Saturday, June 28, 2014


Golay leads walkout alleging Speaker bias
GANGTOK, 27 June: SKM and SDF MLAs have been going at each other on an increasingly acerbic tone since the start of the Budget Session, and today, the fifth day of the session, the confrontation, carried over from yesterday’s events, boiled over very fast and all 10 SKM MLAs staged a walk out within 10 minutes of the House convening. SKM president, Upper Burtuk MLA PS Tamang, led his party colleagues out of the Assembly alleging bias by the Speaker.
Mr. Tamang accused the Speaker, KN Rai, of acting at the behest of the Chief Minister and displaying bias when he expunged his [Mr. Tamang’s] comments made during the zero hour yesterday from the record of Assembly proceedings.
Quoting Rule 325 of the Sikkim Rules and Proceedings for business of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Mr. Tamang argued that he had raised issues related to the “business” transitioned in the Assembly over the past four days and that no unparliamentarily or defamatory words were used in his deliberation.
Speaker Mr. Rai, in the meanwhile, had explained yesterday that his decision to expunge Mr. Tamang’s address was because as per the rules there is no provision for Zero hour in conduct rule and directed the SKM MLAs to go through Rule 334 of Procedures and Conduct of Sikkim Legislative Business.
Mr. Tamang, addressing a press conference at MLA Hostel later in the day, reiterated that the Speaker had not followed the rule of procedure and alleged that the Assembly was being run not by the Speaker but by the Leader of the House.
He claimed that he and his legislators were raising issues backed with documentary and statistical evidence which is why they were not being allowed to speak freely and their statements were being expunged.
The treasury bench, he contended further, was resorting to name-calling because it did not have anything beyond claims to share.
His MLAs echoed this sentiment and alleged that the government was not allowing the opposition to speak on issues directly related to the welfare of the people and the state.
Interestingly, Forest Minister Tshering Wangdi Lepcha had a different explanation for the SKM walkout. This walkout, he claimed, was a pre-meditated move which was part of a strategy to shift focus from SKM leader, PS Tamang. Mr Lepcha claimed that since the Demand for Grants for the Animal Husbandry Department was to be taken up today, SKM walked out because it knew that the Vigilance case related to this Department [on a complaint filed by SSP’s Nar Bahadur Bhandari] under which Mr. Tamang has been chargesheeted, would have definitely come up.

Minister Lepcha said, “If he [Mr. Tamang] had a problem with the Speaker’s ruling on Zero Hour during Thursday's session, he should have walked out on the same day”.

Pabong-Kholaghari buckles under rains PURAN TAMANG

NAMCHI, 27 June: Continuous downpour over the past few days in South Sikkim has resulted in damage to several houses and standing crop at Pabong Kholaghari under Poklok-Kamrang constituency.
Last night's rainfall damaged GB Rai's house where his kitchen was swept away by a landslide and now his entire house and attached field are in danger.
Similarly, the houses and fields of Dawa Singh Rai, Krishna Bdr Rai, LK Rai and TT Lepcha have reportedly been damaged and if the rain continues the village could suffer major damage, it is informed.
Gome Bahadur Rai informs that last night's rain damaged his kitchen and caused cracks in other parts of his house. If the downpour continues then the entire house will be destroyed, he added.
According to the villagers, delay in road widening work is to be blamed for the damages. Mr Rai has alleged that back cutting work along the Namchi-Wok road have weakened the slopes and caused the damage to his house.
“We are happy to have wider roads in our area but they should take protective measures like putting up retaining walls. We had approached the concerned department and contractor several times for the past one year regarding this but they did not listen to us,” he stated.
Villagers said that many houses and land in the area have been damaged with further threat of disaster hanging real over the whole area. The village had suffered major damage in the 2011 earthquake and the delay in the back cutting work and lack of protection walls has further endangered many houses in the village, they added. 
TT Lepcha also stated that road widening work has now left the Bhutia Gaon of Upper Pabong in a precarious situation. The whole area has developed cracks and some places in the area are also sinking, he said, adding that the concerned department must take immediate action regarding this.
On the other hand, the AE Roads & Bridges informed that the back cutting works are time bound and have to be completed within the stipulated time. He said that the department had identified the vulnerable areas and constructed protection walls but continuous rainfall had caused the damages. 
The department has sent a team to assess the damages and compensation will also be released, he informed. The AE added that the department is on alert and is working to prevent further damage in these areas.

A team from the District Administration Disaster Management Cell headed by DPO (S) Pempa Norbu also visited the spot and has assessed the damages following which immediate relief has also been given to the affected families.


Demand of Grants for 7 Departments and Police Amendment Bill passed
Gangtok, 27 June [IPR]: The Budget Session presided over by Speaker KN Rai saw the passing of the Sikkim Police (Amendment) Bill, Bill No. 9 of 2014, Excess Demands for Grants for the financial year 2008-2009 and the Sikkim Appropriation Bill, Bill No. 8 of 2014 for Excess Demands for Grants 2008-2009 today, the fifth day of the Budget Session.
The Sikkim Police (Amendment) Bill, Bill No.9 of 2014 was introduced on June 25 by the Chief Minister who is also the Minister in-charge of Home Department. Similarly, the Chief Minister who is also the Minister-in-charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure had introduced the Sikkim Appropriation Bill, Bill No. 8 of 2014 for Excess Demands for Grants 2008-2009.
The day’s proceedings also saw passing of Demands for Grants of various departments under the charge of three ministers.
Member of the House and Minister in charge of Forest, Environment & Wildlife Management, Mines, Minerals and Geology and Science and Technology Departments Tshering Wangdi Lepcha presented the demands for grants of Departments under his charge. The Demands were passed by the House after discussion. MLA Chandra Maya Subba participated in the discussion.
The Forest Minister, while placing the Demands for Grants before the House highlighted the key achievements of the Government in the field of Forest Environment and Wildlife in the twenty years of governance. He also brought to light the unique initiatives of the government which have brought laurels to the State.
Similarly, Minister in Charge of Water Security & Public Health Engineering and Social Justice, Empowerment & Welfare Departments, Tulsi Devi Rai, presented the Demands for Grants of the concerned departments under her charge. After discussion and voting, the Demands were passed by the House. MLA Ms Chandra Maya Subba participated in the discussions where she highlighted issues regarding women's rights and welfare. She stressed that the present Government has initiated innovative schemes for the upliftment of women.
The House also saw presentation, discussion, voting, and passing of demands for Grants under Health Care Human Services, Family Welfare and Animal Husbandry, Livestock, Fisheries & Veterinary Services Departments. Concerned Minister AK Ghatani presented the Demands for Grants. After discussion and voting, the demands were passed by the House. The Minister replied to questions put forth by Members of the House on the issues concerning the departments under his charge. Members Bikram Pradhan, Bek Bahadur Rai and Chandra Maya Subba participated in the discussions.

SINGBEL LAD IS OFF TO SCINDIA BOYS SCHOOL ON FULL STATE SCHOLARSHIP: Ajay Karki of Singbel Junior High School in East Sikkim [seen here with the Headmaster TD Koirala] was felicitated and accorded a warm farewell by his school on Friday as he prepares to leave for the prestigious Scindia Boys School in Gwalior on full state scholarship. Ajay had secured the 15th position in the Chief Minister’s Meritorious Scholarship exam held in December last year. This rank has secured him a berth at Scindia Boys School, considered one of the most prestigious public schools of the country. Singbel JHS is understandably proud of this bright export and organised a formal farewell for him on Friday, complete with a chief guest in former Headmaster RP Timsina, a special guest in Patuk Singbel Panchayat President KB Chettri, a welcome address, cultural performances, vote of thanks and many khadas. It is in dreams come true like this that the CM’s Meritorious Scholarship scheme continues to impress and inspire… [reported by H.L. ADHIKARI]

TMC applauds SKM walkout from Assembly

GANGTOK, 27 June: The Sikkim-unit of the Trinamul Congress has “applauded” the walkout staged by the 10 SKM MLAs from the Legislative Assembly today.
A press release issued by the Sikkim Pradesh TMC general secretary, Tshering Wangchuk Lepcha, points out that Sikkim has a sizeable Opposition presence in the Legislative Assembly after a long while and that the people are getting the “chance to witness and actually feel true opposition party practice in  real sense of democracy through SKM's 10 MLA in the Assembly”. “…the ruling party SDF party should let them perform their duties and functions for common good and goals i.e Betterment of Sikkim,” the release states.

The TMC, while applauding the walkout, has “condemned” what it sees as the Speaker’s “bias” in expunging the speech delivered by PS Tamang from the Legislative proceedings.

Against Drugs at Thamidara JHS

GANGTOK, 27 June: Thamidara Junior High School in East Sikkim observed the International Day Against Drugs and Illicit Trafficking on Thursday. An essay competition followed by a procession around Thamidara was organised to mark the day.

SKPPL organizes free medical camp at Dikchu

DIKCHU, 27 June:  A free medical camp was organized here at the 96 MW Dikchu hydel project Power House site by the project developer SKPPL today. 189 patients from the project affected villages attended the medical camp.
The camp was inaugurated by SKPPL General Manager, AK Dutta, along with the Dikchu Police Out Post in-charge, MB Bhujel, and officials from SKPPL.

A paramedical team from the Central Referral Hospital examined the patients and prescribed suitable medicines.

Sikkim Viklang Sahayata Samiti elects new executive committee

GANGTOK, 27 June: The Sikkim Viklang Sahayata Samiti formed a new executive committee at its Annual General Body Meeting held on 26 June at the SVSS office here at Zero Point. The election was preceded by the resignation of all government employees who were executive and ordinary members of SVSS. This, in accordance with the recent government circular which disallows government servants from becoming members of any association.

The new committee is headed by Tempo Bhutia as president, Dr Savitri Hamal as working president, Ramesh Periwal as vice-president, ST Lepcha general secretary,  BK Baraily as treasurer, Navraj Tewari as joint treasurer, Sanjay Ghimirey joint secretary and has Ratna Rasaily as legal advisor, a press release informs.

Plantation drive at Rhenock college campus

RHENOCK, 27 June: The National Service Scheme unit of the Govt. College Rhenock carried out a plantation drive in the college campus today as a part of the Paryavaran Mahotsav, a press release informs. NSS volunteers and teaching faculty of the college were supported by the villagers along with local Panchayat members in the plantation drive. More than 150 sapling of 10 varieties of ornamental and fruit bearing plants were planted. The NSS unit has thanked the Forest Department for providing saplings for the plantation drive, the release adds. Panchayat members of Rhenock GPU were also thanked for providing manpower to the college to carry out the plantation drive effectively. 

Plantation drive at Passingdang GVK

DIKCHU, 27 June: A plantation drive was carried out at the Passingdang Gram Vikash Kendra premises in Upper Dzongu today as part of the Paryavaran Mahotsav. Dzongu SDM G Pegha, Gram Vikash Adhikari Sonam Gyatso Bhutia, AD BAC, BO Upper Dzongu along with the staff of GVK and forest officials participated in the drive during which 150 saplings of flowering plants and other trees such as Neelkamal, Indrakamal, Cherry, Jarul etc were planted.

Tender notices to be published only in Sikkim Herald

GANGTOK, 27 June: Advertisements for contract works of the government in the State will no longer be issued to privately owned newspapers. Notice Inviting Tenders of the government departments will henceforth be published only in Sikkim Herald, the weekly newspaper published by the Information & Public Relations Department.
The IPR Department has issued a notification to the effect that all NITs of the government departments, autonomous bodies and joint ventures shall be published in the Sikkim Herald only with immediate effect.
While this decision of the State government has been in the pipeline for the past few days, the official notification announcing it, has come as a shocker for most newspaper houses in the state, a sizeable chunk of whose revenue comes from NIT advertisements.

Other advertisements and notices of the government such as calls for recruitment will continue to be issued to the newspapers for now. 

Sikkim’s Muslim Women’s assc organizes diabetes detection camp at Khamdong

GANGTOK, 27 June: The All Sikkim Muslim Women’s Welfare Association conducted a Free Diabetics Detection and General Medical Camp at Khamdong here in East Sikkim today.
A total of 210 people of from Khamdong attended the camp wich was organized in coordination with the Kin Advance Diabetes and Wellness Clinic of Siliguri and Dr. AH Khan (Remicare Private Clinic) of Singtam.
Subash Shah, diabetic educator at Kin Advance Diabetes and Wellness Clinic, explained diabetes to the people. Out of the 210 people who checked in for the camp, 43 were detected as diabetic symptoms.

The camp had Zilla Panchayat Beena Lamichaney as chief guest accompanied by panchayats Bishnu Maya, Karma Wangdup Bhutia and Jeewan Lamichaney of Khamdong and youth convenor Tenzing Sherpa. ASMWWA’s organizing committee vice president Mehrunnisa, general secretary Noorjahan Begum, treasurer Mumtaz Begum and Parveen Khan and other members from Gangtok and Singtam took active part in the programme.

Mangshila school thanks NHPC for donation of computers and furniture

DIKCHU, 27 June: The Principal, staff and students of Mangshila Senior Secondary of North Sikkim have expressed gratitude towards NHPC’s Teesta Stage IV HEP office for having provided computers and furniture to the school. Principal Chungkipo Lepcha, states in a press release that the donation has been of great help to the students and expresses hope that similar cooperation will be extended in future as well.

Life-skills training at Duga

Gangtok, 27 June [PIB]: Nehru Yuva Kendra, Gangtok, organized a seven-day long non-residential Life Skills Training camp at Govt. Secondary School, Duga, East Sikkim. The camp concluded on Thursday. The aims & objective of the programme were to provide opportunities for the reinforcement of existing positive behavior and strengthening of life skills that enable young people to protect themselves from dangerous situations they encounter in their lives. 71 youth from different villages participated in the camp. 

NHRC organises workshop on Human Rights

GANGTOK, 27 June [IPR]: A workshop on Human Rights was organized by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) at Samaj Kalyan Bhawan here today. The workshop was conducted after monitoring and reviewing the implementation of social schemes and governmental activities in Sikkim particularly in North District by a special team of National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi.
Member of NHRC, SC Sinha applauded the functioning of the state government in terms of the implementation of schemes in the states and said that "the state is generally doing a good job, running in the front line in the country".
Mr. Sinha suggested that strong publicity drive through the medium of Information, Education and Communication should be initiated to ensure public awareness on the implemented schemes and various facilities being provided by the government.
Emphasizing on the importance of health facilities, he further suggested some measures to be adopted for the proper benefit of the people. He complemented the state government's initiatives on ICDS centers and further suggested the introduction of egg as supplementary food for ICDS children and power connectivity in the centers.
Joint Director, NHRC, Dr. Savita Bhakry highlighted on the composition, functions and complaint handling mechanism of the commission. Human Rights are inalienable, universal, interrelated and indivisible, she stated. Dr Bhakry further spoke on the flagship programmes and importance of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Additional Secretary-Cum-Mission Director, ICDS, BB Subba presented a detailed report on the activities and schemes implemented by the state and central governments.
The programme was also attended by Additional Chief Secretary, AK Shrivastava; Zilla Adhyaksha North, Upadhakshya South, Special Secretary Home, Additional Secretary Health, ADC Pakyong, SDMs, representatives from various departments, officials and members of civil society.

The programme began with the welcome speech proposed by Special Secretary-cum-Project Director SJEWD, Januki Pradhan and vote of thanks was delivered by Joint Secretary, Welfare Division, Dushyant Pariyar.

Hope and ‘direction’ on Day Against Drugs in Jorethang

GANGTOK, 27 June: Hope Foundation and Drishya Foundation jointly observed the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit trafficking with an awareness and interactive session with the senior students of Govt Senior Secondary school and general community regarding drug addiction, alcoholism and HIV/ AIDS at Jorethang.
The event started at 11.30 a.m. with a welcome speech by Prem Chettri, Project Manager (Hope-1) and president, Drishya, about drug addiction, alcoholism and HIV/AIDS.
Local youth, anthropoligist Yougan Tamang spoke next, adding an inspirational spin to his talk, and speaking of how he, hailing from a small town like Jorethang, pursued his research with an earnestness which saw him get invited to the International conference for Anthropological and Ethnological Science in England.

Jorethang thana in-charge spoke on the Sikkim Anti-Drugs Act and underlined the need for wider social interventions to address the problem of addiction.

Peddling Some Thoughts on Addiction


It has been 16 years since the United Nations convened a Special Session of its General Assembly to deliberate on the drug problem. The realization that substance abuse had reached alarming figures came much later in Sikkim and the societal involvement in combating it is unfortunately still awaited. Be that as it may, the world observed the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Thursday. There was abundant tokenism expressed in Sikkim also and maybe even some genuine concern. What are known as the “harder drugs” have still not seeped into Sikkim in strength and the abuse of prescription drugs remains the larger worry here. Given that some focus arrived on addiction, Sikkim could do well by brain-storming on how the trafficking of these substances of abuse can be curtailed. Agreed, there is a Sikkim-specific anti-Drugs Act in place now, but there is still very little awareness on it. Also, because the law was framed without taking suggestions from recovered addicts and health workers, it is still not as compassionate as the original draft intended it to be. It would be a good idea to hold a debate on this Act. Not only will this clear a lot of things for the police personnel themselves, but the suggestions and tweaks that might shuffle out of the debate could make this Act really as comprehensive, considerate and effective as a law framed to address addiction should be. The law keepers should also reach out sans prejudice to the recovered addicts and volunteers who work among people suffering from chemical dependency. The laws are invariably in black in white, but the drug route into Sikkim operates in a grey nexus. Only people who have suffered in the hands of this nexus and survived will have the intelligence and commitment to work out the subtleties with which it can be broken. This is actually an urgent requirement because the crackdown on trafficking of substances of abuse in Sikkim is at best earnest; it also needs to be effective. Drug control is after all a shared responsibility and it is time that the law enforcement agencies invited some sharing. On that note, it is also time that parents started getting more involved in the anti-addiction awareness initiatives because every child is already at risk and detached, uninformed parents make them even more vulnerable.

Cooperation Deptt celebrates Paryavaran Mahotsav

GANGTOK, 27 June [IPR]: On the occasion of ‘Paryavaran Mahotsav 2014’ the Department of Cooperation organized a mass cleanliness and plantation drive at the premises of Sahakari Bhawan, Tadong, in the morning today. Secretary Cooperation Department, Ujjal Gurung planted a flower bearing tree sapling provided by the Forest Department. He also urged everyone to get actively involved in the drive and highlighted the government’s vision to make the state clean and green. The plantation drive also saw the participation of officers and staffs of the department including the cooperative societies of Gangtok.

Plantation drive at Central Pendam school

GANGTOK, 27 June: The Department of Sports & Youth Affairs organised a plantation drive at Central Pendam Senior Secondary School in collaboration with the National Service Scheme volunteers of the school today. More than a 100 saplings were planted during this commemoration of “Paryavaran Mahotsav”. Assistant Director CL Rai and SP Lepcha of the Department and NSS Programme Officers along with NSS volunteers attended the drive, an official press release informs.

Casino Mahjong joins Govt’s Green initiative, plants at Bulbuley

GANGTOK, 27 June: Casino Mahjong carried out a plantation drive here at the Himalayan Zoological Park, Bulbulley, today. The drive, joined by around 60 staff members of the casino, was led by the Casino Mahjong Managing Director Bikash Chamling accompanied by the General Manager, Sherap Lepcha.
A total of 250 saplings were planted at the zoological park’s 2 hectare spread.
“Since the start of Casino Mahjong, the entire crew here has enthusiastically extended genuine support and dedication towards social causes all over the State and today we begin Casino Mahjong’s contribution towards the environment under the mission of the State government’s Paryavaran Mahotsav. This is our 3rd Anniversary and we, the entire crew of Casino Mahjong, are delighted and fortunate to take part in such an initiative,” the MD stated while addressing the media today during the plantation drive.
On the Casino’s involvement in social and ecological issues, it was informed today that Casino Mahjong MDs – Mr. Chamling and Ugen T Ladakhi – were the first to adopt the state animal “Red Panda” during the “Animal Adoption Program” organized by the Himalayan Zoological Park. They have contributed Rs. 50,000 in two months towards this commitment, it is informed. The adoption program is still underway at the Zoo started recently. The MD also donated around 30 dustbins to the zoo today.

Sikkim Commission for Backward Classes joins Paryavaran Mahotsav

GANGTOK, 27 June [IPR]: Sikkim Commission for Backward Classes, Government of Sikkim organized a massive plantation drive as part of the Paryavaran Mahotsav-2014 on 22 June at Assam Lingzey Sr. Sec. School premises, involving a large number of senior students, teachers and Heads of Assam Lingzey Sr. Sec. School, feeder Schools, public and NGOs.
Area MLA,. BB Rai attended the programme as the chief guest along with the Chairman, Sikkim Commission for Backward Classes, TN Sharma, Additional Secretary, SCBC, TB Chhetri and officials and staff of the Commission.
A large number of saplings of various ornamental plants and fruit bearing trees were planted in the School premises and also in the vacant land.
The plantation drive was also participated by the officials and staffs of HRDD, Forest, SDM Office, SNT (Mechanical division) under Pakyong Sub- Division.
One kilometer rally was conducted from the venue to sensitize people on keeping our environment green and clean.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bar-Peepal shaadi adds to Paryavaran Mahotsav festivities at Dentam

DENTAM, 26 June [IPR]: An awareness programme on sanitation, waste management and environment issues was organised today at Dentam Bazar on the occasion of ‘Paryavaran Mahotsav’.
A special attraction of the occasion was the marriage ceremony held between Bar and Peepal planted at the spot which earlier used to be a garbage dump but with the ritual has now become a holy place!
This initiative was taken to underline awareness among the people, especially the youngsters, thereby highlighting the significance and relevance of the traditional methods of cleanliness and environment conservation.
Dentam Bazar, being a rural area, does not have an effective mechanism of waste collection and disposal. At present, the Bazar Committee is somehow managing collection and disposal. Taking this into account, a waste management mechanism is being developed and the initiative has started with the formation of the ‘Dentam for Dentam Sanitation Society’.
A community led sanitation campaign named “Nirmal Dentam” under the banner of ‘Dentam for Dentam Sanitation Society’ was also formally launched today.
The system is planned to be self-sustaining, wherein a nominal charge will be collected from each household and each commercial establishment. The Society will be jointly managed by the Dentam GPU and the Bazar Committee on a no-profit, no-loss basis and will be supervised by a board of advisors.
The campaign will cover Dentam Bazar in the first phase and will later extended to Uttarey and Hee bazaars as well.
Today’s programme, organized jointly by the SDM Office, Office of the GVA, Forest Department, PHC Dentam, Dentam Police, Dentam GPU and Bazaar Committee was handsomely participated by people from all over Dentam.
An awareness rally was also taken out by students of schools from around Dentam Bazar who later participated in a painting competition on the theme “Waste Reduction”. The programme ended with a short briefing session which was also attended by Tshewang Gyachho, District Magistrate, West, DFO (Env & Land Dev), GVA, Martam, Principal Dentam SSS, Teachers, Students and local residents.

Zero Hour lasts 15 minutes, gets expunged

GANGTOK, 26 June: Zero Hour in the Legislative Assembly lasted a brief 15 minutes today with the SKM president Prem Singh Tamang getting cut short as he went on the offensive countering comments made by the Chief Minister in his closing remarks on the Motions of Thanks on the Governor's address yesterday.

Speaker KN Rai, quoting extant rules on Assembly Procedure, said that there was no provision in the rules for a 'Zero hour' and declared the discussion and statements of Mr. Tamang as expunged from the proceedings of the assembly.

Section of SU campus affected seek more time to vacate lands

GANGTOK, 26 June: A section of the families affected by the Sikkim University campus land acquisition in Yangyang in South Sikkim have submitted a memorandum to the office of the Chief Secretary requesting that they be allowed an extension on the time within which they are to vacate the land.
This memorandum, submitted today, follows a final reminder notice from SDM [Yangyang sub-division] served to them on 24 June to vacate the university land within 7 days from the date of issue of the notice.
A press release by this section alleges that the government has still not fulfilled its promises made before acquiring the land and the people have not received the “correct” price for their land yet and are still awaiting rehabilitation.

“We got an appointment to meet the Chief Secretary on 30 June and we hope that with the initiative of the CS the affected families will get justice,” they state.

TMC demands fair conduct of US and AO exams

GANGTOK, 26 June: Sikkim Pradesh Trinamool Congress [SPTMC] has written to the Sikkim Public Service Commission [SPSC] demanding fair conduct of examination for the posts of Under Secretary and Accounts Officer to be held on 20 July 2014.
In view of the manner in which the prelims were conducted and cancelled by the SPSC last year, SPTMC general secretary, Tshering Wangchuk Lepcha has demanded that this time, the mistakes should not be repeated and all precautions should be taken to ensure transparent and fair conduct of the exams.
Amongst the demands are that question paper should be sealed packed and should be shown by the respective invigilators to all the aspiring applicants before being distributed, a formal declaration of the way in which the exams would be conducted to be published in newspapers and oath of secrecy to be taken by SPSC officials which should be published in newspapers as well.

Further stating that the Public Service Commission is the backbone of the country’s administration and it’s sanctity under Article 315 of the Indian Constitution gives it the status of Independent Constitutional institution, Mr Lepcha has said that legal action would be taken against SPSC if it repeats its earlier mistakes. 

Teen charged with sexual assault of 15 yr old

GANGTOK, 26 Jun: A case under section 376 [punishment for rape] of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 4 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 was registered at Namchi Police Station on 25 June against an 18-year-old boy, a resident of Chamarchi, Jalpaiguri [WB], currently residing in Namthang, on charges of having sexually assaulted a 15 year old girl.
As per the FIR, the victim was reported missing from her home at Kaluk on 22 June at around 3.30 pm. A thorough search was conducted but she could not be traced out.
On 25 June, the victim's father received information that his daughter was seen at Namthang. Accordingly, the girl was recovered from Namthang with the accused. She disclosed to her mother that she was sexually assaulted by the accused. The victim was medically examined at Namchi District Hospital and then hand over to her legal guardian.

The accused has been sent to the Juvenile Observation Home at Gangtok. The case is under investigation.

SU organizes blood donation camp

Gangtok, 26 June: On the occasion of World Anti-Drugs Day, Sikkim University NSS organized a blood donation camp in collaboration with the Sikkim Manipal University today. 43 students and staff members of Sikkim University, including Registrar TK Kaul and Controller of Examination, Dr. Suresh Kr. Gurung, donated blood on occasion.
The organisers hoped that the camp would send out a strong message of positive health, fitness and well-being and encourage participants to adopt a healthy lifestyle and build a drug-free environment.

A press release informs that a number of students couldn’t donate blood today due to low Hemoglobin and blood pressure.

SIRD celebrates Paryavaran Mahotsav

GANGTOK, 26 June: State Institute of Rural Development [SIRD], Karfectar took part in the ‘10 Minutes to Earth’ programme on 25 June at SIRD campus as part of week-long Paryavaran Mahotsav being celebrated across the state. The programme was organized in collaboration with North East Rural Livelihoods Project [NERLP] and the state Forest Department.
A press release informs that saplings were planted in the institute’s campus on the day while the saplings planted last year by SIRD and NERLP in the ‘10 Minutes to Earth’ programme were also taken care of by weeding, feeding manure and other protective measures to ensure the survival and growth of the plants. 
A cleanliness drive in the campus of the Institute was also conducted. Two research scholars from Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development [RGNIYD],  Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu and a team of 41 members of PRI from Jharkhand who are on an exposure visit to SIRD were also involved in the programme. They were sensitized about the mission and vision of Sikkim Government towards environmental concerns, the release mentions.
SIRD Director, Suchitra Rasaily delivered the welcome address where she informed about the aims and objectives of the ‘10 Minutes to Earth’ initiative. She also elaborated on the vision of the government of Sikkim in observing Paryavaran Mahotsav.
This was followed by a motivational talk delivered by State Coordinator of NERLP, DT Bhutia about the need for undertaking such important environmental conservation and development programmes. He urged the participants to think globally and act locally to meet the future challenges cropping up from environmental degradation.

In the end, the Director of the Institute thanked all the participants for their contribution towards the cause of environment.

Organic training at Simik-Lingzey GPU

GANGTOK, 26 June: Sikkim Organic Mission of the State Government, in association with the International Panaacea Limited, organized a training for farmers of Simik Lingzey GPU. The training, organized on 23 and 24 June, at Simik, Subithang, Aritar and Lingzey wards was attended by Agriculture Inspector NK Dahal, staff of IPL and farmers of the respective areas.

Sikkim Rehab observes Day Against Drug Abuse

GANGTOK, 26 June: The International Day against Drug abuse and Illicit Trafficking was observed here at the Drop-In Centre (DIC) run by Sikkim Rehabilitation & Detoxification Society (SRDS) at Development Area this morning.
This year’s theme being, “A Message of Hope: Drug Use Disorders are Preventable and Treatable,” the SRC members organized a daylong awareness programme sponsored by Sikkim State AIDS Control Society (SSACS). Activities included drawing and quiz competitions for over 50 High Risk Group (HRG) members and Oral Substitute Therapy (OST) staff from SRC at the DIC premises.
Pastor Joseph Tamang, president, SRDS, in his address, highlighted the need to enhance treatment facilities for recovering addicts and alcoholics and spoke about the formation of the rehab, its aims and objectives. Similarly, Rinzing Bhutia, Project manager SRDS-I spoke on the significance of the day’s observance and also about the problems of active addiction in present day society.

Prizes were awarded to winners of the quiz and drawing competitions which was followed by the vote of thanks by SRDC Counselor, Bishal Sharma.

SICB plants and cleans to celebrate Paryavaran

GANGTOK, 25 June: In continuation of the ParyavanMahotsav, a “10-Minutes to Earth” programme was held at the State Institute of Capacity Building (SICB) at Karfectar today.
The program was presided over by Tenzing Denzongpa, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Jorethang, a press release informs. Sunil Kr. Mothay, Joint Chief Administrator, SICB, initiated the program by welcoming the officers and staff of the various departments. The program saw enthusiastic participation from Officers, staff and trainees of SICB, staff of SDM Office, Motor Vehicle, Forest, UD & HD, Excise &Abkari, Energy & Power, Commerce & Industries, Gram Vikas Kendra (Jorethang), Commercial Tax,North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP), B-Able, and Truck Driver’s Association of Jorethang.
The officers, staff and In-House trainees (Driver cum Tour Guide Course, Beauty, SPA & Hair Course and Banking & BPO Course) of SICB were also addressed by Tilak Kumar Mukhia, ACF-BAC Jorethang regarding vision and mission of the State Government in observing Paryavaran Mahotsav and provided instructions on how to plant saplings correctly to ensure their survival.
The saplings were provided by the department of Forest, Environment & Wildlife. A total of 150 saplings of various indigenous trees were planted in and around SICB complex.
After completion of 10-minutes to earth program, cleaning of the SICB complex wasdone by the officers, staff and the in-house trainees.

State Green School awardee celebrates Paryavaran Mahotsav

GANGTOK, 26 June: Government Primary School, Samdur, which had bagged the State Green School award 2014 on World Environment Day on 05 June, yesterday joined Sikkim in dedicating 10 Minutes to Earth with a plantation drive and an awareness rally.
Headmistress, Pema Sangmu Bhutia, began the observance by explaining the State Government’s “10 Minutes to Earth” initiative to the students and staff. The students, teachers, School Management Committee members, parents, local residents, army and the forest staff then joined the plantation drive.

The students also organized a rally carrying messages on conservation and protection of environment. More than 150 flowering plants like lagerstromia, bottle brush, lalpatey, cassia fistula etc were planted along the road side leading towards MP Golai to Samdur village. 

SAATHI observes Day Against Drug Abuse with appeal to ‘stay clean’

GANGTOK, 26 June: SAATHI [Sikkim Against Addiction and Towards Healthy India] organised a two-hour long programme at Tadong Senior Secondary School auditorium today to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Students from Tadong School, Deorali Girls School, Enchey Senior Secondary School, Tashi Namgyal Sr. Sec School, West Point School and Modern School, a total of 100, attended the event. The programme featured screening of videos on substance and alcohol abuse, distribution of Identity Cards for the Peer Educators and an interactive session with the students. Students from Tadong School also demonstrated a drill on how to save a person suffering from Drug Overdose. The programme concluded with the Peer Educators sharing their experiences with SAATHI and taking a Pledge “Stay Clean, Stay Healthy because we are all SAATHI’s”.

Rongli begins preparing for Bhanu Jayanti

RONGLI, 25 June: A Sub-Division level meeting was held at the SDPO Office here yesterday during which the celebration committee for the 200th Bhanu Jayanti was formed. SDM Somnath Adhikari presided over the meeting which was also attended by SDPO PD Rai, Principal, Chujachen SSS, TT Bhutia; HM, Rongli JHS, GK Chettri, and Sub-Divisional department officers Dilip Pradhan, Gajendra Rai, Praveen Subba, Amar Gurung, Prawin Pradhan, Panchayat members, teachers and others. Youth from Rongli Subdivision were also present.
The new committee has the area MLA Bikram Pradhan as Chief Patron, the SDM as chairperson and all the Panchayat members, Zilla Panchayat members and others as members. Different tasks were also allotted to the various teams.
The 200th Bhanu Jayanti celebration will be organized on a grander scale with Shova Yatra, Ramayana Path, cultural and Poetry competitions, it was decided. The programme will be held in two parts - the first programme will have a shova yatra in the bazaar while the second phase will feature the competitions and shall be held in the Community Hall at Melatar. [from SHITAL PRADHAN]

Ralap School rallies against substance abuse

SINGTAM, 26 June: An awareness programme on the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was held at Ralap Secondary School today. The programme included a rally by the school staff, students and parents, Panchayat members and others. Sharmila Chettri, Panchayat Secretary, Ralap Dung-Dung GPU was the chief guest while Bishal Sunar, Panchayat Ralap Ward was the special guest on the occasion.
The programme stated with an address by KN Dhakal, teacher, Ralap School while Headmaster Dorjee Sherpa, in his address, spoke on the importance of the day. He appealed to the students to stay away from such ills. He also informed the gathering about the theme for the year 2014, “A message of hope, drug use disorders are preventable and treatable” and spoke in brief about it.
MN Shivakoti, Science Teacher spoke about Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Bishal Sunar in his speech told the students about the consequences of using drugs and alcohol. He further advised the students to set a better example.

A rally was organized with students holding placards related to anti drugs theme. The rally started from Ralap School till Panchayat Bhawan and back to school. [from SHITAL PRADHAN]


Health infrastructure bottlenecks and Scheduled Tribe seats in Assembly explained
GANGTOK, 26 June [IPR]: During the question hour today at the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Minister for Health Care, Human Services and Family Welfare Department, AK Ghatani, said that the State Government has essential drugs list and approved Drug Schedule. The procurement of drugs is done through Central Health Stores Organisation, Tadong and distributed as per approved criteria and norms and as per indenting from various institutions, viz. STNM Hospital, District Hospitals, PHCs and PHSCs. He further said that the drugs are not supplied by the Ministry of Health, Government of India, to the State of Sikkim under National Health Mission. However, Government of India approves funds for procurement of essential drugs under National Health Mission of State.
The Minister further answering to question raised by another member of the House informed that the total due of various hospitals under cashless treatment outside Sikkim is Rs. 155.72 lakhs. While citing the reasons for discontinuing the Cashless Scheme he informed the House that there was delay in transferring funds by various departments for availing the cashless treatment facility. During the entire implementation period, only 32 departments had transferred the fund, whereas, more than 20 departments did not transfer the funds at all, due to which the department could not implement the Scheme fully as desired by the State Government. Further, the departments which had not transferred funds to Health Department were sending proposals for medical advances etc as in the past. This dual system of medical facilities created a lot of confusion inviting strong objections from the Pay and Accounts Office.
The Minister Health further replying to question by a member of the house informed that the department is fully aware about the shortage of Doctors at various levels and institutions. Accordingly, a proposal was mooted to create 102 posts of General Duty Medical Officers (GDMOs) against which Government approval has been obtained for 48 GDMO posts. The process of recruitment of GDMOs against 48 newly created post, 13 vacant post and 3 posts for IRB (total 64) was in advanced stage for appointment, delayed because of case pending at High Court.
Similarly, recruitment of 31 staff nurses was initiated by the Department which has been held up due to a Court Litigation.
To meet shortage of Medical Officers, doctors are being appointed on contractual basis under NRHM, he added. He pointed out that since Sikkim was a hilly state with scattered population at an average of 75 persons per sq Km, as per the new guidelines of Government of India under “Time to Care” initiative the Department is trying to justify the need to establish new PHSCs in backward rural areas.

Tulsi Devi Rai, Minister for Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department, while replying to questions raised by a member of the House said that the Limboo and Tamang communities were declared Scheduled Tribes in 2003. The State Government has been requesting the Government of India ever since then to reserve seats in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly through a Central Legislation without disturbing the 12 seats reserved for the Bhutia and Lepcha Communities. This issue was again raised by the Chief Minister with the Prime Minister during their meeting on 09 June, 2014 by way of submission of a written memorandum. The efforts made by the State Government have been sincere, honest and transparent with all efforts made so far by the State Government including the most recent request made to the Prime Minister in the public domain.

Pema T Gurung selected for Special Olympics World Summer Games 2015 REBYNA RANA

GANGTOK, 26 June: 21-year-old, Pema Tshering Gurung, a product of Spastics Society of Sikkim [SSS], Development Area, Gangtok has been selected for the “Special Olympics - World Summer Games 2015” scheduled to be held at Los Angeles, United States next year.
Pema was selected on the basis of his performance at the National Championships held in New Delhi in March earlier this year.
He had made the state proud by winning the gold medal in short put and silver medal in athletics [100 meters] in the National Championship at Delhi. Two students of the Spastics Society had participated in the National Championship.
Pema hails from Daramdin in South Sikkim and has been staying at the SSS hostel since 2008.
While speaking to NOW!, Principal for Spastics Society of Sikkim, Gangtok cum State Coach for State Olympic Bharat [SOB], Ram Prasad Dhakal, said that students of the Spastics Society of Sikkim have been participating in the Special Olympics World Summer Games for a while now. Every state gets to send two entries for the Special Olympics World Summer Games which is held biennially, he informed. This year, Pema has been selected for the games.
“We want to provide our students the opportunity to explore their potential through events like the Special Olympics”, said Mr Dhakal.  
Mr. Dhakal will be escorting Pema to the first Preparatory Camp to be held at Hyderabad from 04-08 September 2014. After the preparatory camp, Pema will be attending two more camps. The last camp will be held in Delhi from where the Special Olympics Bharat team will head towards Los Angeles.
Sports Authority of India [SAI] will be sponsoring the travel, accommodation, meals etc, informed Mr Dhakal.
“When Pema first came to the Spastics Society he was low on spirit and could not spell words. Now he can study class III books and is capable in various other fields”, he added.
Mr. Dhakal expressed gratitude towards SOB-Sikkim president cum Chairperson, State Sikkim Child Rights Commission, Manita Pradhan for her genuine efforts and dedication towards the SSS/SOB family. He has also thanked the executive members of SOB and SSS for their full support and dedication.

The Special Olympics World Summer Games is scheduled to be held from 25 July-02 August 2015. 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 177 nations are expected to participate in the Games.

Opposition questions efficacy of Organic Mission, Minister defends

GANGTOK, 26 June: The Sikkim Organic Mission has impressed all from Aamir Khan’s “Satyamev Jayate” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first address to the Parliament, but has clearly not impressed the Opposition. SKM MLAs, participating in the discussion on Demand for Grants for the Food Security and Agriculture and Horticulture & and Cash Crop Development Department moved by Minister Somnath Paudyal, questioned the quality, efficacy and even the earnestness of the Organic Mission.
SKM MLA from Martam-Rumtek, Dr. Mechung Bhutia, claimed in the House today that seeds used for planting come treated with pesticides thereby hampering the Organic Mission of the State Government at the very inception itself.
He informed that bags of seeds being circulated in Sikkim had pesticides marked as one of the ‘ingredients’, a labeling which had been mischievously blacked out from bags he had come across.
Minister Paudyal rejected this claim and explained that seeds procured by the State Government were “specifically ordered” under Organic Mission and hence kept free of chemical pesticides. “Perhaps there are some people who bring seeds treated with pesticides on their own, but such seeds do not come through any official channel,” he said.
Meanwhile, the SKM president, Upper Burtuk MLA PS Tamang, enquired after deteriorating condition of Large Cardamom plantations in Sikkim and sought details on initiatives being taken to revive the Lachung Apples of North Sikkim.
The Minister accepted that Large Cardamom production had fallen substantially in the past years and said that the concerned agencies were working on disease management.
About the North Sikkim apples, he said that these were unique to Sikkim, and shared that these will be impossible to revive as the orchards require many chemicals which will not be possible to use since the State has gone organic.
Replying to the comment that the Organic Mission could “fail”, the Minister reiterated that Sikkim will be completely organic by December 2015 and that special and concerted efforts are being made to ensure this.
As for the efficacy or economic viability of Organic Farming, SDF MLAs Chandra Maya Subba, Beg Bahadur Rai and Tilu Gurung shared details of farmers from their constituencies who have been doing exceeding well thanks to having adopted organic farming.

Nimtar JHS holds SMC-PTA meeting

GANGTOK, 26 June: Nimtar Junior High School under GVK, Pakyong [East Sikkim] today convened its second SMC-PTA meeting in order to make the people aware about the Continuous Comprehensive Assessment [CCA] Module and Right of Children to free and Compulsory Education Act [RTE] 2009.
The meeting was chaired by the Assistant Education Officer, HRDD, Pakyong, DM Subba. The Head Master of the School, Bhanu Chettri while welcoming the gathering spoke on the merits of the CCA. He also apprised the SMC as well as all the parents about the utilization of SSA grants and the academic progress of the students so far this year. Further, he urged the parents to pay attention to their children’s studies even during short holidays and long vacations, informs a press release.
Similarly, Mr. Subba, highlighted about the provisions of RTE Act and deliberated on the change in responsibilities of parents these day. He also made the parents aware about the various schemes of the department implemented through the state for the betterment of our children.
Later, in the second session, a Health Awareness Program on Tuberculosis and other diseases was held. This special program was organized by the District Hospital, Singtam which was attended by the District Tuberculosis Officer, East, Dr. Kabita Khati, MOTC, Singtam District Hospital, Dr. DP Sharma along with his official team under RNTCP, the release mentions.

10 Minutes to Earth in Namchi

NAMCHI, 25 June: Officers and staff of Power Department at Namchi carried out a plantation and cleanliness drive in and around the Power Colony here today as part of the 10 Minutes to Earth initiative. Likewise, Panchayat and JFMC members along with Panchayat office staff and local people observed Paryavaran Mahotsav today at the Helipad Panchayat office. 

Paryavaran Mahotsav continues in Namchi

NAMCHI, 26 June [IPR]: As part of the ongoing ‘Paryavaran Mahotsav, 2014’ a mass cleanliness drive was carried out today at Shopping Plaza by Government Girls Senior Secondary School, with the aim to make Namchi safe and clean. Present during the event were DFO (T) M K Rai, AFS (T) Deepshika Sharma, Namchi Municipal Councilor Tarkeshwar Prashad, Taxi Drivers Union, SDF youth alongwith teachers of the school with assistance from Fire and Police Department.
Tools for the cleanliness drive were provided by Urban Development & Housing Department; Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department; Namchi Municipal Corporation and Patanjali Yog Samiti. 100 students, 10 teachers, 20 members of the local taxi union and 20 SDF youth took part in today’s mass cleanliness drive.
Speaking on the cleanliness drive, DFO (T) said that the students of the school have enthusiastically and with high spirits celebrated the ‘Paryavaran Mahotsav, 2014’. He also informed that young students should come forward and join hands to save the environment and further congratulated the school for winning the Chief Minister’s Green School Rolling Trophy on the occasion of the State World Environment Day.
In addition ACF (T) informed that it was highly appreciated that the students and the faculty have come forward for the mass cleanliness drive and also taken positive initiative towards saving the environment.
Speaking on the occasion, PK Rai, one of the teachers from Government Girls Senior Secondary School said that the mass cleanliness drive aims to educate and inculcate responsibility among students and the general public to keep the surroundings green and litter free.

Think health, not drugs at Namchi Senior Secondary School

Namchi, 26 June: Hope Foundation, Namchi, observed World Anti Drugs Day conveying the message, “Think health not Drugs”, with a special programme held here at Namchi Senior Secondary School auditorium hall under the sponsorship of Sikkim State AIDS Control Society.
The programme was attended by DSP District Prisons Namchi Aron G. Targain as the chief guest accompanied by Project Counsellor Hope Foundation Anjana JL Chettri.
Addressing the programme, the DSP spoke on the horrors of substance abuse and urged students in the audience to “always say no” when it comes to substance of abuse.
On the occasion, a quiz competition was also been organized for the students of classes X, XI and XII. The Class XII students won the quiz competition with Class X coming second and Class XI on third position.

Marchak Rabdenling Gumpa celebrates Karmapa’s birthday

GANGTOK, 26 June: Marchak Rabdenling Gumpa committee, joined by the public of the area, celebrated the 29th birthday of Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje today at the monastery at Samling-Marchak above Ranipool. 

Environment gets a sporting chance at Khel Gaon

GANGTOK, 26 June: Sports & Youth Affairs Department observed Paryavaran Mahotsav with a plantation drive today in coordination with Forest Department at Khel Gaon at Reshithang in East Sikkim.
The plantation drive was participated in by SYA Principal Secretary, Dr K Jayakumar, SYA Special Secretary Nima Laden, officials and staffs of SYA along with ACFs Vijay Upreti , Zigdal Lachenpa and head Forest Guards TP Adhikari  and  BL Pandey. 
The plantation drive has also witnessed a good crowd of representatives of different Football Clubs, PNG students and teachers, Army Football Club, Karatekas and renowned professional footballers of Sikkim Sanju Pradhan [Dempo Club], Bikash Jairu [Salgaocar Club] and Nim Tshering Lepcha [USFC].

On the occasion, saplings of different varieties were planted by participants in the premises of Khel Gaon. 

Kabi Lungchok beautification project scrapped

GANGTOK, 26 June: The state government has scrapped the beautification project at Kabi Lungchok, North Sikkim. The project was opposed by a section of monks and local people of the area since it was proposed.
Responding to a question raised by Kabi Lungchok MLA, Ugen Nedup Bhutia during the budget session of the State Legislative Assembly on Thursday, the Rural Development Minister, SB Subedi, informed the House that the state government has decided to scrap the Kabi-Lungchok beautification project in view of the protests and to honour the sentiments of the people.
Mr. Subedi added that the project's funds will be surrendered to the DoNER Ministry. There is no plan for the said DoNER funds to be utilized in some other project in the vicinity, he added.
Sikkim Bhutia-Lepcha Apex Committee along with four other organizations had protested the project for renovation and upgradation of the historic site at Kabi Lungchok. The proposed beautification and development project at Kabi-Lungchok was projected to cost around Rs. 8.46 crore and would have included a car park, shopping complex, toilets and a gallery and stage for cultural shows in the periphery of the sacred grove at Kabi.

3 houses in danger at Jang

DIKCHU, 26 June: Three houses have sprung multiple cracks following a landslide on the alignment below their houses. The homes of Sarita Koirala, Jiwalall Koirala and Padam Bahadur Chettri, have been imperiled by this slide which has clearly been triggered due to scouring by the Teesta Stage-V reservoir in a direct line below Jang at Lower Rakdong in East Sikkim.  
The four-storeyed building of Ms. Sarita Koirala is the most noticeably endangered. Families living in it are being spending their nights with relatives. “My building started developing minor cracks two years back and it started tilting four days ago with major cracks having come up,” she informed while speaking to NOW!
Similarly, the ekra house belonging to Jiwalall Koira has also suffered major cracks and his agricultural land has also suffered damage.
Mani Kumar Chettri, shares: “I have around two and half acres of land here but there is not a single space which has not developed cracks. The land is getting pulling down by the reservoir due to which major cracks have developed”.
The affected villagers here are seeking proper resettlement and relocation to safer spaces. This, readers will recall, is not the first instance of Jang suffering in the hands of the Stage-V reservoir.

Commercial Tax team goes green in Jorethang

GANGTOK, 25 June: The South/ West Circle Office of Commercial Tax Division, in alliance with the local bodies and corporate houses successfully organized a massive plantation, cleanliness and awareness program at the Durga Shakti Peeth Mandir in Jorethang today.
Officials and staff from the Commercial Tax Division, Irrigation Department and IPCA Laboratories Ltd also participated in the program, an official press release informs.
Various societies like Purwa Majhigaon Sudhar Samaj, Milan Sangh Samaj and Garib Uthan Sewa Samiti were present while members of the Art of Living also joined the program. Also present were ward panchayat Pema Tamang of Jorethang Nagar Panchayat, social activists Tika Gurung, Santosh Sharma and Kumari Majhi. M/s Graphix and Garg Enterprises also participated in the program.
At the start, Deputy Commissioner, CTD, Kamala Rai welcomed the participants and called on everyone to work whole heartedly in order to make the Paryavaran Mahotsav a grand success while Assistant Commissioner, Shailesh Rai explained the meaning and motive behind organizing such  a Mahotsav. Commercial tax inspector Usha Rani Pradhan read out the message for the occasion. Participants from various societies also addressed the gathering.
The plantation program began at 10:30 a.m. Different types of plants, fruits and flowers like Parijat, Mango, Litchi, Neem, Amala, Bouganvilla etc were planted in the temple compound.

As a part of awareness activity, the department distributed dustbins to different institutions and pasted “Go Green” stickers on the vehicles.

Annual Research Council Meeting on Large Cardamom seeks deeper scientific enquiry from farmers’ perspective

GANGTOK, 26 June: The XXII Annual Research Council Meeting on Large Cardamom of the Indian Cardamom Research Institute Regional Research Station, Spices Board was held today here at the Tourism Department’s conference hall. The meeting was attended by officials from state and central departments and organizations along with scientists, farmers and other stakeholders.
In the inaugural function, the chief guest, ICAR Joint Director, Dr RK Avasthi expressed that the survival of large cardamom is of great concern and increasing its productivity is of extreme importance and the state government is very serious about these issues.
He stated that there are some bottlenecks and issues of concern which needs to research work. Scientists need to look at problems and issues related to large cardamom from the farmer's point of view, said Dr Avasthi.
He added that some pockets in the state are doing well in terms of large cardamom production but not the whole state. Here he stressed upon the need of quality planting materials to improve productivity.
Horticulture Department Director, GP Chauhan stressed on the need for the different concerned departments and agencies related to large cardamom to work with better coordination and as a team. He further stressed upon the need for more research work to study the problems and issues related to the decline in the productivity of large cardamom.  
Spices Board, Cochin Director [Res] Dr MR Sudharshan mentioned that this annual meeting was to review the research works carried out by the research centre and to finalize the future programme. He gave a presentation on the Spices Board, its activities, achievements and new projects and initiatives across the country.

The inaugural function was also addressed by CAE&PHT Dean, Dr PK Srivastava, SAMETI Director, SL Dorjee and Sikkim University Registrar, TK Kaul. On the occasion, the chief guest also released the annual report of the centre. The inaugural session was followed by the technical session of the meeting. 

STCS plants at LPG godown

GANGTOK, 25 June: State Trading Corporation of Sikkim [STCS] officers and staff observed Paryavaran Mahotsav 2014 at Lumsey LPG Godown, Tadong premises on 24 June.  An STCS press release informs that around 50 saplings of different varieties were planted during the drive. 

Sichey Secondary School students engaged in solid waste management initiative

Gangtok, 26 June: With its objective to engage and encourage students of secondary schools to “reduce, reuse and recycle”, the Gangtok Municipal Corporation's initiative, Engage-14, reached out to 300+ students of Sichey Secondary School today with the “ENGAGE Discussion”, the second phase of the ENGAGE 14 initiative with a mix of panel discussions and poster-making competition.
Speaking on the program, Mala Jigdal Dorjee, Principal, Sichey Secondary School, said, “The Engage Discussion program on Solid Waste Management by the GMC was very informative and fruitful. All the students and staff participated with great enthusiasm. By this program, we are motivated to take more innovative steps in the future in the direction of Solid Waste Management.”
ENGAGE 14 is a first of its kind intervention by any municipality across India where all schools in the municipal area are involved for a program on Solid Waste Management. The Engage-14 initiative is divided into three aspects - Engage Quiz for Junior High Schools, Engage Discussion for Secondary Schools and Engage Race for senior secondary schools. The Engage-14 initiative is a seven month intervention between March to September 2014 and is being conducted by 24hours Inspired.

Reconsider Age-Limit for SPSC exams

Thanks to an embarrassing bungle by the Sikkim Public Service Commission, the competitive exam to shortlist probables for the next crop of under secretaries in the Sikkim Government is being held again. Conducted in October 2013, the exam was scrapped because of the painfully shoddy manner in which it was conducted by the SPSC and is now going to be held again in July 2014. The exam phase alone has consumed almost a year [and then there will be the wait for the results and interview-calls and then results again], and there were some more years used up before that when the possibility [of the exams being called] hung in the air and then the application process played out for nearly a year if not more. Interestingly, the latest delay has brought the SPSC exam [for under secretaries] up to its average of being held every eight years. The last time that this exam was held [successfully] was in 2006-07. The one before that was in 1998 although the successful candidates were not inducted into service until 2002.
What the experience of the last three such exams shows then is that youngsters keen on joining the State administration get at most two shots at joining the club – the first when they are fresh out of college and then again when they are on the brink of crossing the age bar. One speaks of candidates in the general category here for whom the age band for this exam in Sikkim is from 21 to 30, a total of nine years. For someone who was 21 in 2006-07 and had also graduated [which is not always the case], the year provided the first chance to take the exam and when it is held next month, it will be the aspirant’s last chance to join the State Civil Service. In fact, if the State Government and the SPSC continue with their penchant of holding these exams every eight years, then even the ST and SC candidates who can take this exam till they are 35, will also be overage by the time these exams are held next. Interestingly, the only category of ‘people’ who stand a chance of attempting the US exams for a third time [in the present average] are the already privileged lot already in government service – for this group, the age limit, by some warped logic is 40. The reason why one speaks here of years and age is to argue the point that for a State where such competitive exams are held so rarely and conducted so shoddily, instead of an age-limit, aspirants should be allowed a minimum number of attempts. The UPSC exams, which are held every year, now allow [general] aspirants a maximum of six attempts while there is no limit on the number of tries an ST or SC candidate can make. The rarity of such an exam at the state level makes such a clause redundant, but since aspirants are provided this opportunity on such a rare basis here, serious thought should be invested on the cut-and-paste age-limit clause being applied here. Instead, consider allowing aspirants the chance to take the exam [without break] at least three times [because four would be too much given that 8-year gap between exams] from the time they are 21 years old. The only noise one hears at present is about the conduction of the exam and demands that it should be held properly. That should be a given, and fair and proper exams need to held. After the embarrassment of last October, the July exam should allow no room for complaints.
All these suggestions and expectations are at the administrative level to deliver; what the issue really requires is a re-evaluation at the policy level where some clauses and rules framed for different situations have been brought in and applied without the application of enough thoughtful consideration. If the option of allowing at least 3 attempts suggested above proves to difficult to take into consideration, at least extend the maximum age limit for everyone to 40 like is being unfairly enjoyed by those already in the government’s employ…

2 injured in truck accident

GANGTOK, 26 Jun: A truck bearing registration no. SK04D0502 [Transit Mixture Truck] met with an accident yesterday at Bhari Khola, near the IPCA unit along the Jorethang-Melli road. The driver and a handy boy, who were the only occupants at the time of the accident, sustained injuries and were evacuated to PHC Jorethang and then referred to Siliguri for further medical treatment. 

Burglaries in Upper Sichey

GANGTOK, 26 Jun: Burglars broke into two houses at Upper Sichey in Gangtok on 25 June and stole away three jewellery and Rs. 3,000 in cash from one house and Rs. 10,000 in cash from the other. A case of theft has been registered at the Sadar Police Station and efforts are on to trace out and apprehend the accused.

Bur-Pipal People Plant

ANGTOK, 25 June: The Bur-Pipal Samaj Kalyan Sangathan of Sichey basti organized a plantation programme as part of its celebration of the fortnight long Paryavaran Mahotsav [15 to 30 June] on 23 June in around Sichey Ranka Road. The programme was organized under the president-ship of Bur Pipal Samaj Kalyan Sangathan, RK Pradhan. All members of the organisation participated in the drive and around 300 saplings of various species provided by Forest Department were planted, a press release informs.

State losing 33.67% power to transmission loss

GANGTOK, 26 June: The Department of Power and Energy yesterday admitted that nearly 33.67 percent electricity is lost to transmission & distribution loss. The department is taking serious note of the issue raised by SKM party president, PS Tamang, in the Assembly while discussing the Demands for Grants for power and Energy and Power Department on Thursday.
Mr. Tamang, quoting a national report on power transmission, had asked the state government about actions taken up by the government regarding the loss of power due to leakages.
In response, Power Minister DD Bhutia assured the House that the state government will examine the issue and also replace old transmitters. He further informed that the ruling party's decision to provide free electricity to rural houses of Sikkim will be implemented as soon as the modalities and process of scrutiny are completed.
The Demands for Grants under the charge of Power and Energy and Labour Department, Minister DD Bhutia, was passed by the house.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

CM leads 10 Minutes to Earth initiative at Raj Bhawan

 GANGTOK, 25 June [IPR]: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling planted a Rhododendron Arborium (Gurash) sapling at the Raj Bhawan complex on Wednesday morning as part of the sixth successive State level observance of the “Ten Minutes to Earth” programme. A ceremonial plantation programe was also undertaken in which Minister for Forest Environment and Wildlife Management Department (FE&WMD) Tshering Wangdi Lepcha and other Ministers along with the MLAs planted Rhododendron saplings. A total of 500 saplings were planted in the complex with the participation of Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary, Secretary FE&WMD, other Secretaries, HoDs, and officers from various departments.

Each one, plants one in West Sikkim as well

Gyalshing, 25 June [IPR]: “Ten Minutes to Earth”, a programme to commemorate the Prayavaran Mahotsav, on the theme “Each One Plant One” was observed throughout West district today. The plantation drives on private and government land holdings received emphatic participation of the people. Saplings were provided by the Forest Department through various distribution points designated as “seedling booths”.
One of the plantation drives was organized at the DAC West premises followed by a cleanliness drive. Present for the event were DC Tshewang Gyachho, Sr. SP (W) DB Giri, ADC (W), SDM (HQ), and other HODs of west district along with their staffs.
Speaking on the occasion, DC said that this programme initiated by the Chief Minister for the cause of the Earth was a unique programme not only in the state and country but also in the entire world. Further, he informed that as part of the State Green Mission & Paryavaran Mahotsav, various activities in relation to the environment like plantation drives, workshops, rallies, marathon, painting competitions, cleanliness drives, awareness camps and seminars will be carried out throughout the district till 30 June.
He appealed to everyone to be a part of it.
A cleanliness drive was also carried out at West District Zilla Bhawan, Gyalshing initiated by the DPO (WDZP).