Saturday, November 22, 2014

Paintings… wall to wall

Gangtok walls will be playing a supporting role in livening up the town for the upcoming Winter Carnival. Several public walls around town are receiving splashes of colour several times more pleasing than the whitewash which used to suffice in the past.
Two artists from Nepal, one of whom goes by the name Mangol Putra and another called Padam Bahadur Lama, are busy with aprons, palettes and brushes to lend a dollop of art and culture to Gangtok’s blank walls. Their work, completed along the STNM Hospital boundary wall at Tibet Road, has already begun impressing Gangtokians.
Walls at Star Hall, below the BSNL office, the mainline taxi stand, the old Tourism Office and STNM Hospital complex are getting a facelift from these artists from Kathmandu who are doing their best to give the otherwise paan-stained walls a total makeover.
Mangol Putra is a canvas and graffiti artist while Padam Bahadur Lama is a thanka painter. Their craft has been drawing crowds, and the finished work, much appreciation.
NOW! caught up with the artists at Tibet Road as they worked the wall opposite the SIMFED office where they have been working since the fifteenth. “We are here doing graffiti on the walls as part of the Winter Carnival 2014. We have been contracted by the Department of Tourism and tasked to highlight the rich culture and heritage of the State through these paintings,” says Mangol Putra.
While thanking the initiative of entrepreneur Bikash Chamling who conceptualized the entire project, Mangol Putra states that he and Padam Bahadur Lama are being assisted by a helper, Santosh Rai also from Kathmandu to finish the entire project within 25 days from when they first started.
“We are giving these drab walls life by showcasing Sikkim’s tourism potential, its natural beauty, religion, biodiversity through fine arts and graffiti. We want the people visiting to look at these walls and get a basic idea of what Sikkim has to offer without anyone saying a word. We want our art to speak,” adds Mangol Putra.
He also believes that art would discourage people from spitting and dirtying the walls since these paintings are also intended at giving the local populace a sense of ownership in their respective localities.

“These paintings will preserve these public spaces to a great extent as they will automatically become a place to visit and spend time. These walls will give the locals a sense of pride and will motivate them to promote Sikkim as a premier destination in the hills. This is a new concept but the idea behind it will stay for a long, long time,” he adds.


Preparations on full swing
With less than a month left, the Tourism department and tourism stakeholders are busy preparing for the upcoming “Winter Carnival 2014” slated to be held from 14 to 19 December. Posters and banners to publicize the event have been put up across the state while publicity through other media like FM radio is also being aired all over the nation, inform officials. Word is also being spread through the online media. The logo for the event was released by the Department on 06 December.
On 13 November, Tourism officials inspected MG Marg, Ridge Park and some other places in town where the events will be taking place. Lighting and sound system has already been set up at MG Marg, it is informed.
Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, is expected to visit Sikkim during the winter carnival.
The food festival this time will be taking place in all the restaurants along MG Marg with traditional cuisine on the menu. The food festival will be organised by the Sikkim Hotels & Restaurants Association [SHRA].

Apart from this, activities will be taking place in MG Marg, Ridge Park, Epica Garden, Banjhakri falls, Amusement Park [Ranka]. Art & Handicraft, Kite festival, Street Show, Food Bonanza, Bike stunt at Ridge Park, Chungi Tournament including musical performances are some of the other highlights of the festival.

Vodafone expands network to Lachung

Vodafone India on 20 November, Thursday, became the first private telecom service provider to expand its network to Lachung in North Sikkim. Vodafone has extended both, 2G as well as 3G services, to Lachung, a press communiqué from the company informs. Vodafone has so far deployed almost 181 cell sites across the State, the release details further.
This development should come as welcome news for the area since Lachung has thus far been serviced only by BSNL and its experience with telecom has been more of complaints than service.

On the latest expansion, Anand Sahai, Business Head – Kolkata and Rest of Bengal, Vodafone India, conveys in his press communiqué that, “With this expansion, we have now covered more than 91% percent of population in Sikkim and 93.5% in Rest of Bengal Circle. We are further ramping up our network as part of our ongoing commitment to enhance our customers’ mobile experience by offering them an uninterrupted service. We are the first private telecom operator to launch its services in Lachung…”

Football Vets to begin battle SundayV

The first edition of the Veteran’s Football Tournament being held in the memory of the late Pintso Lepcha, late Nim Tshering Bhutia and late Gyaltsen Lepcha will kick off on 23 November at Paljor Stadium. The tournament is being organised by Dzongri Club.
A press release issued by Dzongri Club vice president Chewang Thendup Shangderpa informs that a total of 23 teams from across Sikkim and neighbouring hills will be participating in the tournament. Apart from 15 teams from within Sikkim, the tournament will have eight teams from Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Dagapur and Pedong.
“The tournament will also provide an opportunity to see the game of former and popular ex-footballers of the state and neighbouring hills once again at Paljor Stadium ground,” the press release highlights. 

The inaugural match will be played between Veterans Boys Club and Ranka Veterans at 1:30 PM on Sunday.

Thank You

The family of the late Denjong Gyalse Kushon J.T. Namgyal is truly touched by and deeply appreciative of the outpouring of sympathy and support we received in the wake of his demise.
While it is not possible for us to thank everyone individually, we would like to place on record our heartfelt gratitude to all those who condoled with us in the time of our bereavement and extended much support during the funeral.
The late Gyalsey Kushon was not able to lead much of a public life. Despite that, all of Sikkim gave him such a poignant and emotional farewell. Mere words are thus inadequate while trying to convey how overwhelmed we were by the massive support we received all the way to Lukshyama.
We would like to thank the Hon’ble Chief Minister for declaring a public holiday on the day of the funeral, as also all the shopkeepers for keeping their business establishments closed to express their solidarity.
We are grateful for all our friends, family and well-wishers for rallying around us and for all the kindness and commiseration.

To all the many people, too innumerable to mention here, who supported us in every way, we wish to reiterate our earnest gratitude.

Rescheduled TET to be held on 30 Nov

The State Teachers’ Eligibility Test 2014 which was to be originally held on 09 November, has been rescheduled for 30 November, 2014 (Sunday). A press communiqué from the Human Resource Development Department informs that the venue of the examination has also been changed from TNSSS to Deorali Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Gangtok.

Commission reiterates commitment to Protection of Child Rights

The Sikkim State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the Social Welfare Department have reiterated that both remain “equally concerned” with the number of cases that are being reported on sexual abuse of the children in the State. This reiteration clearly in light of recent cases of child abuse reported in the State, including one in which a headmaster of a government school has been so accused.
A recent SSCPCR press communiqué states that earlier, such cases remained largely unreported “due to ignorance of the people”, and that now “due to the awareness provided by the Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department and the Child Rights Commission in regard to the implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 in the State”, more cases are being reported to the police.
“Our Department and Child Rights Commission immediately depute social workers for fact finding and also assist the victim for medical examination, counselling and also in registering First Information Report. The Investigating Officers are directed to fast track the investigation in order to file the charge sheet before the court for speedy justice. Moreover the SJE&WD has come up with a new scheme of providing immediate financial relief to the victim,” the press release explains
The social workers deputed by the Social Welfare Department conduct home visits, follow up cases, provide counselling and also assist in seeking free legal aid services, the release adds. In order to provide immediate social assistance, eight service providers [“who are local NGOs”] have been appointed across the State in addition to 4 counsellors. Their contact details have been provided to the police stations. 
The release goes on to contend that there have been instances when parents have refused to lodge formal police complaints and that in such cases, the Child Rights Commission has taken suo motto action and filed cases before the Court. “We have also requested HRDD to put a check on the number of teachers who are on long term medical treatment for depression and psychological disbalance,” the release further details.
The Social Welfare Department has also appealed to all registered NGOs “to come forward to help us to curb this evil in our society as it is a collective effort”.
Meanwhile, in the event of any case of abuse of children, the following can be directly informed for speedy social assistance.  
1.   Service Provider, Rongli : 8116310643
2.   Service Provider, Pakyong: 9733062333
3.   Service Provider, Mangan: 9002007539
4.   Service Provider, Gangtok: 9434408222
5.   Service Provider, Gyalshing :9734055728
6.   Service Provider, Namchi :7872980301
7.   Service Provider, Ravangla :9933453864
8.   Social Worker, Rongpo :9933759567
9.   Sikkim State Commission for Protection of Child Rights : 03592- 208217/ 8016881868
10.        Yousa Lachenpa, Legal Officer, 9800102548.

RN Chamling sworn in

Speaker KN Rai administered the Oath of Affirmation to the recently elected MLA from Rangang Yangang constituency, RN Chamling during the second session of the ninth Assembly on Friday. Mr. Chamling had won the bye election from Rangang Yangang as an Independent candidate with 51.33% of the votes cast against the 43.22% votes secured by Kumari Mangar of the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front party. The bye-election at Rangang-Yangang was necessitated after Chief Minister Pawan Chamling vacated this seat while retaining Namchi-Singithang. The bye-election was held on 13 September. 

SKM MLAs take up Water supply woes and rural development queries during Question Hour

GANGTOK: The question hour in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly today saw members, Gopal Baraily, MLA, West Pendam, Hemendra Adhikari, MLA, Rhenock and Ugen Nedup, MLA, Kabi-Tingda raising queries.
In his query to the PHE Minister, Tulsi Devi Rai, the West Pendam MLA, Gopal Baraily stated that as per the concerned Minister’s answer to his question on 26 June 2014 in the SLA, around 10,700 beneficiaries would benefit from the Greater Rangpo Water Augmentation Works project, (GRWAP). However, with the project being stalled at present, Mr Baraily wanted to know the reasons behind the project being stalled, when the project would be completed and how the beneficiaries would benefit from the project.
In her answer, the PHE Minister informed that the GRWAP had already started in March 2014 and that the beneficiaries of Rangpo were already availing the facilities. However, she added that due to the July 2014 "natural disaster" in the area, the water pipeline was damaged in seven places. The department has sought funds for repair works. “As soon as the funds are released, we will carry out the repair works,” stated the PHE Minister.
In another query, Mr. Adhikari questioned why the Krishi Karyalaya earlier situated at Chalamthang, Rhenock was shifted by the concerned department to Gnathang-Machong without the consent of the local people or the concerned panchayats of the area.  Further, why was this done immediately after the elections? He added here that that the existing building was a prominent landmark in the area and was even used a as a polling booth because of its accessibility.
In his answer Somnath Poudyal, the Minister in charge of Agriculture stated that the Krishi Karyalaya was shifted for the convenience of the general public and that the new location was much closer to the sub-divisional offices which made it more convenient for the sub divisional offices to coordinate with the new Krishi Karyalaya.  
Similarly, he added that the State Election Commission would be able to answer the query on why a polling centre was shifted. He also stated that the state government was already aware and carrying out works on requirements of the farmers of Rhenock and would continue to do so. He concluded by stating that the concerned VLWs were the adequate medium between farmers and the state government and that the programme was being conducted in full swing to benefit all farmers in the existing area as well.
In his query to the Social Justice, Empowerment & Welfare Department Minister, MLA, Kabi-Tingda, Ugen Nedup Bhutia asked why there were routine delays in the disbursement of various social welfare schemes like old age pension, handicap pension, widow allowance, transgender allowance, unmarried allowance, disability marriage allowance etc. and whether the central government was releasing its share of fund for the above schemes in time and what was the sharing ratio between centre and state? And what were the number of beneficiaries under the schemes?
In her answer, the SJE&WD Minister, Tulsi Devi Rai provided an overview on the state share ratio and also provided the total number of beneficiaries under the various schemes. She went on to add that the department has observed that the disbursement of pension and allowances get delayed sometimes, on account of the delayed submission of the required documents by the beneficiaries and the panchayat members. Various gram panchayat units have been sensitized for early verification and recommendation of the applications for such pensions and allowances, by the eligible public with a view to cut down the administrative delays.
Further, the department has taken significant steps to develop software to automate the processing of pensions and allowances, which will enable electronic submission of applications duly recommended by the Members of Gram panchayat Units, Gram Vikas Adhikaris and concerned area MLAs and their online processing. The status of any application or information and reports can also be accessed online in a transparent manner,” stated the SJE&WD Minister, Tulsi Devi Rai.
She also added that the issue of the release of funds from the Finance, Revenue & Expenditure Department has also been taken up and instead of pro-rata release of resources on the basis of funds received from the Ministry of Social Justice/Ministry of Rural Development, GoI, it has now been decided to obtain quarterly release of resources from the Finance, Revenue & Expenditure department and ensure monthly transfer of pension and allowances directly to the beneficiaries accounts.
‘The proposed system will ensure further improvement for timely release of pension and allowances. Once the online electronic processing of pensions and allowances will get implemented from January/February 2015, further improvements have also been planned with departmental plans to do away with Life Certificate requirement for disbursement of pensions and allowances by the use of Adhaar card data base and bio metric verification of beneficiaries fingerprints at the time of receipt of applications. The department proposes to extensively use digital e-governance to speed up the implementation of all welfare programmes,’ stated the Minister.
During the Zero Hour, MLA, Rhenock, Hemendra Adhikari while alleging that the state government had used “undemocratic means” to shift the Krishi Karyalaya from Rhenock stated, “The reasons and answers given are not satisfactory. How could such a step be taken up by the state government without consulting the farmers, the panchayats and the concerned MLA? Because of this decision the farmers are suffering, why this vested interest?”
Supporting his question during the Zero Hour were Shyam Pradhan, MLA, Arithang, Sang-Martam MLA, Dr. Mechung Bhutia and MLA, Kabi-Tingda, Ugen Nedup Bhutia. Minister, Tulsi Devi Rai responded by stating, “the answers to all queries have been answered and if there are more questions then please bring the same in a written format so that I would be better able to answer them specifically.”
Further, the Gangtok MLA Pintso Chopel in his query to the PHE Minister, asked about the water shortage problem in Gangtok. “We know that there is a water crisis in Gangtok which is the hub of the tourism industry. Why does the PHE department still rely on Ratey Chu as the primary water source? Why hasn’t the government looked into alternative sources in the past 20 years? Why are only temporary works being carried out, and instead of carrying out temporary works for so much money, why doesn’t the department look for concrete answers?” he questioned.
Supporting his query was Ugen Nedup Bhutia who also spoke on other alternatives for the Gangtok water source to be explored like Tsomgo, Bhusuk etc. and also called for transparency in the projects PHE was implementing in Gangtok. In her reply, the Minister PHE stated, “We have been working on a new ADB funded project that will solve the water crisis in Gangtok by delivering 42 million liters of water per day against the existing 26 million liters per day by 2015. We will look into the same and let the members of the opposition know.”
The last query put up during the Zero Hour was from Dr. Mechung who questioned the tabling of the RK Patra Commission report in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly during its last sitting.

Paddy harvest pads up smiles across Sikkim SUBASH RAI

Paddy fields across Sikkim are swathed in a golden hue at present, celebrating the toil and sweat of the summer months which have now ripened to a welcome harvest. What is more, the harvest is more bountiful than last year. It is a happy time in the bastis as the fields receive people again. It is a common sight to find villagers gathering in groups to harvest the yield, enjoying each other’s company in warm glow of almost-Winter Sun. Piles of golden hay can be seen spread out on the fields and farmers found thrashing the hay and carrying away the satisfying load of a sack-full of rice to their homes. By November-end [corresponding with the month of Mangshir on the Vikram Samvat calendar], the harvest will be over and then will kick off the harvest festivities of Namsoong and Lossoong and the fields will stand empty to receive children who will soon begin on their long winter break.
Harvest is a joyous time for farmers, and this year, farmers are noticeably in an even happier mood, overwhelmed as their farms have registered higher production levels. A tour of some villages in East District found farmers reporting sizeable increase in their production.
“Though the rains were lean during cultivation, I recorded an increase in production this cycle,” informs Nimphuti Lepcha of Lingdum. Her four plots of paddy have put out three to four more sacks this harvest compared to last year.
Similarly, Lakpa Lepcha, who was the first to harvest the paddy fields at Chubathang, said, “My field is facing severe irrigation problems the water channels have been damaged by the newly constructed road. But I still managed to produce the same quantity as compared to last year when my fields were better irrigated.”
The two farmers, like most of their village, cultivate local varieties of rice - Sano Attay, Chirakhey, Nunia, Zhapaka etc.
A visit to fields at Sorong [Ranka] brings one to Ram Kiran Subba who had planted hybrid and high-yelding varieties provided by the Food Security & Agriculture Development Department [FS&ADD]. Production here had also increased this year. But he had complaint with the Department. According to Mr. Subba, the seeds are of good quality but the Department distributes them a little too late.
“We need seeds in the month of May, but it reaches us only by June-end and this creates problems,” he states.
The FS&ADD Principal Director-cum-Secretary, P. Tshering Bhutia agrees, but adds that there is a valid explanation. Distribution of hybrid and high-yeilding varieties of paddy comes under the Central Government’s National Food Security Mission. At present, this mission is being implemented in East and West districts only. The seeds have to be ordered from outside states and reach here late, the Secretary informs.
As for the delay, he further explains that is felt only by farmers in higher altitudes where the planting season comes earlier. “For farmers at lower altitude areas, the current schedule is just right,” Mr. Bhutia states.
Besides imported seeds, the Secretary informs that the State Government is also distributing larger quantities of high-yielding seeds grown by the local farmers.
Besides the handsome rice production, the farmers are also thrilled to find the hay dry and clear. Hay is an important product of paddy farming since it is the main fodder for livestock. Rain during harvest had ruined stocks of hay last year, but the weather has held fine thus far this year, enabling farmers to stock up on good quality [and quantity] hay this year.
“If we want to sell the hay, we will fetch a very good price this time and can remit the production costs easily,” said Purna Bahdur Thapa of Lower 6th Mile.
Good quality hay can easily fetch Rs. 400-500 per bundle of around 10-15 kgs at current market prices.

“A dairy farmer having two cows needs at least 200 bundles of hay per year,” informs Lal Bahadur Karki. He has already booked 100 bundles from Mr. Thapa.

Organic Farming training at Samdong-Kambal

After holding a daylong awareness cum training programme on Sikkim Organic Mission for Samdong Kambal GPU on 4 November [at the GPU level], the programme began for ward-level sessions on 17 November. The awareness camps are scheduled to conclude on 24 November.
The GPU level training was chaired by Rakdong Tintek Gram Vikash Adhikari, Pema Wangchuk Bhutia accompanied by Zilla Panchayat Sarswati Regmi, Panchayat members, Deputy Director [Horticulture Department], Shyam Das Sharma, Horticulture Development Officer, Lower Samdung farm, KL Koirala, Mission Officer cum Horticulture Inspector, Didup Bhutia, representatives from the service provider -SHRESTA, VLW, BTM, Field Assistant from Agriculture Department.

The resource persons appraised the farmers about the principles and concept of organic farming, procedure of organic certification, soil health and plant health management etc. The ward level training is headed by the mission officer, panchayat member of the respective ward and service provider.

Why Organic Poultry farming makes sense PRAMADA GURUNG

Traditional backyard poultry farming is an age-old practice around the world. This backyard poultry sector consists of chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, pigeons and guinea fowls. They are scavengers and largely subsist by scavenging in gardens, around the farm feeding on crop residues, insects, worms and green forages. Highly resistant to diseases, poultry is reared by small marginal farmers to supplement their income and livelihood. The growing demand for indigenous eggs and low investment in backyard sector provides an opportunity for the rural poor particularly women for more gainful supplementary income generation opportunities for the family. Small farming families, landless labourers and people below poverty line are able to raise indigenous chicken with low inputs and harvest the benefits as eggs and meat via scavenged feed resources. The most preferred quality chicken meat and egg come from the backyard poultry sector.
Organic farming has been an integral part of life in many parts of the country. Raising organic poultry can be very satisfying. Farming organic chicken in our own backyard is more satisfying. The main aim of organic farming is to establish and maintain soil-plant, plant-animal, animal-soil independence and to produce a sustainable agro ecological system based on the local resources. The poultry sector plays a significant role in improving the socio economic condition of rural masses.
Sikkim being an agricultural state and rich in organic farming, organic poultry farming can be a great supplement. Organic poultry is poised to transform the poultry sector to the next level of animal agricultural development and the agricultural cycle is incomplete without the involvement of domesticated livestock that play a major role in the cycle under the organic livestock farming.
[The writer is studying at College of Veterinary Sciences & Animal Husbandry, Selesih, Aizawl, Mizoram]

Obituary Reference to Late Prince in Assembly

During the Assembly session on Friday, Speaker KN Rai and Chief Minister Pawan Chamling participated in an Obituary Reference session on the late Gyalsey Kushon Jigdal Tsewang Namgyal and registered deep and profound sorrow on the sad demise of the prince who passed away on 30 October.
The Chief Minister, while remembering the Late Prince, said that Gyalsey Kushon Jigdal Tsewang Namgyal was fondly remembered as Gyalsey Georgela who received his education at the most prestigious School of the Country and was a brilliant student who majored with History honours. He was a man of the people who loved him profoundly for his simplicity and modesty. After completing his education, Prince Georgela became the first Development Commissioner of Sikkim and initiated various developmental works and made immense contribution in shaping the state in the right direction. His demise has created a huge void in the Sikkimese society, said the CM. He also prayed for the departed soul and expressed his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.
As a mark of respect to the departed soul, the House also observed two minute silence.

Modi will be Pilgrim No. 1 to cross Nathula!


If things proceed to plan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be leading the first batch pilgrims over Nathula to Kailash Mansarovar as early as the summer of 2015!
Senior officials at the Tourism Department here, when contacted for an update on the proposed opening of a new route to Kailash Mansarovar in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China via Nathula, informed that things are progressing at a very fast clip and that the Centre and the State are aiming at having the first batch of pilgrims taking the route in June 2015.
Officials at the Tourism Department inform that as things stand, the plan is to flag off the first batch of pilgrims to Kailash-Masarovar from the border pass of Nathula in June next year. The Prime Minister is reported to have evinced interest in leading the first pilgrimage to Kailash via Sikkim himself. It is clearly this directive which has Delhi putting the project on fasttrack.
India and China, it may be recalled, had signed a bilateral agreement on the Nathula alternative route as recently as in end-September 2014. MoU’s are one thing, and delivery quite another and very few were expecting the new route to open any time soon. The agreement to open Nathula for border trade was signed in the year 2003 for instance and the actual resumption happened only in 2006.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China on opening a new route for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Nathula was , signed on 18 Sept 2014 as part of 12 MoUs inked after delegation-level talks between India and China. The MoU provides for conducting the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through Nathula in addition to the existing Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand. “The route through Nathula will augment the capacity and reduce the hardship and journey time enabling many more pilgrims in particular aged pilgrims to undertake the Yatra,” the MoU states.
Officials inform that more than 1,600 pilgrims, moving in ten batches, are expected to take the Sikkim route to Kailash-Masarovar next year. Frenetic preparations are underway to ensure that the June deadline is met, officials here inform.
Two senior officials from the Ministry of External Affairs were recently in Sikkim to examine Sikkim’s infrastructural preparedness for the new development and to finalise other nitty-gritties. They are reported to have identified two places - 17th Mile and Sherathang – on the JN Road as acclimatization centres for pilgrims.
As per a proposal floated by the MEA, the pilgrims will be required to halt at least for two days in Gangtok and then proceed to 17th Mile and Sherathang for further acclimatization before they proceed to the thinner air of the Tibetan plateau beyond Nathula.
The alternative route from Nathula will reportedly proceed through Shigatse in TAR and then move on to Kailash-Mansarovar.
Following the preliminary inspection of preparedness in Sikkim and further requirements here, a meeting is scheduled to be held in Delhi on 25 November between officials from Tourism and Home Departments of Sikkim and officials from concerned central Ministries to chalk out the finer modalities and devise co-ordinations and distribute responsibilities.
There is reportedly already an agreement to monitor the Nathula-Kailash Mansarovar Yatra on G2G [Government-to-Government] basis. Once the G2G plan is finalized, the Sikkim Tourism Development Cooperation will be shouldered a bigger role in sending pilgrims to Kailash-Mansaorvar and coordinating their travel and return to India upto Gangtok.
Meanwhile, a seven-member team comprising of State Government representatives and MEA officials is expected to travel across Nathula to Kailash-Mansarovar on a trial run in March next year. This tour is expected to provide them with an even better understanding of the feasibility and further requirements of this pilgrimage.
The Nathula route is considered a comparatively easier route to the ones currently being used. The existing routes are through Uttarakand and Nepal, and both involve heavy-trekking through grueling terrain at altitudes up to 19,500 feet. The new route will allow pilgrims to be driven all along, travelling first from Gangtok in Sikkim to Shigatse in Tibet from where they can take vans and buses on the existing road to Mansarovar and Kailash directly.
Facilities for proper weights and measures, warehouses, inspection posts, rest houses, improved transportation facilities, proper roadway, and better opportunities for traders as well as for tourists need to still be provided for further growth and trade benefits.
Sacred to Hindus, Jains and Buddhists, the journey to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake located in the Himalayan mountain ranges of the remote Southwestern corner of the Tibetan Autonomous Region is usually undertaken from Uttarakhand via Lipulekh Pass or overland from Nepal.
While the Nepal route takes 10 days, the arduous trekking option via Uttarakhand takes 27 days. The Nathula option, as per projections, will take only 8 days to complete the yatra. While the Nathula route is usually open from March to November, the Lipulekh route is only open for four months in a year from June to September. Also, there is a limit on the number of pilgrims allowed to take the Lipulekh route every year. Normally there are 16 batches of 35 pilgrims each every year.

Dribbling from Mangalbaria to Islamabad!


No account of women’s football in Sikkim can begin without mention of Palden Sir and his Girls Football Academy at Manglabaria in West Sikkim. Although of very recent vintage – it opened only in 2005, the academy has institutionalised women’s football in Sikkim, approaching it as a team sport and extending girl footballers professional coaching and earnest inspiration against the occasional tokenism that the sport used to receive in the past. The success of the academy can be gauged from the fact that the GFA team lines up for Sikkim at national tournaments and five of its players have been shortlisted for the national U-19 training camp, of whom two – sisters Nima Lhamu Bhutia and Lako Phuti Bhutia – have played for team India.
And to think that the journey began with a Physical Education Teacher’s hope to prepare a girls team from his school good enough to make a mark at district-level tournaments.
Palden Bhutia started the Girls Football Academy from his house at Mangalbaria in West Sikkim on 27 February 2005. He is presently an Assistant Director with the Sports & Youth Affairs Department and was a Physical Education Teacher at Mangalbaria Senior Secondary School back in 2005.
When asked what motivated him to devote time, energy and finances to launch a football academy for girls, that too in a village in the districts, Palden Sir says: “The main reason behind starting the academy was my desire to take a girls football team from Mangalbaria to at least district-level success”.
He points out that rural Sikkim has an impressive pool of potentially brilliant girl footballers, who, due to lack of exposure and training, do not get the chance to dazzle at the competitive level. Men’s football finds many promoters and allows many opportunities, but girls football, it needs to be admitted, remains largely ignored and the few opportunities created for it are mostly token efforts limited to schools in urban settings.
This was clearly noticed and felt by Palden Sir, himself a footballer of recognised skills, having played professionally in Sikkim, and he resolved to coach a winning team from Mangalbaria. He also believed that for a football squad to deliver well, they would not only have to train together, but ideally also live together. He resolved the latter quandary by opening his home in Mangalbaria as a hostel for the 12 girls he picked for training.
Remember, this was his own initiative and had not backing, financial or otherwise from any other quarter; at least not back in 2005 when the initiative began.
“I started the hostel in my house and treated them as my own daughters and started their practice at the Mangalbaria Senior Secondary School playground,” he shares.
The initial strength of 12 girls went up to 18 in a few years and as the girls passed out or signed up for the next level of the sport, has come down again it to original strength of 12. The original dozen were Under-14 girls from Dentam, Hee-Bermiok, Soreong and its surrounding areas of West District.
The Girls Football Academy, Mangalbaria, has become a centre of excellence and has consistently produced quality footballers for the state and the nation.  As mentioned earlier, Nima Lhamu Bhutia and Lako Phuti Bhutia, sisters from Mangalbaria, have played for the national team, with Lako in the current squad as well.
“Initially no one believed that girls could be coached and inspired to play football to such high levels. Many suggested that I would be putting my efforts to better use if I started a boys academy instead. But I knew in my heart that I wanted to create opportunities for the girls. Now, after seeing the results, everyone has come around and appreciate the role and achievements of the academy,” Mr Bhutia beams.
He underlines that the hard-work and success of the girls has brought positive recognition and identity for Mangalbaria as the bedrock of women’s football in Sikkim apart from developing a sporting culture and encouraging people there to live healthier lives.
He mentions that seeing the performance of the academy and the success of its girls, many girls teams have come up in the surrounding areas and other parts of the state as well.
“It was heartening to see that the academy’s team was playing with local boys teams during practice and managing to hold their own. Due to them, lots of girls have now been turning up for the practice sessions at Mangalbaria School round,” he states.
As for the numerous achievements of the academy- Nima Lhamu Bhutia who was in the first batch trained at the academy went on to play for the country up to the AFC level. Likewise, another promising footballer, her sister, Lako Phuti Bhutia has also played for the country in different categories and is currently in the national team.
Mangmit Lepcha, Nimita Gurung and Bhoj Kumari Subba were selected for and attended the U-19 India camp. The rest girls of the academy have played for the state and their district several times. The best moment for the academy was when the entre team was picked to represent the State in national level tournaments. They have matched that feat twice more since then. Even when the entire GFA squad was not Team Sikkim, several of its players would routinely be picked to wear the State colours.
Meanwhile, Lako has been signed by a Maldives-based football club, New Radiant SC, and Sujana Rai has been playing professionally for Eastern Sporting Club, Manipur.
Mr Bhutia has been managing the academy with the support of his parents, well wishers and from his own pocket. “Of course it is very difficult to manage the academy but I am committed to providing exposure to rural girls and this motivates me to work even more for them,” he states.
He further adds that seeing his passion and recognising the positive impact of the academy, his wife, Chumden Bhutia, and two children and some of his relatives have been supporting the initiative wholeheartedly.
About his future plans, Palden Sir shares that he is currently working on expanding his academy from its Mangalbaria base to a district-level academy based out of Gyalshing where he can coach and train students till the college level. “I want to develop the academy as a model for the whole State but that will require much wider support,” he states.
“My ultimate dream is to see more Sikkimese girls featuring in the starting eleven of Team India. Our girls have the potential to do that. What they need is our consistent support,” he says.
43-year-old Palden Bhutia hails from Hee-Patal in West Sikkim, and had joined Mangalbaria Senior Secondary School as a Physical Education Teacher in 1998. He is also a keen footballer and has played for many clubs of the state.
“I was a footballer, but got the chance to see and play football at Paljor Stadium only when I was 22 years old,” he shares.
“This experience made me realise that there were many more like me from the rural areas who did not receive the right exposure at the right age. And if this was the case with boys, I realised it must be that much worse for girls. My focus is to provide exposure to rural talent at the right platform,” he explains.
For the further development of girl’s football, Mr Bhutia expressed that there was the need of more competition and tournaments for girls. And also more support. “The football clubs of the state need to include, encourage and prepare girls teams. There is need for a football league for them,” he states.
As for an explanation to the headline of this piece – Lako began playing football in Mangalbaria and is currently in Islamabad, Pakistan, as part of Team India at the South Asian Football Federation Women’s Championship underway there [in its last match, India thrashed Afghanistan 12-nil to reach the semis].

Lako Phuti breaks into senior team

She has played for India in the Under-17 and U-19 squads, and last week she suited up in Team India colours to debut in the senior team as well. Lako Phuti Bhutia, the midfielder from Mangalbaria in West Sikkim, is part of the national team for the 3rd SAFF Women’s Football Championship held in Islamabad (Pakistan) from 11 to 21 November 2014. Lako was finalized for the national team after impressing selectors at the coaching camp conducted by AIFF.
A product of the Girls Football Academy managed by Palden Bhutia at Mangalbaria in West Sikkim, Lako has consistently impressed all with her skills and commitment to the sport. In a facebook message posted early in the morning of 09 November, this is how she shared news of her final selection: “…it’s a great day for me that I will be playing SAFF 2014 for India. I am very much thankful to those who supported me. thnq ‪#‎Palden‬ sir. — traveling to Islamabad, Pakistan.” [For a detailed profile on the Girls Football Academy of Mangalbaria, turn to pg9]
Her coach, Palden Bhutia, received the news [also on facebook] thus: “Big achievement for GFA Mangalbarey, Sikkim that is one player of GFA, Laku Phuti selected in National team for SAFF championship, Islamabad. So well wishers and my friends I would like to thanks for your great support. My special thanks to Menla sir, BK Roka sir and all the members of SFA for big and eternal support... THANKS…”

Himalayan Region Sports Festival announced REBYNA RANA

The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports has launched a scheme named Himalayan Region Sports Festival for the Himalayan region which covers the North Eastern region of the country including Sikkim and Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir. Also invited to the event will be teams from the neighbouring countries of Nepal and Bhutan. The idea was first mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to a joint session of the Bhutanese Parliament in June earlier this year.
The idea has been followed up in earnest since the announcement, and the event is taking concrete shape now. The inaugural festival will be held either in Guwahati or Imphal in the month of February 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to inaugurate the festival which is proposed to be held in rotation in all the 11 states and the two foreign countries. Competitions will be held in the disciplines of Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Football, Judo, Taekwondo, Wrestling, while few disciplines like Volleyball, Table Tennis etc are under consideration.
The competition will be held in two categories: U-14 [boys and girls] and above 14 years [open] categories for men and women as well. Apart from that, every state and country will have to present at least two demonstrations/ exhibitions of indigenous games and martial arts along with competitive participation.
The main aim for launching such schemes is to maintain goodwill among the Himalayan states and neighboring countries along the Himalayan belt as well as to have a competitive environment. It’s a week-long event which will be organized in a long term development program for Target Olympics Podium [TOP] under the ministry of Sports & Youth Affairs. Every event day will be followed by the cultural exchange musical program in the evening where every participating state and country will be asked to participate.
It is a 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme [CSS] projected on an estimated budget of Rs 5 crore with liberal norms unlike other CSS schemes like PYKKA/RGKA. The participants will be provided with all sports gear, including track suit [utility prizes] and accommodation food and TA. The winner will receive a cash-prize of Rs. 10,000 while the first runners-up and second runner up will get Rs. 8,000 and Rs. 6,000 respectively. The overall winner state/country will be awarded Rs 10 lakh while the first and second runner up will get Rs 6 lakh and Rs 4 lakh respectively.

Engineers trained in rapid visual survey

The Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority recently conducted a three-day training cum refresher course for civil engineers working under the State government on “rapid visual survey and study of lifeline structures”. The training was supported by the Ministry of Home Affairs and UNDP-India.
While addressing the concluding session of the programme, Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department Secretary-cum-Relief Commissioner, Tsegyal Tashi, urged the technocrats in attendance to help the state government in taking precautionary measures to deal with manmade disasters.
He also sought expert advice in addressing damage control and safety of the people at large in the event of an emergency, adding that the training will also help prepare the required human resource. The valedictory function was also addressed by the State Project Officer of SSMDA, Prabhakar Rai.

On a Suicidal Spiral

The fact that suicides are a major worry for Sikkim is universally accepted, and yet nothing is being attempted to redress the situation

This section returns to this worry too often, and that in itself should be a matter of concern because it means that not enough is being done at any level to address the disconcerting prevalence of suicides in Sikkim. School kids, newlyweds, the elderly and even the gainfully employed continue to take their own lives across the State and across the socioeconomic strata.
This newspaper had started reporting on suicide cases in the hope that as readers started noticing the unnerving frequency with which people were ending their lives in Sikkim, some earnest initiative will shake out of the collective concern. While some noises were made initially, and even some sensitisation programmes attempted, nothing meaningful has materialised to address the issue. It appears that a news-report of another suicide has even stopped shocking people anymore, and if anything, has inured them to the problem. Worryingly, it is also plausible that the routine occurrence of suicides has convinced those with suicidal tendencies that taking one’s own life is not such an aberration or as “wrong” as they have been led to believe. May be the frequency of suicides has robbed it of the shock element. But it should shock. There are few things more disturbing than parents waking up strangled gasps of their child attempting suicide, or a father discovering that his daughter has taken her life in his room and for reasons everyone had sympathised with, but no one had taken seriously enough to find counsel for her. Also traumatic must have been the horror of the 10-year-old in rural East Sikkim who returned home from tuition classes to discover his mother’s dead body hanging from a ceiling fan. Those who have not had to deal with the confusion, trauma and even guilt of having a near one commit suicide cannot even begin to fathom the shock that those left behind suffer.

Of course, time heals, but time can also be better utilised if Sikkim sat down and worked out how it plans to deal with the situation. Suicides are no longer aberrations, and return too often to haunt Sikkim and claim fathers, mothers, grandparents, even children. It is also obvious that the psychiatric help which keeps things in balance in one’s mind is not adequately available in Sikkim. Contemplating suicide is one thing, to actually commit it quite another. Obviously, not everyone does it, but those whose mental make-up has been debilitated by an unnoticed and untreated ailment are more prone to attempt it. Depression is rampant in Sikkim and although more people are coming forward nowadays to seek medical help, there are too many who still obviously don’t. With the comforting cushion of a large family gone, the pressures of modern lifestyles get the better of many and some snap under it. It is an accepted fact that a majority of the suicides can be prevented if the right psychiatric help or counsel is made available at the right time. Sikkim needs to figure out how it will do so. And do so fast, before another minor stumbles on to a suicide by a family member or another parent learns of a suicide by a child...


The VIP lobby of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly has a new display. Ensconced in a somber glass unit is the simple yet stately chair used by Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal in the erstwhile Council House. The government’s effort to recognize the significance of the Chogyal’s seat in the Council and accord it such a respectful display is laudable.

Where the Cat is boss!


Neglect, irresponsible pet ownership and intentional cruelty are some of the leading factors contributing to the explosion of stray cats in poor health in and around Gangtok. The SARAH [Sikkim Anti-Rabies and Animal Health programme] Hospital in Gangtok is treating up to three abandoned cats every week. Some are injured and in need of intensive medical care while some are in the “last stages of neglect.” Examples of neglect include starvation, dehydration, inadequate shelter, parasite infestations and failure to seek veterinary care when an animal is in need of medical attention. SARAH routinely sterilizes pet cats as well as strays and more than 1000 felines have been nurtured by the hospital in the past few years.
With the support from Foundation Brigitte Bardot, a French organization, SARAH has built a first of its kind cattery and sanctuary for stray cats in the state at its facility in Gangtok. This is also probably the first such “Cat Hospital” in the region. A visit comes as a pleasant surprise to find Gangtok’s strays being pampered so lovingly. The cattery is as well appointed as a nursery for babies!
“It is observed that people tend to abandon female kittens and also black cats. And then there are the old, sick and injured cats that are also dumped in the market and at monasteries. It is the wrong thing to do,” states Dr. Thinlay N Bhutia, Project Coordinator, SARAH.
He adds that cats, like every other animal, have a very important role in balancing the eco-system and are one of the most important barriers against outbreak of diseases such as plague and leptospirosis.
“Cats are also very intelligent animals. There is a lot of stigma attached to cats but infact they are a great asset to any family. Cats are independent and are easier to manage than other pets like dogs. Despite that we see inhumane, cruel and barbaric ways in which these cats have been treated,” informs Dr. Thinlay.
The Cattery is housing and treating over 12 cats at present, a majority of whom have been under great stress and are psychologically disturbed. There are cats here at the hospital that have been blinded intentionally or have suffered massive abuse! Cats that have survived being run-over by speeding vehicles and are amputees also make a sizable number at the sanctuary.
Speaking on the fundamentals of the animal needs and the “Cat hospital” design, Dr. Thinlay states that the animals contained in a hospital, are entirely dependent upon humans to provide the conditions that will satisfy their basic needs. It is therefore important that anyone looking after animals is aware of all their needs. It must address basic animal needs such as freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition; provision of appropriate comfort and shelter; prevention, or rapid diagnosis and treatment, of injury, disease or infestation with parasites; freedom from distress and the ability to display normal patterns of behaviour.
“Our society is built upon human values of compassion, mutual respect, respect for the nature and co-existence with all the creations of nature. There is a need to foster loving kindness, compassion. We must feel the pain and suffering that the animals undergo, only then will the people, especially growing children realize and foster similar feelings of love, compassion and a sense of responsibility,” states Dr. Thinlay.
Sharing a few tips on responsible cat ownership, the SARAH Project Coordinator explains that cats are highly independent pet animals and one of the newest domesticated animals and a pet owner should know their pets need regular Fe3 and other Vaccinations. “Fe3 when 6-8 weeks old, booster at 12 weeks, Rabies at 14weeks, second booster of Fe3 at 16 weeks. Then Fe3 & Rabies Annually and make sure your cat gets regular deworming tablets [at 4 weeks old, 6 weeks, 8 weeks,12 weeks, 16 weeks then 3 monthly],” he explains.
While adding that cats can get bored easily, it is highly recommended to get them some toys to play since they have wild instinct and love to predate on birds. Further, the doctor also recommends getting the cats a collar with a bell. Similarly, he adds that cats like to sharpen their nails for which owners should get them a scratching post. It is also suggested that cat owners give regular grooming and provide litter trays if they are indoor cats.
He also states that animal housing areas, whether for single or group housing, must provide at least enough space for each animal held to feed, sleep, sit, stand, lie with limbs extended, stretch and move about.
“Cats are amongst the most fertile animals and can produce multiple litters in a year. Over population can have a negative impact on the ecology. In fact, study states that cats don’t really need to or want to have kittens so please get them de-sexed (neutered) at 5 -6months of age,” states the doctor.
It may also be informed that all the cats at the Cat hospital can be adopted by families who want to do so. The hospital has already given about a 100 cats to adoption since it started. The cats undergo care and management at the sanctuary and are also domesticated in the process.
“Cats are considered as highly valuable pet animals and can prove to be an asset to any family. It will further teach them a good moral values and ethics and these are the qualities of a good citizen. Then peace, happiness and tranquility will prevail and these are the cornerstones of state development and progress,” believes Dr. Thinlay.

Camp Sikkim to resume


After a gap of eight years, the popular winter camp for children ‘Camp Sikkim’ is returning this winter. Slated to be held sometime in February 2015, this camp had first been held in 2003. Camp Sikkim had become a popular annual activity for children during the long winter break but had been discontinued since 2006.
Organiser of the camp, Lukendra Rasaily, who is also Managing Director Sikkim Tours and Travels, has said that the camp is coming back this winter with more activities and a lot more fun. The dates and venue are yet to be confirmed but the camp will be held somewhere around Gangtok towards the end of January or beginning of February, it is informed.
Mr Rasaily informs that the idea of organising such camps for children here was born out of his own desire to get his son in touch with nature. “Kids nowadays are far removed from nature since life has become very urban centric. There aren’t any activities that can bring them closer to their surroundings and nature so that is how the concept of Camp Sikkim came to me,” he explains.
The first Camp Sikkim was held in February 2003 with 23 children of age group from 6 to 12 years.
Conceptualised along the lines of summer camps in the West, Camp Sikkim seeks to encourage children to pursue different hobbies and interests, also giving them a chance to explore nature through different activities.
“The camp provides an opportunity and platform to urban kids for environmental studies, sports, music, arts, conservation and preservation of culture and traditions and encourages them to be more outgoing,” adds Mr Rasaily.
Music classes, environmental studies, painting, photography, camp managements, soft toy making, vocal training and competitions on different topics, classes on visual and print medias, hiking and other outdoor activities are part of the camp.
“For four years we organised this camp on a no profit no loss basis however the costs of hiring experts and organising activities grew and together with some other problems organising the event became unfeasible", he informs. The need for such a camp remains and therefore Mr Rasaily decided to resume Camp Sikkim this year.
This time Camp Sikkim will rope in more experts but environment education and value education will continue to be the focus area, he adds.
The camp, this winter, will be for children in the age group of 8 to 12 years. During the camp, children will also celebrate Parent’s Day where they will be performing and displaying their knowledge and skills learnt during the camp. “This time we will also teach children to make project reports and will be asked to make a project report on Camp Sikkim at the end of the camp. This will help them in future too,” he informs.
Also on the anvil is a camp for students of the entire South East Asia region next year and Trek Sikkim which will be a trekking and camping experience for national and international students.
“I want to develop Camp Sikkim into a brand and an institution in the coming years. When I see my own son, who is now a graduate and is into positive things and shows concern about nature and environment I really feel that I have no need to worry about him,” says Mr Rasaily.

Three Bills for two-day Assembly

The first day of the two-day long Assembly session of the Sikkim legislative Assembly on Friday saw the introduction of three new Bills. Speaker KN Rai announced that discussions and voting on all the three Bills will be taken up by the house on Saturday.
The first Bill to be introduced in the SLA today was the Sikkim Agricultural, Horticultural Input and Livestock Feed Regulatory Bill, Bill No.10 of 2014 by the concerned Minister, Somnath Poudyal. The statements of objects and reasons of the proposed bill reads that the state government has found it expedient to regulate the import, sale, distribution and use of inorganic agricultural, horticultural inputs and livestock feed to prevent risk to human beings or animals and environment to make the State of Sikkim environmentally cleaner as part of Government’s policy to make the state of Sikkim an Organic State. In view of the state legislature not being in session, an Ordinance was promulgated by the Governor vide Notification No 01/LD/ ORD/ 14 dated 21.10.2014. However, the ordinance is required to be replaced by legislation later.
Similarly, the Chief Minister, also the Minister in charge of Land Revenue and Disaster management department moved the Sikkim Determination of Lease Bill, Bill No. 11 of 2014. The statements of object and reasons states that the state government has considered it expedient that there is a requirement or necessity to determine the period of lease or terminate or cancel the lease executed between the State government or its undertaking and a company or any other person or entity claiming through or under it in public interest if the land which was taken on lease has remained unutilized for the purpose for which it was taken and the implementation of the project on the land taken on lease is or was part of a litigation for non-implementation of the project for which land was taken on lease, notwithstanding any contained to the contrary, in the lease deed.
The third and final Bill to be introduced in the house today was the Sikkim Anatomy Bill, Bill No.12 of 2014 by the concerned Minister, AK Ghatani. The statements of object and reasons state that the state government has deemed it expedient to enact the legislation with a view to provide for the supply of unclaimed bodies of deceased person to hospital, medical and teaching institutions. At present, Cadavers are being brought from outside the State with such difficulties. The enactment of this legislation will help teaching of medical students and will save on the State Exchequer.

Learning through art training for teachers

Around 500 Primary school teachers across the State will be treated to two-day training and orientation programme starting this weekend as part of the World Voice Project, an initiative of the British Council, which emphasizes on learning through art. An HRDD press release informs that the training will be imparted by a team of five resource persons – two from the British Council and three from Delhi. The training schedule begins at Gyalshing on 21-22 Nov for 120 teachers, moves to Mangan for 120 teachers from North Sikkim on 24 and 25 November, travels to Namchi for 120 teacher participants and 50 revisal participants from 26 to 28 November and ends with Gangtok with a revisal programme for 50 teachers from East Sikkim.

AIDS awareness to run in Namchi this year

The Sikkim State AIDS Control Society [SSACS] will be organizing an open marathon on World AIDS Day [01 December] at Namchi this year. SSACS has been holding this marathon in Gangtok for the past few years.
Project Director, SSACS, Dr. Uttam Pradhan, informs that the Multi-Media Campaign 2014-15 for AIDS awareness will also be launched the same day. A musical programme and a theme-based drama on HIV/ AIDS will be organized after the marathon.

Speaking on the issue of AIDS, the SSACS Project Director informed that as of end-October, a total of 322 people have tested HIV+ in Sikkim [since 1995]. Of these, 194 are males and 128 were females. 69 people have succumbed to AIDS-related complications in Sikkim thus far. 25 new HIV-positive cases were registered with SSACS in 2014. Earlier, 18 cases were registered in 2013 and 45 in 2012. A total of 1,33,375 people have been tested at the various Integrated Counseling and Testing Centres [ICTC] since 1995, he informed. 

Hishey adopts Tingvong GPU under Adarsh Gaon Yojana

Rajya Sabha MP, Hishey Lachungpa, has adopted Tingvong GPU in North Sikkim under the Sansad Adarsh Gaon Yojana. The MP adopted the GPU at a meeting held with the public and panchayats of the GPU at Kusong village on 20 November.
Mr Lachungpa has announced that a progressive farmer from the GPU will be awarded with cash incentive of Rs. 25,000 every year from the MP fund while he also announced that he will provide one printer to Kusong Primary School. Other development activities planned are avenue plantation, trekking trail to “Saath Dhara”, construction of waiting shed, cane bridge at Tingvong, Bungee Jumping and proper carpeting of the newly constructed approach road to Kusong.
Later, the MP also visited the Rikzing Tarling monastery where he announced for the construction of Mani Lhakang and provision of cooking LPG to the Monastic school.
It may be mentioned here that Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna on 11 October on the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan. The idea behind the scheme is to create “visible progress” out of the huge funding allocated for the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), which has an annual fund of more than Rs 4000 crore.