Friday, October 5, 2012

State Govt to generate extra revenue from unused funds


GANGTOK, 03 Oct: The State government has struck upon an innovative initiative concerning the use of unused funds that it has kept aside for land compensation etc, and which are not immediately required by it. This initiative also involves generating ‘extra revenue’ by parking these funds in a bank which offers the highest rate of interest.
The funds which are to be deposited in savings or term deposits will generate interest over a period of time and the interest generated, in turn, is to be deposited under a separate head by the respective District Collectors.
It has been particularly decreed by the state government that neither the DCs nor the Land Revenue department, which disburses the funds for land compensation etc, are authorized to utilize or incur any expenditure from the interest accruing out of the deposits.
With a view to streamline the procedure for maintaining accounts related with deferred Land Compensation and Lease Rent, the State Government has decided upon a new set of procedures. The Land Revenue Department and all the District Collectors are to convert all Current Accounts maintained by them for payment of Land compensation into interest bearing Savings Accounts. The bank accounts are to be reconciled on a monthly basis.
There will be separate accounts for lease rent and land compensation as well.
Funds for the disbursement of compensation are also to be invested in term deposits. Such funds, if not immediately required are to be invested in selected banks which offer the highest rate of interest.
The selected banks include the State Bank of Sikkim, the Sikkim State Cooperative Bank and any of the nationalized banks. While the funds in these accounts accumulate interest it has been directed by the state government that neither the district collectors nor the Land Revenue department will be authorized to use the money arising out of the interest.
No expenditure is to be incurred out of the interest accruing out of deposits in the banks. In fact, the interest accruing from the savings and term deposits are to be credited under a different head altogether. These are to be done on quarterly or half yearly basis.  
All figures of accounts held in the banks are to be compiled by the Land Revenue department as submitted by the district offices. In turn this information will be put up to the Finance Department.
The district collectors will be responsible for the receipt and payment of funds under the Land Compensation and lease rent to the head office which will have to be done monthly.

A day still left to pull out, 18 candidates withdraw nominations for the Panchayat elections

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: There have been a total 18 withdrawals of nomination papers by aspiring panchayat candidates today in all the four districts as per information received from the respective District Collectors. It should be noted that the last date of withdrawal of nomination papers for the panchayat wards and zilla panchayat elections is Friday, 05 October.
East district saw the most number of withdrawals today with 8 candidates withdrawing their candidatures. All the withdrawals pertained to the Panchayat ward elections.
There are now 716 candidates in the fray for the elections to the panchayat wards in East district. Earlier there had been a total of 6 nomination papers rejected during the scrutiny process for the panchayat wards.
As DC, East, D Anandan clarified, the scrutiny of papers had been completed on 03 October itself.
Apart from the 6 rejections in the panchayat wards, one nomination paper of a candidate for the Zilla panchayat elections was rejected in East district. All rejections as well as withdrawals pertained to Independent candidates in East.
In South district DC, South, AK Singh informed that there had been a total of 7 withdrawals today. All the withdrawals of nomination papers in South District also pertained to the gram panchayat wards.
This leaves 505 candidates for the panchayat ward elections. Out of 271 wards 134 are already uncontested. There were no withdrawals from the zilla panchayat elections in South district today.
In West there were a total of 3 withdrawals today, all SDF candidates. There were 2 withdrawals of nomination papers from the panchayat wards and a lone withdrawal from the zilla panchayat elections in West. While it is not confirmed, the withdrawals were most likely of dummy SDF candidates.
North district saw no withdrawal of nomination papers today.

Underdog USFC will prove its mettle, assures coach Phillipe D Rider

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: “USFC has strong team spirit so please support the team irrespective of their performance because winning and losing is part of the game. It is not whether you won or lost but the how you played the game that counts,” shared the United Sikkim Football Club (USFC) coach, Phillipe D Rider while speaking to media-persons today.
He was commenting on where his club stood against the three best teams in India - East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Salgaocar SC - they are to play during the league matches slated to begin this Saturday here at Paljor Stadium.
USFC, whom the coach describes as the “underdogs” of the tournament given that the Sikkim club broke into the senior division I-League only this season, will play its first match on 06 October at Paljor Stadium against Salgaocar SC. The opponents, Mr. Rider said, is a compact team with some players being in the team for almost five years now.
“We will play our first match and every match from thereon for 3 points [which a victory accrues]. We want to win and prove that we are a club that needs to be respected. We know we have a home advantage here but I feel that all matches are difficult and it takes just one mistake to change the fate of any game, thus we are keeping our fingers crossed,” he told reporters today.
While informing that USFC had 3-4 of its players either coming back from injury or other personal engagements, the coach said that it would take these players at least a few matches to reach peak match preparedness. Mentioning that the slight advantage that these players had was that they knew the pitch well, he added that this new team would make progress match after match.
“We cannot say anything as of now and hope that we rise to the occasion. I as a coach feel that we still require at least three more players, a good striker and two more options in the defense line. I will admit that we are not on the top of our game at the moment, but only time will tell where we stand.
We are looking at prospects to get new players for USFC and we are working out the same. I want to add that despite our not so good a performance in the Federation Cup, we have a really good side and we have shown the other clubs that we are a club to be respected,” he stated.  
He also mentioned that the players in his team were in good mental state and were ready to face any opponent further adding, “We are ready to give a good fight even to the Federation Cup winners”.
Speaking on the inclusion of a number of new players in the club, Mr. Rider stated, “I have always believed in the philosophy that the best players should be given a chance in the field. That is why USFC has given so many budding talents a chance to showcase their skills. Even Salgaocar has one of our players now, this shows that we have good players waiting for the right time and we at USFC give these guys the chance at the right time.”

20 Chef trainees selected in on-campus recruitment at SICB

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: All twenty Chef trainees of State Institute of Capacity Building (SICB) have been selected in the on-campus recruitment conducted today.
A press release informs that out of the twenty trainees, however, 10 trainees were selected under on-job training whereas the remaining 10 trainees were directly recruited by reputed Hotels from Jaipur, Gujarat and Pune.
The Hotel Chamu Palace, Jaipur has appointed two trainees, The Fern (Gir Forest Resort), Gujarat also selected two trainees, Hotel Gold Palace (Resort and SPA), Jaipur has provided on-job training to four trainees.
Similarly, three trainees are placed at The Season at Pune, five trainees at Norbu Gang Resort, Pelling and three at Park Hotel, Kalimpong, the release mentions.
The SICB has been conducting the Chef training for the last one year and all the trainees are placed in good properties outside and within the state.  It may be mentioned that Chamu Palace, a reflection of the Royal Palaces of India, is a 300-year-old elegant fortified palace hotel and one of the places to visit in Rajasthan.
Considering the availability of job in five star properties outside the state and requirement of chefs within the state, the SICB is starting another batch of trainees from November 2012.  This is a highly technical training and the package of salary and facilities are also better than other jobs, the release adds.

Governor condoles demise of KN Sahani

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: Governor Balmiki Prasad Singh today condoled the passing away of former Governor of Sikkim, Kidar Nath Sahani on 03 October.
Late Mr Sahani was Governor of Sikkim from 2001-2002 and of Goa from 2002-04.
The Governor in his message to the bereaved family has conveyed his deep condolences on behalf of the State of Sikkim and the entire Sikkim Raj Bhavan family.
He said that as a former Governor of Sikkim and Goa and as a national leader, late Mr Sahani’s contributions to the country would be long remembered.

Govt offices closed on Thursday to mourn demise of former Governor

GANGTOK, 04 Oct [IPR]: As per the notification from Home Department, Government of Sikkim no. 74/Home/2012 dated 04 October 2012, the State Government announces with profound sorrow the passing away of the former Governor of Sikkim Late Kidar Nath Sahani on the morning of 03 October, 2012 at New Delhi.
The notification further says that as a mark of respect to Late Kidar Nath Sahani, the former Governor of Sikkim, all state Government offices and institutions and Public Sector Undertakings shall remain closed throughout the State of Sikkim on 04 October and State mourning shall be observed on the day.
The National Flag shall be flown at half-mast on all buildings where it is flown regularly and no official entertainment shall take place throughout the State on the above date.

Editorial: No Roads for Tourism

The highways are the modern world’s great rivers. Just as most ancient civilisations came up on the banks of major rivers and their tributaries, so too in the present times does every developmental initiative demand the presence of reliable roads. One would desire good roads, but given Sikkim’s road experience of the recent past, even all weather roads would suffice. As much as road disruptions inconvenience the residents, they also interrupt ‘development’. Undeniably, after government service, it is the tourism sector which engages the most people, after all, now, nearly as many tourists visit Sikkim every year as there are people living in the State. At present, the condition of the roads is so challenged that the priority is to keep the residents connected, and while this is important, more urgency needs to be added to the repair and restoration effort by reminding the concerned agencies that the same roads also carry tourism into the State. Everyone needs to appreciate that no matter how many man-hours are spent trying to come up with the most enticing slogans to attract tourists to Sikkim, the efforts will not last beyond one season is the promise/ potential is not backed with infrastructure. Tourism depends heavily on positive word-of-mouth publicity and no traveller, who is already taking a risk visiting places based on just publicity brochures and glossy centre-spreads, will decide on a destination once he is warned about the poor road conditions. Taking Sikkim’s case, one needs to also understand that the State aspires to add pilgrimage tourism to its bouquet of offerings. Needless to add, all those who decide on Sikkim for a religious escape will expect a tranquil stay here. A bone-rattling experience on the road is not something they would have factored in.
It must also be borne in mind that when one says reliable roads, one does not, by any stretch of imagination, imply wide, three-lane blacktops. All that is required is a road that is smooth, safe and reliable. At present, Sikkim roads have none of these qualities. Bad roads (in fact all roads) turn into nightmare experiences during monsoons in Sikkim. Of course, now the BRO has added to the mix with its road expansion exercises on slopes destabilised by last year’s earthquake. Despite whatever Sikkim offers, no tourist wants an “adventure tourism” escape to begin even before s/he has checked into a hotel. Time, which is at a premium for any vacationer, commands no respect on Sikkim’s roads and the expectations are so low among regular commuters that they are satisfied if they can complete a journey without any major stalling at traffic jams idling for a landslide to be cleared. Popular destinations like Tsomgo and Nathula and North Sikkim are effectively out of bounds for the coming tourist season and even West and South Sikkim itineraries operate on poor and unreliable roads. The ride on drier days are uncomfortable, and should it as much as drizzle, then the journey plies on the wings of prayers. So, the road to promoting tourism in Sikkim lies literally in its roads. Improve them, promote well and Sikkim has enough potential to survive even just on the business brought in by the repeat tourists. This also is a matter that lies beyond the Tourism Department’s control, but the other arm, that of Roads & Bridges for the State roads, also belongs to the same Government and BRO is a central agency of the same country. Some coordination, planning and prioritisation should get the roads in better health. There is nothing new in what is being suggested and there must have been several attempts to improve the blacktops in the past, but maybe Sikkim should try harder.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sikkim has fully adopted Gandhian philosophy of Gram Swaraj: CM

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: The 143rd Gandhi Jayanti celebration at Gangtok on 02 October started with the offering of garlands and khadas to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at MG Marg by the Governor and the Chief Minister in the morning.
The Governor, in his address at Chintan Bhawan, said, “As we celebrate Gandhi Jayanti today the world also is celebrating Gandhi Jayanti as International day of Non-violence as per the resolution passed by the United Nations”. Citing various incidents in the life of Mahatma Gandhi the Governor invited people to take inspiration from the Bapu’s life, quoting Gandhi’s message to the people – “My life itself is a message”.
The Governor spoke at length about the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi in today’s world, citing various examples from his life, he said that the teachings of Gandhi are very much relevant even today. Linking Gandhi’s teachings to the people of Sikkim he said that the people of Sikkim have naturally inherited his philosophy of non-violence.
The Chief Minister, in turn, stressed that the entire human race should “vigorously pursue and follow” the Gandhian philosophy of non-violence.
Talking about the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, the Chief Minister said that the generations of leaders from different nations, including the African nations, have been greatly inspired by Gandhi, to attain their own salvation. Because of his teachings he emerged as the tallest leader of not only India but the whole world, he pointed out.
He added that following the Gandhian prescription, the state government has earmarked 70 percent of the state plan for rural development for the upliftment of the rural population. Under the Gandhian philosophy of gram swaraj, the state has fully implemented the 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts of the Constitution to elect representatives at the urban and rural levels.
Power decentralization and devolution of power to the village people have also been fully undertaken, he said. In this way easy access to village administration has been ensured, he added.
During his address the Chief Minister also urged everyone to participate and cooperate fully to successfully hold Panchayat elections and elect their village representatives. The newly elected Panchayats will be empowered through series of trainings with the best resources available countrywide, he said.
The Gandhi Jayanti celebration at Chintan Bhawan started with the lighting of lamp followed by Ramdhun and patriotic songs by the students of various schools and prayers by priests of various religions. A documentary film on Mahatma Gandhi was also screened on the day.
The programme also included release of a book titled ‘Introduction to Buddhism’ which is based on the teachings of the Dalai Lama in Nepali published by the Ecclesiastical Affairs Department.
The Governor also gave away the Best Aaganwadi Worker Award for the year 2010 to Indra Maya Kalikoti [Aaganwadi worker of ICDS Namin] and Best Aaganwadi worker Award 2011 to Puspa Sharma of Karthok ICDS Centre. The award carries a citation, certificate and cash award of Rs. 5,000. He also handed over gifts to the Safaikarmacharis of Gangtok Municipal Corporation for keeping the Gangtok town clean which was sponsored by the Sikkim Chamber of Commerce, Gangtok.

Sheer number of candidates stretches scrutiny process into day 2 for East and West districts

GANGTOK/ NAMCHI, 03 Oct: The unusually large number of hopefuls this panchayat elections has added to the workload of the Returning Officers with the DC offices keeping busy till late in the evening to complete the scrutiny process scheduled for today. The complaints and objections filed by candidates and aspirants threw up more delays. Each of these complaints and objections need to be examined by the respective Returning Officers, a process which is scheduled to Thursday. While the scrutiny process ended the quickest in North district, which also had the smallest pile to sort through, with South district completing the process late in the evening and final details not at hand for West and East district at the time of going to print.
As DC, North, TW Khangsharpa, informs there has been only one rejection of a candidate’s nomination papers there. This was related to a nomination of an Independent candidate for a panchayat ward in Kabi Tingda. There is also an objection filed by an SDF candidate against an Independent candidate for a Zilla Panchayat ward in Hee Gyathang. This hearing will be taken up tomorrow.
In North Sikkim, a total of 44 candidates have filed nomination papers for the 28 Zilla Territorial Constituencies and 160 for the 111 ward panchayats. From Lachen-Mangan constituency the zilla panchayat contest saw a total of seven candidates filing nominations papers [SDF 04 and IND 03], while for ward panchayats here, 30 candidates filed their nomination [SDF 25 and IND 05]. From Dzongu constituency, for zilla panchayats, 23 candidates filed their papers [SDF 19 and IND 04] and for ward panchayats, 78 candidates [SDF 67 and IND 11]. From Kabi-Tingda constituency, for zilla panchayat a total of 14 candidates filed their nominations [SDF 06 and IND 08] and for ward panchayats, 52 candidates [SDF 32 and IND 20].
In South Sikkim, after the scrutiny of nomination papers, a total of 78 nominations was declared valid for the 28 Zilla Territorial Constituencies and 512 for the 271 ward panchayats.
At the Zilla TC level, 48 of the 51 nominations filed by SDF candidates were declared valid. Meanwhile, with the rejection of an Independent candidate’s papers for Rameng-Perbing Phong territorial constituency, which left only the SDF candidate in the fray, the ruling party has taken its toll of uncontested Zilla TC wins to seven. Six Zilla TCs already had only SDF candidates filing nomination papers and all of them cleared the scrutiny today,
As of now, the 28 Zilla Territorial Constituencies of South Sikkim have 30 Independent candidates left in the fray after nomination papers of four were rejected. With two days still left for withdrawal, this equation could change.
Meanwhile, for the total 271 Gram Panchayat Wards of South Sikkim, for which 791 nominations were received from 521 candidates [391 from SDF and 129 Independents], four  nomination papers of candidates claiming to have SDF tickets were rejected today along with the nomination papers of seven Independent candidates. At the ward level, SDF has already established a strong sweep, having already now bagged 134 wards without contest.
In East district, the scrutiny process should be clear tomorrow due the unusually high number of candidates as well as complaints. It is informed that there are numerous objections filed especially by SDF candidates. On the other hand, it is also informed that there have been a number of rejections of scrutiny papers particularly for the Zilla panchayat seats. There was a huge crowd in the district office with people also ready to protest if their papers got cancelled.
In East Sikkim, the returning officers have to sift through 109 nomination papers [45 SDF, 62 Independents and 2 Congress] for the 32 Zilla Panchayat wards and 730 nomination papers [SDF 428 and Independents 301] for the 290 panchayat wards.
DC West also stated that the large number of candidates has made it near impossible to complete the process today. Here, the 28 Zilla Panchayat wards have received 42 nomination papers from SDF candidates and 47 from Independents; and the panchayat wards have received papers from 409 SDF candidates and 192 Independents.
As per confirmation received from West Sikkim at the time of going to print, all the 89 nomination papers for the Zilla Panchayat wards were accepted, and of the 603 nomination papers received for the 55 GPUs [317 wards], 23 had failed scrutiny [from papers scrutinized till 9:30 p.m.] with the process still far from over.

SBI contributes Rs 1 crore to CM’s Relief Fund for North Sikkim

GANGTOK, 03 Oct [IPR]: Chief General Manager, State Bank of India, Surender Kumar, handed over a cheque of Rs 1 crore to Chief Secretary Karma Gyatso here on 01 October. The amount was donated by SBI towards the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund in connection with the recent flash-flood and landslides that occurred in North Sikkim.
During the function the Chief Secretary expressed his gratitude to the State Bank of India on behalf of the State Government of Sikkim for their contribution and sympathy towards the people of the state.  He also appreciated the steps taken by the bank in terms of fulfilling its social responsibilities.
Similarly, the Chief General Manager SBI said that the officials of the bank visited many affected places and were touched by the loss of lives and infrastructure by the flash flood and landslide. Expressing their solidarity with the people of the state at the time of such a disaster the bank decided to donate the amount for the sake of the people of Sikkim, he added.

SICB officers return from inspection visit to placement options in Maharastra and Madhya Pradesh


GANGTOK, 03 Oct: Officers from the State Institute of Capacity Building (SICB) recently undertook a weeklong visit to Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh to assess facilities provided by employers to the trainees of Livelihood Schools placed at Mumbai, Gwalior, Indore, Bhopal and Ujjain.
SICB Chief Administrator, SD Dhakal, informs that the Joint Chief Administrator KB Pradhan and Deputy Director Ranjan Rai, who undertook the inspection visit, interacted not only Sikkimese youth employed at these facilities [after their training at Livelihood Schools here], but also held special meetings with the employers and have returned with an update on the facilities and terms of services.
An SICB press release informs that a sizeable number of trainees, after completion of a course at Core Skill Development, have been placed at Sohum SPA, Yatharth Futuristic Academy (Bhopal), Mastermind International School, and Shri Sanskara Academy at different locations in Madhya Pradesh.
The touring officers interacted with the employed Sikkimese youth and found that they have been offered a salary package of Rs. 10,000 with free accommodation and transport facilities at all locations.
The trainees of Livelihood Schools for computer hardware and software are placed as computer faculty in private schools in Madhya Pradesh.
The release adds that the officers also held a special meeting with Core Education Group, a pioneer on Skill Development within India and abroad and explored the possibility of placing more persons in different private schools in Madhya Pradesh and met the authorities of the schools as well.
The authorities have given the excellent feedback and expressed their full satisfaction of the work being carried out by them.  They also urged to train more youth for employment in their schools in future and insisted to provide them the basic knowledge on teaching, the release states.
In view of this, the SICB has immediately [wef 01 Oct 2012] started a Basic Teacher’s Training Course at Gangtok for 50 trainees to meet the requirement of the these schools, the release informs. Similarly, a batch of 50 trainees is being trained at Namchi Centre from 01 November onwards, the release adds.
The SICB is exploring all possibilities to train youth in different skills in demand in the job market and it was in pursuance of this aim that a new Livelihood School on Construction Trade was recently started at Turuk.  A batch of 42 trainees have already passed out from the Chakung Livelihood School on Construction Trade and are now self employed and engaged in the construction of houses in their respective localities under CMRHM and REDRH houses, the release informs.

Will give our best to win all home matches, Bhaichung assures as USFC gears up for I-League debut

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: An upbeat mood prevails in the United Sikkim Football Club camp as its official debut in senior division I-League draws near. Bhaichung’s USFC has reason to be confident, given that it broke into the I-League on its second attempt itself and is itself the result of Bhaichung’s dream to provide players with a professionally managed outfit. The manner in which Bhaichung has nurtured the club and the passion with which he has ‘professionalised’ it  are obvious to all, and the moment has arrived.
Speaking to media persons recently, Bhaichung shared that USFC will be going all out to maintain a flawless home-game record at the I-League this season. Interestingly, I-League opens with a USFC home-game on 06 October when the club hosts Dempo SC at Paljor Stadium. USFC has 13 home matches spread out from 06 Oct to 28 April 2013.
Underlining that I-League is the top tier of Indian football, he invited football fans to make it for the matches in strong numbers to get a chance to watch the country’s best teams in contest with the home-club. “Some of the football clubs will be seen playing in these parts for the first time,” he added.
He further informed that important delegates and personalities from within and outside the country will also be visiting Gangtok during the matches, with an Asian Football Confederation delegation arriving here on 05 October, the eve of the inaugural match, to inspect the arrangements.
USFC is sparing no efforts to host the matches flawlessly and experts have been hired to ensure better organization of I-League matches in Sikkim, he said.
As for the facilities, he further informed that anti-doping and medical rooms have also been set up in the stadium and added that sports channel Ten Action will telecast at least two of the 13 matches live.

Former Governor Kedar Nath Sahani passes away, CM extends Sikkim’s condolences

GANGTOK, 03 Oct [IPR]: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and his wife, Mrs. Tika Maya Chamling, have expressed their deep condolence on the demise of former Governor of Sikkim, Kedar Nath Sahani who passed away this morning at Batra Hospital in Delhi. His cremation is scheduled to will be held at the Lodhi Road Crematorium at 1800 hrs Thursday.
He was 86 years of old and served as Governor of Sikkim from 2001 to 2002.  The Chief Minister in his condolence message to the bereaved family conveyed the sentiments of the Sikkimese people who remembered the contribution of the departed soul towards the State of Sikkim. Late Mr Sahani is survived by his wife and two sons.

Committee set up to address grievances of daily wage workers

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: As promised earlier by the Chief Minister, the state government has set up a committee to examine grievances and complaints of the daily wage workers. Headed by the Secretary, Labour Department, the government has established a 7- member committee to examine the requests and grievances of various categories of workers.
This committee has been mandated to look into the grievances of not only government employed daily wage workers but also those under the private sector for revision of the Minimum Daily Wages.
The government has given a period of 2 months to this committee to submit its report. Other members of the committee include Principal Chief Engineer cum Secretaries, Roads & Bridges, Building & Housing and Power departments; Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Controller of Accounts and the Special Secretary, DPER & NEC Affairs as member secretary.

Editorial: Awaiting Non-Governmental Initiatives

Cases of suicides, substance abuse, domestic violence, child molestation, petty crime etc are not uncommon in Sikkim. May be they never were, but in the past, there were social cushions made of stronger fabric to care for the victims and to protect better. Now, however, Sikkim lives a more ‘modern’ life and even as the crimes and social challenges mentioned above are reported more often, the responses, at least in the institutionalised format that have evolved in other societies similarly affected [which is just about everywhere], have not manifested thus far. It is important for the civil society and people’s organisations here to realise that there are many problems facing Sikkim which only non-governmental volunteers can address effectively. Discomfiting situations, especially the ones that are social in nature, require agencies from outside the government to find deliverance. The State can at best play the role of a facilitator by putting in place the right laws and making available the required funds to aid the process, but cannot be expected to resolve the challenges. One must accept that when the government takes on the role of the NGO, there is too much tokenism which does not end up achieving much and helps even fewer. This is not for want of intent, but more a fallout of the lack of commitment caused by haphazard prioritisation. Government officials are after all in transferable jobs and have other considerations weighing on their minds like career progression to get too involved with the social cause they might presently be ex officio or otherwise involved in and expected to address. Their involvement then gets limited to and dictated by guidelines and precedence, neither of which works in real life situations. Without complete involvement, social problems cannot be solved and this commitment can only be guaranteed by committed volunteers of an NGO. Government functionaries will be satisfied with an elaborately staged “World Day” observance of their present responsibility or the odd workshop and seminar or awareness programme. Real work involves getting the hands dirty and that is too much to expect from a person with only temporary responsibility of the problem. The government is also handicapped by the red tape it wraps itself in. Work on field demands instant decisions and improvisation which government officials are either not trained for or unwilling to risk. In Sikkim, unfortunately, the NGO culture is still nascent and because of this the government-NGO relationship is also not one of mutual respect. Since most NGOs here are completely dependent on the State for funds and directions, their independence is restricted. It is time the NGO culture developed into a viable deliverer of services and information to the Sikkimese, especially those in the rural areas. Many changes are afoot at present and NGO involvement in cushioning their impact is an urgent need.


Quality education and development have become basic needs in today’s world. In this fast developing and competitive world, we should also be trained in the same way.
Orientation programme on quality and development that our government organized under the great leadership of Hon’ble Chief Minister Pawan Chamling this year was one of the best programmes. I would also like to congratulate the CM and his government for organizing such a positive programme.
This type of programme should be held every year because it boosts the moral of students and build the confidence. I too attended the programme at Makha on 03 August, 2012. There were around ten thousand students and two thousands teachers from five constituencies. I felt very proud and happy when our Chief Minister told the students, “I am your guardian who always thinks about your bright future and will always lead you in the right direction. I want to give you all best of the best education and want you all to become successful and good human beings”.
Our Chief Minister, in this orientation programme on quality education, said, “I do politics to make Sikkim the best state and the Sikkimese the best citizens in the world”, and this claim is a fact which he has been delivering on for the betterment of Sikkim, especially we students who are getting lot of opportunity for our good future.
Our chief minister also informed us about future plans of his government for student like sponsoring students, coaching courses for IAS and elite services, defense services, obtaining state quota for aeronautical, engineering and establishing university of technical education and hotel management institution in every district of the state.
Also our hon’ble Chief Minister Pawan Chamling announces that biggest challenge in Sikkim right now is that our people have to destiny their mindset with the wisdom of education. He also urged the teacher to draw inspiration from Lord Brahma a creator and a teacher to immerse them in helping us. And gave us lot of knowledge and suggested us to value the time and to do the moral activity for the future of Sikkim. He also informed that the future of students is in teacher’s hand and appealed for good and responsible teachers in moulding the future of the students.
In this quality education and development programme whatever is announced was the fact and we were happy to be the part of these programme. We are lucky to have a noble and hardworking person as our chief minister. He is always thinking about his people’s well being and to develop our state. It will be under his leadership that our state Sikkim will become a model state of the nation.
I would like to appeal all my fellow Sikkimese to be united and come together to help our beloved leader fulfill our dream.
Preetam Singh
Samdong Senior Secondary School, East Sikkim

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Madness of Crossing Troublesome Lanthey Khola

While the smaller slides have been cleared along the Mangan-Chungthang highway, the monster disruptions at Lanthey [pix alongside] and Chiyandara remain unspanned. When the weather is clear, some risk the walk across to avail transhipment options which are now available. This remains a risky undertaking as the photograph amply illustrates, but there are hardy porters at hand who even risk making the journey weighed down with headloads for a small premium. As Ongdi Sherpa, one of the porters negotiating the Chiyandara and Lanthey slides with headloads of ration and vegetable provisions, says: “We are charging Rs. 200 for one sack of load and charging Rs. 150 per carton of beer for the carriage from Chyandara to Lanthey which is half kilometre but it is very risky for us to tranship the goods in such a dicey slide where anything could happen at any moment”. Meanwhile, BAC Mangan has arranged for light refreshments for commuters and other workers here at Chyandara, a provision being managed under the supervision of Dorjee Tshering Lepcha and Choden Lepcha.

Lachungpas losing patience with BRO and BSNL indifference

GANGTOK, 30 Sept: The patience of the people of Lachung is wearing thin in the face of the repeated collapse of infrastructure under the charge of Border Roads Organisation and BSNL. Connectivity, both, road and telecom, is seriously challenged in this North district village and the people, even after making relaxations for extreme weather conditions, are convinced that their privation is made more severe because of “ignorance and negligence” of the two agencies.
Pema Lachungpa, a Lachung Dzumsa coordinator, while addressing a press conference here last Friday, said, “By taking lesson from last year’s earthquake devastation, these two organizations should have made some special strategies and should have been better prepared for the monsoon to keep the area connected, but no such strategy was made.” The photographs [alongside] of the roads from Lachung to Chungthang that he shared with the media illustrate the condition of road infrastructure there.
As a result, Lachung has been cut off, both by road and for telecommunication, for the past more than two months ever since a massive landslide tore away the road at Khedum, a few kilometers out of Lachung towards Chungthang. While this stretch, despite attendant dangers, offered the option of transshipment, the rash of landslides triggered by the heavy showers which began on 21 September have littered the Lachug-Chungthang road with more than 30 landslides, at least a dozen of which are major.
Transshipments are no longer an option, and people are required to walk the entire distance to Chungthang now and even the roads beyond it are not open for regular traffic.
As things stand, Lachung has been without roads, electricity or telephone for the last two months and the terrain and weather notwithstanding, the people remain convinced that BRO and BSNL could have delivered better had they not decided to “ignore” the situation, Mr. Lachungpa adds.
To explain his contention in more detail, he pointed out that BRO has not maintained enough manpower, equipment or even fuel for its machines on this axis to ensure quick repairs and timely restoration.
To illustrate this point in starker detail, he pointed out that the back-cutting works for road widening works on North Sikkim Highway [from Phengla above Gangtok onwards] has been underway for the past 20 years and the organization has covered barely 20 kms.
He underlined that the people from his area need to travel to Mangan or Gangtok for medical emergencies and that the disruption of the road has posed severe problems.
Speaking on the communication situation, he informed that Lachung has telephone services for barely a month in a year. In this regard, he mentioned that the people have approached BSNL authorities several times to demand better services but seen no action in this regard so far.
Given the challenges of the terrain, the people remain convinced that fibre-optic cables can be maintained properly and have demanded that the area be serviced by satellite link instead which would make the service “landslide proof”. This suggestion was reportedly turned down by BSNL on the grounds that it would take around Rs 1 crore to install such a system, an investment which BSNL appears uninterested to make. He rued the situation, adding that despite several directions from the state government, these organizations have not been taking the problems of their area seriously.
“If this situation continues, then the people of North Sikkim will hold a meeting to discuss these problems and take some strong action… now, the people will remain silent,” he said.

Official count lists 82 houses as damaged in North Sikkim flurry of slides

MANGAN, 30 Sept: The latest flurry of landslides which began collapsing across North Sikkim on 21 September and continued for almost another week, the situation has just about stabilized a bit now, apart from 21 lives it claimed in the district and the extensive damage it caused to the road network, has, as per official data, damage 82 houses in the district. The road network is in tatters in the district, the electricity and water supply severely hit and the 21 lives lost – 20 in the Chungthang sub-division and one fatality due to a landslide reported from Kusung village in Upper Dzongu.
Landslide damage to houses has been reported from three Blocks – Chungthang, Passingdang and Mangan.
As per data compiled by the SDM Office, Chungthang, twenty houses have sustained landslide damage in the Chungthang sub-division, where 20 lives were also lost and livestock also killed. Also damaged by a landslide is the kitchen shed of Bop Primary School here. 80% of damaged houses are kutcha houses.
The data from Mangan BAC reveals that 52 houses have been damaged by landslides at villages under this BAC.  Out of 52, seven houses are recorded as fully damaged.
The figures for BAC Passingdang in Dzongu posts the number of houses damaged at 10 - at Kusong, Tingvong and Lingkoo along with one abandoned school at Kusong.
What is also recorded is that major damage has been to cultivated land.
The district administration has released immediate ex-gratia as per norms, staggering the compensation among fully damaged, severely and partially damaged categories.
Officials further inform that several under construction CMRHM houses have also been damaged.  The BDO Dzongu, Dr. SR Lepcha, informs that under construction CMRHM houses have been extensively damaged in the Rabong-Hee Gyathang area. Meanwhile, the road to Tingvong in Upper Dzongu is expected to be cleared for traffic any day now with restoration work underway full swing by the Roads & Bridges Deptt.

Panchayat nomination filing process gets unpleasant hiccup with SBS half-yearly closing


GANGTOK, 01 Oct: With aspiring candidates of the Panchayat polls already miffed at the short notice provided by the administration in filing their nominations, especially given the number of holidays the past week had, the closure of the State Bank of Sikkim today only aggravated their situation.
With the bank observing its half-yearly closing day today, many of the candidates who wanted to file their nominations today, the last day for doing so, were almost prevented from doing so as they were unable to get their TDRs from the State Bank of Sikkim. It was only after the State Election Commission intervened and spoke to the Managing Director, SBS, that the bank opened fits branches for the panchayat candidates who could then file their nominations.
As per reports, there was a big crowd outside the Sichey branch of the SBS here this morning. They had arrived to get their TDRs made in order to file their nominations for the panchayat elections. What they found was a bank closed for the day in observance of the half-yearly closing day.
The half-yearly closing day for banks falls on 29 Sept, but since that day was a holiday in Sikkim, SBS decided to observe it on 01 Oct instead [30 Sept was a Sunday]. Interestingly, banks normally take the half-yearly closing on the preceding day when the appointed day is a holiday. As per his norm, SBS should have been closed on 28 Sept, which also would have been inconvenient for panchayat aspirants. Taking this closing day today, allowed the bank a string of four straight days of holidays [with 02 Oct being Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday].
If the bank and its branches had remained closed today, it would have definitely complicated matters, but things did not come to such a pass with the intervention of the State Election Commissioner following which the SBS opened its counters to accommodate the candidates.

More than football footwork at Paljor Stadium for USFC home matches of I-League


GANGTOK, 28 Sept: United Sikkim Football Club [USFC] is gearing up to host 13 matches of the Senior Division I-League 2012-13 at Paljor Stadium here, and even as the players are in intense training for the club’s I-League debut, the management has tied up with cultural groups and performing artists from the region to add a dash of entertainment to the sporting action at Paljor Stadium.
Addressing a press conference here recently, USFC co-owner, Bhaichung Bhutia, informed that the top-20 contestants from the “Just Dance Darjeeling Little Champ- 2012” will be performing at the ground during at the inaugural match, not just of the Sikkim leg, but I-League 2012 itself, on 06 October when USFC takes on the formidable Salgaocar SC.
Interestingly, Sikkim will be hosting both, the inaugural as well as the final match of the I-League this season with the last match of the league scheduled for 28 April 2013.
Bhaichung explained the decision to invite performances by local artistes during the matches here was an extension of the Club’s commitment to promote local talent – by signing up more players from the region and now also by providing another platform for the performing artists from the region.
Just Dance Darjeeling Little Champ- 2012 is being organized by Darjeeling-based the Himalayan Twister.
Bhaichung informed that almost every match home match will feature performances by local artists and bands.
He highlighted that I-League was the biggest football event for Sikkim and will go a long way towards inspiring upcoming and young local footballers. He added that the entertainment package at the venue will also be another highlight for spectators apart from matches of biggest clubs of the country.
Bhaichung mentioned that the moment he heard about the Just Dance Darjeeling Little Championship, he invited them to perform on the inaugural day.
Himalayan Twister secretary, Bikram Bhitrikoti, in turn mentioned that the dance competition was for the age group of 6-16 years and aims to promote talent of the hills and help them compete in national level competitions and talent hunts. He informed that more than 1000 contestants participated in the event this year and expressed gratitude towards Bhaichung for providing an opportunity to the top-20 to perform on the inaugural day. The dance competition is scheduled for a grand finale at Chowrasta in Darjeeling on 28 October.

Nomination filing process ends for Panchayat polls

District offices at the four district headquarter towns kept a hectic day today, the last date for filing of nomination papers for the panchayat polls called for 03 November, as they received a staggering number of panchayat hopefuls submitting their nomination papers with the respective DC’s. The nomination papers submitted, collating of the data kept the concerned officers busy till late in the evening, given the sheer number of submissions received through the week and on the final day today. The two-tier panchayat system in Sikkim has a total of 987 panchayat wards and 198 Zilla Territorial Constituencies and should all of them witness a contest, which is highly unlikely, some 2.65 lakh voters in rural Sikkim will get a chance to participate in the election process. With the scrutiny of nomination papers scheduled for 03 October and the final date for withdrawals set for 05 October, the final picture of the rural poll process will be known only on Friday evening. Till then, here is a rundown of how things stand as on the final day of filing nomination papers, today…

NAMCHI, 01 Oct [PURAN TAMANG]: Out of the 28 Zilla territorial constituencies in South Sikkim, 6 have only SDF candidates, booking these six territorial constituencies even before the last date for withdrawal of nomination forms for the panchayat poll process which usually throws up the final figures on areas which will see actual polling and which will post uncontested panchayat representatives. Today was the last date for filing of nomination forms for the panchayat polls called for 03 November.
Although the scrutiny of nomination forms is still due [scheduled for 03 October], going by the nomination filing status, the following territorial constituencies have only one candidate, all from SDF: Nagi Maneydara-Turung [Devi Maya Baraily], Mellidara-Turuk [Farwanti Tamang], Kitam Manpur [KN Pradhan], Assangthang [Tulashi Maya Mangar], Legship-Lamatar [Narmaya Chettri], Ralong-Borong [Tulsi Gurung].
A total of 71 nomination papers were filed for the 28 Zilla seats, 22 of which were by independent candidates and 49 by SDF candidates [six of whom are uncontested].
Meanwhile, the 271 Panchayat Wards have received a staggering 791 nomination papers. The high numbers notwithstanding, SDF is all set to see at least 136 of its candidates elected uncontested since these many wards have no other candidates except those with SDF tickets.
The remaining 135 panchayat wards have 127 independent candidates at present. The mismatch in the numbers is because many wards have more than one SDF candidate, thanks to the common practice of fielding dummy candidates until the scrutiny process is completed, and also the not rare practice of one candidate filing more than one nomination paper. SDF, as things stand, has 393 candidates for the 271 wards. A clearer picture on the final tally will emerge after the scrutiny on Wednesday and the last date for withdrawing nomination papers on 05 October.

GYALSHING, 01 Oct: On the completion of the nomination filing process today, the 28 Zilla Territorial Constituencies in West Sikkim have a total of 89 panchayat hopefuls with the number of independents slightly higher than those with SDF tickets.
As per data received from the DIO, West, 47 of the 89 nomination papers filed for the 28 Zilla Territorial Constituencies are by independent candidates, while those with SDF tickets are 42. The Darap-Chumbung Zilla Territorial Constituency has received the highest number of nomination papers at seven.
Meanwhile, the 317 Panchayat Wards in West Sikkim received nomination papers of 601 candidates, of whom 409 are SDF candidates and 192 are independent candidates.

GANGTOK, 01 Oct [IPR]: The 52 Gram Panchayat Units in East district have a total of 290 panchayat wards, and today, the last date for filing of nominations for the panchayat polls revealed an impressive stack of 730 nomination papers at the district office here.
Of the 730 nomination papers filed, 428 are by SDF candidates, 301 by independents and a solitary Congress candidate.
Meanwhile, the 32 Territorial Constituencies [Zilla Panchayat] in East District received the nomination papers of 109 candidates, 45 from the SDF, 62 Independents and 2 Congress candidates.

MANGAN, 01 Oct [WANGCHUK BHUTIA]: The details of the completion of the nomination filing process for North district could not be secured till the time of going to print. The status as of Saturday was that 129 candidates had filed nomination papers for the ward panchayats and 24 for the zilla territorial constituencies. Of the 129 candidates at the ward panchayat level, 88 are SDF candidates and 41 Independents. Meanwhile, the 24 nomination papers for zilla territorial constituencies have 17 SDF candidates and seven independents.

Poultry consignment confiscated but situation remains unclear

GANGTOK, 01 Oct: The consignment of 294 cartons of eggs confiscated by the Sadar police on Saturday at the Lall Bazaar was supposedly to meet the demands of the public “…as there had been media reports of shortage of eggs”. This is the statement reportedly given to the police by way of explanation. A more simple way out would be to lift the ban on the import of poultry products into Sikkim. There were two utility vehicles which brought in eggs on 29 September and while one had already been unloaded, the police seized the other vehicle on grounds that unauthorized poultry import into the State was banned.
The consignment was with the police the whole day and only later released when the department produced the notification dating back to April 2010 permitting Sikkim Hatcheries and Denzong Cooperatives exclusively to import poultry products into the state. It was explained that the consignment belonged to Sikkim Hatcheries to meet the demand in Gangtok. The consignment was confiscated under section 102 of the CrPC.
The consignment was supposedly handed over to Ashok Tamang for distribution. Speaking to NOW!, Mr. Tamang clarified that he has not been accorded a ‘Special Permit’ by Sikkim Hatcheries to import eggs as initially reported and which again would be questionable.
“I am only a distributor, the eggs are not brought into Sikkim by me”, he stated. Mr. Tamang reiterates that he, along with a few others are only distributors and are selling the eggs at lower rates of Rs. 5 per piece than the Rs. 8 for the benefit of the people.
His statement that it was Sikkim Hatcheries that brought the eggs from Siliguri becomes relevant in the context of the directive of the Animal Husbandry department that poultry can be brought into Sikkim from only two designated poultry farms in Siliguri. Incidentally, this consignment was brought from the open market in Bidhan Market, Siliguri. In fact this consignment of poultry is not even from Siliguri as the cartons have the address of a poultry merchant in Velpur, Andhra Pradesh. This aspect should also be looked into by the department. The reason why only two agencies in Sikkim are permitted to bring in poultry into the state and not others is that they would purchase it from the designated farms in Siliguri. This was the logic of the department when it initially imposed the ban.
On the other hand, the very fact that such a consignment had to be brought in from Siliguri exposes the claim of self sufficiency in poultry products by the state. The daily demand for eggs for Gangtok town alone is over 200 crates [6,000 eggs] while the total produce of hatcheries in Sikkim would hardly come to 2,000 eggs.

Neighbour throws 7 year old girl into jhora in Shyari

GANGTOK, 01 Oct: A 7-years-old girl child was thrown into a jhora from the terrace of a nearby building by a 32-year-old neighbor here at Upper Shyari, Deorali early Sunday morning. The child has sustained grievous injuries but is reportedly out of danger.
The incident occurred Sunday morning at around 6 AM, when Hamidul Rehman of Islampur, West Bengal, was seen by witnesses as hurling the girl from the terrace into the jhora, a drop of at least 20 feet.
It is informed that the accused had started living with his friends next to the victim’s house in the same building barely two weeks ago. The victim, it is learnt, was playing outside her house when the accused took her away to the next building. As per the residents, they heard the girl crying and calling for her father and even as they were responding to her call, they saw the accused throw her into the jhora. The neighbours managed to rescue the girl from the jhora and also restrained the accused from fleeing the spot and handed him over to the police.
Sadar Police has registered a case under Section 452 [House-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint] and 325 [Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt] of the Indian Penal Code.

Boys’ Club revives Inter-Departmental Football Tournament

GANGTOK, 01 Oct: The Inter-Departmental Football Tournament was kicked off by Chief Secretary Karma Gyatso here at Paljor Stadium today. Originally organized by the Sikkim Football Association on sponsorship by the Home Department, the tournament has been revived after a gap of many years by one of the oldest football clubs of Sikkim, Boy’s Club, this year.
A total of 22 teams representing various government departments are taking part in the tournament which will be played in the league format with each team playing four matches each. The matches are on the “recreation format” of 35 minutes for each half and five substitutions allowed for the teams in each match.
In his inaugural address, the Chief Secretary expressed his happiness on the revival of this tournament and thanked Boy’s Club for taking the initiative.
Former Chief Secretary, PK Pradhan, who is also a former Sikkim Football Association president, also expressed his happiness on the revival of the tournament and urged Boy’s Club to sustain its initiative.
Likewise, the Sports and Youth Affairs Secretary, Karma P Bhutia also congratulated the Boy’s Club for resuming the tournament after a long gap.
Boy’s Club coordinator, Basant Gurung thanked all the government departments for supporting the tournament and mentioned that money saved from the organisation of the tournament will be used to train underprivileged children [aged between 12 to 17 years] enrolled in the Boy’s Club Academy. He also expressed gratitude towards the Chief Secretary on behalf of the club for granting permission to revive the tournament.
The inaugural match was played between Sikkim Legislative Assembly and Law Department, which the former won 3-0. In other matches played later in the day, Home Department outplayed DoP 2-1 and Land Revenue Department beat Planning and Development Department 4-3.

Subsidized LPG quota for current fiscal - 3

GANGTOK, 01 Oct: The State Trading Corporation of Sikkim, in a general notice for the interest if LPG consumers across the State, informs that the Ministry of Petroleum, Government of India, in pursuance of the ceiling of 6 subsidised cylinders per year imposed by it per household, has fixed the quota on number of cylinders under subsidized category for this financial year i.e. till March 2013 at three cylinders per household.
Households taking any more than three cylinders before March 2013 will have to pick up the additional cylinders under the non-subsidized category. When procued within a 10 km radius of the distributor’s godown, a subsidized LPG refill costs Rs. 430; the same under the non-subsidized rate will cost Rs. 952 as per price fixed by the Food & Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department.
Needless to add, the two levels of pricing also require more detailed documentation which has already sent consumers across the State in a tizzy as they try and get their LPG blue books transferred.
The STCS notice explains that distributors are now required to maintain detailed records on all consumers. The notice also recognizes that STCS being the oldest LPG distributor in the State, most of the consumers across Sikkim still hold STCS bluebooks even though they are already lifting their refills from other distributors. The price differential tied to amount of consumption now requires for these blueblooks to be updated properly and this will require transfer to proper distributors.
“It is at this backdrop, mandatory that such consumers must apply for TTV alongwith blue-book and SVR with the STCS to get their connections transferred to their respective distributors falling under their locality / area of operation as demarcated by the M/s. IOCL in order to enable the consumers / distributors to smoothly avail the above subsidized cylinders,” the STCS notice details.
Consumers are also mandatorily required fill and submit “Know Your Consumer” (KYC) forms for registration and allocation of individual consumer numbers and its subsequent authentication “which would perhaps have multiple purposes particularly for the purpose of applying ration card, etc”. This shall also facilitate the smooth implementation of the new mechanism in ensuring the consumers that they receive the subsidized refill cylinders as per ceiling without any hindrances.
Further, to make the matter easier and convenience for the consumers, the Corporation shall provide coupons and Know Your Consumer (KYC) forms obtainable from the STCS office or from any of its LPG distribution team at the time of refilling, the notice informs.
“No subsidized cylinders shall thenceforth be issued without producing such coupons and blue-books. It is therefore now mandatory that all our consumers produce or posses their valid Blue-Books alongwith the said coupons for availing the refilling of cylinders as per the above quota under subsidized category,” the notice stresses.
The notice further requests that consumers, who possess “block connection” surrender the same and apply for individual connection.

Pick of Mumbai International Film Festival to screen at Mannan Kendra

GANGTOK, 01 Oct [PIB]: The Films Division under Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, in collaboration with the Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department, is organising a non-competitive documentary, short and animation film festival “MIFF in Sikkim” from 03 to 06 October, 2012 at Manan Kendra here.
This was announced by the Branch Manager, Films Division, Kolkata, Sumoy Mukherjee, at a press conference held in Gangtok today. During the festival, 26 award winning films from the biennial Mumbai International Film Festival [hence the MIFF in the name] will be screened.
Mr. Mukherjee said that “MIFF in Sikkim” will showcase some of the finest cinematic works of the last eight years from throughout the world. Entry to the film screenings is free.
The festival will open with the screening of a biographical documentary on Rabindranath Tagore directed by Satyajit Ray as a special gesture to mark the 150th birth anniversary of the poet.
He also invited filmmakers from Sikkim to come forward with proposals to produce short documentaries and even fiction and animation films to showcase Sikkim’s cultural heritage and eminent personalities.
Jagdish Sharma, OSD, Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department, also addressed the press conference and assured the department’s full support and cooperation in ensuring the success of the film festival.

Bihari Jagran Manch elects central committee uncontested, rival group serves legal notice

GANGTOK, 01 Oct: A press communiqué received from the chief election officer for election of central committee of the Sikkim Bihari Jagran Manch, Manoj Kumar Gupta, informs that the posts of president, vice-president, general secretary, joint secretary and treasurer were announced elected uncontested today. Following close on the heels of this announcement arrived allegations from a rival faction with Baliram Prasad, a founder member of SBJM, who is also the president of Ranipool branch, announcing that he has despatched a legal notice to the CEO and the entire election committee convinced that due norms for the election were not followed.

GTF confers with Sikkim parties and organizations on Gorkhaland demand

GANGTOK, 01 Oct: The Gorkhaland Task Force [GTF] convened a meeting with leaders from different political parties and non-political organizations at Press Club of Sikkim on Sunday to discuss various issues related to the Gorkhaland statehood demand.
The meeting was attended by Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee president NB Bhandari, Sikkim Himali Rajya Parishad’s Dr AD Subba, All Sikkim Educated Self-Employed and Unemployed Association president Nawin Kiran, Concerned Society of Sikkim vice-convener Pradeep Yonzon and representatives from other organizations of Sikkim.