Saturday, December 21, 2013

Prajwal arrives home to release ‘Land Where I Flee”

“THIS DEBUT NOVEL IS MY LOVE LETTER TO GANGTOK AND THE NEPALI LANGUAGE”

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: Sikkimese author, Prajwal Parajuly, is in Gangtok for the Sikkim launch of his second book and first novel, “Land Where I Flee”. His debut work, ‘The Gurkha’s Daughter’, a collection of short stories, had released on 29 November last year.
A year on, his second book was officially launched in India on 03 December in New Delhi. The book will be launched here on Saturday at Rachna Books, Development Area.
Speaking to media persons today, Prajwal says, “It is fantastic to be back in Gangtok and have a weekend launch of my new novel at Rachna’s”. This is the Indian edition of the novel, the UK edition will be launched in February next year while the book is also set to be launched in Pakistan in June 2014. He informs that more than 10,000 copies of the 266-page book have been printed for the first edition.
“The book is about four siblings living in various parts of the world who come together in their home in Gangtok to celebrate the 84th birthday of their grandmother. The story is based on a Brahmin family where the 84th birthday of a grandparent is a very big occasion. The novel is a family drama in which secrets are revealed, enmities developed and delves on issues of class, caste, sexuality, gender and of keeping your ears and eyes open, all in all it is a full-fledged novel,” says Prajwal.
The book is set around the period between 2007 and 2011 which saw the revival of the Gorkhaland statehood and identity movement, just after Prashant Tamang won the Indian Idol and therefore Gorkhaland too is mentioned in the book, he adds.
Prajwal informs that the novel berates politicians who give false hope to people and fail to deliver on their promises.
“80% to 90% of the book takes place in Gangtok and is my love letter to Gangtok and the Nepali language. The book contains a lot of Nepali words, even though I can’t write very well in that language”, he shares.
On the use of Nepali words in his novel, Prajwal says, “If other authors can use French or Spanish words in their English novels why can’t I use Nepali in my work?”
When asked about other future projects, he stated that it would take some years now for him to write another book. “I don’t know when the next novel will come out, but yes it will definitely take some time now,” he added.

Red Carnival concludes on a high

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: Red Carnival 2013 ended here at MG Marg this evening with a gala musical extravaganza which warmed up the town with some energetic performances despite the winter chill. Even the constant drizzle through the bitter cold did not dampen spirits as people stayed till the last song of the night was belted out.
Legendary musician from the northeast, Lou Majau rocked the evening with his energy and passion and won over the crowd with whom the singer interacted fluidly on HIV/ AIDS through his performance. Also performing today at the musical concert were well known bands and performers like Mahima Apchunna Rai, Shristi Rai, Half Past XII, Nightmares and B-Tunes.
The day also saw dance performances by b-boing artists, B Crew from Namchi, BRSTP Namchi and Funky HOP crew. Theme-based drama performances by Kushboo & Group, Dasharthick Sangh, Gelling, West Sikkim were also appreciated by the audience.    
The two-day carnival, which included several crowd pulling events like the Red Painting competition, Red Vehicle decoration competition, slogan writing competition etc engaged people from all walks of life and all ages on the important theme of AIDS awareness. The Carnival was sponsored by Sikkim State AIDS Control Society (SSACS) and organised by the Recovering Users Network (RUN).
During the earlier part of the day, Deputy Mayor Shakti Singh and the SSACS Project Director Dr. Uttam Pradhan gave away prizes to winners of the competitions. Sikkim Table Tennis Association won the first prize in the slogan writing contest with Badminton Association of Sikkim and Sikkim Press Association coming second and third respectively. SK01T3334 won the first prize for the best decorated vehicle while SK01T0259 and SK01T4159 won second and third positions.
The painting competition was won by Samir Gurung while the joint team of Pradip Rai and Yogesh Chettri won second and the third prize went to Mandhira Rai.

Sikkim’s long distance runners impress at Delhi Marathon

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: Nine athletes from Sikkim have returned after participating in the Delhi Marathon held on 15 December. The team was mentored by the State Athletics Coach, Basant Pradhan and had Norchung Bhutia from 4th Mile JN Road was the manager.
A press release informs that Mangali Tamang and Somu Balmiki entered in ‘Top Indian Elite Team’ and Suren Chettri entered in ‘A’ Category run. Likewise, Basant Pradhan stood 1st in 21km Marathon in 35 to 40 years category while Mangali Tamang came 6th in Open Category.
The release informs that the event drew participation of recognized long distance runners from across the world. As for the event itself, it drew the participation of 35,000 people.
The Sikkim Athletes expressed their gratitude towards the Department of Sports & Youth Affairs for sponsoring the Team and also thanked Sikkim Amateur Athletic Association for its support.

SSB celebrates 50th Raising Day

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: The 52nd Battalion of the Sashastra Seema Bal [SSB] deployed at Yangtey celebrated the 50th anniversary of the force today.
A press release informs that on the occasion inter-company volleyball competition and open badminton competition was organised. Dy Commandant, Sachin Kumar congratulated all the members of the force and their families on the occasion.
The jawans displayed their skills in the various stalls put up which was followed by the ‘Badakhana’ at the Battalion HQ and all the border outposts of the unit deployed along the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders, the release mentions.
SSB was raised on this day in 1963 in the wake of Chinese aggression and to undertake various programmes like national integration programme, medical civic action, veterinary civic action and to inculcate a sense of security among the masses along the Indo-Pak and Indo-China borders. In 2001, the force was assigned the duties to guard the Indo-Nepal border and in 2004 it was assigned the duties to guard the Indo-Bhutan border.

REDRH Project MIS bags the e-North East Award

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: The REDRH Project MIS [management information system] has bagged the e-North East Award under e-governance and citizen services delivery category for bringing transparency and better management. The award was presented during the 4th e-North East Award Summit 2013 held on 13 December at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh.
A press release informs that the Award Summit focuses on the best ICT practices for development and governance. Nineteen winners from the North East India region whose IT/ICT applications and innovations have impacted the common people were recognized and felicitated during the summit.
The event was hosted by the Information Technology Department of Arunachal Pradesh and North East Development Foundation and was attended by Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Nabam Tuki and other respected delegates.
The release informs that the REDRH MIS has been developed in-house by the Department of Information Technology and the Rural Management and Development Department, Government of Sikkim. The REDRH project is funded under the PM’s Special Package with LR&DMD as the nodal agency.  Zangpo Gyaltsen [AD-IT in Department of IT] and Alisha Basnet [IT Manager with RM&DD] were the key programmers who developed this application in-house, it is added.

Sensitization underway for JEs on rural development in South Sikkim

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: With the transfer of Junior Engineers to 47 Gram Panchayat Units of South Sikkim, a two-day sensitisation programme for the JEs on the various schemes being executed at the GPU level is being organised by the offices of the Additional District Collector (Dev), Namchi and Ravangla, in collaboration with SIRD Karfectar. The programme is being held at the Conference Hall of SIRD, Karfectar on 20 and 21 December.
Present on the first day were ADC (Dev) Namchi, Benu Gurung, ADC (Dev) Ravang, Tashi Chophel, SE (South) RMDD, Kewal Sharma, Assistant Engineers of GVK Sumbuk, Wok and Yangang and 40 Junior Engineers representing the various GPUs.
As per a press release, ADC (Dev), Namchi, welcomed all present and requested all the participants to take the sensitization programme seriously as the Junior Engineers would be responsible for planning and execution of all civil works in the GPU. As many of the Junior Engineers have been recently recruited she asked them to study the guidelines of the various schemes being executed in the GPUs so that a uniform procedure could be followed.
Superintendent Engineer (South), RMDD, in his address pointed out the roles and responsibilities of Junior Engineers and outlined the various projects carried out under RMDD. He further asked the participants to follow the various guidelines issued by the government in preparing estimates and maintaining Site Order Book.
Chandra B Mangar [PO/Consultant, CCDU, SIRD] spoke on the various aspects of the National Rural Drinking Water Programme and the need to provide pure drinking water to all rural households. The technical aspect of NRDWP was explained in minute detail by AE, Wok, Ramesh Sharma and existing problems in the field was discussed.
In his closing address, ADC (Dev), Ravang, thanked the various resource persons who spoke on the day. The following day’s programme was also shared wherein sessions on MGNREGA, REDRH and CMRHM would be taken by AE, Sumbuk, Sandeep Kathiwada, BRGF and Tendering Procedure would be explained by AE, SDZP, Dawa Tshering Bhutia. Dhruba Mukhia, Accounts Officer, SDZP would close the day speaking on the Accounts aspect, it is informed.






Achchuchu…

The mercury is plunging with a vengeance and Gangtok shivering hard. Official data informs that max temps were 6 to 7 degree Celsius below normal today. The weather-underground website informs that temperatures came down to 2 degree Celsius in Gangtok on Friday and it sure felt like freezing weather as Gangtokians salvaged every scrap of wood to fire up some ‘bonfires’. The litter of wood scattered by the windstorm of Sunday morning helped warm up many conversations, even as erratic power supply kept many hearths cold. The forecast does not hold any promise for sunny days next week either. Let’s hope the met guys are wrong like most other times…

Dr. Bhanwala takes charge as NABARD Chairman

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala has been appointed as the Chairman of NABARD by the Government of India, Ministry of Finance, New Delhi.
He succeeds Dr Prakash Bakshi, who retired in September 2013, after which Snehlata Shrivastava [Additional Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance] was given the additional charge of the said post.
Prior to this appointment, Dr Bhanwala was the Executive Director(ED) at India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL), a state-owned infrastructure lender.
He was also holding the charge of CMD, IIFCL for about six months. He was earlier looking after the Corporate Planning, Human Resource Development and Credit Enhancement initiatives as Chief General Manager at IIFCL. During his tenure at IIFCL, he also held the Chairmanship of the two subsidiaries of the company — IIFC (UK) Ltd., London, and IIFCL Projects Ltd., New Delhi.

Dr. Kumar Pradhan passes away

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: Former editor of Sunchari, respected historian and academic, Dr. Kumar Pradhan, passed away following a brief illness in New Delhi today.
Dr. Pradhan received his PhD in history from Calcutta University. He served on the Department of History, Darjeeling Government College, from 1966 to 1984, when he took over as the principal of Kurseong College, Kurseong.
He was an eminent writer and critic who has edited a number of literary journals and anthologies and published learned articles in Nepali. He is the author of A History of Nepali Literature (1984), published by the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, in the Sahitya Akademi Histories of Literature Series.
His work Pahilo Pahar (1982) was awarded the Bhanubhakta Puraskar in 1983 by the Nepali Academy instituted by the Government of West Bengal. In 2002, he received the Nepali Sahitya Sammelan Puraskar awarded by the Nepali Sahitya Sammelan, and in 2003, the Agam Smriti Puraskar, an award given every three years for contributions to the Nepali language and literature by the Sikkim Sahitya Parishad.
His most substantial academic work is “The Gorkha Conquests: The process and consequences of the unification of Nepal, with particular reference to Eastern Nepal”, published in 1991 and heralded as an important milestone in Nepalese historiography because it was a direct challenge to a ‘nationalist’ orthodoxy presenting the military campaigns of King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha and his immediate successors as an heroic venture on behalf of all the people of Nepal.

HGPI students seek appointment with CM, want to move to another campus

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: A group of 35 students who returned home from the Himalayan Group of Professional Institutes’ Kala Amb campus in Himachal Pradesh, waited outside the CM’s official residence, Mintokgang, the entire day today hoping to meet the Chief Minister. Some of them had even approached the CM’s Office last evening seeking an appointment.
Talking to NOW!, they said that they have been told that the CM would not be available till 24 December.
Around 45 students of Sikkim studying at the HGPI Kala Amb had fled back to Sikkim on 18 December following a clash with Haryana students at the campus in Himachal Pradesh. The students had alleged that they no longer felt secure studying at the institute.
“We thought it best to meet the CM as he is also the Minister in Charge of the Social Justice Department,” said the students today. All the students who returned were on scholarships provided by the Social Justice Department and are demanding that the State government assists them in getting transferred to another campus of the institute. The HGPI reportedly has two more campuses in HP, one each at Solan and Shimla.
“The administration at the institute watched as we were being threatened and roughed up by other students who even got outside help,” related one of the students. It was informed that the other group got local goons who came on motorbikes and seemed to be armed as well. “We were in the process of giving our semester exams; but now that is unlikely. The administration at the institute was unsupportive and we only want that we be transferred to another campus,” they stated.
It was informed that they had also met the Director, Social Justice Deptt, yesterday. “The meeting was not very encouraging as the Director tried to convince us to return to the institute”, stated one of the students. They were reportedly told that they could also lose their scholarships. Returning to the same campus is not an option for them, they insist.
Though they are from different parts of the State almost all of them have gathered in Gangtok to push their case for a transfer.
Getting a transfer to another campus is not a very complicated matter, they insist, and could have been done by the institution back in Himachal itself, especially as they were in the process of giving exams. With the administration not listening, they hope that the state government could at least put in a word for them given that they are on state scholarships.

Gati workers hold token strike

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: A section of employees of the 99 MW Chujachen hydel project in East Sikkim being developed by Gati Infrastructures held a token strike at the project site office on 19 December.
A press release issued by one Anil Tamang informs that they were protesting the laying off of local workers by the company and also fulfillment of demands. The deadline given by them to the company ended yesterday.
The release adds that the workers have approached the area MLA and the Chief Minister with their complaint but to no avail. They mention that they have been engaged in the project for the past 9-10 years and are now being arbitrarily terminated as the project is nearing completion.
Of the around 123 local employees engaged with the company, 71 have been let off, it is informed, and it is expected that more will be let off as new lists are drawn. The first list of employees to be discharged was released on 21 November; the second list of employees to be retrenched was released by the company on 29 November, it is informed. The workers had also alleged that the company was not providing other kinds of benefits such as increments, promotions, bonus etc.

EMRS-Gangyap girls gear up for U-19 CBSE Nationals

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: A 12-member girls basketball team of Eklavya Model Residential School [EMRS], Gangyap in West Sikkim will soon be leaving to participate in the Under-19 CBSE National Basketball Championship.
A press release informs that the team will be escorted by Team Manager Tini Tshechu and Coach, Principal S. Yonzone. The championship will be held at John Milton School in Agra from 23-28 December.
The team, however, is still struggling with some injuries, it is informed.
Team captain Nima Doma informs that the team is in high spirits but adds that the fight is going to be tough since there are a number of junior players of classes VIII and IX in the team. Nevertheless we will give our best, she adds.
The EMRS basketball team has thanked their sponsors for the national tournament - Karma Thinley Namgyal and Ugen Ladakhi.

Not About Reunification

Editorial:-
A Darjeeling-based political outfit was recently in Sikkim to announce the name of its Lok Sabha candidate from Darjeeling. The group was in Sikkim because it is lobbying for a Darj-Sikkim merger and seeks to build support here. People in the Darjeeling Hills are still grappling with identity issues and their statehood demand and it is unlikely that too many there take such a merger proposal too seriously because it complicates their more passionate extant demands. In Sikkim, reactions to a merger proposal veer on extremes – either not taken seriously at all, or dismissed with vehemence. It can be safely vouched that even those who will discuss the issue here without throwing a fit will consider the option only at an academic interest level. There are too many things that militate against the proposal and the demand will not find many backers in Sikkim. The demand, however, continues to be raised off and on and some comments need to shared on it as well from time to time.
Darjeeling, although just a district/ territorial administration, packs in many more people than the state of Sikkim. Its people are also seen as politically smarter [even though the continued sway of dictatorial regimes would have one believe otherwise]. Since democracy is all about numbers, Sikkim knows that it will be swamped if a merger is ever formalised. The Darjeeling Hills also subscribe to a more aggressive brand of politics, and Sikkim’s penchant for vehicle-burning and stone-throwing political clashes pale in comparison to the violence which Darj politics can visit its players. When it comes to politics then, Darjeeling with its numbers, muscle and reputation can prove too overpowering for a Sikkim still trying to find its voice in the Indian mainstream. Darjeeling Hills were a part of Sikkim at one time long ago, but history has carved separate identities for the two in the nearly two centuries that have lapsed since it was severed from Sikkim. Darjeeling, for instance, is much older as a hill station than Gangtok is as the capital of Sikkim. The people on either side of Rangpo have evolved their own ethos and are not in sync with each other. In fact, there is also a strong cynicism in how the two people regard each other and while they might come together for reality show voting and even emotional support for political demands, a strong sense of mutual distrust also exists. This skepticism that the two people harbour about each other also underlines why a Sikkim-Darjeeling merger is ill-advised any time soon.
The two regions might have been a composite unit at one time, the people, however, were never so because the neighbouring Hills were populated after Darjeeling was carved away from Sikkim. This is not a land where people were partitioned away along with territories; in this case, the boundaries were carved and the people came in later. The emotional strands required for ‘reunification’ do not exist and only historical context is not enough to push through a merger. All this, of course, applies for the now; what the later future holds, no one can say…

DACS launches Contract Farming in South Sikkim

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: The Denzong Agricultural Cooperative Society Limited (DACS) launched the Contract Farming program at Daragaon, Turuk, South Sikkim.
A press release informs that the program began with the welcome address and brief background and modalities of Contract Farming and its expected impact among farmers by Managing Director, MT Sherpa. This was followed by signing of Contract Farming Agreement between DACS and beneficiary Co-operative Society.
Thereafter, the Chairman handed over the cheques of first phase funds amounting to Rs 8 lakh out of total project value of Rs 10.28 lakh to the Cooperative Society along with day-old chicks and feeds to the farmers. The Chairman and Board of Directors also gave away Poultry Crates to local farmers as free grant.
The Chairman in his address stated that the State Government under the able leadership of the Chief Minister has been working hard to adapt the State into a self-sustaining and self-reliant economy and the DACS’s initiative also shares the same objective. He impressed upon the beneficiary farmers to make proper use of the support provided by the Society.
The president, SECUN in his brief address appreciated the step taken by DACS as fulfillment of Cooperative principle. The president, Turuk Poultry Livestock Cooperative Society on behalf of the farmers expressed gratitude to the DACS for implementing farmer centric schemes and empowering rural farmers. The program concluded with vote of thanks by General Manger, DACS, Arun Nepal.
DACS has taken up the Contract Farming of poultry broiler with Turuk Poultry Livestock Cooperative Society, a cooperative comprising of progressive local youth of Turuk, South Sikkim at the cost of Rs 10.28 lakh. Under the arrangement, DACS will provide funds in two phases for purchase of 8000 day-old chicks and required feed and medicines for the beneficiary poultry farmers. Further, as the DACS provides full assurance to buy back the produce, the farmers do not have to worry about the market.
The release states that the DACS’s contract farming initiative is first of its kind in Sikkim. The Society has already successfully implemented two such schemes with similar local cooperatives in the past. Such an effort will vastly benefit rural farmers in fulfilling their much needed fund and input requirements, it is mentioned.
The scheme will also benefit the Army as consumers since the quality of local produce surpasses all quality benchmarks compared to imported produce from outside the state. With the implementation of Poultry Mission by the State Government, the local production of poultry broiler has increased to the size of fulfilling almost all demands by the Army through DACS. The Contract Farming has two objectives – to support the farmers on the one hand and fulfil the Army demands on the other, it is added.

CAEPHT conducts test trials of multipurpose tool frame

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: The College of Agriculture Engineering and Post Harvest Technology [CAEPHT], Central Agricultural University [CAU] Centre of All India Coordinated Research Project on Increased Utilization of Animal Energy with Enhanced System Efficiency has developed attachments [digger, ridger and mould board plough] for animal drawn improved multi-purpose tool frame.
The test trials were conducted by Principal Investigator, Dr. RK Tiwari and Assistant Agriculture Engineer, SK Chauchan along with college staffs. The field test trials of light weight tool frame with attachments were conducted on terraces in the fields of farmer Roop Narayan Bhattarai of Samlik in East Sikkim.
The light weight multi-purpose tool frame [weight: 19.8kg] with seedling attachment was earlier demonstrated for sowing on terraces. The tool frame attached with mould-board plough [weight: 3.1kg, size: 150mm] for ploughing showed work rate of 215 sq.m/h and it was found to be advantageous over the traditional practice of ploughing using local plough.
The use of tool frame with ploughing attachments [weight: 9kg, unit price: Rs. 1000/-] saved 65% cost of operation and 55% time than the traditional method of ploughing [cost of operation Rs/ha= 3300/-]. The draft requirement for ploughing was 40kg in residual soil moisture [dry basis] of 18.2% and average depth of operation of 157mm.
For making ridges on terraces, two row attachment [weight: 4 kg, size: 256 mm of each ridger, unit price: Rs. 1500/-] was fitted to the multi-purpose tool frame and it showed work rate of 815 sq.m/h and cost of operation of Rs 465/ha. The ridger attachment fitted to the tool frame has created two ridges in single pass having 135 mm height at residual soil moisture [dry basis] of 18.3%.
The potato digger attachment [weight: 4.4 kg, size: 200 mm, unit price: Rs1500/-] was fitted to the tool frame and it showed work rate of 370 sq.m/h at depth of operation of 105 mm. The draft of potato digger with attachment to the tool frame [weight: 10.2 kg] at bullock speed of 2.57 km/h was 33 kg and cost of operation of digger was Rs 1000/ha.
There found net saving of Rs 3500/ha over the traditional method of manual digging [using narrow spade] in animal based farming system [cost of operation, Rs/ha = 4500/-].The potato growers in Sikkim may get benefit of 78% in cost of digging over existing traditional manual digging method [kudal/khurpa].
The unit price of the multi-purpose tool frame with five attachments was Rs 8500 which may be affordable due to multiple uses in different unit operations i.e ploughing, sowing, ridge making, potato digging and intercultural operations under animal based farming system in place of having separate equipment for each operation.
The durable and light weight attachments have been considered to be useful to bring down the human drudgery due to higher work rate, ease in operation and adjustment transportation/lifting under in terrace condition.

Animal Husbandry Deptt organises Banpala Ram Show in Dentam

GANGTOK, 20 Dec: The Animal Husbandry Department organized a Banpala Ram Show along with sale of Sheep Wool products and weaving demonstration at Dentam, West Sikkim on 16 December. The programme was attended by the area MLA, Chairperson STCS, Chandra Maya Subba as chief guest.
A press release informs that during the Banpala Ram show, more than 30 rams were judged by a panel of veterinarians and awarded. There were also more than 60 sheep put on display during the programme.
A stall of sheep products and exhibition stalls of the department of AH, LF&VS, Alpine Cheese and rearing demonstration of sheep wool was also done on the day. A colorful cultural programme related to sheep migration in the hills during the grazing season was demonstrated through ‘Tunga Music’ by the Gurung community as sheep are mainly reared by Gurungs throughout Sikkim, it is mentioned.
Earlier, the programme started with the welcome address by Additional Director [West], Dr. NB Chettri, who highlighted the aims and objectives of organizing the Banpala Ram Show.
The area MLA, in her address, stressed on the need to conserve Banpala Sheep and strengthen the only sheep farm located at Begha as a demonstration farm.
Director (AH) also shared his views regarding the need to protect the Banpala sheep in Sikkim.
Former MLA, Deepak Gurung, senior dignitaries, Director (AH) along with Additional Director, Dr.NT Bhutia and Joint Director, Dr.TP Lama were also present along with District Officials.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Red Ribbon Carnival to launch Sikkim towards Zero on HIV/ AIDS gets underway

GANGTOK, 19 Dec: The two-day Red Ribbon Carnival 2013 under the Multi Media Campaign for HIV/ AIDS awareness was inaugurated by the Governor Shriniwas Patil here at MG Marg today. The inaugural function was also attended by the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling as the guest of honor.
The two-day event has been organized by the Sikkim State AIDS Control Society [SSACS] in collaboration with Recovering Users Network [RUN]. On the occasion, the Governor also flagged off ‘Red Vehicles’ from the venue. Different drivers’ associations had decorated vehicles with messages on HIV AIDS awareness which travelled till Rangpo today. The vehicle with the best decoration will be awarded a prize, it is informed.
In his address, the Governor called for participation, commitment and cooperation from all sections to curb new HIV infections and to support people living with HIV/AIDS.
“Discriminating HIV infected persons is a barrier in controlling the HIV AIDS menace”, he said and urged everyone to share the responsibility of bringing the disease under control. He also congratulated different organizations working in this field at their respective levels.
The Governor also highlighted the need to work towards the goal set by the World Health Organization of ‘Getting to Zero’ and added that not only government but every individual should come forward to support the cause and to support the people who are working in this field.
He also appreciated of the efforts of Sikkim State AIDS Control Society and its partners for using Multi-Media Campaign as a medium of imparting knowledge about HIV and AIDS especially among the youth of the State.
The Chief Minister, in his address, stressed on the importance of learning about HIV. All organisations, youth and the state government should come together to start a movement against HIV/ AIDS, he said. Encouraging everyone to work for this cause, he assured to extend full support in this mission.
“Health Department should work in mission-mode to make Sikkim an HIV AIDS free state by 2020,” said the CM.
Earlier, the chief guest and the guest of honour felicitated four Red Ribbon Clubs for their outstanding record in the field of HIV/ AIDS mitigation. The four RRCs were RRC Melli Dara [South Sikkim], RRC Naga [North Sikkim], RRC Department of Nursing [Manipal], and RRC Tingley Secondary School [South Sikkim]. It may be mentioned here that Red Ribbon Clubs were initiated in the year 2008, and currently there are 90 RRCs in all.
A music video on Voluntary Blood Donation was also released on the occasion.
The inaugural programme commenced with a welcome address by SSACS Project Director, Dr. Uttam Pradhan. Medical Superintendent, STNM Hospital Dr. Yogesh Verma proposed the Vote of Thanks.
After the inauguration, the Governor and CM were escorted to the other end of MG Marg where an on-the-spot painting competition among students and youth was held.

219 Run for Water in Gangtok

GANGTOK, 19 Dec: People from different age groups participated in the Open Run 2013 organized by the Department of Irrigation and Flood Control with the support of the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs here this morning. The run was organized to mark 2013 as the Water Conservation Year.
A total of 219 runners [36 women and 183 men] registered for the run which was flagged off by the Sports Minister, NK Pradhan from Titanic Park. Irrigation Minister, Dawcho Lepcha was also present as the guest of honour.
Starting from Titanic Park, the route raced up Tibet Road to MLA Hostel, on to Ridge Park around the Palace compound to Dukhit Pan Dokan and down Kazi Road, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Star Hall, up Tibet Road again and finally ended at the starting point.
In men’s category, Dawa Sherpa finished the run first [16:14:30], who was followed by Sher Bahadur Chettri in second place [16:40:82] and Gokul Neopaney in third place [16:47:86].
In women’s category, Hem Kumari Karki stood first [20:27:94], while Anjali Subba came in second [21:48:92] followed by Chandra Kala Sharma in third place [23:14:16].
Water Conservation Pledge to save water and to treat it with care was also administered by the Sports Minister to runners before the flagging off.
The chief guest handed over the certificate, trophy and cash prize of Rs 5000, Rs 3000 and Rs 2000 to first, second and third place winners respectively of both categories. Participation certificates were also distributed to all participants.

CS takes stock of windstorm damages in North Sikkim

GANGTOK, 19 Dec: During her two-day tour to North Sikkim, the Chief Secretary, R Ongmu also took stock of damages caused by the windstorm on 15 December.
In a meeting organized with all departmental officers at the Zilla Bhawan on Wednesday afternoon, the Chief Secretary asked all department representatives to give a detailed report of the wind storm disaster and restoration works along with fund estimates.
Power department representative, gave details of power transmission damages and informed that estimated fund required for restoring the 11 KV transmission line is Rs 86 lakh. He informed that in North district, Lachen village, parts of Upper-Singhik ward, Ringhem ward have been blacked out and the department staffs are trying their best to restore supply at the earliest. At Kabi, Phensong and Penlong power supply lines will be restored by 28 December, he informed.
The PHE representative informed that the water supply lines of Mangan block have been affected and will be restored soon. It was informed that the department needs Rs 45 lakh for the restoration work. Roads & Bridges representative informed that at least Rs.9 crore is required for restoration and up-gradation of PWD roads of different areas in the district.
RM&DD representative informed that the department needs Rs 10 lakh for restoration of damaged PMGSY roads.
Building & Housing department representative informed that the District Collector’s residence has suffered major damages while police quarters, building and PHE quarters have been partially damaged. It was informed that Rs 20 lakh is required for all restoration work. The DC North’s residence will be restored within a month as work has started, it was added.
ACF, Forest department, informed that as per survey a total of 153 trees have to be removed from residential areas of North district and 28 trees have to be removed at Chungthang division at the earliest. The Chief Secretary directed the Forest department to carry out the job at the earliest in coordination with District Collector. She suggested that trees that pose a threat in Namok village should also be removed.
Joint Director, HRDD (N), informed that Phodong SS and Mangan SSS have sustained damages and the department needs Rs 53 lakh for restoration work. He also requested for the appointment of post graduate teachers for several North district senior secondary schools before the new session starts in 2014.
SDM, Chungthang informed that 5 houses at Chungthang and 8 houses at Lachen have been damaged, out of which 2 have been severely damaged. Horticulture department representative informed the Chief Secretary that as per reports from the Panchayat and field staff, crops have also been damaged in the district and around Rs 13 lakh will be required to compensate farmers. Green house damages are still being verified and the report will be submitted soon, it was informed.

Young paddlers head for Cadet & Sub Junior national c’ship

GANGTOK, 19 Dec: A 5-member Sikkim Table Tennis Association [STTA] team is all set to represent the State at the 75th Cadet & Sub-Junior National Championship to be held at Mulchand Stadium in Ajmer, Rajasthan from 24 to 29 December. The Sikkim team, accompanied by the State TT Coach, Rupesh Lama, is scheduled to leave for the tournament on Friday.
The team comprises of Rojal Lepcha [Namchi SSS], Pravakar Chettri [Tendong School], Prava Limboo [Namchi Girls SSS], Diya Trikhatri [Bahai’ School] and Tenzing Doma [Bahai’ School].
STTA organized a special function for the team today and conveyed best wishes to them for the tournament.
STTA president, CK Basnet, reminded the young paddlers that this prestigious championship was a big opportunity for them to showcase their skills and also learn from others. He further urged them to give their best and return better players from the experience. Mr Basnet informs that the team has been sent with the joint efforts of the STTA and parents.
The function was also addressed by STTA general secretary, Karma Bhutia and joint secretary, Kishor Gazmer of STTA and was also attended by the president, SB Subba and general secretary, Kuber Bhandari of Sikkim Veterans Table Tennis Association.

Curb misuse of VIP lights, SKM demands

GANGTOK, 19 Dec: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha has asked the State government to adopt the Supreme Court guidelines on the use of VIP lights in the State. The party has said that only VIPs holding constitutional posts should be allowed VIP lights on their vehicles.
In a press release, SKM has criticized the state government for going overboard with VIP lights. The party has asked the state government to immediately amend the law related to the provision of VIP lights and reveal the total number of people using VIP lights in Sikkim.
Sikkim with just over 6 lakh population and has ten times the required number of VIPs with those close to the Chief Minister being provided VIP status, the release alleges.

SDF opens GPU-level party offices in Lachen-Mangan constituency

MANGAN, 19 Dec: Sikkim Democratic Front party inaugurated new party offices at four GPUs and two Dzumsas of Lachen-Mangan constituency in North Sikkim on 17 and 18 December.
The first party office was inaugurated at Singhik GPU on 17 December by general secretary North, Hangu Tshering Bhutia. On the same day, party offices for Toong-Naga and Chungthang GPUs were also inaugurated.  
Likewise, SDF party offices at Lachen and Lachung were inaugurated on 18 December. The party office at Singhik was set up at the house of Panchayat president, Palchen Lepcha while at Lachen the party office was set up at the residence of Pipon, Cho Bandu.
The party office at Lachen was inaugurated in the presence of Lachen Pipons, Cho Rapzor and Cho Bandu along with the public. The Pipons and public of Lachen requested for an appointment with the Chief Minister. They also requested that the permit for visiting Green Lake be issued from Chungthang, land dispute with army be settled and increase in the salary of the NIC operator at Lachen who is getting Rs. 3000 per month at present.
In Lachung the party office was inaugurated in the presence of Pipon Lakpa Tshering Lachungpa and public. The Pipon and public here requested for the promotion of tourism infrastructure in Lachung, installation of Guru Rinpoche statue at Yumthang, increase in the compensation amount for land acquired by the army and also voiced reservations against hydel projects above Chungthang.
The people further requested for the inclusion of genuine beneficiaries in the REDRH list.
Speaking at the function, ASDLF general secretary, Norjang Lepcha informed that the people’s genuine demands and grievances would be placed before the party president.
General secretary North, Hangu Tshering Bhutia said that since the party office has been opened in all the GPUs, people should use it to share their problems and grievances for smooth implementation of party policies. The SDF party is the only party that can provide peace and development in the state with its pro-poor initiative, he added. He further urged all the people and panchayats to include genuine beneficiaries in the list for the upcoming Janta Mela.
The Zilla Adhakshya North, Anguli Lepcha expressed that a lot of work has been done in the villages by the SDF government under the leadership of Pawan Chamling and equal rights have been given to women. She urged people to share the responsibility of bringing about development in the villages.

Three killed in road mishap at Majhitar

GANGTOK, 19 Dec: Three persons have been killed in an accident that took place early this morning near Majhitar School on NH31A on the Rangpo-Singtam axis. The vehicle carrying three occupants went off the road and fell into the Teesta killing all three on the spot.
Speaking to NOW! over the phone, the Police Inspector of Rangpo Police Station, Tshering Sherpa, informed that at around 6.25 a.m. this morning, a Maruti 800 car [SK-02P-0182] with three occupants coming from Rangpo and going to Baghey Khola met with an accident near Majhitar School turning and fell into the Teesta.
All the three occupants of the vehicle - Barna Bas Rai [28], Sonam Ladakhi [30] and Madan Rai [30], residents of Baghey Khola were killed on the spot. The vehicle was reportedly being driven by the owner Barna Bas Rai.
After the autopsy, the dead bodies of the three persons were handed over to their families. As of now the reason for the accident has not been ascertained.
An SDF release informs that the deceased were able and responsible members of the party. The party has condoled the untimely demise of the three youngsters and termed their demise a great loss to the SDF party. The party prays for the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families, it is further added.

Power supply to Kabi and Chungthang to resume by Friday

GANGTOK, 19 Dec: The windstorm that hit the state on 15 December had disrupted power supply in East and North Sikkim. While power supply has been restored in some places, Kabi and Chungthang in North Sikkim are still in the dark. District officials informed NOW! that power supply in these areas is expected to resume by Friday evening.
“Work to restore power supply is being carried out and is expected to resume in Chungthang and Kabi Sub-Divisions by Friday”, said Additional District Collector, AK Yadav. He has urged the public of the two sub-divisions to cooperate with the district officials.

West Sikkim boy wins national painting competition on Energy Conservation

GANGTOK, 19 Dec: Sonam Paljor Bhutia, a class VI student of Sherap Odsal Raldeling Academy [SORA], Sreebadam, West Sikkim has won the first prize in the national level painting competition on Energy Conservation held at Power Management Institute, Noida on 14 December.
An NHPC press release informs that the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, presented the prize to Sonam which includes a certificate and cheque of Rs. 1 lakh in a function held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on 16 December.
The Painting Competiton on Energy Conservation, an intitiative of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Ministry of Power, is a three-tier competition which is organised at the School, State and National Level across the country.
NHPC, in association with Human Resource Development Department (HRDD), Govt. of Sikkim organised this competition for the students of Sikkim in two categories i.e Category A (for classes IV, V & VI) and Category B (for classes VII, VIII & IX).
After the selection of students at School Level, the State Level Competition was organised on 12 November, 2013 at Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok. Three winners in Category A at the State Level were invited to the national capital to participate in the National Level Painting Competition which was held on 14 December, the release mentions.
The function held at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi was also attended by Minister of State for Power (Independent Charge), Jyotiraditya M.Scindia, Secretary, Ministry of Power, Pradeep Kumar Sinha and other dignitaries.

MLA inaugurates new-look Namthang Bazaar

NAMTHANG, 19 Dec: Buildings and Housing Minister, Tilu Gurung, today inaugurated the new-look Namthang bazaar following completion of the infrastructural development and beautification project there. The inaugural programme was organized by the Urban Development & Housing Department and was also attended by the South Zilla Upadhakshya Devi Maya Baraily, Additioanl Secretary (S/W) UD&HD, Dawa Gyatsho, Additional Chief Engineers UD&HD, BS Gautam.
Addressing the inaugural function, the Minister, who also happens to be the area MLA, stressed that such development as the one being inaugurated today were a result of Chief Minister Pawan Chamling’s clear and consistent leadership. She added that for such development to sustain, the stakeholders will have to abandon egoistic pursuits and petty differences and stave away attempts at deception and confusion being attempted by some self-centered groups.
She thanked the land donor for the Namthang bazaar and the Namthang Senior Secondary School, Dharma Prasad Pradhan, for his contributions towards the people. The land donor was also felicitated by the bazaar committee today.
Meanwhile, Ms. Gurung thanked UD&HD for doing such a good job of the beautification project. She also informed that the Sikkim Democratic Front was organizing a free eye care camp at Namthang PHC on 21 December.
Additional Chief Engineer, UD&HD, Mr. Gautam, presenting the technical report, informed that Rs. 242 lakh had been sanctioned for infrastructural development and beautification of Namthang bazaar and the work had been divided into two phases- Phase I: beautification of main bazaar (Rs. 82.81 lakhs), and Phase II: construction of haat complex at Namthang (Rs. 159.19 lakhs).
The construction works of phase I works had commenced on 06 January 2011 completed on 31 March 2013. The second phase work is under progress and expected to be completed by 2015.
Additional Secretary (S/W), UD&HD, Dawa Gyatsho, in his address, called on the people to cooperate and ensure proper garbage management in the area and also maintain this public property created for them.
The programme was also addressed by Zilla Upadhakshya Devi Maya Baraily, GVA-Namthang Navin Sewa and attended by panchayats, SE (S/W) Devi Gurung, DE Rinzing Bhutia and other technical officers from UD&HD.

Yangang SDF youth clarify ‘incident’, absolve cops of any blame

NAMCHI, 19 Dec: Sikkim Democratic Front youth of Yangang have clarified that the allegations leveled against the police personnel of Yangang police outpost [“SDF youth accuse Yangang cops of shirking duty” in NOW! issue dated 19 December 2013] was the result of a “simple misunderstanding” and that, on hindsight, the police personnel were not to be blamed.
Lakpa Dorjee Bhutia, an SDF youth of Yangang, clarified today that the incident was “a simple misunderstanding between the youth of Lingmoo and Yangang and that police personnel could not be accused on the matter”.
The news report, he contended, was “totally misleading and false” and said that the police had nothing to do with the altercation between the youth.
He further said that if Lingmoo youth were upset about the incident, then he apologizes on behalf of SDF youth of Yangang. “We are extremely sorry if something wrong has happened to Lingmoo youth as we all belong to SDF family,” he said. “If Police has really done something wrong then I apologize as a responsible citizen and a sincere party worker,” he adds.

MISQUOTED ON CAMERAS AT NATHULA

Letters:-
I am surprised to read a news coloumn in Now Newspaper dated 19/12/2013 heading “Border Trade to be under surveillance camera watch next season,” wherein you had written that the undersigned informed you that Ministry of Defence and Home Affairs have given approval to installation of Surveillance  Cameras along the Nathula Border.
This is totally a wrong information. I have never given such press release nor informed to any press, media.
I request you to not to publish such irrelevant and false information. Kindly take out a corrigendum of this news.
(PT Euthenpa)
Secretary, Department of Commerce and Industries, Govt of Sikkim

Getting to Zero

Editorial:-
World AIDS Day was observed on 01 Dec on the theme “Getting to Zero”, and on Thursday, the Red Fest Carnival got underway in Gangtok promoting the same goal. Getting to Zero sets up an ambitious agenda zeroing in on three goals - Zero new HIV infections; Zero AIDS deaths; Zero stigma and discrimination. Needless to add, the goal is distant and the journey is going to be challenging, but now that the sights have been set that high, should the right resolve be marshaled, achieving it should not be impossible. Speaking at the Red Fest inaugural ceremony, both, the Governor and the Chief Minister reminded the agencies working on AIDS awareness and the lay people of the importance of communication in combating AIDS. The achievements of effective awareness cannot be emphasized enough because it is only awareness that keeps people safe and is the reason why new HIV infections have been falling in the recent past. Another important aspect of effective awareness and ending of stigma is improved inclusiveness. Sikkim has seen the success of such initiatives as the Drop-In centres in reaching out to drug addicts and facilitating rehabilitation and through such efforts, making them safer. A similar reaching out will be required to combat HIV/ AIDS as well. The people most at risk – the sex workers, men who have sex with men and transgenders, along with people who inject drugs – unfortunately, still remain largely marginalized at the national level and even more so in Sikkim where their issues and traumas do not even receive token sympathy. The requirement of inclusiveness has been further compromised in our country by the recent ruling of the Supreme Court making homosexual relations a criminal offence all over again and the shallow Right celebrating the verdict. This clearly at risk group needs to stand up stronger instead of retreating deeper into the shadows as much for their basic rights as their need to mainstream their issues and help the country Get to Zero. As a society, we need to accept that before we begin chipping away at the stigma imposed on HIV+ve people and AIDS patients, we need to first lift the social and legal discrimination and stigma we already attach to sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and transgenders.

CS completes two-day inspection tour of North Sikkim

MANGAN, 19 Dec:  Chief Secretary, R Ongmu, today visited Meyong Chu Power Project in North Sikkim and took stock of the restoration works. The CS was on a two-day tour to North Sikkim. She directed the BRO to clear the approach road to Meyong project as soon as possible or construct an alternate route.
The main purpose of her visit was to inspect road conditions, take stock of implementation of government schemes, inspect the status of under construction power project and restoration of damages caused by the windstorm on 15 December.
The CS also visited the Saffo monastery where she offered prayers and interacted with the local people. The public and panchayat placed demands relating to the construction of Mani Lhakang, kitchen and accommodation for devotees. The CS in turn has assured that their demands will be placed to the government.
Ms Ongmu also visited the Adit-V tunnel of 1200 MW Teesta Urja power project where the managing director, Teesta Urja Ltd, SK Agarwal briefed her about the project. She travelled to Chunthang via the tunnel and inspected the Dam of Teesta Urja.
In a meeting with panchayats and the Sub-divisional officials of Chungthang, the panchayat and public requested the CS for provision of free electricity since they have contributed in the construction of the power project.
The CS directed the DC North to ensure the completion of all ongoing schemes as soon as possible. Ms Ongmu also visited the under construction Chatten Mini Hydel Power Project site and directed officials to sort out all problems as soon as possible.
On the first day of her tour to North district, the Chief Secretary asked the Chief Engineer, GREF to ensure proper maintenance of the North Sikkim highway. GREF presented details of future plans for Gangtok-Mangan highway widening and construction of new bridges in North district.
During a meeting in the afternoon with departmental staff, the CS was informed by ADC (Development), Chungthang, of the requirement for more staff and a department vehicle at the earliest. ADC, Mangan and SDM Chungthang division also need a vehicle each, she was informed.
CDPO, Mangan informed that total number of ICDS centres sanctioned in North is 56 out of which 41 have been completed and others are under progress.
BDO, Mangan BAC, informed that the BAC needs maintenance work and one vehicle for field visits to monitor REDRH and CMRHM schemes.

After the meeting, the CS inspected the Teesta Urja Tunnel at Ringdang where Chairman, KN Bhutia, presented the future plan of Teesta Urja along with its CSR activities in a power point presentation.
The CS was accompanied by PB Subba [Secretary Power Department], R Rajalim [Secretary Roads & Bridges], KN Bhutia[Retired Secretary], CP Dhakal, [District Collector, North], RD Bhutia [Chief Engineer Buildings department], SS Poudwal [Chief Engineer, GREF] along with all government department officers of North district.

Thomas Chandy gets Ph.D from Univ of Melbourne

GANGTOK, 19 Dec: Principal Secretary, Human Resource Development Department, Sikkim, was conferred a Ph.D degree by the University of Melbourne on 18 December for his thesis in human ecology. He was also awarded the Australian Leadership Award by the Australian Government in 2009 for pursuing his Ph.D.

1,294 kg sold at Rs. 1,110 per kg at 4th Large Cardamom auction

GANGTOK, 19 Dec: The 4th Auction of Large Cardamom for the year 2013-14 was conducted by the auctioneer NERAMAC Ltd on 18 December at Spices Board’s auction Centre, Singtam.
A press release informs that the total quantity put up for auction and sold was 1,294.4 kgs while the average price was Rs. 1,110.31 per kg [Rs 44,412 per mound]. The clean bold Varlangey variety of large cardamom from Lamaten, East Sikkim fetched the highest price of Rs 1,170 per kg. The minimum price of large cardamom during the auction was Rs 1,000 per kg [Rs 40,000 per mound].
M/s India Rubber Impex, a leading dealer and exporter of Spices from Agra and other leading Large Cardamom dealers from Singtam and Gangtok had participated in this auction, it is informed.
Asst. Director (Marketing), Spices Board, Singtam, CS Ghatani, in his address, urged farmers to ensure quality and maximum arrival of cardamom in the Auction Centre to attract bidders from outside the state as well as to fetch premium prices for their produce. Sr. Zonal Manager of NERAMAC Ltd., PC Roy thanked the large cardamom growers and dealers for their participation in the auction and expressed hope for a more successful auction next time, the release adds.

Collection of plays released on Jeewan Theeng’s birth anniv

GANGTOK, 19 Dec: On the birth anniversary of the late Jeewan Theeng, a collection of plays by Chunnilal Ghimirey ,‘Aatma Nirnaya’, was released today. Litterateur and former Principal Director, HRDD, Rudra Poudyal chaired the function as the chief guest. The book has been published by Thukchuk Lachungpa.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

State enhances compensation for women victims of violence by 1000%

GANGTOK, 18 Dec: Evolving national perspectives and priorities especially with regard to women together with the public discourse over the past year on issues of violence against women seems to have had an impact on the state government. It is informed that the government has enhanced compensation to women who are victims of extreme forms of violence by 1000% and for victims of rape the compensation has been doubled. Also, for child victims of crime who suffer injuries the compensation has been enhanced by 500%.
These amounts are the maximum limit of compensation as a result of crime that can be awarded by the government. Now, women who are victims of assault and suffer disfigurement on the face or any part of the body by acid or other weapon stand to be compensated with Rs. 3 lakh.
It is informed that this is a significant enhancement of 1000% from the prior compensation amount of Rs. 30,000.
In another similar measure, it is informed that the compensation for a rape victim has been enhanced to Rs. 1 lakh; the previous compensation amount was Rs. 50,000. This again, is a substantial increase in the compensation value by 100%. For loss or injury caused due to severe mental agony to women and children especially who are victims of human trafficking the compensation amount has been doubled from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 50,000.
Meanwhile, there has been a similar enhancement for child victims of crime who suffer injuries. The enhancement on this count, as informed, is by 500%. It is informed that now the state government would be offering compensation for simple loss or injury to child victims to the tune of Rs. 1 lakh; this is an increase from the prior compensation amount of Rs. 20,000. This is particularly for child victims of offences under the Protection of Child from Sexual offences Act, 2012.
As is evident the above mentioned values signify an important breach from the traditional mindset especially in government circles regarding victims of violence and their suffering. The earlier amounts being offered as compensation appear paltry in comparison to the newly instituted amounts.
It is informed that this scheme of compensation comes under the Sikkim Compensation to Victims or their Dependents Schemes; apart from providing compensation to victims of crime it also compensates their dependents. This has been framed under the Code of Criminal Procedure. A victim is defined as a person who has suffered loss or injury as a result of crime and requires rehabilitation and also includes dependents. The compensation for Rehabilitation remains at Rs. 30,000. The time limit is 3 years from the date of crime.
The State Legal Services Authority is also empowered to institute proceedings for recovery of the compensation amount awarded to the victim from the perpetrator of the crime. These proceedings are to be instituted in a court of law.

State enhances compensation for women victims of violence by 1000%

GANGTOK, 18 Dec: Evolving national perspectives and priorities especially with regard to women together with the public discourse over the past year on issues of violence against women seems to have had an impact on the state government. It is informed that the government has enhanced compensation to women who are victims of extreme forms of violence by 1000% and for victims of rape the compensation has been doubled. Also, for child victims of crime who suffer injuries the compensation has been enhanced by 500%.
These amounts are the maximum limit of compensation as a result of crime that can be awarded by the government. Now, women who are victims of assault and suffer disfigurement on the face or any part of the body by acid or other weapon stand to be compensated with Rs. 3 lakh.
It is informed that this is a significant enhancement of 1000% from the prior compensation amount of Rs. 30,000.
In another similar measure, it is informed that the compensation for a rape victim has been enhanced to Rs. 1 lakh; the previous compensation amount was Rs. 50,000. This again, is a substantial increase in the compensation value by 100%. For loss or injury caused due to severe mental agony to women and children especially who are victims of human trafficking the compensation amount has been doubled from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 50,000.
Meanwhile, there has been a similar enhancement for child victims of crime who suffer injuries. The enhancement on this count, as informed, is by 500%. It is informed that now the state government would be offering compensation for simple loss or injury to child victims to the tune of Rs. 1 lakh; this is an increase from the prior compensation amount of Rs. 20,000. This is particularly for child victims of offences under the Protection of Child from Sexual offences Act, 2012.
As is evident the above mentioned values signify an important breach from the traditional mindset especially in government circles regarding victims of violence and their suffering. The earlier amounts being offered as compensation appear paltry in comparison to the newly instituted amounts.
It is informed that this scheme of compensation comes under the Sikkim Compensation to Victims or their Dependents Schemes; apart from providing compensation to victims of crime it also compensates their dependents. This has been framed under the Code of Criminal Procedure. A victim is defined as a person who has suffered loss or injury as a result of crime and requires rehabilitation and also includes dependents. The compensation for Rehabilitation remains at Rs. 30,000. The time limit is 3 years from the date of crime.
The State Legal Services Authority is also empowered to institute proceedings for recovery of the compensation amount awarded to the victim from the perpetrator of the crime. These proceedings are to be instituted in a court of law.

SDF youth accuse Yangang cops of shirking duty

NAMCHI, 18 Dec: A group of SDF youth from Lingmoo have accused the police personnel posted at Yangang Outpost of failing to perform their duties properly.
According to the group, they were escorting some senior citizens back to their homes after the day-long pilgrimage tour organized by the party on Tuesday when they got into a tussle with another group of youth at Yangyang.  They contend that at around 7:30 pm, some youth stopped their vehicle as they were returning.
The group of SDF youth has alleged that some persons of the other group were carrying weapons [khukuris] and that the Yangyang police personnel did not take any action. The police refused to lodge an FIR and instead abused the SDF group, they allege. The group further claims that the police personnel were in an inebriated state at the time.

Sikkim students fleeing HGPI arrive home

GANGTOK, 18 Dec: Students from Sikkim who recently fled from their course at the Himalayan Group of Professional Institutes, Himachal Pradesh, have now reached home. The group of around 45 students reached Siliguri last evening and today made their way to Sikkim. The students informed that they reached Siliguri late at night on 17 December and today made the journey to Sikkim to their respective homes.
The next step, they inform, is to organize themselves and have a meeting in Gangtok and subsequently approach a public official to push their case for an alternative professional institute where they could be provided admission. They are due to meet in a day or two. The students informed that they would like the State government to take up their case and provide them with admission in another college or institute so that they could continue their studies.
The Sikkim students had earlier decided to forego their studies at the HGPI, Himachal Pradesh after being harassed and allegedly threatened by a group of students from Haryana. Last week, they had made their way to Delhi where they stayed at the Sikkim House and were assisted by MP Hissey Lachungpa.

ORIENTATION PROGRAMME HELD ON NATIONAL SCHOOL SAFETY PROGRAMME

 Disaster Management will be made part of school syllabus: CM
GANGTOK, 18 Dec: A one-day orientation programme on School Safety under the National School Safety Programme [NSSP] organized by the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority [SSDMA], Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department [LR&DMD] in collaboration with Human Resource & Development Department [HRDD] was held at Chintan Bhawan today with Chief Minister Pawan Chamling as chief guest.
In his address to the gathering of various stakeholders, Principals, Headmasters and teachers, the Chief Minister pointed out that Sikkim was prone to natural disasters and it was time to contemplate more seriously on preventive measures, be it through SSDMA or NSSP. The principals, HMs and teachers need to make the children aware and sensitize them on safety measures to be adopted as children spend most of their time in schools and need to be provided protection, he added.
Speaking on some of the demands placed before him, he stated that all the 778 schools within the state will be brought under NSSP, the funds for which will be placed in the next budget session. A Disaster Management Institute is also coming up in the state for which expert advice is being taken and some more work needs to be done regarding the same, he added.
He also informed that Disaster Management along with Moral Science will be part of the school syllabi from the next session.
In his address to the school authorities and teachers, the CM called for the need to instill the value of time and opportunities in students. Stating that children need to learn that time is very precious and need to be given proper guidance, the CM lamented that students in the State are not capitalizing on the numerous opportunities created by the Government, and urged the teachers to mediate in this regard.
The state government has provided the best of the best opportunities in the education sector and it is now time for the students to take advantage of them, he stated.
Later, the Chief Minister handed over tokens of appreciation to six schools awarded by British Council for taking progressive measures in disaster management in their respective campuses. The schools awarded were Sir Tashi Namgyal Senior Secondary School, Government Senior Secondary School Singtam, Burtuk Junior High School, Pelling Senior Secondary School, Dentam Senior Secondary School, and Soreng Senior Secondary School.
The Chief Minister also handed over cheques to eight schools for non-structural mitigation measures. The schools were Namchi Girls’ Senior Secondary School, Namthang Senior Secondary School, Mamring Junior High School, Tinek Chisopani Junior High School, Enchey Senior Secondary School, Luing Secondary School, Ganchung Junior High School, and Lower Samdong Secondary School. Two schools, Yangang Secondary School and Aho Secondary School, were provide emergency tools.
Executive Vice Chairman of SSDMA, Professor VK Sharma, spoke about the vision of SSDMA to make Sikkim a model state in terms of disaster management and resilience. He stated that disaster management measures should first be demonstrated in schools and then percolated into society for larger reach. He further shed light on the capacity building measures adopted by SSDMA and informed that selected teachers would be sent for trainings annually to other States and abroad. Professor Sharma also mentioned about the proposed Himalayan Institute of Disaster Management and Climate Change which will come up in Sikkim. He called for cooperation from all concerned departments to make it a model institute.
In his keynote address, Disaster Response Commissioner-cum-Secretary LR&DMD, KS Tobgay expressed the need to make school safety a priority as students spend bulk of their time in schools.
Deputy Secretary, LR&DM Department, Prabhakar Rai presented a power-point presentation on School Safety under National School Safety Programme.
Vice Chairperson of 'Save the Children' International, Ray Kancharia and Regional Coordinator, Geo Hazards Society, Hari Kumar, present as resource persons, highlighted various aspects of school safety through power point presentations.
The programme also comprised of a speech by a student representative Mayalmit Lepcha, a Class XI student of Deorali Girls' Senior Secondary School.
The programme had the presence of Speaker KT Gyaltsen, Health Minister DN Thakarpa, Minister HRDD NK Pradhan, Heads of Departments, and Principals and teachers from the schools of East and South Districts of Sikkim.

Namchi boy clears NDA written exam

GANGTOK, 18 Dec: Krishna Kumar Mangar, son of Champa Singh Mangar of Phalidara, Namchi who has cleared NDA written examination held in the month of August 2013 will now be sent to New Delhi for Services Selection Board (SSB) interview coaching.
He is the only one who qualified the NDA written exam out of five Sikkimese students who had appeared in the said examination.

Namchi to host state-level singing contest this New Year

NAMCHI, 18 Dec: Namchi is gearing up to host a state level singing contest this New Year. Genesis Music Academy of Namchi, in collaboration with Step Dance Sensation Academy (SDSA), will be organizing this competition here. The organisers plan to conduct two auditions right after Makar Sankranti in the beginning of 2014.
Prakash Joshi of Genesis Music Academy informs that the contest will be an effort to encourage young talents of the state. “It would be a new year gift from the South district to the state with youngsters showcasing their talents here”, he said.
The chief patron of the orgnanising committee, MLA Namchi Singithang, Binod Rai is keenly interested in organizing the contest and has assured all support to make the event a grand success, he added. The grand finale will be held on the occasion of Republic Day, 26 January.
Mr Joshi further mentioned that the organizing committee will not leave any stone unturned to make the event successful. “The judges will be known faces of the music world of our region. Our efforts will be to make this the No. 1 contest of the state after Swar Sikkim”, he added.
It may be mentioned here that a district-level competition was also organised last year. Genesis Music Academy led by Sachin Pradhan has been functioning in Namchi for the last 10 years.

Sri Singa Jalapa Devi Mandir inaugurated in Kitam

KITAM, 18 Dec: A Sri Singa Jalapa Devi Mandir at Lower Kitam under Kitam-Manpur GPU was inaugurated by area MLA [Melli], Tulsi Devi Rai on 17 December. The MLA released a pigeon during the consecration ceremony held on the occasion of Dhanya Purnima.
During the programme, the MLA emphasized on religious harmony and lauded the initiative of the Mandir Management Committee in bringing all the people of the village together on a common platform for a positive cause.
She also lauded the contribution of local people for creation of such an infrastructure that caters to the religious aspirations of the people.
Ms. Rai said that the present government has put a lot of effort in promoting religious and communal harmony in the state, but some people with vested interests are disturbing peace in the state in the name of change.
She also thanked the people of the GPU for supporting the present government and SDF party. She also informed that Janta Mela will be organised in the month of January and will cover every household with various benefits.
The MLA assured to sanction a grant for the construction of a multi-storied Mandir in the village and urged the committee to register itself and the land of the committee as soon as possible. She informed that all formalities for upgradation of Kitam Secondary School are almost complete and senior secondary classes will begin from the next session.
President of the committee, Roshan Kaushik highlighted in brief about the history of the Devithan and informed that the construction of the Mandir was possible because of the grant of Rs. 1 lakh released by the Ecclesiastical Affairs Department. He expressed his gratitude towards the Chief Minister who had sanctioned the amount during his visit to Kitam and the Department for allocating funds for the same.
During the programme, Ratna Bahadur Chettri who had donated a plot of land surrounding the Devithan in memory of his Late wife Dhan Maya Chettri was felicitated for his generosity.
The programme was attended by devotees from Gom, Sorok, Shyampani, Sumbuk and Namchi.

Winter Adventure Course for govt school students concludes at IHCAE

GANGTOK, 18 Dec: The 19th Winter Adventure course for government school students organized by Indian Himalayan Centre for Adventure & Ecotourism, Chemchey, South Sikkim (IHCAE) concluded today.
A press release informs that the week-long adventure course had started on 12 December and had 47 boys and girls as participants. Students from 8 Senior Secondary Schools of South and West districts took part in this course. OSD (IHCAE) and Everester, Kazi Sherpa was present as the chief guest for the valedictory function held today.
The course included trekking, rock climbing, obstacle course, disaster preparedness class, survival class, sports competition and cooking competition.
Anup Sherpa (Namchi Boys SS School) won Best trainee (Boys) and Cross Country 1st Position (Boys), Prava Tamang (Singtam Sr.Sec School) won Best trainee (Girls), Mon Rupa Basneth (Namthang SS School) won Cross Country 1st Position (Girls), Passang T Lepcha (TNSS School) won Obstacle 1st Position (Boys) and Manisha Kotti (Namthang Sr.Sec School) won Obstacle 1st Position (Girls).
The next batch will be at IHCAE from 20 to 26 December, it is informed.

Golay congratulates Anna on Lokpal Bill

GANGTOK, 18 Dec: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha’s PS Tamang [Golay] has congratulated the Parliament and the people on the Lokpal Bill being passed by both houses of the Parliament. Crediting Anna Hazare’s efforts for the bill being passed Mr Tamang has termed it as a historic step.
In a press release, Mr Tamang on behalf of SKM party has also congratulated Anna and his supporters. The success of Arvind Kerjiwal who was part of Anna’s movement and his party Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi proves that people will no longer tolerate corruption and need a strong Lokayukta in the state, he has stated.
Terming the passage of the Lokpal Bill in the Parliament as a victory of the people he has further stated that this will control corruption in the country and give the people a healthy system. He goes on to accuse the State government of injustice for attempting to obstruct CBI investigation in the state.
Mr. Tamang has further demanded the constitution of a strong Lokayukta in the state for investigating corruption cases here.
In another press release, SKM has criticized the Chief Minister’s statement made at a function in West Sikkim on 17 December where he accused SKM of arson and said that it has torched 100 vehicles till now. SKM in turn has accused the ruling party for incidents of vehicle torching and other political violence.

CM meets students selected for NDA coaching

GANGTOK, 18 Dec [IPR]: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling met the 24 students selected for NDA Coaching 2013 batch at his official residence Mintogang here today.
During the meeting, the Chief Minister urged the students to focus their time and energy on studies during the coaching period. While informing the selected candidates about the various initiatives of the State government for the youth of the state, the Chief Minister urged them to seize the opportunities provided by the state and build their careers.
Offering his best wishes to the candidates for the upcoming NDA examination, the CM asked them to set an example and make the state proud.
Earlier, Secretary Rajya Sainik Board, Colonel [retd.] DN Bhutia, while briefing the Chief Minister informed that the selected students will leave for the coaching center in New Delhi on 22 December and the 45-day coaching will begin on 23 December.
A press release informs that the batch consists of 24 boys with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics background with high scoring percentage ranging from 75% to 96% in CBSE/ ICSE exam.
According to the Rajya Sainik Board Secretary, the process of motivation cum shortlisting of students commenced in November when 369 students were initially shortlisted based on the Personal Information Questionnaires (PIQ) submitted by students.
Col Bhutia informs that those who are appearing for the Class XII Board exam have not been taken on board since it is important that they focus on the board exams and can opt for NDA coaching later. The counseling for parents and students was conducted at Rajya Sainik Board complex on 15 December.

Border trade to be under surveillance camera watch next season

GANGTOK, 18 Dec: The security agencies along with the Indian Army and the security agency of Indo-China Border Trade through Nathula have given clearance for installation of surveillance cameras along the Nathula border.
The proposal was mooted by the State government to the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industries for consideration and has now also been approved by the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs. The installation of surveillance cameras at Nathula and Sherathang Trade Mart will begin before the next trade season begins, it is informed.
Secretary Commerce and Industries, PT Euthenpa has confirmed that the proposal was approved by the Ministry of Defence and Home Affairs.

BANKS BANDH IN SIKKIM TOO

Joining the one-day nationwide strike called by the United Forum of Banking Unions [UBFU], public and private sector banks in the state also remained closed today. The strike was called to demand immediate wage revision and against bank sector reforms. Along with the banks, ATMs also remained shut today. People going to banks or even ATMs returned disappointed.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

TEYONGSI SIRIJUNGA SAWAN TONGNAM CELEBRATED IN WEST SIKKIM

Chamling reiterates commitment to protect and support all communities and faiths
GYALSHING, 17 Dec: Teyongsi Sirijunga Sawan Tongnam was celebrated here at Martam’s Srijunga Mangkhim with Chief Minister Pawan Chamling as the chief guest. The festival celebrates the birth anniversary of Limboo revivalists Teyongsi Sirijonga. Today was his 310th birth anniversary.
Addressing the occasion, the Chief Minister reiterated that his government has consistently worked towards the protection and nurture of all communities and faiths in the State. “This idealism has ensured that today, such diverse festivals and occasions are celebrated in Sikkim,” the CM highlighted. Teyongsi Sirijunga Sawan Tongnam was included as a State Holiday under the SDF Government as have many other festivals of other communities.
The CM stressed that he believed that protection and celebration of the unique aspects of different communities reinforced unity unlike what his detractors are wont to say about such recognition leading to fragmentation of the society. Confident communities are more at ease with each other and live in harmony as against communities which are denied free expression of their individuality, he said.
“It is only with the advent of the SDF Government that Mangkhim, Mandirs, Churches, Gumpas etc are being constructed in such numbers in Sikkim and individual communities and faiths are prospering so well,” he said.
“Sikkim is the land of the Gods and the responsibility to maintain its sanctity is shouldered on every Sikkimese. We cannot shirk this responsibility,” he said, while calling on the people to promote brotherhood instead of falling prey to divisive politics and support development instead of opposing progress.
He pointed out that the Srijunga statue project commissioned by the present government was a first such initiative for the Limboo community in Sikkim or anywhere else and added that when this project is completed, it will join the projects which have already added to Sikkim’s appeal as a pilgrimage destination.
Commenting on the seat reservation for Limboo and Tamang communities in the legislative Assembly, he mentioned that this was to be granted by the Central Government and was being pursued there by the State. As for all rights within the purview of the State Government to accord, these have already been done for the two communities, he added.
Also today, various personalities of the Limboo community were felicitated for their contributions towards the literary, cultural and social progress of the community. Felicitated today Limboo language authority BB Muringla and Victoria Cross RB Limboo [from Nepal].
The Limboo calendar and souvenir were also released today along with an anthology of poems compiled by the local Limboo community.

Lama Ugyen Tenzing Rinpoche enthroned in Bodh Gaya

GANGTOK, 17 Dec: Tulku Karma Tsultrim Tenzin Thinley Jangpo, recognized as the third incarnation of Lama Ugyen Tenzing Rinpoche of Rumtek who lived in the early half of the last century, was enthroned as per Karma Kagyu traditions at the Karmapa Monastery in Bodh Gaya where Kagyu Monlam Chenmo is currently underway. Tulku Jangpo was earlier recognised by Kyabje Shamarpa Rinpoche.
A press release informs that the enthronement ceremony was presided over by the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, amid hundreds of monks and lay devotees from Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal, etc.
Born to Dawa Lepcha and Pemden Lepcha of Rey Mindu here in East Sikkim, Tulku Karma Tsultrim Tenzin Thinley “possesses inherent and intrinsic intelligence with spontaneous inclination towards Buddha dharma, the young reincarnate is being groomed most sensitively here at the local Rey Mindu Monastery in East Sikkim”, an official communiqué details.
The release goes on to inform that Ugyen Tenzing Rinpoche, who also happened to be the uncle of the late LD Kazi, accomplished himself in the teachings and transmission of both the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions and was held in very high esteem by the then Buddhist masters of both the lineages. He was a contemporary of Chogyal Sidkeong Tulku and Alexander David Neel. The legendary Ajho Labrang Gomchen of Sikkim has been one of his greatest disciples, the release mentions.

SNT Drivers’ and Conductors’ Assoc felicitates members

GANGTOK, 17 Dec: Sikkim Nationalised Transport Drivers’ and Conductors’ Association organized a picnic at Water Garden on 14 December.
A press release from the association’s advisor, Dewen Rai informs that on the occasion the association felicitated its former president, Lawang Norbu Tamang for his contribution towards the association. The association also felicitated and bade farewell to four retired members Norbu Tshering Bhutia, Phuchung Bhutia, Khiluk Bhutia and Pema Namgyal Tamang. They were felicitated by SNT Chief Engineer, GT Lachungpa, it is informed.
In his address, the CE urged the members of the association to work with dedication and sincerity. The association’s president, CB Chettri also urged the members to serve the department sincerely.
The programme was also addressed by other senior members of the association.

SKM to celebrate Rolu Picnic anniv

GANGTOK, 17 Dec: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha has invited all Sikkimese to attend the Rolu Picnic’s fourth anniversary on 21 December at Rolu in South Sikkim.
An SKM release informs that PS Tamang’s [Golay] “fight for change” had started on 21 December in 2009 at Rolu in South Sikkim and this year, the party will mark the anniversary with a function at the same venue starting with a puja followed by an address by Mr. Tamang and the party’s working president, Bharati Sharma.
The party also has another reason to celebrate after the Election Commission of India registered Sikkim Krantikari Morcha as a regional political party on 16 December.
“Despite SDF’s attempts to create hurdles in the registration process, the party is elated at getting official registration,” the SKM release contends.

SDF appoints sub-division level office bearers in South

GANGTOK, 17 Dec: Sikkim Democratic Front [SDF] party has appointed four persons in the capacity of party sub-division level convenors for Ravangla and Namchi. An SDF press release informs that the party president has appointed four persons under section 26, sub-section 4 of the party constitution and has appointed CL Gurung as youth convenor of Rabong Sub-division and Tshering Doma Bhutia as Cheli Morcha convenor. Similarly, B S Tamang has been appointed as youth convenor of Namchi Sub-division and Dikila Bhutia as convenor Cheli Morcha, the release informs.

Sakela celebrated in Gangtok

Gangtok, 17 Dec: Sakela festival of the Rai community was celebrated in grand manner here in the capital today. The celebration was organised by the Akhil Kirat Rai Sangh Sikkim’s East District committee at Bulbulay with PHE Department advisor KB Chamling as chief guest accompanied by Kiran Rai as guest of honour.
The celebration started with rituals by the Mangpa, accompanied by all the members of the association praying for a good harvest.
The AKRS East District general secretary, DK Rai, gave a brief report on Sakela and its significance, explaining, “According to the Kirat holy book, Mundhum, a year is divided into two phases: Ubhauli (Going up) and Udhauli (Going down). It is generally accepted that the nomenclature of the words come from the migration pattern of birds. During the onset of the winter season in Mangsir, the birds migrate down to the warmer terai belt, and thus this phase of the year is known as Udhauli, meaning downward. Likewise, during the rise of the summer season, the birds migrate upward to the cooler hill regions, and therefore this latter phase is known as Ubhauli.
“Kirats believe in Shamanism and are worshipers of Mother Nature. The Sakela celebration is a prayer to Mother Nature for healthy crops and protection from natural calamities. Therefore the festival is also known as Bhumi Puja. Starting on Baisakh Purnima, Sakela Ubhauli is celebrated for 15 days in Baisakh (April/ May), which marks the beginning of the farming year.
Similarly, the celebration of Sakela Udhauli during Mangsir (November/December) is their way of thanking nature for providing them with a good harvest.”
The chief guest, in his address, appreciated the program organised by the committee. He added, “Every community should preserve their culture and tradition which has to be passed on to the next generation”.
The Rai calendar of 2014, published by AKRS Sikkim East District Committee was also released by the chief guest during the program.
The program also saw different types of Sili being performed by the youth and members of the association.