Saturday, August 2, 2014

Colleges to have classes on Saturdays as well REBYNA RANA

BACK TO NORMAL: Gangtok, after a more than fortnight long lull, returned to its normal self today with not only the colleges and schools back to normal routine, but even the traffic snarls into town having returned to the highway.

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: Government colleges and schools reopened today after a gap of 13 days [apart from the summer holidays that preceded the shut-down] following the student protest. College authorities inform that first, third and fifth semester students will now have classes on Saturdays as well in order to make up for lost time and complete the syllabus on time.
Vice Principal, SGC Tadong, Dr. Bina Pradhan informed that classes resumed today peacefully and students have also starting attending the classes.
On classes being held on Saturdays, she informed that this was decided in a meeting held on 30 July.
She added that a new Chemistry lab has been set up at the college and the lab facilities will soon be made available to the 350 Science students of the college.
The HRDD had directed all schools and colleges in the state to shut down on 17 July following unrest in the capital after a student protest went out of hand.

Minister inspects roads & bridges in West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 01 Aug [IPR]: Minister for Roads & Bridges, Garjaman Gurung, along with Parliamentary Secretary, Richenpong MLA ST Lepcha, undertook a three-day extensive tour of West District, also partially covering South District, from 26 to 28 July. They were accompanied by their PCE-cum-Secretary, TB Rajalim, Pr. CE and a host of departmental officers.
At Melli, the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary were briefed about the double lane highway under construction from Melli to Namchi via Manpur Kitam funded under SARDP-NE. The concerned contractors during an interactive session discussed and appraised the Minister about their difficulties.
The entourage was briefed about muck disposal problems, forest encumbrances as well as problems caused by traffic. The Melli approach road too was inspected and the concerned contractor was directed to immediately complete the work.
The Manpur-Jorethang-Namchi road being developed under ADB (Asian Development Bank) funding was also inspected while on the way. The stretch of road is designed to be of intermediate lane. The Minister cautioned that the cutting works will need to be curtailed during the monsoon period.
The ADB team further briefed the Minister and his team about the project and informed that the 3 kilometer stretch from the Manpur Forest Gate could not be undertaken since they are still awaiting Forest clearances from the Central Government.
The entourage headed towards the Naya Bazaar Daramdin road. The Minister was briefed that on account of the non performance of the contractor, the work had suffered considerably. It was noted that no representative of the contractor was available for any comments.
The department however, appraised the Minister that steps are being taken to avoid delay in work completion. The Minister took stock of the work that had been done by the contractor till date. He also made a brief stop at the Bojek slip. The PCE-Secretary appraised that the next alternative would be to explore a by-pass, by constructing a new road descending to the river and then joining the existing road at some point.
The MLA Daramdin, DN Sherpa warmly greeted the team and dwelt upon the need for new connecting roads at two places. The entourage descended along the Salangdang road to the proposed Lhoduma Bridge site over Rammam to connect West Bengal.
The Minister in his address to the public touched upon the pro-people policies of the government and thanked them for their support. He further opined that with the completion of the bridge, the entire area would prosper immensely.
The panchayats were requested to immediately provide the land required for the construction of the check post as well as the allied departments that would come up. The claim for compensation should be reasonable and as per government acquisition rate, the Minister added.
The Chakung Chumbong road too was inspected. Of the total stretch, about 11 Kilometers was awaiting forest clearance, which was under process. The road that was under construction too had been affected by the monsoon rains.
On the second leg, the Bermiok-Rungdung-Legship road was inspected. The cooperative society undertaking the first few kilometers of road works was directed to complete its portion of the contract work so that the entire stretch could be completed under NLCPR. The public who had assembled too consented and agreed to the proposal. Along the stretch till the Kalej Bridge point various proposed bridge sites were inspected.
At Reshi, the Minister addressed a gathering and explained about the new Nayabazaar-Legship Double Lane Road. The Reshi Rinchenpong road under construction for carpeting work was also inspected. The Parliamentary Secretary (MLA Rinchenpong) requested the Minister to visit the Reshi Chuchen Road. On the spot decisions were taken to complete and commission the project.
Thereafter, the entourage left for Dentam where they were accorded a warm welcome by the UD&HD Minister NK Subba at Hee. The team visited the Jhangri Dhunga Road at Power Intake Point. The people who had assembled at the bridge point over Kalej Khola, interacted with the Roads & Bridges team. The contractors requested the Minister for early release of the pending bills. The Minister in turn assured them of all possible help from his department.
On the third day, the team visited the Tashiding Bridge site, which is under construction. The Minister, Roads & Bridges, stressed upon good quality work and timely completion of projects.
At Reshi Bazaar, the Minister interacted with the panchayats and the general public, regarding double laning of Naya Bazaar-Legship Road and put into consideration the proposal for diversion of proposed road taking into account the narrow space.
While on the way to Namchi, the Sikkip-Vok-Namchi Road, which is ongoing and under upgradation was inspected and the Minister expressed his satisfaction.
A brief report was presented by the Tarku Damthang Namchi contractors at Jaubari. After inspection of the road at various stretches, the team finally reached the Gurrassey road and returned to Head Quarters by night fall.
The essence of the entire exercise was to examine the proper implementation of the ongoing projects and to interact with the executing agencies besides acknowledging their difficulties while executing the projects at site. The ultimate objective of this tour was to ensure connectivity to the rural population and to benefit the general public at large by timely completion of the on-going schemes.

SIBLAC convenor meets ASI officials on Dubdi Monastery restoration issue

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: SIBLAC convenor, Tseten Tashi Bhutia has taken up the issue of the dilapidated condition of Dubdi Monastery in West Sikkim with officials of Archeological Survey of India, Kolkata circle.
Speaking to NOW! over the phone, Mr Bhutia informed that he met Ashok Kumar Patel [Superintending Archeologist] and P. Kumar Das [Conservation Assistant, who is also In-charge of Sikkim, Archeologist Survey of India, Kolkata circle] and raised the issue of the dilapidated condition of Dubdi Monastery which is under ASI’s purview.
The earthquake of 2011 had wrecked extensive damage on Dubdi Monastery and its condition continues to remain so. The ASI had initiated a project to restore and preserve the Dubdi Monastery, however, the work is yet to begin.
The State government had also sanctioned funds for the restoration of the monastery, however, after the ASI took over no work was initiated leaving the old dilapidated monastery on the verge of collapse.
Mr Bhutia informs that ASI-Kolkata has assured to immediately start the restoration works after this rainy season gets over which is by the third week of September.
He further said that if the restoration work is not taken up by end of September, he will take the matter up in the highest forum of the central government.

Area MLA directs Dikchu HEP developers to work in coordination with affected people

DIKCHU, 01 Aug: A meeting was convened in the office of Tourism Minister Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia in Gangtok on 30 July to discuss the difficulties being faced by the hydel project affected people of Dikchu and Lower Rakdong area on the left bank of the 96 MW Dikchu Hydel Power Project being developed by Sneha Kinetic Power Project Ltd [SKPPL]. The Minister is also Tumin-Lingee constituency, under which the affected areas fall, MLA.
The meeting was attended by Panchayat President, BB Gurung, representatives of SKPPL headed by CEO, PM Nanda, Director, D Prasad, AGM Tilak Raj Sharma, Ward Panchayat Tika Devi Nepal, Panchayat Secretary Tika Maya Pandey, Project Coordinator Jigmee Tongden Lepcha, representative of the local youth Nesh Lall Gurung and other affected people.
During the meeting, Panchayat President, BB Gurung highlighted that the project developers have not fulfilled commitments made as per the earlier agenda, MoU and promises made in the meeting with the local affected people before commencing the project.
He further stated that no permanent protective work is being undertaken by the company at the project site for the protection of public land and property due to which private land holdings and houses in the area have incurred damages.
Mr. Gurung also highlighted that the East District Administration had directed the company to undertake immediate protection work during the month of December 2012 following a survey conducted by the SDM Gangtok but the project developer has turned a deaf ear to the directions and the said protection work has not been even started so far.
The youth representative, Nesh Lall Gurung accused the project developer of careless work and informed that all the civil works are being sublet to sub-contractor Drillcon Pvt. Ltd. without the knowledge of the affected people or land owners.
He further informed about the many bills related to contractual work and other supply work that are pending and have not yet been paid by the company. He also added that no CSR activities have been done in the project affected areas except one medical camp so far.
The Minister then directed the project developer to work in coordination with the affected people and further stated that the protection work should be immediately carried out in the project affected area from Dikchu Bridge to Ropeway. He also directed that the contractual work should be awarded to local affected people and further directed that any contractual work should be brought to the knowledge of the affected people. He further directed the project developer to clear all the pending bills as soon as possible.
The SKPPL in turn assured that the protection work will be started immediately after this monsoon and all the work will be undertaken in coordination with the local affected people, panchayats and the area MLA.

STCS welcomes new Chairperson and Advisor

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: State Trading Corporation of Sikkim [STCS] officials and staff gave a warm welcome to their new Chairperson, Rastaman Rai and Advisor, Menlom Lepcha here at STCS office, Deorali this afternoon.
On the occasion, the Chairperson encouraged the officials and staff to work with better coordination and cooperation to take the STCS to greater heights. He expressed that the state government has given him an important responsibility to take the STCS towards success. Mr Rai assured to deliver his duties and responsibilities sincerely and with hardwork.
Likewise, the Advisor also thanked the CM for being given the responsibility as STCS Advisor and encouraged everyone to work together to face the different challenges and to support the government in the timely completion of the flagship programmes.
STCS Managing Director, Kessong Wangdi and Senior General Manager, Menla Ethenpa also addressed the gathering.

Forest Secy leads SPCB surprise check of units around Gangtok

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: Dr. Anil Mainra, PCCF cum Secretary, Forest Environment and Wildlife Management Department, accompanied by Dr. Gopal Pradhan Principal Scientist-SPCB, Nambi Bhutia DFO (T) East, Devendra Chettri DFO EPC, James Lepcha ACF (T) East, ACF EPC, ROs, BOs and the field staff carried out a surprise visit of JN Botanical Garden at Rumtek, Glenmark Pharmaceutical Unit at Tumlabung Marchak and the Solid Waste Disposal Yard at Martam on 29 July, an official press release informs.
At the JN Botanical Garden, the Secretary directed the DFO EPC to prepare a comprehensive proposal in consultation with Dr. Gopal Pradhan for the up gradation of the garden.
The PCCF, who is also the SPCB Member Secretary, also conducted a thorough study of the process of manufacturing and held interaction with the workers at the Glenmark Pharmaceutical Unit.
During his meeting with the management later, he urged adherence to pollution control norms and further requested them to address the grievances of the workers with a humane approach, the release states.
He directed the SPCB officials to organize a workshop for all major industrial units so that proper pollution norms could be observed.
The team also visited the Solid Waste Disposal Yard at Martam where a meeting with the UD&HD and GMC was convened in order to find an immediate and sustainable solution to the problem. The Secretary also interacted with the people working in the dumping yard and offered suggestions for keeping them safe from the hazards by wearing adequate safety gear.

Social Justice Minister convenes meeting with new Chairpersons

GANGTOK, 01 Aug [IPR]: Minister for Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department, Tulsi Devi Rai convened the first familiarization meeting with the newly appointed Chairpersons under the aegis of the Department at the conference hall of Samaj Kalyan Bhawan, Lumsey today.
The newly appointed Chairpersons were Sonam Dupden Lepcha, Primitive Tribe Welfare Board (PTWB), Manita Mangar, Other Backward Class Welfare Board (OBCWB); Phurba Sherpa, Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB); Shanta Ghatani, Sikkim Scheduled Caste Welfare Board (SSCWB); Pem Tshering Lama, Sikkim Scheduled Tribes Welfare Board (SCTWB); Indira Pradhan, Sikkim Welfare Commission (SWC); and Basant Lamichaney Sikkim SC,ST and OBC Development Corporation (SAABCO).
The meeting was mainly held to welcome the Chairpersons and also to familiarize them with the departmental officials and staffs.
Conveying her good wishes to the newly appointed Chairpersons, the Minister also solicited their coordination to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the Sikkimese people. She touched upon the various welfare schemes, plans and proposals carried out by the department for the interest and welfare of the people and also appealed to them to be well versed with the schemes for better implementation at the grass root level.
She added that a lot needs to be done in the department as it directly deals with the well being of the downtrodden. Therefore better cooperation, coordination and team work amongst the officials and staffs is needed for the rapid development of the State.
Outlining responsibilities and duties of an individual, the Minister also hoped that the various schemes and proposals implemented by the department would reach the grass roots in a more coordinated manner, if every individual shoulders the responsibilities and duties in a proper manner. She also sought innovative ideas, proposals and advise from the Chairpersons for the smooth running of the department.
Earlier, a brief introductory address was also made by the Chairpersons.
Principal Secretary of the department, GP Upadhayay presented the welcome address and apprised the Chairpersons about the schemes, programmes and achievements of the department.
The programme rounded off with a vote thanks proposed by Additional Secretary cum Mission Director ICDS, BB Subba.

Sikkim Speaker visits Parliament

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, KN Rai, called on the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Sumitra Mahajan, in Parliament today. They exchanged views on several matters especially on women’s empowerment with Ms. Mahajan being very appreciative of the work done in this sector by the Sikkim Government and especially Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, a press communiqué informs.
Mr. Rai invited the Speaker to visit Sikkim in the near future. He was accompanied by the Lok Sabha Member of Parliament, PD Rai.
Later, they visited the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training. Additional Secretary Vijaykrishnan showed the Speaker around and Mr. Rai reportedly shared the need for help from the Parliament in training of staff and officers. He also wanted books and periodicals related to Parliamentary procedures. The Additional Secretary said that he would do the needful.
Mr. Rai also expressed the need for orientation programs for Members of the Legislative Assembly of Sikkim as well. Later he visited the Parliamentary Museum. He was very impressed and expressed that he would like to make a revisit along with other members as well, the release states.

Govt employees resign from SHSC

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: Following the state government notification barring government employees from becoming members of any organization, the government officials and employees in the Sikkim Himalayan Sporting Club submitted their resignations from the Club today. Their resignations were accepted by the club during a meeting held this afternoon here at the club house, Tathangchen. During the meeting, Dadul Bhutia was unanimously elected as the president of an adhoc committee of the SHSC, which will now select other members in his team shortly.  

Shisha to premiere 11 August

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: ‘Shisha’, a Nepali feature film produced by Anushi Films, is all set to premier at Vajra Cinema Hall on 11 August, informed the lead actress and Director of the film, Uma Baby, while speaking to the press here in Gangtok today.
She introduced the movie as “women oriented” and informed it has been co-directed by Sarad KC who has also scripted the story.
The movie had begun shooting last April and was shot mostly in Sikkim [Namchi, Ravangla, Temi tea gardens and Gangtok], while 10 per cent of the shooting was done in Nepal. The movie will be released elsewhere in the country and in Nepal probably by during Dasain,” she informed.
The movie has Jeevan Luietel as the lead actor, and the junior artists have all been hired locally [such as Roma Giri, Arpana Rai], while the child artist has been played by Pratibha Sharma.
Kunta Pradhan [wife of ex-HRDD Minister, NK Pradhan] and her son Mika Pradhan are also a part of the movie which included a special guest appearance by Bhaichung Bhutia.
The only problems the crew of the film faced during the shooting, the Producer shared, was with the getting of permissions from the various departments for the shooting of the film. This would not have been the case if they had shot in Nepal, she informed. Although there was no assistance provided to the crew by the state government, people from various walks of life did provide assistance for the funding of the movie.

SDF appoints office-bearers for West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: Sikkim Democratic Front president has appointed former Minister Dawcho Lepcha as the party’s vice-president in-charge of the west district.
An SDF press release informs that IK Neopaney has been appointed general secretary of the district working committee [West], Dawa Zangmo Sherpa as convener Cheli Morcha [West], Pharwanti Tamang as convener Cheli Morcha [South] and Sushil Tamang as youth convener of west district.
The release further informs that the party president has also appointed Ran Bahadur Subba as the senior vice-president of the party.

Golay inaugurates new SKM head office at Tibet Road

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha [SKM] party president, PS Tamang [Golay] today inaugurated the party’s new head office at Ghaley Compound, Tibet Road.
Addressing the gathering of party officials, members and supporters, Mr Tamang said that it could be said to be a shifting rather than the opening of a new office. He thanked Phuchung Bhutia, the owner of the house where the SKM head office was located earlier at Convoy Ground, Tadong, for providing the space free of cost during the party’s inception.
“We ran the SKM party office from the previous location for more than 14 months starting from 21 February, 2013 before shifting to a better location in the heart of Gangtok for the convenience of the people coming to meet their area MLAs for different kinds of works,” he stated.
The present house has been provided by Devi Ghaley on a minimal rental for a period of one year, he added.
“The overall mandate of the Sikkimese people went to the Sikkim Democratic Front [SDF] party where they won 22 seats but the SKM party also won 10 seats which is quite a sizeable number and much parivartan has come after the SKM party has come up as the major opposition party in the state. The ruling party has not been able to provide proper answers to the queries raised by our MLAs and nor has the government been able to do anything independently or take decisions on its own as it used to be done earlier,” he informed.
The SKM president, who is also the Upper Burtuk MLA, said that the SDF party has been in power for 20 years but just won 22 seats in the recent election and that too using the power of money, while the SKM party in just a short span of time won 10 seats because of the votes of the people who wanted change.
“This proves what the SKM party is capable of doing and our target was not winning this election but to get started on our ultimate target of winning the 2019 general elections,” he added.
He informed that from the coming week onwards the party will be working on organizing the frontal organizations of the SKM party and then later on work on other organizations necessary to run the party in a disciplined manner.
Starting from Saturday, people can call upon their respective area representatives and MLAs three days a week [Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays] at the new party office. The basic facilities being provided to the SDF party supporters will also be provided to SKM party supporters, assured Mr Tamang.
Earlier in the programme, Phuchung Bhutia [previous SKM office house owner] and Devi Ghaley [present house owner of SKM office at Tibet Road] were felicitated by the party president, where he thanked both of them for their valuable and selfless contribution to the party.
Also present for the opening ceremony were Kunga Nima Lepcha [Shyari MLA], Pintso Choppel [Gangtok MLA], Shyam Pradhan [Arithang MLA], Timothy Basnett [ Upper Tadong MLA], senior SKM party members, party workers and local people.

Will start fresh protest if one-man committee report unsatisfactory: NSUI-Sikkim

GANGTOK, 01 July: National Students’ Union of India [NSUI], Sikkim, has stated that its national team will approach the Union HRD Minister and Human Rights Commission regarding the lathicharge on students of Sikkim Government College, Tadong on 14 July if the one-man committee’s report is not “satisfactory”.
An NSUI press release states that if the report goes against the students, then another protest at the national level will be launched. The release streeses that the protest will be a peaceful one. The Union has further demanded that no legal action should be taken against the students.

MLA Challenge Cup begins in Mangan

MANGAN, 01 Aug:  The 2nd Lachen-Mangan MLA Challenge Cup 2014, organised by the North District Football Association (NDFA), kicked off today here at the Mangan Public Ground in North Sikkim. The inaugural function had Chairperson, Transport Department, Pintso Namgyal Lepcha, as chief guest accompanied by NDFA president, Karma Jigdel Bhutia and other members.
The first match was played between MLTDA and Lower Singhik which the latter team won 04-02. Similarly, in the second match Singhikpa defeated RMDD 04-01.

A colourful cultural programme was also presented by Malling Club and Mangan Little Club as part of the inaugural function.

IMO inspects Organi Mission in West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: The External Inspection (Audit) of Mevedir by Institute of Marketecology [IMO] was held from 21 to 31 July covering 174 farmers under Sikkim Organic Mission Phase I and Phase III, a Mevedir press release informs.
The inspection, the release adds, was carried out in West Sikkim by IMO Inspectors Rohin D’ Souza, Sonu Pandey and Kiran R of IMO. IMO Control Private Limited (IMO India) is the first certification body in India in the field of organic agriculture and ecological products.
The inspection was carried out at Khaniserbung, Chota Samdong, Mendogaon, Chakung, Deythang, Suldung-Kamling, Mabong Segeng, Takuthang, Bara Samdong, Sangadorji, Gelling Samsing, Soreng, and Chumbung.
The inspection, it is informed, was carried out with ICS documents as well as ICS farms of West District. Milan Rai (Project In-charge, SOM Phase III) and Pranai Thapa (Project In-charge SOM Phase I) of Mevedir accompanied the auditors. The Inspection went well with new findings and learning of the success of Organic Mission, the release states.

Vegetable vendors and Nagar Panchayat squabble over space in Gyalshing

GYALSHING, 01 Aug: While the Gyalshing Nagar Panchayat has directed vegetable sellers to vacate their stalls from the heart of the town, a group of elderly women vegetable sellers have refused to follow such directions.
The department has allotted space for the vegetable sellers at the Sabji Mandi below the main town area. However, the women who sell vegetables under an old banyan tree located in the Gyalshing bazaar contend that their present location was the best for selling vegetables and that the Sabji Mandi is too congested.
They have expressed their preference for space at the super market instead.
“We are willing to vacate our stalls if we are given some space at the super market premises. We cannot operate our stalls from the Sabji Mandi as the place is very congested,” one of the women said.
On the other hand, the Nagar Palika officials informed that the vegetable sellers have been asked to vacate their stalls as it causes traffic problems. They further added that left over, unsold or rotting vegetables that the sellers leave behind was unhygienic and a hub of disease spreading agents.

Fair Selection More Important Than Reservations

Local protection is always an emotive issue. It is also a popular one and does have its benefits. In Sikkim, there are laws and rules in place which guarantee stronger local protection in employment opportunities than any other State in the country. Everyone - from politicians to NGO volunteers to association members - has been consistently demanding exclusive access to all job openings for local candidates. And then matters don’t end with just local protection, because even within this, quotas have to be accommodated to make every community feel special and, well, protected. But, if the present generation has any serious plans to ensure that at least the next generation gets a fighting chance to rise above the mediocrity that the generation on the wane has bequeathed Sikkim, instead of greater ‘protection’ they would be demanding fairer selection processes.
Reservations and blanket protectionism achieve very little in the long run. Take government jobs for example; they are reserved for local candidates, but even they have dried up now. The State Civil Service exams held recently had 25 vacancies in the Under Secretary level and a mere two for Deputy Superintendents of Police. And this slim picking even though the exams were being held after a gap of eight years! So yes, government jobs, at least the ones opened to competition, are running low. Understandably then, the one reason why voices demanding stricter enforcement of local protection in jobs are getting more stringent nowadays is because employment opportunities with the government have become scarce. These demands however might not have been so urgent had the system equipped the young with the tools to secure appointments at the national and global job-markets, or even promoted entrepreneurship more effectively. The youth are not competitive enough not because of some infected chip hotwired into their genetic code, but because they were not consistently encouraged to become competitive and respect merit. This might be called of them in speeches and from formal platforms, but this not what they see being practiced. When a generation is allowed to grow up thinking that it is somehow deserving of sidestepping merit, it will remain obsessed with its portion of a quota and that shrinks their ambition and worldview to a sliver of what everyone has potential for. Once that happens, they will have no respect for merit and eyes only for ‘documents’ and certificates. A good place to begin a course correction will be to institutionalize selection on merit. Guaranteeing a fair selection process [in jobs], however, is easier said than done in Sikkim. Politicians and bureaucrats are known to place individual concerns ahead of common good. The regular appointment of a favoured few on ad-hoc basis to subvert the selection process and then regularization of their services when the dust kicked up by their appointment has settled, evokes no confidence. But, it is possible to institutionalize a fair selection process and enforce it. Many will rightly comment that this requires political will and this is easily arranged if there is a genuine demand from the voters that they want only the best to handle responsibilities which affect future generations. What Sikkim requires at this juncture is a demand for quality, not more reservations.
As mentioned, there is nothing inherently wrong with local protection, but to start with, at least within this structure, prioritize merit and while mediocrity need not be condemned, don’t celebrate it at the cost of merit. One sees that happen too often in Sikkim. That said, there are earnest initiatives like the Chief Minister’s Merit Scholarship scheme and the all-expenses paid scholarship on offer for Sikkim students who make it into any of the top-10 universities of world on merit. This attitude needs to percolate to all aspects of governance and education in Sikkim.

3 booked under SADA

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: Namchi Police arrested three persons for being in possession of contraband substances on 30 July. The trio was arrested after police found 36 bottles of Eskuf cough syrup and 288 capsules of Spasmo-proxyvon in their possession. A case under section 9/14 SADA 2006 has been registered at Namchi Police Station against the accused.

Organic Farming training at Karmithang

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: A ward-level training on Organic Farming and its Certification process was organized by International Panaacea Ltd in association with Sikkim Organic Mission at   Karmithang, Central Pendam GPU, on 30 July, a press release informs. Horticulture Deputy Director Pincho Bhutia, Majhitar Unit, and Pushpa Lal Dahal, Custer Incharge, International Panaacea Limited, were present as resource persons.

Cabinet okays three new Boards amidst slew of sanctions

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling convened a Cabinet meeting today and amidst a slew of funds sanctions and some substantial policy decisions, also approved the constitution of three new Boards for initiatives as diverse as communal harmony to youth development to film and music.
As per a post on the Chief Minister’s Facebook page, the Cabinet approved the establishment of Sikkim Culture Heritage and Communal Harmony Board, Sikkim Youth Development Board, and the Sikkim Music Drama Dance and Film Board.
Approval was also granted to reduce lease period from 99 years to 33 years in all new cases of land lease.
As per the Facebook post, the Cabinet also approved that except for BPL patients registered under DESME, a user charge of Rs. 500 per dialyses per patient be taken at the 5-bedded dialyses unit at STNM Hospital.
The Cabinet also approved creation of two more posts of College Principals.
The Cabinet also approved the proposal to create a post of Bio-Medical Engineer in pay band-I of Rs. 9300-34800 and grade pay of Rs. 3000.
The other proposals approved by the Cabinet are:
1. Sanction of Rs. 90,91,928 towards interim purchase of drugs, medicine and consumables for the financial year 2014-15.
2. Revised administrative approved and sanction of Rs. 379.20 lakhs only with additional sanction of Rs. 20.33 lakhs against supply of furniture to new Raj Bhavan.
3. Sanction of Rs. 1.70 crores as grants in aid to SICB Karfectar.
4. Sanction of Rs. 2,61,41,964 for purchase of vehicles for official use of Council of Ministers.
5. Sanction of Rs. 362.69 lakhs for tourism project under BADP.
6. Surface improvement, carpeting, widening and drainage works of Pelling- Dentam road and replacement of existing B.B.Lall suspension bridge over Kalej Khola in West Sikkim.
7. Augmentation of Sombaria water supply scheme in West Sikkim for Rs.799.89 lakhs.
8. Augmentation of Legshep water supply scheme in West Sikkim for Rs. 733.36 lakhs.
9. Lease of plot of land measuring 0.0860 belonging to Shri Jas Bahadur Basnett of Namcheybung, East Sikkim to M/S Darvell Investment and Leasing India Private Ltd for a period of 33 years.
10. Creation of 5 posts of Enumerator under Department of Animal Husbandry, Livestock, Fisheries and Veterinary Service.
11. Proposal for procurement of 53 buses under Transport Department.
12. Sanction of 252.00 lakhs for special repairs, furniture and furnishing of various residential/non-residential Government buildings in around Gangtok.
13. Sanction of Rs. 1622.83 lakhs with additional sanction of Rs. 389.87 lakhs for the construction of Car Parking at Tashiling Complex, Gangtok.
14. Construction of Head Office-cum-Training Institute for Sikkim Cooperative Union at Assam Linzey in East Sikkim.
15. Sanction of Rs. 2,79,41,321 for distribution of rice to economically weaker section having Voters card.
16. Sanction of Rs. 5962.10 lakhs for implementation of SSA Programme for the year 2014-15.
17. Release of Rs. 261.07 lakhs as first instalment to Sikkim State AIDS Control Society for the year 2014-15.
18. Sanction of Rs. 250 lakhs for Mukhya Mantri Jeevan Raksha Kosh scheme.
19. Sanction of Rs. 26,52,400 for repairing, renovation/providing classrooms for Sikkim Degree College, Burtuk.
20. Establishment of grassland development including grass reserves.

6 injured in road mishap

GANGTOK, 01 Aug: A taxi vehicle met with an accident near Sikkim Motors Workshop, Adampool at around 8:15 a.m. today. The vehicle was plying towards Rumtek from Mayfair Zero Point. There were 6 occupants in the vehicle during the time of accident who suffered grievous injuries. All the injured were taken to CRH Manipal and their condition is quite critical, it is informed

Friday, August 1, 2014

Drukpa Tshechi was observed at Dotapu Chorten Monastery at Deorali today. Recitation of the holy Kagyur scriptures also began today and will go on till Guru Rinpoche’s Thrunkar Tshechu on 06 August. Monks of the monastery will undertake the complete reading of Kagyur (translations) scriptures in 108 volumes. 
FOOTBALL JAGRAN: Bhaichung Bhutia, in a special get together organized by the Dainik Jagran group in Siliguri, made time to meet with captains of school football teams today. The six schools which had the privilege of sending their football team captains to this exclusive tete-a-tete with Bhaichung were: Delhi Public Schools, GD Goenka Public School, Royal Academy, Sacred Heart School, St Michael School, and Isabella School, all from Siliguri. This was part of the Jagran Group’s effort to promote football among school children. The meeting saw the budding footballers take leadership tips and football as a career guidance from Bhaichung.

Sikkim girl takes up Heritage Management

MANGAN, 31 July: Joanna Wongden Lepcha of Mangan, North Sikkim has perhaps become the first in the state to have a Master’s degree in Conservation, Preservation and Heritage Management.
After completing her BA in English Literature from Miranda House, Delhi University, the 25-year-old completed her MA in Heritage Management from Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management securing first position.
As part of her post graduate studies, Joanna completed a dissertation on Conservation of Thanka painting with special reference to Ringhem Gumpa, Mangan North Sikkim.
She is currently working under Heritage Preservation Atelier Pvt. Ltd for the project “Conservation of Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab”.
She has also done a course in Conservation of Museum objects from National Research Laboratory for Cultural Property, Lucknow.
“There is a need to preserve and conserve the heritage of our state. More interested youth should take up this field”, says Joanna further adding that she hopes to work in Sikkim as well in the future.
Joanna the daughter of P Wongden Lepcha and Eve Sarolin Lepcha and did her schooling from North Sikkim Academy (NSA) Mangan. She completed her senior secondary education from Paljor Namgyal Girls Senior Secondary School (PNGSSS) Gangtok.

Petrol price cut by Rs 1.09 per litre, diesel hiked by 50 paise per litre

New Delhi, 31 July: Oil companies have cut petrol prices by Rs 1.09 per litre with effect from midnight tonight. However, diesel prices have been hiked by 50 paise per litre.
Petrol price was reduced following drop in international oil rates and rupee depreciation against US dollar, making imports cheaper. For the same reason, price of bulk diesel, which unlike the subsidised fuel available at petrol pumps is priced at market rate, has been cut by 72 paise per litre.
Price of bulk diesel, which as per government policy is meant for large consumers like state road transport corporations, railways and defence, was last revised on July 16 when rates were cut by Rs 1.09 to Rs 59.32 per litre.
Besides, rates of non-subsidised LPG cylinders, which household consumers buy after exhausting their quota of 12 subsidised bottles, has been reduced by Rs 2.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder.
Petrol price was last cut by 70 paise on April 16 in line with declining trend in the international market.
This reduction was excluding local levies and after including local sales tax or VAT.

SDFA adhoc body takes charge

NAMCHI, 31 July: A general meeting of the South District Football Association (SDFA) was held here today chaired by former national football player Panden Bhutia. This was the second meeting of the association since it dissolved the executive body [to release govt servant members] and appointed an adhoc executive body.
It was informed today that the adhoc committee will continue in office till elections are held. The meeting also discussed to oragisnation of the Independence Cup 2014 tournament and other aspects of the association.
All the new adhoc members were welcomed and congratulated by members of the association. The adhoc body has former MLA Binod Rai as president, vice presidents B. Tshring Bhutia, Raju Pakhrin, and Robin Rai, Arjun Rai as general secretary, Palzor Bhutia treasurer, Madan Rai, JS Sailesh Pradhan, Sanju Rai, Publicity Secretary Prakash Rai, Ongden Bhutia and Palden Bhutia, Ongdup Bhutia, Rabin Pradhan and K. Bhutia (Pema) as advisors.
At the meeting, former National Football player Panden Bhutia pointed out that there was a lot of good talent in rural areas of Sikkim and that their game and skills need wider exposure and grooming, a responsibility towards which the SDFA should measure up.

SKM workers acquitted in last year’s Melli clash case

GANGTOK, 31 July: The Chief Judicial Magistrate of South district has acquitted all the 18 Sikkim Krantikari Morcha party workers charged in a political clash case with the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front party workers last year in South Sikkim.
The Judicial Magistrate, who is also the Chief Judicial Magistrate in charge, on Wednesday acquitted all the 18 accused charged under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 332, 341, 353, 440 and 427 of the IPC read with Section 4 of Prevention and Damages of Public Property Act.
The SKM workers headed by Bhoj Raj Rai, Basant Kumar Rai [who later joined SDF] and 16 others had been accused of vandalizing a police vehicle belonging to Melli police station and beating up one Nar Bir Tamang of SDF on 23 June 2013 in South Sikkim.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate Court discharged them on lack of proper evidence and failure of the prosecution to prove the case beyond any doubt.

Colleges and schools to finally reopen today

GANGTOK, 31 July: Government and private colleges and schools in the state will reopen from Friday after they were shut down in view of the disturbance and unrest in the capital due to a protest by college students.
The state administration has decided to deploy adequate police personnel to the college area to avoid any untoward incidents and monitor the situation in the state capital, DIG [Range] Dr. MS Tuli informed.
The situation is normal at present and there no trouble is expected, the DIG said, adding that the administration is still closely monitoring the situation.
Gangtok had become tense after a protest by college students against fee hike spiraled out of control. The HRDD had decided to close down schools and colleges in the state till 23 July at first which was later deferred to 31 July. With the shut down having come within a few days of the schools and colleges having reopened after the summer holidays, nearly the entire month of July has gone without classes at most schools and colleges here.

Regularised employees reiterate demand for release of salaries

GANGTOK, 31 July: Continuing their struggle to get their dues, the regularized Muster Roll and Work Charged employees of the Power Department have asked the State government to release their due salaries by 05 August. They have demanded that salaries be released at least to those employees whose documents have been re-assessed.
Over 1,400 recently regularized MR & WC employees in the Power department have not received their salaries for almost 5 months running now. They have expressed extreme difficulties in running their households and meeting other social commitments and inability to access more loans in the context of the non-disbursement of their salaries by the state government.
On the other hand, the government, through the Department of Personnel, is engaged in a re-assessment of the actual numbers of MR/WC employees in the department who are eligible for regularization. While this is going on the affected employees have asked the government to release the salaries of at least those employees whose documents have undergone and cleared re-scrutiny.
It is informed that out of the 1450-odd regularized MR/WC in the department, the Department of Personnel has completed the scrutiny of around 700 employees. “At least the government can release the due payment of salaries of these employees who have been assessed again by the department,” says one of the affected employees.
While the government had directed the DoP to complete the exercise within 1 week the stipulated time frame is over and is likely to spill over into the coming week as well.
Meanwhile, a press release received late this evening informs that executive members of the central and district committees of the All Sikkim Government Work Charged & Muster Roll Association met at 2nd Mile, JN Road here today. The meeting unanimously resolved to call a general meeting of the association on 17 August, if, even by then, nothing was done by the government about the release of denied salaries.
They want the DoP notification putting the regularization process in abeyance to be lifted so that complications holding up their due salaries are removed.
“We are thankful to the Chief Minister for making education free up to college level in the State and hope he will do something similar for us, the concerned suffering WC & MR  employees, and have our pending salaries cleared,” says Pema Doma Bhutia, president of the association.  

Fourth grade employees of North Sikkim meet

MANGAN, 31 July: The IVth grade employees of North District held a meeting here at District Hospital conference hall on 29 July under the leadership of president Fourth Grade Employees Association North, Yushep Lepcha, general secretary Passang Thendup Bhutia, treasurer, Kamal Gurung, information secretary, Hari Kumar Gurung and others.
The meeting was especially held on the issue of upgradation, fixation of scale and uniforms for the fourth grade employer.
During the meeting, it was discussed that they are yet to get their uniforms and they have requested the government to designate one shop in the district which will provide the uniforms for the convenience of the employees.
It was also discussed that employees who have crossed ten years of service should be upgraded.
Further, the meeting also highlighted that the pension process be expedited since the file has been lying pending in the concerned office for several months causing harassment for the pensioners.

EPCS ordination held

NAMCHI, 31 July: The South Presbytery and the Damthang Local Church Committee conducted the Ordination ceremony of Pem Kitar Sherpa, son of Doma Sherpa and Late Sarkey Sherpa of Damthang South Sikkim. The ordination was held for the sacred office of the minister of Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Sikkim was led by Rev. R.O. Malommu who is the Moderator of EPCS.
The Pastor Ordination Service was conducted at EPCS Church in Chemchey, South Sikkim and included Bible readings, Reading of the Nicene Creed, prayer along with important formality like Presentation of Ordinance, Attiring the Cassock and Bible and Blue Book Presentation accompanied with other special events which were part of the ceremony.
Rev. Pastor Pem Kitar Sherpa represents Damthang EPCS and after the Ordination Ceremony was conducted he was posted to Mangalbarey EPCS West Presbyterian for further service and fellowship. Rev. Pastor Pem Kitar Sherpa completed M Div (Master of Divinity) from Dehradun Presbyterian Theological University, Uttarakhand.
During the ceremony the ex-Moderator of Sikkim from Gangtok Rev. PS Tingmoo gave a sermon from the Bible. Till date Damthang has produced two spiritual leaders namely Pemba Nori Sherpa ex-Deputy Moderator of EPCS Council of Sikkim and Rev. Pem Kitar Sherpa.

Inter-departmental soccer in South enters knockout stage

Namchi, 31 July: The ongoing Inter-Department League Football Tournament has reached the knockout stage with eight departments left in the fray. The tournament, organised by the South District Government Driver Association (SDGDA), had begun with 12 government department in competition.
The 12 teams were divided into three pools with Sports & Youth Affairs Department topping Group A, followed by Buildings & Housing and DAC/LR. In Group B, Health Department emerged on top followed by Agriculture/ Horticulture on second place and in Group C, HRD Department held first place followed by Roads & Bridges and RMDD.
Four departments- UD&HD, Forest, PHE and Power Department are out of the tourney.
Today, two quarterfinal matches were played with the first match played between Health Department and RMDD. Health Department, which had emerged undefeated from Group-B was knocked out 3-1 by RMDD.
The second match threw up an interesting result in that Roads & Bridges Department and Buildings & Housing Deptt both knocked each other out. After Buildings & Housing ended the first half 2-0 ahead, Roads & Bridges Deptt complained to the match referee that it had fielded players who were not working in the Department. As the organizing committee soon found out, both teams had in fact fielded non-departmental players against standing rules that teams could field only employees of the respective departments posted in South District. Eventually, both teams were disqualified.
The NLA principal Lopzang Lama was the chief guest of the day accompanied by president SDGDA Denzong Tamang, department officers and other members of the association.

Join the Dots

What does one do with information? Use them as dots to draw themselves the larger picture. Information empowers not because it informs, but because this information provides the basis on which opinions are made. The process of joining the dots has to be done by the receivers of the information and if they become lazy and cede the task to others, they run the risk of being shown a picture which is not necessarily the one that the dots would have inked. They run the risk of becoming recipients of projections manipulated by the draftsmen presenting it. That is a risky proposition and actually quite inexcusable in these times of substantial literacy and reasonably good access to authentic updates. People have to stop remaining passive recipients of interpretations and seek out information, demand reliability and then distill an understanding out of the information. Don’t demand authenticity and accountability, and you tempt the providers of information to infect information with their biases and projections. And that is where the crumble begins because once the medium carrying information starts inflecting information with its preferences, biases and suspicions, it is only a matter of time before the medium also starts ‘censoring’ information, passing on only what its deems right and useful. That cannot be good because the compromise and colouring begins too early in such a process. What the people at large should endorse is information as untouched by opinion as possible because an opinion is for them to make, because once public opinion has formed, the public representatives are required to come up with matching policy decisions and course corrections.
This exercise has worked well for Sikkim in the recent past. The Sikkim Anti-Drugs Act, for instance, evolved from a joining the dots process when policy-makers responded to increased media coverage of addiction and of over-dose deaths in the State and decided that a new law was required to keep a generation safe. Conscious reporting on suicides has also at least succeeded in convincing Sikkim that suicides are a worry. Unfortunately, these were top-down initiatives and not policy interventions brought about by social consciousness. That is unfortunate because if these policy interventions had come about because of civil society pressure, they would have definitely been more effective initiatives. Ask any recovering addict whether SADA has helped combat substance, and you will most likely be greeted with a scoff. Look at the suicide figures for Sikkim and they have shown no reduction despite Sikkim-wide realisation that this was an area of concern. The failure is not the government’s, but the people’s because although they have received the ‘dots’ [with the daily coverage of these issues], they are not joining them themselves. When one says stop being passive, one means, start thinking after you read, say, even a mundane report about a coordination meeting. Most coordination meetings are still scratching the basic levels about directing who should be doing what when one would expect more refined levels to have been attained by now. For instance, when one reads of directions having been passed for officers to make more site visits and tours of the ‘districts’, more people should wonder why this was not already being done. Ditto for the still continuing awareness programmes for organic farming. The continuing cycle of awareness camps repeating routine information should have people wondering about their effectiveness. Once people start doing this, the quality of service delivery will be forced to improve. Once they develop a more enquiring attitude, they will also receive the respect of being served more effective delivery by government servants and more intelligent political debates, not routine charades of crying wolf by one side and claims and denials by the other. The march to empowerment would have begun.

CFNEU to celebrate Breastfeeding Week

Gangtok, 31 July [PIB]: Community Food & Nutrition Extension unit of the Ministry of Women & Child Development, in collaboration with the State Government, will celebrate  the World Breast Feeding week from 01 to 04 August at Namchi, and   at Gangtok from 05 to 07 August.
A symposium, “Disseminating Correct Norms on Infant Young Child Feeding Practices & During Emergencies”, is scheduled to be held at the District Hospital, Namchi on 02 August which more than  50 participants from various state government departments like HRDD, Agriculture, ICDS and Health are  expected to attend.
Kapil Mina, Additional District Collector, South District, will attend as chief guest and Bharati Basnett, Deputy Director (Nutrition) South District, will preside over the function. On the occasion, various programme like live nutrition demonstration, recipe, healthy baby and quiz competition will also be organized. The theme chosen for this year  is “Breast Feeding - A Winning Goal For Life”.

Biteka Pal in Namchi

NAMCHI, 31 July: After its formal Sikkim release at Rabongla, South Sikkim, last week, Nepali feature film, “Biteka Pal”, premiered for audiences here this evening.
The show in Namchi was supported by Cultural Association for Revolutionary Effect (CARE). The screening, held at the community hall, also included a cultural performance by local artists.
As for the movie, it opened to mostly positive feedback from the audience. The screening had the Dakshin Sikkim Sahitya Sammelan adhoc body president Santa Pradhan as chief guest along with other members of the Sammelan and invited dignitaries.
The producer of the film, Rajesh Ghatani, gave a brief introduction to the film.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

EID MUBARAK! This is a week of festivals and holy days, and even as the State celebrates Drukpa Tshechi on Thursday, it was Id-ul-Fitr on Tuesday. Here, two young friends exchange Eid greetings at the Gangtok mosque. [foto: JOSEPH LEPCHA]

Governor Patil calls on PM in Delhi, reiterates pending issues

GANGTOK, 30 July: Governor Shriniwas Patil called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi today.
A press release from Raj Bhawan informs that after the formal exchange of greetings, the Governor raised various developmental issues concerning the State and sought technical support from the Central Government to overcome the difficulties in various developmental projects undertaken by the State.
Raising the issue of poor connectivity of the state with the rest of the country, the Governor sought the intervention of the Central Government for the early completion of railway connectivity to the State.
He also underlined the need to upgrade the road connectivity and early completion of Pakyong Greenfield Airport to increase overseas tourist footfall in the State.
The Governor apprised the Prime Minister that currently around 10 lakh tourists visit Sikkim annually of which the share of domestic tourists is over 90%. He added that the biggest concern of the State is Road, Railway and Air connectivity, and if addressed with priority will help the state develop in leaps and bound.
The Governor also brought up the issue of unemployment in the state and requested the Prime Minister to help  skilled manpower coming out of various Livelihood Schools in the State in getting gainful employment opportunities in various metro cities and urban clusters across the country.                
Stating that the State has Hydro-Power potential of over 8000MW,  of which only 570MW is being generated at present, he sought the proactive role of the Central Government in the quest to harness the potential for the overall prosperity of the State. The Governor also extended an invitation to the Prime Minister to visit the state.
Earlier in the day, the Governor called on Minister of Road Transport & Shipping, Nitin Gadkari and raised the issue of road connectivity with special focus on doubling the width of existing NH10 making it a bi-lane road.
The Minister assured that special attention is being given to entire North Eastern region and the issues of road connectivity to Sikkim will be rightly prioritised. The Minister has also expressed his willingness to visit Sikkim soon.
In another engagement, the Governor called on Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Forest and Environment, Prakash Javdekar today at New Delhi. The Governor raised the issue of Doordarshan Kendra, Gangtok and sought the intervention of the government to ensure that it is  made operational at the earliest for the benefit of the people of Sikkim, the release mentions.
He also requested the Minister for early clearance to all the road projects under defence which are passing through reserved forest areas in the State, from Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India. The Minister has assured speedy clearance of all the pending projects in Sikkim and early operation of the Doordarshan Kendra, Gangtok.

Drukpa Tshechi greetings from CM and Governor

GANGTOK, 30 July: On the auspicious occasion of Drukpa Tshechi, the Governor of Sikkim, Shriniwas Patil and the First Lady Smt. Rajanidevi Patil have extended their warm greetings to the people of Sikkim.
In his message the Governor has said, “Drukpa Tshechi marks the day on which Lord Buddha gave his first teaching on Four Noble Truths to his first five disciples at Sarnath, turning on the Wheel of Dharma. We celebrate this day in Sikkim by holding prayers and religious ceremonies at the sacred monasteries with great festivity and reverence.
Let us pray for enlightening our life with the teachings and sermons of Lord Buddha. May the middle path shown by Lord Buddha be the guiding light in shaping our destiny.
The Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Smt Tika Maya Chamling have also extended warm wishes and greetings to the people of Sikkim on the auspicious occasion of Drukpa Tshechi.
In his message the Chief Minister has urged the people to study and internalize the teachings of Lord Buddha and to follow the middle path. He added that the festival holds great significance as it marks the day when Lord Buddha gave his first teachings to his disciples.

Addl CS appointed Advisor to State Govt

GANGTOK, 30 July: The state government has made Additional Chief Secretary Alok Kumar Shrivastava Advisor to the Government of Sikkim with immediate effect.
Mr. Shrivastava was given charge of Commerce and Industries department after the general elections along with his post as Additional Chief Secretary. The State government issued an office order on 28 July transferring and appointing him Advisor to the government.
Chief Electoral Officer, D Anandan, has been given additional charge of Secretary, Commerce & Industries, with immediate effect.

Similarly, Sumitra Pradhan, Joint Secretary of Commerce and Industries department has also been transferred to Home department [Protocol] and Pempo P Pulger, who belongs to State General Services and was Principal Private Secretary on deputation is repatriated and transferred and posted as Joint Secretary in Commerce and Industries department. 

Tholung Kessung Eco-Tourism Development Society meets district officials with tourism development plans

MANGAN, 29 July: The Tholung Kessung Eco-Tourism Development Society convened a meeting with District officials at Bey in Upper Dzongu, North Sikkim on 27 July. The meeting was also attended by DC North, TN Kazi, accompanied by SDM Dzongu, Gyas Pega.
The TKETDS president, Nima Lepcha, speaking on behalf of the people and the organization, highlighted that the Society is working for the promotion of eco-tourism in the area along with the preservation of traditional culture, religious and nature. He further requested the DC North for the improvement and up-gradation of Bey Pentong road, installation of one mobile tower at Pentong and construction of an adventure training centre at Bey.
The DC North informed that the Lingzya-Bey road has been included under Backward Area Development Programme (BADP) and also said that since Dzongu is rich in greenery there is a lot of potential for development of eco-tourism in the area. The DC further stated that the district administration is always there to extend support for the betterment and development of the area.
Also present in the meeting were Panchayat President, Sonam Ongmu Lepcha, Panchayat Secretary, Namdup Lepcha, ward panchayat Pentong, Dup Tshering Lepcha, AD Sports, Janim Lepcha, Mountaineering instructor, Nima Tamang and the local people.

Sikkim athlete announces 500 km run to promote AIDS awareness REBYNA RANA

GANGTOK, 29 July: In order to spread awareness on HIV/AIDS, 24-year-old Shanti Ram Nepal is all set to run a distance of 500 kilometers across the state starting on 25 August 2014.
Hailing from Tumin-Lingee, East Sikkim, Mr. Nepal started running in 2000 and also opened a club for athletes called “Daring Bulls Club” at Paljor Stadium in 2010.
Speaking to NOW!, he informed that he intends to beat the record of another Sikkimese athlete, Amar “The Marathon Man” Subba, who ran 450 km across Sikkim in 2009 to enter his name in the Limca Book of Records.
“Amar Subba completed 450 kms in seven days but I hope to cover 500 kms in 5 days,” Mr. Nepal said.
He informed that he ran 113 kms from Gangtok to Siliguri last year on 31 May to enter his name in the Guinness Book of World Records but was not successful. “I have been waiting for an opportunity to set a record and enter the Guinness Book of World Records,” he stated.
The athlete also expressed his dissatisfaction over the lack of support from the state government for such efforts.
Mr. Nepal will begin his run from MG Marg here covering Mangan via Phodong, then Mangan to Makha via Dikchu, on to Gyalshing via Yangyang-Ravangla, to Melli via Jorethang, and onwards to Gangtok via Singtam-Ranipool.
The five-day run is being sponsored by the Sikkim State AIDS Control Society.

Shamar Rinpoche to be cremated in Nepal today

GANGTOK, 30 July: The mortal remains of the 14th Shamar Rinpoche, one of the highest leaders of Tibetan Buddhism, will be cremated at Shar Minub monastery near Nepal´s capital, Kathmandu, on Thursday, 31 July, between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tens of thousands of followers are expected, many from Australia, Europe and the Americas, to attend the funeral.
A press release informs that Karmapa Thaye Dorje will preside over the funeral ceremonies.
“His students from all over the world now come together and make wishes for Shamarpa’s swift rebirth that, according to Buddhist tradition, will be recognized by the 17th Karmapa Thaye Dorje,” said Jigme Rinpoche, general secretary of Karmapa, at Shar Minub monastery, Shamarpa's main seat and an international meeting place for Buddhists from Asia and the West.
Shamar Rinpoche had died in Germany on 11 June. Karmapa Thaye Dorje had accompanied the body to India where thousands of students had paid their last respects during traditional ceremonies. According to Shamarpa´s wishes, his mortal remains have been taken to Nepal, this after a long delay caused by the Nepal government’s initial refusal to allow the Shamarpa’s mortal remains into Nepal for the funeral.

HRDD notification on appointment of Vice Principals and Asst HMs

GANGTOK, 29 July: The HRD department has passed an order stating that the “senior most qualified teachers” will be designated as Vice Principals or Assistant Head Masters of government secondary and junior high schools.
In the notification issued earlier this month, the HRD Department has directed that “all the existing Principals in-charge of senior secondary schools and HMs in-charge of secondary schools/ junior high schools are hereby deemed to have been designated as the Vice Principal and the Assistant Headmaster/Headmistress (as the case may be) for official purpose and shall henceforth be governed by this regulation”.
Meanwhile, government schools which do not have Principals or Head Masters were earlier being managed by an In-charge, who in most cases was chosen from amongst the senior most teachers. However, this was not an official arrangement. With the new order, the In-charges will now officially be designated as Vice Principals or Assistant Head Masters.
This move has reportedly also been taken by the Human Resource Development Department in order to assist the Principals in the day to day administrative affairs of the government schools. Such anointed Vice Principals will also act as the School head in the absence or leave of the School Principal or when such a post is lying vacant.
For the purpose of serving as Acting Principals the Vice Principal or Teacher in this category, as per the new directives of the HRD department, will have to fulfill the required eligibility criteria for appointment as Principal of a senior secondary school. However in the event that there is no such qualified teacher the senior most teacher will take charge as Principal in the latter’s absence.
Similarly in order to bring about a semblance of administration and smooth functioning in the government schools the HRD department has designated those teachers with the highest seniority in terms of qualifications of Secondary / Junior High Schools as Assistant Headmaster/Headmistress. This elevation of the senior most qualified teachers in the government schools is also in order to assist the Heads of the concerned schools and to act as the school head in the latter’s absence.
The teachers upon being posted as VPs or Assistant HMs shall continue to draw their own pay band and grade pay and will have no right to claim for regular promotion to the post of Principal or Head Master. They will be required to appear for the mandatory interview for promotion as and when the interviews for the said posts are conducted by the department.

Ravangla gears up for Pang Lhabsol celebrations

GANGTOK, July 29: Ravangla in South Sikkim is gearing up to celebrate the festival of unity and brotherhood, Pang Lhabsol, with an array of cultural and sporting events in the first and second week of September 2014. A meeting was held today which was presided by Minister for Power, Energy and Labour department, DD Bhutia and also the area MLA, Barfung constituency. The meeting discussed different agendas and finalized the names of office bearers of the new celebration committee and sub committees.
Area MLA DD Bhutia will be the chief patron of the committee while ADC (Development), Ravangla, Tashi Chopel Bhutia has been made the chairman of the celebration committee with SDM Ravangla, BK Rai as the vice chairman of the committee.
CL Gurung and Passang Sherpa are appointed as advisors of the committee. Tashi Thendup Bhutia, Sarita Thatal and Rinzing Bhutia have been given the responsibility of general secretaries, Zigmee D. Bhutia and Pema Bhutia as publicity secretaries while Manoj Khandelwal and Tashi Tshering Bhutia are appointed as treasurers.
The meeting also appointed Nim Pintso Bhutia and Karma Dadul Bhutia as sports secretaries, Gram Vikas Adhikari (Ravangla) Sangam Rai, Dechen Bhutia and Pradeep Gurung in the cultural committee while the Gumpa committee consists of Norden Sangderpa and Sonam Wangyal Bhutia.
Publicity secretary Zigmee D. Bhutia informed that the main attraction in this year's Pang Lhabsol celebration at Ravangla will be the volleyball tournament which will be organized in two categories, open category and intra Sikkim category with attractive cash prizes and trophies.
The cultural programmes, monsoon marathon, mountain biking, photo exhibition, rural sports, musical nights will be the other attractions, Mr Bhutia added. All the events will be held at Maney Chokerling Monastery premises where the traditional Chaam will also be held along with other rituals. This festival is celebrated in a grand manner mainly in Gangtok in the East and Ravangla in South district.
The winners of the Open Volleyball tournament will be awarded with a cash prize of Rs. 1,50,000 and Rs 50,000 for the runners up whereas in the Intra Sikkim category the winners will be awarded Rs 1 lakh and the runners up will get Rs 50,000 along with attractive trophies.


Relook unravels complications of overlooked rules and vexed issues of Subjecthood status
GANGTOK, 30 July: While the state government has refused to explain the reason behind the order to put in abeyance the regularization process of its temporary employees, it now emerges that there are some fundamental issues concerning the regularization of this set of employees. These issues range from appointment of MR and WC employees when they were underage, to non-possession of domicile papers and also the rather ironic fate of women employees who have lost their domicile status because of their marriages [to ‘outsiders’].
This has led to the government to direct a re-scrutiny of all relevant documents of the employees before they are regularized and disbursed their salaries. In order to resolve the issue, the Department of Personnel, under directives from the Chief Secretary, has deployed four officials to the Power Department to undertake a re-scrutiny of the documents of those MR and WC employees who had been regularized earlier.
However, as it emerges and as some of those employees under scrutiny inform, even these officials are not sure about which documents to examine or which provisions of the Service Rules to use as a guide to authenticate the documents and so keep shifting the goalpost much to the ire of the employees.
There are several issues under examination, not the least of all is the application of Rule 4(4) of the Service Rules.
First, there was a complaint that several of those employees who had been regularized had actually not completed the required number of years of service (15 years for phase-1) in order to be regularized.
Now, this has raised another bone of contention with the employees as the DoP officials engaged in the scrutiny process have now found that several of the MR and WC employees started their service when they were still officially underage.
In fact it is explained that these employees were put in service by the government itself decades ago. Now to raise the question of their having been underage at the time of appointment to service just seems to be harassment, feel the employees.
The second matter of scrutiny is the possession of domicile papers by the MR and WC employees. As per the Service Rules only those with Sikkim Subjects or Certificates of Identification can be regularized. This point seems to have been overlooked during the initial scrutiny before the general elections.
It is suspected that some of the regularized employees may not have the necessary domicile documents and so cannot enjoy the benefits of regularized service. On this matter the employees seem to have no problem and accept that the need for domicile papers and also the application of Rule 4(4) of the Service Rules is necessary and as per Rules. By Rule 4(4) of the Service Rules an outsider employed in state government service in Sikkim has to relinquish his post when a qualified local is available.
However one area where the government may have to again put its collective head together is on the issue of women employees who, by virtue of their marriage to outsiders, have had their domicile papers cancelled. Consequently, they cannot be regularized under the present Rules.
Government officials agree that this is an area which might need the consideration of the government. Women who were unmarried at their time of their appointment but since have married people from outside Sikkim have had their Sikkim Subjects or Certificates of Identification cancelled. While the MR and WC employees feel nothing can be done about this as it is the Rule, they do concede that the government should consider such cases on humanitarian grounds. The government is yet to take a call on this.
The regularized MR and WC employees have not been paid their due salaries for almost 5 months running since the government issued the “in abeyance” order in regards to their regularization.

Training and awareness on organic farming in South Sikkim

NAMCHI, 30 July: Ward level awareness cum training programme on organic farming was organized by Sikkim Organic Mission along with the support of Morarka Foundation which is the implementing agency at different GPUs of South Sikkim.
The department of Agriculture and Horticulture Namchi, South District conducted the programme in different wards under different GPUs in South district. The Gram Panchayat Units where the awareness cum training programme was conducted are Sorok-Shyampani GPU, Basaini GPU and Maniram- Phalidara GPU.
In Sorok- Shyampani GPU the programme was attended by 32 farmers while in Basaini GPU 25 farmers attended the awareness programme and in Maniram-Phalidara 62 farmers attended the programme which was specially conducted for them.
The programme was also attended by panchayat members of the concerned GPUs along with departmental representatives, Joint Director Agriculture South, Block Technology Manager, and Village Level Worker, Agriculture Development Officer and various officials and workers.
The Project Officer Tilak Pradhan highlighted on organic farming and its importance, he also cited the benefits of organic food and its market value. Furthermore, he talked on pest management, nutrient management along with demonstration. The departmental representatives highlighted on the scope of organic farming. In Maniram-Phalidara GPU Rajma seeds were distributed among the farmers.

AJKS Namchi welcomes new SCWB Chairperson

NAMCHI, 30 July: Anushuchit Jati Kalyan Sangh (AJKS), Namchi unit welcomed the newly appointed Chairperson of Scheduled Caste Welfare Board, Santa Ghatani today here at the SDF party office premises. Ms. Ghatani was the advisor of AJKS Namchi.
In a programme organised under the chairmanship of its unit president Gopal Mothey, the new Chairperson was welcomed by the executive members of AJKS Namchi. During the function, president AJKS on behalf of the Sangh thanked Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for appointing Mrs. Ghatani as Chairperson of the board.
“We are grateful that Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has given this big responsibility to AJKS Namchi Advisor which is not only a matter of pride for the Sangh but also for the entire South district”, he stated.
The function was also attended by chief convener AJKS Namchi, Binay Gazmer.

New building inaugurated for Lingdong Secondary School

MANGAN, 29 July: Deputy Speaker Sonam Gyatso Lepcha, who also happens to be the concerned area MLA, inaugurated a 5-room school building at Lingdong Secondary School on Monday.
The new building is funded under Multi Sector Development Program scheme and constructed at the cost of Rs. 47 lakh. The Speaker handed over the school building to the School Managing Committee Lingdong SS and dedicated the school building to the students and people of Dzongu.
MLA Mr Lepcha, who was present as the chief guest, urged the panchayat members of the area to follow up the process of upgradation of the school to senior secondary level as land for the same has already been provided by the villagers.
He further appealed to all the teachers and guardians for proper coordination for the school's development. Warning teachers against indulging in politics he said that teachers are the highest paid government servants in the state and should not play with the future of the students.
The students of Lingdong SS, Children World Academy and Karang Chu Bong Club Lingdong presented a colourful cultural program on the occasion.
Also on the day, the 68th Independence Cup football tournament Late Sonam Choda Memorial Cup was inaugurated by the Deputy Speaker.

Present on the day were Sub Divisional Magistrate Dzongu, Gyas Pega, Joint Director HRDD North, Sonam Lepcha, Assistant Engineer HRDD, Chandra Bahadur Chettri, Assistant Director HRDD, N.T Lepcha, Panchayat Members, School Managing Committee and Teaching Staff of Lingdong SS and local gentries. 

Thujee Depsil Kiduk of Sichey release govt servant members, forms adhoc body

GANGTOK, 29 July: Thujee Depsil Kiduk, Sichey has dissolved its existing executive committee following the resignation of 20 members who are government employees during a meeting held on 06 July.

A press release informs that a new adhoc body has been constituted headed by adhoc president, Dorjee Dadul Bhutia and others. The term of the adhoc body will last till next 'Chirem' which may fall in April-May 2015. Thereafter, elections will be held for forming a permanent body, the release mentions.