Friday, October 11, 2013

ATTC students engage with communities of rural Sikkim

GANGTOK, 10 Oct: The final year students of Advanced Technical Training Centre (ATTC) Bardang, East Sikkim conducted a two-day village camp from 03 to 04 October at secondary schools in rural areas of various districts in the state, namely Lachung, Borong, Gerethang and Darap. The village camp is a part of ATTC curriculum, in which students are actively involved in performing community development work at remote places of Sikkim each year.
A press release informs that this program enables students to understand the local environment while engaging in socially productive work such as cleanliness drive in school classrooms and compound, blackboard painting of classrooms, whitewash of school walls, repairing (welding) of school desk & benches and also beautification of school. This helps in creating awareness and co-operation amongst local people by promoting the culture of giving back to the society especially in remote areas. ATTC-manufactured dusters made by students of Diploma in Tool & Die making were distributed to Gerethang Secondary School, West Sikkim who also invited the students and faculty to 06, Gerethang Ward Panchayat Office where they were welcomed by the Panchayat Secretary and a visit to a local museum was also organised.
Visual aids were used while conducting inter-house Quiz Competition among school students and promotional slideshow of ATTC, Bardang. Diploma in Mechatronics and Computer Engineering students also conducted maintenance work in computer labs such as repairing computers, installation of operating system and required software etc. Other cultural and sports activities such as dance, bonfire, friendly exhibition football matches were also conducted.
Since North Sikkim was badly hit by earthquakes and flash floods in recent years, ATTC Principal (retired) S Purkayastha suggested the initiative to perform community development work at affected areas such as Lachung, North Sikkim and subsequently necessary arrangements to make the village camp successful were made by teacher escort, DB Gadaily.

There is a saying that “Indian Army is the guardian of Sikkim” and this was proved by the Army personnel of Lachung area during the village camp. They helped by providing lunch to students, organizing weapons display, providing medical help to sick students and also provided information on precautionary measures for surviving at high altitudes. The students and teacher escort were impressed by such hospitality and have thanked all the Indian Army personnel involved in the village camp at Lachung, the release adds.



Sikkim’s Sudarshan VP appointed Indian Cricket Team’s Strength & Conditioning Coach

GANGTOK, 10 Oct: Member of the Sikkim Cricket Association, Sudarshan VP, has been appointed the Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Indian Cricket team. The Association has welcomed this as a new milestone and big achievement for the cricket fraternity of Sikkim.
Sudarshan, who is in his early 40s, was the Physical Education Teacher at Paljor Namgyal Girls Senior Secondary School before he joined the National Cricket Academy, Bangalore as Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach in 2009. He also worked as a trainer for Sikkim Cricket Association from 1996 to 2008.
He was then appointed as the Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach from 2010 onwards. He was also the trainer of the India U-19 World Cup winning team in 2012 and toured with the India A team and India U-19 team to different countries. He has now been appointed as the Strength & Conditioning Coach of Team India.
SCA general secretary, Tika Subba informs that this is a big achievement for the whole cricket fraternity of the state. “It makes us proud that Sudarshan who was with us is now with Team India,” he adds. He further expressed his best wishes and congratulations to Sudarshan.

SU horticulture students gain on-field experience

GANGTOK, 10 Oct: Final year students of Department of Horticulture, Sikkim University have been working with villagers to gain more practical knowledge of agriculture and horticulture in a month-long mandatory curriculum in different villages of Sikkim under the programme Rural Horticulture Work Experience (RHWE).
A press release informs that a total of seventeen B.Sc. (Horticulture) students divided into three groups stayed in Barfung (Ravangla), Reymindu (Rumtek), Sadam (Namchi) for one month starting from 03 September to 02 October 2013.
During their stay they interacted with local Panchayat office bearers, progressive farmers, NGOs and officers in charge of line departments like agriculture (FSADD), horticulture (HCCDD), animal husbandry (AHLF&VS), health (HCHSFWD) etc. and conducted Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) to map the resources of the village. Based on the village resource map they prepared a road map ahead for the development of rural community especially using agriculture and horticulture resources.
The students enthusiastically participated in the field demonstration programme of cultivation of major horticulture crops like large cardamom, peas, tomato, all Cole crops and capsicum. One group at Sadam (South Sikkim) village participated in a four-day training programme on mushroom cultivation and apiculture organized by KVK, Namthang.
At the end of the one month RHWE programme students experienced satisfaction that they could understand the rural community better. The attachment programme encouraged them to take a resolve to contribute to the development of rural community through the knowledge gained on horticulture, they added. The group of students extends their gratitude to Vice Chancellor of Sikkim University, Prof. TB Subba for extending financial support during their stay.
RHWE programme is part of the B.Sc (Horticulture) course curriculum in which students are expected to gain knowledge from experiences of farmers as well as transfer classroom teachings on horticulture to rural community wherever necessary, an assistant professor for Department of Horticulture stated.

Singtam accident claims one

GANGTOK, 10 Oct: A road mishap near Singtam this afternoon claimed one life and injured 11 persons.
The vehicle, a Tata Spacio [SK-04J-0380] was returning from Singtam to Temi in South Sikkim and had 12 occupants including the driver. The driver, Hari Tiwari [42], resident of Zero, Temi was killed in the accident, while the 11 other occupants sustained injuries. Of the 11 occupants one is a lady and all are residents of Temi. They were returning home after shopping for the upcoming Dasain festival.
The vehicle met with the accident at around 2.10 PM in the afternoon at a place known as Kali Khola on the way towards Temi. The vehicle fell around 400 feet off the road.
All the 11 injured were immediately rushed to Singtam District Hospital where they were provided with medical treatment. Of the 11 injured four were referred to Central Referral Hospital at Tadong for further treatment.

SDMA meets, discusses disaster management

GANGTOK, 10 Oct [IPR]: A meeting of Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority was held today at a local hotel. The SDMA comes under the Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department
This meeting was attended by Land Revenue Minister DN Thakarpa, who is also the SDMA vice chairman, Prof. VK Sharma, Executive Vice Chairman, R. Ongmu, Chief Secretary, the SDMA Chief Executive Officer MG Kiran, Principal Secretary, Home & Finance Department, MB Gurung, PCE cum Secretary, Buildings & Housing Department and KS Tobgay Secretary cum Relief Commissioner, Land Revenue and Disaster Management department amongst others.
Prof Sharma, in his presentation, stressed on the formation of Emergency Operation Centers that could operate as control rooms for disaster management. These, he stressed were required for a state like Sikkim seeing its history of disasters. He also emphasized on the importance of Disaster Management Programmes starting from the block level plans and moving up to, village level, District level and state level.
The Chief Secretary requested Prof. Sharma to give SOP for schools to include disaster management in school textbooks. She also directed the SSDMA to make a comprehensive disaster management plan as suggested by Prof Sharma in his presentation.
Mr. Thakarpa spoke on the formation of the Himalayan Institute of Disaster Management and Climate Change (HDMI) in collaboration with Kyoto University, Japan which will be a resource center and is a dream for the State and other Himalayan states. He also gave assurance that the Government hospitals are ready to deal with disasters.

104 REDRH houses inaugurated across Sikkim in one day

GANGTOK, 10 Oct [IPR]: A total of 104 houses under Reconstruction of Earthquake Damage Rural Houses (REDRH) Project were inaugurated on 09 October throughout the state. This inauguration was specially held so that the earthquake victims could move into their new houses ahead of the Dasain festival.
The REDRH project covers the reconstruction of the 7,972 earthquake damaged rural houses for the victims of the devastating 18 September, 2011 earthquake with a funding support of Rs 4.89 lakh per house. A total of 503 new houses were earlier inaugurated on 18 September, 2013 all over the state. The philosophy of Build Back Better has been the guiding strategy for this project. The homeowner-driven implementation model has been adopted and it has helped to establish a sense of ownership and identity. An efficient and transparent mechanism to ensure that beneficiary selection, stock material management, physical progress monitoring and simplification of the technical element has also been established. Also, many more houses will be completed in the months to come.

Centre releases Rs 82 crore for MGNREGA in Sikkim

GANGTOK, 10 Oct [IPR]: In view of the impressive performance and transparency safeguards under the MGNREGA in Sikkim, the Union Ministry of Rural Development has released Rs. 82.46 crore for Sikkim for 2013-14. Since MGNREGA is a demand-driven scheme, this financial sanction is to meet the demand for wage employment, keeping in view the good physical progress made by the state.
During 2013-14, as many as 60,000 rural households (of the total 92,000 rural households) will be provided employment in all the 176 Gram Panchayats of the state. November to March is the agriculture lean season, and sees maximum demand under MGNREGA by the villages for wage employment.
As many as 94,000 post office and bank accounts have been opened, and 100% wage payments are released directly into these accounts using Electronic Muster Rolls. A total of about 2,500 works that have been passed in the Gram Sabha and sanctioned by the Zilla Panchayat will be completed this year. These works relate to minor irrigation channels, jhora training, village footpaths, school playgrounds, water storage tanks, dhara vikas, horticulture plantations, fodder development and land development under CMRHM.
This year the scheme has been able to diversify the shelf of works, providing added focus on water conservation. These works will be supervised by the technical personnel (AE, JE, horticulture officers, forest officers, panchayat inspectors, APOs) posted at the Block level in the Gram Vikas Kendras. All expenditure incurred will be validated by financial audit by CA, independent Social Audits and performance audit by the CAG.
In the recent Performance Review Meeting held in Delhi on 25 September, 2013 the performance of Sikkim under MGNREGA was ranked in the top two in the country along with  Andhra Pradesh. While the national figure of the average persondays per household hovers at 45, it is expected that the state will touch a figure of 80 by the end of this financial year. This translates to an additional family income of about Rs 10,000 for 65% of the rural households of the state. This additional income mostly earned by women, translates to better health and nutrition, quality of life and purchasing power for the rural people. Consequently, the state has bagged five National Awards under MGNREGA and also the PMs Award for Excellence in Public Administration. The target for this year is to further strengthen the planning and estimation process with more extensive Social Audits.

MLA inaugurates 6 new houses under Melli Block

GANGTOK, 10 Oct: Area MLA, Tulsi Devi Rai inaugurated five REDRH houses and one CMRHM house at Turuk Ramabong GPU under Melli Block on 09 October.
An official release informs that out of 5 REDRH houses inaugurated 4 houses were taken up by Livelihood School Turuk where the carpentry trade is being imparted to the trainees. Livelihood School successfully completed the REDRH houses within the scheduled time. An interactive session with the Livelihood school students was also held in the second half of the programme.
Nagen Chettri, a Livelihood School trainee, thanked the government for opening Livelihood schools in the area which provides training on technical skills from qualified professionals. Gram Vikash Adhikari, Dinesh Pradhan, urged the trainees to make a group and start work on new REDRH houses and CMRHM houses within the Melli Block.
Chief Administrator State Institute of Capacity Building, SD Dhakal, asked the trainees to take full advantage of the school and make use of what they have learnt in the last one year. The MLA while addressing the trainees, congratulated them for successful completion of their one-year course. She asked the trainees to form a Construction Cooperative society and undertake construction work of government buildings. She also interacted with the beneficiaries and lent a patient ear to their grievances, the release adds.
The beneficiaries thanked the MLA and the government for providing them with the new houses.
The programme ended with vote of thanks by Assistant Engineer, GVK, Sumbuk, Sandeep Khatiwada.

ICAR foundation day celebrated

GANGTOK, 10 Oct [IPR]: Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), Sikkim Centre at Tadong organized a series of programmes today to celebrate its 38th Foundation Day. Apart from VIP attendance, the day also included the felicitation of 12 ‘progressive farmers’ from different parts of the State for their “outstanding contributions in the field of agriculture”.
The event was themed, “Technological Empowerment through Input Support System” and had the Minister for Agriculture and Horticulture, DN Takarpa, present as the chief guest, accompanied by Chairman, Agriculture and Horticulture Board, DN Sapkota as guest of honour. Also present were Secretary, Animal Husbandry Department, DP Sharma, Secretary Agriculture Department Santa Pradhan, Principal Director Agriculture PT Bhutia, Joint Director ICAR-Sikkim RK Avasthe, scientists, officials from State Agriculture Department, extension functionaries, representatives of NGO’s and farmers from different parts of the State.
Mr. Takarpa, in his inaugural address, congratulated ICAR on completion of 37 years of service in the field of agriculture research and training. While maintaining that the State Government has benefitted from the technical know-how provided by ICAR, the Minister stated that much more needed to be done in terms of development and sharing of high yield indigenous disease resistant seeds, technological assistance for soil and water management for improved cultivation, improved technological support for animal farming for better health of people and increased profitability, introduction of low cost crop and animal production for high commercial returns, emphasis on off-season crop production, support to farmers on grafting and budding technology, and heifer and bull calf rearing. He further stated that the ICAR has a major role in sustaining the State Organic Mission.
Earlier, Secretary Animal Husbandry Department, Mr. Sharma, in his brief address, informed that the State is now self sufficient in the field of Dairy Production and that the market beyond the State needed to be explored.
He stressed on the need to integrate agriculture and animal husbandry to derive optimum benefit to the stakeholders. The Secretary stated that the Department expected support from ICAR in terms of technical know-how and training in areas of animal husbandry, fisheries, and fodder development for optimum production and high commercial returns.
The programme was also addressed by Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Horticulture Mr. Pradhan. He advocated participation of educated youth in the field of agriculture and horticulture. He urged ICAR to provide consistent support to the Department in research and development. He further suggested for the setting up of a mechanism where the latest findings of the ICAR is communicated to the Department and concerned stakeholders before being introduced in the fields.
On the occasion, the Foundation Day Key Lecture on “A way forward towards the agricultural development of Sikkim” was delivered by Joint Director ICAR Sikkim Centre Dr. Avasthe.
The programme also saw the felicitation of twelve progressive farmers from different parts of the State for their outstanding contribution in the field of agriculture. The farmers felicitated were Mrs Kesang Lepcha, Mrs Man Kumari Chettri, Mrs Gyamshey Bhutia, Mrs Gyamit Lepcha, Mr Gokul Rai, Mr Kailash Rana Mangar, Mr Om Prashad Chauhan, Mr Kamal Kumar Chettri, Mr. Ugen Tshering Lepcha, Mr Samro Ugen Palzor Lepcha, Mr Phur Tenzing Sherpa and Mr Tshering Gyatso Lepcha.
The Programme also witnessed the release of technical folders, input distribution among farmers, field visit by the dignitaries and farmers-scientists’ interaction cum experimental field visit in the ICAR Research Farm.

CRH to remain open on 12 and 15 Oct

GANGTOK, 10 Oct: Central Referral Hospital (CRH) Tadong will remain open during the upcoming festive season. As per a press release, Medical Superintendent, Dr Shamsher Singh has announced that the hospital will remain open on 12 and 15 October. The state government holidays for Dasain are from 12-16 October. All the facilities will be available and individuals can seek medical care in the hospital on these days. Emergency services will also continue to be provided all through the days and will remain open for any kind of medical emergencies.

Governor and CM extend Dusshera and Dasain greetings

GANGTOK, 10 Oct: The Governor and Chief Minister have extended Dasain and Dusshera greetings to the people of Sikkim.
Governor Shriniwas Patil and Mrs. Rajanidevi Patil have extended warm greetings to the people of Sikkim on the occasion of Durga Puja and Dasain (Dusshera).
In his message, the Governor conveys: “The celebration of Durga Puja marks the victory of Goddess Durga over evil Mahishasura, and Dasain (Dusshera) marks the victory of Lord Rama over evil Ravana; both symbolizing the victory of good over evil.
The Nepali Dasain celebration exhibits a unique and beautiful tradition of honouring elders in the family and relations by seeking their blessings in the form of tika by Sikkim’s Nepali community. The celebration of Durga Puja and Dasain (Dusshera) fosters love, respect and communal harmony in society.
May this celebration of Durga Puja and Dasain (Dusshera) bestow protection, happiness and prosperity to the entire people of Sikkim.”
Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Mrs. Tika Maya Chamling have extended their best wishes, peace and prosperity to the people of Sikkim.
The Chief Minister in his message has also expressed that the festival of Dushera signifies and reinforces the eternal message of triumph of good over evil and the prevalence of truth above all. This festival which is celebrated all over the country in various forms be an inspiration for us to follow the path of righteousness.

Farmers trained on vermi-compost and vermi-wash in Upper Dzongu

MANGAN, 10 Oct:  A daylong training cum awareness on production and use of vermi-compost and vermi-wash in organic farming was organized by Agricultural Technology Management Agency, (ATMA) North at Namprik in Upper Dzongu, North Sikkim today.
During the programme, the Joint Director North, TT Lepcha informed that ATMA is an autonomous and centrally sponsored body under the Agriculture Department which provides different kinds of agricultural training to farmers. He also urged all the farmers to be more involved in the organic mission which the state hopes to achieve by 2015.
The chief guest, Power Minister cum area MLA Dzongu, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha highlighted the health benefits of consuming organic produce. He also announced the construction of VLW quarter at Namprik as demanded by the people.
The Deputy Director, Tshering Norbu Bhutia gave a presentation on light trap and vermi-wash to the people with field demonstration. The function was also addressed by Zilla member, Chungden Lepcha who urged the people to follow the instructions given by the departmental officials.
Three progressive farmers were also provided with light trap equipment.

Sexual assault on woman, accused absconding

GANGTOK, 10 Oct: A case of sexual assault on a woman has been reported in South Sikkim on Wednesday. The accused, Raju Tamang of Nepal, currently residing in South Sikkim, entered the victim’s house when she was alone at home and raped her. As the victim’s house is located in an isolated place there was no one around at the time and the accused managed to escape.
An alert has been flashed to all OCs and ICs and a police team deployed for search. A case under section 342/376 [punishment for wrongful confinement and punishment for rape] of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against him at the Melli Police Station and the case is under investigation.

Suicide

GANGTOK, 10 Oct: A 64-year-old resident of Raley Khesey reportedly committed suicide by jumping into the Teesta on 07 October. The dead body was recovered from the river below Jalewa bridge, Makha on 09 October.

One booked under SADA

GANGTOK, 10 Oct: One person was arrested by the Rangpo police on 09 October, when he was found to be in possession of contraband substances.
Tseten Tashi Sherpa [19], a resident of Ranipool, was arrested by the Rangpo police and 424 capsules of Spasmo Proxyvon, 100 tablets of Nitrosun-10 and 34 bottles of Lupicof cough syrup recovered from him.
A case under section 7 (a) (b)/9 (d)/14 of SAD Act has been registered against him at the Rangpo Police Station.

CMRHM house inaugurated in Upper Dzongu

MANGAN, 10 Oct:  A newly constructed CMRHM house has been inaugurated at Namprik in Upper Dzongu, under Tingvong GPU in North Sikkim. The Power minister cum area MLA Dzongu inaugurated the new house belonging to Lhakit Lepcha and officially handed it over to the beneficiary.  Also present in the inaugural function were Zilla member, Chungden Lepcha, ward panchayat and officials from BAC Passingdong, Dzongu.

Cash incentives under Grassland Development Scheme disbursed in North and East districts

MANGAN, 10 Oct: The Animal Husbandry Department, North district, organized a cash incentive distribution programme under the centrally sponsored Grassland Development Scheme. Cash incentives were handed over to 70 beneficiaries from Lachen-Mangan constituency who had undertaken fodder plantation works in their private land holdings under the scheme.
The programme was held at the District Veterinary Hospital, Mangan today wherein the beneficiaries were provided with a cash incentive of Rs 5000 each and fodder seed mini-kit of oat and maize for augmenting their winter green fodder reserves to feed their dairy animals. A sum of Rs 3,50,000 was distributed under Lachen-Mangan constituency in the programme.
The plantation works were carried out during the month of August 2013 by the beneficiaries themselves under the technical supervision of the departmental officials wherein the farmers were provided with planting materials and agriculture implements by the department as envisaged in the project guidelines. During the programme, the farmers were given a brief orientation and training on the significance of balanced feeding of concentrate and roughage and the need to raise quality fodder reserves in their own backyard in order to make dairy enterprise sustainable and viable.
In turn, the panchayats on behalf of the beneficiaries thanked the department and the Government for extending such essential benefit at their doorstep which will motivate them to propagate good varieties of fodder in the future as well.
Similarly, 117 progressive dairy farmers from different parts of East Sikkim also received cash incentives under the Grassland Development Scheme today here at Training Centre, Deorali.
Each beneficiary received fodder saplings of the latest variety of hybrid Napier, equipments for plantation, 6 kgs each of high yielding maize seeds and oat seeds and cash incentive of Rs 5000 as the labor charge for the fodder plantations.
The benefits were handed over by the AH&VS Director, Dr NK Rai, who was present as the chief guest, and Zilla Panchayat, Lakpa Doma Bhutia, who was present as the guest of honour.
AH&VS Additional Director, BS Subba informed that this scheme was a joint collaboration of the state and the central governments with the main aim to provide half-acre plots of land which would produce nutritious fodder to individual progressive farmers. He added that the ultimate aim of the scheme was to increase milk production of the state.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

SDM office inaugurated in Passingdong

MANGAN, 09 Oct: The state government recently declared the setting up of seven new sub-division offices in Sikkim. Two sub-divisional offices were established in North Sikkim, one at Kabi and other at Passingdong, Dzongu.
The Power Minister cum Area MLA, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha today inaugurated the newly established sub division magistrate office at Passingdong BAC in the presence of DC (N), CP Dhakal, SDM, Passingdong, Jijmee Dorji Bhutia, officers of all line departments, panchayat members and local gentries.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Lepcha lauded the role of the government in delivering benefits and facilities to the people and taking the state to new heights in every developmental sphere. He further said that the newly established office will benefit the general public and urged the gathering to take advantage of it.
Expressing his gratitude he said that officers of all line departments have till date been delivering and executing their duties sincerely and honestly and this has benefited the general public of the area. The horticulture and agriculture department has done a commendable job in Dzongu area and their efforts have helped create income generating sources for people of the area, he said.
While, DC (N) in his address congratulated the people of the area and asked them to take advantage of the facilities available in the newly established office.  From now onwards all land registration and mutation work will be done here and issue of required certificates too, he informed.
Lauding the role of officers he said that team spirit and co-ordination is must to achieve any given task and he expressed his gratitude to all the officers involved in the achievements made in the district. He further urged all the government employees not to involve themselves in politics but to serve and execute their duties for which they have been employed. Earlier, SDM, JD Bhutia highlighted the function of the sub division office.
Later in the afternoon, the Minister along with all officers and Panchayat members visited Leek village which is about 5 km away from Passingdong. The village has 33 households with a population of approximately 115 and is totally cut off from modern facilities and technology. As per a legend, the village is one of the seven hidden treasures of Mayel Kyong Yel. One has to walk at least 2 to 3 hours through dense forest and difficult terrain to reach the village. The Minister while interacting with the people asked all the officers to extend all possible help and services to make the village self-reliant and self-sufficient.
On behalf of the people, Mika Lepcha a social worker placed the demand of the people to the Minister and briefed him on various problems faced by the village people. He further said that due to lack of exposure to the outer world the villagers have remained ignorant of day-to-day happenings and appealed to the Minister to send them on a religious tour within Sikkim. He further urged the house that the only Chorten where the people perform religious rituals and prayers was damaged by the 2011 earth quake and restoration has not been possible due to lack of funds. He appealed to the Minister and DC (N) to grant some funds for repairs. The day’s tour rounded off with the vote of thanks delivered by the concerned ward Panchayat.

ON THE SPSC LAPSES Make amends instead of offering excuses- TSHERING EDEN

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The eagerly awaited preliminary exams for the posts of Under Secretary and Deputy Superintendent of Police have just been conducted. As expected by many, it hasn’t been a smooth affair. Questions are being raised about the questions supposed to test the candidates’ aptitude for the two coveted posts in the state administration. With the ever prevalent paranoia among the youth who sit for such exams regarding alleged ‘fixing’ or ‘push and pull’ - not to forget the high voltage political scenario of present - one would have expected the SPSC to do a better job or at least be better prepared.
The clamour of voices crying ‘unfair’ conduct of exams will rise once the results are out. RTI applications will be filed and some might take the commission to court and should the Courts stay the examination process, the still-far-from-complete process, with the mains and the viva voce yet to be held, will get pushed back even more. And the charade will play out as it has for the past many years with similar exams. The paranoia surrounding such exams for government office is not baseless either. Glaring errors have been made in the past. Not surprisingly, rumors regarding the recently conducted SPSC exams had started surfacing even before the application process had started. The last dates for applying for the said exam being pushed back by about two months, the sudden announcement of the prelims with only a month’s lead time, the duration of the exam being extended by half an hour in the last week, only added grist to the rumor mills.
With the odds stacked against it, the SPSC ought to have been better equipped and motivated. Getting into the state civil services should be a matter of pride, an emotion the recently held exams fails to inspire in any way. Minor or major, a lapse is a lapse. For an institution tasked not only with conducting such exams but which is more importantly responsible for recruiting workforce to administrate the state, errors are unbecoming. Such lackadaisical attitude of an authority like SPSC cannot be excused or justified in any way.
Responsible behavior is not exclusive to those in authority. Candidates who have appeared for the exam are equally responsible to bring the lapses to light and demand accountability. For those aspiring to hold positions of power and responsibility, raising their voice against discrepancies regardless of whether they get through the exam or not, should not need urging. Otherwise, the call for better will always be exclusive to the disgruntled and lose the credibility it deserves.  
The only way the commission can hope to restore faith amongst the candidates and the people at large is to first accept that it has faltered, miserably at that, and then propose amends. Otherwise, rumor mills are again pregnant with another one, of the commission itself sabotaging the whole examination process, for reasons best known to it.
[The writer works with Sikkim NOW! and had also appeared for the recently held SPSC prelims]

Dark Horse wins Tiger-5 Open Football tourney

GANGTOK, 09 Oct: Dark Horse has become the champion of the Tiger Five Open Football Tournament 2013 played here at Paljor Stadium. In the nail-biting final match played this afternoon, Dark Horse outplayed United Sikkim Football Club 3-2.
The team had players from the national team like Nirmal Chettri and Sanju Pradhan, along with Ong Tshering Lepcha and Bijendra Rai. All the four players, who have been recently signed by IMG-Reliance, and were here on a 3-day break, teamed up with their friends and juniors to form Dark Horse.
Sanju Pradhan was adjudged as the Man of the Match while Anjal Pradhan was awarded as the Most Promising Player of the Tournament.
Sports Minister NK Pradhan, Sikkim Football Association women’s wing chairman, R Ongmu and former international woman footballer, Pushpa Gurung gave away the trophies and cash prizes to its winners.
Twenty teams had participated in this two-day tournament, which was organized by Sikkim Himalayan Sporting Club [SHSC].
Speaking to media persons, Nirmal Chettri expressed his happiness at playing in the tournament along with his friends and juniors. Here on a short three-day break, he further expressed happiness on playing at Paljor Stadium after almost 7 years with his old batch mates.
Likewise, Sanju expressed his happiness on the increasing craze about football and on more tournaments and matches being organized in the state. “This trend will help the state produce more quality players. Our team did not play to win but just to participate and encourage upcoming players”, he said.
SHSC president, Tenzing Lamtha thanked participating teams and spectators along with different organizations and individuals for supporting the tournament.
“The main objective to organize the tournament was to provide a platform for local players to encourage them to take up football as a career. The club will continue to promote and develop football in every corner of the state”, he said.
The young football club was formed last year and was officially registered recently. The club is currently on a membership drive after completing its registration process. SHSC is also gearing up to organize the 2nd edition of Late Kunzang Namgyal Lamtha Memorial Cup Football Tournament from 25 December.

SKM block-level office set up in South Sikkim

GANGTOK, 09 Oct: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha inaugurated a block-level office at Sreebadam-Samdong block in South Sikkim today. An SKM release informs that a block-level committee was also constituted under the presidentship of Bhim Limboo.
The release claims that twenty families of the ruling SDF party in Chemchey basti under Poklok-Kamrang constituency have joined the SKM party today.
Amongst those who joined today are the constituency-level president of the ruling party, KB Rai, youth convener, Sudeep Rai and active member, Chitraman Rai, it is informed.
The party claims that after PS Tamang [Golay] formally joined SKM on 06 October, families from the Chief Minister’s constituency have been joining the SKM party.

Two REDRH houses inaugurated in Shipgyer

MANGAN, 09 Oct: The two homes constructed under the REDRH scheme were inaugurated at Shipgyer in Upper Dzongu, North Sikkim today by Panchayat Secretary, Hishey Lepcha. The inaugural function was also attended by officials from Chungthang sub-division headed by ADC [Dev], Chungthang, Baychung Lepcha, AE BAC Chungthang, panchayat members and the public.
Houses belonging to Hishey Dorjee Lepcha and Yangcho Lepcha of Upper Gyer have been officially inaugurated and handed over to the today.

30 REDRH houses inaugurated in South district

RAVANGLA, 09 Oct: Thirty homes constructed under the Reconstruction of Earthquake Damaged Rural Houses [REDRH] project funded by the Prime Minister’s special package for Sikkim were inaugurated in South Sikkim today. These houses came under the combined jurisdiction of Additional District Collector (Development), Namchi and Ravangla, an official press release informs.
The houses were handed over to the beneficiaries affected by the earthquake of 18 September, 2011.  Ten houses at Temi Gram Vikas Kendra were handed over by the area MLA BS Pant while Sonam Gyatso, the Barfung MLA, inaugurated 4 houses completed under Ravangla GVK.
Similarly, the South Upadhakshya Devi Maya Baraily handed over seven houses under Namthang GVK while Zilla Panchayat and Gram Panchayat members inaugurated 5 houses under Sumbuk GVK, 3 houses under Sikkip GVK and one house at Namchi GVK.    
With this, the number of houses completed under the REDRH scheme in South Sikkim has reached 266.
GVA Rabong, Sangam Rai informed that out of 137 REDRH constructions under Rabong GVK, a total of 37 houses have been completed and 70 houses are in the final stage while the remaining houses are at second and first stage of construction.
The beneficiaries also thanked the MLA and Chief Minister for the scheme.

Sikkim Organic Mission logo design submission date extended

GANGTOK, 09 Oct: The Sikkim Organic Mission had recently invited local designers to design a new logo for the Mission.
A press release informs that on scrutiny of the entries received the Selection Committee could not finalize the logo as none of the designs submitted met the expectations of the Committee.
The Sikkim Organic Mission is therefore inviting more innovative designs. The last date for the submission of designs has been extended up to 10 November, 2013.
The logo should be submitted both in soft copy format as well as coloured print outs. The content of the logo should be “SIKKIM ORGANIC”. The soft copies of the designs should be mailed to sikkimorganicmission@gmail.com. The submitted logo should be of a minimum of 300 dpi resolution and CMYK colour scheme.
A cash prize of Rs. 15,000 shall be awarded to the designer of the selected logo. The interested designer should submit their logos as mentioned above to the Additional Executive Director, Sikkim Organic Mission, Krishi Bhawan, Tadong, Gangtok before 10 November, 2013. The decision of the selection committee shall be final and binding. No claims of any kind will be entertained.
For any further enquiries please contact 9002728602.

Need NGO’s, Now

Editorial:-
There are many problems that only volunteers unattached to government protocols and hierarchies can address. Discomforting situations, especially the ones that are social in nature, require agencies from outside the government to find deliverance. This, not because the State is uninterested or unmoved, but because special situations require special engagements, not all of which can be quantified or found precedence for – processes without which governments/ govt departments cannot make decisions in time. And time is an important factor when dealing with social problems and situations where delays can foment disaffection and make situations worse. But the State has a role to play still. The State needs to play the role of a facilitator by putting in place the right enabling laws and making available the required funds to aid the process. When the government takes on the role of the NGOs, there is too much tokenism which does not really help anyone. This is not for want of intent, but more a fallout of the importance that paperwork scores over delivery when it comes to ‘official’ work; it results from a lack of commitment caused by haphazard prioritisation. Government officials are after all in transferable jobs and have other considerations weighing on their minds like career progression to get too involved with the social cause they might presently be only ex-officio responsible towards. Without complete involvement, social problems cannot be solved and this commitment can only be brought to the table by volunteers who choose to be involved. Real work involves getting the hands dirty and that is too much to expect from a person with temporary responsibility of the problem. The government is also handicapped by the red tape it wraps itself in. Work on the field demands instant decisions and improvisation which government officials are either not trained for or are unwilling to risk. In Sikkim, at present, the NGO culture is still nascent and because of this the government-NGO relationship is also not one of mutual respect. Since most NGOs here are completely dependent on the State [or parent corporate house in some cases] for funds and directions, their independence is also restricted. It is time the NGO culture developed into a viable deliverer of services and information to the Sikkimese, especially those in the rural areas. Many changes are afoot at present and NGO involvement in cushioning their impact is an urgent need.

One booked under SADA

GANGTOK, 09 Oct: One person was arrested by the Singtam police on 07 October, when he was found to be in possession of contraband substances.
Acting on information from sources, the Singtam police conducted a search of the rented room of Ramesh Saha [20], resident of Jubileeline, Singtam and recovered 265 capsules of Spasmo Proxyvon.
He has been arrested and a case under section 9 (b)/11/14 of the SAD Act has been registered against him at the Singtam Police Station.

Two suicides

GANGTOK, 09 Oct: Two suicides have been reported in the state in the past two days.
In West Sikkim, a 26-year-old man committed suicide by hanging on 07 October. In the second case, a 40 year old was found hanging in front of Urban Tailor Shop, Kanchanjungha Shopping Complex in Gangtok on the morning 08 October.

Coronary angiography performed on heart patient at CRH

GANGTOK, 09 Oct: A coronary angiography was successfully performed on a 71-year-old male patient at the Super Specialty wing of Central Referral Hospital (CRH) here on Tuesday.
A press release from the hospital informs that this is the first such surgery performed in the state. The patient, PP Bhandari from Marchak in East Sikkim, had been undergoing treatment at CRH for various other ailments, along with complaints of mild angina (chest pain).
A coronary angiography was conducted at the Cath Lab of CRH by Consultant Cardiologist, Dr. Nagraja Moorthy, during which it was revealed that the patient was suffering from 50-60 percent blockage in the right coronary artery.
Coronary angiography is an important tool used to diagnose a number of heart conditions and to help guide treatment. It is used to detect where the heart’s blood supply is blocked after a heart attack and to help diagnose angina where pain in the chest is caused by a restricted blood supply to the heart. Successful diagnosis after an angiography helps to plan interventional or surgical procedures such as a coronary angioplasty, where narrowed or blocked blood vessels are widened, or a coronary artery bypass surgery, the release mentions.
The patient will be put on medicines to control the angina. He has thanked the CRH doctors for conducting this important test to determine his heart conditions, says the release.
With the setting up of a Cath Lab and Cardiothoracic facilities at CRH, patients with coronary artery diseases and other cardio (heart) related diseases will not have to travel outside of Sikkim for diagnosis and treatment.

East District Police designates lady SDPO to handle cases of sexual assault on children

GANGTOK, 09 Oct: As suggested by the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the East District Police administration has designated, SDPO, Rangpo, DSP Linda Palmu Chettri, as the supervising officer to look after all cases relating to sexual offences or any offence against children below 18 years throughout the East District.
SCPCR has appreciated this move of the East District Police and hopes that the other three districts will also designate lady SDPOs as Supervising Officers for such offences against children in their respective districts, states an official release.
In the wake of rising number of sexual offences against children especially girls, it was felt necessary to have lady police officers as Investigating Officers to investigate cases of sexual offences of children who feel more comfortable to narrate the sexual ordeal inflicted on them to a lady police officer rather than a male police personnel.
Regarding the recent case of child molestation by a primary school teacher of Khamdong, East Sikkim, the release informs that the accused is reported to have molested other children of the school as well.
This was revealed during the counseling provided by the two Protection Officers [Child Care] under Integrated Child protection Scheme deputed by the Commission.
In this regard, the commission has lauded the efforts of Singtam Police personnel under the PI Chundi Chopel Bhutia and SI Roshan Rai in investigating and unearthing the unreported cases of sexual offences against 18 other children of the same school.
Parents of these children have also lodged an FIR in the Singtam Police Station and demanded appropriate justice and requested the law enforcing authority that sufficient punishment be given to the accused.
The Commission is constantly organizing awareness programmes on protection of child rights emphasizing on the new law ‘Protection of Children from Sexual Offences, Act 2012’ which has encouraged victims to report the crime, the release mentions. The Commission has further urged all stakeholders and members of the civil society to guard our children from such crimes and ensure their safe future. It has expressed hope that the Judicial Authority will place such cases of sexual offences against children on Fast Track Courts for speedy trial and justice for victims.

Annual College Week celebration concludes at CAEPHT

GANGTOK, 09 Oct: The 7th Annual College Week Celebration of the College of Agricultural Engineering & Post Harvest Technology (CAEPHT) concluded today with much fanfare at the college premises.
As per a press release, Dr. RP Medhi [Director, National Research Centre on Orchids, Pakyong], was the chief guest of the programme which was presided by Dr. PK Srivastava [Dean, CAEPHT]. The Dean in his welcome address said that the college week is organized every year to encourage the all-round development of students. Such events will boost the morale of students, he said and thanked Dr. Medhi for guiding the college.
Total of 36 sporting events were organized during the college week from 03 to 09 October. In the literary events section were essay writing, extempore speech, memory test and spot painting contests. The students also participated in a cultural competition which had solo song, solo dance, duet song and group song competition.
On the occasion, eight class toppers were also felicitated by the college, the release informs.

Baha’i School girls TT team qualify for national inter-school tourney

GANGTOK, 09 Oct: Table Tennis boys’ and girls’ team of Baha’i School, Tadong recently participated in the North East Zonal inter-school tournament organized at Guwahati, Assam by CBSE.
A press release informs that the boys team reached till the quarter finals while the girls team has qualified to play at the national level tournament. The girls’ team has Chumpila Bhutia, Tenzing Doma Sherpa and Diya Trikhatri.
Baha’i School, Tadong, was the only team representing Sikkim at the tournament. The girls team will soon be leaving for the national level tournament, the release informs.

EXPO EXPERIENCE:

 Amongst the exhibits at the 2nd Sikkim Auto Expo 2013, the DSK Hyosang bikes manufactured by a South Korean company have been attracting a good number of enquiries from young local boys here.

ATMA organizes exposure visit for South farmers


GANGTOK, 09 Oct: Agriculture Technology Management agency (ATMA) South Sikkim organized an exposure visit to Lower Sangdorjee (Azing’s Farm) at Hathidhunga, West Sikkim for the farmers of Menglee, Lower Namphok, lower Sripatam, upper Sripatam, Lower Gugyong and Upper Gagyong on 04 October.
As per a press release, a total of 65 people attended the programme including 6 panchayats from Manglee, Namphok, lower Sripatam, upper Sripatam, lower Gugyong and upper Gagyong and officials from ATMA South.
The programme was started with the welcome address delivered by Ramesh Dahal (BTM Namthang). Resource person, Azing Lepcha shared his experiences on integrated farming and encouraged the farmers towards organic farming.
During the farm visit, farmers were impressed by the systematic way of cultivation of different species of vegetables and fruits. Mr Lepcha has dairy, piggery and fishery units at his farm. Farmers were also encouraged to house their agricultural tools in a systematic way in the tool house.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Interactive meeting discusses Sustainable Mountain Architecture

GANGTOK, 08 Oct: Lok Sabha MP, PD Rai today pointed out the possibility of the last of the REDRH [Reconstruction of Earthquake Damaged Rural Houses scheme] houses in the State being constructed following sustainable designs using locally available material and involving local architects.
He was speaking at the Sustainable Mountain Architecture event, which was organised at the Forest Conference Hall today in collaboration with three agencies WWF-India, Forest Department along with Arch i [a collective platform for exploring design].
The MP was present as chief guest along with the Gangtok Mayor, KN Tobgay and Deputy Mayor, Shakti Chaudhary.  Arch i was represented by Anne Feenstra who has recently been awarded the Laureate of the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in Paris.
A press release informs that the event traveled for the first time to India from Nepal where it was initiated in December last year at the knowledge park of ICIMOD and earlier this year at the Tribhuvan University, Nepal. It consisted of an exhibition showcasing the work undertaken by Arch i in Afghanistan and in East Sikkim in collaboration with WWF–India, followed by expert presentations and a panel discussion.
The programme was attended by various government departments, personnel from the Sashastra Seema Bal and GREF, NGOs and civil society members, representatives of various associations and Deorali School teachers and students.
The programme started with the inauguration of the Sustainable Mountain Architecture exhibition by the chief guest and interpretation of the posters showcasing Arch i’s work by Master Architect Anne Feenstra.
The second part of the programme consisted of expert presentations which began with a welcome address by Priyadarshinee Shrestha [Coordinator of WWF – India’s Sikkim office]. In her address Ms. Shrestha stressed on the need for sustainable building in Sikkim, in the face of recurring natural disasters.
Presentations were made by RP Gurung [CEO of ECOSS] on the changing face of rural Sikkim and what it means for eco tourism in the state and by Echostream and Sanctum Architecture on conserving heritage through community participation. Lastly, Mr. Feenstra gave a presentation on involvement of local people in the planning and building process, and the difference it makes to the process from his experiences of working in Afghanistan.
The panel discussion that followed was chaired by MP, PD Rai and moderated by Anne Feenstra. The audience got an opportunity to interact with the panel members consisting of the presenters, the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor. Critical questions were raised by participants on the need for conserving vernacular architecture, what vernacular architecture meant for Sikkim, the lack of mountain specific architectural knowledge and how students could learn more about the values of traditional architecture through the normal school curriculum. Students were also keen to participate and get more involved in these dialogues and the processes of conservation that followed.
Mr. Rai in his address to sum up the event talked about maintaining continuity of programmes like these, and linking the dialogue initiated on sustainable architecture to the ongoing Indian Mountain Initiative. He also stressed on the need for and possibility of having a planning and architecture school in the recent future in Sikkim.

SU students to get free laptops as well

GANGTOK, 08 Oct: Sikkim University students called on Chief Minister Pawan Chamling at Samman Bhawan this afternoon where the CM assured that free laptops will be distributed to Sikkim University students as well.
The Chief Minister, in a post on his official Facebook page, also expressed his happiness at the response that the laptop distribution initiative has received.
“I am happy to know that the laptop distribution by the State Government to class XI, XII and college students of East district has received encouraging response,” he shares.
The post informs that the distribution in the remaining districts will resume after the Dasain holidays as announced earlier.
“We plan to give laptops to our Sikkimese students in Sikkim University as well. But as the laptops are procured from outside the country they take time to arrive,” the CM states on his facebook post.
“We want our Sikkimese students to be the best. With the distribution of the laptops, it is expected that the digital deficiencies of our students for their educational advancement will gradually disappear,” he adds.

SPSC disappoints with less than professional conduction of US and DSP prelims

GANGTOK, 08 Oct: Sikkim Public Service Commission (SPSC) conducts examinations for induction into the State services and given that these exams have been happening only about once every five years or so, it is expected that they are carried out flawlessly. This is important since these examinations are considered the only opportunity for an aspiring candidate to prove their mettle and get into the state administrative services. SPSC however pulled off the examination held last Sunday in less than smooth manner, its question papers marred not only by poor production [they appeared photocopied and were stapled together] but also errors and lapses which could have been avoided if only they had been put together more carefully.
Speaking to NOW! today, Chairman, SPSC, ML Arrawatia, explained that the Commission functions in a very fair, transparent and impartial manner and hence maintained absolute secrecy in setting the question papers which is why the errors were detected only when the question papers were opened on the day of the examination.
“The question papers are not allowed to be read by any of the officers of the Commission and the examination section can only put page numbers and brief instructions on first page of the question paper,” states a press release issued by SPSC today, and goes on to contend that the question papers for the preliminary examinations for the post of Under Secretary and Dy. Superintendent of Police had only ‘minor typing errors’.
It is a different matter mistakes are mistakes and their being minor or major depends on who is evaluating it. One such ‘minor’ mistake for example is question number 134 in Paper-I of the morning session which asks “The number of chromosomes in human cell” and the options given for the correct answer are 32, 42, 23, 206. Now either the question or the answers given are incorrect since a human cell is made up of 23 pairs of chromosomes amounting to a total of 46 [which does not figure in the options provided].
While there are, as SPSC admits, some minor typing errors, the question papers also had errors that cannot be attributed to typing mistakes alone and are clearly results of carelessness.
The Chairman informed that the Commission had requisitioned the services of twelve senior level officers (Deputy Secretaries) to assist the Commission as Coordinating Centre Supervisors and the SPSC also designated and appointed senior officers as State observers for overseeing the conduct of examination in a fair and transparent manner, all of whom who did not have any information on what the question papers carried before opening the same at the examination centre.
“Since no one was allowed to see the question papers before the examination, the minor mistakes in the question papers did not come to light. The minor typing errors in question papers came to the notice of the Commission only after the commencement of the examination. There were a few minor clarifications and corrections in the papers which were intimated to the Centre Supervisors. The Centre Supervisors in turn informed all the candidates about these corrections through Invigilators,” informs Mr Arrawatia.
In this regard he added that as soon as the question papers were opened and distributed, the mistakes were found and the same had been disseminated by the concerned invigilator to the candidates.
The SPSC Chairman while maintaining that the examinations were conducted as per the rules and guidelines of the Commission also explained that correction fluid was not allowed in the examination, something that had already been informed to the candidates before the examinations. However, he added that some invigilators let candidates use correction fluid and whiteners only on prominent mistakes like if they had filled in their roll numbers wrong.
On the other hand, many students said that they were allowed, and some even advised, to use correction fluid to correct answers of the questions with ‘minor mistakes’. It may be mentioned here that any answer corrected by the use of correction fluid on the OMR sheet will be read as invalid by the computer system. Unfortunately, some students have admitted to using correction fluid to correct their answers. Ideally, students should have been provided with fresh answer sheets for the corrections and this was done in some of the centres since the error was of the SPSC and not the candidates.
Meanwhile, an official press release details that out of 5,532 candidates who had enrolled for the examinations to fill 25 posts of Under Secretaries and two of Deputy Superintendents of Police, 5,433 admit cards were issued. Of these, 3,645 candidates sat for the morning session and 3,611 returned for the afternoon session.
As for the logistics, the prelims were conducted in 12 centres and engaged nearly 350 examination functionaries.
The press release issued by the SPSC today, further adds: “The Commission also welcomed the grievances/ doubts arising in the question papers in a written form duly justifying the nature of errors/ mistake in the question papers from the candidates. Some of the candidates have already submitted their grievances which are being examined by the Commission to the extent of genuineness.”

Meeting deliberates on Solid Waste Management in rural clusters and tourist destinations

GANGTOK, 08 Oct [IPR]: Minister for Rural Management and Development Department, CB Karki today chaired the meeting of stakeholders on Solid Waste Management in Rural Clusters/ Tourist Destinations.
During the meet held in RMDD conference hall, Joint Secretary (Sanitation), Hissey Yongda in her power point presentation gave an over view on the solid waste management in rural Sikkim. During her presentation various means, methods and programmes on solid waste management done by the department were elaborately described and a few pilot projects of the department to tackle the problem of solid waste management was also shown.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister Mr. Karki stated that solid waste management is a big challenge and a responsibility not only of the department but of each and every individual.
“First and foremost, it is important to know about waste and understand its source. If each and every individual including children are educated about waste and its management then the dream of the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling of making Sikkim a zero waste state can be realized”, he said.
Mr. Karki also suggested setting up waste pits at the ward level and expressed hope that people will cooperate in protecting and preserving their surroundings and the environment.
Earlier, the Secretary RMDD, DR Nepal in his opening remarks spoke about solid waste management and also informed about the kind of work the department is undertaking.
The meeting also saw a fruitful interactive session between stakeholders and officials of the department, where the stakeholders spoke and appraised the gathering about the work they are doing in their respective areas and also expressed some of their ideas and suggestions.

Senior Citizens Week observed at Ishwaramba Old Age Home

GANGTOK, 08 Oct: The Department of Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare observed Senior Citizens Week at the Old Age Home being run by the Ishwaramba Samiti Sangh, Jalipool, Ranipool, East Sikkim on 07 October.
As per a press release, the function was attended by GP Upadhyaya [Principal Secretary, Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department], TR Poudyal [Retired Forest Secretary], BK Roka and Dr. Bela Cintury from Senior Citizen Society. During the function, the purpose of organizing the Senior Citizen Week was highlighted by KB Pradhan, [Joint Secretary, Social Welfare Division].
Various problems of the old age home were also discussed and the Principal Secretary assured to look into all of them. He also informed them that their grant has been doubled by the State Government in the current year.
The programme ended with vote of thanks by KK Sewa [Assistant Director of the department].
01 October, every year is celebrated globally as “International Day of Older Persons” to acknowledge the contribution, wisdom and dignity and need of Senior Citizen and to rededicate to their well-being.  The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India has issued instructions to organize functions, workshops, seminars, awareness camps etc. for awareness among the younger generation about the concerns of senior citizens and to recognize their contribution to the society. The Ministry has also issued directions to observe the ‘Senior Citizens Week’ starting from 01 to 07 October, 2013 and to organize some activities/ programmes during the week.

Rotary organizes health check-up for morning walkers

GANGTOK, 08 Oct: Rotary Club of Gangtok held the first Morning Walkers’ Health Check-up, at Zero Point, Gangtok this morning at 5 30 AM.
A press release from the club informs that this initiative hopes to encourage morning walkers to continue their fitness regimen. The motivation behind this camp was to make them aware of the benefits associated with walking as well as to encourage blood donation.
During the check-up, 73 persons were screened for hypertension, diabetes, blood grouping and BMI (Body Mass Index). Out of the total, 18 recorded High Blood Pressure and 15 recorded High Fasting Sugar Level.
This camp was also held to promote goodwill among the community and Rotary Club. Fitness Cards were distributed to individuals with information about their health. The club plans to hold the camp after every 2 months so that morning walkers come to know the benefits of regular exercise. Ten Rotarians organized the early morning camp which was supported by Sikkim Blood Transfusion Council.

IGNOU awareness-cum-induction programme held at Rhenock study centre

GANGTOK, 08 Oct: An awareness-cum-induction programme was organized at IGNOU, Study Centre, Government College Rhenock, today. The programme was organized by IGNOU, Study Centre 2407 in collaboration with regional centre, Gangtok.
The function was attended by students of IGNOU, Principal of the College, Dr. Lilly Aley, Regional Director, IGNOU, Gangtok, Dr. Youna Bhutia, Resource persons, Dilip Kumar Darjee and Rinzing Nedup Yalmu, Assistant Professors and non-teaching faculties of the College.
The release informs that during the programme, Co-coordinator, IGNOU, Study centre, Rhenock, Elvis Lepcha highlighted the ongoing programmes of IGNOU under his Study centre. Meanwhile, Principal, Dr. Lilly Aley highlighted the history of the IGNOU study centre and its achievements.
At the same time she requested the Regional Director to introduce post graduate courses in the Rhenock Study centre. Resource persons Dilip Kumar Darjee and Rinzing Nedup Yalmo clarified about the various technicalities in the enrolment, registration, examination, assignments, and the counseling classes.
The Regional Director, Dr. Youna Bhutia, encouraged students to study and join IGNOU. He also interacted with the students and tried to clarify their doubts in various aspects related to IGNOU.
Assistant Professor, Bidhan Subba, summarizing the program, expressed gratitude and thanks to the Regional Director and his office for organizing such a program in the college. Assistant Professor, Palmu Kaleon also addressed the function. It was also decided during the programme that classes for the students of IGNOU under Rhenock study centre will be held in the month of October and November, the release mentions.

Lok Adalat takes up 9 cases, settles one

GANGTOK, 08 Oct: A High Court Lok Adalat was held on 07 October in the Office of Sikkim Legal Services Authority, Sichey, Gangtok. A press release informs that the Lok Adalat was presided by Judge, High Court of Sikkim and Executive Chairman, Sikkim State Legal Services Authority, Justice SP Wangdi along with DK Gazmer and Geeta Gurung as the "Other Persons" of the High Court Lok Adalat. Out of the 09 cases, a case on property dispute was amicably settled.

Sikkim junior Kho-Kho team leaves for National C’ship

GANGTOK, 08 Oct: After participating in the 18th East Zone National Kho-Kho Championship 2013 held at Dhanbad in Jharkhand from 02 to 05 September the Sikkim Junior Kho-Kho teams for Boys and Girls have left for Solan in Himachal Pradesh to participate in the 33rd National Championship being held there from 07 to 11 October, 2013 being organized by the Himachal Pradesh Kho-Kho Association.
A press release informs that the team has players selected from the schools in South and East Districts, after rigorous coaching camps held at Namchi and Pakyong public schools with the personal initiative and interest taken by the Principals and Teachers of these schools. Each team is composed of 12 players with a Coach and Manager.
The Girls team has Yangchen Bhutia, Dipika Mishra, Saroja Gurung, Lakina Rai, Subhaksha Tiwari, Sandhya Pradhan, Manjila Subba, Pamila Bhutia, Eden Tamang, Sonam Doma Bhutia, Deewangla Bhutia and Shivani Jaishwal along with Coach cum Official Anup Chakravarty and Mcdonald Pradhan.
Boys team has Navraj Chetri, Tikaram Sharma, Dawa Serpa, Tarbong Lepcha, Mayel Lepcha, Rinzing Lepcha, Swarnadeep Chetri, Benay Pokhrel, Basant Sharma, Ugyen Lepch, Rudra Kumar Chetri, Yangden Tamang along with Coach Pijush Sarka and Manager Ramesh Subba.
The Association has expressed gratitude to all the schools in the state for their keenness to develop sports in their schools which is a great encouragement to the youths.
“Due to paucity of funds and absence of sponsors in the state, the Association has not been able to perform its responsibilities as expected which is regretted. We hope to improve the responsibilities in the days to come with greater support from the authorities and generous donors / sponsors”, the release states.

What if Politics became only about looks…

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YESHI LHAMU
We have in the past discussed many opinionated issues be it about looking at the positive side of our life or about the sexual abuse of girls or the idea of secularism. This time, I think we owe it to ourselves to lighten up a bit and take up an humorous idea.
What if we were to imagine the political scenario of India if being elected or voted as a political leader was all about the way one looked, and what if voters started voting not by looking at the ability, contribution or efficiency of a leader but by judging the candidate on looks! Politics would have been rather interesting, at least very good looking. Don’t you think?
Then, Rahul Gandhi, the vice president of the Indian National Congress, would be the leading political leader whether he is any good as a politician or not. We say that Rahul Gandhi has definitely been able to make his mark as a handsome politician!! Even in his 40s he looks dashing, handsome and decent whether it is because of the way he has been brought up or because of his mother’s Italian roots. But he is certainly a well groomed man and definitely a person with style. He manages to look undoubtedly handsome even in the staid white ensemble (kurta). In Rahul’s case, he wears the kurta and doesn’t allow the kurta to wear him.
Even I had a glimpse of Mr. Gandhi when he came to Sikkim for a visit during the last elections. (He was wearing a Lepcha dress and was clearly rocking the Lepcha dress too). It was then that I realized who he was and knew that the fanfare was justified  A majority of women in the crowd were aged 20 to 40 or so. An aunt literally fainted near the Tourism office when Mr. Gandhi happened to stop his car and wave around. I was astonished and taken aback at that point of time by the way the women were acting. It to me seemed like as if the Beatles or the Directioners (One Direction) were there.  We know that Rahul Gandhi is “the one” among women and girls from all age groups.
Also he is popular among the youth because the kind of concept we have is that, as he is young compared to other politicians so he definitely understands us and will surely make an effort to empower the youth of the nation. But Congress basically, though being the oldest party to exist since independence and before too has not been able to make its mark as much as they could. If we are to compare the existence of the Indian National Congress in the country with that of the existence of the Sikkim Democratic Front in Sikkim we can clearly see that the SDF party led by our honorable Chief Minister Dr. Pawan Chamling who is also the party’s president has been able to make his mark beautifully.
So now, let us not drift away from the topic rather stick to it. It’s a good thing that in India particularly we are able to vote only after we reach the age of 18 because if we were allowed to vote earlier then majority of girls would vote for Rahul Gandhi definitely without us really understanding the game of politics. Not only girls but I still have my aunt who is in the age of 45. She’s still got a crush on Rahul Gandhi. When Rahul Gandhi is on TV she can even sacrifice her TV serials, not to hear Rahul speaking but rather to see him just being on screen. It is indeed fun thought if we are to think that politics was all about ones looks and ones attire. Would we then get presentable and rightly dressed national leaders? And if that was the case then Narendra  Modi would not have much charm Rahul would at least prove to be a strong contender!

SKM against personality worship: Golay

GANGTOK, 08 Oct: The former SDF legislator and now Sikkim Krantikari Morcha leader, PS Tamang [Golay], today directed party workers not to use his photographs in the party badge which, he underlined, was against the very ethics of the party and further directed party workers to immediately stop further distribution of the badges.
He said that the SKM party is against the very practice of ‘personality worship’ and added that this culture must be put to an end. He was addressing SKM workers at the party head office here in Tadong.
“Sikkim needs parivartan- not a change of a person but of the system itself,” he said. Mr. Tamang, who has been more conspicuous with his absence from party functions, today assured party workers that he will henceforth dedicate more time to the party.
“In my 15-year association with the SDF party, I have seen the negative impact of deifying or hero-worshipping a person and want to set up a new framework based purely on political principles”, he said. He reiterated the party agenda of ‘one man one post’ while welcoming new entrants to the party.
The Sikkim Krantikari  Morcha today welcomed around 275 new members here at its party office. Amongst those who joined SKM today most are from Kabi-Lungtsok constituency of North district and Namcheybong constituency in East.
Former chairperson of Sikkim State Child Rights Commission, Chumki Saring and retired educationist, Taramani Moktan also formally joined SKM today. An SKM press release issued today further claims that 648 people joined the SKM at its head office here today.

Tiger-5 Football Open kicks off

GANGTOK, 08 Oct: The two-day Tiger Five Open Football Tournament 2013 kicked off this morning here at Paljor Stadium. On the first day of the tournament, 16 matches were played up to the pre-quarterfinal round.
On Wednesday morning, in the quarter-final round, Dark Horse will take on Mayal FC and Dzongri Boyz will be playing against Zulu followed by USFC versus Sharp Shooter and Denzong Boys versus Swastik United. Likewise, the semi-finals and final match of the tournament will also be played on Wednesday.
A total of twenty teams are participating in the tournament, which is being organized by Gangtok-based Sikkim Himalayan Sporting Club [SHSC].

Safe Journey

Editorial:-
News of accidents are getting too frequent and no one seems inclined to really address the issue. The traffic police is occupied almost full-time with patrolling the streets of the capital or spying for vehicles parked in no parking zones even as public carriers, private vehicles and passenger jeeps speed all along the state and national highway putting tourists, locals and even pedestrians at risk. Given the recklessness that empty roads excite in most drivers nowadays, the traffic jams are welcome speedbreakers around Gangtok. For those who still scoff at the need to invest more time and thought on making the roads safer, a drive anywhere beyond the traffic induced safe speed zones of the capital is recommended. Watching a mainline jeep power full pedal around a turn on the highway will quicky bring home the level of risk on the roads. A recent pile-up reported at night near Tadong where a Utility vehicle plied into three parked vehicles and totaled almost all of them, the mangled vehicles standing as frightening reminders of worse scenarios which could have unfolded had the mishap occurred any other time but the desolate midnight hour. If such dangerously high speeds are achieved so close to town, then one can only imagine what the speedometer clocks beyond Ranipool. It clich├ęd to even point out here that speeding on hill roads is dangerous. That goes without saying, but what is actually being done to prevent it? Precious little. While just about every driver gets pulled up for a surprise check of his vehicle documents in the vicinity of the capital [the pre-Dasain days being special busy with checking], the highways rarely see a surprise check except during festivals when checking beyond Rangpo becomes especially strict. It is time that someone started setting and enforcing speed limits along the highway. There is no doubt that most accidents which have taken lives in Sikkim have been caused due to over-speeding. It must take a lot of momentum for a vehicle to crash through the culverts and fly off the road as was seen in a recent accident on NH 31A. What the enforcers of traffic rules could also look into is the health of vehicles which ferry passengers. A person who pays for the ride deserves to be travelling in a road-worthy vehicle. While no one minds the odd puncture along the highway, a brake-fail or ‘steering lock’ are dangers that they can easily be preempted with some vigilant policing.

Connecting Champions – Sikkim students on exchange program to Gujarat

GANGTOK, 08 Oct:  In an effort to assist students from various schools across Sikkim to become smarter and confident through the process of cultural exchange programs, a ten-day students’ exchange program ‘Connecting Champions’ is being conducted by 24hours Inspired during the month of December 2013.
A press release informs that students in the age group between 12-16 years are encouraged to be part of the program.
Speaking about the program, Dewaker Basnet [Chief Learning Officer 24hours Inspired] says, “One of the vital aspects for the overall growth of a child is providing him/her the right exposure so that he/she becomes well equipped for life. One of the important elements of exposure is the process of physically connecting students of a particular geography with the students of another geographical space so that they learn from each other. These physical engagements also go a long way in inspiring these young ones to connect with each other and look at their lives from a broader perspective. ‘Connecting Champions’ endeavors to provide a platform for students to learn and grow through the process of cultural and intellectual exchanges between the youngsters of both the regions. This is our second year of the exchange program. In the first year of the program, we had taken a group of 15 students to Kerala for a 10-day intervention and the positive transformation of the students has been appreciated by the school and the parents”.
Connecting Champions hopes to be a great leveler in terms of culturally and intellectually exposing children of the state to mainstream India and improve with the passage of time, the release adds.
Interested schools/parents can contact the program co-ordinators at 800-134-0022, 787-288-0086, 03592-280333

Sikkim to participate in National Challenger Chess tourney

GANGTOK, 08 Oct: A four-member team of the Sikkim Chess Association [SCA] will be representing the state in the prestigious National Challenger Chess Tournament to be held at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh from 12 to 22 October.
The current top four players of the state - Rakesh Gurung, Sushmita Lama, Thendup Tamang and Rahul Gurung will be representing Sikkim in the tournament. The team will be accompanied by SCA general secretary, Mahendra Dhakal, who will also be serving the tournament as an arbiter.
The team is scheduled to leave for the tournament on 10 October.
Mr Dhakal stated that it is a prestigious tournament which will have the top four players from all the states and different organizations of the country. He further added that this tournament would be a big platform for the local players to face top players of other states. “Our main target in the tournament would be to improve the rating of the local players,” he added.
The SCA general secretary further informed that the state has been continuously participating in this tournament since its formation and has been improving every year. He expressed his confidence that this time again players would definitely improve their rating in the tournament.
The state team has been busy training for the tournament. The SCA president, HS Sharma and other members of the association have conveyed their best wishes to the team.

Sikkim-BJP demands free laptops for private school students as well

GANGTOK, 08 Oct: Welcoming the recent distribution of free laptops to students of government schools and colleges of the state, Bharatiya Janata Party-Sikkim has demanded that free laptops be provided to students of private schools as well.
The BJP-Sikkim president, Padam Bahadur Chettri argued today that there were more students enrolled in private schools who deserve to get laptops too.
In a press conference held here at Tadong, he said that Sikkim University students equally deserve free laptops as well. He also informed that the party has submitted a memorandum to the Chief Secretary, Rinzing Ongmu today requesting her to consider students of private schools from class eight onwards to be covered under the government’s programme to facilitate students with laptops.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rangchang spanned more firmly NEW BRIDGE BEGINS ACCEPTING TRAFFIC, AWAITS FORMAL INAUGURATION

MANGAN, 07 Oct: After more than a year’s gap, vehicles have now started plying over the re-constructed Rangchang Khola bridge. The bridge had collapsed on 19 December 2011, claiming 10 lives.
The bridge has been reconstructed by Teesta Urja, whose truck had brought the bridge down in 2011, and although it has not been officially inaugurated yet, the bridge has opened to vehicular traffic.
Rangchang Khola is located 18 kms from Singtam towards Dikchu on the Singtam-Mangan highway. The bridge over this Khola had collapsed when a 48-wheeler truck engaged by the Teesta Urja was attempting to cross the bridge. Midway across the bridge, the entire span collapsed, taking along with it the vehicle, its occupants along with 4 pedestrians.
The vehicle was on its way from Siliguri to Chungthang where Teesta Urja is constructing the Teesta Stage III hydel project. The collapsed bridge constructed by Project Swastik was less than three years old at the time.
The reconstructed bridge, however, needs safety bars to be installed for pedestrians, without which it is unsafe for pedestrians, especially school going children.

20 teams in Tiger-5 tourney starting today at Paljor Stadium

GANGTOK, 07 Oct: Twenty teams will be contesting in the Tiger Five Open Football Tournament 2013, which will be starting on Tuesday at Paljor Stadium. The two-day, knock-out tournament is being organized by the young Gangtok-based Sikkim Himalayan Sporting Club [SHSC].
The tournament mostly has clubs and a few schools from in-and-around Gangtok and from Mangan participating. The inaugural match will be played at 9 AM on Tuesday.
The club’s management has welcomed all football lovers to witness the matches of the tournament to encourage local players on 08 and 09 October.

Navaratra Shree Durga Bhawani Puja underway at Thakurbari

GANGTOK, 07 Oct: Navaratra Shree Durga Bhawani Puja and Vijaya Dasami Celebration have started here at Thakurbari Mandir from 04 October. Gangtok Thakurbari Committee has come forward to organize the festival in a grand manner this year.
To look after the management of the celebration a sub-committee has also been formed with Mohan Lall Sarda as president and Navin Lamichaney as general secretary along with other members.
Addressing a press conference today, Mr. Lamichaney informed that this puja is being organized at Thakurbari every year in a grand manner for more than 75 years. He also informed about the various prayers and events planned for this nine-day long puja. Ten Gurujis and groups has been engaged for continuous prayers, Ved Path, Aarti, Chandi Puja [108 times in these 9 days], Bhajan Kirtan and other religious activities will be held in these nine days, he said.
Mr. Lamichaney stated that all these prayers are being offered mainly for peace in Sikkim and the world.
The state government has assured to provide Rs 5 crore to complete the construction of Thakurbari which is under process and the amount is expected to be released soon, it is informed. The construction work at the mandir had been started in 2005.

SKM vote of thanks for Parivartan Diwas success

GANGTOK, 07 Oct: The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha party has thanked all party workers, well-wishers, East district administration, police force, Power department, Sport & Youths Affairs Department, Public Health, Water Security and Engineering department for their cooperation in conducting the SKM debut meeting in Gangtok peacefully and without hiccups.
The SKM publicity secretary, Jacob Khaling, informs that the party has adopted a resolution thanking all those who helped make the ‘Parivartan Diwas’ a grand success.
Besides this, he informs that around 150 people joined SKM today at the party’s head office in Tadong.
SKM further claims that people in Chakung, Soreng, Pakki Gaon in Rinchenpong and Timburbong in West Sikkim have started openly supporting the SKM.

Namchi Girls School wins state-level Science Exhibition

GANGTOK, 07 Oct: Namchi Girls Senior Secondary School of South District has won the state level Science Exhibition held on the theme ‘Science and Society’. Rangpo Senior Secondary School of East District and Nandugaon Senior Secondary School of South District were placed in the second and third positions respectively.
A press release informs that the event concluded on 05 October and was attended by Principal Secretary, HRDD, Thomas Chandy. The 20 best exhibits of the exhibition will be representing the state at the national level exhibition to be held on 11 November later this year.
The participating schools were Hee-Gyathang SSS, Mangan SSS, Uttarey SS, Khaniserbong SS, Nandugaon SS, Namchi Girls SS, Rong SS, Rateypani SSS, Rhenock SSS , Nandok SS, Bahai SS, Enchey SSS , Kyidi Khang SS, Rumtek SSS, Biraspati Parsai SSS , PNG SSS, Tadong SSS, Middle Camp SS, Rangpo SSS and Bermoik Tokal SSS.
The state level science exhibition was organised by SCERT Gangtok.

Poklok-Denchung celebrates RTI Week

GANGTOK, 07 Oct: A Special Gram Sabha was held at Nandugaon Government Secondary School Playground under 34 Poklok Denchung GPU, South Sikkim today under the chairmanship of Poklok Denchung GPU President, Gyalpo Lepcha.
The Sabha was attended by the Panchayat Presidents, Vice Presidents, Panchayat members of Poklok Denchung GPU, Tinik Chisopani GPU and Salghari GPU, Line department representatives, gram planning forum members, development committee members, Teachers and Students of Nandugaon Government Secondary School, Bharat Nirman Volunteers and the local citizens.
As per a press release, the Gram Sabha was held to mark the eighth anniversary of the RTI Act and RTI Act week which was organized in association with the Sikkim Information Commission represented by Secretary, LM Pradhan, ADC, West cum Nodal Officer RTI, Bhim Thatal, Deputy Secretary, Pema Doma Mukhia, Law Officer, Tshering Choden Bhutia and Gram Vikash Adhikari, Jorethang, Deepak Rai.
The Secretary, SIC read out the message of the Chairman, Sikkim Information Commission and ADC, West conducted the technical session on RTI. The Sabha was also addressed by Deputy Secretary, Ms Bhutia, Law Officer, Ms Choden and Office Superintendent of SIC, Phurba Sherpa on respective topics.
In his address, GVK, Mr Rai appealed to the gathering to understand the significance of the Right to Information Act 2005. He also informed all the Panchayat members and local citizens about the draft publication of Socio Economic and Cast Census 2011, finalization of REDRH and CMRHM beneficiaries, visit of Ministry of Planning Commission team to see MGNREGA works under Jorethang BAC on 17 October, flow of new RWSS works under NRDWP, proposal of shifting of BAC from Jorethang to 6th Mile Samseybong, and need to conduct the social population census of Jogi Community under Tinik Chisopani GPU, etc. He also thanked all the Panchayat members for their coordination and support given to the Gram Vikash Kendra in carrying out the assigned duties and responsibilities.
Panchayat President, Gyalpo Lepcha, in his address, thanked the Secretary, SIC for having chosen Poklok Denchung GPU for the program and also thanked the entire team, local citizens for their active participation.
Similar Gram Sabha to celebrate the RTI week was also held at Lower Fambong under Daramdin GVK, West Sikkim on 06 October which was attended by the Panchayat President as chief guest and participated by more than 150 people. Secretary, SIC, LM Pradhan has been leading his team of officers for the series of programmes starting from Lower Fambong on 06 October to conclude at Martam GPU on 09 October, the release informs.

RBI reviews Task Force for popularizing e-payments in Sikkim

GANGTOK, 07 Oct: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Gangtok Office in collaboration with Department of Payment and Settlement System (DPSS), RBI, Kolkata organized the first review meeting of the “Task Force of Sikkim” in Gangtok on 05 October.
A press release informs that RBI, Kolkata Office had constituted an exclusive in-house “Task Force for Sikkim“ last year for: identifying inter-alia, suitable cost-effective technology and innovative payment products for providing safe, hassle-free, cost-effective and convenient alternative mode for accessing banking and payment services to every segment of the society in the State of Sikkim; to prepare a blue-print for providing safe, secure, sound and efficient modern payment products for Sikkim and; to prepare goal oriented action plan for Government of Sikkim and the public.
The review meeting was attended by MM Majhi [GM, DPSS, RBI, Kolkata], M Misra [GM, O-i-C, RBI, Gangtok], D Darnal [Principal Director, FRE&D, Govt. of Sikkim], Arvind Bajaj [GM, BSNL, Gangtok] and Anil Kumar Yadav [DGM, RBI, Gangtok] along with senior officials of banks, State Bank of Sikkim, Finance, DIT and Power & Energy Department Govt. of Sikkim and RBI.
The members reviewed the recommendations of the Task Force and also the action points thereof. It was decided by all the stake holders in the meeting that certain time lines have to be set in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the Task Force and also for popularizing the e-payment/receipts in Sikkim. It was also agreed to conduct awareness programmes for the target groups so as to increase the acceptance level of electronic transactions in the State by removing the apprehensions in the minds of the users, the release mentions.
Further, GM, BSNL apprised the members about the steps being taken by his department to remove the bottlenecks affecting connectivity in the State. The officials from Finance Department highlighted the progress of computerization of treasuries in Sikkim and also the road map for the future. The DIT officials presented the status of the ongoing e-governance and other IT projects in Sikkim. The RBI officials exhorted all the banks in the State to introduce more user friendly e-products for the public and also to popularize NEFT, ECS, etc with the customers. All the members agreed on the need to work in unison to achieve the larger goal of acceptance and usage of electronic payments in Sikkim, the release adds.