Saturday, March 26, 2011

THIS HAS TO BE WRONG!

A yak “grazes” in the garbage dump at Tsomgo, below the lake and tucked away behind the shopping complex there. Brought down from its pastures so that visitors to this popular tourist destination can ride a “majestic” yak, this one must surely be feeling cheated. This is definitely not on. The concerned authorities should ensure that this photo-op is not offered again.

Blood donation camp held at Rhenock College


GANGTOK The Red Ribbon Club of the Government College, Rhenock, organised a blood donation camp at the college on Friday.
Thirty six people, comprising of students, lecturers, non-teaching staff and 13 students from Rhenock Senior Secondary School, donated blood at the camp, informs Tashi Topgay Bhutia, the coordinator, Red Ribbion Club.
The medical team supervising the camp was led by Dr. CM Sharma of the Blood Bank, senior technicians DR Dhakal and Anil Pakhrin, Senior Nurse Chenzong Lepcha, counselor Yamuna Dungyal, technician Khenzong Namgyal Lepcha and lab-technician Sunita Subba.

Fire razes Ekra hut at Lumsey, bush-fire singes Chandmari


GANGTOK: A one-room Ekra structure was razed to the ground Friday morning here at Upper Lumsey, 5th Mile, Tadong. While the hut could not be saved, the tireless efforts and quick action of the neighbours ensured that the fire did not to spread neighbouring houses.
The Gangtok Fire Station received a call at around 9:20 AM regarding the fire, but arrived at the spot to find that the locals had prevented it from spreading.

RB Subba breaks silence of Singling incident, alleges “Goley Camp” instigated violence and misrepresentation


GANGTOK: Roads & Bridges Minister, RB Subba, broke his silence on the Singling violence Friday and presented his stand on the recent incident in which his supporters are alleged to have attacked a local resident while the Minister was on a door-to-door campaign there on 18 March. [background on Singling here, here, here, here, here and here]  
Addressing a press conference here at the Sikkim Legislative Assembly conference hall, the Minister stated that the incident had been “blown out of proportion” by the media and supporters of opposition parties, including the disaffected SDF MLA, PS Tamang (Goley).

EMRS girls triumph again, lift trophy at SAS


GANGTOK: Eklavya Model Residential School [EMRS], Gangyap, junior girls have lifted the champion’s trophy of the basketball tournament organised by St Augustine School, Kalimpong, as part of its diamond jubilee carnival.
In the closely played final match today, EMRS edged past St Philomena School, Kalimpong, 34-31.
Not only the winner’s trophy, EMRS’s Bimochan Tamang was adjudged the Player of the Tournament and team captain, Diki Doma Bhutia, awarded for her performance as the Highest Scorer.
EMRS made it to the finals thrashing St George School, Pedong, 51-06, then Loreto Convent [Darjeeling] 46-0 points and finally Rockwell Academy [Kalimpong], 56-02 points.
Over 25 schools had taken part in the tournament played on 24 and 25 March.

Speaking in Tongues on Languages


The Zonal Official Language Felicitation Function and Colloquium for Eastern & North-Eastern Region was held on Thursday, and Sunday, 27 March, is when the country usually observes the National Regional Languages Day. Both are official efforts at nurturing Hindi, the official language of the Indian Union, and the bouquet of around 22 regional languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution which secures them official language status. The health of the official language of the nation was obviously compromised, because it had to be more than just ultra-nationalism which led to the creation of a Department of Official Language under the Ministry of Home Affairs with the prescribed duty to “speed-up propagation and development of Official Language Hindi and also to accelerate its progressive use for official purposes”. That was in 1975, and the Department keeps busy still, ensuring “compliance” of the Constitutional and legal provisions regarding the official language and to promote the use of Hindi for official purposes of the Union. Frankly speaking, one of the handicaps imposed on the language is governmental involvement, because this ends up straitjacketing the language. For example, in Sikkim, where Hindi is not the lingua franca, everyone still prefers to receive their entertainment in this language, but when comes to offiacialese, the language turns alien. Efforts to promote use of the language, because the responsibility is tasked to a government department, settle down to the convenient tokenism of getting new signboards painted and letterheads incorporating Devanagari printed. This is not to suggest that Hindi-usage should be more imaginatively promoted, because there is much that can be argued against any artificial incorporation of a language, but is highlighted to project how even the regional languages here are being treated.

Govt Driver’s Assc prez announces candidature and team for ASGEA elections


GANGTOK: President, All Sikkim Government Driver’s Association, CB Rai, Friday announced his team for the upcoming elections to the Central Executive Committee of the All Sikkim Government Employees Association [ASGEA].
It may be recalled that upon completion of its term, the CEC led by Narsing Rai was dissolved recently and fresh elections announced for 09 April.

KN Upreti and six others expelled from Congress


GANGTOK, 25 March: The Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee, at an emergency meeting held today at its head office here, expelled KN Upreti and six other members from the Congress for anti-party activities.
The other six expelled members are: Phuchung Bhutia, Bharat Basnet, Avinash Yakha, Arun Rai, Laxuman Gurung and Nima Wangchuk Bhutia.
A press release issued by SPCC spokesperson Kunga Nima Lepcha, informs that meeting, chaired by the SPCC president Nar Bahadur Bhandari, was attended by PCC, DCC and members of the frontal organisations. The meeting discussed the replies received to the showcause notices served to the seven Congress members, “headed” by Mr. Upreti, “for their continuous anti-party activities”.

Inner-city road upgradation gets Rs. 1.80 crores more

GANGTOK, 25 March [IPR]: A Cabinet Meeting held Friday in the Cabinet Hall of Tashiling Secretariat, approved proposals of various department of the state government.
These are:
UD&HD: The Cabinet approved the proposal seeking approval for revised cost for improvement, modification and upgradation of inner city roads amounting to Rs. 48.96 crores with an additional sanction of Rs. 1.80 crores.
Energy & Power Deptt: The Cabinet approved the proposal seeking approval and sanction for implementation of drawing of 66KV Transmission line including installation of 2 x 7.5 MVA .66/11 KV Sub-station at Marchak at East Sikkim at a total project cost of Rs. 1197.00 lakhs including state share of Rs. 296.31 lakhs.
Deptt of Cultural Affairs & Heritage: The Cabinet approved the proposal seeking approval and sanction of Rs. 25 lakhs as second installment for construction of traditional house against a total sanction of Rs. 50 lakhs.
The Cabinet also approved the proposal seeking administrative approval and sanction of Rs. 14.34 lakhs as honorarium to 956 beneficiaries @ Rs. 500 month for three months under Samajik Sewa Bhatta.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Official language felicitation and colloquium convened at Chintan Bhawan

GANGTOK: “Sikkim does not have the culture to converse in Hindi and the regional Nepali language is the mode of communication here. However, this does not mean that Hindi has taken a back seat, since it is now being used tremendously here,” shared Governor BP Singh at the Zonal Official Language Felicitation Function and Colloquium for Eastern and North-Eastern Regions, during which 50 individuals were honoured, held at Chintan Bhawan on Thursday.
The function was organized by the Department of Official Language, Ministry of Home Affairs.

Worker woes flicker at Sikkim Jewels as closure date approaches


SUBASH RAI
GANGTOK, 24 March: As the deadline for the winding up of three Public Sector Undertakings - Sikkim Jewels, SITCO and SPIL – approaches nearer, potential problems for the Department of Commerce & Industries are also mounting.
Speaking on behalf of the106 workers at Sikkim Jewels Ltd., a 5-member committee, today expressed dissatisfaction over the financial settlement worked out for them by their management as part of the Special Financial Package [SFP] announced by the State Government for the employees of these PSUs being shut down.

TB’s tenacity worries despite high rate of successful treatment

SAGAR CHHETRI
GANGTOK: Despite a very high rate of successful treatment, the tenacity of the number of tuberculosis cases detected in the State every year has become a matter of serious concern for the society at large and the concerned authorities. The State Tuberculosis Cell has been recording around 1,700 new cases of TB every year, the consistency of this number being worrying. On the brighter side though, most of the cases are cured through the DOTS method of treatment.
This problem of the numbers not falling is not unique to Sikkim and also grips the country and other parts of the world, it is learnt. To marshal people's support  to contain this disease, 24 March is observed as the World Tuberculosis Day every year.

Akhil Sikkim Khas Chettri Bahun Sangh calls elections


GANGTOK: A meeting of the central working committee of the Ahkil Sikkim Khas Chettri Bahun Sangh, convened on 18 March, resolved to hold elections for its central working committee on 22 April, with the counting of the votes scheduled for the same evening.
The elections will be for the posts of president, vice- president, general secretary, treasurer and publicity secretary, informs a press release.

Sikkim-made Nepali movie, Ishara, to premiere on 07 April


GANGTOK: ‘Ishara’, the debut of popular Nepali film actress, Uma Baby, as a producer, is set for its premiere on 07 April at Vajra Cinema Hall here. Chief Minister Pawan Chamling is scheduled to attend as the chief guest of the premier show being organised by the Arithang Cooperative Society.
This movie, completed on a budget of Rs 70 lakhs, is directed by Sabir Shrestha and primarily features artists from Sikkim, besides some artists from Nepal in lead roles.

Resuscitating Creativity

editorial:
There is an exhibition of art installations underway in the heart of Gangtok. Slightly further away, a painters’ workshop and an art appreciation workshop plays with paints and canvas. Rachna Books has been courageously making space for artistic expressions even as it battles on to build an appetite for books in an otherwise DPR-obsessed Gangtok. At another end of town, EchoStreams, a community of artists and designers chip away to inject some aesthetic professionalism into how Sikkim sees and presents itself. A clutch of poets have been penning some soul-stirring works. Writer groups and informed audiences of the performing arts have also been actively engaging in other parts of the State even if their works are not reaching out to a larger audience.
These are recent developments, some, still works in process, but they warm the heart with their earnestness to resuscitate an appreciation for creative expression in Sikkim.

THE WORLD CUP IN NAMCHI!


Now that the Cricket World Cup has reached the knock-out stage with minnows finally out of the way, viewership too has ratcheted up. Big-screen TVs have started occupying convenient public spaces, bringing stadium-like excitement to cricket viewing even in the hills.
Here, the India-Australia match being enjoyed in Namchi. Alma Computer & Technical Education Centre of Namchi fixed up a projection display of the match at the Central Park. This was on the initiative of the centre head Dipen Subba and DR Chettri and had the OC, Namchi Police Station, CB Basnet, over as the guest of honour to boot.

SPIL workers seek alternate employment


PURAN TAMANG
NAMCHI\: Workers at the Sikkim Precision Industry Limited, one of the three PSUs slated for closure come 01 April following the recommendation of the State Level Committee on Disinvestment/ Privatization, have not come to terms with the loss of employment facing them, the Special Financial Package being offered to them notwithstanding.
While the three PSUs in question – Sikkim Jewels and SITCO apart from SPIL – have a combined roll of 280 workers, there are 67 workers at SPIL [60 regular and 7 casual workers]. The lot at SPIL at Boomtar here maintain that they want alternative employment instead of the termination which faces them now.
The SPIL Workers Association president, Bijay Rai, said today, “The government is forcefully retiring us from our jobs. While we are not against the government, we are also worried about our collective futures and are taking recourse to our Constitutional right to place our demand for alternative employment with the Government.”

Mangan enrolls for CATCH


MANGAN, 24 March: A special programme for enrolment of beneficiaries under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Annual and Total Check-up for Healthy Sikkim (CATCH) was held at Mangan District hospital from 22 to 24 March for the public of Mangan Nagar Panchayat.

Prayers held at Ben-Namprik monastery for Japan and lives lost to untoward incidents


NAMCHI: The invocation of Kangyur and Tengyur texts was held at Karma Chholing Monastery at Ben-Namprik village. The prayer, which had begun on 20 March and concluded yesterday and is held after every three years, were initiated under the guidance of Dorjee Lopen Dupda Tshering Dhendup supported by the gumpa committee.
This prayer, it is informed, were held for general world peace, and more specifically for the victims of the Japan disaster, the death of animals due to the prevailing slew of forest fires and the sufferings imposed by anti-social incidents.
On the last day, area MLA BS Pant and Sangha MLA Pheetok Tshering Lama also joined the prayers. Devotees of Ben Namprik.

Cabinet sanctions wide bouquet of proposals


GANGTOK [IPR]: A Cabinet meeting was held on 21 March in the Cabinet Hall of Tashiling Secretariat, Gangtok.
The Cabinet approved various proposals of various department of the State government in its meeting.
The Cabinet took up the following proposals:

Day-2 of Budget Session closes quick, passes 3 amendment Bills, receives two more


GANGTOK: The three amendment Bills introduced in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly yesterday - the Code of Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill [CPAB], the Sikkim Transport Infrastructure Development Fund (Amendment) Bill, introduced by the Chief Minister who also holds the Home portfolio, and the Sikkim Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill introduced by the concerned Minister, Ran Bahadur Subba, were unanimously passed by the House Thursday without any discussions.
The second day of the six day-long assembly made quick work of the proceedings. None of the legislators offered any discussions and all that was left for the CM to do today was to table the motion of thanks for the Governor’s address which was passed, as were the amendment Bills tabled yesterday.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Gardens of Nature" TV Promo for Sikkim Supreme by Echostream


A 37 sec advertisement designed for broadcasting purpose in the local television stressing on the cultural strand of the brand and nature. It was designed also to position the brand in the markets outside Sikkim and to create a distinct identity for a "made in sikkim" product. 

Client: Government Fruit Preservation Factory(GFPF)
Duration:37 secs
Location: Sang, East Sikkim
Produced and Directed by: Karma Palzor, Echostream Pvt. Ltd
Original Music Score: Karma Palzor and Ranveer Singh
Dance Group: Hamro Parivar, Gangtok

Community mobilization for quality education at Labdang



A community-mobilization programme under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan was organized at Labdang Junior High School in West Sikkim yesterday for Panchayat members, School Management Committee members, teachers, students and the residents of Kongri-Labdang GPU. More than 200 community members, 150 students and around 11 teachers of Labdang JHS and Kongri Primary School attended the day long programme, informs a press communiqué received from the HRDD Assistant Director, Yuksam BAC, PG Bhutia
The main objective of the community mobilization initiative was to brief the stakeholders on the various policies and programmes of HRD Department and to generate community support and participation to improve the quality of education.

HSRP deadline to be extended


GANGTOK, 22 March: The Motor Vehicles Division of the Transport Department has decided to relax the deadline issued to vehicle owners to affix High Security Registration Plates (HSRP) in the State.
The Department, through a Notification No. 140/MV/T dated 17 January 2011 had directed that all commercial vehicles, motor/ maxi cabs and goods carriers be fitted with HSRP by 31 January 2011.
Speaking to NOW! today, Secretary, State Transport Authority, TT Sherpa, said, “The Department has decided to extend the notification’s tenure by another two or three months, and this notification will be released soon.”

Save Them

editorial:

Sikkim lost two 16-year-olds to suicide on Tuesday [newsreport here]. When this newspaper started reporting on incidents of suicide, it was in the hope that as such reports started appearing more often in newspapers, the concerned agencies, particularly the society at large, will notice the disturbingly high incidence rate and wake up to the need to address this problem. In the initial years, people did take notice, the government attempted a series of sensitisation programmes on suicides in schools and through panchayats. Even though these efforts were mostly superficial and poorly-informed, at least a start was made. Or so one thought, because like with everything which arrives without a groundswell of a grassroots demand, even these efforts remained perfunctory and the momentum was lost.

Budget session begins upbeat with kitty heftier by 62%


OUTLAY ENHANCEMENT HAS COME IN RECOGNITION OF GOOD GOVERNANCE AND EFFECTIVE DELIVERY, GOVERNOR EXPLAINS
PER CAPITA INCOME HAS INCREASED 17% IN ONE YEAR
GANGTOK: The six-day long Budget Session 2011 of the State Legislative Assembly began Wednesday on a mood buoyed by the fact that the Plan Outlay for the fiscal year ahead is a massive 62% increase over last year.
In his address to the House on the first day of the session, Governor Balmiki Prasad Singh brought further positive tidings with the announcement that latest data has revealed that the per capita income of the State has increased more than 17 percent in one year, from 2008-09 to 2009-10. Per capita income, at current prices for 2009-10, stands at Rs. 57,637, a healthy 17.14% higher than the Rs. 49,201 posted in 2008-09.
He said that the top priority of the government has been to harness the State’s rich natural resources to ensure sustainable economic development and self-reliance of the Sikkimese people. The results are now showing.
The Governor added that the dedication of the State’s leadership towards ensuring a meaningful change in the quality of the lives of the people here has been appreciated by the Centre which has lavished a hefty 62% increase in the Annual Plan outlay of the State for the year 2011-12 over the previous year.

SDF welcomes Golay’s resignation from Chairman’s posts, expects him to quit as MLA as well

GANGTOK: The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front has welcomed the resignation tendered by PS Tamang [Golay], MLA Upper Burtuk from the post of Chairman, Commerce and Industries Development Board of the Government of Sikkim. [click here for details]
The party, in a press release issued by general secretary TN Sharma, conveys that it was now expecting Mr. Tamang’s resignation from the MLA post as well, since although elected from an SDF ticket, he was now involved in anti-party activities.

Golay supporters don’t want him to quit Burtuk


GANGTOK, 23 March: A section claiming to be voters from Burtuk constituency, today countered the Sikkim Democratic Front’s call for the resignation of PS Tamang from his position as the MLA of Burtuk.
A press release signed by 54 persons, questions the locus-standii of SDF spokespersons, Bhim Dahal and PD Rai, in making such suggestions and wonders how the mandate of Burtuk people can be overlooked so easily. [click here for related news]
The release adds that the mandate was given by the people of Burtuk and not by the SDF, and alleges that the party had infact conspired to make Mr Tamang lose.

Resurgence of the Himalayan Rhododendrons

Author [in fur cap] with forest officers- P.O. Pazo, S.M. Rai, C.D. Lama and retinue of camp followers
including village headmen at camp at Hilley before going to Chiwabhanjyang. Just declared
‘Rhododendron Sanctuary’ warden- Kaloo Sherpa at right (sitting). Fr. Karma, FG Namgyal
and  FG Anna Purna Subba [behind S.M. Rai] also in the picture. [Bersey 1969]

BERSEY RHODODENDRON SANCTUARY
The closing ceremony of the International Rhododendron Festival 2010-11 begins 25 March. In an aptly timed contribution, respected forester, KC PRADHAN, shares a chapter from his well-received book, “Life & Times of a Plantsman”. The extract below recounts his visit to the West Sikkim Forest Division in 1969 and of how the idea of a Rhododenron Sanctuary at Bersey was born and how, with it, started the process which earned Sikkim’s Rhododendrons their rightful position as a wealth worth celebrating…

SOMETIME AFTER MY return from Yale, I visited the west forest division. This was in April 1969. I was accompanied by P.O. Pazo, Saharman Rai, L.B. Lama, and a host of other forest staff. We trekked from Hilley to Bersey and found the whole hillside ablaze with a pinkish to an almost white hue of Rhododendron arboretum var. campbelliae. We decided on the spot to declare the area a Rhododendron Sanctuary and got the area marked roughly with the help of natural features. Everyone accepted the need to appoint a chowkidar (caretaker). A dumb fellow - a daredevil nevertheless - accompanying us, Kalloo Sherpa, was the instant choice. He did a really good job and kept all the cow-herders under strict control.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SLET to be held in June

GANGTOK: State Eligibility Test (SLET) to select eligible candidates for appointment as lecturers in colleges and universities in Sikkim is scheduled to be held on 12 June. The examination will be conducted by the SLET Commission for N.E Region, informs a press release issued by the Principal, Sikkim Government College, MP Kharel. The application forms are available at the college and the last date for submission of filled out application forms is 19 May. 

Field Assistant posts to stay, VLWs to be made by direct appointment


GANGTOK: The post of VLWs lying vacant with the Agriculture Department will be filled through ‘direct appointment’ from among candidates having appropriate qualifications. This was informed by a senior official of the Agriculture Department.
The official was responding to the demand raised by the Department’s employees in a general meeting held on Sunday that the post of Field Assistants, created through a notification in the year 2002 by the Agriculture Department, be done away with so that the posts of VLWs lying vacant in the Department could be filled by the Fieldmen on promotion. [check here for background details]

SHRPP petitions Governor complaining against law & order situation


GANGTOK: Sikkim Himali Rajya Parishad Party has submitted a petition to the Governor, Balmiki Prasad Singh, complaining over what an SHRPP press released contends to be the “deteriorating conditions of administration, law and order in Sikkim”.
The letter to the Governor highlights the recent Singling incident involving a Cabinet Minister as one which showed that “the law and order situation has reached its brink of disaster”, and that the government has “unnecessarily attributed criminal action against government employees and the innocent public”.

Two 16-year-olds lost to suicides in unrelated incidents


NAMCHI Two cases of suicide were reported Tuesday from the South District where two young persons, a boy and a girl, ended their lives in unrelated incidents.
In the first case reported from Namchi bazaar, a 16-year-old boy committed suicide by hanging himself with the help of ‘dupatta’. The deceased was a school dropout and was working as a labourer, while his father eked out a living as a street vendor. The boy committed suicide at home at around 11 a.m.
The second suicide of the day for South district was reported from Chisopani near Jorethang where a girl, also 16 year old, committed suicide by hanging at her home in Berbotey Chisopani.
Even she was a school dropout, and was reportedly in a disturbed state of mind for the past many days.

Tibetans in-exile vote in Gangtok and Ravangla to elect new Parliament


GANGTOK: Tibetans-in-exile residing in Sikkim cast their votes to elect the Kalon Tripa [Prime Minister] and members of the 15th Tibetan Parliament on 20 March, Sunday.
Voting took place in Ravangla and at the Cho-Ka-Sum, Namnang here in Gangtok.

Lesson for Education


editorial:
Primary school students at Sanganath Secondary School might find themselves housed in better classrooms before the skies open up for the monsoons. A new building cannot be erected for them in time, but they can be shifted to more respectable accommodations than the contraption of GCI sheet shack they presently take classes in [click here for background details]. Now that the news has come out in the papers, the Department will obviously do something about the situation the kids at Sanganath find themselves in. But that is obviously not enough. The news-report in question was not just about the denial heaped on the children at Sanganath, but also, equally, if not more, a report on the departmental attitude towards the well-being of the young in Sikkim. The reason behind the privations of the kids in this South Sikkim village is emblematic of the insensitivity which appears to have overcome government offices, where projects are reduced to numbers and outlays, shorn of any emotional quotient, which is baffling, because developmental works should always be driven by the urgency of people’s need, not the convenience of officers or contractors.

Quick response makes short work of potentially disastrous bush-fire


GANGTOK: Quick response by Gangtok Fire Station doused a bush-fire in time before it could spread to a nearby army Field Petroleum Depot here at Samdur Tuesday afternoon.
Upon receiving information about the fire at around 1:30 PM, an eight-member crew of Gangtok Fire Station, led by the Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Prakash Rai, rushed to the spot with one AFT fire tender and a larger fire tender and found local residents already trying to control the fire from spreading.

Golay resigns from Chairman post 'under protest'

Burtuk MLA, PS Tamang [Golay]'s aides [right to left], Anand Lama, Bhojraj Rai, Kala Rai
and RK Walling, addressing a press conference in Gangtok on Tuesday to annouce
the MLA's resignation from his Chairmanship.

GANGTOK: Burtuk MLA, PS Tamang, has resigned from the post of Chairman, Commerce & Industrial Development Board, “under protest”. His resignation letter, circulated among the media by his close allies Tuesday, is addressed to the Chief Secretary, with copies marked to the Secretary, Commerce & Industry Department, and the media, and is dated Monday, 21 March.

Painter’s Camp and Art Appreciation Course begins

Gangtok Mayor, KN Topgay, inaugurates the Painters Camp and Art Appreciation Workshop

GANGTOK, 22 March: A Regional Painter’s Camp-cum-Art Appreciation Course was inaugurated by the Gangtok Mayor, KN Topgay, here at Nepali Sahitya Parishad Bhawanon Tuesday.
The five-day long programme has been organized by the Kolkata Regional Centre of Lalit Kala Akademi in association with Sikkim Akademi, and is scheduled to conclude on 26 March.
A Total of 10 artists from north-eastern states and West Bengal, which includes two participants from Sikkim, are taking part in the regional painter’s camp, while the art teacher from Shanti Niketan, Anshuman Dasgupta, as the main resource person for the art appreciation course.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

DB Sir Memorial TT tourney in mid-April


GANGTOK: The Sikkim Table Tennis Academy here at Tadong has announced plans to organize the fourth edition of DB Sir Memorial Inter-School and Open Table Tennis Championship 2011 from 15 to 17 April at Paljor Stadium indoor gymnasium.
The championship will have singles and doubles events from cadets to senior categories and an open category as well.
For last three editions of the championship, the academy had been organizing only open championship but this time, the academy has included inter-school.
The main objective to include the inter-school category is first to for talent scout from the school level across the state and then to provide them exposure and platform in the state level to enhance their skills further.
Interested, players can contact table tennis coaches, Norden Bhutia at Paljor Stadium, and Rupesh Lama at Namchi, for registration and further enquiries.
The last date to submit entries is 10 April.

Nepali Sanskriti Sanrakshan Samiti to research and document all Nepali festivals


NAMCHI: Nepali Sanskriti Sanrakshan Samiti, Jorethang, held a meeting last Friday under the chairmanship of its president, Biren Chandra Rai, at the conference hall of Jorethang Nagar Panchayat Office.
Mr Rai highlighted that the Samiti was a completely non-political and not-for-profit organisation, formed with the aim to contribute to the preservation of Nepali culture. He added that with this end in mind, the Samiti will take up research and documentation of various festivals celebrated by Nepalese around the world.
The recently-formed executive committee has called on all Nepalese of Sikkim to collaborate in this effort. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks by general secretary, Ganesh Adhikari.

Sewage stench at Adampool expected to become tolerable after 5 months

DEPTT TO INSTAL MAXIMISER TO TREAT SEWAGE MORE EFFICIENTLY
GANGTOK, 21 Mar: People residing in and around the Adampool Sewage Plant will have to wait another 4 to 5 months to stop suffering the excruciatingly disgusting stench released from the plant maintained there by the Sewage Division of the Water Security and PHE Department.
At present, the stink rises from the plant and pollutes the entire area, providing residents there with reason to consider moving away for good. Not only the residents, even passers by, especially tourists on their way to Rumtek and Lingdum Monasteries, suffer the onslaught on the senses at this location and can be seen covering their noses on this section.

Peace and Conflict Studies: Scope and Prospects


Satyabrat Sinha
This essay intends to create awareness about the discipline of Peace and Conflict Studies and generate an interest in what is a widely applicable Social Science. Very few of us have any idea of Peace and Conflict Studies. It is a Social Science discipline dealing with the issue of Peace and Conflict in all aspects of human sphere - international, national, local as well as individual. Much like all aspects of commercial activity falls within the sphere of Economics, similarly, all aspects affecting Peace is the concern of Peace and Conflict Studies.

ATMA collaborates with KVC to introduce high-yielding Mustard to Sikkim farms


NEW CULTIVAR DELIVERS UPTO 8 QUINTALS PER HECTARE WITHIN 90 DAYS!
GANGTOK: The Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), East Sikkim, in collaboration with Krishi Vigyan Kendra, ICAR Sikkim Centre, has launched a maiden venture to introduce a high-yielding, short-duration variety of Tori (Var. TS 46) [Mustard] which is tolerant to most critical aboitic stress of the region which suffers water scarcity during rabi [winter] season.
On Monday, a field day programme was conducted at Namrang village in the field of Ms. Kamal Sharma, where nearly 50 farmers from the villages of Radong-Chhuba, Samlik Marchak, Central Pandam and West Pandam etc.

Mr. Sikkims pump up for Mr. India championship


GANGTOK: Three Sikkim Armed Police (SAP) jawans are prepared to pump their muscles for the Mr. India title at the 51st Senior National Body Building Championship to be held between 9 and 11 April at Bangalore.
The three SAP jawans – former Mr. Sikkim body building champions Pema Dorjee Bhutia and Suresh Chettri along with the current Mr. Sikkim, Santa Kumar Pradhan – have been selected by the Sikkim State Body Building Association (SSBBA) to take part in the Mr. India championship. Bhutia will battle for the title in the 75kg and above category while Pradhan and Chettri will compete in the 60kg category and 65kg category, respectively.

Inconsiderate delay shunts kids at Sanganathan into tin-shed classrooms!

This 'stall' is class III at Sanganath Secondary School

A classroom of the primary section of Sanganath Secondary School

PURAN TAMANG
NAMCHI: When the primary sections students enrolled at the Government Secondary School, Sanganath, returned to school for a new academic session this year, they were directed to an establishment even more ramshackle than infrastructure imposed on students in rural Sikkim – a row of tin shed erected on the playground, much like the dusty stalls during a village fair. And it is sitting in these sheds that they continue to take their classes because an inconsiderate delay by the Human Resource Development Department has ensured that the primary section of the school, torn down because it had become unsafe, could not be constructed in time. The delay has still not been resolved, and one look at the stalls which pass off as classrooms here will send a shudder down one’s spine when one also factors in the monsoons which are on the anvil. Not only will this contraption be unsafe in the event of high winds and strong downpour, but the slush in the “classrooms” and the cacophony of rain battering on the GCI sheets will make even conversations between bench-mates impossible, provided, that is, that the structure can withstand the rain.
Quality education, if that is even a concern for the concerned authorities, escapes the school every day, sticking as irritating dust which the students return home covered in from school.

3 Govt employees among mob accused of attacking Minister's vehicle in Singling


JEEVAN GURUNG, ACCUSED OF MURDEROUS ASSAULT ON LOCAL RESIDENT WHICH SPARKED VIOLENCE, RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL AND TAKEN INTO POLICE CUSTODY
GANGTOK: DIG [Range], N Sridhar Rao, speaking to the media on the Singling incident, informed that as per the FIR lodged by Indra Kumar Gurung, the driver of the Roads & Bridges Minister, at the Soreng Police Station, eight persons from Singling and another five who are yet to be identified, but are believed to hail from Teesta, West Bengal, have been named in connection with the attack on the Minister’s vehicle last Friday. Meanwhile, the youth injured in the attack which sparked the mob retaliation is reportedly in a critical condition in Siliguri, while the SDF youth convenor of the area, who is alleged to have attacked the youth, has been taken into police custody and taken to Soreng police station on police remand, the DIG informed.
Meanwhile, the eight named for the attack on the Minister’s vehicle, booked under section 147, 148, 149, 323 and 427 of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage of Public Properties Act, are Bikash Singh Tamang, Gauri Maya Tamang, Geeta Chettri, Priman Tamang, Dawa Tamang, Phurba Tamang, Suk Raj Subba and Pratap Tamang.

Keep Water Sacred


editorial:
Today, 22 March, is the World Water Day, an apt moment for Sikkim to record how grateful it is for having been blessed with abundant supply, and also perhaps the right occasion for it to recognize how recklessly it wastes away much of what nature has bestowed on it by way of water resources. Gangtokians tend to be casual about their water usage, but phone in someone in Namchi [if Darjeeling’s too distant], to appreciate how special it is to relax in the knowledge that supply is assured. Two years ago, when the water supply lines in Gangtok snapped, it heaped more inconvenience on the capital dwellers than the misery which has become a constant in monsoon-inundated, but supply-starved Darjeeling district in neighbouring West Bengal. In a way, Sikkim’s abuse of water courses began with the acceptance of concrete-driven ‘development’.

Workshop begins to institutionalize school safety


GANGTOK, 21 March: A 4-day workshop on planning and management to institutionalize school safety began today under the aegis of National University of Educational Planning & Administration [NUEPA], and organised by the Human Resource Development Department [HRDD].
Eight lecturers [two from Mizoram, four from Manipur and two from Meghalaya] on invitation of the HRDD, Heads and Principals of Senior Secondary Schools of Sikkim, teachers and officials from the HRDD are participating in the workshop.

Singling youth counter SDF claims


GANGTOK, 21 March: A joint press release issued by one Dinak Pandey on behalf of the “youth from Singling”, West Sikkim, and circulated by former SDF panchayat and now part of the disaffected group, Jacob Rai, has alleged that instead of punishing the culprits, the Sikkim Democratic Front government was working to protect and cover-up for the accused. The reference is to the Singling violence of last Friday.
The release further alleges that the government was trying to protect the Minister [RB Subba], countering that this was unfortunate because it was the Minister who ordered the assault on a Singling youth which led to the collapse of the law and order situation in this West Sikkim hamlet under the Soreng-Chakung constituency.
The release adds that in the light of the government’s response, people are now beginning to feel that they will have to look out for their security and protection on their own.

SDF blames Singling incident on ‘regime’ nurtured there by PS Tamang’s


GANGTOK, 21 March: The Sikkim Democratic Front has claimed that neither the party, nor the Chakung-Soreng MLA, RB Subba, were responsible for the ‘unfortunate incident’ at Singling, Soreng, in West Sikkim, where two persons were injured in a clash. The party has instead countered that such incidents “are only representative of the kind of regime maintained by MLA, PS Golay, in the area” and further questioned “why else there is no such issue in other parts of the state?” Mr Golay represented the area till the last Assembly elections and was moved to Burtuk constituency in East Sikkim this time.
A joint press release issued by spokespersons of the party, the former and present Lok Sabha MPs Bhim Dahal and PD Rai, claimed that the present area MLA, Mr. Subba, visited the area as part of an ongoing door-to-door campaign of the party and that it was an “old enmity” of youth which triggered the incident. While one youth, reportedly aligned with Mr. Tamang was grievously hurt, and a subsequent mob backlash left the assailant battered and the visiting MLA’s vehicle vandalized last Friday.

Paragliding US nationals released on bail


GANGTOK, 21 Mar: The two US nationals, Eric Reed and Brad Sanders, who had para-glided into Sikkim from Nepal on 14 March and were taken into custody by Sikkim Police at Uttarey on the border with Nepal in West Sikkim for having entered the State without valid travel documents were released on bail today, informed DIG [Range], N Sridhar Rao.
He further informed that the bail conditions require them to remain in Sikkim until the completion of the investigation and submission of the charge-sheet. The two have been booked under section 14 of the Foreigners Registration Act.

Art takes over MG Marg


GANGTOK:  The Blooming Sikkim Public Art festival at MG Marg began Monday evening with curious passers-by crowding over to read the notes explaining the concept behind the installations.
Karma Tenrab Agnihotri’s work titled ‘The Art of Driving’, a battered red car right in front of the Tourism office, drew quite a curious lot towards it. As Souvek Das, a class 12 student of Holy Cross Senior Secondary school, Tadong, puts it, “This is a very new and innovative concept. We see so many TV ads regarding drunken driving but this sight of a wrecked car will actually stay on our minds. I will remember this. I like the idea of this festival and would definitely like to see more of it.”

Monday, March 21, 2011

Angalo Yo Maya Ko set for 31 March premiere


GANGTOK: Sikkim’s first Nepali film to be shot in Silicon-2k HD, Kishor Dungmali Rai’s “Angalo Yo Maya Ko”, starring Prashant “Indian Idol” Tamang, is all set for its premiere at Vajra cinema hall here on 31 March.

Minister calls on Docs to coordinate with panchayats to ensure complete awareness on CATCH


COORDINATION MEETING HELD FOR CM’S COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL AND TOTAL CHECK-UP PROGRAMME
GANGTOK, 20 Mar: A State-level coordination meeting on “Mission Healthy Sikkim” and “Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Annual and Total Check-up” [CATCH] for Healthy Sikkim, organized by the Health Department, was held at the conference hall of the Sir Thutob Namgyal Memorial [STNM] Hospital on 19 March. The programme was chaired by the Health Minister DN Takarpa and attended by Gangtok Mayor KN Topgay, Deputy Mayor Shakti Singh, Zilla Adakshayas of the four districts, Chief Medical Officers, doctors and officials from the STNM Hospital and other concerned officials involved in the CATCH programme.

Agri Extension Workers want post of Field Assistants done away with

SUBASH RAI

GANGTOK, 20 March: The post of Field Assistants, created through a notification in the year 2002 by the Agriculture Department, must be done away with so that the posts of VLWs lying vacant in the Department can be filled the Fieldmen on promotion. This was one of the main agendas in the general meeting of the Sikkim Agriculture Extension Worker’s Association [SAEWA] held here today at the Department’s Conference Hall.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the All Sikkim Muster Roll and Workcharged Association, Sikkim Agriculture Officer’s Welfare Association [SAOWA], MR and Workcharged employees of the Agriculture Department from all the four districts of Sikkim.

IRF to close with promotion of ecotourism in West Sikkim


GANGTOK, 20 March: Forest Department is all set to promote the natural attractions and tourism potential of undiscovered destinations in West Sikkim as part of the month-long closing ceremony of the International Rhododendron Festival 2010-11 scheduled to be held from 25 March to 22 April.
During this 29-day long festival, a series of new activities and events will be hosted at Rhododendron Sanctuary, Hilley, Dodak, Soreng, Hee-Khola, Rinchenpong, Uttarey, Pelling, Darap, Hee-Bermiok, Dentam and other parts in West Sikkim, it was announced today.
Addressing a press conference today, the Forest Minister, Bhim Dhungel, who also holds the tourism portfolio, stressed that the State government has been trying to create more opportunities for the people by promoting eco-tourism.

Lessons from the Singling Evening of Mayhem

editorial:

Political violence is rare in Sikkim. So rare, that instances of political clashes come as aberrations even in the heat of election campaigning when politicking becomes the most aggressive and hostile. Even during those times, political muscle flexes in anonymity, torching vehicles in the dark of the night and fleeing without trace. And yet, disturbing hostility was bared at Singling in West Sikkim last Friday. A youth, identified as being close to a disgruntled camp of former ruling party members, was targeted with a murderous assault and another, seen as having perpetuated the attack, set upon by an angry mob. Even the area MLA was targeted, and although he made away in time, his vehicle was vandalised. Both the youth have sustained grievous injuries and after the politics over the incident has played out, will have to deal with the trauma and the haunting memories on their own. In a hierarchy-obsessed Sikkim, the attack on the Minister’s vehicle is such an extraordinary departure from normalcy that it has caught everyone off-guard and at a loss of words on how to condemn or defend [depending on which camp is commenting on the issue] the incident.

Semblance of normalcy returns to Singling


ACCUSED BOOKED UNDER ATTEMPT TO MURDER CHARGES, VICTIM REFERRED TO SILIGURI FOR TREATMENT
SUBASH RAI
GANGTOK, 20 March: “The situation in Singling is peaceful now,” informed DIG [Range] S. Sridhar Rao today. District Collector [West], Santa Pradhan, confirmed this, saying, “No tension prevails anymore in the area and it has developed normalcy as earlier.”
Singling block, under Soreong-Chakung constituency in West Sikkim, had made headlines over the weekend when a clash between supporters of ruling Sikkim Democratic Front and a group opposed to it had left two persons grievously injured and a Minister’s vehicle damaged on the evening of Friday, 18 March.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tactics of torching vehicles returns


‘MELLI SONAM’S’ VEHICLE TORCHED IN MELLI
NAMCHI, 20 March: The political environment, vitiated by the Singling episode, returned the tactics of torching unattended vehicles to news again with a vehicle belong to Nuk Tshering Bhutia, also known as “Melli Sonam”, targeted with arson at Melli at 1 a.m. today. One person has been picked up in connection with the arrest, it is learnt.

Jaago Re Soccer Stars discovers 3 ‘Skillful Players’ in Gangtok

The three lads selected for the Tata-Tea Arsenal soccer camp in Kolkata
The Namchi Senior Secondary School team with the winner's trophy

NAMCHI SSS TO REPRESENT SIKKIM IN NATIONAL FACE-OFF OF TATA TEA-ARSENAL SOCCER EVENT
SAGAR CHHETRI
GANGTOK, 20 March: Three outstanding footballers have been selected from the Gangtok leg of the Arsenal Tata Tea “Jaago Re Soccer Stars” matches played here over the weekend for the Arsenal camp to be held in Kolkata. Impressively for Sikkim, three is the maximum number of footballers that can be chosen from individual venues. Also, the Namchi Senior Secondary School team has qualified to take part in the national-level tournament of the event scheduled to be held in Shillong next month.
The selectors shortlisted Tshering Zangpo and Khusen Manger of Namchi SSS and Yougyal Lepcha of Tashi Namgyal Senior Secondary School as ‘Skillful Players’ for the camp at Kolkata likely to be held in May.
These footballers will join players selected from the other 14 venues of the event across the country in a camp at Kolkata, where they will receive training from coaches and a technical team of Arsenal Football Club for 10 days.

Art to infiltrate public spaces in Gangtok on Monday


GANGTOK, 20 March: Bringing art to the public spaces in Gangtok is the first ever public art festival, “The Blooming Sikkim Public Art Festival”, scheduled to begin Monday at MG Marg.
A combined effort of Shelter Promotion Council (India) and Platinum Ideas, the Blooming Sikkim festival has been conceived as a recurring event that brings together Sikkimese, Indian and international artists to engage with each other, express themselves and initiate dialogue on the themes of environment and society in Sikkim.
In the tradition of similar public art events held in cities around the world, this festival hopes to raise consciousness through the arts in response to urgent ecological issues affecting Sikkim and the world.
The pilot version of this festival, to be held in Gangtok for 11 days, will have artists from Switzerland, Bangladesh, Germany, Delhi and Sikkim working with a variety of media: sound, video, installation, interactive and community based, the release informs.

Holy vase measures out quarter cup less

THOUSANDS CONGREGATE FOR BHUM-CHU AT TASHIDING
WANGCHUK BHUTIA
TASHIDING, 20 March: Thousands of devotees [12,000, as per the organizers] congregated at Tashiding in West Sikkim over the weekend to attend the Bhum-Chu ritual at the Tashiding Monastery, where water from the holy vase was measured out on the midnight of the intervening night of 18 and 19 March. The holy vase, which holds 21 cups of water, measured out a quarter cup less this year. While some of the devotees at the spot saw this as portending a year of conflict and unrest ahead, the Thungyee of Tashiding Monastery, Tashi Wangdi, while confirming that the holy water filled out 20.75 cups, clarified that this was in fact a good sign for the year ahead.
The official divination will be made over the coming days by the monks at the Monastery, who will also recommend special prayers and offerings which now need to be made, and will be released by the Ecclesiastical Department later.

Holi in Sikkim

At Dikchu in East Sikkim

Tourists at MG Marg

Kids at MG Marg

CAEPHT demo of lightweight maize planter impresses farmers


GANGTOK, 20 March: The College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology (CAEPHT) here at Ranipool conducted a field demonstration of the manually operated “light weight maize planter” on 15 March at the agricultural plot of Sishir Kharka at Marchak, Samlik in East Sikkim.

SATA trains martial artists on latest Poomsae techniques

GANGTOK, 20 March: Sikkim Amateur Taekwondo Association (SATA) organised a 2-day special coaching camp on the latest Taekwondo Poomsae techniques at the MCM Dojang at White Hall Complex here. The camp, held over the weekend on 19 and 20 March, was taken by around 30 martial artists representing the different dojangs of East District, a SATA press release informs.

Holi celebrations at MG Marg

video

Gangtokians celebrate Holi at MG Marg with the Bose speakers, installed by the Power dept earlier this year, playing popular festive songs in the background.

Planning begins in earnest for CM’s Rural Housing Mission


GANGTOK, 20 March [IPR]: A consultation workshop on the implementation of the Chief Minister’s Rural Housing Mission, aimed to achieve Kutcha House Free State status by 2013, was held on 17 March at Janata Bhawan here under the chairmanship of RMDD Minister CB Karki. The workshop was attended by the all Additional District Collectors, the Block Development Officers, senior officers of RM&DD and representative of Forest and Power departments.

Supermoon over Gangtok


Supermoon as seen from Gangtok on 20 March, 2011, at 5 a.m. Photograph by SONAM GYATSO