Saturday, September 21, 2013

Golay becomes a former MLA SPEAKER INVOKES ANTI-DEFECTION LAWS TO DISQUALIFY UPPER BURTUK MLA FROM LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

VISHNU NEOPANEY
GANGTOK, 20 Sept: PS Tamang [Golay] is now a former MLA. Speaker of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly today passed an order disqualifying the Upper Burtuk MLA from the House. The disqualification follows from Mr. Tamang’s resignation from the ruling party on whose ticket he had been elected on in 2009. The resignation would have automatically attracted disqualification on the basis of anti-defection rules. The stage is now set for bye-elections for Upper Burtuk constituency and it will interesting to see whether these are called, when they are called, who participates and what level of contest takes place.
Speaker KT Gyaltsen, while passing the order on Mr. Tamang’s disqualification, explains that the decision has been prompted by paragraph 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India. The disqualification comes into effect immediately i.e. from 20 Sept itself.
Mr. Tamang, it may be recalled, had circulated his resignation from primary membership of the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front on 04 September. With this, as per Article 191 of the Constitution of India under ‘Disqualifications for Membership’ Sub-Section 2, Mr. Tamang has been disqualified from remaining a member of the State Legislative Assembly, it is informed.
The Speaker, it is informed, passed the order after the SDF party accepted Mr. Tamang’s resignation and recommended his disqualification to the Speaker.
The Sikkim Legislative Assembly secretariat has also confirmed the rebel MLA’s disqualification.
Interestingly, the first notification issued by the SLA secretariat today had misspelled disqualify and a corrected notification was reportedly issued after this typo was pointed out.
As per the ‘Anti-Defection Law’ underlined in Tenth Schedule of Articles 102(2) and provisions as to disqualification on ground of defection says in Paragraph 2sub section ‘(1) Subject to the provisions of [paragraphs 4 & 5, a member of a House belonging to any political party shall be disqualified for being a member of the House- (a) if he has voluntarily given up his membership of such political party; or (b)   if he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by the political party to which he belongs or by any person or authority authorized by it in this behalf, without obtaining, in either case, the prior permission of such political party, person or authority and such voting or abstention has not been condoned by such political party, person or authority within fifteen days from the date of such voting or abstention. ‘A person shall be disqualified for being a Member of the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council of a State if he is so disqualified under the Tenth Schedule.’

Claims continue in WC & MR employees assc, ne prez appoints CEC

GANGTOK, 20 Sept: All Sikkim Government Work Charged & Muster Roll Employees’ Association’s newly elected president, Ugen Lepcha nominated members of the central executive committee of the association today.
A press release informs that Ugen Lepcha was elected by members from all four districts during a meeting held on 15 September here in the capital.  Mr Lepcha encouraged the new executive members to work with better coordination for the welfare of the MR and WC employees. He further stated that the association will be following up with the announcement of the state government to regularize MR & WC employees who have been in service for more than 5 years.
The new committee has Ugen Lepcha as president, Sushila Subba as vice-president, Om Bikram Rizal as general secretary, Thinley C Gurung and Sumati Subba as treasurers, Pranita Rai and Ishwar Sharma as joint secretaries, and Ganga Bahadur Chettri and C Hangma Subba as publicity secretaries.

Kids to soar this weekend TWO-DAY INTERSCHOOL COMPETITION ‘UDAAN’ ON 21-22 SEPTEMBER

GANGTOK, 20 Sept: The Inner Wheel Club & the Rotary Club of Gangtok are organizing a two-day interschool competition ‘Udaan’ at Tashi Namgyal Senior Secondary School here on 21 and 22 September.
A press release informs that Udaan, pegged as “the flight of creativity”, is envisaged to bring out the creative and literary best in the younger generation. The aim is to promote a healthy spirit of competition amongst the youth and encourage them to be more aware of the world around them and to make them interested in seeking knowledge.
The event is being organized during this time well before exams so that students can spare time, the release mentions. September is also the “New Generation Month” as per Rotary’s International Calendar and “Literacy Month” as per Inner Wheel's International Calendar.
This year, around 600 students from various schools of Sikkim are expected to participate in the event. Students will be divided into 3 groups and four different competitions will be held in each category. Junior group will compete in Quiz, Spell Bee, Word Grid and Elocution; Middles group will compete in Painting, Quiz, Spell Bee and Group Song; Seniors will take part in Painting, Quiz, Antakshari, and extempore speech.
To keep the momentum going, each category has one fun event too. There will be a surprise quiz for the grownups on both days of the event, the release adds.

Tiger-5 Open Football Tournament in October

GANGTOK, 20 Sept: Sikkim Himalayan Sporting Club [SHSC] has announced plans to organize a five-a-side Tiger Five Open Football Tournament 2013 here at Tenzing Namgyal Memorial Ground [erstwhile Guards Ground] from 06 October onwards. The young club has taken this initiative to help develop a stronger sporting culture in the State and to provide more platforms for local footballers.
Addressing a press conference today, SHSC manager, Chewang Dorjee Tamang, informed that the main aim of the tournament is to encourage sports in the state and local young footballers by providing them more platforms to play.
“As it is an open tournament the club encourages footballers of all age groups to play in the tournament,” he added.
The organizers will be inviting football clubs, corporate houses and other organizations to participate in the tournament. The organizers are expecting around 30 teams in the tournament.
He informed that the tournament will have handsome cash prizes along with trophies. The tournament will be played on knock-out basis. The last date for the registration in the tournament is 02 October and the registration fee is Rs. 3,000.
“Another aim of the tournament is also to raise funds for the academy run by the club for young footballers of whom most are from poor financial backgrounds,” Mr. Tamang said. At present, the club has been providing free coaching, kits and diets to more than 100 young players from in-and-around Gangtok at Tenzing Namgyal Memorial Ground.
In this regard, the club has urged corporate houses and other organizations to support the tournament.

SKM door-to-door campaign continues in Chujachen

GANGTOK, 20 Sept: The door-to-door campaigning of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha [SKM] has been continuing in Chujachen constituency in East Sikkim.
A press release issued by SKM spokesperson, Dilip Rai informs that during the campaigning, two families joined the SKM party after leaving the ruling party on Thursday.
The release further informs that a meeting was also held yesterday at Krishna Dawadi’s house in Dewling, which was attended by party workers and people of Chujachen.

World O3 Day observed at Sumik Lingchey School

GANGTOK, 20 Sept: Sumik Lingchey Secondary School organised a special programme to mark World Ozone Day and spread awareness on prevention of Dengue on 16 September. The programme had CMO District Hospital, Singtam, Dr. Tshering Laden, as the chief guest.
A press release informs that the programme was organized by students of classes IX and X along with Green School teachers. An elocution competition on World Ozone Day amongst students of classes IX and X was held during the programme. Dr Laden, in her address, spoke on the prevention of dengue and depletion of the ozone layer.
A role play on dengue was also presented by students of class VIII on the day. Later, a team from the Singtam District Hospital carried out fogging of the surrounding areas. The school used leaf bowls [tapara] and plates instead of those made of plastic or thermocol on the day, the release mentions.  

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE Helping businesses help society

Column- Intro: The Companies Act 2013 has extended its scope to provide norms for the organisation and functioning of not-for-profit ventures. Why not, then, use the same or similar legislation to create a conducive environment for social enterprises, asks SHANKAR JAGANATHAN…

The limited liability company, the Hindu-Arabic numbering system and double entry bookkeeping are counted among the most important commercial innovations in human history. With limited liability, it became possible for passive investors to invest in companies enabling large sums of capital to be mobilised. But for this innovation, companies such as Reliance in India, which boasts of over two million investors, would not be a reality.
New technologies produced by the Industrial Revolution like the steam engine and power looms require large capital investment in business. This fusion of technological and commercial innovations created unprecedented economic growth over the last two centuries in the western world. India, which has only partially leveraged these benefits, now seems set to do more.
In August this year, India enacted the Companies Act 2013 to replace a six-decade-old legislation. The objective is to promote entrepreneurship and channel larger capital into business, thereby accelerating economic growth in our country. The new act also extends the prevailing legal structure to organizing not-for-profit ventures (called Section 25 companies) by retaining provisions that prohibit dividend payments and those relating to dissolution or distribution of assets under Section 8 of the new Act. However, the new act does not contain any specific provisions for promoting social enterprises, a new breed of organisation emerging on the horizon that look to spread the benefits of this economic growth to a larger section of the population.
Globally, social enterprises have emerged over the last few decades with an aim to combine the profit-generating ability of businesses with the social benefits targeted by not-for-profit entities. While multiple definitions for social enterprise exist, the core concept is of a business prioritising social objectives over financial or economic returns. I believe the historic event of enacting the new Companies Act in India calls for a stock-take of the prevailing environment for organising such enterprises.
In contrast to the donor-funded not-for-profit organizations, social enterprises raise money from socially-focused financial investors who seek fair returns even as they restrict the use of their funds to fulfilling social objectives alone. Further, while not-for-profit organizations provide their goods and services free of cost or at subsidized rates, social enterprises look to recover their cost and target moderate profits even as they seek to create a social impact. In short, social enterprises seek to operate with a business brain and the not-for-profit heart.
Social enterprises, however, are different from socially responsible businesses. While a business seeks to maximize its financial returns by complying with all legal requirements, socially responsible businesses temper their profit pursuit by following the spirit of law which often go beyond the letter of law. In many cases, socially responsible businesses may also adopt socially or environmentally desirable practices much ahead of any legal requirement mandating it, but this voluntary adoption does not change their primary objective, which is to run a business incorporated for generating economic and financial returns.
In contrast, social enterprises use business as a vehicle for achieving primarily social objectives such as catering to the needs of the poor and the underserved, providing employment for the specially-abled such as the blind and physically handicapped, or creating market avenues for socially desirable products and services such as day care centers for children and the aged.
Recognising the distinct value of Social enterprises which prioritize social returns over economic returns, the governments of UK and the US have created special provisions to encourage them. In the UK, the government enacted Community Interest Companies or CICs in short. CIC has all the features of a limited liability company with only two restrictions. They are prohibited from distributing their capital to investors and in addition, a cap is fixed on the dividend they can declare. No upper limit on the cap was specified as part of this legislation when it was enacted. Instead, they permitted regulators to fix the cap, acknowledging that a higher dividend may need to be provided in the initial periods to attract the desired quantum of capital in this sector.
The positive impact of Community Interest Companies in the UK, with over 7000 entities functional over a short period of eight years, looks to have triggered some state governments in the US to enact their own version of CICs. In the US, these entities are called the Low-Profit Limited Liability Companies or L3Cs in short, having most of the features of CICs. Both in the UK and the US, these companies have their name suffixed with the term CIC and L3C respectively to help their stakeholders and the general public distinguish them from other for-profit ventures. Given these promising global initiatives, could we look at adding a new section to the Companies Act 2013, say section 8A, enabling the distinct features required for nourishing social enterprises in India?
India today seems to be an ideal society to benefit from a strong social enterprise sector. Multiple factors call for it. The first among them is the need to eradicate widespread poverty, child malnutrition and inadequate healthcare facilities for the poor and rural residents. Secondly, the mandate for corporate CSR spend adds annual resources in the range of Rs. 10,000 crore, which would need new organizations that can absorb and use it productively.
Finally, social enterprises have the best potential to supplement government initiatives in the public food distribution system, create new businesses that provide employment opportunities for the specially-able, and cater to the needs of the rural population and those at the base of the pyramid. Given these imperatives, is it not justified to provide a separate status for social enterprises in India to help them flourish?
[Shankar Jaganathan is passionate about corporate governance, sustainability practices and economic history. His second book The Wisdom of Ants, A Short History of Economics was published in November 2012.]

PNGS student wins State Level Science Seminar

GANGTOK, 20 Sept: State Level Science Seminar on ‘Water Co-operation: Issues & Challenges’ was held in Gangtok on Thursday. The seminar was organised by SCERT, Gangtok in collaboration with the National Council of Science Museums, Ministry of Education, Kolkata.
Earlier, the district level seminar for East and North district was held on 03 and 04 September, and for South & West district it was held on 09 September. The number of schools that participated from East district were 23, 05 from North, 29 from South and 22 from the West district.
A press release informs that Suveksha Tamang of PNGSS has won the State Level Science Seminar followed by Sangita Chettri of Tadong  SSS in second position and Shamuksha Sedai of Rangpo SSS in third position.
The winner Suveksha Tamang of PNGSS will represent the state at the National Level Science Seminar, which is scheduled to be held on 08 October 2013 at Meru Science Centre, Mumbai.
The first, second and third prize winners of the district level had participated at the State Level Science Seminar in Gangtok.
The panel of judges comprised of Dr. Robin Chettri [HoD Physics, from Government College Tadong], Dr. SC Joshi [Senior Scientist from GB Pant Institute], Pangthang and Vivek Paul [Executive Engineer from Central Water Commission, Gangtok].
The programme was also attended by Director, Technical Education & Training, HRDD, DK Pradhan.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

12 new homes inaugurated in Lachung on Earthquake anniv

MANGAN, 20 Sept: Twelve new houses, seven constructed under REDRH and 05 through CMRHM, were inaugurated in Lachung on 18 September to mark the second anniversary of the 2011 earthquake which had caused extensive damage across Sikkim.
The seven houses constructed under Reconstruction of Earthquake Damaged Rural Houses scheme belong to Karma Chopel, Chewang Lachungpa, Chenga Pintso, Jigmee Lachungpa and three others while the five CMRHM houses were made for the families of Chenden Lachungpa, Tempo Lachungpa, Yama Dadul Lachungpa, Pema Norbu and Chanchok Lachungpa, details a press release issued by Pema Ongdi Lachungpa, the Lachung Dzumsa coordinator.
The houses were inaugurated by the Chungthang BAC AE, Gayden Lepcha, along with Lachung Pipons Lakpa Tshering Lachungpa and Nethup Lachungpa.
Prayers were also offered at Lachung Monastery for the peace and well being of the state and in the memory of those who lost their lives in the 2011 earthquake. The prayer was led by the Tsultrimpa and joined by other monks of monastery.
The Lachung Dzumsa also extended gratitude towards the government for the REDRH and CMRHM schemes and extending them to Lachung in aid of those who lost their houses to the earthquake.  Lachungpa Dzumsa has announced a commitment to complete all sanctioned REDRH houses by March 2014.

Rakdong-Tintek holds Gram Sabha to discuss BPL list

MANGAN, 20 Sept: A Gram Sabha on BPL List was held here at BAC Tintek for Rakdong-Tintek GPU on Thursday. The Sabha was chaired by Panchayat President, BB Gurung, and attended by Gram Vikash Adhikari, Pema Wangchen Bhutia, Zilla Member, Saraswati Regmi, RB Rai, (RDA), concerned panchayats from different wards and the general public.
Highlighting the importance of the Gram Sabha, the GVA, Pema Wangchen Bhutia informed that public participation is very essential and asked people to place objections, if any, during the sabha.
He further pointed out that the list of beneficiaries under BPL has been prepared as per the survey conducted by Department of Economics, Statistics, Monitoring & Evaluation [DESME]. He also informed that those families whose names have not been listed in the BPL list would be listed under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category which falls between BPL and APL.
Similarly, the panchayat president, BB Gurung stressed on the importance of the gram sabha for the smooth implementation of government schemes.
An interaction session was also held where the villagers put forth queries regarding the provision of rice, sugar and kerosene for BPL families which were answered by the Food Inspector, Dikchu Food Office. The Planning Forum Committee at the GPU level was also formed during the gram sabha and names of different block level committees formed earlier were also announced.

100 farmers of Men-Rongong GPU trained on Rabi crop farming

MANGAN, 20 Sept:  The Department of Horticulture and Cash Crops, North organized a training programme on Rabi crop farming here at Men-Rongong GPU of Kabi-Lungtsok constituency, North Sikkim on 17 September.  The function had Zilla Adhakshya North, Anguli Lepcha as the chief guest who was accompanied by Joint Director Horticulture North, Sonam Bhutia and Deputy Director, SR Bhutia.
A total of 100 beneficiaries were provided potato seeds [50 kg each] and organic pesticide [terminix] from the department under the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF).
The Deputy Director North, SR Bhutia highlighted about the training while the Joint Director North, Sonam Bhutia urged the villagers to get more involved in organic farming. The Deputy Director further highlighted that the government is spending huge amounts in different schemes for the public.
The chief guest, Ms. Lepcha while addressing the function urged the beneficiaries to make proper use of the scheme and further added that the people should value the things that they have been provided with.
Also present in the function were Panchayat President, Dawa Doma Lepcha and other panchayat members along with the villagers. Training was conducted in the second session of the day.

Free physiotherapy camp on World Physiotherapy Day at CRH

GANGTOK, 20 Sept: The Sikkim Manipal College of Physiotherapy is celebrating World Physiotherapy Day 2013 on Saturday, 21 September.
To mark this occasion, a free Physiotherapy camp is being organized at Central Referral Hospital, Tadong on Saturday. During the camp, expert physiotherapists will provide free counsel and tips for ailments such as arthritis, back pain, sports injuries, paralysis, diabetes, hypertension, obesity etc.
The camp will be held at the Lobby, Level III of CRH.

Veticare Paksam organises workshop on animal health in Jorethang

NAMCHI, 20 Sept: The Veticare Paksam organized a workshop at its Jorethang office with the aim to deliver crucial tips to farmers which could help them to maintain the health of their livestock and cattle especially milching cows. Veterinary doctors and farmers from South and West districts attended the workshop.
The workshop had Joint Director, Sikkim Cooperative Milk Union, Karfectar, Dr. Paras Chettri as the chief guest and Dr. Ravi Patiyal from Natural Remedies as the special guest. The farmers were advised to take good care of their milching cows and were advised not to give any medicine to the animals without consulting a veterinary doctor.
They were also suggested not to neglect the animal’s health and were told to keep the cowshed clean. Many more such tips and suggestions were provided to the participating farmers. Dr. Arjun Adhikari of Veticare Paksam informed that a similar workshop will soon be held for compounders in Jorethang. The programme was also addressed by Dr. Phurba Sherpa of Karfectar, Dr. Meenakshi Pradhan, Master Trainer of Livelihood School Dr. Kinchokla Bhutia, Veterinary Officer from Turuk and Dr. Seema Rai, Veterinary Officer from Soreng.
Later, the farmers who attended the workshop were provided with medicines for their animals at 10% discount.

Namchi District Hospital gets 18 new beds

NAMCHI, 20 Sept: The general public and the patients admitted at Namchi District Hospital have thanked the hospital administration for prompt action in arranging extra beds for patients admitted at the hospital. The District Hospital authorities inform that they have managed to arrange 18 new beds for patients. This following recent news-reports of patients being inconvenienced due to the 100 beds at the hospital not being enough for the number of patients checking in.
Some of the patients and their families confirmed that new beds have been made available in the hospital. One of the attendants, Jeet Man Rai said, “My patient who was admitted with high fever has finally got a bed now. Now he can at least get the required rest and continue his treatment at the hospital”.
However, he added that there is still a huge shortage of beds with patients waiting for others to be discharged so that they can occupy the vacated beds. There is shortage of hospital staff as well, he said.
“At night there is only one nurse in the ward who looks after many patients and in case of an emergency she has to ask for help from nurses attending to patients in other wards”, Mr Rai added.
The patients and the general public of Namchi have urged the administration to look into the matter since Namchi District Hospital caters to patients of both South and West Districts.

PRIMITIVE TRIBES STATUS OFFERS NO CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEE

letter-
Apropos the news item appearing in your paper of 16 September 2013 under the caption “SLYA dismayed over absence of reserved seats for Primitive Tribes in Medical Studies” regarding the absence of seats in MBBS and BDS for the Primitive Tribes of Sikkim. We are shocked to learn the dichotomous stand of the Government regarding the welfare of the so called Primitive Tribe of Sikkim. The Chief Minister had announced in the Tendong Lho Rum Faat celebrations that 5% reservation in higher studies for the Primitive Tribes from this academic session but the HRDD simply did not implement this order and thus made a mockery of the much publicized order. This is nothing new when we look into the chain of actions initiated by the SDF Government to weaken and wipe out the Lepcha tribes from the map of Sikkim so much so that they are being classified as Primitive Tribes in the land of their origin. All of us know that the much hyped Primitive Tribes status has no Constitutional guarantee and therefore the tall promises that are being given have no meaning and purpose. How sincere the SDF government was for the well being and welfare of the Lepcha communities can be seen from the actions of the State government in acquiring land of the indigenous Lepchas of Dzongu for power projects, land for the Tourism Village at Ranka and the land at Solophok, all protected by the old law of Sikkim without even working out a rehabilitation package for the displaced persons.
The Primitive Tribe status for the Lepchas of Darjeeling district for the preservation, protection of their cultural, social and religious ethos have a different significance for the people of these areas and it is to their credit they have been able to preserve and retain their cultural and social practices till date despite the pressure of demographic change there. The West Bengal Government has set up a Lepcha Development Board and has promised job opportunities for 5,000 Lepchas in police and paramilitary forces besides creating 100 job opportunities in Primitive Tribe Board itself.
In Sikkim the Primitive Tribe Board has no member of recognizable standing well conversant with the history, culture and social ethos of the Lepcha community. How can we expect strong reaction from such docile, selfish and motivated Board members whenever injustices as explained above occur?
It is time that we wake up from our deep slumber and realize where the so called leaders of the Lepcha community are taking us to. The only silver lining for the communities is that our boys and girls are now taking up their studies seriously and some of our boys have come out successful in UPSC examination. There are a number of well qualified boys and girls from the Lepcha community and the only requirement is that they should come out of their shell and start asserting their rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of India.
If we look into the history of Sikkim, West and South districts were dominated by Lepchas and today their presence in these two districts is pathetic and minimal. Today sizeable population of Lepcha communities will be found only in North district and some pockets in East district but the most loathsome and distressing fact is that they are being sidelined gradually and systematically in the land of their own origin. It is time that we wake up and take up the challenge of our survival seriously, otherwise we will be completely wiped out if we depend on the false promises of the motivated political leaders any more.
Tashi Wangchuk Lepcha, Gangtok, Sikkim
Mayalmit Lepcha, Hee-Gyathang, Lower Dzongu, North Sikkim

KVK-South conducts review meeting of Farmer Clubs

GANGTOK, 20 Sept: Krishi Vigyan Kendra [KVK] South Sikkim conducted a review meeting of farmers clubs promoted by the Kendra on Thursday. Till date the Kendra has promoted 25 farmers clubs and has also submitted approval for submitting 10 more new farmers clubs of the South district, informs a press release.Gram Vikas Adhikari, Robin Sewa was present as the chief guest of the programme. During the meeting, the chief coordinators of different farmers clubs submitted their annual progress reports of 2012-13 and their action plans for 2013-14.The chief guest was impressed with the work of the farmers clubs in agricultural and allied fields in each village and with the successful dissemination of new technologies in their respective villages, the release mentions.DDM (S/W) NABARD, JC Biswas encouraged all farmers clubs to take up new technologies and also have a healthy relationship with banks. He praised the Kendra for promoting Joint Liability Group [JLG] Loans to the members of farmers clubs to the tune of Rs 60 lakh.
KVK Programme Coordinator, Tilak Gajmer, HDO Namthang and SMS, IP Shivakoti also spoke during the programme. Also present were HDO Namthang, DP Gurung, KVK officials and chief and associated coordinators of 15 farmers clubs.  

 


Governor enrolled in National Population Register

GANGTOK, 20 Sept [IPR]: Governor Shriniwas Patel enrolled his name for the National Population Register capturing the Biometric based on ADHAR at Raj Bhavan here today.
The first citizen of the State enrolled his name and details of biometric in the presence of Kapil Meena, ADC (East) along with Sikkim Census officials SR Roy Deputy Director, T. Gajmer Statistical Investigator Grade-I and Deepak Sarkar, State coordinator for Sikkim from Electronics Corporation of India which is the technical project executor of National Population Register.
The ADC handed over the acknowledgement slip to the Governor.
The Governor of Sikkim appreciated the work of NPR all over the country and also shared his experience of working with the Census. He was feted with a Silver Medal in 2001 Census in Maharashtra. The Governor has also appealed to all the citizens of Sikkim to enroll their names in the National Population Register.
The ADC, Census officials and ECIL State Coordinator informed the Governor about the process and the importance of National Population Register.

Rangpo and Mangan schools win interschool folk dance and role play competition

GANGTOK, 20 Sept: A state-level Folk Dance & Role Play competition was held here today at Modern Secondary School by SCERT, Gangtok, in collaboration with the Population Education Cell under NCERT, New Delhi. Twelve schools which had qualified from the district level, three from each district, participated in this state-level competition.
Schools from North and South districts competed in life skills through folk dance while schools from East and West districts participated in role play. Rangpo SSS (East), Kaluk SSS (West), Modern SSS (East) came first, second and third respectively in Role Play while Mangan SSS (North), Namchi Girls SSS (South), Nandu Gaon SS (South)  were placed in the first, second and third positions respectively in the folk dance competition.
The winning teams from each category will now represent the State at the regional level competition.
The function had MP Subba, Director, MDM & Language, HRDD, as chief guest and the competition was rated by a panel of judges comprising of Dr. CL Pradhan, Neuro Psychiatrist, STNM Hospital , Chungchung Bhutia, Consultant  SSACS, and Lata Rajalim, CEO, Culture & Heritage Deptt. The venue for this programme was Modern Sec. School. The winners were awarded with certificates and cash prizes.
[excerpted from a report by Sabita Subba, Dy. Director, SCERT, Gangtok]

Play Hard

Editorial-
Sikkim accounts for only 0.05% of India’s population but when it comes to potential, it stakes claim to much more. Take football for instance; after decades of Bhaichung’s dominance, the State which is far short of even 1% of the population, now has two regulars in India XI in Nirmal Chettri and Sanju Pradhan, both of whom are interestingly products of the Search for More Bhaichungs programme of the State Government. Sikkim’s football acumen in the national and international arena is safe with their boots and the still younger carry even more promise. And before them, archer Tarundeep Rai made a mark as did Chungda Sherpa. Olympic glory by a Sikkimese sportsperson is a possibility in the not too distant future. The State’s martial artists have also been routinely making a mark in national events and are on the verge of springboarding to greater glory.
The one common factor in all sporting achievers from Sikkim is that they have broken away from the pack here and struck out on their own. Bhaichung must have had many fellow strikers who played with him at Paljor Stadium, but only he made it. Ditto for Nirmal and Sanju. Tarundeep is definitely not the first archer from the State, yet he is the only one to make it to the Olympics. Pick any other sport and there will be individuals who have excelled. What is ironic though is how even in team sports, Sikkim has produced only individuals who have excelled. As a team, Team Sikkim is yet to achieve anything significant even in football. The I-League flash and promise of Bhaichung’s USFC was also more an achievement of footballers who played for the club but did not necessarily belong to Sikkim. That Sikkim has an impressive pool of sporting talent is an established fact, but what is also stark is that as a team, Sikkim has not tasted success; that has remained an individual preserve. And even that, although the success has been impressive, has not been in enough numbers; at least not on a scale that Sikkim holds promise for. What Sikkim’s sportspersons perhaps need to develop is stronger resolve, more intense determination… the thirst to excel beyond Rangpo. Too many promising footballers have given up midway when they were made to sit on the sidelines too long. Once Sikkim’s players develop this resolve, the sports administrators will have to step up and provide them better infrastructure, exposure and training. At one time Sikkim celebrated only one Bhaichung, now it can follow two footballers in Sanju and Nirmal; the aim should be to now also have a local club that everyone supports and follows and a many more players in many more disciplines that kids can have as role models…

One arrested for harassing public servants

GANGTOK, 20 Sept: One person has been arrested by the Pakyong police for disturbing and obstructing public servants from discharging their duties on 19 September. The accused, Nokul Gurung of Parkha, Pakyong, had allegedly harassed personnel at the BDO office on 16, 17 and 19 September. He also allegedly threatened officers and vandalized the office of the Assistant Engineer there.
He was arrested by the Pakyong police and a case under section 353/506 [assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty and punishment for criminal intimidation-if threat be to cause death or grievious hurt] of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against him at the Pakyong Police Station.

Road mishap claims one in West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 20 Sept: One person was killed and five injured in a road accident in West Sikkim on Thursday.  The vehicle, a Commander jeep, was on its way to Sangachoeling Monastery from Pelling, when, at around 1:30 PM the vehicle went off the road falling around 300 feet down. The driver Kharka Bahadur Chettri [32], resident of Sardong, Gyalshing succumbed to his injuries at the Gyalshing hospital.  
Five other occupants of the vehicle, Phip Rani Rai [55], resident of Saradong, Ratna Bahadur Rai [58] resident of Sardong,  Hem Maya Gurung [39] resident of Lungzik, Hari Prasad Gurung [43] resident of Sardong and Hemant Rai [30] resident of Sardong have sustained injuries.
A case under section 279/337/338 [rash driving or riding on a public way, causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others, causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others] of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at the Gyalshing Police Station.

Holy Cross DNA Club visits GB Pant Institute

GANGTOK, 20 Sept: Sixty students from Class IX to XI of the DNA Club of Holy Cross School, Tadong, escorted by 3 teachers were taken on an excursion trip to GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development at Pangthang today.
A press release informs that the programme commenced with an introduction and welcome address by Dr. KK Singh, Scientist in-charge. Thereafter, Senior Scientist Lalit Rai briefed the gathering on the importance of biodiversity.

The Case for India- RAGHURAM RAJAN/ project-syndicate

Indian cricket fans are manic-depressive in their treatment of their favorite teams. They elevate players to god-like status when their team performs well, ignoring obvious weaknesses; but when it loses, as any team must, the fall is equally steep and every weakness is dissected. In fact, the team is never as good as fans make it out to be when it wins, nor as bad as it is made out to be when it loses. Its weaknesses existed in victory, too, but were overlooked.
Such bipolar behavior seems to apply to assessments of India’s economy as well, with foreign analysts joining Indians in swings between over-exuberance and self-flagellation. A few years ago, India could do no wrong. Commentators talked of “Chindia,” elevating India’s performance to that of its northern neighbor. Today, India can do no right.
India does have serious problems. Annual GDP growth slowed significantly in the last quarter, to 4.4%, consumer price inflation is high, and the current-account and budget deficits last year were too large. Every commentator today highlights India’s poor infrastructure, excessive regulation, small manufacturing sector, and a workforce that lacks adequate education and skills.
These are indeed deficiencies, and they must be addressed if India is to grow strongly and stably. But the same deficiencies existed when India was growing rapidly. To appreciate what needs to be done in the short run, we must understand what dampened the Indian success story.
In part, India’s slowdown paradoxically reflects the substantial fiscal and monetary stimulus that its policymakers, like those in all major emerging markets, injected into its economy in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. The resulting growth spurt led to inflation, especially because the world did not slide into a second Great Depression, as was originally feared. So monetary policy has since remained tight, with high interest rates contributing to slowing investment and consumption.
Moreover, India’s institutions for allocating natural resources, granting clearances, and acquiring land were overwhelmed during the period of strong growth. India’s investigative agencies, judiciary, and press began examining allegations of large-scale corruption. As bureaucratic decision-making became more risk-averse, many large projects ground to a halt.
Only now, as the government creates new institutions to accelerate decision-making and implement transparent processes, are these projects being cleared to proceed. Once restarted, it will take time for these projects to be completed, at which point output will increase significantly.
Finally, export growth slowed, not primarily because Indian goods suddenly became uncompetitive, but because growth in the country’s traditional export markets decelerated.
The consequences have been high internal and external deficits. The post-crisis fiscal-stimulus packages sent the government budget deficit soaring from what had been a very responsible level in 2007-2008. Similarly, as large mining projects stalled, India had to resort to higher imports of coal and scrap iron, while its exports of iron ore dwindled.
An increase in gold imports placed further pressure on the current-account balance. Newly rich consumers in rural areas increasingly put their savings into gold, a familiar store of value, while wealthy urban consumers, worried about inflation, also turned to buying gold. Ironically, had they bought Apple shares, rather than a commodity (no matter how fungible, liquid, and investible it is), their purchases would have been treated as a foreign investment rather than as imports that add to the external deficit.
For the most part, India’s current growth slowdown and its fiscal and current-account deficits are not structural problems. They can all be fixed by means of modest reforms. This is not to say that ambitious reform is not good, or is not warranted to sustain growth for the next decade. But India does not need to become a manufacturing giant overnight to fix its current problems.
The immediate tasks are more mundane, but they are also more feasible: clearing projects, reducing poorly targeted subsidies, and finding more ways to narrow the current-account deficit and ease its financing. Over the last year, the government has been pursuing this agenda, which is already showing some early results. For example, the external deficit is narrowing sharply on the back of higher exports and lower imports.
Every small step helps, and the combination of small steps adds up to large strides. But, while the government certainly should have acted faster and earlier, the public mood is turning to depression amid a cacophony of criticism and self-doubt that has obscured the forward movement.
Indeed, despite its shortcomings, India’s GDP will probably grow by 5-5.5% this year – not great, but certainly not bad for what is likely to be a low point in economic performance. The monsoon has been good and will spur consumption, especially in rural areas, which are already growing strongly, owing to improvements in road transport and communications connectivity.
The banking sector has undoubtedly experienced an increase in bad loans; but this has often resulted from delays in investment projects that are otherwise viable. As these projects come onstream, they will generate the revenue needed to repay loans. In the meantime, India’s banks have enough capital to absorb losses.
Likewise, India’s public finances are stronger than they are in most emerging-market countries, let alone emerging-market countries in crisis. India’s overall public debt/GDP ratio has been on a declining trend, from 73.2% in 2006-07 to 66% in 2012-13 (and the central government’s debt/GDP ratio is only 46%). Moreover, the debt is denominated in rupees and has an average maturity of more than nine years.
India’s external debt burden is even more favorable, at only 21.2% of GDP (much of it owed by the private sector), while short-term external debt is only 5.2% of GDP. India’s foreign-exchange reserves stand at $278 billion (about 15% of GDP), enough to finance the entire current-account deficit for several years.
That said, India can do better – much better. The path to a more open, competitive, efficient, and humane economy will surely be bumpy in the years to come. But, in the short term, there is much low-hanging fruit to be plucked. Stripping out both the euphoria and the despair from what is said about India – and from what we Indians say about ourselves – will probably bring us closer to the truth.
[Raghuram Rajan is Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. This commentary was written before he took office on 04 Sept 2013.]

Friday, September 20, 2013

Nimtar JHS bags 3 medals on debut at SASA swimming meet

GANGTOK, 19 Sept: Winning medals in three categories at the state level swimming meet organized by Sikkim Amateur Swimming Association (SASA) last weekend is truly an inspiring and commendable achievement for the first ever government school swimming team from Nimtar JHS.
Eight students, all aged between 10-14 years, and hailing from rural backgrounds constituted the first government school swimming team which had participated in its maiden competition last Saturday after training for one and half months at 32 No.
The boys from Nimtar JHS got medals in three different categories that were butterfly 50 meters, freestyle and relay.
The teacher at Nimtar JHS who is a state level swimmer herself and instrumental in bringing out these talents from the grass root spoke to NOW! today and expressed her happiness on how the team had performed against all odds.
“I always believed that these children had it in them to be top level competitors. It definitely was a challenge to constitute the team, convince many people and keep up the spirit while training as we had to do everything ourselves. The students are so excited about their achievement and I am happy that they got the platform that they deserved,” says an ecstatic Pema Lingzepa.
She also added that she was super contended with the results since the boys got three bronze medals in the sub-junior and junior categories, “they competed with national swimmers who were double their size and showed what they were made of. All the hard work has paid off and we are confident that the medal tally would be even bigger in the upcoming events,” she expressed.
It may be mentioned that Pema also won one gold, one silver and the best woman swimmer in the championship.
“From the river to the pool, the journey has been an experience to remember and cherish. Now with our students performing I guess some sections would come up and sponsor them to join more competitions outside and also for their training. There was a point to prove and the boys have proved that they can compete with the best in the state,” she says.

Vajra Guru Mantra recitations to begin at Samdruptse on 05 Oct

GANGTOK, 19 Sept: Vajra Guru Dhondrup, the recitation of Vajra Guru Mantra 12 crore times to invoke the blessings of Guru Padmasambhava for universal peace and welfare of all sentient beings, has become one of the main annual events at Samdruptse in South Sikkim. This puja has been held continuously for the last six years and in order to organise the seventh edition of the same this year, a meeting of the Samdrupste Vajra Guru Dhondrup organizing committee was held at Serdup Choling Monastery on Wednesday.
During the meeting, Sangha MLA, Phituk Tsering Bhutia spoke on the Government’s proactive initiative under the leadership of the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling to promote religious harmony in Sikkim by constructing such magnificent statues like the Guru Padmasambhava Statue and Siddheswara Dham at Namchi and Tathagatha Tsal at Ravangla besides many other religious structures all over the state.
He therefore felt it was the duty of all citizens of Sikkim to contribute equally in maintaining sanctity and unity within the state and the universe at large. He stressed upon the need to conduct this year’s Vajra Guru Dhondrup in the same manner as done in previous years with the generous support of all well wishers of Namchi and outside.
Divisional Engineer [Buildings], Sonam Bhutia gave a brief background about the Vajra Guru Dhondrup pujas being conducted at Samdruptse and the efforts of the organizing committee members in making the previous editions successful. He also enlightened the gathering about the renovation works carried out in the main prayer hall inside the Padmasambhava Statue where the puja is conducted.
During the course of the meeting, as per the direction of Serdup Dungzin Rinpoche, it was decided to conduct this year’s Vajra Guru Dhondrup from 05 to 18 October 2013. Accordingly a core committee was formed for carrying out the preparations for the event including raising funds from generous contributors. Various sub committees such as Transportation, meals and accommodation for monks, nuns and lay practitioners who will be participating in the puja, publicity, etc were also formed. The allocation of dates for the volunteers in different areas like food and tea arrangements was also decided.
All the members then visited the Guru Padmasambhava statue to review the renovation works carried out there and see if there are any other requirements for the smooth conduct of this year’s event.
The Committee members earnestly hope that this year too this grand spiritual event will be attended by monks from Sikkim and neighbouring places like Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Mirik, Bhutan, etc along with head lamas, khempos, and nuns in large numbers, the release adds. As in previous years the committee will be providing free food and accommodation for the devotees.
The meeting was also attended by Serdup Dungzin Rinpoche, the Chairman Namchi Muncipal Corporation, BT Tamang, the Chultimpa of Namchi Ngadak Monastery and other existing members of the committee. SDM Namchi, Karma R Bonpo attended the meeting on behalf of Samdruptse Management Committee.

Candlelight rally held at Yuksom

GANGTOK, 19 Sept: An ‘Akhanda Jyoti’ or ‘Maundharan Yatra’ was organized by NGO, ‘Success Trip Yuksam’ at Yuksom, West Sikkim on Wednesday.
A candlelight rally was taken out in memory of the victims of the 2011 earthquake in Upper Rimbi and Timrong in West Sikkim and the flash flood at Uttarakhand. The rally started from Kopchay and ended at Yuksom BAC. The rally was participated in by government officials, NGOs, students and staff from different schools of Yuksom.

89 REDRH houses inaugurated in West Sikkim

GYALSHING, 19 Sept [IPR]: Total of 89 houses under Reconstruction of Earthquake Rural Housing (REDRH) project and 59 houses under Chief Minister’s Rural Housing Mission (CMRHM) were handed over to the beneficiaries by the concerned MLAs of the 8 constituencies in West District on 18 September yesterday.
MLA, Soreong, RB Subba also distributed 15 solar lights to beneficiaries on the day.
To commemorate the second anniversary of the 2011 earthquake, West Sikkim United Forum (WSUF) organized a prayer and candle light ceremony at Gyalshing bazaar in the evening. DPO, (LR/DM), Zigmee Bhutia gave a brief address on disaster preparedness to the gathering. A documentary on the 18th September earthquake prepared by IPR department was also screened on the day.

STATE LEVEL CONSULTATION PROGRAMME ON PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT 2013

Collaborations begin to protect children better-REBYNA RANA
GANGTOK, 19 Sept: A State-level consultation programme on Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2013 was held at the conference hall of Health Department here today. This is the first such programme organized by the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights [SCPCR] and involved the participation of Police personnel, medical officers and representatives from non-governmental organisations.
The programme was chaired by the SCPCR Chairperson, Manita Pradhan, who, in her address, urged the participating members to put forth their views and suggestions on the issue which would be forwarded to the commission for recommendations. While informing about the function and power of the commission she urged the stakeholders of the society to come forward for the protection of child rights and protecting children from sexual abuse.
She said that personnel from different fields like medical, defense, police and voluntary associations need to play effective roles in protecting children. “The Commission has dealt with numerous sexual abuse cases and such cases are on the rise”, said Ms Pradhan.
Speaking on the Act she informed that it provides for the establishment of special courts for trial, keeping the interest of the child in mind at every stage of the judicial process.
“The Act incorporates child friendly procedures for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and trial of offences”, she said further adding that the Commission is all set to have another round of awareness programmes.
The Commission has already placed a proposal for a Juvenile office which is in the pipeline, Ms Pradhan informed. She also expressed gratitude towards the Police personnel for their genuine cooperation and the line departments for creating awareness on the issue.
The Chairperson also appealed to medical officers and voluntary associations to report any sexual abuse case where the victims are below 18 years of age to the nearest Police Station or the Commission.
The participating members also gave their suggestions on improving the process of defending the right of children and discussed on the various problems faced by the concerned authorities in this aspect. They also suggested that the commission organize sensitization programmes on Sexual Offences Act 2013 among the people. Increasing more juvenile observation homes, creating awareness amongst the medical practitioners, coordination between the concern departments and speeding court proceedings etc were some other suggestions placed.
Earlier, the Legal Officer Yousa Lachenpa of SCPCR briefed about the Sexual Offences Act 2013.

SUNDERGAON RESIDENTS REPAIR ROAD:

Looking at the deplorable condition of the road which connects them with the main road, the residents of Sundergaon, below Daragaon, today carried out temporary repair works from ICAR Gate to Greendale School complex. The team, led by Dhurba Gautam, filled up deep potholes created by rainwater flowing out of unmanaged drains. By evening, the team had repaired the road for smooth flow of traffic. The residents also urged the concerned authorities to look for a permanent solution to this problem.

Sikkim cries along with nation over the price of onions ANAND OBEROI

GANGTOK, 19 Sept: The soaring onion prices have affected household budgets to a large extent since food costs account for a significant share of the common man’s income. Onion prices have increased threefold in the past three months to a whopping Rs. 80 per kg at Lall Bazaar at present against Rs. 25 per kg earlier this year.
Onions, considered an important ingredient in all kitchens, has now become a luxury for many people like Vandana Mukhia who has to make a choice between onions and saving some money for the family vacation planned for this winter.
“I literally have to pinch from our savings budget to meet the demand of onions at home nowadays. We generally consume around 2 kgs per week that cost us around Rs.45-50 earlier, now the same costs us around Rs.160-180. The rise in other vegetables has also add to our dilemma and if this continues then a time may come when everyone will start cutting down onions and vegetables from their shopping lists, a forced compulsion that has already started,” says Vandana while speaking to NOW! today.    
It may be informed that the ‘Onion crisis’ in the Indian market is a result of acute shortage of supply due to unseasonal and heavy rainfall, late harvest, rise in diesel prices and also the financial crash that the country is experiencing. Illegal hoarding by onion traders is also being blamed for the food inflation that is on a three-year high as per national statistics.
This, sky-rocketing of prices that is showing no signs of stabilizing has reached a peak where onions have become more or equally expensive than meat products in Sikkim and this is also affecting vegetable hawkers and wholesalers to a huge extent.
Gauri Shanker, a vegetable vendor at Lall Bazaar maintains that it is because of the profit margin that people like him opt for this business, but in recent times the inflation in food items like vegetables is affecting businessmen like him who are thinking of newer avenues.
“There are some who do not understand that it is not us who are raising the prices and we are not making huge profits. We have to maintain checks and balances in our business and now it is difficult for us to make even a small margin of profit. Our rates are continuously monitored by the authorities and we have to maintain the same. With the rise in onion prices, many people have started purchasing half of what they used to buy earlier, our sales have been affected and with the prices rising every two days, a time may come when people will stop buying vegetables altogether,” says the vegetable vendor.
It may also be informed that local village produce in markets like Lall Bazaar are limited and timely and constitute only around 5 percent of the requirement of vegetables in Gangtok. With 95 percent of the total vegetable supply in the state coming from outside markets, the rise in prices is inevitable as prospects of normalization in the coming days seem bleak.
With the pinch being felt even in the pockets of people with secure financial backgrounds, the big question is what of the daily wage earners and financially weak families? The rise in onion prices has now contributed to the rise of prices in food items available in the various hotels, restaurants, canteens and tea shops. Menus are being changed and something like a Samosa that cost Rs.5 per piece in 2010 now costs Rs.10. With onions in the process of becoming an item of luxury, one would not be surprised if momos came sans the onions in the near future.

N&E initiative gets kids reading newspapers, one student at a time DEWAKER BASNET

For the past couple of weeks, there’s hardly any Monday morning blues for the students of Baha’i School, Tadong.  Reason? Their regular classes have been reworked and converted to a fun and engaging class called “Newspaper and Education.” Here the students of class VI, VII and VIII are familiarized and encouraged to read newspapers, their gateway to read and equip  themselves in the competitive world of tomorrow. The festivity of the session is inspiring. In the second week of interventions, positive stories began to flow in the engagement sessions at Baha’i school.
Students come in with every copy of the newspaper read between the first week and the second week and enthusiastically show off the hard work and commitment towards the cause of reading newspapers. And the situation is not too different in the other nine schools (TNA, Baha’i School, Saramsa, Biraspati Parsai Senior Secondary School, PNG, Tadong School, Mt. Zion School, TNSSS, West Point School, DGSSS) where the interventions are going on in full swing.  The students bring in newspapers to the classroom with pride in their faces for a challenge well taken and a feat well achieved.
The concept is lapped up positively by the principals and the teachers. And as for the students, they are happily reading and leading.
In a short span of time, there have been inspiring leadership stories coming out of the school campuses providing motivation in building and reinforcing the good habit of reading newspapers amongst students.
Like the story of a school principal whose daughter is studying in class VIII in a private school. After the first week of intervention, the little one insisted that her father subscribe the entire lot of newspapers for her. And the best part, as told by her father, is that she’s exchanged her television watching time at home to newspaper reading time!  This is indeed inspiring. Likewise, there are reports from schools who have endeavored to convert their “free” periods to “newspaper reading periods” for the students who have not had an opportunity to be a part of the N&E intervention. These are healthy signs of progress for the times to come.  And newspapers are endeavoring to be the gateway to reading for these students!
As the principals and schools have been showing us stories of improvement of reading habits amongst their students, the protagonists of this intervention (students) are not to be left behind.
They have been showcasing progress in their own ways. From requesting parents to bring newspapers home every evening to group reading of newspapers during lunch breaks in schools, the journey has started well. Students across schools have started moving their eye balls from “only” photographs to the “also” texts which is very encouraging in the long run. They have started respecting newspapers like the way they respect books and many of them have been insisting their parents not to wrap food items with a newspaper! These are small yet significant steps guaranteeing the beginning of a serious breed of youngsters ready to become thought leaders in their own right and giving newspapers the pride of place it deserves.
The task of creating a habit of reading newspapers amongst students is a journey. As they say, well begun is half done! The start has been encouraging and the process certainly value adding!
[Newspaper and Education is an initiative of 24hours Inspired and has been supported by Sikkim Express, Samay Dainik and NOW!]

Sikkimese fashion designer at NE Design Fest

NAMCHI, 19 Sept: Sikkimese fashion designer Rinzing Choden Bhutia will be presenting her collection at the four-day Northeast Design Fest organized by the North East Institute of Fashion Technology [NEIFT] in association with Select Citywalk, New Delhi. The Fest, sponsored by the Ministry of Textile, began today at Select Citywalk, Saket, New Delhi.
Rinzing is presenting a collection of 20 female and 2 male garments made out of fabrics used in making ethnic and traditional dresses of three ethnic communities and tribes of Sikkim. She has created her outfits in western silhouettes, it is informed.
The Fest features names like Meghna Rai Medhi, Mona Pali, Agnimitra Paul and Gaurang Shah who will also be presenting their collections along with many more from the North East as well. Supermodels like Jesse Randhawa, Sucheta Sharma, Michelle, Sapna Kumar, Margarita, Nolana, Leno will be walking the ramp wearing Ringzing’s designs during the Fest.
Last year, Rinzing, who hails from Namchi, had represented Sikkim at the Northeast Fashion Week at Dilli Haat in New Delhi. Happy and excited about having been invited again for this year’s event she said that she will give her best to represent Sikkim. The Fest will conclude on 22 September.

South District Administration discusses measures to tackle Dengue

NAMCHI, 19 Sept: A meeting was held today in the chamber of Sub Divisional Magistrate [SDM] Namchi, Ravindra Kumar to discuss issues related to Dengue and measures to be taken up for the prevention of the disease in South District.
During the discussion, SDM Namchi informed that mass cleanliness campaign in Namchi, Jorethang, Majhitar, and Melli have been carried out by the South District Administration along with other measures like fogging, distribution of information pamphlets to the public and sprinkling of bleaching powder & phenyl in all these areas to avert the multiplication of Dengue virus.
Mr. Kumar underlined that stringent measures should be taken up by the administration to prevent the disease and public should also be alerted on the dos and don’ts to prevent the disease. SDM also emphasized that public participation is most necessary to make this campaign successful as their cooperation would help the effort of the administration to become more effective.
He called for the participation of panchayats/councilors to help the administration in this drive. Mr Kumar further said that the administration is carrying out this movement just for the welfare of the public and informed that those who do not cooperate with the administration on this matter would be penalized by the office.
During inspection of areas in Namchi, the SDM said that he found that various places required extensive cleaning and asked Namchi Municipal office and UD&HD to work together to clean these areas. On this issue, he said that one more cleanliness drive should be conducted in Namchi by the administration. The meeting also discussed ways to motivate the public to keep their surrounding areas clean and discourage them from dumping garbage everywhere.
Others participating in the discussion were Additional Secretary UD&HD, DG Bhutia, Municipal Executive Officer, PP Gautam, DPO DRM&LRD, Pempa Sherpa and Bazaar Officer UD&HD Namchi, Meghraj Gurung.
Later the team led by the SDM inspected Central Park, Bhutia Basti, Parking Plaza complex, Boomtar area, Housing colony, Hospital area wherein all the mentioned representatives were present. The SDM asked the UD&HD and Namchi Municipal Council office to carry out cleanliness drive thoroughly in the inspected areas.
The South district administration has appealed to the public to kindly participate in the cleanliness campaign until the dengue virus is completely wiped off. The administration has also welcomed feedback from the public to tackle this disease.

Luxury vehicles association hosts its first Biswakarma puja

GANGTOK, 19 Sept: All Sikkim Luxury Vehicles Drivers-cum-Owners Welfare Association conducted Biswakarma puja on 17 September near District Court, Sichey. A press release informs that the association was formed in July this year and this was the first Biswakarma puja conducted by it.
The association’s president, Rajeney Gurung has expressed her gratitude to the Chief Minister for allowing luxury vehicles to ply in the state and providing opportunities for the educated unemployed. The association has also thanked Motor Vehicles and PHE Minister, TT Bhutia for his support and all sponsors and donors of the puja.

High Court directs CJM to inspect juvenile observation home

GANGTOK, 19 Sept: The division bench of Sikkim High Court has directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate, East and North at Gangtok, to inspect the Observation Home established in Gangtok for the standard of hygiene and other facilities as per the Juvenile Justice Rules, 2007.
The High Court directives came in response to a PIL filed by Rachhitta Rai seeking for High Court intervention in implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act throughout the State and setting up of various Special Juvenile Police Units in all the Police stations and Child Protection Units at the district level.
In its directions to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, East and North at Gangtok, the division bench asked them to inspect the Observation Home, availability of space keeping in mind the JJ Rules 2007, to check the quality of food, availability of medical facilities for juveniles in Observation Home and other aspects related to juvenile cases like how many Social Investigation Reports [SIR] are submitted in the Juvenile Justice Board.
The High Court further directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate to also inquire as to whether observation and shelter homes have been set up in the other districts in the State as required under the Act. The bench has also directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate to submit his report before the next hearing.
The High Court has also directed the state government to ensure that the officers appointed under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 are among those who have undergone training held by the Sikkim Legal Services Authority. If anyone of them has not undergone such training, the respondent State shall make a request to the Sikkim Legal Services Authority which shall ensure that such training is imparted to them.
Earlier in May, Ms. Rai in her PIL had said that as per the mandate of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, every police station is required to have Special Juvenile Police Unit and Child Protection Unit at the district level, however, in contradiction to the Act, Sikkim does not have Special Juvenile Police Unit and Child Protection Unit at the districts.
The Act prescribes that there should be a Child Welfare Officer to investigate and submit the report to the Juveniles Justice Board and Children in need of care and protection should be provided proper care, protection and treatment by catering to their special needs for the best interest of children.

12 REDRH houses inaugurated by Jorethang GVK

NAMCHI, 19 Sept: Marking the second anniversary of the 2011 earthquake, 12 houses under REDRH and 4 under CMRHM were inaugurated by the Jorethang Gram Vikash Kendra on Wednesday.  
The new houses were inaugurated in Poklok Denchung GPU, Tinik Chisopani GPU and Salghari GPU. The program was attended by Chairman for Labour Welfare Board, Passang Rinzing Sherpa as the chief guest and Chairman, Ecclesiastical Affairs Department, Lakpa Ghising as the guest of honour.
Also present were Panchayat Presidents, Panchayat Vice Presidents, Panchayat Secretaries, Panchayat Members of the three GPUs, former Zilla and Panchayat Members, Gram Vikash Adhikari Deepak Rai, Assistant Engineer, Junior Engineers of Jorethang Gram Vikash Kendra, members of the various Development Committees and the local residents.

In Delhi's Defence SHAMA VIJ/ kafila.org

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The census counts ‘urban agglomerations’, and the Census of India says that Mumbai is India’s largest urban agglomeration. This includes Mumbai’s suburbs. In counting Delhi, the suburbs are not added because they are separated by state boundaries. If you were to add suburbs of the ‘National Capital Region’, Delhi’s population would be not 16 million but over 22 million, making it the world’s largest urban agglomeration after Tokyo. This bustling urban centre is made of its people. Today’s Delhi cannot be stereotyped as just the seat of power. There is more to Delhi than the endless roundabouts of Lutyens’ capital.
Delhi’s core – the Partition refugee Punjabi – is not xenophobic like the Marathi ’manoos’ of Mumbai. In fact Delhi today is what Bombay once was, India’s foremost cosmopolitan metropolis. It is the city of choice for people from across India to migrate to with dreams of riches.
A lot has been written about “the Delhi gang-rape”. 16 December 2012 started a conversation that doesn’t seem to end. This conversation has largely been about rape, not about Delhi.
The city hasn’t been given its due. Rape is a global issue. It is not as if there women are not brutalised anywhere outside Delhi. But the protests that Delhi saw non-stop for thirty days after 16 December were so inspiring that it is hard to explain what it felt like. We were out there, in morning and at night, without police permission to protest, and not limiting ourselves to the designated protest areas. We, the people of Delhi, deserve our due for making that moment historic. Not that we were doing anyone a favour: we were only reclaiming our city for ourselves.
The only person who seems to have paid a tribute to Delhi is the feminist writer Eve Ensler, famous for her 1996 play, ’Vagina Monologues’. “This is mind blowing,” she said of the protests on a visit to Delhi in early January, “There is an incredible spirit at work right now. To see men and women coming to the streets to demonstrate against rape is a breakthrough in terms of human consciousness. I cannot think of a country in my lifetime where thus has ever happened including the United States… We have a rape problem in the US. Why are we not doing what the people in Delhi have done?”
When the story first broke, a friend who works in the city pages of a local daily told me the papers had played up the story because it had happened in elite south Delhi. “Rape cases with as much brutality happen rather often, but they happen in places like a slum in east Delhi. Our editors confine such news to a single column in the inside pages,” she said.
Even so, as the protests gathered momentum, my friend gave up that cynicism. The 16 December girl became a symbol of the fear women face to do something as simple as go out for a movie with or without a boyfriend.
But some Indian radicals weren’t happy. How would they be radical left if they approved of a popular movement? To be radical you must ’take a position’ that is unpopular and marginal. You don’t need to do anything substantial such as face water canons or march in the cold. Facebook is good enough for position-taking.
The cast of such characters is as predictable as their positions. There is the homesick PhD student in the US, the Bengali bhadralok still mourning the shifting of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi, the Brahmin publisher of expensive books in English about Dalits, the academic in a small town, and the Kashmiri azadiwallah. All of these people are elites in their societies and locations, but their claim to fame is that either they don’t live in the national capital, or even while circling the inner Ring Road they pretend to live in some subaltern marginal place of their imagination.
They think that the 22 million people in Delhi NCR are the power elite who run India. They all complained that Delhi was protesting only because the girl was a south Delhite, urban, upper caste, Hindu, middle class and so on.
All of these people ended up with egg on their faces when it turned out the girl was working class, daughter of rural migrant labourer, lived on a far edge of Delhi and belonged to a peasant caste.
Identity politics is a powerful tool for the marginalised and the oppressed but its appropriation by the radicalitis-stricken is worrying. Identity politics us the new last refuge of the scoundrel. It needs to be saved from the Facebook radical who, sitting in an Ivy League university in the US, lectures us that we should worry about rape in Jharkhand, not Delhi. Are we the denizens of Delhi allowed to have a city identity? Are we allowed to care about our neighbourhood? How is it that adivasis are allowed to take to arms for their rights but if the people of Delhi shout a few slogans for their city their protest is illegitimate?
The armchair critic whined that the protests in Delhi were by elite upper class people. While this is not true, does it mean we should not do something about violence against women until we can politically unite the migrant labour with the bank officer?
How can the self-appointed Brahmin messiah of Dalits say that people are protesting because the victim was upper caste, when the protesters didn’t even know her caste? How can the Kashmiri azadiwallah simply choose to ignore that the ‘Indian’ protesters were invoking Shopian and Kunanposhpora in their slogans and posters, and keep saying that they don’t care about rape in Kashmir? And when a girls’ rock band is forced to disband in Srinagar because of rape threats, the same azadi radicals tell Indians to shut up? How are the people of Delhi responsible if the people of Ranchi or Allahabad or Ohio do not rise up and raise a voice against rape in their city? Why must Delhi bear their burden?
Why do those who live in Delhi – repeat, migrants all – need to carry the burden of the nation on their shoulders? By asking that of them, aren’t you seeing them in the very framework of nationalism you claim to question? Why, for instance, do you even expect the Delhi media to be ’Indian media’ when you don’t buy the Indian national project?
One may be dismayed by the death penalty granted to the 16 December perpetrators, but if the 16 December case has become a turning point in fighting against women, then some credit must go to the people of Delhi.

Neighborhood watch keeps Gairi Gaon clean

GANGTOK, 19 Sept: In order to keep the area clean and to stop indiscriminate dumping of garbage, a group of residents of the neighbourhood have come together and started a night watch. People were indiscriminately dumping garbage on the roadside late in the night at Gairi Gaon.
The local residents first put up a hoarding urging people not to throw garbage there. As this failed to put a stop to the problem, some of the residents have started keeping watch till midnight for the past one week. During the watch, some people were caught dumping garbage and were warned and also sensitized to not follow such practice.
Now, garbage dumping on the roadside has completely stopped. However, the night watch is still being carried out by the residents of the area.

Kewzing resident accuses Forest Deptt of dodging RTI queries

GANGTOK, 19 Sept: The Forest Department has failed to supply information sought through an RTI application, Sonam Pintso Bhutia of Kewzing, South Sikkim, has alleged.
Mr. Bhutia informs that he had filed an RTI application with the department on 27 June earlier this year seeking information on the transfer record of Range Officers along with details of their charges and details of all Centrally Sponsored Schemes operating in Sikkim for the past 10 years including the details of compensations that the Forest Department has received from power projects for the permanent damages caused to the forests.
Mr. Bhutia alleges that the Forest Department failed to provide relevant and required information and “rather adopted the approach of beating about the bush” by “supplying misleading, irrelevant and useless information”.
“The concerned officials seem to have a big hitch in supplying the requested details, especially of the central government funded schemes and power project compensations, to protect their blue collared favorites and for other reasons, best known to them”, he alleges.
“Repeated appeals were made to the concerned department seeking relevant and required information. It is now the third time that the department has failed to release relevant and required information,” Mr Bhutia states.
“In one instance, the Forest Secretary transferred a certain RO, twice in nine days and four times in two months, at the cue of a certain area MLA,” he has alleged while adding that corruption was running rife in the department.
Mr. Bhutia has urged the department to provide all the required and relevant information sought by the RTI application. “Or else, it will only raise suspicions against itself, and this might induce the public to inquire about other spheres of the department,” he has said.

FOOTBALLERS PAUSE IN MEMORY OF 18 SEPT 2011 VICTIMS:

 A two-minute silence is observed in memory of those who lost their lives on 18 September 2011 earthquake before the match during the Late Phumzey Lachungpa Memorial Football tournament at Thingchim ground in North Sikkim on Wednesday, the second anniversary of the earthquake.

Contemplating Suicide

Editorial-
Sikkim leads the country in suicide rates at 29.1 suicides per lakh of population. Taking Sikkim’s population of a little over 6 lakhs, this worked out to 181 suicides in the 2012 [as per NCRB data]. This is not new news. In fact, when the statistic was released a few months back, it had made headlines. While Sikkim topping the country in suicide rate [for a second time since 2010] was shocking, the data in itself was significantly lower from the number of suicides reported in Sikkim in the year 2010, when, with a suicide rate of 48.2 per lakh, Sikkim had first dislodged Kerala as the suicide capital of the country. The numbers notwithstanding, suicides remain a worry. Today’s newspaper carries news of two suicides – one by a person who had come to Sikkim to set up a Biswakarma Puja pandal, and another of a woman who did not live to be 30.
Suicides have been a worrying social challenge for a while now in Sikkim and the ignominy of becoming the State with the highest suicide rate should now reinforce the resolve to approach the problem from two sides – understanding and prevention. It is unfortunate that despite having such a high suicide rate, there is still no scientifically established explanation for it. The latest NCRB report informs that no one committed suicide in Sikkim due to either poverty or bankruptcy. Illness, drug abuse and family problems were some of the main reasons recorded for suicides in Sikkim, the report contends. These of course are based on police reports on the suicide cases and would be superficial. All that is available by way of any reliable explanation is that suicide cases result from untreated psychiatric conditions. Even this is too simplistic and attracts the immediate deduction that the way to contain this is to make mental healthcare more accessible. Of course there are also the politically-laced insinuations which, apart from being irrational, are also extremely insensitive towards the memory of lives lost to suicide, to be even discussed with any seriousness beyond the coteries in which they are voiced. Meanwhile, what is missing in Sikkim’s approach towards tackling suicides thus far is any genuine effort to understand the triggers which are spiking mental illnesses to a level where the State reports a suicide every alternate day on average [and many suicides are not even reported as such]. Access to mental healthcare is undoubtedly necessary, but for long-term solutions, the State needs to first unravel what is compromising the psychiatric health of the people so extensively. This is important, because adequate solutions can then be fashioned. It is obvious that the State Government would be keen to implement policy decisions if they help prevent suicides; but that would require the experts to first explain the reasons behind suicides in Sikkim.
While on the topic, one wonders what happened of the State Government initiative of 2010 when a conference of the leading minds from the fields of Science & Spirituality was held in Gangtok. Inaugurated by the Dalai Lama, the conference was projected to lay the foundations for a more complete education of the young, ensuring a more stable rooting in morality and ethics which will also imbibe them with a more positive outlook and reinforce them better against the complications and vicissitudes of modern lifestyles; something which present day classrooms, with the pressure of completing syllabuses and recommending tuitions, cannot ensure.
The young, if introduced through a scientific and structured curriculum to the strength of moral and ethical virtues and how these reinforce each other, will stand a better chance of growing up with better emotional regulation, improved attention, increased calm and resilience, better stress management and coping skills and with refined compassion and empathy. Won’t there have been welcome attributes in these disquieting times of runaway addiction, suicides and other social maladjustment issues among the young?

One arrested on charges of sexual assault

GANGTOK, 19 Sept: One person has been arrested by the Ravangla police on 17 September for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman at lower Tinkitam. The accused, Pem Dorjee Sherpa allegedly sexually assaulted a woman while she was alone at home. Police arrested the accused on the complaint filed by the husband of the victim.
The accused has been arrested and a case under section 376 [punishment for rape] of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against him at the Ravangla Police Station. Both have been sent for medical examination to District Hospital Namchi and the case is under investigation.

One dies after falling from height

GANGTOK, 19 Sept: One person has died in a fatal fall at lower Martam on 18 September. Amrit Bahadur Gajmer [55], resident of Nepal, at present residing in lower Martam, fell from a height while returning from Middle Camp 32 No and died on the spot.

Two suicides

GANGTOK, 19 Sept: Two suicides have been reported, one each from Pakyong and Gangtok.
Under Pakyong Police Station, a 30 year old man, originally a resident of Siliguri, who had been hired by Main Line Taxi Drivers Association [MLTDA] along with seven others to construct the pandal for the Biswakarma puja is reported to have committed suicide by hanging on 17 September.
Under Sadar Police Station, a 28-year-old woman committed suicide by hanging on 17 September. The police were informed of the suicide by a neighbor.

Interactive workshop refines disaster and rescue management plans

GANGTOK, 19 Sept [IPR]: Marking the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake of 18 September 2011, the Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department organized another programme here at Gangtok today.
The programme had Rescue Global, a London-based Non-Profit Organization facilitating an interactive workshop on various aspects of disaster management and rescue operations. Mayor, Gangtok Municipal Corporation, KN Topgay and Deputy Mayor, Shakti Singh Choudhary also attended the programme.
The workshop was conducted by David Jones, the Commanding Officer of Rescue Global.
Mr Jones stressed that principles like compassion, integrity, and application of wisdom were the cornerstone of any disaster management exercise. He highlighted on the importance of proper co-ordination between the authorities at the National Level, State level, District level and subsequently at village level to understand and mitigate any disaster.
Mr Jones also took turns to answer specific questions put forth by the participants. The team then went on to demonstrate the elaborate technological tools used by them in their operations.
The opening and closing remarks were made by the Relief-Commissioner cum Secretary Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department, KS Topgay.
The sensitization workshop had the participation of stakeholders such as officers and members of State Disaster Response Force, Civil Defense, officers from concerned Government Departments, Members of Sikkim Amateur Mountaineering Association, Chemchey, South Sikkim, representatives from Travel Agents Association of Sikkim, members of Helping Hands, and officers and staff from Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department and District Disaster Management Authority.

Chungthang gets 24 REDRH homes on Earthquake anniv

GANGTOK, 19 Sept: The worst affected by the 18 September 2011 earthquake, Chungthang in North Sikkim received 24 new houses on Wednesday, the second anniversary of the earthquake. The  homes were constructed under the Reconstruction of Earthquake Damaged Rural Houses [REDRH] scheme.
The houses were inaugurated as part of mass inauguration of REDRH houses throughout Sikkim to mark the passing of two years since the devastating earthquake of 18 September and as a mark of respect to its victims.
Along with the 24 REDRH houses 61 completed CMRHM houses too, were inaugurated in the Chungthang sub-division on the same day, informs a press release.
Upadhakshya (North) Nim Tshering Lepcha led the inauguration drive in Lachen in the presence of SDM Chungthang, Sonam T. Tashi. Similarly, Panchayat President of Chungthang GPU, Lhendup Lepcha and GVA Chungthang, K.T. Bhutia did the honours in Chungthang, Bop and Choten; while Chungthang ADC (Development), Zilla Panchayat member Chungchung Lepcha and GVK Assistant Engineer inaugurated completed REDRH and CMRHM houses at Ship Gyer, Theng and Lachung respectively.
Present on the occasion were concerned Pipons and Panchayats, Sub-Divisional officials, beneficiaries and general public. During the course of the day, the various chief-guests expressed deep gratitude to the State Government towards successful implementation of REDRH and CMRHM schemes. In addition, they conveyed satisfaction over the quality of construction work and interacted extensively with the beneficiaries and public in general.
They highlighted various development programmes of the State Government aimed at securing welfare of the people and also urged the public to be responsible in availing of the benefits provided to them. They furthermore appreciated the efforts put in by the beneficiaries and concerned support staff towards successful completion of the houses.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Water purifiers installed in Namchi in memory of earthquake victims

NAMCHI, 18 Sept: Two water purifiers - at Central Park and Bhanjyang Road here – were dedicated to the people in the memory of victims of the 2011 earthquake. The units were inaugurated by the Namchi-Singithang MLA, Binod Rai.
Speaking at the function organized by the Namchi Municipal Council [NMC], he urged residents to be prepared to tackle such disasters and acquaint themselves with disaster management and prevention. He further spoke on the Rajiv Gandhi Awas Yojna and appealed to the people to cooperate with the line department during the survey work. Mr Rai urged the people to take proper care of the new asset provided to them and also asked the line departments NMC and UD&HD to ensure proper maintenance of the water purifiers.
NMC Chairman, BT Tamang informed that the two water purifiers installed in Namchi bazaar by the NMC were purchased under BRGF (Backward Region Grant Fund) of the Central Government at Rs 7.32 lakh from Eureka Forbes Aquaguard Company.
Each water purifier has water storage capacity of 120 lts. and has three taps with one tap giving normal purified water and other two giving chilled purified water and a water mug is attached to the purifier for drinking water.
One purifier tank is placed in the Central Park area and the other at the entry point of Bhanjyang road. The water purifiers have helped not only the local visitors but the tourists and shopkeepers as well, he added.
Others present were NMC Vice Chairman NH Ansari, Chairman Tea-board Gagan Rai, ADC South AP Rai, CMO South Dr Bimal Rai, Gram Vikash Adhikari Bimal Rai, HRDD Joint Director MK Rai, NMC councilor, Official dignitaries and local gentry. Earlier Tarkeshwar Prasad NMC councilor welcomed the gathering.