Saturday, March 10, 2012

Holy vase measure out cup and a half less of clear water



THOUSANDS ATTEND BHUM CHU AT TASHIDING MONASTERY
WANGCHUK BHUTIA
TASHIDING, 09 Mar: Thousands of devotees witnessed the annual Bumchu celebration which is one of the most auspicious events observed here at Tashiding Monastery in West Sikkim. The Bumchu (Bum for vase and Chu for water) is held in Tashiding Monastery on the 14th and 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan lunar year, which coincided with 07 and 08 of March according to the English calendar. The holy vase, which holds 21 cups of water, measured out a cup and a half short of clear water. The official divination of what this portends for the year ahead will be made in the coming days by the monks at the Monastery, who will also recommend special prayers and offerings which need to be made. These details are released later by the Ecclesiastical Department.
A large number of devotees had camped around the monastery with families and friends from across the country and abroad like Bhutan, Nepal and other countries. This ancient ritual is one of the holiest Buddhist festivals in Sikkim and thousands of devotees attend it. Endless trains of people could be seen from midnight onwards until the next day waiting for their turn to receive the holy water.
At around 2 AM of 08 March, the main gate of the monastery was opened for the devotees after the sacred Bhumpa (vase) was removed from its casket in the presence of Sangha MLA, Phetuk Tshering, Joint Director Ecclesiastical Department, Sonam Gyatso Bhutia and the senior monks of the Tashiding monastery.
Special prayers, “Thuzi Chenpo Khorwa Ledrol” (Teaching on compassion liberating from world existence), were recited since a week earlier from the 8th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar by around 150 monks of the monastery led by Omje, Dorjee Lopon and Tsultrimpha, informed a senior monk of the monastery.
Phurba T Tsechutharpa, executive member Bhumchu while speaking to NOW! informed that as per tradition, three cups of the sacred water were taken out- one cup for the royal family, one for the monks and the third for the devotees gathered for the ceremony. These three cups of water are replaced with fresh water drawn from the rivers Rathong Chu and Riney Chu.
The vase can hold a total of twenty one cups; its contents however do not stay stable. When the water level increases and is crystal clear, then a peaceful and prosperous year promising a good harvest and general good health is expected, Mr Tsechutharpa informed.
If the water level remains the same, then it predicts that the year will be satisfactory and peaceful. On the other hand, if the water level decreases and is cloudy, then it means that the year will be filled with conflict and unrest.
The ceremony was attended by the Sangha MLA, officials from Ecclesiastical Department headed by JD, Sonam Gyatso Bhutia, DC West, Santa Pradhan, Member of State Planning Commission, Lhakila Tongden Lepcha.

Housewife commits suicide, brother accuses in-laws of torture


GANGTOK, 09 March: Rajib Kalowar of Coochbehar lost his sister, married in Gangtok, to suicide on 08 March and today lodged a formal complaint with the Sadar Police here alleging that his sister was driven to suicide due to persistent mental and physical torture by her in-laws.
In his FIR, registered as a GD at the Sadar Thana, Mr. Kalowar states that he was informed of his sister’s suicide by her husband, Rajen Gupta, yesterday. The victim, it is informed, hanged herself at her home here at Deorali School Road at around 12:30 p.m. on 08 March.
Mr. Kalowar contends that his sister’s body bore extensive injury marks, signs of recent beating, and goes on to allege that she had been consistently subjected to mental tension and physical torture by her husband and in-laws right since the early days of her marriage. Citing the past history and signs of recent beating as evidence, he has alleged that either his sister was driven to commit suicide by her husband and in-laws or murdered by them and the death made to look like a suicide.
Meanwhile, the Sadar Police has sought an inquest by the magistrate on the death and is awaiting the autopsy report to provide more details before proceeding further on the case.

Mizoram lift Dr T Ao Memorial Football Tournament 2012


HOME TEAM GOES DOWN TO MIZORAM IN TIE-BREAKER 
GANGTOK, 09 Mar: Mizoram has lifted the Dr T Ao Memorial Football Tournament played here at Paljor Stadium. In the nail-biting final match played today, Mizoram defeated the home team in a tie-breaker.
Sikkim reached the finals of the tournament defeating Manipur 1-0 in the semi-final, while Mizoram beat Tripura 4-2 to reach the finals. Sikkim reached the final of this tournament for the first time, while Mizoram was the runner-up at the last edition of the tournament.
The stadium was filled mainly with students from different schools of in-and-around Gangtok, who cheered for the home team till the final whistle of the match. Both the teams came on strong, attacking and counter attacking right from the very start. R Laldanmawia gave an early lead to Mizoram scoring in the 14th minute of the match. Sikkim played a good game and tried its best to equalize the score but the first half concluded in favour of Mizoram with the score of 1-0.
Sikkim maintained an attacking game in the second half but was not able to score the equalizer. In the 81st minute of the match, the home team received the golden opportunity in the form of a penalty shoot for a handball in the D-Area, which was successfully turned into the equalizer by Thupden Tshering Bhutia. At full time, the match ended with a score of 1-1. The match then got extended for a tie-breaker to decide the winner through penalty shoot outs.
However, even after five penalty shoot outs no decision could be arrived at, as Nima Tamang of Sikkim and F Lalrinpuia of Mizoram shot outside the goalpost and the match got extended for more penalty shoot outs. Finally, the tenth penalty shot by home team player, Sonam Pintso Lepcha, was stopped by the Mizo goalkeeper winning them the match by a score of 10-09.
In the match for the third place played today, Manipur defeated Tripura 2-1. KH Naoton Singh scored a brace for Manipur in the 6th and 7th minute, while the lone goal of Tripura was scored by Jayantha Jonatan in the 83rd minute of the match.
Chief Whip of the State Government, Ugen T Gyatso, was the chief guest on the final day, accompanied by the UD&HD Minister, DB Thapa, Sports Minister, NK Pradhan and Gangtok MLA, Dorjee Namgyal among others, who gave away the prize money, trophies, certificates and other prizes.
The winners were awarded with the cash prize of Rs 7 lakh, while the runner-up received the cash prize of Rs 4 lakh. Likewise, third and fourth place teams received Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1 lakh respectively and four other teams who did not make it to the semis took home Rs 50,000 each.
I Nilakumar Singh of Manipur was declared as the Player of the Tournament, while his teammate, L Gouro Singh, received the Highest Scorer and even the Best Goalkeeper trophy went to the Manipur goalkeeper.
On the occasion, the department of Sports and Youth Affairs provided cash incentives to 76 sportspersons of Sikkim in different disciplines who won medals in the North-East, National and International levels.
In his address, the Chief Whip stated that this tournament will help to strengthen the regional bond between the north-eastern states and promote brotherhood and mutual understanding between the states. Speaking on the priorities of the state government to the sports, Mr Gyatso encouraged the local players to take the facilities and opportunities provided by the government to do better in their respective discipline. He informed that the state government has been adding sports infrastructures at the different levels in the state. The chief guest also declared the closing of the tournament.
Earlier, the final match was started with the welcome address by the Sports Minister. The cultural programme was presented by the students of Modern Secondary School.

PMGSY affected at Labing protest delay in release of compensation


GANGTOK, 09 Mar: The affected people of Labing in West Sikkim have expressed their dissatisfaction over the delay in the distribution of land compensation for a PMGSY Road even after 3 years have passed since the project began. The people have alleged that on 03 March 2009, the PMGSY Road from Lower Labing to Upper Gerethang was dug but the affected people have not received the compensation as yet.
A press release singed by 47 persons of Labing informs that the compensation and house assessment bill has been pending with the RMDD Accounts Section since September 2011. The release further states that upon enquiring with the Senior AO at that time they were told that there was no budget and that the compensation would be released by Diwali. That was last year, but the compensation is still due.
Now, the complainants have announced that until the compensation is released they will not allow work on the road to progress. They have appealed to the Chief Minister to look into the matter and resolve it in their favour.


SIBLAC voices concern over SDF resolve to increase Assembly seats to 40


DEMANDS PROPORTIONAL INCREASE IN NUMBER OF BL SEATS
GANGTOK, 09 Mar: SIBLAC has raised concerns over the resolution to demand an increase in the number of Assembly seats to 40 from 32 adopted by the ruling SDF party at its convention held at Jorethang recently. A press release issued by the SIBLAC convenor, Tseten Tashi Bhutia, contends that to demand an increase in total number of seats without proportional increase in BL seats was “unconstitutional” and “poses a serious threat to the political safeguards provided by Article 371F of the Constitution to minority Bhutia-Lepcha community in Sikkim.”
SIBLAC has underlined this issue to register its concern over the recent statement of Vice-Chairman of the National Minority Commission who, during his recent visit to Sikkim, stated on record that “minorities are safe in Sikkim”.
“It is unfortunate the person like Dr Sangliana is making such a statement without reading the inside story of Sikkim. Such statement is likely to create deep mis-impression in the minds of people outside Sikkim who are sympathetic to the cause of minority in Sikkim,” the release states.
Some of the leaders of SIBLAC including its convenor Mr Bhutia are currently camped in New Delhi to represent what the organisation sees as the “feeling of political insecurity” arising in the wake of SDF party’s resolution. SIBLAC will soon be approaching national political organisations soliciting their support to its demand.
Although it is positive that BL electorates have been given the opportunity to elect their own representatives but in actual terms BL representatives are not elected simply by the BL votes but by non-BLs who are in majority in the reserved BL constituencies, the release states.
The release goes on to state that besides political insecurity, “the National Commission for Minorities must recognise that land, identity and religious heritage form the core political issues of minority Bhutia-Lepcha people that need to be addressed by Government of India without any delay”.

One killed in North road accident


GANGTOK, 09 Mar: One person has been killed in a road accident in North Sikkim. According to reports the incident occurred when a Mahindra pick-up met with an accident at Pheedang Bridge, North Sikkim killing the driver, Krishna Bdr Limboo.
The accident is reported to have occurred on 08 March at around 7:30 PM when the vehicle bearing registration No. SK-TR 09/9095 being driven by Krishna Bdr Limboo was on its way to Mangshila from Dikchu. There were two other occupants in the vehicle at the time of the accident who sustained injuries. They were rushed to the Dikchu PHC while the driver is reported to have succumbed at the spot.
The vehicle belongs to Drillcon Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. a sub-contractor of Sneha Kinetic Power Project Ltd. who is developing 96MW Dikchu HE Project. The two injured have been referred to Central Referral Hospital, Tadong. The dead body has been handed over to family members after post mortem at Mangan District Hospital.

10-bedded DOTS plus site for MDR TB patients inaugurated


GANGTOK, 09 Mar [IPR]: The 10-bedded DOTS plus site (MDR TB ward) at STNM Hospital was inaugurated by the Health Minister DN Takarpa on 06 March. On the occasion he was received by the Principal Director of Health Department Dr. I L Sharma, PCC cum Medical Superintendent of STNM Hospital Dr. Uma Pradhan, Director of Health Services Dr. V Singhi, Additional Director cum STO Dr. R Dorjee and head of the units of STNM Hospital.
The DOTS Plus site is for admitting the MDR TB patients for pre-treatment evaluations, to monitor the tolerance of injectable drugs and management of adverse drug reactions. Subsequently, they will be put on RNTCP standardized treatment which will be directly observed to ensure the completion of treatment by the MDR TB patients. This would ensure higher cure rate of MDR TB patients and also help to contain the spread of MDR TB in the community,
The Health Minister also visited the MRI and CT scan units of STNM Hospital. Following which there was a meeting with the Principal Director, PCC cum Medical Superintendent, senior doctors from the department and senior specialists on various issues of the STNM Hospital and the department. The Minister assured that all the issues would be considered and necessary steps would be taken to resolve them.

Tashiding group condemns denial of permission to screen documentary on Bhum Chu at Tashiding


GANGTOK, 09 March: The Tashiding Bumchu Sunkyob Chogdu, in a press release issued by Pema Jyungne today, has condemned the West District Administration’s refusal to grant permission to “like-minded younger local people of Tashiding in connivance with Save Sikkim” to screen a documentary film on Bhumchu at Tashiding on the eve of the ceremony. Save Sikkim, it may be recalled is protesting the Tashiding hydel project.
The release, while thanking the organising committee for the successful hosting of the Bhum Chu ceremony, has lashed out against what it sees as denial of permission on “unwarranted grounds” by the West District administration.
“It is very unfortunate on the part of the West District Administration to have denied the devotees and participants their fundamental right to information and religion. We considered it as a disgraceful and shocking act of DC/West,” the release states.

State’s special athletes haul 17 medals at National Games


GANGTOK, 09 Mar: Special athletes from the state who had participated in the National Games for all disabilities held during 17-22 February at Nehru Stadium, Chennai have made the state proud with their performance at the Games.
The team of 17 special athletes and 6 coaches from Special Olympics Bharat [SOB], Sikkim was led by State Coach, Ram Prasad Dhakal, informs a press release. Unfortunately, athletes from Special School for Deaf and Dumb, Sichey missed out on the opportunity as no teachers were available to escort them, the release mentions.
The special athletes participated and won medals in various disciplines like bocce, badminton, 100 M, 200 M Race and shot-put. From the Spastics Society of Sikkim, Manish Dhakal, Shourya Sikhwal, Pawan Rai, Arati Chettri, Pema Gurung and Shibu Chettri won medals for the state. From the National Association for the Blind, Shiva Kumar Chettri, Madan Chettri, and from Sikkim Vikalanga Sahayata Samiti, Pempa Tamang won medals for the state.

Altercation over Govt contract leads to assault at Rangpo


GANGTOK, 09 Mar: The filing of tenders for a government project has led to a case of grievous assault in Rangpo. Six persons are reportedly absconding after having allegedly attacked and hurt two others at Rangpo on the night of 07 March at around 11:30 PM.
As per reports the two victims are Amosh Rai and the brother of Simon Rai of Rangpo Bazaar who is also the complainant. As per his complaint with the Rangpo police the two victims were assaulted upon by Bisa Biswakarma and 5 others with khukuri at Lower IBM, Rangpo.
It is informed that the two sides were engaged in a heated argument that day over the submission of tender forms at the Rangpo Nagar Panchayat office which led to the assault later in the night. All 6 accused are absconding at present.

12th Mr Sikkim bodybuilding championship


GANGTOK, 09 Mar: The 12th Mr. Sikkim bodybuilding championship is scheduled to be held at the auditorium of the Sikkim Govt. College, Tadong on 24 March.
A press release informs that the competition is open for all local bodybuilders from the affiliated gyms/ clubs of Sikkim only.  The entry forms can be collected by the affiliated gyms from the Central Fitness Gym, Development Area, the release mentions.
For further details of the championship please contact; 9775962858, 9593782919

Editorial:End Prejudicial Profiling


International Women’s Day coincided with Holi this year; a wicked irony for a country, where, this festival celebrating the arrival of Spring, is also one which women have grown to disdain for the lumpen vulgarity it unleashes on them should they venture out into unfamiliar streets. In a way though, it is also perhaps apt that a Day devoted to prioritising the pursuit of equality and empowerment for women should coincide with a festival during which the itemization of women as chattel for lewd affronts peaks [and this is not about being prude, because in most places in this country, the frivolity of Holi lost out to vulgarity long back]. The contrasting responses to Women’s Day and Holi should have perhaps served to highlight the challenge which still confronts empowerment in a country where people at large, and through them their representative and media, routinely perpetuate the subordination of women by continuing with offensive stereotyping. There has been much written about how mass media and its depiction of women, whether in advertisements or the slant in how they profile women [even those of ‘substance’], has led to a situation where women have subconsciously begun evaluating themselves according to their physical appearance and ability to attract the male gaze. This Women’s Day, we stay away from joining this debate, and instead highlight some other recent developments which should meet with universal condemnation for the prejudicial profiling they broadcast and the offensive mindsets they lay bare.
Some week ago, the Ministry of External Affairs is reported to have ordered its embassies in Russia and its breakaway nations to “closely screen visa applications for women between 15 and 40 to weed out prostitutes”. This plays out from loosely based facts because while there is no denying that girls from Eastern Europe have been trafficked into the flesh trade in India, there is no evidence to suggest that most of women from that region ‘aged between 15 to 40’ applying for visas to visit India plan to sell sex here. India already has one of the most skewed Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act in the world and despite whatever reservations one might have about this Act, fact remains that laws exist to prevent prostitution. Instead of ensuring that these laws work effectively, the babus in MEA have decided to go with rumour-mongering and media hype to officially brand women from Eastern Europe. Those from the northeast part of the country know of this distasteful profiling not just by ill-informed and insensitive mainstream masses, but also their institutions. The latest development on visa screening has been largely ignored by mainstream media, which probably endorses the move as morally sound; but this MEA directive needs to be universally condemned and an apology demanded. Thankfully, the women in Ukraine did not take kindly to this offensive profiling and members of Femen, an activist group of Ukrainian women, stormed the Indian embassy in Kiev demanding an apology. Now, this group is known for its extreme tactics [how else will they get news coverage], so they gheraoed the embassy topless, pulled out banners, shouted slogans and ended up even toppling the Indian flag. Now, following an ‘FIR’ by Indian officials in Ukraine, they are facing charges which could send its activists in jail for up to five years. While they will probably end up getting ‘punished’ for the nature of their protest, the offense which drove them to such an extreme remains unaddressed. More than the ladies in Ukraine, it should be the women of India who demand that the MEA directive be retracted and an unconditional apology extended not just to the women of the ‘profiled’ countries but to women across the world. It is after all in attitudes like the one which sits in MEA nowadays that elected Chief Ministers [a woman herself at that], their Ministers and police can issue public statements questioning the claims of rape by a victim as recently happened in West Bengal. Prejudice and offensive stereotyping of women leads to situations where a victim of rape is expected to justify her lifestyle, struggle with her trauma even as attempts are made to malign her character and stay on course with her pursuit of justice even as a majority sniggered at her plight as something she invited on herself. The UN explains the dedication of a day exclusively to the celebration of the world’s women as a reiteration of the call to Governments, civil society and the private sector to commit to gender equality and the empowerment of women — as a fundamental human right and a force for the benefit of all. As the two incidents shared above highlight, this commitment is yet to rise beyond superficial tokenism because unless the stereotyping of women ends, a fundamental right of the women will remain denied.

NCM Vice Chairman visits Sikkim


GANGTOK, 09 Mar: Vice Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, Government of India, Dr. HT Sangliana, who was on an official visit to the State from 05 to 08 March with the purpose of analyzing the condition of the minorities of the state was all praises for the state of Sikkim.
Speaking to the media at the State Circuit House on the eve before his departure from the state Dr. Sangliana said that  the minorities of the state are well looked after by the state government. Expressing his satisfaction over the treatment towards the minorities in the state he observed that all the scholarship and educational facilities to minorities are being provided by the state government through the various departments which are working for the upliftment of the minorities, he said.
He mentioned that the National Commission had advised all state governments to open state-level cells and about 17 states have already opened such cells. The state body can act as a nodal agency to address issues of the minority and Sikkim has also been advised to open a state-level cell, he added. It may be mentioned here that Sikkim does not have a state-level cell as yet.
Appreciable attention is being paid for the education of the minorities in the state, Dr. Sangliana said. A delegation of United Sikkim Christian Welfare Society and Ringhim Monastery in Mangan submitted memorandums to the vice-chairman in the morning of 07 Mar.
Dr Sangliana also had a meeting with the Chief Secretary of the state on the same day wherein various issues related to minorities were also discussed.

Two-day horticulture show gets underway in Namchi


WATER HARVESTING TANK CONSTRUCTION BENEFITS ALSO DISTRIBUTED
NAMCHI, 09 Mar: Minister Building & Housing Department, Tilu Gurung inaugurated a two-day horticulture show here at Gandhi Park and Community Center Namchi, South Sikkim on Thursday. The show, organised by Horticulture & Cash Crop Dev. Department and Soil & Water Conservation (NRM), displays flowers, fruits and vegetables from different villages of South District in the stalls set up by progressive farmers, farmers clubs, nurseries and the department.
During the inaugural function, a total of 77 beneficiaries were provided with a cheque of Rs. 40,000 each, 50% subsidy payment along with 200 metres of poly pipes to each water harvesting tank beneficiary. Similarly 6 beneficiaries were also provided with Cymbidium orchids which were sanctioned earlier by the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling during his village-to-village tour.
While addressing the programme chief guest, Minister Tilu Gurung informed that in Sikkim the rate of cultivation and agriculture has increased and today 80% people of state are associated with agriculture. Government jobs do not offer 100% security and the educated youth should not depend on government jobs but should venture into this sector with new innovative ideas and modern techniques.
She also thanked Tika Maya Chamling for her innovative works and for encouraging the progressive farmers to work in floriculture and vegetable production.
Special guest, Minister FSADD&HCCDD, DN Thakarpa said that the beneficiaries have been provided with these benefits as per the scheme sanctioned by the Chief Minster during his Sikkim Bhraman last year. He expressed that as Minister of the Department, he regrets that the department is taking a long time to bring about awareness amongst farmers of the state on the importance of organic mission.
Till now, in South district a total of 2500 hectares of land have been certified as organic land and Sikkim has a total of 7000 hectares of land but the department is working hard and providing every possible help to the farmers to achieve the target of organic state within 2015.
The programme was also addressed by Secretary, Vishal Chauhan, Convener Farmers Cell, ND Sapkota. Earlier the chief guest and special guest along with the officers visited the agriculture, horticulture and floriculture stalls.
The inaugural function was also attended by MLA Namchi Singithang, Binod Rai, Principal Director HCCDD, DK Rai, Advisor Tourism, GM Gurung, Chairman Tea Board, Gagan Rai, DC South, AK Singh, Farmers Cell, DN Sapkota, Panchayats and the Departmental officers.

South DPC meeting discusses District Plan for 2012-13


NAMCHI, 09 Mar: A District Planning Committee (DPC) meeting chaired by Adhyaksha, South District Zilla Panchyat, BM Rai was convened at SDZP conference hall on 06 March to approve the Gram Panchayat Unit-wise Shelf of Project/District Plan for financial year 2012-13 under MGNREGA.
The meeting was also attended by District Collector/ South, AK Singh, Zilla Panchayat members who are the members of DPC, officials and staff of SDZP and the Office of ADC(Dev.)
ADC (Dev.), Deepak Pradhan who is also the District Programme Co-ordinator for South District presented a brief report on the MGNREGA trend since its inception in South District. He said that since South District lies in the rain shadow region of Darjeeling Himalayas, most of the areas in South District are drought prone due to which water scarcity is a major problem.
To address the problem of water scarcity, South District initiated water conservation as a pilot project under MGNREGA. As against the total of 11% water related works taken up under MGNREGA in the year 2007, it is now 54% and this % is expected to go further up in the upcoming years, he added.
Further, he informed the house that MGNREGA is a demand driven employment generation programme. Unlike other programme which percolates from top to bottom, MGNREGA follows bottom-up approach in which the ward wise list of works are identified and recommended by Gram Sabha from where it is sent to Block office and finally to District Office. District Office compiles the GPU wise list of works in the form of Shelf of Project that are to be taken up in the upcoming financial year and place it before the DPC for approval.
He also informed the house that Labour Budget for the FY 2012-13 has been prepared to the tune of Rs 32,18,38694 based on the labour demand projection. He presented GPU wise/ Block wise compiled list of works/ Shelf of Project vis-a-vis Labour Budget before the house for approval. During the open discussion session the points raised of the members were cleared.
After thorough examination of the Shelf of Project, the members of DPC unanimously accorded approval to all the proposals that were placed before the house. Zilla Adhyaksha, South District in his address suggested that a close co-ordination between the Gram Panchayat, Zilla Panchayat and the Department Officials is necessary for the success of MGNREGA. He, further, expressed his view that since it is not possible for the BAC staff to carry on micro monitoring of works, training of mates in this regard is essential and could help in addressing the problem to a great extent. The meeting concluded on a positive note for proper execution of works under MGNREGA.

Sikkim Milk Union in third phase of process to become a Demonstration Company


GANGTOK, 09 Mar: The Asian Productivity Organization (APO), Japan had selected the Sikkim Milk Union to be developed into a Demonstration company. Under this project the APO and National Productivity Council, New Delhi [designated principal implementing agency] will provide international and national expert and consultancy services to Sikkim Milk Union free of cost for productivity improvement and food safety management.
Mr. Pieter Willem de Jongh, the International Dairy Expert from Netherlands deputed by APO to work on the processing improvement and productivity alongwith NPC, India expert, KVR Raju had made their first visit to Sikkim Milk Union in the months of March and August in 2011.
A press release informs that in order to continue the improvement missions, the APO organised their third and final visit between 07 to 17 March. A review meeting of the project was organised at Sikkim Milk Union Dairy Plant on 08 March to review the mission progress and the achievements made and the strategies for achieving the unfinished improvement tasks.
With the support of International expert, the Sikkim Milk Union is putting all its efforts and resources to achieve productivity improvement and develop itself into a model dairy enterprise. It is expected that the APO experts will provide outcome of the project and also improvement tools needed in the days to come by Sikkim Milk Union in the closing ceremony to be held on 16 March, the release mentions. The project was started in the year 2010 and expected the active phase of the project to get completed with this visit.
The objective of the project is to showcase how a company in public sector can successfully design and implement productivity improvement initiatives with the commitment and active participation of all productivity stakeholders; Demonstrate visibly and tangibly how productivity improvement initiatives lead to outstanding results for the company; illustrate the benefits of productivity gain sharing in boosting the motivation, morale, welfare and overall achievements of the workers; and serve a model to inspire other enterprises, workers, and all stakeholders to promote productivity more vigorously in their workplaces.

High Court CJ to hear maintainability of petition challenging hydel projects


TRANSFER PETITION ON HYDEL PROJECTS TO BE WITHDRAWN FROM APEX COURT
GANGTOK, 06 March: The Transfer Petition filed in the Supreme Court regarding the petition against the various hydel projects in the State is to be withdrawn from the apex court. This was submitted before the High Court here by Amrit Singh, counsel for the petitioner, Anand Lama on 05 March.
It was submitted that the petition for transferring the petition from Sikkim High Court to the Supreme Court had been listed for 04 April, 2012 and that it would be withdrawn on the day as the Sikkim High Court had arranged that the matter be taken up before the Single Bench comprising of the Sikkim High Court Chief Justice, Permod Kohli.
Earlier, the matter had come up once before the High Court before Justice SP Wangdi last year who was then officiating as the Acting Chief Justice. The matter had been adjourned for March this year. The high court has decided to take up the matter before a single bench with Justice Wangdi recusing himself from the case. This means that Justice SP Wangdi will not be hearing this petition filed by Anand Lama against the state government and the private power developers. With Chief Justice Kohli stating that one of the two judges, that is, Justice Wangdi, will abstain from hearing the matter the petitioner submitted that the transfer petition filed before the Supreme Court to transfer the case from the High Court to the Supreme Court will be withdrawn.
The matter came up for hearing today before the bench comprising Chief Justice Kohli and Justice Wangdi.
The petition itself concerns the matter of hydel projects being developed by private developers in the State, about 25 of them. It alleges anomalies in awarding of projects, loss to the state exchequer due to acts of omission and commission by the State government among other accusations and calls for the cancellation of the projects. The petition also raises questions on some of the investors in the companies which are developing the hydel projects here.
Appearing for the State government, Advocate General, A Mariarputham, submitted that the matter had come up in the Supreme Court in January following which he had filed replies on behalf of the state respondents. It was, in fact, informed that notices had been issued to only the 3 state respondents to respond and not all the power developers who have been made respondents in the matter.
Chief Justice Kohli said that the matter would be taken up singly by him on 04 April itself, the day the matter is to be withdrawn from the Supreme Court. It was also stated that there would be preliminary hearing on maintainability of the petition on the day.

HRDD report shows deficiencies in almost all govt schools, HC notes


HIGH COURT SEEKS DETAILS OF SCHOOL MATERIALS PROVIDED TO STUDENTS BY HRDD 

GANGTOK, 06 March: The High Court of Sikkim has taken a stern view of the shortcomings in the compliance report filed by the Human Resource Development Department on the status of government school buildings and school materials provided by it including books, uniforms etc. The Court noted, as also accepted by the department, that there are deficiencies existing in almost all the government schools throughout the state. Schools either didn’t have proper bathrooms or toilets or missed some other such facilities required for the imparting of proper and wholesome learning to the students.
While the HRDD has prayed for dropping of the proceedings, the division bench comprising of Chief Justice Permod Kohli and Justice SP Wangdi has further directed that details of the quality of text books, exercise books and uniforms supplied to the children be provided and samples also submitted; besides, the court has also sought to details of the syllabi being followed.
It was also noted that since the academic year had already begun, a specific statement be put up by the department in respect to the provisions made by the state government for text books, note books, uniforms etc.
This is a matter which the Sikkim High Court has taken up suo moto, that is, on its own initiative, in view of the deplorable conditions of the government schools in the State. Apart from inadequate school infrastructure, questions have also been raised on the quality and quantity of text books, uniforms and other school-related materials being provided to the students and for which tenders are normally floated for awarding of contracts.
This matter came up for hearing on 05 March during which the compliance report of the HRDD was examined by the court. The report was in response to the directions issued by the High Court in September 2010 which required the HRDD to file a status report on the conditions of the schools along with what the department was doing/ had done to improve these conditions.
The report, which was filed by Chief Engineer, HRDD, indicated compliance on the directions in respect to the completion of Sanganath Secondary School wherein it has been stated that the building is complete in all respects and handed over to the Head Master. Submitting this compliance report, the HRDD had sought the dropping of proceedings initiated by the High Court.
However, the court was of the view that the directions of the court had not been complied with properly.  Additional AG, JB Pradhan, submitted that in the aftermath of the earthquake of 18 September, 2011 the state government had initiated various steps for the restoration of various schools and their improvement. He also submitted that time be provided to present a more detailed report in respect of the present status of the government schools. The court has granted 4 weeks time for filing of the detailed report.

Alternative Dispute Redressal Centre to make dispute resolution more people friendly


GANGTOK, 06 Mar: The foundation stone of Alternative Dispute Redressal Centre for East Sikkim was laid by the Judge of Supreme Court of India, Justice DK Jain here at District Court premises this morning. Justice Jain was also accompanied by the Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court, Justice Permod Kohli and the Judge of Sikkim High Court, Justice SP Wangdi.
Alternative Dispute Redressal System is a system which aims at making the process of dispute resolution more people friendly, fair and equitable for all the parties involved.
Later, booklet on ‘Lessons in Law’ was launched and an awareness programme on ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution and its Role in Dispensation of Justice’ was held in a function organized by the Sikkim State Legal Services Authority [SSLSA] at Chintan Bhawan.
On the occasion, the Supreme Court Judge, Justice Jain launched the booklet ‘Lessons in Law’ for Class XI, while the booklet ‘Lessons in Law’ for Class IX was launched by the Chief Justice, Justice Kohli.
The book aims at generating awareness amongst senior students as they are the future of the community and the country as legal literacy and legal awareness is vital in educating people about their privileges as well as responsibilities under the law. The book seeks to enable students to understand the constitutional objectives and the principles of the rule of law of the country.
In his address, Justice Jain mentioned that people always think and talk about their rights but forget obligations and duties towards others, institutions and the society. Speaking to the students, Justice Jain stressed that they must exercise their legal rights and should try to give back to the society what it demands of them. Encouraging the students, he said that if they have the basic knowledge of legal rights then it would make a lot of difference in their life style and perspective towards any field.
Justice Jain also appreciated the simple language used in the book. He expressed that the book will enlighten students on their rights and positively affect their views on legal rights. He expressed his hope that the book would also encourage some students to study law later on.
On the Alternative Dispute Redressal mechanism, Justice Jain stated that the underlying idea was to create peaceful society and harmony in the state. He also urged the judicial fraternity to come forward with their valuable service to the people in this mechanism.
Addressing the function, Justice Kohli, who is also the Patron-in-Chief of Sikkim State Legal Services Authority [SSLSA], expressed that children are the future so it was necessary for them to know about law. He added that this book on law would help educate students on law and legal rights.
He added that with the change in the socio-economic status and with the passage of time many new challenges have emerged and to deal with these new laws were enacted for the development of the society and even the burden on the court has been increasing day-by-day. Keeping all these aspects in mind the thinkers, law makers and the apex court have consistently made efforts to face these new challenges.
Justice Kohli added that the idea of the ADR mechanism is one such effort to ease the burden of the court and its purpose was not to make the court irrelevant.  This mechanism is also equally effective and in some cases more effective, it is cheap, less time consuming and with no possibility of appeals it seeks to create a lawful society, he further added.
The function started with the welcome address by Justice Wangdi, who is also the SSLSA Executive Chairman, and ended with the vote of thanks by District and Sessions Judge, KC Barfungpa, who is also the SSLSA Member Secretary.
The function was also attended by HRDD Minister, NK Pradhan, Power Minister, SG Lepcha, members of legal fraternity and students.

Lone goal keeps host team’s hope at the ongoing NE football tourney alive


GANGTOK, 06 Mar: The goal by Bir Bahadur Pradhan, in the last 10 minutes of the match helped Sikkim win its third and last match in the league round in the ongoing Dr T Ao Memorial Football Tournament at Paljor Stadium today. In the nail-biting match, the home team defeated Assam by a solitary goal.  This win also strengthened the home team’s hopes to remain in the tournament.
Desperate for a win, Sikkimese players made constant attacks on their opponent’s goalpost from the very start. A good shot by Nim Tshering Lepcha missed the net and struck back after hitting the goalpost in the early minutes of the match followed by many other missed attempts. The visitors also made some good attempts but could not score and the first half concluded without any goals from both teams.
With time running out for the home team in the second half, substitute player Bir Bahadur  turned the cross from his teammate, Don Tshering Lepcha in the 82nd minute into the victory goal and the final whistle by the referee sealed the victory for the Sikkim team.
In the second match of the day, the defending champions Manipur defeated Meghalaya again by a lone goal. In an equally played match, Nilakumar Singh scored the solitary and victory goal for Manipur in the 69th minute.
Sikkim team manager, Arjun Rai stated that after one loss and one draw in the tournament the home team had great pressure to win this third match in the league round. He expressed his satisfaction with the game played by the state’s footballers today to win the match. He mentioned that Sikkim now has a better chance to enter into the semi-final round and tomorrow’s match between Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh is crucial for the state. If Mizoram wins the match then Sikkim will enter the next round but if Arunachal Pradesh wins then the goal difference will be considered.



Nepali weekly ‘Purvanchal Bharti’ launched


ANUSHA GURUNG
GANGTOK, 06 Mar:  ‘Purvanchal Bharti’ a Nepali weekly newspaper was launched here at Press Club of Sikkim today. The weekly being published, edited and owned by journalist Prabin Khaling seeks to make the voices of the public heard.
Present at the programme were, dramatist CK Shrestra, Kalimpong Press Club president Arun Kr. Rasaily, authors from Nepal, former Secretary Kiran Rasaily, Senior Journalist Santosh Nirash, press fraternity of Sikkim and Kalimpong and the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh president Dr. Kamal Gurung.
Addressing the gathering, CK Shrestra, congratulated the publisher and said that this initiative would hopefully have a positive impact on the society and its readers. Newspapers not only carry stories but also thoughts and it is this that we should seek out and value, he added.
Senior journalist Zigmee N Kazi said that there are few who can be called real journalists in the state. “We have many papers here in Sikkim, I am proud that Prabin Khaling has come up with his weekly Nepali newspaper and I just want to pass a message to all that quality is most important”, said Mr Kazi.
He further added that it is important to maintain a sense of balance and independence.
Further, AK Rasaily said “My guru CK Shrestra used to tell me that one should not talk too much but should hear others talk.  Let this new paper Purvanchal Bharati be the no 1 paper”.

Traditional Bamboo Archery Tourney’s semi-final rounds begin


GANGTOK, 06 Mar: Sangtong-Ranka, Samdong-Yangthang, Ranka Rai Gaon and Lenpu VII entered the semi-final rounds of the ongoing President Cup Traditional Bamboo Archery Tournament here at Sikkim Archery Association Archery Field at Tathangchen.
In the semi-final match, Sangtong-Ranka will take on Samdong-Yangthang tomorrow, while in the second semi-final on 08 March Ranka Rai Gaon will be playing against Lenpu VII.

Wipro InfoTech conducts recruitment drive at CCCT


GANGTOK, 06 Mar: A campus placement drive was held at Centre for Computers and Communication Technology (CCCT), Chisopani by Wipro InfoTech, wherein a total of 44 students from five Institutes participated, informs a press release. Wipro InfoTech is a leading strategic IT partner for companies across India, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific offering integrated IT solutions.
The participating Institutes were: CCCT (Chisopani), ATTC (Bardang), RD TATA (Jamshedpur),Siliguri Govt.Polytechnic, Darjeeling Govt.Polytechnic.
The placement process had three rounds of selection wherein the first round consisted of a written test based on aptitude and reasoning. 17 students were shortlisted after the first round to appear for the technical interview conducted by the experts from Wipro InfoTech, the release informs.
The final selection criterion was the HR interview conducted by Anima Susan Jacob ( Manager Talent Acquisition – BSD) Wipro. A total of 9 students were finally placed at WIPRO wherein 5 of them, Sital Dahal, Akash Pradhan, Geetanjali Pradhan, Keshav Kr. Jha and Sriraj Pradhan and are currently studying in their final year at CCCT, the release mentions.
The selected candidates will undergo on-the-job training within Wipro five days a week. They will simultaneously be provided an opportunity to pursue Master of Science (M.S) in Systems Engineering course of five years duration from the prestigious BITS, Pilani College. Wipro will be funding the entire admission/ semester course fee of the five years of MS education and the students will be eligible for a monthly stipend as well. The selected students will be joining the company as well as the BITS, Pilani College this July, the release adds.
According to the release, the package includes a starting salary of Rs. 1.11 lakh going onto Rs. 3 lakh per annum. Besides this, the students will also be eligible for a Group Medical Insurance of Rs. 12 lakh, Life Insurance benefit of Rs. 14 lakh and Medical Reimbursement of Rs. 15,000 per annum.
“It was a major initiative of the Institute to organize a placement drive on such a large scale,” said Training and Placement Officer, CCCT, Deepak Rasaily. “Though we have had other MNC’s in the past like Apollo Tyres, Samsung India, HCL etc. who’ve been frequently recruiting our students, this placement drive was completely different because our students had to compete at a national level to get through,” added the TPO.
CCCT, though situated in a remote part of a small hilly state of Sikkim, has been a forerunner in placing students in various hallmark institutes around India and yet it is another proud moment for the Institute to have been recognized as one of the premium polytechnics in India by a major corporation of WIPRO, the release further adds.

7-day training on homestay tourism concludes


ANUSHA GURUNG
GANGTOK, 06 Mar:  A seven-day Capacity Building Training for stakeholders on homestay tourism  was held at the Institute of Hotel Management, Sajong , Rumtek. This Skill Development programme under the “Hunar Se Rojgar Tak” scheme is funded by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and was held from 27 February to 04 March.
A total number of 81 trainees underwent this training which aims to promote tourism and generate employment in the state.
Speaking at the valedictory function today, Administrator, Institute of Hotel Management, GD Gyaltsen said that this training includes food production, house keeping, communication skill and personal hygiene. This time there was 100% attendance and the participants showed a lot of interest, he added.
This is the first batch and the government is providing them with a house with 2 rooms and an attached bathroom, informed Mr Gyalsten. Further suggesting that they can later turn it into a bigger one, he stated that it is their duty now to provide tourists with the best service.
Trainee Indu Prasad Dahal said that he was thankful to the Government for providing this kind of training. We have to encourage the next batch so that we can all develop our society, he expressed
Chief guest of the function, area MLA Menlom Lepcha in his address said that this is a very good training programme given to the people especially in the village areas through which they will get a lot of new ideas. Not only in towns but we also need to make a good atmosphere in the villages as well, he added.
He also suggested to the trainees to continue in this field that they have received training in and try to form a cooperative.
The trainees were also given certificates by the chief guest during the programme.

Food poisoning claims one


GANGTOK, 06 March: One death due to suspected food poisoning has been reported from Nayabazaar. The victim, Khagain Biswakarma, a 35 year old woman, who was reportedly suffering from epilepsy, had been admitted to the Namchi district hospital on 3 March after having consumed jungle tarul. She succumbed on 5 March.

Sumbuk youth booked for cop assault


GANGTOK, 06 March: One person has been arrested by the Jorethang police on charges of having assaulted a police constable. While there were more than 1 attacker, the police has, as of yet, managed to nab only one of the accused, namely, Uttam Chettri of Sumbuk, South Sikkim.
As per reports, the constable, Narad Rai attached with Sumbuk police outpost, was returning to Sumbuk on his motorcycle at around 11 pm on 04 March after completing his duty at Jorethang. On approaching Kitam Phatak, a vehicle intercepted him and the occupants reportedly assaulted him. In the process the motorcycle was also damaged.

Cold and fall claim two lives


GANGTOK, 06 March: Two unnatural deaths have been reported from different parts of Gangtok in the past 24 hours. In the first instance, one Appu Tamang, a 22 year old resident of Jorbungalow, Darjeeling, and presently residing at Arithang died of suspected hypothermia on the night of 04 March. His dead body was found in the wee hours of 05 March along NH 31 A near Unique Sweets and taken to the STNM hospital. The autopsy has confirmed death due to hypothermia. The deceased was employed as a salesman at a showroom on MG Marg. As per police records, he had gone to a friend’s place at Sisa Golai and reportedly left for home at around 11 in the night but never made it home to Arithang.
In another incident, one Bishal Lama, 26, a resident of Pangthang, is suspected to have succumbed to injuries sustained in a fall. His body was found lying in Lower Syari about 300 to 400 feet below the new road cutting.

Civil Military Liaison Conference held between State and Military officers


GANGTOK, 06 March [IPR]: Civil Military Liaison Conference (CMLC) between the State Government officers and the military was held at a local hotel in Gangtok, today. The conference chaired by the Chief Secretary of Sikkim, Karma Gyatso was attended by GOC 17 Mountain Division.
The conference started with the welcome address by the Chief Secretary, Karma Gyatso. The conference discussed various issues between the defence and the state and many issues were resolved in the house after detail discussion.
To mention the issues that was taken up and most of them resolved were:-
1.       Foreign labourers problem.
2.       Rail infrastructure
3.       Provision of facilities at Pakyong Airport
4.       Construction of Operational Tracks
5.       Construction of Tunnels
6.       Supply of SNT vehicles to the Army
7.       Provision of Electricity to Army Installations
8.       Allotment of Parking space for Army light vehicles
9.       Civil Recovery Vehicles
10.   Movement of Tourists in Bad weather
11.   Facilities for Tourists at Nathula
12.   Water Supply to New Military Station, Gangtok
13.   Raising of Sikkim Scouts Battalion
14.   Road Widening in North Sikkim
15.   Damage of Transmission lines due to Road widening
The GOC 17 Mountain Division thanked the Chief Secretary for organizing this conference after a gap of two years and hoped that the army officials and the state administration shall function in close coordination under the guidance of the experienced and senior Chief Secretary of Sikkim.
Besides the above issues, those related to national interest were also discussed by virtue of Sikkim being a border state.
The Conference ended with a Vote of Thanks followed by presentation of tokens by the Chief Secretary, DGP and Additional Chief Secretary.


NHPC paid Rs. 75 lakh as ‘damage compensation’ for unauthorized dumping, confirm forest officials and Cabinet proceedings


ANAND OBEROI
GANGTOK, 05 Mar: With the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation [NHPC] claiming that the news-report “NHPC fined Rs. 75 Lakh for irresponsible dumping of waste” [published in NOW! dated 28 February 2012] as being ‘misleading’ and ‘misreported’, some facts have come to light and the report stands correct. NHPC, in a rejoinder [read NOW! dated 05 March 2012], has claimed that it was not fined at that it had “agreed to pay Rs. 74.5 lakh to Forest Department for strengthening and improving the protection works in the vulnerable areas on recommendation of a committee consisting of officials of NHPC & Forest Department” to amicably settle an old dispute.
It has been confirmed that the Forest Department was convinced that NHPC had carried out illegal and unauthorized dumping of excavated debris and muck in the Singtam-Dikchu belt, extensively damaging government property in more than eight locations which include the Balutar river bank, Patuk Adit-III, Samdong Adit-II, Dikchu Dam site, Makha Reserve Forest, Road Reserve at Ghattey to Balutar, Lower Samdong, Elaichey Reserve Forest and various other small areas which fall under the Forest department.
Public Prosecutor for the Forest Department, Advocate Jagat Rai, confirmed that NHPC and the Forest Department had amicably settled the matter out of court in the presence of witnesses on 29 January 2011 and as per the said agreement both parties had compromised on the matter of settlement at Rs. 74.5 Lakh.
“The amount was clearly a compensation for damage which NHPC and the Forest department settled out of court. At the relevant time, when NHPC had carried out these illegal dumping there was enough evidence of extensive damage which had totaled the compensation package to a tune of around Rs 14 crore under the Forest Conservation Act 1980. However, the amount was reduced when the inspection committee visited these areas later,” explained Mr. Rai.
He also informed that the Civil Title Suit was first registered in the Court of the District Judge (East & North) Gangtok in 2002 and then transferred to the Special Division (1) in 2010. The long pending case reached a conclusion for the dispute on the basis of a settlement agreement dated 29.1.2011.
“An Injunction Order was passed against NHPC and the Sub-Contractor against illegal dumping, heaping excavated muck into the river bank, river reserve and other non-diverted forest land on the same day the Civil Title Suit was registered,” informed Mr.Rai.
Sources also reveal that NHPC, in the initial years of the filing of the case, had offered the Forest department a settlement package of Rs. 2 crore which was turned down by the department as the case was still in court [claiming Rs. 14 crore]. The Forest department wanted to continue fighting the case initially but with the case pending for almost ten years, it was decided that a settlement be reached instead.
BK Tewari, Conservator of Forests, Territorial, while speaking to NOW! today informed that the ‘damage compensation’ had been transferred to the Land Use circle/division of the Forest department for restoration recently and that protective work was being initiated. He explained that the devastation caused by unauthorized dumping by NHPC was extensive when it was first noticed by the locals and the Range Officer (RO) who filed the complaint with the department, but as time passed by the rain and the Teesta had already washed away most of the excavated muck.
“The investigation, compensation assessment for damage restoration was done by a joint committee which constituted forest officials and representatives of the NHPC much later by when most of the damage done had been eroded. Later, it was after the inspection by the committee that an estimate of Rs. 75 lakh was decided upon,” stated the CF.
It may also be informed that the proceedings of a Cabinet Meeting held on 28 November 2011 had also approved the proposal of the Forest, Environment & Wildlife Management department seeking permission to utilize Rs. 75,55,000 provided by the authority of NHPC/Teesta stage-V as “Compensation towards unauthorized dumping of muck and damaging the Government property at Dikchu Dam site and Elaichey Khola in East Sikkim.” The fund will be utilized to carry out the restoration work as mentioned in the Cabinet Memo.No.1222/GOS/FEWMD Dated 16.09.2011.

NCW Chairperson reiterates need for wider awareness to combat trafficking


ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING WORKSHOP GETS UNDERWAY
GANGTOK, 05 Mar: Chairperson, National Commission for Women, Mamta Sharma, today stressed the need to generate mass awareness from the grassroot level up and efforts from all concerned sides to address the issue of human trafficking.
Ms Sharma, who is on a visit to the state, was speaking at the inaugural session of a three-day state-level Anti-Human Trafficking workshop organized by the State Government at the Police headquarter conference hall today.
Officials from Sikkim Police and various state government departments along with counselors and members from different organizations of Sikkim and North Bengal working on human trafficking attended the workshop.
In her inaugural address, Ms Sharma appreciated the initiative of the Sikkim Police on an important issue such as human trafficking. She stressed on the need for all concerned sections of the society to come on a single platform in order to work towards wiping out human trafficking. Upliftment of women and strict implementation of rules are important to get the desired results, expressed Ms Sharma.
She stated that the decline in the sex ratio in many states in the country is also an important issue and various organizations working in this field need to address this issue seriously. She further stressed upon the need for regional cooperation to identify and address cross border trafficking issues.
Sikkim State Commission for Women Chairperson, Subhadra Rai also stated that trafficking of women and children is a matter of great concern for the nation as this has given way to massive organized crime. The north-eastern region has become the hotspot for human trafficking and its volume has been increasing every year, she mentioned.
In the case of Sikkim, she pointed out that the problem of human trafficking is almost nil as it is a small state which makes it easy to track such cases and the administration and police can be contacted easily.
Ms Rai expressed that in order to tackle the issue it was an important to understand the cultural, social and economical background of the community in which such cases are prevalent and the focus should be on prevention and rehabilitation.
Founder of Impulse NGO Network, Shillong, Hasina Kharbhib, gave a brief presentation on the human trafficking situation of the world, Asia, India and North Eastern states with the help of data from concerned organizations and agencies.
Mentioning that women and children are most at risk she stressed on the need to check the credentials of recruitment companies in the region by the concerned organizations.
Speaking on the Impulse intervened cases in Sikkim, Ms Kharbhib informed that there were two cases intervened by her organization, which involved 17 children and women.
The inaugural function started with the welcome address by ADGP [Training], Janga Basnet, and concluded with the vote of thanks by SP [Training], KB Gurung.
The inaugural session was followed by the technical session of the workshop, which will be covering different issues related to human trafficking during the three days of the workshop.

‘Canine distemper’ outbreak feared in West Sikkim


GYALSHING, 05 Mar: The office of the Joint Director AH, LF & VS West District, in the first week of February, received complaints about an outbreak of disease amongst dogs in Chumbung and adjoining areas of Pelling in West Sikkim. On receipt of this report, Director, West, Dr S.P Bhutia was directed to survey the area.
Dr Bhutia, it is informed, inspected the area and also observed mortality of a few dogs. He reported his clinical diagnosis based on the temperature of hyperthermial stage, discharge from the eyes & nose, saliva from rim orifice, skin eruptions followed by chorea based on which he concluded that the out break was canine distemper.
However he suggested V.O DVH, Gyalshing to under go complement fixation test for laboratory confirmation. He suggested dog owners to keep all healthy dogs away from infected ones. Similarly he advised isolation of infected dogs and to keep them under intensive care. Treatment was also given for nearly two weeks wherein to combat secondary bacterial infection course of antibiotic with antipyretic was given. To control dehydration glucose therapy through intravenous route was also given.
Now the situation is under control to some extent. However the recovered dogs may act as carrier along with exposed ones. So in order to eradicate the disease from the root, Joint Director VS, Krishi Bhawan Tadong had been requested to provide Canine distemper vaccine approximately 300 doses for this area, which is now taken as canine distemper prone zone. Simultaneously, a team of Veterinarian & Para Veterinarian was engaged to keep a watch on the disease, subsequently on 02 March they encountered similar symptoms in dogs at Gyalshing Bazaar.
Now observing the epidemiological aspect of this disease, all dogs owners are advised to keep their dogs under strict captivity. Proper maintenance of sanitation and hygiene of dog asylum (Shed).On the other hand stray dogs /owner less dogs are creating problems in the vicinity especially these tourist destinations.
Accordingly, the Office of the Joint Director AH,LF&VS West District has requested all dog owners to register their pets and has urged for cooperation from the public in the efforts by SARAH division of AH,LF &VS Department to bring down the stray dog population.

Accident, not arson caused Pandal fire: Madan Cintury


PARTY LEADERS LAUD YOUTH AND SUPPORTERS FOR QUICK RESPONSE WHICH AVERTED MAJOR TRAGEDY
PURAN TAMANG
NAMCHI, 05 Mar: SDF’s area MLA, Zoom-Salghari, Madan Cintury, today confirmed that the fire which spread through the pandal erected at Jorethang for the SDF foundation day celebrations last evening was not an act of arson, but caused by misdirected firecrackers. Speaking to NOW! today, Mr. Cintury stated that he was convinced that no outside forces were involved in the mishap.
He also confirmed that some injuries were reported in the incident, and announced that the SDF party would bear the entire medical expenses incurred by the injured. He also congratulated the people of Sikkim for making the event at Jorethang such a grand success.
“Although it [the fire] was a tragic incident, it also brought the people, party workers and the youth together in their effort towards putting out the fire and saving lives,” he said.
Earlier, while addressing a formal valedictory function of the two-day SDF day celebration at Jorethang, the party vice president and in-charge South District, GM Gurung, congratulated the party workers and youth for their prompt action which helped save the lives of many.
He also expressed his dissatisfaction at the Fire & Emergency Services department’s inability to deploy enough fire tenders at the venue even after they had been specifically requested to do so. He also said that this was the biggest pandal to have ever been constructed in Sikkim and the incident had taught a big lesson on the importance of safety measures.
The programme today was chaired by SDF vice president, Administration Frontal Organization, KB Chamling as the chief guest, and was also addressed by general secretary, RN Rai.
Earlier, in the presence of Ministers, MLAs and party leaders, the party youth and Cheli Morcha cleared the debris from the ground.
The chief guest, KB Chamling handed over the SDF flag to the district in-charge of the party after the flag down ceremony. To mark the closing of the two-day celebration, a picnic was organised at the venue for the party workers and a musical programme with the artists who had performed last evening also entertained the gathering this evening.
It is learnt that some SDF party leaders also met the victims of yesterday’s fire incident at Namchi and Jorethang hospitals.

UPDATE BLOG MORE REGULARLY


Letter:
It is wonderful to know that Sikkim NOW! is now online. Apart from accessibility, this facility allows the readers to leave their views and opinions on the blog. However, of late, I have noticed that the updates on the blog have been extremely irregular; the news items make a rather belated appearance, two-three days after their publication. This is most unfortunate since its removes relevancy from the news piece for somebody who is looking to comment on it. In effect, the utility of your exciting news blog gets limited to mere archives or record keeping.
Granted that simultaneous online version may adversely affect the sale of the newspaper, the online posts could be delayed till the evening of the same day. Also, the advertising team of the paper could make strategies for raking in revenue through adverts on the blog.
I have taken the liberty of offering unsolicited advice to the newspaper which certainly knows its business, I hope this obvious cheekiness is forgiven. I draw courage from the highest esteem in which I hold this newspaper of yours. Keep up the good work.
TJ, recvd on email

Assam overcomes Arunachal


Dr T AO MEMORIAL FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT
GANGTOK, 05 March: A brace by Maneswar Mushahary helped Assam to register a victory in the ongoing Dr T Ao Memorial Football Tournament here at Paljor Stadium today. In a very close match, Assam beat Arunachal Pradesh 2-1.
Playing an attacking game from the start, Arunachal Pradesh took an early lead with the help of Pura Byai’s goal in the 2nd minute itself but in the 13th minute Maneswar scored the equalizer for Assam.
Despite many opportunities and attacks, the first half ended in a draw 1-1. Soon in the second half, Maneswar scored his brace in the 52nd minute giving the lead to Assam. Arunachal boys kept attacking but could not come back into the match, which finally went in favour of Assam with a score of 2-1.
The equally played second match of the day between Meghalaya and Nagaland ended in a goalless draw.
On Tuesday, Sikkim will be playing its crucial third and last match in the league round of the tournament against Assam. With one draw and one loss so far, Sikkim has 3 points. To keep its hope in the tournament alive, Sikkim needs to win this match.

Editorial: From Accused to Benefactors


The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, in a rejoinder to this newspaper yesterday, clarified that it had not paid Rs. 74.5 lakh to the Forest Department as a fine for illegal dumping, but to amicably settle, out of court, a dispute with the Department regarding ‘treatment’ of the road at Elaichi Khola with excavated muck. The letter is brief and does not let on too many details, but the news-report in this paper was elaborate. The Forest Department had found NHPC dumping muck from the Teesta Stage V project site in and around Elaichi Khola along the Singtam-Dikchu axis. The environmental clearance for such projects requires excavated earth to be dumped only at prescribed zones. The NHPC letter suggests that it was dumping on the road near Elaichi Khola as a ‘treatment’ [repairs in other words]. The Forest Department was however, at least initially, convinced that the dumping was unauthorised and in violation of Forest laws. Its officials are on record stating that an inspection found the people’s complaint of unauthorised dumping to be true and the damage to the area drastic enough to warrant a court case. Nature however is very resilient, and with time, the eyesore of the illicit dumping settled down and did not appear as devastating as it initially did; further, most of the loose soil was washed away by the rains and drained away by the Teesta below. The Department agreed to an out of court settlement. So, legally speaking, NHPC was never found guilty of illegal dumping because the case was settled out of court and no verdict pronounced. Interestingly though, the Department claims to have transferred this Rs. 74.5 lakh to the Land Use circle of the Forest Department for rehabilitation works in the area. This leads to the obvious inference that there was some damage caused, otherwise why would rehabilitation be required and it is also established that Elaichi Khola area in question was not a designated dumping ground for the Stage-V project.
The case was already five years old when it was settled, and the project, which was a work in progress at the time when the first complaints were lodged, had been commissioned in the interim. There will be many who will agree that an out of court settlement was well advised because it expedited the process and also because all ‘evidence’ had been lost to the monsoons apparently weakening the case. They would only be partly correct, because an out of court settlement does not fix accountability and officially allows the charge company to claim a clean sheet. And this is not about trivial nit-picking, because it is in relaxations and adjustments like these development comes into conflict with the affected people and arguments seeking to justify some sacrifices for the sake of development lose their persuasiveness. A clean slate allows project developers to claim cleaner records than what the affected people would give them. What is more, it widens a loophole through which they can move from being proscribed to being feted as benefactors. The NHPC is not in the wrong when it claims that it was treating the road at Elaichi Khola, which means that they were doing a service to the people and the State with their unauthorised dumping. It will be interesting to see how the people of the area who lodged the first complaint feel about this claim. One sees too many such leeways allowed to project developers when even though they are made to release ‘compensation’ for damage caused due to their handling of the project, these are never officially recorded as such. The affected people do not bother about technicalities so long as their loss is made good, but the concerned officials should ensure better and ensure that official documentation of a project registers clear details of damage caused. What might publicly be called a compensation or even ‘fine’ as in the latest case, is not necessarily so in official documentation. The project developers can release the funds and record it under the head of ‘assistance’ or even bill it to their corporate social responsibility account. In retrospect, the records will reflect a glowing account of the project developers conduct instead of recording penalties for recklessness. This is also a contributing factor to the ease with which project developers can talk down to the people and get away with inconsequential events in the name of CSR. Say for example the spate of eye camps held last year by project developers in affected areas. Did someone suggest these camps because the number of ophthalmic complaints had gone up in the area? If this was indeed the case, and we are speculating now, then the first step should have been to find out whether this was because of the increased amount of dust being kicked up in the area because of increased traffic and excavation works. If so, then the eye-camps should not have been a CSR undertaking, but a compensatory service and the State Government agencies and the affected people could then have demanded a permanent eye clinic as part of the CSR.
More instances can be quoted, but the point being made here is the same and simple- fixing accountability and establishing culpability for ever slip and oversight is as important as compensating affected people, because, one, it wins the trust and faith of the people in the establishment’s commitment to look out for them when it comes to confrontations with project developers [a much-needed reassurance] and two, it flags issues of concern for future projects thereby ensuring that lessons are learnt well and future conflicts pre-empted.

Vehicle pelted with stones near Melli


GANGTOK, 05 Mar: The Melli police have registered a case of wrongful restraint and mischief causing damage against unknown persons for allegedly pelting stones at a vehicle returning from the SDF day celebrations at Jorethang on Saturday.
The incident is reported to have taken place at around 4:30 PM on 04 March when the vehicle, driven by Mahadev Darjee was returning from Jorethang towards Melli near Champa. A stone chip is reported to have hit its windshield and damaged it. The police later examined the spot and collected the stone chip and pieces of glass. No one has been arrested so far.

302 copper wires stolen from hydel project site in Mangan


GANGTOK, 05 Mar: Some miscreants have stolen a huge cache of copper wires from the construction site of the Teesta Stage III hydel project undertaken by Teesta Urja at Ringdang, Mangan. It has been reported that on the night of 02 March, some miscreants stole the copper wires, numbering 302 in all, from the store yard near bend 19 of Teesta Urja Road at Ringdang. Arrests have yet to be made and the material recovered.

Bhumchu: The Holy Vase Water


PHURBA T. TSECHUTHARPA 

Among the many festivals of “Bayul-dre-mo-Dzong”, the hidden valley of Sikkim which is compared to the celestial abode of Buddha Akshobeya, Bhumchu is perhaps the holiest ceremony. It is held every year on the 15th day of first month of the Tibetan calendar at Drakar Tashiding. This year, the festival falls on 08 March when Tashiding will once again witness the arrival of thousands of people from all over the globe gathering to receive the holy water. Drakar Tashiding is perched on a hilltop in West Sikkim, guarded by mighty mountains and bounded by Rangit and Rathong river on two sides, decorated with thousands of prayer flags amidst a number of holy chortens.
The history of Tashiding dates back to the 8th century A.D. when Guru Padmasambhava, the lotus born Buddha who is also regarded as an embodiment of all Buddha, brought Buddhism to Sikkim through Tibet and Bhutan. Guru Rimpoche, a great guru of mysticism and well versed in Tantricism, an amalgam of Buddhism, while propagating the doctrines of the Sutras and Tantras in Tibet visioned through his divine power that in the future the noble teachings of Buddha would be a subject of conflict and reach the edge of disappearance due to growing human hatred and attachment, which could eventually lead people to forget the precious past and lose respect for Gurus and elders. Therefore, in order to protect Dharma from vanishing, Guru Rimpoche blessed several lands including Tashiding, so that when the barbaric times came, these blessed lands will come to the rescue and fortunate human beings could live peacefully and preserve and practice the noble teachings. For that, he concealed many treasures under the mighty protection of guardian deities with an instruction for a different Terten (treasure revealers) that would come in different stages and reveal these hidden treasures for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Guided by his divine vision and holy motive of safeguarding the Dharma, Guru Rimpoche, with his escort Yeshi Tshogyal, Berotsana and Twenty-Five disciples descended on the hilltop of Tashiding. He blessed and sanctified this place as a holiest of holy places and concealed many treasures here, protected from all the four directions and eight cardinal points of Sikkim. Furthermore, he brought local Gods, Nagas, Mara and Demons under his command and designated them to safeguard the doctrines of Buddha Sakyamuni according to their capabilities. Similarly, he appointed Khang-Chen-Dzo-Nga as the guardian deity of the upper valley, Pawo-Hungri as a guardian deity of midle part and Madue-Chamdral as the guardian deity of lower part of this hidden valley of rice. Eventually, in the medieval period of Buddhism the emanation of guru and king of all the treasure discoverers, Rid-zing-goe-dem-chen came to Sikkim and opened the sacred entrance of the various holy places. He is also said to have founded several Gonpas, Chortens and Hermitages at the place called Pawo-Hungri near Drakar Tashiding.  He was later followed by the second Rig-zing-leg-den-ze who propagated the sacred dharma in Sikkim. Ruins and remains of these two great masters still exist till today at Pawo-Hungri.
However, it was in the Seventeen century A.D when three pioneer lamas came from Tibet and met at Yuksam, in West Sikkim. They are not only credited for the coronation of first Chogyal, but also for spreading Buddhism all over Sikkim and establishing Buddhist monasteries everywhere under the royal patronage of Chogyal Phuntsok Namgyal. They hunted down all the concealed treasures and sanctified holy places of Guru Rimpoche and built temples there. Among the lamas, Nga-dag-sempa-chenpo or Nga-dag-sempa-phuntsok-rig-zing first built Lhakhang Marpu in Yuksam and later Tashiding Monastery in the year 1641. Besides building the Tashiding monastery, he also introduced Bhumchu festival in Sikkim, which he had brought from Tibet.      
The origin of the Holy Vase goes back to the time of Guru Rimpoche who was at the time in Tibet propagating the doctrines of Sakyamuni Buddha. Before his departure to the south-west demonic realm (Lho-nub-simpai-yul), Chogyal Tri-sung-deo-tsen had made a special request to Guru Rimpoche for the short but effective practice that could enable the king to gain supreme empowerment from the cyclic suffering and attain omniscient in that very life. The King’s request had come after his lack of time for the devout full time religious practice due to his responsibility to lead his Kingdom as a head. Guru Rimpoche accepted the king’s request and agreed to bestow a special initiation called Thuzi Chenpo Khorwa Ledrol (Teaching on compassion liberating from worldly existence). With his divine power he collected precious gems, special earth and water from all the holy places blessed by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and instructed Thamchen Garalegpa to prepare a vase. He then performed twenty-one days of special rituals after the completion of Vase, wherein he invoked blessing and empowerment of Chenrezig, the lord of Compassion. While performing the Sadhna of Yidham Choe-Zig-Chal, the entire retinue deities are said to have appeared in the sky and subsequently immersed in the vase. The water contained inside the vase overflowed and spread in all four direction in the form of rays. The holy water was thus distributed to all those gathered including the King Tri-sung-deo-tsen. It was found that holy water in the vase never decreased and all those received became spiritually benefitted. The vase was then concealed into the sublime hidden treasure with the remains of holy water under the special protection of guardian deities with an instruction to be revealed in later period for the sake of all sentient beings. It was in the year, 1524, the great Terten Choki Gyalpo Garwang Zingpulingpa unearthed the Holy Bhumchu and conducted a grand prayers and rituals and kept at Thulnang Monastery in Tibet. Then in the year 1556, Terten Choki Gyalpo Zingpulingpa passed the Holy Vase to Terten Choki Gyalpo Takshyamchen. During the later part of his life Terten Takshyamchen entrusted the Bhumchu to Nga-dag-Sempa-Chenpo with special guidance that holy Bhumchu to be sited at Drakar Tashiding, the holiest and most sanctified land of Guru Rimpoche.
It was in Lhakhang Marpu (which Nga-dag-sempa-chenpo had first built this temple after his arrival at Yuksam) where he performed his first billion recitations of the mantra OM-MANI-PED-ME-HUNG for the holy Bhumchu (Vase Water). Second and third billion recitations are believed to have been performed at the Rinchenphong monastery in West and Bharphung in South Sikkim before the final recitations at Tashiding Monastery to enhance the power of Holy Bhumchu. Many unusual signs were observed on the completions of five billion mantra, such as Bhumchu never decreased, nor spoils and healed freshmen. The jubilant people gathered at the time were gripped with spiritual fervour and their mind dwelt on spirituality and happiness spread all over. Ever since the installation of Bhumchu at Tashiding monastery, special prayers are held every year following the lineage of great masters. During the erstwhile kingdom, the representatives of king used to come and check the seal, and open the lock as the key was then kept at the royal palace. However, after the merger, the responsibility passed to the Ecclesiastical Department.
The holy vase is opened amidst prayers and incantations in the midnight of 14th day of first month of Tibetan lunar calendar. Three cups of holy water are taken out for all the devotees, monks and public gathered. Earlier, three cups are taken out categorically for the royals, the monks and the public. However, those categorical practices have stopped now. After the distribution of holy water the whole of the next day, the holy vase is filled with three cups of clean water brought from Rathong Chu and the vase locked and sealed by the representatives of Ecclesiastical Department and kept secretly in the monastery.
In Conclusion, the holy text of Guru Rimpoche has said that whoever receives the holy water will be released from birth in the lower realms, such as hell, beasts and hungry ghosts and will be born either among Gods, demigod or Humans of upper world of realms. The power of Bhumchu is such that if one born in human life is adorned with seven virtuous qualities and where one could always have an opportunity to associate oneself with the noble teachings of Dharma, which could eventually give them a birth in the Zang-To-Palri, Abode of Guru Padmasambhava.
[The writer is a Research Scholar, Department Of Political Science, North Eastern Hill University, and currently serving as an Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Namchi Government College, Kamrang, South Sikkim]

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Party workers called on to reignite revolution...


...THIS TIME TO INSPIRE PEOPLE TO BECOME MORE INVOLVED AND PROACTIVE 

SDF LAYS OUT GRAND 20TH FOUNDATION DAY CELEBRATIONS


JORETHANG, 04 March: The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front laid out a grand twentieth foundation day celebrations here today, putting together a staggering attendance of what appeared to be a lakh party supporters. During the daylong celebrations, the party announced Chief Minister Pawan Chamling as the party President for another term and passed 32 resolutions.
In his address later in the day, the Chief Minister reminisced at length on the party’s formative days, recalling with fondness the party workers who had put much at risk by siding with SDF at the time. He paid homage to the founding members and supporters who have passed away in recent years and even spoke with warmth of those who have left the party “for reasons best known to them”, and shared that he missed each and every one of them and wished them success for their future endeavours.
His address was not all fond recollections though, and he also lashed out against Opposition parties for what he stressed was their negative politics of protesting and condemning without offering viable alternatives. This approach of opposing everything that the government was doing was irresponsible, he said, because it challenged the development model prepared by the SDF government for Sikkim without presenting an alternate model.
In this regard, he pointed out the hydel protest joined by the Opposition in Sikkim and explained that the SDF Government has identified hydel generation as the main source of revenue generation for the State. The Opposition should suggest alternative means for revenue generation and then blame the government, he said.
While maintaining that the Opposition was distancing itself from the people with their “irrational politics”, he added that the only reason the Opposition could still continue with its attempts to derail development in Sikkim was because the civil society did not hold them accountable.
Neutrality, when it comes to issues important for the future of Sikkim, was not a healthy stance to take, he said of the lay people and reminded party workers that the SDF had sparked a revolution in Sikkim with its formation in 1993. The time, he said, has come for the party workers to reignite the spark of revolution, this time to inspire the people to become more involved and participate more proactively in the development of the State.
“SDF is, and has always been, a party of the underprivileged, and hence, when baseless allegations are levelled against it and its government, it is an direct assault on the right of the poor,” he said, while calling on party workers to address all such allegations in the public domain and demolish them through democratic mediums available to them.
While there had been much speculation that the party would address the dissidence of its Upper Burtuk MLA today, no such action was seen today.
In his address though, Mr. Chamling, without taking any names, though his hint was obvious, scoffed at the “group”, which he said, was “searching for Ranko [mashal, torch] Democracy” when the democracy sought out by him with a candle in 1994 was functioning flawlessly in Sikkim.
Sikkim’s democratic and developmental credentials, he pointed out, have been recognised and feted at the national level. Pointing out that SDF had inherited a near bankrupt state in 1994, he highlighted that Sikkim was not only economically unsound at the time, but also political unstable and divided at the time. The SDF Government, he added, has worked hard to repair the economy and the social fabric of the State. “In the process, we have won the hearts and earned the trust of the Sikkimese. This will not be an easy bond to break,” he said.
He stated that at present there was no alternative to the governance brought by the SDF government in Sikkim and stressed that the only hindrance being faced was in the constant ambushing by the Opposition “misleading and confusing the people”.
Assuring that the party and its government remained undeterred, he announced that the next mission for the government was to establish the best educational standards in Sikkim and towards this end, the government will be allocating 20% of its budget to the education sector.
He also announced the establishment of model schools in every GPU and an enhancement in the intake number for the CM’s Meritorious Scheme.

Major tragedy averted as SDF pandal catches fire


STOP-PRESS
JORETHANG, 04 March: The daylong celebration of SDF’s foundation day here nearly ended in a catastrophe when a fire broke out in the venue and brought down the pandal erected at the spot. Although around 36 people were brought to the Jorethang Hospital for medical attention, all of them, save six, had suffered only minor injuries in the stampede that broke out when the fire broke out. Six of the patients were administered first aid and referred to the District Hospital at Namchi for further treatment. Some of the party workers and fire-fighters engaged in battling down the flames and escorting people away have also reported minor burn injuries, it is informed.
The cause of the fire has not been established yet and the DC [South] has ordered a Magisterial enquiry in to the incident.
The fire broke out at around 6:35 in the evening after the Chief Minister’s speech and while the venue was being prepared for the musical concert arranged for the night.
Sources at the Jorethang Hospital  inform that a total of 36 people were brought in with injuries, most of them sustained in the stampede which broke out when the fire broke out. Six of these patients, were provided first aid and referred to Namchi District Hospital.
The people at large and the patients were all praises for the diligence of the Jorethang Hospital doctors and support staff in attending to the patients despite the confusion and chaos.
While speaking to NOW!, some of the victims stressed that the doctors - Dr. Bhawana Rai, Dr. Ram Rai, Dr. Sujata Gurung, Dr. Yamuna Sharma and staff at Jorethang Hospital - did a commendable job and handled the situation exceptionally well.
Meanwhile, DC [South], AK Singh, informed that no serious injuries are reported from the incident and that two rescuers suffered minor burn injuries on their hands while rescuing people. He also confirmed that a magisterial inquiry by the Namchi SDM has been ordered to investigate the incident.  
The SP [South], Manoj Tiwari, meanwhile informed that people present at the ground at the time saw an object “like a ball of fire” falling on the pandal and sparking the fire. A detailed report on the possible causes is expected from the experts and should explain what caused the fire, he added.
He further informed that the Police have only made a General Diary entry on the incident and that the next course of action will depend on the findings of the Fire Department experts.
According to Sheikh Quasim of Jorethang, an eyewitness to the incident, four people - Prakash Chettri (22) of Sumbuk, Deepak Rana (30) of Jorethang, Menla Rasaily (45) of Namthang and Sukh Maya Kalikotey (26) of Namthang - sustained injuries while trying to stop the fire from spreading to the main stage.
With the air heavy with suspicion, the SDF party workers are seeing this as an act of sabotage and raised slogans here against “antisocial” elements. Refusing to allow the incident to cow them down, once the fire had been brought under control, they also held the musical concert scheduled for the evening.

Sikkim goes down 3-1 against Mizoram


Dr T. AO MEMORIAL FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT

MANIPUR BEATS TRIPURA 1-0
GANGTOK, 04 March: Sikkim went down 3 goals to 01 against Mizoram in its second match at the ongoing Dr T Ao Memorial Football Tournament played here at Paljor Stadium today.
Although the host team played a good game, better coordination and teamwork by the Mizo players got the better of them.
A goal by Lalfakzaula in the 2nd minute itself gave an early advantage to Mizoram and another goal by Edenthara in the 44th minute helped Mizoram end the first half with a lead of 2-0.
Continuing their stellar performance in the second half, Rameng Mawia of Mizoram scored the third goal in the 67th minute. Just as the match seemed to be headed for a 3-0 score in favour of Mizoram, Sikkim skipper, Tenzing Tsephel, scored the face-saver in injury time.
Earlier in the match, the home team missed some good opportunities to come back into the game as they failed to take advantage of any of them. Now, Sikkim will face Assam in a very crucial match on Tuesday as they need to register a victory to remain in the tournament.
In the second well contested match of the day, defending champs Manipur beat Tripura by a solitary goal. As both teams played neck-to-neck from the very start, Manipur players made constant attacks but could not score any goal and the first half ended in a goalless draw.
Soon in the second half, the referee offered a penalty shot to Manipur for a handball by a Tripura player in the D-Box area, which was competently turned into the victory goal by L Gouro Singh of Manipur in the 56th minute. Tripura players tried their best to come back into the game but could not do so.
On Saturday, Assam defeated Mizoram 3-1 in the first match, while in the next match Tripura defeated Meghalaya by the same score of 3-1.
Now, Arunachal Pradesh will take on Assam in the first match on Monday, which will be followed by a clash between Nagaland and Meghalaya.

TAAS promotes Sikkim at ‘Destination East’


GANGTOK, 04 Mar: Two senior tour operators and TAAS advisors from Sikkim attended DESTINATION EAST – an International Buyer Seller Mart on 01 – 02 March in Kolkata which was organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Eastern Region at Hotel Grand Oberoi, Kolkata.
A press release informs that this is the third edition of this initiative to focus on promotion of Eastern and North East Indian states as world class tourism destination among international buyers.
During this two-day event Sikkim tour operators Director of Marcopolo World Travels, Karma Bhutia and Director of Yak and Yeti Travels and Expeditions, Satish Bardewa , both having over 18 years of experience in the tourism industry participated in the promotion of Sikkim including the North Eastern states amongst foreign buyers and foreign media, the release informs.
Both the tour operators from Sikkim shared their expertise and suggested ways of exploration of new territory in the East and North East, as well as religious, rural, health, eco and riverine tourism, cultural & home stays and adventure circuits for International buyers mainly from Europe, USA, South East Asia and Asia Pacific countries.
DESTINATION EAST unveils a hitherto unchartered tourism trails for travel buffs from these regions. During an Interaction meet at Hotel Sonar Bangla both Sikkim promoters made the presentation on Sikkim and invited a majority of the foreign clientele to the state, who will be visiting Sikkim for the first time. Yak and Yeti Travels & Expeditions and Marcopolo World Travels will be sponsoring this FAM trip in April as the follow up to Sikkim Snow and Cultural fest, the release mentions.
Chairman, Tourism subcommittee of CII eastern region, Manab Pal during his Theme address informed the gathering that the need for promoting Sikkim and other North East states as an exclusive destination is the prime focus as the Incredible India campaign has not sufficiently covered the promotion of Northeast. Therefore, it was necessary to organize such an event like Destination East with a focus to promote the East as a potential tourism hub so that more International tourist arriving in India also visit and look East, he added.
The meet was also attended by Minister of Tourism, Government of West Bengal, Rachhpal Singh who assured his personal attention in serving the requirements of foreign tour operators in organizing their future trips to the state of Bengal.
The concluding remarks were presented by Deputy Chairman, R K Agarwal and the welcome address was presented by Chairman, Ranaveer Sinha, both from CII eastern region.
Destination East 2012 has received around 73 registrations of International Buyers from 17 countries like Bangladesh, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Singapore, USA, Vietnam and many others, who were informed about the exclusive dedication of the Government of Sikkim under the leadership of Chief Minister, Pawan Kumar Chamling. The tour operators from Sikkim also addressed the gathering and congratulated Sikkim Chief Minister for receiving the Most Innovative and Unique Tourism Project Award 2010-11, the release adds.