home Department. It is probably the scrutiny process required to identify those who possess local documents and those who don’t which is to blame for the current suspension of the regularization process.
In the first phase, a total of 4,002 MR and WC employees had been approved for regularization. These were from the batch which had put in 15 or more years of service. In the second phase, another 1,533 temporary workers were approved for regularization after having put in between 10 to 15 years of service.
As of now no temporary employee has been regularized, it is informed.
The same order [making SSC/ CoI mandatory for service regularization] also directs that the Roster System be followed by the concerned departments while implementing the regularization process of ad hoc and MR employees.
Meanwhile, the State government, in the same order, has also directed that government employees will not be issued trade licenses or taxi permits either. This restrictive order means that government employees cannot conduct any other trade besides their current employment. Interestingly, even this is a standing service clause but was clearly being violated. As per extant rules, a person, before joining regular government service, is required to surrender [in case they possess] taxi registrations, contractor license, trade license etc.
Further tightening the reins on government employees with the implicit intent to ensure better service delivery the government has directed all senior touring and field officers in the level of Superintending Engineers and equivalent to visit sites and conduct field visits twice a week.
Field officers of the level of Divisional Engineers are now required to visit the field thrice a week as per government diktats while those in the levels of AE, JE, AEO, APO, Medical Officers, Inspectors are to conduct field visits 4 times a week.

If that was not enough to put the fear of god into the employees it has also been directed that all files are to be cleared within 24 hours. 

Killer virus affects Litchi sales in Gangtok

GANGTOK, 11 June: The death of 8 children in Malda due to encephalopathy spreading from the popular summer fruit ‘litchi’ around 3 days ago, has led to a lot of apprehension among the Sikkim consumers too. However, they can rest assured for now since fruit sellers at Lall Bazaar in Gangtok insist that they source their stock of litchis from Muzaffarpur in Bihar [and not Malda].
Speaking to NOW!, Kamredin Ansari [aged 28], who runs a fruit stall here at Lall Bazaar says, “All the stocks [Litchis] are directly sourced from Muzaffarpur, Bihar. We don’t get litchis from Malda because it costs more and does not have very long shelf life”.
However, he added that sales have gone down since the Malda incident. He said that he has not got any buyers for litchi in the past few days.
“Usually we would have sold 5-6 sacks of litchis by now but we haven’t sold even half a sack till now,” said Mr. Ansari.
Another fruit-seller at Lall Bazaar, Biki Prasad [aged 30] informs that as soon as news of the litchi virus spread, there has been a slump in the number of customers coming to his stall.

“We only sell selected goods from Siliguri which is brought directly from Muzaffarpur,” he added. 

JAC thanks CM for taking up Karmapa to Rumtek demand with PM

GANGTOK, 11 June: Joint Action Committee All Sikkim Buddhist Organisation, an organization united in the pursuit of bringing the Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to Sikkim, has welcomed the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling's taking up the issue during his recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A press communiqué issued by the JAC general secretary KS Topden, conveys the organizations appreciation of this gesture of the Chief Minister and looks forward to seeing the Karmapa in Rumtek.
The JAC spokesperson, Thukchuk Lachungpa, further said today, “We express our gratitude to the Chief Minister for strongly endorsing the issue of bringing Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to Rumtek during his meeting with the Prime Minister”.
The organization will be sending a delegation to meet the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister in the near future to press the demand of granting the Karmapa permission to take his seat at Rumtek Monastery, he added.

“We have full faith that the state government will take all necessary steps to bring Karmapa back to Rumtek and there will be a positive result,” he stated.

Singbel residents allege negligence by BRO

MANGAN, 11 June: The residents of Singbel, 8th Mile on the Dikchu-Singtam highway in East Sikkim are dissatisfied with the BRO for not maintaining the drainage system along the highway which is resulting in the water flowing towards their houses situated below the road. 
Around 10 houses in the area are under threat of landslides during this monsoon season with the flow of water diverted to the houses. "We have submitted a written complaint to the 87 RCC at Sirwani under whose jurisdiction the area falls but no action has been taken so far", said Prem Neopaney one of the affected residents while speaking to NOW!

The residents further stated that the flow of water also damages their standing crops which has been going on for the past few years. "When we approach the BRO, they inform that the work has not been sanctioned", the residents stated. The affected people of the area have strongly urged that proper maintenance work of the drainage be taken up as soon as possible.

Shamar Rinpoche passes away

GANGTOK, 11 June: The 14th Shamarpa, Mipham Chokyi Lodro, one of the Regents of the Karmapa, passed away on Wednesday morning. He was 62.
His passing away will be deeply felt by the Buddhist world at large and followers of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism in particular given that he is considered second only in the Karmapa in the Karma Kagyu hierarchy. Significantly, the Shamarpa lineage was established by the third Karmapa and is the second line of reincarnate lamas in Tibetan Buddhism, Karmapa being the first.
Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, in his message released late this evening to fellow believers on the passing away of the Shamarpa, writes, “His Holiness Shamar Rinpoche passed away this morning. Sadly, his physical manifestation has left our material world. Yet he was and continues to be our teacher, and his aspirations and blessings will remain with us always”.
The Karmapa offers these words in consolation: “Even the greatest beings, including Lord Buddha himself, pass away. The impermanence of life is among the core techings and messages of the Buddha dharma”.
He has further called on fellow practitioners to “dedicate our merits and practice to him, and do the practice of Amitabha, since he himself is the emanation of Amitabha”.

“So we must ask for his return, in order to benefit and guide us all towards enlightenment,” he adds, while expressing his compassion for the Shamar Rinpoche’s brother, Jigme Rinpoche, as well as the rest of his family and his students.

PD Rai seeks IIT and IIM for Sikkim, suggests separate Ministry for Indian Himalaya

GANGTOK, 12 June: Participating today in the debate on the motion of thanks on the President’s Address to Parliament, Lok Sabha MP PD Rai welcomed the centre’s intention to open IITs and IIMs in all the states and reiterated the demand for these institutions to be established in Sikkim as well. Mr. Rai, a press release adds, also expressed hope that a separate Ministry is carved out specifically for the Indian Himalayan Region.
Mr. Rai, who is an alumnus, probably the only one in Parliament, from both IIT and IIM, further said: “In a country as large as ours, as young as ours, there is an ever growing pool of aspirants. An IIT and IIM in each state will increase much needed access to these institutions. I think I can vouch that these institutions do give a much better chance of success in one’s life and help in contributing to the onerous task of nation building”.
On the need for a separate Ministry for the Himalayas, Mr. Rai said, “The proposed National Mission on Himalayas and the Central University on Himalayan Studies, though welcome steps, do not reflect sufficient appreciation for the fact that the Indian Himalayan Region has special needs and unique challenges. It needs a special Ministry altogether”.
He also rued that the President’s address did not mention how the Government planned to eliminate racism against people from the Northeast.
He also commended the government on its “RUrban” programme of bringing urban facilities to rural areas an compared it to how the SDF president, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, has also made headway in his regard, the release concludes.

Orientation prog explains smooth fund flow of MDM scheme

NAMCHI, 11 June: An orientation programme was organized by the Mid Day Meal section, Human Resource Development Department today at Namchi Government Girls’ Sr. Sec. school.
The programme aimed to familiarize heads of schools of South District with the implementation of “Green Channel” fund flow through E billing for speedy payment and smooth running of the Mid Day meal scheme in the state. The programme was chaired by the Director, Language and Mid Day Meal, MP Subba which was also attended by JD (S), MK Rai, Deputy Director (MDM), DK Rai, AD, DB Rai, KS Bhutia and KK Sharma.
The programme started with the welcome address by Deputy Director (MDM), DK Rai which was followed by an address by JD (S), MK Rai where he dwelt on the significance of Green Channel. During the programme it was informed that Green Channel is a central government initiative and said to be among the largest flagship programs being implemented through the country.
The main objective behind the ‘Green Channel’ is to facilitate timely flow of funds to the schools for MDM scheme. There will be a mechanism in place for online entry of actual number of children availing the MDM scheme. The online entry will be uploaded at the HRD department’s webpage and this is being done to ensure accountability, transparency and effective utilization of funds.
Director MDM, MP Subba in his address appraised the house on the importance and need of the new system. He said that the main objective of the system is to facilitate timely fund flow to the schools for the MDM scheme. He also spoke on academic institutionalization of various disciplines.
He also expressed his dissatisfaction over the academic functioning of government schools and said that despite well qualified teachers in government schools, its students still cannot compete with private school students in many respects.
He appealed to all academicians to fulfill their responsibility to groom children studying in government schools of state. He also assured to give every possible facility from the department and added that teachers and administrators must lay emphasis on quality education and must be committed and honest to their profession.
Pema T. Bhutia [APC MDM] presented a power point demonstration on how to feed the MDM data on the web portal. There was also an interaction session between the departmental officials and heads of different schools.

The programme concluded with vote of thanks by KK Sharma [AD, MDM]. 

Modi celebrates Sikkim’s Organic Mission in Parliament

GANGTOK, 11 June: Sikkim has found one more ambassador and promoter of its organic mission – Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Replying to the debate on the motion of thanks on the President's address to Parliament in Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister included only Sikkim [apart from Gujarat], for specific mention of a laudable initiative which was worth emulating. Apart from having recently met Chief Minister Pawan Chamling in New Delhi, the Prime Minister had also visited Sikkim in a low-key holiday some years back when he was still the CM of Gujarat.
In his closing remarks in Parliament today, the PM, while commenting that he saw a “constructive atmosphere” throughout the preceding debate, informed the House of the “important thing” Sikkim has done. “It [Sikkim] will bring pride to India as an organic state,” he highlighted while stressing that Sikkim’s example can be used across India.
He pointed out that organic farming can change the lives of farmers in Northeast drastically.
The Prime Minister, who took an inclusive note in his address, praising even achievements of non-NDA state governments, commented, for instance: “I welcome that the talk of development has started in the country, when people say Tamil Nadu is better than Gujarat. I want competition between states about progress. I want to hear that states have left Gujarat behind. TN’s rain harvesting model is admirable, for instance. So is Chhattisgarh and West Bengal's development efforts on certain fronts.”
The Prime Minister said that for this Government, the President's address is not a mere ritual or tradition, but an inspiration, which has its own sanctity. He called upon all members of the Lok Sabha to work towards achieving the goals mentioned therein. He said the elected members of Lok Sabha are now the custodians of the hope and aspirations of the people.

“Victory teaches us a lot, including humility. I assure this House that we will never become arrogant. Regardless of our numbers, I do not want to move ahead without all of you. Not numbers, we want consensus,” he said.

SU lecture on ‘Spectrum Policy & Mobile Phones in India: Emerging Issues’

GANGTOK, 11 June: Department of Mass Communication, Sikkim University, is organising a short lecture at its Viewing Hall (at the Department), Shantiniketan, Saramsa by Dr. Noah Arceneaux of the School of Journalism and Media Studies, San Diego State University on 13 June from 1.00 to 2.00 PM.
A press release informs that Dr. Arceneaux will speak on 'Spectrum Policy & Mobile Phones in India: Emerging Issues', an area that he has been researching on as part of his Fulbright Fellowship in India.
Dr. Noah Arceneaux is an associate professor in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University. His research explores the social construction of new media technologies, including historical phenomenon (such as wireless telegraphy) as well as emerging forms of mobile media.

He edited an updated anthology entitled “The Mobile Media Reader”. His research has been published in the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, American Journalism, New Media & Society, Technology & Culture, and Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, the release mentions. 

Engage Discussion kicks off at Sri Satya Sai Vidhya Mandir

GANGTOK, 11 June: ‘Engage Discussion’, the second phase of Engage 14, the initiative of the Gangtok Municipal Corporation (GMC) to encourage and inspire young students from secondary schools across Gangtok, kick started at Sri Satya Sai Vidhya Mandir.
A press release informs that the program had students of classes VII, VIII, and IX from the school participating in the panel discussion and the poster making competition on various aspects of Solid Waste Management and the importance of understanding aspects of the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).
The Engage discussion endeavors to make students aware about solid waste management and also gives them an opportunity to express their understanding through the form of poster making competitions, the release mentions.
The panel discussion was chaired by Vivek Chettri and Norjee Bhutia [co-ordinator Zero Waste Himalaya Group]. The discussion was moderated by Dewaker Basnet [Chief Learning Officer, 24hours Inspired].
Engage Discussion would reach out to all the secondary schools within the jurisdiction of the Gangtok Municipal Corporation and would encourage the students from these schools to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, the release adds.

Young & Violent

The news report of a gang of around six persons, most of whom are in their early to mid twenties, ambushing a 74 year old in a reasonably remote part of rural Sikkim was front-paged in yesterday’s edition of this newspaper was not only for its sensationalism value. The story is admittedly sensational, but the need to highlight it was the dangerous trend it points towards – the worry that there are youth around who can, irrespective of the provocation, set upon a septuagenarian like a pack of animals. What prompted the attack is not clear, it could have been a robbery or even payback for some slight. But the reason is not as important as the fact that something like this happened. A society where its young can resort to such violence should be worried.
Sikkim has often heard its leaders, both in the ruling and the Opposition camps, hold forth on how the State could witness a violent movement if the unemployment situation was not contained. In fact, after the experience of the recent elections, the word “youth” now connotes almost the same negativity as “police” or “politician”. But to claim that unemployment will somehow deliver a violent “movement” to Sikkim is too simplistic and even misplaces inference. While unemployed, and therefore frustrated youth, do provide the fodder for such ‘movements,’ Sikkim does not have a history of violent uprisings. It is unlikely that history will be rewritten on this front. What is cause for more worry is the dangerous trend of the rising graph of very violent and absolutely senseless acts of crime [like the one mentioned above]. These are reported often in normal times and also delivered two violent deaths in the run up to the elections. The two deaths were clearly a result of “political violence”, but that was a violence unleashed not due to ideological differences, but mad rage and a disregard for consequences. This is the trend and mindset that needs to be curtailed.

As mentioned earlier, it would be too simplistic to suggest that the crimes were the handiwork of unemployed and desperate youth. Unemployment does not lead everyone to crime, a weak social fabric does. There will be those who point out that most crimes are committed by “outsiders,” but when they do so, they are only covering up for the failures of society which has developed yawning gaps through which such violent crimes find expression.

Brazil begins quest for sixth title with Croatia challenge

When Brazil meet Croatia in the football World Cup 2014 opener on Thursday at the Arena de Sao Paulo, nothing less than a win will suffice for the five-time world champions.
The last time Brazil played at home in the World Cup finals, a 2-1 loss to Uruguay ended their hopes of a winning a first world title and plunged the country into a state of mourning.
When the Brazilians face Croatia in the opening match of this year’s World Cup on Thursday 64 years after that tumultuous loss, the pressure to win will be just as huge.
Defeat by Croatia at the Corinthians arena would not mark the end of Brazil’s World Cup chances.
It would, however, deflate a nation of 200 million people who expect the home team not only to win this match but every one of their games over the next month.
The omens are good for a positive result against Croatia as no host nation has ever lost their opening match in the World Cup.
Brazil are favourites not just because of their great World Cup record but also because Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team have won 15 of their last 16 games, including five in a row to win last year’s Confederations Cup.
Scolari has no injury doubts and barring any late surprises the team that lines up against Croatia is expected to be the same one that beat Spain in the final 12 months ago.
Julio Cesar will be in goal, hoping to bury the ghosts of 2010 when his error against the Netherlands led to Brazil’s elimination in the quarter-finals.
Thiago Silva and David Luiz will be in the heart of the defence, with Marcelo and Dani Alves on the flanks.
Paulinho, Luiz Gustavo and Oscar will form a three-man midfield, with Neymar and Hulk working between them and centre forward Fred.
Brazil’s hopes rest with Neymar, the 22-year old Barcelona forward who seems to rise to the occasion when wearing a yellow shirt.
Croatia, meanwhile, are missing some of their top players. Banned centre back Josip Simunic and long-term casualty Ivan Strinic were written off before Niko Kovac named his squad, left back Danijel Pranjic was ruled out of the opening fixture with an ankle sprain and Gordon Schildenfeld is doubtful with a hamstring problem.
That means Kovac will probably field Sime Vrsaljko on the left and the inconsistent Dejan Lovren could be deployed alongside the tried and tested Vedran Corluka in the middle.
Corluka acknowledged his partnership with Lovren had malfunctioned in the past but hoped it would be a different story in Sao Paulo.
“We’ve only played together a few times and I can’t say that it worked to perfection,” Corluka told reporters.
“But there is a first time for everything I hope we will click at crunch time and this is certainly it. I have a positive stage fright because this is a big match on the biggest stage. Every child who’s ever kicked a ball dreams of playing in the World Cup and here we are in the opening game against Brazil.”
Captain Darijo Srna will fill his usual right back slot while Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic are to pull the strings in the centre of midfield behind a three-pronged forward line of Ivan Perisic, Mateo Kovacic and Ivica Olic.
The robust Nikica Jelavic will probably be preferred to Brazilian-born striker Eduardo da Silva as a lone striker.

The match kicks off at 5pm local time [1:30 a.m. IST on 13 June] in the Corinthians arena on the outskirts of South America’s biggest city.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

PIL seeks installation of proper warning system for release of dam waters


GANGTOK, 10 June: A Public Interest Litigation [PIL] has been filed in the High Court of Sikkim seeking the court's intervention in ensuring that proper warning systems and procedures are put in place for release of water from dams in the state.
Advocate Zangpo Sherpa has filed the PIL and named hydel project developers and the state government as respondents. It may be recalled that a young girl was swept away by the Teesta near Singtam when the water from the Teesta Stage-V Dam at Dikchu was released on 18 April, earlier this year. The water was released without warning or an adequate alert sounded downstream, the locals from the area had alleged. This, in fact, has been a recurring complaint from affected people downstream of dams in the State and becomes even more pertinent in light of the macabre scale of casualties reported from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh where 24 students were drowned when a dam on the Beas released water without adequate warning.
Advocate Sherpa, it may be mentioned here, had been appointed the Legal Aid Counsel seeking justice on behalf of the victim, Radhika Gurung.
In the PIL, Mr. Sherpa has sought directions from the High Court to the State Government and hydel project developers to take proper steps for inducting much required facilities, instruments, medical experts and technicians within 2 months to ensure that no threat or danger to life is caused by the operation of the Hydroelectic Projects in the State of Sikkim.
The PIL has also sought directions for the state government to prepare an emergency action plan setting out procedures to be followed for the protection of persons and property upstream and downstream of the dams in the event of an actual or imminent dam failure and to mitigate the effects of the disaster.
He also urges the Court to pass directions to the respondents to correct their approach by providing better protection mechanism, public awareness and basic facilities for warning the public about the release of excess water from dams by inducting the various instruments, mechanism and personnel required for proper protection and care of the health of the public.
Further, the PIL seeks directions to the State respondent to collect a fixed deposit of Rs. 1 crore from the major hydel power project companies and Rs 50 lakh from medium hydel power project companies and Rs 25 lakh from the small hydel project operators/ companies to be deposited in a Special Account under the Department of Social Welfare, from which compensation is to be released to the person affected by the operation of the hydro projects. The state may be given liberty to collect more funds in future.
The PIL also prays for an interim order directing the state respondent to release an amount of Rs 50,000 to the family of the victim Radhika Gurung, as an interim measure and Rs 50,000 from NHPC as immediate relief.

Karmapa returns from Europe tour

GANGTOK, 10 June: The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, arrived in Delhi today after a two-week tour of Europe, where he gave Dharma teachings in Germany and met with Jewish and Catholic leaders.
As per a press release, disciples of his predecessor, the 16th Karmapa traveled from 22 European countries for this long-awaited opportunity to meet the 17th Karmapa. Thousands of people across Europe also viewed his activities via live webcast with translations into eight languages.
The Karmapa began his first European teaching on 28 May with the first leg focused on formal Buddhist teachings and abhisheka (empowerments) while based at his European seat of Kamalashila in the Eifel region of Germany. The second leg was spent in Berlin addressing wider audiences and included cultural events, encounters with youth as well as public talks. 
The Karmapa joined Benedictine monks for vespers service at Maria Laach, the second oldest monastery in Germany on 31 May.  On 02 June, the Karmapa visited the Cologne Cathedral where he met the acting head of the Archdiocese and gave a lecture at the Catholic University of Cologne, the release mentions.
In Berlin, the Karmapa met with Rabbi Ben-Chorin and other members of the Jewish Community of Berlin, and prayed at the city’s haunting Holocaust Monument. After observing the Jewish tradition of placing a stone on a grave while making prayers for the deceased, the Karmapa noted that Tibetans similarly place stones while making prayers on mountains peaks and said “this is only a small indicator of what Tibetan Buddhism and Judaism have in common”.
For his concluding teaching on 08 June, the 29-year-old Karmapa had a lively interaction in Berlin with the youth of Europe. Echoing the theme of the visit “The Future is Now” – the Karmapa exhorted the young people to assume social responsibility and make their lives meaningful. 
Reflecting on his difficult escape from Tibet in January 2000, the Karmapa expressed deep appreciation of the Government of India for its hospitality to him and his fellow Tibetans.

Throughout his teachings in Germany, the Karmapa reiterated his concern for the environment and his appeal for a world with less greed and more compassion.  Stressing personal responsibility in caring for the environment, he urged - “We should never exploit the world we live in for the purpose of short-term benefits. Rather than considering the Earth as a material thing, we should consider it as a mother who nurtures us; from generation to generation we need this loving mother”.

Jagran reaches PNGS with awareness on legal and policing issues

GANGTOK, 10 June: Leading Hindi daily, Dainik Jagran, has initiated a nationwide campaign organizing interaction programmes for school children to promote legal awareness and delivering better understanding of how policing works. For Sikkim, the programme on Legal awareness was held here at Paljor Namgyal Girls Senior Secondary School this afternoon with IGP [Law & Order] Akshay Sachdeva as resource person for the day fielding queries raised by the students. The programme was also special in its own way as this year is also the school’s 90th anniversary year.
The first such programme for Sikkim by Dainik Jagran was held at Greendale School here on 24 May.
Present at PNGS today were Dainik Jagran AGM, Jai Halder, Principal, PNGSSS, Jem Pandi N Targain, teachers and faculty members of the school.
The programme proved a welcome showcase of the inquisitiveness and curiosity of the students who frankly enquired on several issues related to their safety and the convenience of the society at large.
The students’ proposal of converting the main road below the primary school into a “No Horn Zone” was also taken into consideration by the IGP. The many sign boards highlighting the prohibition order in and around schools would be sponsored by the Dainik Jagran publication house in the coming days.
During the programme queries related to the safety of students while returning from tuitions or from school were also raised during which the IGP spoke about the toll free distress number - 100 - and also about how to contact the various police patrolling beats. He also spoke on the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and SAD Act, after which the students were also briefed on underage drinking and the different reform homes and juvenile detention centers.

Keshav K Chettri, Binu Thomas, Binita Sharma and Shyam Pradhan, all faculty members at PNGS also addressed the gathering today.

Chamling calls on Speaker, invites her to Sikkim

GANGTOK, 10 June: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling called on Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan today at her office in the Parliament House. On behalf of the people of Sikkim and the State Government, the Chief Minister congratulated her on being elected Speaker, informs a press communiqué issued by Principal Secretary to the CM, RS Basnet.
During his interaction with the Speaker, the Chief Minister apprised her of the short-term and long-term development programs initiated by the Sikkim Government.
Informing the Speaker about the developmental momentum and many unique programs undertaken by Sikkim in different sectors, the Chief Minister also dwelt on issues of Empowerment, the release mentions.
The Chief Minister also invited the Speaker to visit Sikkim and address the Members of State Assembly.

RMDD launches documentary on Zero Waste

GANGTOK, 10 June [IPR]: Waste management, global warming and the pressure on our environment has been a major cause of concern locally and globally these days.
Sikkim has been working tirelessly in this regard and has a volume of work behind her in the field of waste management and environmental protection.
Less than a week after the World Environment Day, the department of Rural Management Development Department (RMDD) organised a function at Janta Bhawan here in the capital to launch a documentary on Zero Waste Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan.
The Minister for RMDD, SB Subedi who attended the function as the chief guest launched the documentary on the subject.
While addressing the gathering which mostly comprised of school students from various schools from the capital, as well as members of various Non-Governmental Organisations from the state, the Minister expressed his happiness to see the participation of school students in such a function.
Mr. Subedi lauded the work done by the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling and his government in the field of environment and waste management. He urged the students and the youth to be aware about the environment and ways to protect it as they are the future of the state, country and the world.
The Minister also stressed on every individual's role in making a significant contribution in this regard.
He also appraised the gathering about the fact how Sikkim has been appreciated domestically and globally for its work done in the field of conserving the environment and various works done to improve the forest growth and preserving greenery in the state.
Earlier the programme began with the welcome note by the Secretary, DR Nepal while the Joint Secretary, Yishey D Yongda gave an overview of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan through a power point presentation.
The gathering were also entertained by skit, fashion show, dance and quiz competition on environment conservation. Later in the afternoon, hands on activities for students on recycling, handwash, sanitation and hygiene was also organised.
In a unique gesture by the organisers, the chief guest earlier started the programme by planting a sapling to mark the importance of environment and its conservation.

Vyapari Morcha thanks CM for taking up IT exemption issue with PM

GANGTOK, 10 June: Former members of the Vyapari Morcha of the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front have extended gratitude towards their party president, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, for having raised the demand of Income Tax exemption and protection of Old Settlers of Sikkim during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.
A press release states that the demand raised by the Chief Minister during his first courtesy call on the PM “reflects his magnanimity and sheer commitment towards the protection and development of the Vyapari community in the State”.
The members of the business community of Sikkim have been greatly touched by this demand made to the PM and would like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to the Chief Minister, the release adds.
The release further expresses hope that the SDF government will fulfil and deliver this demand of the old settlers with the support of the Central Government.

Truck mishap claims one at Padamchen

GANGTOK, 10 Jun: A 14-year-old was killed on the spot while four others were injured when a truck they were travelling in went off the road while reversing at Padamchen on 08 June.
On 08 June, around 3.30 p.m. one truck [SK-01D-1001] driven by Laxuman Sharma tumbled down about 60 mtrs from the road at Padamchen, while reversing. 14-year-old Devi Prasad Sharma died on the spot whereas four others, Abishek Pradhan [14], Abijit Pradhan [16], Nirmal Sharma [24] and Bir Bahadur Tamang [20], all residents of Padamchen sustained minor injuries.

The accused driver is absconding after the accident and search is being carried out to trace him. A case under sections 279, 336, 337 and 304 ‘A’ [rash driving or riding on public way, act endangering life or personal safety of others, causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others and causing death by negligence] of the Indian Penal Code read with section 183 and 184 CMV Act, 1988 has been registered against the accused driver Laxuman Sharma [20] of Padamchen at the Pakyong Police Station.

School health program at Chisopani JHS

SINGTAM, 10 June: School Health Program was held at Chisopani JHS today. A medical team from District Hospital, Singtam accompanied by two doctors conducted regular check-up of the students. 
The regular check-up included: eye, dental, height and weight, general check-up, immunization and others. New student health card was also issued. Counseling on Adolescence was also held from classes IV to VII. The students were also referred to District Hospital, Singtam for further medical check-up.
Headmaster of the Chisopani JHS, Mahesh Dahal thanked the medical team for their visit. Mr Dahal went on to say that the health check up was fruitful and the parents of those students who had been referred to visit the District Hospital, Singtam would be informed.
Senior teacher of the school, Mina Bhutia said the school being located in a rural area, the counseling session between the Resource Person and the students was very beneficial. The medical team included: Dr. Dipak Dhakal, Dr. Joshna Sharma, Kiran (Health Counsellor), Heema Sharma and Pema Bhutia (MCH),  Harka Subba (Resource Person), Phurba Lepcha (Eye Technician).


State level seminar deliberates on Training and Education of Cooperative Societies

GANGTOK, 10 June [IPR]: State level seminar on Training and Education to Cooperative Societies of Sikkim was held in the capital today. The seminar organised by Sikkim State Cooperative Union (SICUN) was chaired by Minister RM&DD and Cooperative Department, SB Subedi.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister Mr Subedi called for proactive participation of people in this high-priority sector. Lauding the efforts of SICUN to develop the cooperative sector in the state, he stressed on the need to encourage the youth to come forward and embrace this sector.
He categorically stated that the practice of sub-letting public works granted to Cooperative Societies needs to stop immediately. Further, the Minister assured full support towards the development of the Cooperative sector in the state.
Secretary Cooperative Department, Ujjwal Gurung in his opening remarks called for the need to diversify the activities of the Department and SICUN towards areas like food processing and tourism for sustainability.
Earlier, delivering his welcome address, president SICUN, Ganesh Rai mentioned that International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) has announced the current decade as ‘Cooperative Decade’, with a vision to attain self-dependence and sustainability. He urged the participants to embrace this vision in the State.
He further informed about SICUN’s plan to conduct trainings at every Gram Vikash Kendra in the state. He also informed about the coming up of quality infrastructure in the form of a Cooperative Training Institute under the aegis of SICUN at Assam Lingzey, East Sikkim which is nearing completion and also assured that future trainings will give more emphasis on training the youth and unemployed as per the vision of the Government.
He stressed about a need to shift from consumer mentality to producer mentality. Cooperative has a major role in this regard, he said. Mr Rai proposed the initiation of a grading system to judge the performance of cooperative societies and the best of the lot be given special preference for public works by departments.
He requested the Department to facilitate attachment of a few officers to SICUN to address the challenge of manpower shortage. Mr Rai informed about a three-day specialised training for cooperatives incorporating all the suggestions placed in today’s meeting. He invited the participants for their suggestions. Suggestions were also sought about the quality of resource persons to impart these trainings.
During the technical session, Executive Officer, SICUN, BK Subba presented a report on training activities carried out by SICUN since 2006. He elaborated on the types of trainings conducted during the reporting period duly listing the categories of people trained. Mr. Subba also invited suggestions from representatives of the cooperative societies about any alterations or up gradations in the training modules. He also threw light on the Annual General Meetings of the Union and further informed about the calendar of training at block level in the year 2014-15.
The technical session was also addressed by Managing Director Denzong Agricultural Cooperative Society, MT Sherpa. He shared his learnings from a recent exposure visit to Brazil to attend an International Cooperative Expo.
This was followed by a deliberation on Training and Education by Additional Registrar Cooperative Department, RK Gautam.
He ruled out the practice of sub-letting works for individual benefits and called for effective check and balance in this regard. He further sought cooperation from department officials and SICUN in matters related to training and education and audit.
In his deliberation, member of Board of Directors, Parasmani Dangal called for introspection on the quality of awareness/publicity/education and training on the ideology/concept and the behavioral aspects of cooperatives. Mr Dangal cited inadequacy of literature/ resource in this subject and the almost non-existent literature on the work/success stories.
Lamenting that these aspects have hampered the cooperative movement, he called for sharing of positive stories through various media to make cooperatives a subject of general discussion.  He stressed on the need to inculcate a sense of collective ownership. He further suggested that trainings should be result oriented and should bring about a distinct change in the opinion/ concept of the people about cooperatives.
This was followed by sharing of experience by Managing Director SIMFED, Kuber Bhandari from his participation at a recent cooperative expo in Delhi and an International organic food products display in the month of March 2014. The learnings from these forums suggest that the value of organic products of Sikkim is immensely high in the national and international market, he said.
This calls for a mission to ‘grow more’ because of adequate national and international market. Placing a few suggestions, he added that the trainings imparted by SICUN could incorporate aspects like packaging, sorting grading and quality management of products, how to increase shelf life of perishable items, cluster approach of farming, need for exposure trips for cooperatives.

The event also witnessed the Release of Training Calendar 2014-15 by the Secretary Cooperative Department. The concluding remarks were made by Deputy Chairman SICUN, LP Kafley