Friday, May 9, 2014

Two Sikkim schools to get the Gobar Times Green Schools National Award 2014

GANGTOK, 08 May [IPR]: Two schools of the state have made it to the top-10 of the Gobar Times Green Schools National Award 2014.
As per a press communiqué received from Principal Secretary-cum-PCCF, Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department, the two schools - Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Namchi, South Sikkim and the Government Secondary School, Lower Samdong, East Sikkim - feature among the top 10 schools in the country under the categories of “New Schools” and “Change Makers” respectively.
These awards would be conferred by the Centre for Science and Environment, a New Delhi based organization of international repute. This year, CSE has assessed the performance of more than 15000 schools nationwide under two categories amongst which eleven schools were nominated from Sikkim.
The awards in the ‘Change Makers’ category are given to the schools with best environmental practices in India. All five GSP Manual chapters (Water, Air, Land, Energy and Waste) are taken into account and schools that have submitted their Green Schools Report more than once are eligible.
The ‘New Schools’ awards are given to schools with best environmental practices in India. All five GSP Manual chapters (Water, Air, Land, Energy and Waste) are taken into account and schools submitting their report for the first time are eligible.
Efforts towards initiating green movement in the state’s schools have borne fruit. It is really a proud moment for the State that the government schools are winning honours at the national level regularly by implementing innovative environment conservation programmes under the Green Schools Programme coordinated in the State by ENVIS Cell of the Forest department.
Both the schools have shown innovative positive change in the school's environment in terms of practices followed to improve the quality, usage, sustainability of land, air, water, energy and waste resources.
The Green Schools Programme Awards Ceremony is an annual event, where top 25 performers from across the country are rewarded for their enterprise and innovative skills. The objective is to acknowledge the effort, and also to encourage more schools to come forward and take part in this movement. The Awards Ceremony is a grand affair. School children from across the country participate in various competitions, perform street plays, watch films and mingle with each other.
This year, the award ceremony was scheduled to be held on 21 March but due to the elections it has been postponed and will be held at New Delhi after the State Assembly and Parliament elections are concluded.

Out of order notice continues to hound X-Ray machine at STNM Hospital

OUT OF ORDER

The X-ray machine room at the STNM Hospital might as well take down its caution notice since the facility has remained shut for a while now. A handwritten scrawl announces that it is “out of order” and enquiry reveals that it has remained so for around a month now. Meanwhile, people have to get their X-rays done at private clinics which are a lot costlier. No surprise then that whispers circulate and snide remarks are passed by every passerby…

GANGTOK, 08 May: The digital X-Ray machine at STNM Hospital has been “out of order” for the past one month and with the older machine also often ‘out of order’, patients requiring such facility need to seek it outside.
The digital X-Ray machine was installed at the state’s premier hospital by Sun Pharma company under its Corporate Social Responsibility programme. The Health Department setup the machine at the hospital under a comprehensive maintenance plan with the X-Ray machine company, i.e. Phillips from Holland.
Speaking on the reasons for the administration putting up the “out of order” notice in one of the most used facilities at the hospital, Medical Superintendent, Dr. Yogesh Verma explained that the machine which was a very sophisticated piece of equipment had developed some technical malfunctions in the mother board which had led the hospital authorities to immediately repair the same at the earliest for the convenience of the general public.
“We have two engineers from the company stationed here at the hospital who are working on the machine. We understand that there could be some inconvenience caused to the public but the machine has to be repaired if it is to be used again,” explained the MS.
He went on to add that parts of the machine which is of Phillips make have to be imported from the company’s warehouse in Singapore since it is not available anywhere else in the country.
“The engineers have asked for the final list of parts which will arrive in Sikkim by this evening and it will take another few days for the machine to be fully operational,” assured the MS while speaking to NOW! today.
The MS however went on to add that there is another X-Ray machine at the hospital (the older manual one) which is catering to the patients at present, patients have complained that even this is often ‘out of order’.

Second round of training on counting process in South Sikkim

NAMCHI, 08 May [IPR]: The second round of Joint Inspection of Strong Room and Training for the candidates, Election Agents and Election Representatives of all political parties of South District was held at Namchi today. The event was chaired by DC (South), Prabhakar Verma.
ADC (South), Kapil Meena and DC (South), Prabhakar Verma briefed the election candidates, party agents and the election representatives concerning the safety measures observed to ensure the safe keeping of the EVMs and Postal Ballots in the Strong Room at Government Senior Secondary School. Mr. Verma notified the party agents and candidates about the ECI Guidelines which lays down stringent rules including CCTV surveillance for monitoring; maintenance of Log Book to regulate the entry and exit of individuals to and from the Strong Room and due authorization to avoid any discrepancies in the security measures adopted by the administration. Later, Mr. Verma gave a tour of the Strong Room premises to the candidates, their agents and the representatives of the political parties.
Following the inspection the team headed towards the District Conference Hall, Namchi for a meeting of all the candidates/agents for a brief on the Counting Process where Deputy Secretary (Elections), Bishal Mukhia welcomed the gathering. Prabhakar Verma then elucidated the appointment procedure of Micro Observer and Counting Agents to the gathering thereby also informing them that the last day of appointment of the Counting Agent for all the political parties will be 13 May, 2014 before 5 p.m. He also specified that 7 tables each for Parliamentary & Assembly Constituencies and 2 tables for Postal Ballot will be allotted for the Counting of votes.
Further, he stated that the counting process for the Postal Ballot will commence on 16 May at 8 a.m. followed by counting of the EVM votes at 8:30 a.m. Mr. Verma reiterated that only after the Postal Ballot counting concludes the EVM counting will be taken up. In addition, Mr. Verma also informed the gathering about the seating arrangements for the party representatives/ candidates on the day of the counting; the do’s and don’ts as well as the security measures that will be deployed to ensure fair and peaceful Poll Counting.
Later, Kapil Meena gave details of the particulars of Postal Ballot paper counting and clarified the doubts raised by the Election Candidates, Election Agents and Election Representatives. The participants were also informed that a second meeting may be called to detail out the security arrangements to the candidates if required. Also present in the training was Assistant Collector, Mr Raghul and other election staff.

SDF team tours Sindrabong in West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 07 May: A team led by sitting MLA and the SDF candidate for Yangthang constituency, Chandra Maya Subba, toured Sindrabong under Darap-Nambu GPU in West Sikkim. The GPU comprises of Sang-khola, Barseybong, Bakchukey, Sindrabong, Pheng-dhang, Dhoban, Shosing, Chongri and Lungmo Dara.
A press release informs that the team reached on 30 April after an uphill walk of more than four hours from Tsetenthang village passing through thick forest, cliffs and crossing several log bridges. Ms Subba was accompanied by Sushil Tamang [West District Youth Convenor of the SDF], Rash Maya Subba [West District Cheli Vice Convenor], Pranay Subba [Panchayat president, Darap -Nambu GPU] , Chelis, youth and party workers.
Along the way, the team also visited the office of Sindrabung Khanchenzonga Eco-Tourism Committee (SKES) a beautiful village located by the Sangkhola river bank. There Treasurer of the society, Laku Tshering Bhutia in the presence of other members informed the team about the various initiatives taken up by (SKES) for promotion of tourism through Home stays & trekking along Singalila range, the release mentions.
Ms Subba interacted with the villagers and listened to their grievances. Some of the key concerns identified were construction of rural roads, improved electricity and water supply, etc. Ms Subba gave various suggestions and assured to take their concerns to higher authorities, it is added.

Meeting cum inspection of strong room in North Sikkim

MANGAN, 08 May: The North District Administration held a meeting cum inspection of strong room at Zilla Bhawan, Mangan, North district today.
The meeting was held under the supervision of RO cum DM (N), TN Kazi, SP (N), RN Yadav, ADC (N), R Yadav, SDPO Mangan, P Bhutia and attended by political party candidates and representatives of all three constituencies on North.
DM (N), in his address, said that polling was conducted peacefully in the district and expressed hope that political parties and the public will continue to maintain the peaceful environment after the election results as well. Everyone must work in coordination for the development of the district and to set an example of peace and security, he added.
ADC (N) informed that the counting process will start by 8 am on 16 May with the counting of the postal ballot which will be followed by counting of the EVM votes. It was also informed that the segregation of postal ballots will be carried out on 13 May at DAC, Election department control room in the presence of all party representatives. After segregation, ballot papers of other districts will be packed and sealed for dispatch and sent on 14 May. All the counting agents have to take an authorization letter from the candidates and they will be issued identity cards for attending the counting. All the candidates and agents should reach the counting centre on 16 May by 6 am as the strong room will be opened after 6.30 am at Zilla Bhawan, Mangan.
SDPO, Mangan informed all that the Police department has defined the vehicle parking areas for different political parties for smooth traffic and to avoid post poll violence. All candidates and supporters of political parties should cooperate to maintain peace and if anyone is found violating the rules or involved in post poll violence strict action as per law will be taken, it is informed.

Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission upholds district forum’s order on United India Insurance to cough up claim it has been dodging for 4 years

GANGTOK, 08 May: The Sikkim State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has upheld the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum [East & North] judgment against United India Insurance Company Ltd which had been directed to make good its insurance cover for a building at Upper Sichey. The insurance company had appealed against the verdict, and in an order passed on 26 April, the SSCDRC, which has appellate jurisdiction in such matters, upheld the Forum’s award, and allowed a relaxation to the insurance company in that the grant of interest [on dues] fixed at 15% by the District Forum has been reduced to 10% [to be calculated from the date when the original complaint was lodged – 24 Oct 2010].
The judgment was pronounced by the Sikkim State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission coram comprising of Justice SP Wangdi of the High Court, who is also the president of the Commission and members – DT Bhutia and Geeta Gurung.
The case relates to TP Sharma’s claim with the insurance company. Mr. Sharma, it is informed, had a 3-storied building at Upper Sichey, Gangtok, which he had insured with United India Insurance Company Ltd. Seismic activity and sinking contributed to tilting the structure and leaving it hazardous for live in. This was in October 2010; Mr. Sharma had insured the building [under Uni Home Care Policy] in July 2006.
Court documents reveal that on 24 Oct 2010, Mr. Sharma verbally informed the insurance company of the damage suffered and on 25 Oct, made a written submission claiming insurance. It is learnt that along with Mr. Sharma’s, a neighbouring building belonging to one DP Pradhan had been brought to the brink of collapse by, what has now been established to be an illegal construction, of one Mahendra Gop.
The insurance company refused to entertain Mr. Sharma’s insurance claim arguing that the building was “destroyed” by a government order which was not among the grounds covered for insurance. The District Magistrate’s office, after an investigation into the extent of damage, had marked the building for demolition, it is learnt. The company also claimed delay on Mr. Sharma’s part in informing it of the damage.
The SSCDRC, in its order, points out that the building was imperiled by rains, earthquake and the construction of Mahendra Gop’s house. The appellate Commission also found no merit in the delay argument either and goes on to endorse the District Forum’s judgment in favour of Mr. Sharma. The insurance company had been directed to pay up the Rs. 20 lakh for which the building was insured.
The District Forum had also directed that interest at 15% be paid to Mr. Sharma calculated since the date that the claim was filed with the insurance company [24 Oct 2010]. This, the SSCDRC has reduced to 10%.

Mutanchi Rong and Ranka FC register slim victories at 2nd Division S-League qualifiers

GANGTOK, 08 May: Mutanchi Rong and Ranka FC have registered victories today in the ongoing Second Division Sikkim-League qualifying round here at Paljor Stadium.
In the first match of the day, Mutanchi Rong outplayed Royal Sikkim FC, Development Area 2-0, while in another match, Ranka FC edged past Eagle FC 2-1.
On Friday, Invincible FC, Middle Tadong will clash with Mending FC, Rumtek in the first match, while the second match will be played between New Star, Middle Tadong and Nav Bharat Club.

Elaichi Kholcha mishap claims one

Singtam, 08 May: 46-year-old Tek Bahadur Rasaily was killed in a road mishap when the vehicle, an Eco Versa, he was driving, plunged around 100 feet off the road at Elaicha Kholcha near Dipu Dara here. The accident is reported to have occurred at around 1:30 p.m. as Mr. Rasaily was returning home to Tumin from Singtam. Mr. Rasaily was evacuated first to the District Hospital at Singtam and then referred to Gangtok. He succumbed to his injuries en route to Gangtok, it is informed. Meanwhile, also today, a Bolero vehicle overturned at Lower Bardang here. The driver escaped with minor injuries. [from NANDU DUTRAJ]

Thursday, May 8, 2014

RMDD reviews Backward Region Grants Fund annual plans

GANGTOK, 07 May: The Directorate of Panchayati Raj under Rural Management and Development Department is organizing a four-day programme to review the ongoing Backward Region Grants Fund (BRGF) 2013-14 and deliberate on the preparation of BRGF plans of 2014-15.
As per an official press release, review meetings were held at Chintan Bhawan on 05, 06 and 07 May for North, West and East districts respectively. The overall objective of the programme is to facilitate the timely preparation of Annual Plan under BRGF. During the programme Physical and Financial status of all planned works of each Plan Unit were reviewed.
The programme will conclude on 08 May with the South District.
The meetings were chaired by the Adhyakshas (Chairman of Zilla Panchayat) of respective districts and attended by ADCs (Dev.), DPOs, GVAs, Rural Development Assistants (RDAs) and members of Zilla, Nagar and Gram Panchayat.
Joint Secretary (Panchayat), Norzing Tsering while giving the project back ground emphasized that the primary objective of BRGF is to bridge critical gaps in local infrastructure and other developmental requirements that are not being adequately met through existing inflows rather than creating new work.
Stress was laid on the importance of timely submission of UCs.  Process Checklist, Financial Checklist, formats, audit reports, progress reports, Non-Diversion and other certificates were distributed to facilitate and guide actions to be taken while forwarding the Annual Action Plans henceforth, the release informs.
State Project Coordinator (RGPSA), Nipendra Pradhan gave a brief presentation on accounting software of PRIs that facilitate maintenance of all financial transactions online. He further informed that all Annual Action Plans will be uploaded at the Head office online on Plan Plus portal and all Physical and Financial Progress of BRGF works will be uploaded in Action Soft portal as mandated by Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR).
The meeting concluded with the respective Adhyakshas addressing the Elected Representatives about the need to be proactive and taking up projects that will empower the Gram Panchayat Units and Zilla Panchayats.
Director (Panchayat), H.B. Gurung requested all Elected Representatives to submit Utilization Certificates on time in respect of BRGF, 3rd State Finance Grant and  13th Finance Commission Grant  for 2013- 14 for smooth inflow of fund from the Centre, it is further added.

Training held for counting officials of West district

GYALSHING, 07 May [IPR]: Training of Counting Assistants, Supervisors and the officials appointed to oversee various counting related activities on 16 May in West District was held today at the Community hall, Gyalshing.
SDM Gyalshing, Jigme W. Bhutia gave a power point presentation and discussed in length all the counting related works assigned to various officials and appealed to them to function effectively.
Returning Officer West, Tsewang Gyachho informed that the counting will start with counting of postal ballot at 8 am followed by counting of EVMs at 8.30 am.  He urged all the appointed officials to reach the control room by 7 am on 16 May.
Further, the RO also thanked all the officials involved in the polling process for peaceful and fair conduct of polls on 12 April and expressed hope for similar cooperation during the counting process.


Training held for counting officials of West district

GYALSHING, 07 May [IPR]: Training of Counting Assistants, Supervisors and the officials appointed to oversee various counting related activities on 16 May in West District was held today at the Community hall, Gyalshing.
SDM Gyalshing, Jigme W. Bhutia gave a power point presentation and discussed in length all the counting related works assigned to various officials and appealed to them to function effectively.
Returning Officer West, Tsewang Gyachho informed that the counting will start with counting of postal ballot at 8 am followed by counting of EVMs at 8.30 am.  He urged all the appointed officials to reach the control room by 7 am on 16 May.
Further, the RO also thanked all the officials involved in the polling process for peaceful and fair conduct of polls on 12 April and expressed hope for similar cooperation during the counting process.


First round of training on counting process held in South Sikkim

NAMCHI, 07 May [IPR]: The first round of hands-on and theoretical training for Counting Officers on the counting process was held at District Conference Hall, Namchi today which was chaired by ADC (South) Kapil Meena. Deputy Secretary (Elections), Bishal Mukhia welcomed the gathering before the training commenced.
ADC (Dev) Namchi, Benu Gurung carried out the training via Power Point Presentation and she informed the trainees that the counting of postal ballot will commence half an hour prior to the actual EVM counting i.e. 8:00 am. Further, she briefed the Counting Officers about the counting setup for Postal Ballots and EVMs, the Do’s and Don’ts pertaining to their respective duties on the allocated day for the same.
Ms Gurung updated the Counting Officials about the fresh set of ECI guidelines, one of which is that the counting of Postal Ballots is to be completed before the start of EVM counting. She added that the counting of Postal Ballot should be carried out under the supervision of Returning Officer. Further, due to this new regulation, the Counting Supervisors and Counting Assistants are to be Gazetted Officers only.
“Micro-observers (Govt. of India or Central PSU officials) will be assigned in each table alongside a videographer during the counting process of both the Postal Ballot and EVM”, added Ms. Gurung.  She further elucidated that rejection of the postal ballot may take place in case any discrepancy is found in the Ballot paper. She further informed the Counting Officers that the RO can at any time order them to recount the votes if he finds the counting to be dissatisfactory.
DPO (South), Yangchen Tamang demonstrated the procedure of counting votes on EVMs and the Counting Supervisors were also given hands-on training on counting the votes on EVMs. The next round of training for the Counting Supervisors and Counting Assistants will be held on 14 May, 2014. Also present in the training were Assistant Collector, Mr. Raghu and SDM (HQ), Sandup Bhutia.

SAATHI reaches Jorethang

GANGTOK, 07 May: The team of SAATHI, a programme under the Chief Minister’s Youth Empowerment and Self Reliant Mission, interacted with the students of Jorethang Senior Secondary School on 06 May.
A press release informs that students of classes 8 and 9 attended the presentation on drug and substance abuse. By the end of the presentation the team SAATHI was successful in selecting the 9 leaders who will be going through an intensive training to be the peer educators in their school.
The team’s next stop is Melli Secondary School South Sikkim, it is informed.

President to dedicate ‘RuPay’ to the nation today

GANGTOK, 07 May [PIB]: President Pranab Mukherjee will dedicate ‘RuPay’, India’s own card payment network, to the nation on Thursday (08 May) at a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The RuPay card is accepted at all the ATMs (1,60,000+), 95% of PoS terminals (9,45,000+) and most of the eCom merchants (10,000+) in the country. A variant of the card called ‘Kisan Card’ is now being issued by all the Public Sector banks in addition to the mainstream debit card which has been issued by 43 banks. A variant of Pre-paid RuPay card would shortly be launched by IRCTC.
More than 150 Cooperative banks and the Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) in the country have also issued RuPay ATM cards. The total number of cards issued as on date is 17 Million and is growing at a rate of about 3 Million per month. This card symbolizes the capabilities of banking industry in India to build a card payment network so that dependency on international card scheme is minimized.

‘RuPay’ is developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) – a ‘not-for-profit’ Company envisioned by Reserve Bank of India and created by the banking industry.

VCGL School students undertake cleanliness drive at Mainam Wildlife Sanctuary

NAMCHI, 07 May: A day-long cleanliness drive was carried by 40 National Social Service volunteers of VC Ganju Lama Government Senior Secondary School, Ravangla and Forest Department personnel at Mainam-Bhaley Dhunga trekking route of Mainam Wildlife Sanctuary.
The cleanliness drive was organised by Wildlife Division (S) which was led by ACF Mainam Wildlife Sanctuary, Kamal Subba, ACF (T) Ravangla, TB Subba and NSS teachers of VCGL School and forest personnel.
The drive was conducted from Mainam Sanctuary forest check post to Mainam Gumpa which covers 12 km of the sanctuary where volunteers collected plastics, paper and other wastes thrown along the route of Bhaley Dhunga.
ACF (T) Ravangla, TB Subba informed that the Maniram Mainam-Bhaley Dhunga route under Mainam Wildlife Sanctuary is an important trekking route and number of tourists visit the area so maintaining cleanliness has become important. This is also important for maintaining ecological balance of the sanctuary area, he added.
Mr Subba further said that such drives conducted by the students and youth will also create environmental awareness and encourage them to work towards safeguarding our environment. This is the first time that such a drive is being conducted in the sanctuary area of Mainam, he informed.
He thanked the Principal and NSS in-charge of the school for encouraging their students for this cleanliness drive.

North VHSNC members undergo training

MANGAN, 07 May: Two-day training for all Village Health Sanitation Nutrition Committee (VHSNC) of Sikkim was organized by district health society, Mangan, North Sikkim today. The programme was organized for all the CDPOs, VHSNC members, ASHA members, Anganwadi workers, Councilors, Panchayat and social workers of North district.
The programme was attended by Mission Director, Dr. PM Pradhan and Dr. DL Lepcha, State Health Facilitator, Dr. Nabin N Sharma, Dr. Kaleon, Dr.Rojana Tamang and staff.
Joint Director, Dr. DL Lepcha informed about the services of NRHM & VHSNC where she said that health services are available at various levels and if any facilities are lagging behind as per department provisions, the public are authorized to ask the authorities for proper provisions. She also informed about the quality of health care, leadership and village health sanitation nutrition committee of Sikkim.
Dr. Rojana Tamang in her address informed all that, as per data of government of India, killer diseases of Sikkim are heart & blood vessel disease (20%), respiratory disease (18%), diabetes (12%), hypertension (9%), tuberculosis (9%), liver infection disease (12%) and so on.
Dr. Kaleon shared data collected through the CATCH programme and survey report of North district.
MD, Dr. PM Pradhan and Health Facilitator, Nabin N Sharma also addressed the gathering.

Labourer tries to hammer live bullet, pays with his life

GANGTOK, 07 May: A daily wage labourer working under GREF at Kupup under Sherathang in East District was killed on 06 May when he tried to flatten a live cartridge he appears to have salvaged from the firing range situated around two kilometers ahead of Kupup.
Pradhan Bahadur Rai [50], a daily wage labourer working under GREF and residing at Kupup for more than a year now, was killed on the spot when he tried to flatten a live bullet last afternoon, informed Dr MS Tuli [DIG, Range], while speaking to NOW! today.
He had collected the live ammunition from the Firing Range B situated about two kilometers ahead of Kupup towards Rongli side, he added.
“These people collect scrap from around the area to sell, and metal gets a good price. The bullets fired at the firing range have to be accounted for by the soldiers but some loss is still there. Some of these are misfired or do not fire at all and the bullet Pradhan Bahadur Rai found was a live one”, he said. After going back home he tried to hammer the bullet flat to sell as scrap metal and the live bullet exploded killing him on the spot.

A case under 174 Criminal Procedure [Unnatural Death] has been registered at the Kupup Out Post and the body has been sent to the STNM Hospital for post mortem and the case is under investigation, the DIG [Range] further informed.

NE Regional Training-cum-Workshop on 5th Minor Irrigation Census begins

GANGTOK, 07 May: Two-day North-Eastern Regional Training-cum-Workshop on the 5th Minor Irrigation Census was inaugurated by the DESME Director General-cum-Secretary, SD Tshering here today. The programme has delegates from North-Eastern states and Sikkim and is being organized by Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Government of Sikkim and sponsored by the Ministry of Water Resources.
The first day of the workshop had technical sessions on various relevant subjects, while on Thursday a field visit to Rapdang in East Sikkim will be conducted. The workshop has Additional Director General, Sudha Midha, Director, Dr SP Sharma and Research Officer, GP Singh from the Ministry of Water Resource, New Delhi as resource persons.
In his inaugural address, the DESME Secretary said that the Minor Irrigation Census is an important census to assess the progress of the programmes and to know the present status of the different schemes. He added that the census will also provide proper data and information to use for the development of irrigation in future.
Mr Tshering suggested the Ministry of Water Resource to provide funds to the state and other North Eastern states to study water sources in the region and to preserve these sources. He further urged the Ministry for timely disbursement of required funds for the maintenance of irrigation channels in the state. In this regard, he said that the census must be conducted seriously in order to have the required information and data with the concerned department.
Likewise, Irrigation & Flood Control Secretary, SK Chettri spoke about the activities on various schemes taken up by the department in the state.
Irrigation & Flood Control Superintending Engineer [N/E], G Lachenpa stated that the Minor Irrigation census would provide valuable information for future planning and development of the minor irrigation sector. He added that the main objective of this census was to collect required information on micro irrigation in the state and to draw future programme for the development of irrigation.
The SE added that the workshop is also being attended by the state and district level officials of the state and they will now impart training on Minor Irrigation Census at the block-level. The survey and field work for the 5th Minor Irrigation Census is likely to start in the month of October, he informed. The 4th Micro Irrigation Census was held in the year 2007-08.

GMC by-elections after formation of new government

GANGTOK, 07 May: The by-elections for the vacant post of Mayor and Councilors in the Gangtok Municipal Corporation (GMC) will be held as soon as the model code of conduct is lifted and the new government is formed, inform official sources at the UD&HD.
It may be mentioned here that the GMC is presently functioning without a Mayor after KN Topgay quit the Sikkim Democratic Front party and was removed from the post on the basis of anti-defection laws. He was a GMC councilor from Chandmari.
Similarly, the post of Upper Sichey Councilor is also lying vacant since the incumbent there, Neelu Chettri, left SDF and joined SKM.
Meanwhile, by-elections could also be held for Upper Tadong and Deorali since the two councillors, Bhasker Basnett and Uday Lama, have contested the general elections. Should they win, they will have to choose between the GMC and the Legislative Assembly and since the latter will be the obvious choice, they will have to resign from the GMC.  
It is informed that the UD&HD which is the nodal department for the GMC will start the process of the GMC by-elections once the new government is formed and is eligible to give its assent for the same. The UD&HD will write to the State Election Commission seeking the requisition for filling the vacant posts and would put up the requisition with the District Collector, East who is also the Returning Officer for the East district.

It may also be informed that the Deputy Mayor is in-charge of the GMC in the absence of the Mayor.

2nd DIVISION S-LEAGUE QUALIFYING ROUND UPDATE

FA Namthang and Tadong United win big
GANGTOK, 07 May: Football Association Namthang hammered Rendzong FC [Sheda] with 11 goals to win today’s match in the ongoing Second Division Sikkim-League qualifying round here at Paljor Stadium.
FA Namthang scored 11 goals against 3 goals of Rendzong FC in the match.  The Sheda boys started out well opening the score and even leading 2-0 at one stage. However, FA Namthang retaliated with a volley of goals to win the match.
In the other match of the day, Tadong United Football Club defeated another strong team Tashi Phunchok FC, Mangalbaria 2-0.
Mutanchi Rong will now take on Royal Sikkim FC, Development Area on Thursday in the first match, while the second match of the day will be played between Ranka FC and Eagle FC.

M&E is About Communication, Not Confrontation

Editorial:-
On paper, and in their speeches, all political parties contesting elections 2014 approached the voters with assurances of taking development to a new level and ensuring quality delivery. The election results will be out in little over a week’s time, and irrespective of what the EVMs hold by way of political futures, the commitment to complete underway initiatives and deliver quality, will have to be honoured by the next government. As far as governance goes, the ongoing cushion between elections and the announcement of results are the twilight zone, that phase during which nothing new or substantial can be undertaken, but a period when honest reflections can be indulged and new action plans devised without the distractions of running a government or managing a party. And although no party has given off any such signs, one still hopes that this meditation is underway in all political camps which believe that they have a decent shot at calling the shots for the next five years.
It is a no-brainer then to suggest that Monitoring & Evaluation will have to included as governance essentials if the expressed aims and objectives are to be met. This much everyone realises and accepts, but routinely decides to ignore. This aspect of governance should now be elevated to a position it deserves – right at the top. Too many doles, projects, funds and sponsorships have been invested in Sikkim without a scientific appraisal on how far the buck travels here. And accept it, monitoring & evaluation is a simple science. Funds get allocated, the release of payment requires numerous NOCs and clearance certificates to attest that the work was done – that’s monitoring. People look at roads carpeted last winter disintegrate with the first showers – that’s evaluation. Well, that’s the thumb rule. When it comes to the complicated processes by which projects get sanctioned, work orders get issued and payments get made, a slight refinement will be required, but the basics remain unchanged. The next crop of MLAs, who interacted extensively with their constituents, are already familiar with the street-appraisal of ongoing schemes. They know what the people believe to be wrong and what aspects have been endorsed by them. What they need to do now is to approach the concerned departments with these grassroots appraisals and seek explanations.
This is not about confrontation, but communication. There may be genuine reasons compromising quality, and it will be through such deliberations that the executive and the legislative arms of governance can confer, discuss, evaluate and resolve the hindrances that challenge delivery in Sikkim. Of course, the easier thing to do would be to blame previous representatives, find new scapegoats and create new coteries; but that is neither advisable, nor desirable.

Central Bank of India celebrates 2nd anniv in Mangan

MANGAN, 07 May: The Central Bank of India’s Mangan branch celebrated its 2nd anniversary at its premises today. The Central Bank of India is the first nationalized bank in India to run as a Swadeshi bank started by Sir Sorabji Pochkhanawala in 1911.
Branch Manager Sanjog Subba underlined that the Bank believes in the motto ‘Centralise for Customers’ [C4C] and positive customer service. Starting with 1,000 customers in its first year, the branch now has 2,200 customers, he added. The bank has also launched several new schemes it was informed.  Also present were head cashier, Soumen Das, cashier, DK Chettri and staff.

Project Swastik celebrates 54th BRO Raising Day

GANGTOK, 07 May: HQ Project Swastik celebrated the 54th BRO raising day today with Chief Engineer SS Porwal offering a wreath at the Swastik Memorial paying tribute to all martyrs who laid down their lives for the nation in the process of building and maintaining road infrastructure.
As per a press release, the celebration had begun on 01 May with a number of events comprising sports competitions which went on till 04 May. Barakahana was organised on 05 May while a cultural evening was held on 06 May.
In Sikkim hundreds of Officers, personnel and CPL have laid down their lives for construction and maintenance of roads in this fragile and most difficult terrain of the country, the release mentions. A special puja was held in Swastik Mandir and in the GREF Sammelan, the Chief Engineer rewarded a number of BRO personnel and CPLs with certificates and cash awards.
A conference with all TF Commanders, OC’s RCC and staff officers was also held to discuss the ongoing works in Swastik Project and the improvements required to further enhance the output and user satisfaction. The Chief Engineer appreciated the good work done by all the officers and personnel and added that there is always room for further improvement.
Despite a number of constraints, Project Swastik will put its best efforts to improve the road infrastructure in Sikkim in the best possible manner, the Chief Engineer assured.








                                                                                                                    

Boys’ Club to host 3rd Inter Departmental Football tourney

GANGTOK, 07 May: Boys’ Club is organizing the 3rd edition of the Inter Departmental Football Tournament 2014 here at Paljor Stadium. Regarding the same, the Boys’ Club is holding a meeting with the representatives of different government departments at Paljor Stadium on 10 May [Second Saturday] at 10 AM.

Boys’ Club general secretary, Nima Thendup has urged the representatives of interested departments to attend the meeting. Interested departments can also contact Mr Thendup for further information about the tournament.Boys’ Club to host 3rd Inter Departmental Football tourney
GANGTOK, 07 May: Boys’ Club is organizing the 3rd edition of the Inter Departmental Football Tournament 2014 here at Paljor Stadium. Regarding the same, the Boys’ Club is holding a meeting with the representatives of different government departments at Paljor Stadium on 10 May [Second Saturday] at 10 AM.
Boys’ Club general secretary, Nima Thendup has urged the representatives of interested departments to attend the meeting. Interested departments can also contact Mr Thendup for further information about the tournament. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gangtok Back roads (tadong); and the monsoon has not begin yet......






HC directs BSNL WB & Sikkim circle chief to attend next hearing on petition filed by North Sikkim public

GANGTOK, 06 May: The High Court of Sikkim has directed the BSNL chief of West Bengal & Sikkim circle to be present in court on the next hearing of a petition by the people of North Sikkim aggrieved with the poor connectivity services being provided by BSNL there.
During the last hearing on 29 April, the division bench comprising Chief Justice NK Jain and Justice SP Wangdi directed the central government counsel, Karma Thinlay to inform the Chief General Manager, West Bengal Telecom to remain present in person on the next date of hearing of the petition.
The next hearing is scheduled for 26 May.
It may be noted that the General Manager, BSNL, Arvind Bajaj was present on 29 April, the day when the direction to the Chief General Manager to be present was issued.
Earlier, the High Court had directed the counsel appearing on behalf of BSNL to furnish details of officers or any other authority who are dealing with the state of Sikkim in New Delhi.
The petition was filed by the Pipon and public of Lachen Dzumsa a couple of years ago alleging lack of amenities and poor services particularly on the part of the service provider BSNL.

The court also appointed a new amicus curiae, advocate Manish Kumar Jain on behalf of the petitioners to aid the court.  

School beautification project

GANESH SHIWAKOTI, class X, Literary Captain
MIDDLE GYALSHING SECONDARY SCHOOL, 06 May: In a new initiative, students of Government Secondary School, Middle Gyalshing have started making pictures on the walls of their school building at their own expense. The paint and brushes have been bought through personal contributions of the students. This has been done as a part of their class activities and as a programme of the school beautification captains.
In the first phase, students of class IX made maps of India and Sikkim, along with its four districts separately. Likewise students of class VIII made pictures on secularism and conservation of environment. All the students participated equally in this activity.
On the other hand, boys of class X drew the school logo. All these activities were conducted in the first week of April. Teachers and students are planning to make more pictures and write quotations in the future. The school beautification captains have also given their ideas in these activities.

Rotarians help STNM Hospital become more child-friendly

GANGTOK, 06 May: Members of Rotary Club of Gangtok visited the pediatric ward of STNM Hospital this morning and arranged the playroom next to the ward for children, so that they can spend quality time in the hospital during their stay as patients.
As per a press release, many toys were gifted along with a cupboard to store the toys. On the request of the local Rotary Club, many members of the local society and some well wishers from Australia had also contributed toys for the creation of a playroom in the hospital for children.
During the program, refreshments were also provided to the in-patients and their mothers/ care takers. The Club has also agreed to provide a thick carpet for the children’s playroom in due course of time, the release adds.

PNGS captains sworn in

GANGTOK, 06 May: The oath taking ceremony of 25 captains of Paljor Namgyal Girls School was held today.
A press release informs that the oath taking ceremony is a tradition which is held yearly to honour the captains and hand over the responsibility to maintain the tradition of the school motto of Love, Service and Joy.
The program started with the badge giving ceremony by Principal of the school, Jem Pandi Targain and ended with all the captains taking their pledge.
The release informs that Chubongmit Lepcha has been appointed as the school captain, Anushika Basnet and Reepandi Lepcha as vice captains, Suvarna Darjee as primary school captain and Pema Khandu Bhutia as primary school vice captain.
Along with captains, house captains and vice captains from different houses – Borang (Blue), Rabong (Red), Ralong (Yellow), Rayong (Green) also took the pledge on the occasion, it is added.

Training held for counting supervisors and assistants of North District

MANGAN, 06 May: Training for all the counting supervisors and assistants of North District was conducted at DAC, election control room, Mangan, North district today.
The training was conducted under the supervision of DM (N), TN Kazi, ADC (N), R Yadav. DM, North in his address thanked all for proper cooperation at the time of poling and called for further support during the counting process.
ADC (N) presented information regarding the counting process which will be held on 16 May at Zilla Bhawan, Mangan. He informed that the counting process will start by 8.30 am and 10 counting tables will be placed, 5 counting tables for parliamentary and 5 counting tables for assembly poll along with video coverage. All the counting supervisors and assistants should obtain identity cards before 13 May, he added.
The counting process will be monitored and cross checked by the Observer and micro Observer. The counting will start with the Postal ballots followed by the Assembly, Parliamentary and Sangha.
All the counting staff deployed must cooperate for peaceful and fair counting process, said the ADC and added that there are several election rules and regulations which have to be followed properly. The EVMs should not be touched by counting agents of any political party at the time of counting, it was informed.

Miss Sikkim Diva Gangtok auditions on Saturday

GANGTOK, 06 May: The Gangtok audition of ‘Miss Sikkim Diva 2014’ organized by event management company ‘Positude’ will be held on 10 May. Over 50 girls from other districts have participated in the auditions held thus far.
“The names of the selected participants will be announced once the Gangtok audition is over. We have received overwhelming and positive response so far,” said Positude CEO, Gyurmela Bhutia.
Managing Director, Bijay Subba informed that ‘Positude’ is a company started few months ago by a group of enthusiastic young minds of Sikkim which will also be aggressively involved in social activities.

“Miss Sikkim Diva is our first venture and part of the profits from the event will be donated to a social organization located in Sikkim. Our aim is to engage the youth of Sikkim in a positive way through positive attitude,” he added.

Committee set up to review NTTF’s consultancy services to ATTC and CCCT

GANGTOK, 06 May: The State government has constituted a committee to assess the impact of the consultancy services being provided by a Bangalore-based firm to two technical institutes in the state.
The committee, headed by the Director, Technical Education, as Chairman will assess the impact of services and other support provided by Nettur Technical Training Foundation (NTTF), Bangalore, to manage the affairs of Advanced Technical Training Centre (ATTC), Bardang, East Sikkim and Centre for Computers and Communication Technology (CCCT), Chisopani, South Sikkim.
The firm has been providing services to these institutes since the year 2002 following a Memorandum of Understanding which will end on 30 June this year.
As per an official communiqué, eleven years since the MoU was signed between the state and NTTF, the department has now felt it necessary to examine the impact of technical consultancy and other supports being provided by the firm to the two institutes vis a vis the consultancy fees paid.
Further the committee is also to examine whether these two institutes had enough handholding in the last 11 years and whether they can now be managed independently without the handholding from NTTF.
The committee will also examine whether the technical consultancy and other support of NTTF should be continued in managing the two institutes. In the event that the two institutes are to be managed independently, the committee is to recommend as to how the transition process is to take place. If the committee comes to the conclusion that the consultancy is to be continued then there have to be suggestions from the committee on conditions or changes in the clauses of the existing MoU.
The report of the committee is expected to be submitted by the end of this month.
The committee also includes the Registrar, Sikkim Manipal University and the Vice Principals, ATTC and CCCT.

West RO apprises political parties of counting process

GYALSHING, 06 May: Returning Officer West conducted a meeting with the political candidates and its agents today at the Control Room, Kyongsa Girls Senior Secondary School regarding the conduct of the counting on 16 May 2014.
Returning Officer, Tshewang Gyachho, informed those present about the layout of the control room and the procedure of the counting as per the guidelines of the ECI.

Earlier, the candidates and their representatives were also shown around the Strong Room in order to enable them to have a close look at the security arrangements where the polled EVMs are kept under full security.

The Women Will Decide, Again

Editorial:-
By turning out to vote in larger proportions than the men, Sikkim’s ladies have displayed that they are keen to have a larger stake in governance and policy-making. This is for the second consecutive election that women voters have outperformed men in Sikkim. In Elections 2009, against an 81.46% male voter turnout, Sikkim’s women posted 82.77%. This time, in 2014, 81.40% of the women voters exercised their franchise to help decide the government for the next five years against 80.57% men. Irrespective of what the final verdict posts, this is one statistic that should make every Sikkimese proud. Very few other places in the country can make such claims towards women’s empowerment – and make no mistake, stepping out, braving the heat and the rain later in the evening to vote, is a sign of empowerment. And this is no flash in the pan, but appears to be a process which has sustained and grown over the past decade. In Elections 1999, women voter turnout was five percent lower than men [84.36% versus 79.10%], and as women’s empowerment efforts progressed in earnest [and the SDF government deserves credit for it], in Elections 2004, male and female voter turnout were almost level – against the 77.99% men who voted that year, as many as 77.01% of the female voters showed up and voted. As already mentioned, the women turned the tables on male voters in 2009, and have retained the bragging rights for this election as well. Even as the women voters rank higher in percentage turn-out, they are not very far behind when it comes to absolute numbers either. Against a total of 1,53,425 men who voted in Sikkim last month, 1,46,228 ladies pressed the EVM button. [This figure was M: 1,25,660 and F: 1,18,681 in 2009].

Irrespective of how the results pan out, Sikkimese women have established that their endorsement will be required by every aspirant and every candidate, in every constituency, in Sikkim in the future. This power can be lightly ignored because while women voters are in [a very slight] majority in five assembly constituencies, in actual turnout [not just percentage] they outnumber the male voters in as many as nine Assembly constituencies. There are more women voters in Namchi-Singhithang, Upper Tadong, Kabi Lungchuk, Dzongu and Lachen Mangan constituencies, and while they maintained this lead in actual voting as well, they managed to also pull ahead of men in four more constituencies – Melli, Gnathang-Machong, Martam-Rumtek, and Upper-Burtuk. Even the most basic political calculation will thus recommend that irrespective of what happens to the perpetually sabotaged Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament, political parties in Sikkim will be well advised to allow more women into representative politics roles. The ruling Front has three women candidates this time and the chance to have one more, while its main opposition has just a token representation [and the chance to field one more in the event that a bye-election is required]. These numbers will have to improve. While the ruling party can claim credit for the 50-50 representation its women leaders have in the Panchayat and Urban bodies, the other parties, as also the ruling actually, will have to begin by allowing more women into decision making posts within the party. The parties, for their own survival, need to appreciate the power that women wield in Sikkim now and this means that women’s issues can no longer be sidestepped. Political power is no longer possible without catering to the women voters, and given the centuries of prejudice and offensively male-centric system that has been imposed on women, one hopes that this vote-bank stands separate from the caste and community divisions that short-sighted politicians tend to carve up. It is an accepted fact that the male voters in Sikkim are segregated by too many petty and selfish responses, the female voter preferences, because they are still relatively new to this level of involvement, remain little understood. The results should provide some hints on how the Sikkimese women decide their votes and if this is found to be a voter sensibility that rises above the opportunistic crassness of the hitherto male-dominated process, then Sikkim can expect a more ideology and performance-driven politics in the future. Is one expecting too much from cold statistics? 

Motivational camp held to promote blood donation

NAMCHI, 06 May: A daylong motivational camp on voluntary blood donation organised by Red Ribbon Club and NSS of Namthang Sr Sec School was held today at the school´s auditorium.

The camp was attended by District Medical Superintendent, South, Dr. Baroon Subba, Principal NSSS, RRC coordinator, Kisor Baniya, NYK volunteers, teachers and students of NSSS and Livelihood School, Namthang. 

Homoeopathic Cure for Asthma in Children SANTA PRADHAN

The world observes 07 May as Asthma Awareness Day every year to generate awareness on this frustrating ailment, which in many cases can only be controlled but not cured. The patients suffer incessantly hunting from one cure to other without much success. Though, many systems of medicine have often claimed complete cure for the disease, only very few suffering patients have been found actually cured completely and permanently.
However, asthma is not incurable in many systems of medicine. One such system is homoeopathy which has a permanent cure for asthma in majority of cases. Though, I do not have much personal experience in adult patients of asthma, I have come across many children suffering from asthma having been cured completely and permanently with homoeopathic medication.
Besides the case treated by various homoeopathic doctors I have studied homoeopathy a little bit, have also treated few cases with gratifying results. Such ailing kids who mostly suffered constant attacks of cough and cold, wheezing sound in the chest with breathlessness were constantly ill. Incidentally, I knew about them as they were children of my colleagues.
The kids were under good care of renowned pediatricians, yet despite long and sustained treatment, there were only “improvements” but no cure with relapses off and on. Most of the children were on medication with regular use of “pumps” with steroid, yet their conditions were getting from bad to worse. Some of them were in the hostels and they had to be taken from hostel very often for treatment. One can very well imagine the plight and pain of the parents who were worried about their kids all the time. In all these cases, homoeopathic medicines were administered for 10 - 15 days and only few kids ever had relapse once and had to be given second round of medication for a week or so. All of them are now grown up and some of them are in colleges and are totally cured with no residual signs of the debilitating disease. Their parents, now all senior officers in the government must be happy and relieved and thankful to homoeopathy.
Homoeopathic medicines have no negative effects and interestingly, despite the popular belief that homoeopathic medicines take a long time to act, the disease can be cured in a very short time. As asthma in children is quite common, it is always advisable for the parents to try an alternative system of medicine like homoeopathy, if they do not get much out of conventional medicine, which are now available in the rural hospitals also where the government has appointed qualified doctors under NRHM.                                                                                                                                                  

Man tries to enter Libing army camp on forged documents

 GANGTOK, 06 May: One person has been arrested by the police on grounds of trespassing and impersonation in order to get access into the 17th Mountain Division Headquarters, Libing located at Deorali, Gangtok.
The person, Biswajeet Sharma, was apprehended by the army security personnel located at Ganju Lama Dwar late at around 10 p.m. on 05 May. He was apprehended as his movements seemed suspicious and was attempting to enter the army compound on false documents.
It is reported that Biswajeet Sharma, just over 20 years of age, had in his possession an army identification card supposed to have been issued to him from Nashik; in addition he also had a hand drawn road map from Durgapur to Sikkim and a pair of army overalls. After initial interrogation by the army he was handed over to the police late at night.
The Sadar police have booked the man for cheating by impersonation, criminal trespass and forgery for the purpose of cheating. He was produced before the courts today for police remand. As of now the antecedents of the person are not known though his connection with any controversial outfit is said to be unlikely.

Meeting discusses implementation of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act

GANGTOK, 06 May [IPR]: The State Advisory Committee of Health Care Human Service and Family Welfare Department convened a meeting in the chamber of DG-cum-Secretary to discuss implementation of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act in Sikkim.
The consultation meeting was chaired by the DG-cum-Secretary, Health, Dr. K. Bhandari, and attended by Principal Director Dr. V. Singhi, HoD/ OBG Dr. T. Yethenpa, Dr. R.N. Deokota, Chief Medical Officers from East, South and North districts, Additional Director Dr. S. Lama, DRCHO West, Dr. N. Shenga, Dr. Ruth Yunzon, Joint Director from IPR Department, Parinita Lama and other health officials.
During the meeting, issues like reporting format for minutes of the meeting, regular monitoring and supervision, regular review report and Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) were discussed. The financial status of all districts was also highlighted in the programme. All the participants gave their valuable inputs.
Addressing the meeting DG-cum-Secretary Dr. Bhandari stressed on the roles and responsibility of health officials for the implementation of PC & PNDT Act in the state. The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act has to be implemented strictly to avoid sex selective abortion, he said. It was informed during the meeting that the Ultrasound machine should get registered from concerned authority and only authorized persons can conduct the ultrasound.
During the programme, a power point presentation on the status of PC & PNDT Act was also made by the concerned nodal officer Dr. Namita Subba. Earlier the programme began with the welcome address and concluded with the vote of thanks by SAA (PC & PNDT) Dr. N. Shenga.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

THIS COUPLE HAS NOT MISSED A SINGLE ELECTION!(cnn-ibn)

97 year old Shyam Saran Negi and his wife, 91-year-old Hira Mani, residents of Kalpa village of Kinnaur district which that falls in the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency of Himachal Pradesh, show the victory sign.
Shyam Saran Negi has never missed voting in a single election. He has been a part of Google’s Pledge To Vote Campaign 2014.

Retired as a junior basic teacher from a government school in 1975, Negi was among the first to vote in independent India’s first Lok Sabha battle in October 1951 in Chini constituency - later renamed Kinnaur.

SHSC boots up for football tourney in Patna

GANGTOK, 05 May: A 20-member squad of Sikkim Himalayan Sporting Club [SHSC] is all set to participate in the Jan Nayak Kapuri All India Football Tournament, underway at Moinul Haque Stadium in Patna, Bihar from 02 May. The SHSC has been placed directly in the quarter-final round and will be playing its first match on 10 May.
The team comprises of young players below 20 years of age led by Bhaichung Bhutia as the team captain and Ongdup Lepcha as vice-captain. The team has Pranay Subba as the coach and Sonam Dorjee Tamang as manager.
The SHSC team also has one player from Boys’ Club and 2 players from SAI Namchi for the tournament.
During the practice session at Paljor Stadium this morning, Sikkim Football Association general secretary, Menla Ethenpa expressed his best wishes to the team on behalf of SFA. “It is a prestigious tournament and SFA is happy that SHSC is playing in such a tournament”, he said. He added that proper management and performance of the club in a short span of time has earned them the opportunity to play in this tournament.
Mr Ethenpa further stated that the players of the club have to understand the importance of this opportunity and give their best to make Sikkim proud. Since the team is representing the state they should maintain discipline and play with proper team work and coordination, he added.
SHSC president, Tenzing Lamtha expressed his gratitude to the SFA for giving this opportunity to the SHSC to play in the tournament. He also thanked Boys’ Club and SAI Namchi for releasing their players to play for the club’s team.
“The tournament would give huge exposure to local players and give them the opportunity to display their game and skills at the national level”, said Mr Lamtha further adding that such exposure would make the players of SHSC tougher and add to their experience.
Team coach Mr. Subba stated that the team is all set to play their best game in the tournament and the only challenge for the team is playing in the extreme heat in Patna. The squad consists of very young players and the club has high hopes that they will perform well in the tournament. The team will be leaving for the tournament on 07 May.

Sikkim team to take part in National Challenger Chess Tourney

GANGTOK, 05 May: A five-member Sikkim Chess Association [SCA] team is looking to improve their FIDE rating in the upcoming the National Challenger Chess Tournament 2014 to be held at Dharmshala in Himachal Pradesh from 09 to 19 May.
The team members are Rakesh Gurung, Thendup Tamang and Rohit Gurung from Tadong SSS, Rahul Gurung from Lumsey JHS and Sushmita Lama from Holy Cross School. All are top rated players of Sikkim. The state team will be accompanied by SCA general secretary, Mahendra Dhakal, who is also an international arbiter.
Mr Dhakal stated that all players are looking forward to further improve their FIDE rating in this prestigious tournament. “The tournament will have around 20 grand masters and 50 international masters so it is not only a good opportunity for the state players but also a chance to improve their ratings. The team is all set and confident to do better in this tournament”, he said.
Mr Dhakal further stated that the state team has been taking part in this prestigious tournament since the SCA was formed and their performance and rating has been steadily improving.

SCA president, HS Sharma and other members of the association have expressed their best wishes to the team. The team is scheduled to leave on 07 May for the tournament. 

Goals continue to pile up in 2nd Div qualifiers

GANGTOK, 05 May: Sikkim Himalayan Sporting Club and JVC FA Singtam registered victories today in the ongoing Second Division Sikkim-League qualifying round here at Paljor Stadium.
In the first match of the day, Sikkim Himalayan Sporting Club thrashed Hill Stones Club 5-1. SHSC could have scored higher if they had been able to capitalize on some good opportunities that came their way in today´s match.
In the other match, JVC FA outplayed United Generation, Chandmari 3-1.
On Tuesday, Denzong Boys will take on Greendale Senior Secondary School in the first match and the second match will be played between Brotherhood FC and FA Armature.

ICAR hosts state-level research advisory committee meeting

GANGTOK, 05 May: ICAR Sikkim Centre organized a state-level Research Advisory Committee meeting today, chaired by Agriculture Secretary PT Bhutia, today.
The meeting, an official press release states, was an initiative towards creating a common platform for effective interaction between researchers and stakeholders in line with ICAR working in close association with state line departments and farmers for timely dissemination of scientific knowledge and technological backup to develop self-reliance in organic agriculture production in the state.
Dr. RK Avasthe, Joint Director, ICAR Sikkim Centre, welcomed all the dignitaries and presented the overall research and extension activities of ICAR Sikkim Centre.
The Agriculture Department Secretary, Mr. Bhutia, in his address applauded the role of ICAR in Sikkim and underlined the benefits of better cooperation and collaborative programs. He stressed that there was need for integrated farming systems with at least two production systems including agriculture/ horticulture and animal husbandry at village cluster level.
He further stated that there was need to develop programs for organic milk production as well in Sikkim.
Dr. Sandeep Tambe, Special Secretary, RMDD, in his address, pointed out that in the near future, water will be the most precious commodity, hence, there is need to develop technologies for optimum use of stored water. He further raised the concerns of farmers regarding organic disease & pest management in large cardamom and non-availability of quality planting material.
He also invited future collaborative work with ICAR under MNREGA.
Khorlo Bhutia, Principal Director, Horticulture Department, complimented the entire team of ICAR Sikkim Centre for playing a pivotal role in development of agro-animal technology which had led to an increase in production of fresh vegetables, fruits, milk and meat.
Dr. Senthil Kumar, MD, Sikkim Milk Union, further detailed the role of ICAR in the region and shared that there was urgent need to raise the SNF content in milk collected in Sikkim, which, he said, was lower than the other states.
He said that there is also need to take up research on synchronization of oestrus cycle in dairy animals and establishment of embryo transfer technology facility at ICAR Sikkim Centre.
During the technical session, Dr. H. Kalita, Principal Scientist (Entomology); Dr. Ashish Yadav, Senior Scientist (Horticulture); Dr. R. Gopi, Scientist (Plant Pathology); Dr. Subhash Babu, Scientist (Agronomy); Shri Shaon K. Das, Scientist (Soil Science) and Dr. Brajesh Kumar, Scientist (Animal Reproduction) made presentations. There was lively interaction between the state officials and ICAR scientists for the development of future R&D roadmap for Sikkim, the release adds.
The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks proposed by Dr. H. Kalita, Principal Scientist (Entomology).

Preempt Post-Poll Violence, Don’t Instigate It

Editorial:-
This election season has been more about whisper campaigns and speculations than actual campaigning; and now that the voting is done and over with, there is a new whisper making the rounds – that of post-poll violence. Hopefully, even this speculation will prove a damp squib like the scale of contest which was projected before the elections – after all, the voter turnout in 2014 was marginally lower than in 2009 when it should have been substantially higher given the billing attached to elections 2014. It is ironic in a way that the election campaign period this time was shorter than the wait for the results after the voting, but that is probably good for Sikkim because in the month-long wait, and the ennui that prevails, a lot of the animosity with which the supporters engaged in the campaigning would have calmed down and many people would have realized the futility of extending political polarization into personal enmities. What this will achieve is that when the results do finally arrive on 16 May, for the supporters it will be more as a relief, irrespective of what the final tally is, than as an instigation.
That said, as mentioned, a sustained campaign is being pushed to suggest that the post-results days will visit violence on Sikkim. Admittedly, given the viciousness with which the campaign was run, makes this a very possibility. And then there is each party which contested the elections swearing by its commitment to peace and alleging that its opponents are hatching conspiracies to deliver post-poll violence on Sikkim. Political parties, Sikkim has learnt by now, cannot be taken seriously on their assurances, claims or allegations, but what is a definite is that the people have never endorsed violence and must surely be scratching their heads in wonder, wondering why parties will need to resort to violence after the people have spoken. It is here that the administration needs to step in and shape up. While it is expected for the administration and the police to be paranoid about such things and stand on over-alert mode, it is wrong and ill-advised for these agencies to join the whispering battalions and their speculations because that pushes people on tenterhooks. But since it will be the people who will be traumatized by any breakdown in the law and order situation, the electorate should take the initiative now. The electorate should confront its present candidates and future leaders and secure a commitment from them [ahead of the counting] that they will hold their peace. Fact remains - and this applies to all camps - that short-sighted sycophants out to earn brownie points with their respective masters could resort to or even finance reprisals to catch attention and prove their allegiance. Dejected candidates, who have the resources and an equally dejected team, but not the wisdom to realize that people need more than just character assassinations to commit support, could also consider violence as the closing theme for their political careers. All this is possible, but not unavoidable.  The right message from the authorities, clear - very clear - instructions from the leaders and a public appeal against violence by the public itself can snuff out violent inclinations wherever they could simmer. Allegations and complaints will not stave off post-poll violence, only commitment to peace, from all levels, will.

Theft at Upper Aho

GANGTOK, 05 May: A series of thefts have been reported from Pakyong involving thefts from a Manghim and also from a Shiv mandir located in Upper Aho. Along with the items and cash stolen from these religious places the miscreants also stole a music system from a car parked near the mandir.
According to reports the thefts took place during the intervening night of 02 and 03 May. Unknown persons reportedly broke into the Manghim and stole 3 tolas of gold, 4 pieces of silver worth 6 tolas, a bronze plate, a DVD player and Rs. 5,400 in cash.
Several items were also stolen from the Shiv mandir including 2 Saligrams, 2 bronze statues, 2 bells and a Shivling along with cash Rs. 50. Also reported stolen is the music system from a vehicle parked near the temple. While no one has been arrested the police have rounded up one suspect, a 16-year-old resident of Upper Aho.

One booked for peddling drugs

GANGTOK, 05 May: One person has been booked for selling contraband substances in Gangtok. The accused also owns a shop in New Market, Gangtok.
According to reports the police received information that the accused was selling such substances from his shop and a raid was then conducted. During the search operation the police recovered 5 large and 5 small strips of Spasmo-Proxyvon along with 2 large strips of N-10. Along with these items also recovered from the person was marijuana amounting to 90 grams. The person has been booked under the SAD Act and also NDPS Act.

Cyclist pedals for awareness on global warming

GANGTOK, 05 May: 36-year-old Ram Prasad Naskar from West Bengal has been on a National Cycle Rally since 18 December 2013 to create awareness on global warming and its effects. Naskar has covered a distance of 13,570 KM on his cycle so far and reached Gangtok on Sunday.
He hails from South 24 Parganas, Sonarpur, Subash Gram in West Bengal and is a teacher by profession.
Speaking to media persons here, he said that he has covered 21 states so far on his cycle to create awareness on global warming and its ill effects. The route map for his National Cycle Rally was prepared by the Mechanical Engineering Department of Jadavpur University.
He left for Assam today and will now cover all North-Eastern states.

Preservation and digital documentation of traditional Buddhist art-forms

GANGTOK, 05 May: Tsurphu Labrang, in association with the Kunkyong Charitable Trust, is undertaking a cultural preservation project to document and preserve the traditional art forms of Buddhist Monasteries in the Himalayas. The curtain raiser ceremony of the project was held in Gangtok on Sunday.
As per a press release, the project will be carried out in three phases, the first being a week-long workshop wherein caretakers of the traditional art-forms will be trained in the basic principles of preservation. While the first phase has been funded by Tsurphu Labrang and Kunkyong Charitable Trust, funds for the other two phases are yet to be finalised.
The workshop, to be held at Namgyal Institute of Tibetology from 05-11 May, will be attended by monks, nuns and caretakers from 15 Buddhist institutes. The participants will be trained by five conservation experts from United States of America, Canada and India headed by Ann Shaftel.
The participating institutes are Karma Shri Nalanda Institute, Rumtek; Lava Thekchenling Monastery; Samdrub Dhargeyling Monastery, Sonada; Dolen Kya choling, Salugara; Sa Ngor Gompa, Gangtok; Karma Drupgyudhargayling, Tilokpur, Himachal Pradesh; Sherdup Choekor Ling, Rumtek; 2 Vikas, Rabongla, South Sikkim; Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Deorali, Gangtok; Guru Kubhum Lhakhang, Deorali; Ecclesiastical Department, Govt. of Sikkim; Phuntsok Ngyab Cholong, Sribadam, West Sikkim; Bokar Ngedon Chokhorling, Mirik; Kunga Rabtenling, Bhutan and; Dupthob Theydho Nunnery, Bhutan.
The release informs that in the second phase, documentation of the existence and condition of the art treasures of Buddhist monasteries, located in remote areas and major centers will be carried out.
Monks and nuns attending the training session will work on inventories in their own monasteries. Teaching Team members will travel to the monastery of each participant in the training session to assist with digital inventory creation. In the final phase of the project, selected treasures of some monasteries will receive conservation treatment by Team members to ensure their longevity for future generations. The conservation treatment emphasizes stabilization (not over-cleaning or over-painting).
The project will also be undertaken in Bhutan, Nepal, India, and Mongolia with appropriate funding, the release mentions.

Monday, May 5, 2014

AND THE AWARD GOES TO: President Pranab Mukherjee presenting the Rajat Kamal Award for Best Actress to Geetanjali Thapa for her role in Liar’s Dice (Hindi) at the 61st National Film Awards function in New Delhi on 03 May, 2014. [PIB]

High Court rules in favour of land owners given the run around by Dans Energy

COURT IMPOSES COSTS AND DIRECTS PROJECT DEVELOPER TO CLEAR LAND ACQUISITION DUES PLUS INTEREST ACCRUED
GANGTOK, 04 May: In a landmark judgment passed on 01 May, last Thursday, the High Court of Sikkim took serious note of what tantamount to “forceful land grabbing” by power developer Dans Energy. The landowners who are farmers have been deprived of the use of their land since the land was acquired by the power developer in 2007 and all this while they were not paid complete compensation for their land.
Justice SP Wangdi, while passing the order, has imposed costs of Rs. 1 lakh on Dans Energy Pvt Ltd and directed the power developer to pay the compensation with interest [at the rate of 9% for first year from the date of possession and 15% per annum thereafter until full and final payment of the dues] to the land owners within 30 days.
The project developer is alleged to have not paid compensation to the land owners despite construction of the 96 MW Jorethang Loop hydel project having begun in 2010.
The costs of the proceedings, at Rs 20,000 each have been directed to be deposited in the bank accounts of Sing-Chit Gompa Monastic School [Sing-Chit Ngadak Gompa], Manul, North Sikkim; Destitute Home, Chakung, West Sikkim; Kingstone Destitute Home, Rhenock, East Sikkim; Children from Special School for Hearing & Speech Impaired, Gangtok; and Mayal Lyang Mission Society, Namchi, South Sikkim.
The petitioners, Bal Bahadur Tamang, Purna Bahadur Rai, Ram Prasad Subba along with four others, had approached the High Court seeking judicial remedies for adequate compensation from the power developer.                                                                            
Dans Energy had been requested time and again to release the compensation due to the land owners but the project developer remained absolutely adamant, the single bench observed while pronouncing the judgment.
“In any case, once award under Section 11 is passed, it becomes final under Section 12 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and nothing further would lie against it, except otherwise provided under the Act,” Justice Wangdi observed.
It was revealed that  during the time of issuing the notice under Section 9 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, some of the Petitioners and other land owners and tenants appeared before the District Collector, South and submitted their objections on various grounds against the acquisition of the land and the manner in which it was being carried out.
The primary objection raised by the petitioners was on the meager rate of Rs. 8.47 per square feet at which their land was being acquired when the prevailing market rate was Rs. 55 per square feet and even the rate fixed by the Government for dry field was Rs. 15 per square feet and for agricultural land well over Rs. 30 per square feet.
The District Collector, South after considering all the relevant factors like the locality, connectivity, availability of power facility etc., and the genuine demand of the land owners, revised the rate of compensation to Rs. 18.25 per square feet, thereby enhancing the total compensation to Rs. 1,28,36,448. After deducting the sum of Rs. 49,90,994 released earlier, the balance of Rs. 83,61,998 thus remains to be released.
Dans Energy Limited took over possession, carried out allegedly callous and random construction activities causing landslides and slips through the entire length of the road damaging even the un-acquired land of the petitioners compelling them to approach the District Collector, South with a complaint against the power developer, and also petitioned the Governor of Sikkim, the Chief Minister and other concerned authorities including all the respondents.
These unfortunately were not responded to leading the petitioners to file Title Suits on 2010 in the Court of the Civil Judge, South Sikkim at Namchi. The Title Suits were ultimately disposed of citing VII Rule 10 in which the petitioners reliefs claimed were beyond its pecuniary jurisdiction.
The court has observed that neither the power developer Dans Energy nor the State Respondents challenged the award passed by the District Collector, South under Section 11 of the LA Act before any forum.
The petitioners had also approached the High Court Lok Adalat in November, 2012, but the case was disposed of without any settlement.
Dans Energy contended in the court questioning the correctness of the valuation of the compensation and refused payment, however, the Court has rejected the plea of the power developer stating, “It is too late in the day for the Respondent power developer to question on the plea that it was not correctly arrived. In any case, once award under Section 11 is passed, it becomes final under Section 12 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and nothing further would lie against it, except otherwise provided under the Act.”
The High Court has directed the power developer to deposit balance amount with interest after calculation as stipulated in the declaration of award under Section 11 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and disburse to the petitioners their respective amounts of compensation.