Saturday, October 5, 2013

2-day Assembly session begins with tabling of 3 Bills and passage of one resolution

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: The Ninth Session of the Eighth Assembly of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly commenced here at SLA Secretariat this morning. The two-day assembly session began with a quick eight-minute session today. The proceedings began with the Speaker announcing the disqualification of PS Tamang from the Assembly following his resignation from the party on whose ticket he was elected.
The session saw the introduction of one new and two amendment Bills in the House today. The discussions and voting on the three bills will be held tomorrow.
The house also unanimously passed the Resolution No.1 of 2013 seeking amendments to the Transplantation of Human Organ Act, 1994 to be made applicable in the state of Sikkim moved by the Minister of Health Care, Human Service and Family Welfare Department, DN Takarpa and seconded by the member of Legislative Assembly, Tenzi Sherpa. The Resolution was unanimously passed by the house without discussions.
The leader of the house, Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling, who is also the Minister-in-charge of Law Department introduced the two Amendment bills, Bill No.12 of 2013 Sikkim Court Fees and Stamps on Documents (Amendment) Bill and Bill no. 14 of 2013 Sikkim Civil Court (Amendment) Bill.
The statement of object and reason of the Sikkim Court Fees and Stamps on Documents (Amendment) Bill is that the existing flat rate of 6% Court Fees has been found on higher side and the state government has deemed it expedient to carry out revision in the rates of Court Fees and to make a slab system of rates of Court Fees so as to enable the people from lower strata of society to have easier access to justice. With this object in view the bill has been framed.
Sikkim Civil Court (Amendment) Bill has been framed to enhance the existing pecuniary jurisdiction of Civil Judge (Senior Division) and Civil Judge (Junior Division) for providing legal redressal to the public at large by amendment of the Sikkim Civil Courts Act, 1978.
Similarly, Minister for Human Resource Development Department, NK Pradhan introduced the Shri Ramasamy Memorial University, Sikkim, Bill No. 13 of 2013. The bill has been framed as the Government of Sikkim realizes that technical and professional education plays a vital role in the human resources development of the state and of the country, by creating skilled manpower that could serve the needs of the industry and other development sectors and thereby sustain the growth and productivity for creation of wealth and prosperity of the nation.
The Assembly also granted leave to member Neeru Sewa who did not attend the session today.

Vinayaka Missions wins reprieve from High Court against IGNOU denial of study centres outside Sikkim

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: Vinayaka Missions Sikkim University has got relief from the High Court of Sikkim which, on the private University’s prayer, has stayed the IGNOU decision that State universities cannot have study centres outside the geographical limits of the State [in this case, Sikkim].
The single bench of the High Court granted ex-parte stay till further order, ending for now the uncertainty at VMSU with regard to its study centres outside the state. The University’s study centres for its Distance Education courses have been in quandary since June 2012 after the Indira Gandhi National Open University’s Distance Education Council refused it further permission.
The IGNOU Board of Governors had passed a resolution disallowing Universities from running Distance Education programme beyond the boundaries of their respective states.
The single bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Narendra Kumar Jain, while granting ex-parte relief to Vinayaka Missions Sikkim University, issued notices to the University Grants Commission and Indira Gandhi National Open University directing them to respond before the next date of hearing.
VMSU had prayed for ex-parte stay order barring the University Grants Commission public notice of 17 June, 2013 and further notices and orders as per the resolution adopted in 40th Meeting of Distance Education Council which debarred them from operating off-campus study centres outside Sikkim.
The High Court has directed the Registry to connect the Vinayaka Missions Sikkim University writ with a similar case filed by te Sikkim Manipal University earlier in March, adding that the court has already passed an ad-interim stay order against the decision of 40th Meeting of the Distance Education Council of IGNOU.
Justice Jain said that interim injunction and the order shall be subject to hearing the other side, stating that the operation of the condition ‘but not beyond the boundary of their respective states’ contained in the Minutes of 40th Meeting of the Distance Education Council of IGNOU held on 8 June 2012 and any consequential directions in this regard shall remain stayed.
Vinayak Missions has challenged the Minutes of 40th Meeting of the Distance Education Council of IGNOU in Sikkim High Court seeking court direction to grant continuation of recognition granted by Distance Education Council upon the expiry of recognition, adding that Expert Committee and DEC had accorded recognition for offering programmes through distance mode for further permission to run distance education.

Sporting Gandhi Jayanti at Thingchim

MANGAN, 04 Oct: Gandhi Jayanti was celebrated here at Thingchim in North Sikkim on 02 October with the Power Minister cum area MLA, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha as the chief guest accompanied by Member of Rajya Sabha, Hishey Lachungpa as the guest of honour.
Speaking at the function, the chief guest highlighted the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi and urged all the people to follow in his footsteps. “Sikkim is developing under the visionary leadership of the Chief Minister and we should support his pursuit for a better Sikkim,” the Minister said.
He also announced the sanctioning of the protection work for Thingchim under the 13th Finance Commission and further highlighted that maximum numbers of CMRHM and REDRH projects have been sanctioned in the area.
MP Hishey Lachungpa in his address informed that the demand for the extension of the Thingchim School playground will be fulfilled under the MP-LAD fund and assured all the people of the development of Thingchim since the area is a potential tourism destination.
The final match of the Late Phumzey Lachungpa memorial football tournament which was played between Ralak United and Tathangchen was also held on the day. Tathangchen won the match in penalty shootout and lifted the trophy with cash prize of Rs. 50,000 while the runner up team was awarded Rs. 30,000. The tournament which had started from 01 September had a total of 68 teams participating from across the state. Zilla member, Tshering Doma Bhutia highlighted about the function whereas the headmaster of Thingchim JHS delivered the welcome speech.
General secretary, Karma Dawa Bhutia said that the youth of Thingchim support the SDF party and also highlighted the need for essential infrastructure development in Thingchim.
Also present in the function were headmistress Mangshila Sr. Sec School, Chungkipo Lepcha, zilla and panchayat members, teachers and students from different schools and local residents.
Also on the day, the Thingchim football community raffle was drawn. The results are as follows: 1st prize; 000196, 2nd prize; 000152, 3rd Prize; 000118, 4th prize; 000351, 5th Prize; 000010. All winners should claim the prizes from the committee within 15 days.

CM inaugurates super-speciality wing at CRH

GANGTOK, 04 Oct [IPR]: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today inaugurated the newly built ‘Super Speciality Wing’ of Central Referral Hospital or Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences (SMIMS) here at 5th Mile Tadong.
The state-of-the-art super speciality wing which has been set up at an estimated cost of Rs 37.67 crore has Diagnostics which include Radiology, MRI, Digital X-Ray, Cardiac Cath Lab, Ultrasonography, color dopper. The Super speciality departments will have Neuro Surgery, Urology, Gastroenterology, Skin and Cosmetology, Cardiology, Cardio Vascular and Thoracic Surgery, Onco Surgery, and private wards.
In a function organized in the auditorium of SMIMS, Pro Chancellor of Manipal, Dr. Ram Das Pai felicitated the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and presented him with a memento as a mark of respect, appreciation and gratitude.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Chamling, expressed his happiness that such a super speciality wing has come up in CRH and expressed hope that the hospital will provide quality service and people of the state will benefit from it.

Quake Update: No serious damage in South Sikkim

NAMCHI, 04 Oct [IPR]: Following the 5.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Sikkim on Thursday, the IPR department met with the DC South, Prabhaker Verma to obtain report on any damages or casualties that may have taken place in the South District. The DC informed that there has been no report of severe damage or casualties in the district. He however updated that the school building of Tingley Government Senior Secondary School has suffered minor cracks as reported to him by the panchayat member Bhanu Gurung. Everything has been found to be normal and there have been no reports of any damage from the GPUs, the DC stated. He further said that he has notified all the Zilla and Gram Panchayats to report to him on any damages related to the earthquake as ascertained by them.

SKM gears up for Parivartan Diwas

GANGTOK, 4 Oct: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha has announced plans to observed 06 October, Sunday, as Parivartan Diwas, marking the occasion when the leader they have been identified with all along finally takes formal charge of the party. Former SDF Legislator, PS Tamang [Golay], an SKM  press release informs, will be joining the party at Paljor Stadium here on Sunday and address the people.
The party is preparing for a mammoth gathering here on Sunday and SKM publicity secretary, Jacob Khaling, in a press release issued today, has assured that the party workers will maintain proper discipline on the day and has appealed to all SKM supporters travelling to the meet on 06 October to maintain decorum.
The release adds that a large number of party workers and well-wishers are expected to gather at Paljor Stadium on Sunday and highlights that the day will decide the course of change in Sikkim.

SKM opens party office in MG Marg

Sikkim Krantikari Morcha opened its Upper Gangtok party office at MG Marg here on 01 October. Pintso Chopel Lepcha [president Zone-I] inaugurated the new party office, the space for which was provided by Karma Tashi Phempo of New Market, Gangtok.

Sikkim Bachaw Abhiyan Forum to join SKM on Sunday

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: Sikkim Bachaw Abhiyan Forum (SBAF) is set to officially join Sikkim Krantikari Morcha on 06 October during the “Pariwartan Diwas”. An SBAF release informs that the Forum’s president, former DSP, Jeewan Pradhan along with vice president, PD Lama, Binod Pradhan, general secretary, Karma Jigmee Bhutia and members of the forum will be joining SKM on Sunday.
The release mentions that SBAF has approximately 500 members from across the state. President, Mr. Pradhan has stated that under the leadership of PS Golay, Sikkim will definitely shine and the Sikkimese people will see real democracy in the state. “We have decided for a better tomorrow and we will continue our activities in the political arena”, the release states.

ICAR organises training on Climate Resilient Agriculture

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: Training cum Awareness programme on Climate Resilient Agriculture was organised today at ICAR Sikkim Centre Tadong, Gangtok. A press release informs that the key objective of the training was to develop awareness among all the stakeholders including farmers regarding Climate Resilient Agriculture.
More than 60 participants including farmers, officials from State Agriculture Department, Scientists from ICRI, Spices Board, RCIBSD, NRC for Orchids and GBPIHED attended this training. The event was inaugurated by Director, H&CCDD, Khorlo Bhutia. In his inaugural address, he appreciated the efforts taken by the ICAR Sikkim Centre in organising such a programme to create awareness on climate change and its impact on agriculture. He also stressed the need for crop diversification and identification and development of crops adaptable to climate change such as short duration and shallow-rooted crops to cope with the problems arising due to climate change.
Presiding over the session, Joint Director, ICAR Sikkim Centre, Dr. RK Avasthe highlighted the impact of climate change on food production, pest and disease outbreak, impact on plantation crops such as large cardamom and Sikkim mandarin and their mitigation strategies.
Head, Water Management and PI, NICRA, ICAR, Umiam, Meghalaya, Dr. DJ Rajkhowa spoke about the changes in climate variability in the north eastern region which has a fragile ecosystem, poor farmers and small land holdings. He explained about the importance of organising this training programme to sensitize the farmers of Sikkim and other stakeholders.
PS and Head, Animal Reproduction, ICAR, Umiam, Meghalaya, Dr. Suresh Kumar shared his views on the impact of climate change on animal production, health and incorporation of molecular and biotechnological tools to mitigate the loss caused due to climate change. Earlier, welcoming the participants, Sr. Scientist, Entomology, ICAR Sikkim Centre, Dr. H Kalita explained in brief about the importance of this training programme. At the end, Sr. Scientist, Dr. Ashish Yadav proposed a vote of thanks and wished for the successful completion of the programme.

‘Jago Grahak Jago’ programme at MG Marg on Sunday

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: Federation of Consumer Association of Sikkim [FCAS] will be organizing a Consumer Awareness Program ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ at MG Marg, Gangtok on 06 October at 11 AM. In a press release, FCAS has requested all consumers to take part in the programme in order to know about their rights and responsibilities as a consumer. Plays, talks, music and dance along with other events will be part of the day’s programme, it is informed. FCA will take the awareness programme to the different small towns of the state after Gangtok.
Consumer Help Line Nos: 03592 202893 (Pay Line):  1800-345-3209 (Toll Free).


CDO MGNREGA inspects work at Rhenock

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: An inspection of the works completed under MGNREGA under Rhenock Block was conducted on 03 October. A team of officials including Chief Development Officer MGNREGA, Government of India, Mahesh Chandra Yadav accompanied by Additional District Collector (Dev) Pakyong, Roshni Rai,  Gram Vikash Adhikari Rhenock, Bhim Lall Adhikari, Assistant Engineer Rhenock, Prasoon Pradhan and all concerned staff inspected the work sites.
As per a press release, the officials visited the MGNREGA work sites at two GPUs under Rhenock Block namely Tarpin GPU and Sudunglakha GPU. Both GPUs have completed Land Development of the school playground following which the area of the playground has increased.
The fencing of both the grounds was done under MGNREGA.
The officials also interacted with the school authorities, job card holders and the general public. Mr. Yadav expressed satisfaction at the quality of work and congratulated the local officials in making the MGNREGA scheme a success in spite of the difficulties faced, the release mentions.

North to get exclusive District & Sessions Court soon

MANGAN, 04 Oct: In order to deliver speedy justice and for the convenience of the public of North Sikkim, the High Court of Sikkim has decided to establish a District and Sessions Court in the district.
With regard to this, an inspection was conducted to determine the feasibility of the said establishment by a high level team of the High Court of Sikkim on Thursday.
The team comprised of Judge, High Court of Sikkim-cum-Executive Chairman, Sikkim State Legal Service Authority, Justice SP Wangdi, Additional Registrar, High Court of Sikkim, Neena Kunwar, District and Sessions Judge, North, JB Rai, Judicial Magistrate, North, Binoy Sharma, District Magistrate, North, CP Dhakal, Superintendent of Police, North, RN Yadav and Bikash Sharma [High Court of Sikkim] visited the District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, (DCDRF) Mangan, where the district and sessions court will be established. Deputy Director, DCDRF, North, Tara Gurung and Assistant Controller, Mahesh Sharma were also present during the visit.
It is learnt that after the appointment of the District and Sessions Judge for North district the legal proceedings will be conducted in DCDRF, Mangan instead of Gangtok and the court shall execute twice in a month.
On the arrival of Justice Wangdi in Mangan, the IRB personnel accorded guard of honor at the Power Guest House and after the inspection, the Justice also visited Alternative Dispute Redressal/Resolution Centre and Judicial Magistrate Court at Pentok. He enquired about all the available facilities of the Mediation Centre and Lok Adalat and advised the JM, North to install the latest software such as e-filing etc in the court. He asked the officials of the Judicial Magistrate Court to make a list of existing problems and submit it. Justice Wangdi also asked DM, North to make arrangements for the residential quarters for the District and Sessions Judge to be appointed.

North District Administration felicitates 4 national awardees on Gandhi Jayanti

MANGAN, 04 Oct: The North District administration under the guidance of District Collector North, CP Dhakal organized a programme to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti at the multi-purpose hall of Mangan Senior Secondary School on 02 October.
The function had MLA Lachen-Mangan, TW Lepcha as the chief guest accompanied by the district officials and local residents. The function started with the chief guest paying homage to the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi followed by a brief address by the chief guest and the District Collector.  A colorful cultural programme was also staged to entertain the gathering.
Also on the day, North District administration felicitated four national awardees from North Sikkim namely Palden Bhutia [SDPO Mangan], KT Bhutia [Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry North], Tempa Ringzing Bhutia [Headmaster Rang Rang JHS] and Sangkit Lepcha [teacher Singhik SS].

Hoteliers Assoc of Namchi elects new executive body

NAMCHI, 04 Oct: The Hoteliers Association of Namchi held its annual general meeting today. The meeting deliberated on various problems faced by the hoteliers of Namchi and focused on making the association stronger and function in an organized manner.
During the meeting, the old ad-hoc executive body of the association was dissolved and new executive members of the association were elected by the members of the association. The new executive body comprises of Kayaluk Bhutia as president, Sabnam Rai as vice president, Bimal Pradhan as general secretary, Tenzing N Bhutia as treasurer, Passang Doma as vice treasurer, Rajesh Thapa and DB Rai as publicity secretary along with new members Pappu Rai and Summana Rai.

Cleanliness drive at Samdruptse by Government Drivers Association of Namchi

NAMCHI, 04 Oct: With the view to improve garbage management in the area and spread the message of keeping our surroundings neat and clean, the Government Drivers Association of Namchi conducted a cleanliness drive today here at Samdruptse area in South Sikkim. The team was headed by the association’s president, Denzong Tamang and comprised of other members of the association.
President, Mr. Tamang informed that their association is continuously conducting such drives and other social activities apart from their daily duties. Since the Guru Vajra recitation is set to begin from Saturday at the statue of Guru Padmasambhava, a huge number of devotees are expected to turn up at Samdruptse, the association decided to clean up the area, he further informed. Mr Tamang also urged visitors and tourists to not litter the area.

Awareness on health and BOCW Act for labourers at Dikchu

MANGAN, 04 Oct: Workers engaged with the 96 MW Dikchu Hydel Project were briefed on Implementation of Building & Other Construction Workers (RECS) Act 1996 along with other health awareness on HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis in an awareness function held at the power house site of the project on Thursday. The workers engaged with the project developers Sneha Kinetic Power Project Ltd. (SKPPL) and Drillcon Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. along with the company’s officials were in attendance.
Speaking on the special benefits and protection of labour under the Building and Other Construction Welfare (RECS) Act 1996, Joint Commissioner Labour, DS Kunwar highlighted that the registered beneficiaries (labour) will be covered under an insurance policy worth Rs. 1 lakh in case of accidental death and also added that the beneficiaries will get other welfare facilities based on their need like medicine, injury compensation etc.
At the same time, Mr. Kunwar also urged all the workers to be disciplined where he informed that strict punishment would be taken in case anyone is found to be involved in theft or rape cases.
Joint Commissioner Labour, KR Limboo stressed on abolition of child labour and appealed to all the people not to engage child labour whether it is at home or any hotel or construction site. He also informed about the safety measures to be taken at the work site.
Similarly, the representative from District Hospital Mangan delivered tips on health especially on Tuberculosis and other diseases whereas the representative from Sikkim State Aids Control Society, Bhumika Sharma (counselor) informed about HIV/AIDS.
A colourful cultural programme was also staged to entertain the gathering. Earlier, the function was welcomed by Deputy Labour Commissioner, North and concluded with the vote of thanks by GM SKPPL, AK Dutta.

New Interact Club installed at Deorali Girls School

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: A new Interact Club [part of the Rotary Family] was installed at Deorali Girls’ Senior Secondary School on 02 October. A press release informs that the newly formed club comprising of 41 students and faculty advisors from the school is sponsored by Rotary Club of Gangtok.
Lavomit Lepcha and Geeta Rai were installed as the Charter president and Charter secretary of the club respectively. Charter of the club was presented to the Interactors by the District Governor of Rotary International District 3240, Arijit Kumar Endow from Silchar, Assam.
The Deorali Girls’ Sr Sec School Interact club is the 7th Interact club formed in the state, the release mentions. Interact Clubs are school based, social service oriented organizations. Without compromising their studies, students participate in various activities which not only make our world a better place to live in, but also sharpen leadership qualities, improve bonding amongst students, encourage team spirit and also provide an International platform for interactors and carry out their activities, the release further adds.

Three-day orientation cum training begins for junior advocates

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: The three-day ‘Orientation cum Training Programme’ for junior advocates who have been practicing law for 2 years or less, started here today at the High Court of Sikkim today. The programme is being organized by the Sikkim State Legal Services in co-ordination with the Sikkim Judicial Academy.
The inaugural function was attended by the Acting Chief Justice, Narendra Kumar Jain, Former Chief Justice, Pius. C  Kuriakose and the judge of the Sikkim High Court, SP Wangdi. Former judge of the High Court, AP Subba and the Vice Chancellor of Sikkim University, were also present for the inaugural function of the training.
While delivering his inaugural speech, the Acting Chief Justice, NK Jain said, “The junior advocates although experienced and practicing law for some time, still have doubts to be cleared, etiquettes and ethics to be learned and queries to be made”.
Justice SP Wangdi urged all the junior advocates to take advantage of this training programme, which was organized to facilitate them with basic knowledge on practicing, drafting and code of ethics and professionalism, etc. He added that the concept of Judicial Academy was to train lawyers, prosecution and judicial officers as per the need of the present situation.
Chief Justice PC Kuriakose, who demitted office on 01 October, was also felicitated by the Sikkim Judicial Academy for his contribution towards establishing the Judicial Academy.

Five feared killed in NH 31A road mishap SILIGURI BOUND VEHICLE FROM PAKYONG PLUNGES INTO TEESTA NEAR GEIL KHOLA

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: Five persons are feared dead while six others escaped with injuries when the Bolero (SK-01J-1900) they were traveling in plunged into the Teesta river after colliding head-on with a truck coming from the opposite direction. The accident occured near Geil Khola, West Benagl, along NH 31A under Kalimpong Police Station this morning.
Police sources in Kalimpong confirm that the accident occurred at around 9:30 AM when the Siliguri-bound jeep coming from Pakyong in East Sikkim collided head-on with the truck while reportedly trying to overtake another vehicle.
Following the collision, the ill-fated passenger vehicle fell about 100 feet off the road into the Teesta. The impact of the collision was so severe that even the frontend of the truck was completely smashed, it is learnt.
The vehicle was carrying 11 persons including the driver.
While the body of one of the casualties - Ram Krishna Rai, aged about 30, from Pachey-Samsing village in East Sikkim has been recovered, the bodies of four others feared dead are yet to be recovered, media reports informs.
Meanwhile, six other occupants of the vehicle managed to escape with injuries. The injured were rushed to Rambi block Primary Health Centre and were released after first aid.
The four feared dead are the driver of the vehicle, Tek Bahadur Bhujel, Deepak Gupta, Ganesh Gupta and Bilawal Hussein.
An injured passenger, Sayeed Alam, a construction worker at Pakyong, has been quoted in media reports as stating the vehicle was moving in high speed when it collided with the truck.
“Our vehicle was in full speed and was trying to overtake another jeep in front of us when it suddenly collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction after which our car took a tumble and rolled into the river. I broke the rear window to escape and swam to safety”.
Sahimidin Mia, a construction worker from Cooch Behar, who fractured his right hand, said, “When the vehicle hit the water I was thrown out and swam to the shore”.
“Four out of us five workers managed to escape but Bilawal Hussein is still missing,” informs Saheed Alam (17) of Islampur. The five work at a construction site in Pakyong and were travelling to their homes today.
The 21 year old driver of the truck has in the meanwhile been taken into custody while the Bolero was recovered at around 4 PM with the help of a recovery van and a rafting team.
Member of Pakyong Zilla Panchayat, Santosh Kr Gurung, CLC member of the ruling party, DB Gurung, SDF’s District convenor, TB Gurung and GM Gurung of Rhenock constituency along with owner of the vehicle, Usman Sheikh and relatives of the missing persons also reached the spot today.

Teenaged girl commits suicide

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: A 16-year-old girl reportedly committed suicide by hanging in Rongli today. The girl was residing at her uncle’s place. This morning when the teenager did not wake up as usual, the uncle forced open the door to her room and discovered that she had committed suicide. The case is under investigation.

One booked under SADA

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: One person was arrested by the Melli police on 03 October when he was found to be in possession of contraband substances. A 29 year old from Siliguri was traveling in an SNT bus coming from Siliguri and was caught with contraband substances by the In-charge, Melli Check Post, during routine checking. The police recovered 68 Nitrosun-10 tablets and two grams of Marijuana [Ganja] from his possession. He has been arrested and a case under section 9/14 SAD Act has been registered against him at the Melli Police Station.

Quake damage to buildings reported in East Sikkim

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: The East District Administration has released its action taken report on Thursday’s earthquake. As per the report, immediately after the quake the administration collected the information from the Indian Meteorological Department of Sikkim and disseminated it through phone, bulk SMS and the social media to all the concerned authorities for necessary action as per the Disaster Management Plan.
The East District Administration coordinated with the Incident Commander of South, North and West Districts and no information of any casualty or damage was reported from them. The Section Head of Search and Rescue Unit and the Chief Medical Officer of East District were also alerted. All SDMs and GVKs were directed to collect information about damage and casualties and report immediately. The administration alerted the public and requested them to be calm and not to panic and requested them to follow precautionary measures to be done during the earthquake.
While no serious damage was reported on Thursday, the DC East today informed that reports of severe damage to the Tumin Secondary School has been received. The concerned Gram Vikash Adhikari has been directed to verify the report. Reports of damages to some of the buildings in-and-around Gangtok has also been received and are getting verified by the concerned officials, the DC informed.

Blood donation camp at Sirwani

GANGTOK, 04 Oct:  A blood donation camp was organised at Sirwani Hydro Office on 01 October jointly by Rotary Club and Lanco Foundation, the CSR wing of Lanco Teesta Hydro Power Pvt Ltd, Majitar, Sikkim. A total of 41 persons were registered out of which 31 donated blood during the camp. The camp was attended by Lanco employees, ex-employees and panchayat members from Sirwani. All the donors were awarded certificates of appreciation by Lanco Foundation.

CAEPHT’s 7th Annual College Week gets underway

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: The ‘7th Annual College Week’’ of the College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology [CAEPHT], Ranipool, Central Agricultural University began on Thursday at the college premises.
The annual sports extravaganza will continue till 09 October where boys and girls grouped into two houses [Sir Vishveswaraya House and Prof. Masan House] will be participating in 55 events [indoor and outdoor], which include athletics [100 m, 200 m, 400 m], discus throw, shot put, long jump, badminton, volleyball, football, chess and many others. Competitions on art and literary events [essay writing, extempore debate, spot painting etc], are also to be organized for the students of the college.
The weeklong event was inaugurated by the chief guest, Vice Principal of Biraspati Parasai Higher Secondary School, Ranipool, J Sen.
The chief guest highlighted about the importance of sports for students and youth. Dean for the College, Dr. PK Srivastava chaired the inaugural meeting. He welcomed the participants with the message that the college week should be celebrated in the spirit of sports.
Further adding that participation is more important than winning, he expressed hope that the students would better their performance in this year’s competition.
The participants of both the houses took oath to maintain discipline and demonstrate the spirit of sportsmanship. On the first day, 100 m and 200 m race, shot put, discus throw and javelin throws for boys and girls were conducted as well.
During the inaugural function, students, faculty members, including staff of the college were also present.

Storytelling and music today by Acoustic Traditional and Sikkim Conservatory

GANGTOK, 04 Oct: Acoustic Traditional [NGO] is organizing a valedictory concert for the ‘one-page project’ on Saturday.
A press release issued by the organization informs that the state Culture Department has agreed to keep a copy of the one-page book. The organization will be handing over the copy of the book to the department during the programme on Saturday. A music and storytelling concert in collaboration with the Sikkim Conservatory School of Music is also part of the programme.
The release informs that the storytelling session will include legends of Guru Padmasambhava and unpublished folktales of the region while Sikkim Conservatory will be performing traditional folk, Buddhist ritual and Shaman’s ritual music.
The programme is being held at the Mini Auditorium at Mannan Kendra, New Secretariat, Development Area, Gangtok from 5 PM onwards. The organization has invited all to part of the event.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Temi Tea launches new products

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: The Secretary Commerce and Industries, PT Euthenpa launched and released the new packets of Temi Tea at his office today.
As per a press release, launching the new tea packets, the Secretary said that the new product is of good quality with an attractive packaging and affordable price. He informed that the State Temi Tea Garden have been successful in getting organic certification which is a historic achievement for the government. He also informed that Temi Orthodox Tea has got the permission for exporting and will now export its product throughout the world.
The Secretary further informed that the state’s famous tea garden was established in 1969 and has since been continuously producing good quality tea. At present the Temi Tea Garden is producing organic tea in a total area of 177.64 Hectare of land, he said. It was further informed that the Temi Tea Estate is also distributing organic tea seedlings to tea growers, the release mentions.
The General Manager, Temi Tea Estate, Ravikumar M informed that five new packets have been launched today giving the product an attractive and new look along with better quality. He also informed that the packaging uses pine wood caddy in 200gms and 100gms. Cheaper compared to other business firms, he informed that these caddies are mainly designed for premium grade tea. The new products are Temi Tea Royal, Temi Tea Magic and Temi Tea Super fine and low priced tea bags.
The launch was also attended by the Director Commerce Industry, LP Barfungpa, Manager Temi Tea Estate, Officers of Industry Department and representative from Himalayan Chia Bari.

Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniv celebrated at SGC Tadong

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: Samaroh Vivekananda Sarda Sati Celebration Committee observed the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda here at Sikkim Government College on 02 October.A press release informs that during the function, principal Tadong College, Dr. MP Kharel, present as the chief guest spoke about Swami Vivekananda’s contributions towards the nation. He also appealed to students to follow the Swami’s philosophy of peace and non-violence as well. The function also saw cultural performances by students.
Also present were Prof. Asim Kumar Mitra as the guest of honor accompanied by members of the celebration committee, students, including the general public.

SUS thanks CM for laptop scheme

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: The Students’ Union of Sikkim [SUS] has expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling for taking such a unique step of distributing laptops with the latest software to the students of Sikkim.
An SUS release states “such a tremendous step to make the students fully equipped in the field of technology is praise worthy”. It is further stated that students of Sikkim are fortunate to have a leader who has dedicated his life for a better future of the youth. The Union also expresses that with such wise initiatives taken by the government, the education system in the state would also reach new heights.

Sikkim Limboo Students’ Association new exec body takes charge

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: The new executive body of Sikkim Limboo Students’ Association has officially taken the responsibility of the association on 30 September.
A press release of the association informs that the new executive body has Aita Raj Subba as president, Mohan Subba as general secretary, Eza Hangma Subba and Milan Subba as joint secretaries, Bhim Hang Subba and Prahima Subba as treasurers, Suman Subba and Buddha Rani Subba as cultural secretaries, Chandra Hang Subba and Binod Subba as publicity secretaries, Yana Hang Subba and Sujata Subba as editors, Mickey Hangma Subba and Khim Bahadur Subba as coordinators, Sanchabir Subba and Sukmaya Subba as literary secretaries and Suhang Subba and Kunday Hang Subba as Audit. The new committee also has 20 members.

State-level Science Exhibition 2013 gets underway

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: State Level Science and Environmental Exhibition - 2013 was inaugurated by Director Technical Education and Training, DK Pradhan today at Indoor Gymnasium Hall, Paljor Stadium. The exhibition was organised by SCERT, Gangtok under the guidance of NCERT, New Delhi. The exhibition on the theme "Science and Society" will conclude on 05 October. A total of 64 Secondary and Senior Secondary Schools from all the four districts are participating in the exhibition.
The best 20 exhibits will be selected to take part in the National Level Science Exhibition, which is scheduled to be held on 11 November. Sikkim is hosting this National Level Exhibition which is scheduled to be inaugurated by the President of India on 11 November.

Second meeting of District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee held at Namchi

NAMCHI, 03 Oct [IPR]: The 2nd District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee (DVMC) meeting for South Sikkim was conducted today in the conference hall of Namchi DAC chaired by the MP Lok Sabha, PD Rai who is also the chairman of the committee.
The action taken report on the issues raised in the last meeting concerning different line departments and the developmental progress made in the South district on the entire schemes sponsored by the central government were reviewed and discussed in the house.
Action points like land compensation, scarce water supply, deficient electricity supply, poor maintenance of PMGSY roads, shortage of infrastructure and manpower in PHSCS/PHCs, delay in REDRH & CMRHM, shortage of washroom facilities for students especially girls in government schools, Integrated Watershed Management Program and other related subjects were talked about in the house. Schemes like MGNREGA, REDRH, CMRHM, NRHM, Total Sanitation Campaign, BRGF, works under MPLADS, PMGSY, IWSMP, ARWS, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana, and ICDS Centers were discussed at length.
Conveying his discontent on the poor attendance of the Panchayat Presidents in the meeting, MP Lok Sabha said that this forum is an apt place where their grievances and queries can be resolved in better way and their absence shows indifference which would hamper the execution of public work.
He called for collective responsibility from the public administration and Panchayats to fulfill the mission of the Chief Minister in creating self-sufficient efficient villages in the state. To consume less time and make the DVMC meet more effective, Mr Rai requested the line department representatives and panchayat members to come completely prepared for the meet in the subsequent meeting.
While addressing the grievances placed by the panchayats, he asked the concerned line department to ensure timely wage payment of the NREGA laborers. Addressing the shortage of electricity supply in Koltay GPU, he asked the Power department to implement high quality works in the rural areas as their negligence will only make the public suffer.
Underlining the importance of speedy deliverance of REDRH Scheme, Mr Rai stressed that REDRH scheme is for the grass root level public and they are the genuine recipients who need to be strengthened from the roots. He asked the line department officials not to take the public works lightly and cooperate with the state government in empowering the underprivileged section.
Stating that his observation of the REDRH and CMRHM schemes showed slow progress, the DVMC Chairman recommended the GVAs/line departments and Panchayats to implement all related works in mission mode and speed up progress in these priority schemes of the state government. speaking on the issue of non-maintenance of PMGSY roads, he said that the maintenance fund provided under PMGSY scheme is not sufficient to cover the maintenance of all roads. He added that a proposal to raise the maintenance fund especially for hilly areas has been placed with the centre.
Regarding the slow pace of work under the RGGVY scheme for power supply, he recommended that the nodal officers formed for this scheme inspect the schemes in the district to learn about the real concerns and take action thereafter for effective implementation of the scheme.
The District Collector South, Prabhaker Verma placed a proposal in the house to launch a Jan Sunwai Diwas in the South District wherein at the end of the each week all the HoDs of all line departments should visit each GVK and hold meetings with the respective GVA, panchayat members and public for efficient administration of public works. Pointing out the flaws in the administration, Mr Verma said that lack of coordination between departments, lack of regular monitoring of the implemented schemes, administration becoming inaccessible in remote areas are some of the problems that need to be resolved by all the departments soon.
The Lok Sabha MP welcomed the proposal of the DC South and said that with the combined teamwork of the line departments this proposal may become effective in bringing positive results for the public.

Gandhi Jayanti celebration at South Regu JHS

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: The final match of the volleyball tourney organized by the South Regu Junior High School was held on the occasion of the 144th Gandhi Jayanti Celebration at the school premises on 02 October.
Talkharka [South Regu] defeated the South Regu JHS school staff team in the final match three sets to one. The tournament had started on 26 September.
BDO, Regu BAC, Sabindra Rai, who was present as the chief guest, assured full support for the development of the South Regu Junior High School. He encouraged students to participate in sports along with academics.
Furthermore, the BDO also thanked the school for conducting such a function and the participating teams as well.
Also during the function, South Regu JHS teacher, SW Bhutia, spoke on the importance of celebrating Gandhi Jayanti. The function was also addressed by the guest of honor, Panchayat, Mohan Rai, accompanied by headmaster of the school, Gyalpo Sherpa, and school teacher, ND Tamang.

One arrested on charges of sexual assault

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: One person has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old in the capital today. The accused, a salesman at a local shop, allegedly tried to molest the girl when she had come to the shop to make a purchase. The girl, who works as a housemaid, filed a written complaint at the Sadar Police Station, which led to the arrest of the salesman.

Rhenock PHC gets a clean-up

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: The staff of Rhenock Primary Health Centre came together on 02 October to clean up the PHC and its surroundings. The PHC staff headed by Medical Officer In-charge, Dr. Angila Dorjee and Dental Surgeon, Dr Raman Sharma along with ASHA under Rhenock cleaned all the wards of the PHC including the labour room. The objective of the cleaning up exercise was to prevent the spread of diseases and for the benefit of patients, it is informed.

Three-day workshop on Central Grants to PRIs concludes

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: The three-day workshop on Central Grants for PRI and PRI functionaries organized by the Rural Management and Development Department [RMDD] concluded in the capital today.
Minister RMDD, CB Karki was the chief guest of the programme which was also attended by the Secretary RMDD, DR Nepal, ADC East, Joint Secretary RMDD, other officials and the panchayat members.
The Minister, Mr Karki while addressing the panchayat members urged them to work hard in the interest of the people whom they are representing. “In democracy the people rule and we are just their servants to provide service to them”, he said and further urged the panchayats to respect the mandate of the people and the faith which has been bestowed on them.
The Secretary, RMDD asked the panchayats to work hand-in-hand with the government for the development of the state. Informing the panchayats about the various awards and honours received by the state he asked them to work hard to maintain the good image of the state.
A power point presentation was made by Joint Secretary, Norzing Tshering, RMDD in which she talked on the central grants that included the 13th Finance Commission, State Finance Commission and Backward Region Grants.
Panchayat Inspector, Zomden Lachungpa explained the usage of questionnaires prepared for the Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar.
The programme concluded by distribution of cheques to the panchayats under the 1st installment of National Rural Drinking Water Project and 2nd installation for 13th Finance Commission 2012-13.

Free health camp at Middle Syari on 06 Oct

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: Elohim Christian Fellowship, Gairi Gaon, Tadong, is organizing a free health camp here at Middle Syari in collaboration with Mercy India on 06 October from 11 AM onwards. Around 200 people are expected to attend the camp, informs a press release.

Maniram Village Tourism Society and SSTDS thank CM for award

NAMCHI, 03 Oct: Among many operational home stays under South Sikkim Tourism Development Society [SSTDS], in South District, the Maniram Village Tourism Society was presented with the State Award for being the best home stay tourist destination in South Sikkim.
The award was presented on the occasion of World Tourism Day on 29 September at Chintan Bhawan in Gangtok by the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling. On the occasion South Sikkim Tourism Development Society which is a guardian body of all the tourism societies in the District also received the ‘Best Tourism Society Award’ in the State.
The general secretary of SSTDS, Himal Tamang expressed his happiness for both the awards. SSTDS and Maniram Village Tourism have expressed their gratitude to the Chief Minister and the state government for the encouragement which they said would further motivate and help them as well as other similar home stays to perform well and excel in the field of tourism in Sikkim.
Mr Tamang informed that the state government through the Tourism Department has provided benefits to interested individuals involved in village tourism and its promotion by providing a helping hand in home stay endorsement wherein they are provided with benefits to construct more rooms and space. Each beneficiary can now construct two rooms with attached bathroom and toilet amounting to Rs 7 lakh. At present, 11 beneficiaries have been granted the benefit and the construction has already started in Maniram village to further boost Maniram Village Tourism, he informed.

South District Administration observes Gandhi Jayanti

NAMCHI, 03 Oct [IPR]: On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the South District Administration paid their respect to the Mahatma Gandhi statue at Gandhi Park Namchi. Chairman NMC, BT Tamang chaired the brief event and paid homage to the ‘Father of the Nation’. DC South, Prabhaker Verma, SP South,  Sonam Gyatso along with SDMs, HODs of all departments and members of NMC were present in the park to pay their respect on this day.


Limboo students’ association thanks CM for laptops

GANGTOK, 02 Oct: All Sikkim Limboo Students’ Association has expressed profound gratitude to the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for the distribution of laptops to all students of the state to boost their academic career in this era of information technology.
“We, on behalf of the entire Limboo community of Sikkim wish our beloved Chief Minister and his government a very successful, stable and better future”, states a press release from the association.

Sub Divisional Office set up in Dentam

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: The newly-established office of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) at Dentam, West Sikkim, has become functional with the office being temporarily set up at the Gram Vikash Kendra, Dentam on 01 October. A press release informs that the office was opened in the presence of the District Collector (West), LB Chettri, members of the Zilla and Gram Panchayat, officials of the Gram Vikash Kendra and local gentry.
Speaking on the occasion, SDM, Suraj Gurung informed that as soon as the office and field staff are posted at the new office, various certificates such as ST, SC, MBC, OBC, Income etc. will be issued from the office. He also said that all paper works and documentation relating to land registration and mutation within the new sub-division, which comprises of four Revenue/VLO circles will be started soon.

Governance in Sikkim based on Gandhian principles says CM GOVERNOR LAUNCHES INDIA’S FIRST CYBER VILLAGE PROJECT AT MELLI DARA PAIYONG GPU


GANGTOK, 03 Oct: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling called upon all the Sikkimese people to follow Gandhi’s philosophy of peace and non-violence while addressing the state level function observing the 144th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi here at Chintan Bhawan on 02 October.
“Gandhiji is one of the 10 most influential leaders of the world and won the entire world’s admiration with his sincerity, dedication and his philosophy of non-violence”, said the CM. He added that while most freedom struggles across the world saw a lot of bloodshed, Gandhiji led the country’s freedom struggle based on his philosophy of non-violence.
If India were governed on the principles laid down by the Father of the Nation it would have been the most powerful country in the world, he said further adding that Sikkim has adopted his beliefs in terms of achieving sustainable development using its natural resources, biodiversity, hydro power, eco-tourism, organic farming.
The Chief Minister appealed to the people of the state to think for the overall development of the state and live with the sense of ownership and belonging towards the society and the state thereby contributing towards making it more vibrant.
Governor Shriniwas Patil also launched India’s first Cyber Village Project at Melli Dara Paiyong GPU. The Cyber Village Project has been conceptualized by the Chief Minister of Sikkim.
The project, it was informed, ensures technology, broadband internet connectivity and e-governance at the grass root level. On the occasion six ward Panchayats of the 22-Melli Dara Paiyong Gram Panchayat Unit were presented with tablet PCs.
The project by the Information and Technology department is the first of its kind in India at the Micro Level which will be a boon for the public at large. The project is designed by the department of the IT in association with Techno Identity Pvt. Ltd., a Hyderabad-based firm specializing in e-governance.
The Governor in his address said the Mahatma Gandhi was a national icon who led the struggle for India's independence and added that the society is in need of such great people to guide the masses along the path of non-violence. He also congratulated the Chief Minister for establishing the first cyber village in the country.
The Governor also felicitated Hem Maya Sharma as the Best Anganwadi worker who was presented with a citation, certificate and a cash award. He also presented tokens of appreciation to Hukum Singh and Rampal Balmiki, Safai Karmacharis of Gangtok Municipal Corporation.
The celebration also witnessed the screening of the Documentary Film on Mahatma Gandhi produced by Information and Public Relation Department. Later, the Governor also visited Sir Thutob Namgyal Mermorial Hospital Gangtok and met the patients there.

CM lays foundation stone of EPCS church at PNGS ORIGINAL CHURCH TO BE PRESERVED AS HERITAGE BUILDING

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: The foundation stone of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Sikkim [EPCS] was laid by the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today here at Paljor Namgyal Girls School complex. On the occasion, the EPCS also presented a letter of gratitude to the CM.
The existing church building here at Church Road will be preserved as a heritage building and the church shifted to the new location upon completion of the new structure, it is informed.
Addressing the function, the CM expressed that as promised the government will extend its full support in the building of the church. He informed that the old church will remain a religious heritage forever.
“Being an impartial government everyone in the state is equal in its eyes and the government strives to provide peace, security, respect and to address the issue of every single person in the state,” said the CM.
He informed that the government has already started working on building the Prayer Tower for which land has been acquired at Martam and in work will commence in the coming financial year. He urged the Christian community to provide technical and other support to build it.
Speaking on the demands placed earlier by the PNG School, the CM announced the provision of Rs 51 lakh to the school as special grant to clear the arrears of the school’s teachers. He further announced that laptops will be distributed to students of class XI and XII of the school and asked the Principal to pursue the matter with the HRDD Secretary. He urged the students to make the best use of these laptops.
“Students need opportunities and facilities and the state government has been doing its best to provide these to the state’s students,” he said. Studying abroad was just a dream earlier but now it has become a reality for students of Sikkim, the CM stated further adding, “I want to give a secure future to the students of Sikkim.”
Speaking on politics, the CM said that change should be for the better as good governance gives democratic dividends to the people, while bad governance leads to democratic deficit.
He also announced an additional Rs 1 lakh to PNG School and Rs 1 lakh to the organizing committee of the function from the CM’s Fund.
Earlier, MLA Menlom Lepcha expressed his gratitude to the CM for his consistent support to the Christian community.
Today’s function also saw choir presentations by Gangtok & Tadong Church Youth Fellowship and PNG School students.

LAST DATE FOR INCLUSION OF NAMES IN VOTER LIST EXTENDED UP TO 10TH OCTOBER 2013

The Summary Revision of Electoral Rolls had started on 31st August 2013 for inclusion, deletion, correction and transfer of names in the Voters List.
Though the last date for receipt of application forms was initially fixed for 30th September 2013, considering the request from the public, the Election Commission of India has now extended the last date upto 10th October 2013.
All those who are already 18 years and above, including those who would be attaining 18 years of age as on 1st January 2014, are eligible to include their names in the Voter List.
Names of voters can be included or deleted or corrected or transferred from one Polling Station to another Polling Station during this period.
Since the last date now is 10th October 2013, the Election Department appeals to all the eligible persons to apply for inclusion of their names in the Voter List before the last date.
Application Forms are available with the Booth Level Officer of the Polling Station concerned.  The Forms can also be obtained from the nearest BDO or SDM or District Collector.
The public may also call on 1950 (Toll Free Number) from any landline telephone for any clarification or assistance.
The Election Department appeals to all eligible persons to avail this opportunity in time.

Rattled, and Found Wanting

Editorial:-
It does not take much to rattle people; and it appears to take just about as much to unravel all claims of disaster preparedness as well. The 5 [or 5.3, depending on which data one trusts] magnitude earthquake with its epicenter in East District shook strong and long on Thursday, but thankfully came early enough in the day for panic to subside while there was still daylight. There have been no reports of the temblor having caused any substantial damage, and while that is welcome, what is distressing is that awareness levels and response mechanisms were found woefully inadequate. Information sharing was lethargic, and while one may explain this to the traditional plodding of the government machinery, what was clearly disconcerting was the quickness with which schools in Gangtok [Singtam and parts of North Sikkim] suspended classes and started sending children home. This was inexcusably irresponsible. To begin with, the earthquake triggered only panic and delivered no real damage, so the schools were not necessarily unsafe for the kids. Also, most schools have an open space in the campus where students could be taken and monitored by teachers and seniors. Sending them home, invariably sent them away to less safe locations with a high possibility that they would have been unmonitored [without any elders around]. What is worse, most kids would have been on the streets, on footpaths and narrow lanes leading to home when the aftershocks arrived. Sikkim is lucky that no children were hurt in this episode, and now that the lesson has been delivered, the planners will hopefully return to the drawing board and draft a proper earthquake drill for schools with a clear list of tasks for the heads of schools and teachers on how to keep students safe. Closing schools and sending kids away is a definite No. This reaction was clear shunning of responsibility by the schools. Worryingly, they managed to do it on a mass-hysteria scale with almost all schools sending kids away. This clearly added to the panic, and also added avoidable worry for parents and wards.
The quake lasted barely seconds, but the fright it triggered in Sikkim, returned with every aftershock. One accepts that the horror of 18 Sept 2011 has heightened the scale of panic response to earthquakes in Sikkim, and it is agreed that earthquakes are nerve-wracking moments. Especially nerve-wracking if one happens to live in the concrete deathtrap that is urban Gangtok, but this is still no excuse for the embarrassing levels of ignorance that continue about earthquakes. Those responsible for earthquake preparedness in Sikkim have clearly failed in their job, because Sikkim continues to collectively find itself wrong-footed when a tremor of any consequence arrives. This is inexcusable for a State that is earthquake-prone.

It’s time to get rattled again MAGNITUDE 5 EARTHQUAKE STRIKES SIKKIM

ANAND OBEROI
GANGTOK, 03 Oct: Sikkim was rudely reminded of the devastation and destruction caused by the 18 September earthquake in 2011 when an earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter Scale hit the state at 11:43 this morning.
With most of the buildings in the state having already acquired cracks after the 2011 quake, a tremor like the one experienced today was enough to make people run out of their homes and into the streets in total panic. Surprisingly, most of the schools in the state also sent the students home midway through classes, rattled by the temblor.
People packed into the streets and congregated at open spaces, with children returning from school adding to the milieu and heightening the levels of panic which surged with each aftershock.
Although there have been no reports of casualties or major damages to public or residential buildings, today’s tremors clearly indicate the extent of vulnerability the people in this active seismic zone feel when the earth shakes with any substantial intensity.
As per the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) the epicenter of the quake was 27.4 degree North and 88.5 degree East in Sikkim. Further, the data as per the USGS website, the earthquake measured 5.3 in magnitude with the epicenter 16 kms northwest of Singtam at a depth of 10 kilometers below the ground.
“Even if the intensity of the tremors was mild, there is no way we were staying indoors. As soon as the big one came I along with my children ran out of the house to the highway below where people had started gathering in large numbers. There was always a possibility for the aftershocks to cause more damage since the big one lasted for over 4 seconds which is why no one wanted to take chances staying indoors,” said Radhika Subba a housewife who was standing with others like her along NH-31A this afternoon after the earthquake struck.
The big one today was followed by three minor jolts reported to be below 3 on the Richter scale. The tremors were felt in various parts of the state with the Singtam-Rangpo belt experiencing most of the intensity. Soon after the tremors were felt the schools in and around Singtam closed down sending children home as a “precautionary measure”.
Apart from minor injuries to a few individuals who hurt themselves trying to escape from their homes, there were no major damages reported from the area. Many people in Singtam are also informed to have arrived at the Mandir complex leaving their homes. However, they returned to their respective homes later, it is informed.
Further down at Bardang, the ATTC also closed down after the tremors brought down small pieces of dust and debris from the ceiling. Terrified students are said to have run out from the building along with the staff to avoid a situation that could turn volatile if another earthquake struck.
A private school In Deorali was one of the first schools to close down after the tremor as reports suggest that the under construction building had developed cracks as the building shook violently when the quake struck.
There were also rumours circulating today that Rakdong -Tintek area had suffered considerable damage due to the quake. However, when the District Administration verified the same, no damages were reported from the said constituency. DC, East AK Singh informs that spreading such rumors to create a panic situation was the work of individuals with vested interests, something that the administration has taken serious note of and will investigate as to how this information spread like wild fire.
The DC also informs that all respective BDOs and SDMs have been directed to conduct a verification of their areas and submit a detailed report on the extent of damages etc with the district administration. He also stated that all officers have been directed to follow precautionary measures to be carried out during disasters.
It may be mentioned here that the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling was at the foundation stone laying function of the EPCS church at PNGS when the earthquake struck. Reassuring the gathering, he said that the state government has been doing its best in this regard so the people should take the advantage of the technologies and facilities provided by the government. He further suggested using earthquake resistant methodology while constructing new houses and urged the public not to panic.

District-level handloom and handicrafts event at Pelling

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: The Sikkim Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd., Zero Point, Gangtok is organizing a District Level Event at the premises of Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom, Pelling, West Sikkim from 01-05 October.
The event, sponsored by the Office of the Development Commissioner (Handloom), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, was inaugurated by Yangthang MLA, PL Subba on 01 October. The event had an exhibition-cum-sale of handloom items which had contingents from Manipur, Guwahati along with local Weavers / SHGs from different corners of the state.
A press release informs that the event is an annual feature of Sikkim Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd. which is proving to be a boon for weavers as their products are sold in large numbers. It also provides a readymade marketing platform for the local weavers, SHGs and PUCs.
During the inaugural function, information relating to Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Weavers Credit Card, Yarn Pass Book, subsidy on yarn purchase through National Handloom Development Corporation Ltd. and various I.H.D.S. schemes implemented in different places of West Sikkim was provided by Assistant Director (Marketing), Gangtok, Tshering Dorjee Gyamptso.


CM calls for greater involvement of youth in developmental process ANNOUNCES SETTING UP OF SPORTS ACADEMY AT YANGANG

YANGANG, 03 Oct [IPR]: On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling announced the setting up of a Sports Academy at Yangang. He was speaking as the chief guest on the occasion of the 144th Gandhi Jayanti Celebration at the Police Training Centre ground.
Addressing the large gathering, the Chief Minister said that the sacrifice and the contribution of the local youth will help in the development of Yangang into a model village. He underlined that in order to create a model society, people need to shoulder the responsibility to maintain peace and security and collectively tackle the adversities which come their way.
The CM stated that it was his responsibility to keep the youth updated regarding various important issues and general information to broaden their horizon and thinking to help them advance in life.
He pointed out that the weakness of the society today lay in the underdeveloped mindset of the people which is hampering the development of the state. He urged the youth to divert their attention away from negative antisocial elements towards a constructive path.
Informing them about the upcoming Sikkim University and Bhaley Dhunga Skywalk in Yangang, he asked them to avail of all the opportunities that have been generated.
Highlighting various schemes for students, he appraised the gathering about the recent distribution of laptops in Gangtok. “In this hi-tech era, I want my underprivileged students to become equally technology friendly like that of the privileged ones in the society,” he said.
Mr. Chamling said that the endeavor of the state government today is all related to building the future of the younger generation. He asked the youth to develop critical thinking, debate on issues concerning the society today and carry out a comparative study to embrace the present position of Sikkim which he said is far developed and better than other states in the country.
Referring to the various benefits enjoyed by the people provided by the state government in different sectors, he said that the ‘taken for granted’ attitude of the people today may make this ‘democratic dividend a democratic deficit’. He called for enthusiasm and complete participation of the people especially the youth in the development and to protect the peace and security of the state.
“My goal is to eliminate mindset poverty and economic poverty in Sikkim which are the main disadvantages coming in the way of prosperity”, said the CM.
He then informed that the Janata Mela would be held after Diwali and all the related benefits would be distributed to the beneficiaries during that time. He stressed that this act of the government is only to make the people self reliant and capable.
He assured to provide complete support to the Yangang people with regard to all the government benefits and also reminded them that proper documents would be essential in availing such benefits. On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the Chief Minister asked the people to adopt the policy of Swadesh by involving themselves in promoting local produce through local occupational activities like farming, etc.
Area MLA/RMDD Minister, CB Karki also addressed the gathering while SDZP Adhakshya, CL Gurung delivered the welcome address.
In the finals of the open football tournament Late Lachi Maya Gurung Memorial Cup, played between United Football Club (UFC) Yangang and NDRC FC Yangang, UFC emerged victorious with 1-0 goal. UFC took the winner’s cup with certificates and cash prize of Rs 80,000 and NDRC received certificates and cash prize of Rs. 50,000.

Massive cleanliness drive undertaken at Dikchu

MANGAN, 03 Oct:  A massive cleanliness drive was undertaken at Dikchu Bazaar on 02 October under the initiative of Dikchu Bazaar committee along with Dikchu Youth Welfare Association with the participation of the general public as well. The market and its surrounding areas were cleaned on the day.
The cleanliness drive was also joined by Panchayat President, BB Gurung along with the In-charge Dikchu Police Out Post, DR Chettri.  A short awareness programme was conducted after the drive where the people were urged to keep their surroundings clean. In his short speech, the Panchayat President appealed to all the people to discourage children from throwing litter everywhere and appealed for proper use of the garbage pit.  
“Unless, we do not set an example our children will not learn their civic responsibilities”, said Mr Gurung. Earlier, the function was welcomed by Chung Chung Tongden Lepcha and ended with the vote of thanks by Jigmee Lepcha.

An evening of music and storytelling on 05 Oct

GANGTOK, 03 Oct: Acoustic Traditional [NGO] in collaboration with music academy, Sikkim Conservatory is organizing an evening of music and storytelling on 05 October at Manan Kendra. The event is being organized to acknowledge and thank all those who supported Acoustic Traditional in the making of the 200 metre long page of folk stories. The evening will see performances by the students of Sikkim Conservatory and a storytelling session as well. The event is scheduled to start from 5 PM onwards and Acoustic Traditional has invited all to be a part of the evening.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sikkim's young join the IT-enabled club. Laptop distribution begins with 9,500 kids collecting their free comps!

GANGTOK, 01 Oct: The promise of Chief Minister Pawan Chamling to provide free laptops to government school students of Classes XI and XII and government college students was fulfilled today with a grand distribution ceremony held here at Tenzing Namgyal Memorial Ground here at Tathangchen today. Students from government schools of East district and the six government colleges in the district [around 9,500 students in all] were provided laptop computers today.
The function hosted by the Human Resource Development Department and titled, ‘Empowerment of students in ICT and community mobilization on RTE Act, 2009’, had the Chief Minister present laptops to two students from each of the various schools and colleges of the district. The remaining students were also provided laptops later in the day.
The distribution of laptops is part of the CM’s vision of making Sikkimese students and youth capable and competent.
Addressing a mammoth gathering of students today, the CM reminded them that time was very precious and students and the younger generation should know the value of time and make the best possible use of it. People who value time and make the best use of it will always be happy and successful, he underlined.
Rousing and loud applauses punctuated his speech, and the students from East District expressed their gratitude and gratefulness towards the Chief Minister and his government, for being innovative, visionary and futuristic.
“Sikkim is making impressive progress in all the fields and sectors and is considered as one of the best and most developed states in the country today,” said the Chief Minister and added that the students and younger generation who are the future of the state should now try and shoulder the responsibility of ushering the state even further with their dedication and determination, while playing different roles in their family and society.
“The whole world is a playing field and students and younger generations should now try and make a name for themselves nationally and internationally,” he appealed.
The youth should now look beyond government jobs in Sikkim and instead of remaining confined only to Sikkim they should explore and go beyond the boundaries of the state and make a name for themselves, he affirmed, while adding that his government has given the best possible facility to them and now its time for them to utilize it.
Students should always avoid being complacent and should never take life for granted but channelize and give a proper direction to their energy and enthusiasm in productive and fruitful things in life, Chamling stressed.
He also appealed and requested parents and teachers to give quality time to the students and their wards and take genuine interest in their activities.
“Please do not equate money with happiness or overindulge your children. They need to imbibe moral values right from the beginning,” he added.
Further, the Chief Minister informed the gathering that neither any state in the nation nor any country is the world can really boast of having given the kind of facilities, plans and policies which the Sikkim government has given to the students of the state, therefore students should tap all the opportunities that has been created for them by the government and make optimum use of it. Students should make themselves a good, able, skilled and competent human resource for the State and the nation, the CM stated.
“We in the government are fully dedicated and determined to give quality education to our students and we have been working tirelessly in our endeavors, similarly students should develop a sense of competitiveness in them and free themselves from any inferiority complex and move forward with determination and dedication, then desired results are bound to come”, he said.
“I envision Sikkim as a healthy state in every respect but my dream of making it so will remain a distant dream if our students and youth do not participate and contribute”, he stated further.
During the function, he also announced that his government plans to distribute laptop computers to students of Class IX and X, next year and then to students of Class VII and VIII in the second year. The students of schools and colleges of other districts will also be presented laptops soon, it is informed.
Representatives of the students also expressed their gratitude towards the government and thanked the Chief Minister in their address.

“Thank you, CM Sir!”

GANGTOK, 01 Oct: “Thank You to the CM Sir from the bottom of my heart” is what every student who received a free laptop from the Chief Minister today had to say.
“I feel very lucky and I am very excited on getting this laptop. Being an IT student this laptop will be very helpful for us”, said a class XII, IT student of Khamdong Senior Secondary School, Prahalad Subedi.
Around 200 students from his school which falls in rural Sikkim received laptops today. Prahalad expressed his gratitude on behalf of all the students to the state government and to the CM.
A class XII Science student of Khamdong SSS, Bhawana Lamichaney expressed gratitude to the CM for the laptops especially for students from rural areas whose families cannot afford to buy such an expensive gadget.  “This laptop will help me a lot in my studies and especially in doing projects as there is no cyber café where I live”, she said.
“It will help me a great deal in my studies and I am going to make the best use of this laptop to excel in my studies,” said another class XII IT student from Samdong SSS, Arun Kumar Chettri.
A Sikkim Government Law College final year student, Archana Sharma expressed her deep happiness and gratitude to the CM. “This is definitely a good thing especially for those students who cannot afford a laptop even if they need it badly”, she expressed.
“It is difficult for a student from a poor family to even think about a laptop. This is a happy moment for students from rural areas”, said a class XI Arts student of Machong SSS, Bishal Rai who also conveyed gratitude to the CM on behalf of the students.
West Point SSS’s class XII Hotel Management student, Prava Chettri said, “Now I can work on projects and assignments sitting at home and will not have to go to a computer center or cyber café. Thank you Sir for providing us with these laptops to help in our studies!”

Three-day national conference on Medicinal Plant Research

GANGTOK, 01 Oct: The Department of Botany, Sikkim University in association with Sikkim State Medicinal Plant Board is organizing a three-day national conference on ‘New Frontiers in Medicinal Plant Research and a special meeting on ‘Medicinal Plants for Livelihood Security and Community Empowerment in Eastern Himalayas’ from 03-05 October at Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Gangtok.
A press release informs that the event is expected to supply a comprehensive understanding and overall picture on recent developments in this sector to all stakeholders and provide an initial way forward for capacity building and empowerment of the Eastern Himalayan communities to provide competitive advantage to them in the global market, both sustainably and equitably.
More than 125 delegates including researchers, NGOs, private companies, conservation and development agencies, policy makers, students and stakeholders’ representatives are participating in the conference. About 25 eminent scientists and researchers from prestigious institutes in India and abroad will deliver expert lectures and partake in the deliberations, the release informs. As part of the special meeting, an interactive session with local medicinal plant growers and practitioners of local health traditions is being organized on 05 October.

Governor’s greetings on Gandhi Jayanti

GANGTOK, 01 Oct: Governor of Sikkim, Shriniwas Patil and the first lady, Rajanidevi Patil extend their warm greetings to the people of Sikkim on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.
In his message the Governor has said “Gandhi Jayanti holds a special place in the heart of every Indian in particular and every person in the world. Born in an honest and religious family on 02 October, 1869 at Porbandar in Gujarat, Gandhiji gave a new meaning and direction to the freedom struggle in India. The path of truth (Satyagraha) and principles of non-violence (ahimsa) greatly influenced other freedom movements in Africa and Asia.
In today’s world, affected by terrorism, fundamentalism and materialism, Bapu’s path of truth, non-violence, compassion and simplicity become all the more meaningful and relevant. It is no wonder that the United Nations celebrates this day as the International Day of Non-Violence.
On this historic occasion of the birth anniversary of Bapuji, let us re-dedicate ourselves and be committed in serving the country with honesty, dedication and with utmost integrity, and to serve the poor and the needy for achieving Swaraj or self rule which Bapu had dreamt of.”


SDM office for Jorethang inaugurated at SICB complex

JORETHANG, 01 Oct [IPR]: The office of the Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Jorethang was officially inaugurated today by the Area MLA, Madan Cintury at the State Institute of Capacity Building Office, Karfectar.
The inaugural program was attended by President Jorethang Nagar Panchayat, Purosuttam Agrawal, DC South, Prabhaker Verma, Chief Administrator, SD Dhakal, SE RMDD, Kewal Sharma, Additional Director SIRD, Vishal Rai, officials and staffs of SICB, members of panchayats and local gentry.
Tenzing D Denzongpa who is the SDM Jorethang informed the media that the sub divisional office Jorethang will start functioning officially from today itself. SDM Jorethang covers four Revenue/VLO Circle like Salghari, Poklok, Sumbuk and Melli Dara. Also under the SDM Jorethang’s jurisdiction are 19 revenue blocks from Jorethang Bazaar upto Melli Dara.
A.    Salghari Block 1. Jorethang Bazaar 2. Salghari 3. Dorop 4. Dhargaon 5. Tinik and 6. Chisopani.
B.     Poklok Block 1. Sangbung 2. Poklok and 3. Denchung.
C.     Sumbuk Block 1. Sumbuk 2. Kartikey and 3. Suntaley
D.    Melli Dara Block 1. Melli Dara 2. Paiyong 3. Kerabari 4. Melli 5. Turuk 6.Ramabung 7. Panchgharey
Regarding the various paper works executed from the office, he informed that certificates like OBC/MBC, Unmarried, Birth, etc will be issued and other Registration and Mutation works pertaining to the above VLO Circle will be carried out from SDM Jorethang office. However the office has started with only few designated staff while many more are yet to join the office. He extended gratitude towards the SICB faculty and it’s Chief Administrator Mr Dhakal for their cooperation.

One arrested on sexual assault charges

GANGTOK, 01 Oct: One person has been arrested by the Melli police on 30 September for sexually assaulting a 42-year-old deaf and dumb woman. Melli police arrested a 22 year old resident of Kalimpong at present living in Melli Dara, South Sikkim.
The victim was alone at home and taking advantage, the accused took her to the jungle and sexually assaulted her. After returning she complained to the family which led to his arrest.
A case under section 376 [punishment for rape] has been registered against him at the Melli Police Station.

NHPC confident of receiving MoEF clearance soon for Stage IV

GANGTOK, 01 Oct: “The Ministry of Environment and Forest is expected to grant forest clearance to the Teesta Stage IV hydel project and we hope to get the approval letter very soon,” said NHPC Finance Director, ABL Srivastava while speaking to reporters last evening at Siliguri.
He said that the 520 MW Teesta Stage IV is expected to begin as soon as the MoEF’s accepts the Sikkim government’s plea to reconsider the condition barring hydel projects to come up within 10-kilometre radius of a Wildlife sanctuary. NHPC is pursuing the matter with the MoEF for early grant of forest clearance, he added.
Teesta Stage IV project general manager, D Chattopadhyay said, “If the Supreme Court guidelines and MoEF guidelines are enforced, then not a single project can be constructed in a small state like Sikkim.”
He added that once the MoEF considers the state’s plea and takes a decision on the Supreme Court guidelines for sensitive zones, the clearance will be given by the Ministry. According to Mr Chattopadhyay, the National Wildlife Board has already given the clearance to NHPC for the Teesta Stage IV project.
Last year, the state government had written to the MoEF to reconsider Sikkim’s case keeping public interest in mind and considering the various projects coming up in the areas adjoining National Parks and Wild Life sanctuaries. Teesta Stage IV reservoir falls within 6.5 kilometers of the Khanchendzonga National Park while the power house falls within 3 kilometers of the Fambonglho Wild Life Sanctuary.
Mr. Srivastava said that NHPC has the capacity to take up thrice the number of projects underway at present and added that it was branching out to thermal and solar energy as well.
On queries regarding possible taking over of the defunct Lanco power project of Teesta Stage VI by NHPC, he said that they have not got any proposal from the private developers or from the state government in this regard. If any such proposal comes, the NHPC will definitely look into the matter, however, the Board of Governors of NHPC has taken a policy decision to not take up such defunct power projects, he added.

Week-long training on pest and disease management concludes at Samdong

MANGAN, 01 Oct: As part of the state government’s mission to convert Sikkim into a fully organic state by 2015, the Sikkim Organic Mission conducted Pest Disease Management training in different GPUs of East and South Sikkim which concluded here at Lower Samdong ward of Samdong-Kambal GPU of Tumin-Lingee constituency on 27 September.
The training had started from 19 September covering 31 different blocks of South and East Sikkim.  The training programme was organized by Sresta Natural Bio-products Pvt. Ltd. under ICS Service Provider Sikkim Organic Mission.
The valedictory function here was conducted at NHPC conference hall at Lower Samdong in East Sikkim on 27 September. The function was chaired by Panchayat President, Chura Kumari and attended by Joint Director, MK Pradhan, Deputy Director Horticulture, M Pulger, Deputy Director, Agriculture, Churamani Upreti, panchayat members, all VLW, HI and farmers.
The resource person of the training Dr Raghunath (Principal Scientist) highlighted on the treatment of diseased crops and precautions to be undertaken through the application of organic pesticides.  He also taught the treatment of diseased crops through the use of organic manure and its preparation. Dr. Raghunath demonstrated the preparation of organic pesticides.
The Joint Director, MK Pradhan urged the people to be more involved in the organic mission where the government aims to make Sikkim an organic state by 2015. The function ended with the vote of thanks delivered by Field Manager, Yadu Gautam.

Workshop held on central grants for PRI functionaries

GANGTOK, 01 Oct [IPR]: A workshop on Central Grants for Panchayat Members and PRI Functionaries of West and South Districts of Sikkim was organized by the Directorate of Panchayati Raj, RM&DD here at the capital today. Secretary RM& DD, DR Nepal in his address informed that Sikkim is among the leading states in the country to conduct regular panchayat elections. He also mentioned that Sikkim has had an efficient track record in terms of fund transfer to PRIs.
He maintained that the urgency with which the funds from the 13th Finance Commission are dispersed to the PRI functionaries shows the level of commitment of the Central Government to uplift the Panchayati Raj Institutions. He urged the functionaries to reciprocate this act through consistent good work.
The Secretary stressed on proper documentation of activities and timely submission of utilization reports to the Department to ensure timely disbursement of grants thereby maintaining an efficient level of functioning. While informing about the training being imparted to the PRI functionaries the Secretary informed that the State Institute of Rural Development, Karfectar is the third best amongst such institutes in the country.
He further mentioned that the Department had constituted Sikkim Legal Services Authority, the State Institute of Rural Development and the Hotel Management Institute Sajong as training partners for capacity building of the PRI functionaries.
Earlier, Joint Secretary Panchayat, Norzing Bhutia oriented the Panchayat members on the correct ways of compiling and submitting the Utilization Reports of activities carried out under the 13th Finance Commission Fund and the Backward Region Grants Fund. She stressed that the fund under the BRGF was exclusively for gap filling purpose and not for the routine activities under the PRI.
She informed about online applications like PRIASOFT, PLAN PLUS, and ACTION SOFT already in use in Sikkim to ensure transparency in accounting. The Joint Secretary also informed about the formation of a Ward Level Development Committee constituted by members of zilla and gram panchayat.
Earlier, Secretary RM&DD handed over installment cheques from the 13th Finance Commission Fund and the Operation and Maintenance Fund for Village Water and Sanitation Committee.
The workshop was also addressed by Director Panchayat RM&DD, HB Gurung, Deputy Secretary SIRD, Yangchen Bhutia, and Panchayat Inspector, Zomden Lachungpa.

Jorethang prepares for CM’s Gold Cup 2013

JORETHANG, 01 Oct: Preparations for the 7thAll India Chief Minister’s Gold Cup 2013 football tournament are on full swing here at Jorethang, South Sikkim. The organizing committee of the tournament South District Football Association (SDFA), South District Administration and other government and non-government organizations are hosting this tournament for the first time in Jorethang.
The committee members of the tournament are preparing the public ground of Jorethang for this tournament and the maintenance work is underway. The ground will be ready within 15 to 20 days, informed, Joint Director, Sports and Youth Affairs, Kamal Chettri.
He further informed that they had invited many good teams of the country and from the neighboring countries and many reputed teams have confirmed their participation in the tournament. Some of these teams are from Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Kolkata, Railway FC, Air India, ONGC Mumbai, Kerala, Bhutan and Nepal.
The tournament is scheduled to begin from 11 November at Jorethang.