Saturday, June 21, 2014

Painting exhibition cum sale at Star Cinema

GANGTOK, 20 June: An exhibition-cum-sale of oil paintings began this afternoon here at the Star Cinema Hall complex. The 10-day long exhibition is being organized by a group of Gangtok youth on behalf a Bangalore-based organization, Streisand.
The exhibition mainly features paintings by artists from Streisand and has a few from the Darjeeling Hills. A total of 62 paintings are on display.

Organizers, Ittefaque Usmani, Roshan Singh and Bikash Singh, inform that they are organizing such an exhibition for the first time in Sikkim. They inform that the funds raised from the exhibition-cum-sale will be used for social welfare activities by the organization. 

CHAMLING ADDRESSES SDF YOUTH

“Lost 10 seats due to our weakness, not Oppositions strength”
GANGTOK, 20 June: More than 2,500 young Sikkim Democratic Front cadres attended a four-hour function, chaired by party president, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, at the SDF Bhawan here today.
As per an SDF release, Mr Chamling praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and shared that during his meeting with the Prime Minister he placed all the political demands of Sikkim. He informed the PM that 12 percent reservation in jobs was given to BPL candidates in Sikkim.
SDF members showed the way by asking everyone to recommit to the idea of a secular SDF, the release mentions.
They also welcomed the recent announcements of the new Government to bring in the mandatory Sikkim Subject for everything from trade licences, hawker licences, jobs, enlisting as contractors. The prohibition of subletting was also welcomed as also the doing away of second Saturday as holiday.
The Chief Minister advocated that the message and ideology of the Party must be taken to the grassroots. He stressed that “the opposition did not win ten seats on account of their strength but because of our weakness.”
He added that the youth must understand this more clearly than anybody else as the literacy rate was increasing tremendously.
“We have only been talking about what we are giving but never talking and communicating the social transformation that is taking place on account of our ideological stand,” said Mr. Chamling.
The party president said that the SDF stands to make Sikkim a progressive and advanced State and ensure that the fruits of this flow to the people of Sikkim. This he said was the most secular of thought in any party.
He also opined that information/ awareness on much of the developmental work achieved was not taken to the grassroots and electorate in the correct manner. Hence the opposition worked with their rumours on the hapless people. This was not the fault of the people but the weakness of our cadres, he added.
He also said that he is giving more responsibility and charge to the young people who he said must now shoulder more responsibility in all party structures.
He exhorted all youth to come and work with the party and Government. He asked them to read the manifesto as now the party has been voted into power for a record fifth time. He asked the young people to keep a watch on the activities of Government to see that they are fulfilling the wishes of the people that is recorded in the manifesto of the SDF party.
He also said that the MBC are now to be given OBC certificates as they were being denied any admission in colleges, etc in other parts of the country.
Other young members who appealed for discipline, awareness and more work were Sushil Tamang, Rajni Pradhan, Karma Subba, Chetan Sapkota and Norden Lepcha. They also said that youth were restless but they need to be aware that just a certificate does not make them skilled. More emphasis is now needed in the area of skills and training. Twenty first century young people must adapt to twenty first century challenges and accept them, they said.
In attendance were all senior functionaries of the party and Government, the release adds.

Minister convenes coordination meet at Tourism Department

GANGTOK, 20 June: Tourism & Civil Aviation Department held a coordination meeting on 18 June to discuss provision of efficient services to tourists, tourists' safety and efficient management of tourist traffic in Sikkim.
As per a press release, the meeting was chaired by Minister Tourism & Civil Aviation Department, Ugen T Gyatso and Secretaries of the concerned Departments like Land Revenue & Disaster Management, Transport, CCF Forest Department, DC-East, SP (E), SP Check-posts, Senior Officers of different departments and executive members of the Tourism Organizations participated in the meeting.
To address the various tourism related issues suggestions from stake holders, line authorities have been noted for incorporating them in the proposal for regulatory guidelines, the release mentions.
The Tourism Minister in his concluding address assured all the participants that he will try his best to address all the issues and find effective remedies to the existing problems. He urged the participants to be cooperative and adopt a professional approach to set an example in the tourism sector.

Thief flees with handbags while ladies swim

GANGTOK, 20 Jun: A complaint of theft was registered at Ranipool Police against an unknown person on 19 June. As per the FIR, the complainant along with her three sisters had gone to Smile Land Water Park to swim and had kept their belongings on the side of the swimming pool area. While they were swimming, one of the staff members of the park saw a person running away with their bags. He immediately intimated the complainant and they tried to apprehend the thief, but he could not be tracked down.
It was reported that the thief had made away with 02 ladies bags containing 3 mobile phones, 1 gold chain [3 tolas], 1 pair gold earrings [1/2 tola], 1 gold bracelet [3 tolas], 2 ATM cards, 1 driving license, pan card, 1 wrist watch and 2 ladies money purse. The staff who had seen the thief was examined to get accurate information. Efforts are on to trace out and apprehend the accused.


TN Dhakal criticizes govt decision to disallow govt servants from joining associations

GANGTOK, 20 June: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha’s TN Dhakal, who had unsuccessfully contested the recent Lok Sabha elections on an SKM ticket, has thumbed down the State government decision to reverse its decision to allow government servants to become members of associations and NGOs. In a press statement issued today, Mr. Dhakal contests that the liberty guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution has been violated by the State government with this decision.
He goes on to argue that if the government has decided to restrict government servants from associating with organizations, how were the same government’s Ministers accepting bureaucrats as members of the organizing committee of such events as the Bhanu Jayanti being held under the aegis of the Nepali Sahitya Parishad.
The government decision is being violated by senior Ministers and wonders aloud on what action will be taken on this.

Paryavaran Mahotsav at SIMFED

GANGTOK, 20 June: Paryavaran Mahotsav 2014 was celebrated by Sikkim State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Limited (SIMFED) today. SIMFED organised a plantation drive where 60 varieties of saplings were planted by the officers and staff on the land belonging to SIMFED at Lumsey, Tadong, East Sikkim, informs a press release.
On the occassion the officers and staff of SIMFED took a pledge to keep the environment free from pollution and reduce, reuse and recycle products in our daily lives.

The plantation was supported and supervised by the officials of the Forest Environment and Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim, it is added.

Plantation and cleanliness drive at Sikkim Science Centre

GANGTOK, 20 June [IPR]: In a joint initiative by the Department of Forests Environment & Wildlife Management, Science & Technology Department, and Mines Minerals & Geology Department of the Government of Sikkim, a massive plantation cum cleanliness drive was organised this morning at the premises of Sikkim Science Centre, Marchak.
The initiative was part of the ongoing 'Paryavaran Mahotsav 2014', a fortnight-long campaign launched by the Government of Sikkim for maintaining the clean and green status of the State.
The plantation drive which was jointly led by PCCF (Environment) Forest Department, Dr. Anil Mainra, Secretary Science & Technology, PT Ethenpa and Secretary Mines & Geology Department, BN Sharma. Senior officers of all the three departments were also present.
Similarly, on 15 June a plantation and cleanliness drive was undertaken at Namthang Primary Health Center Complex. Area MLA, Tilu Gurung along with senior officers and local public actively participating in the plantation and cleanliness drive.

Power Minister issues directives to improve department functioning

GANGTOK, 20 June: Power Minister DD Bhutia chaired a meeting of the department on 19 June during which different issues faced by the department were highlighted. The meeting was also attended by Secretary, Power & Energy Department, PB Subba, along with officers and staff of East district.
In the address, the Minister stressed on strict attendance with the implementation of biometric scanners and CCTV cameras in the department offices, informs a press release. He urged the employees to work sincerely and responsibly and to apply for leave in advance.
Mr. Bhutia said that during his surprise visit to the different power houses of the state, he noticed many instances of illegal encroachment of land belonging to the department. He directed department officials to take necessary action for the eviction of these illegal occupants.
Since the Power Department is a major revenue earning department, all sanctioned schemes/ works being implemented by the department need to be completed on time as any delay would lead to loss of revenue of the state, he stressed further adding that strict action would be taken to ensure completion of work on time.
All the outstanding electricity arrears are to be recovered by sending notices to the defaulting consumers else the lines are to be disconnected and appropriate action to be taken, directed the Minister.
It was also observed that the many of the defaulting consumers are Government Departments.
It was further stated that even if the consumer is availing the benefit of subsidy in the electricity consumption in rural areas, proper meters (manufactured as per specifications approved by the Energy and Power Department) need to be installed.
The field staff of the department need to be trained from time to time to efficiently manage the vast infrastructure of the Department. Inadequate training and safety measure may lead to frequent accidents and loss of lives, it was added.
Excess staff and officers should be trained and re-deployed for revenue collection and monitoring of leakages of the power supply, the Minister said further adding that all the state owned Power generating units need to run efficiently so that Sikkim need not depend on import of power supply.

PHE Deptt celebrates Paryavaran Mahotsav at Selep Tanki area

GANGTOK, 20 June: Paryavaran Mahotsav was celebrated by the officials and staff of Public Health Engineering Department and Social Justice Empowerment & Welfare Department along with the public of Bojoghari and Selep tank area today.
As per a press release, PHE Minister Tulsi Devi Rai was present as the chief guest for the programme and actively participated in the plantation drive which was technically assisted by the senior officials of Forest Department, Nodal Officer, HP Rai, Additional Director of Sericulture Directorate, KB Ghaley, ACF, Parks & Garden and ACF, Sikkim Biodiversity Board, Peggyla T. Venchungpa.
The Minister requested all the people of Sikkim to come forward for Green Sikkim and keep Sikkim free from pollution. She also mentioned that water sources can only be protected if the forests in the upper reaches of Sikkim Himalayas are conserved.
Around 100 saplings of Machilus edulis (Phunche) and Michelia excels (Rani Chaanp) were planted as part of the Paryavaran Mahotsav, the release mentions.

North Bengal Medical College to begin MD Psychiatry course

Kolkata, 20 June [PIB]: Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, has permitted two medical colleges in West Bengal to start post-graduate degree courses during the academic year 2014-15. The two are KPC Medical College & Hospital, Jadavpur, Kolkata [which will start the M.D. (Physiology) course with 3 seats and MD (Anesthesia) course with 4 seats; and North Bengal Medical College, Siliguri, which will start an MD (Psychiatry) course with 2 seats and increase MS (General Surgery) seats from the existing 4 to six seats.

It is clarified vide their letter dated 19 June 2014 to the Principal and State Government that the permission for starting /increase the course and admission of students will be for such time that the first batch of students admitted against the above courses appear for the final examinations. The college authorities may take up the matter for recognition of the qualifications under Section 11(2) of IMC Act at the time of the first batch admitted against the course appears for final year examinations.

1,111 grafted Guava seedlings distributed at Syari Mam Gaon

GANGTOK, 20 June: Horticulture & Cash Crops Development Department (East District) conducted skill development programme on plantation of grafted Guava at Syari Mam Gaon today.
Held under the convergence programme with MGNREGA, the programme covered an area of 2.0 Ha where 1111 grafted Guava seedlings were distributed to the beneficiaries, informs a press release.

Present for the training programme were the beneficiaries and departmental officers, SK Sharma [Joint Director] and CN Lepcha [Deputy Director East] and field staff.

West prepares for monsoons

GANGTOK, 20 June: A district level co-ordination meeting on monsoon preparedness chaired by DC West, Tshewang Gyachho was held at Conference Hall, Zilla Panchayat Bhawan, Gyalshing on 19 June.
As per a press release, Zigmee Bhutia [DPO/DRM] spoke on the role and responsibilities of every department at the time of calamity. He appealed to the officials to coordinate and use the resources available during calamities and also requested them to keep their mobile phones switched on at all time. He also informed that all officers are to report to their stations in case there is a disaster or calamity and any form of official leave would expire automatically in times of disaster.
Sr. SP (W), DB Giri informed that IRB Pipley is designated as the Rescue Operation team by the government and all Out Posts in the district are designated as Control Rooms during a calamity and therefore he appealed to the gathering to immediately inform the nearest OP during a crisis.
DC West, Tshewang Gyachho had an open discussion with the heads of the department where they discussed the various problems faced by them. He also discussed the agendas of the meeting, uniform to be worn by all regular Drivers and Peons by 21 June, disposal of files within 24 hours, shortage of manpower formats to be filled up, Route Permit to cross Melli & Rangpo Check Posts, Junior Level Field Officers to visit the field 4 days a week, SE and equivalent Officer to visit sites 3 days a week, Hawker/trade/taxi/driving license to COI/SSC holder and no subletting thereof, registration of government land and settlement of encroachment, wearing of seat belt by taxi/ tourist drivers while driving, timely reply to RTI.
He also spoke about entry fee to be levied at Khechopalri and discussed the areas where the amount collected could be used. He instructed the Tourism Department to take up safety measures at Kanchenjunga Falls. He also directed DCSO to maintain fuel stock in the petrol pumps and to coordinate with STCS regarding the LPG crisis, the release mentions.
Regarding the various projects set up in the district, he directed the Labour Officer to furnish the details of labourers registered and the revenue collected till date. Further he appealed to the HODs to set up grievance redressal mechanism and submit the status report to the DC office of the complete and ongoing works in the district.
Earlier, the meeting began with a welcome address by Additional District Collector, in which he briefly highlighted the purpose of convening the meeting.

Making Associations Stronger

editorial:-
So, government servants can no longer become members of associations. Also, the service regularization process should be done “properly” and in abidance with all prescribed rules. Government offices will also now remain open for 12 more days every year with the scrapping of the second Saturday holiday regime. Even as many see this as some form of retribution by the ruling party of a group it suspects of having voted the other way, strip it of suspected intent and possible motivation, and one cannot help but admit that such measures were long due. Apart from their own service/ cadre associations, government servants should not become office bearers at other organizations because such positions could pose conflict of interest complications or extend undue benefits to such organizations due to the leverage the government officers enjoy. Service regularizations, no matter how expansive or complicated, should always have been carried out properly and every extra day that the people receive to get ‘office work’ done is welcome. In a place as small as Sikkim and with jurisdictions and interests as overlapping as one sees in the State, it is always welcome to have clear guidelines for its public servants. Such initiatives must have been recommended by commissions tasked with administrative reforms in the past, but were obviously not implemented in fear of the disgruntlement it would have caused in what is admittedly a huge and influential collective – the government servants. Hence, even if the latest attempt at being ‘strict’ is to chastise a pampered group, it is welcome because it has provided the political will to take unpopular but constructive in the long-run decisions.
There is already a lot of talk about how most of the associations and organizations will collapse and go defunct if government servants are withdrawn from it. Before one proceeds, it is clarified that this section endorses the right of all government servants to become ordinary members of associations and organizations, but recommends that they be discouraged from becoming office bearers in such groups. Returning to the worry that association will fall apart; to begin with, very few such associations were very vibrantly engaged in their respective tasks anyway. Organising one event [even on a grand scale] once in a blue moon is no proof of vibrancy. Social or community or sports associations which need government servants to remain relevant are anyway being artificially sustained and will not be missed. Associations or organisations which claim to represent something should ensure a more sustained involvement and that requires passion and clear priorities. Having a government servant as an office bearer compromises the said association’s commitment to its stand because someone on the government’s payroll will think job-security and possible repercussions before taking any stand. While this might be good for his/ her career or social progression, it is not necessarily healthy for the association/ organization.
Withdrawing government servants from all associations is arguably the biggest service that the government is doing to these groups. After the initial confusion and shock, these groups can emerge stronger and tougher since they will not be staffed anymore with office bearers who need to hedge all their decisions against possible impact on their day jobs. These groups can now become genuinely representative of what they stand for and because this is a very real possibility, one needs to commend the government for having taken this step; once freed of govt servant influence on decision-making, associations and groups could become more critical, vocal and persistent, necessary attributes which one missed because in a majority of associations since they had too much ‘government’ presence thus far…

Ecclesiastical Affairs Deptt plants at Ngor Gonpa

GANGTOK, 20 June: The Ecclesiastical Affairs Department, led by its Secretary Tenzing Gelek, observed Paryavaran Mahotsav with a plantation drive today at Sa-Ngor Gonpa, Rongyek. The Department planted 120 saplings of Rani Chaanp, Nevara, Cherry, Gagun, and fodder plants.
As per a press release, the plantation started with prayers by monks of Sa-Ngor Gonpa led by the Dorji Lopon Zamyang Gonpo, for peace and prosperity of the people of Sikkim and all sentient beings. Officials from the forest department were on the spot to assist and guide the Department and with their help, the plantation was carried out by 35 officers and staffs of the department along with the monks of the monastery.
In addition, all major religious institutions, monastic schools, Sanskrit Pathshalas in the State were also directed to carry out the plantation to celebrate the Paryavaran Mahotsav 2014, the release informs.
Gopal Pradhan [Pr. Scientist], BL Bhattaria [ACF (EPC)], KB Basnett [ACF Working Plan], Barun Kr. Rai [ACF NTFP], TB Gurung [ACF RVK] and TR Chettri [HFG (Gangtok)] were present on the spot to assist the officers and staff of the Ecclesiastical Affairs Department.

Boy drowns in Tumin khola

GANGTOK, 20 June: A 17-year-old boy hailing from Lower Tumin in East Sikkim drowned in the Tumin khola on 19 June. As per the police, the teenager was an epilepsy patient and had gone fishing to Tumin khola. This information suggests that he might have suffered an epileptic fit and drowned in the river. The dead body of the deceased was handed over to his legal guardians after post mortem.

2-day celebration planned for 200th Bhanu Jayanti

GANGTOK, 20 June: This year marks the 200th birth anniversary of poet Bhanu Bhakta Acharya and the state will be hosting a grand two-day Bhanu Jayanti celebration.
A press release informs that Sikkim Legislative Assembly Speaker, KN Rai who is the working president of the organising committee of the Bhanu Jayanti celebration, chaired a coordination meeting of the committee on 19 June.
At the meeting, various sub-committees on such events of the celebration such as Ramayan Path, Lok Kabita Path, Shobha Yatra, cultural programme and publicity were constituted. The celebrations will play out on 12 and 13 July.
On the first day, local artists will present a cultural programme while the main programme will be held on 13 July.
The Bhanu Puraskar will be awarded on the second day along with a performance by noted folk singer from Nepal, Shambhu Rai.
The meeting was also attended by Ministers GM Gurung and Somnath Poudyal among others.

Budget Session to begin Monday

GANGTOK, 20 June: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, who is also in-charge of Finance, Revenue and Expenditure department will present his 15th consecutive budget on the floor of Sikkim Legislative Assembly on the first day of the budget session 2014-15 on Monday.
The ninth session-Part II, Session-I of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly will formally begin on Monday where the CM is expected to pitch various administrative reforms proposal including tapping new sources of taxation and simplification of the present process of taxation.
Governor Shriniwas Patil will address the house for the first time as the Constitutional head of the State.
The five-day budget session is expected to be livelier than those of the last term as more than 70 starred and upwards of 50 unstarred questions have reportedly been put to the concerned Ministers in-charge for the Budget session.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister is expected to also present the ‘Excess Demand of Grants’ before tabling the main budget for the current financial year. The budget includes presentation of Demands of Grants, Estimate of Receipts, annual financial statement, explanatory memorandum of objects and reason.

Minister chairs coordination meeting at Animal Husbandry Deptt

GANGTOK, 20 June: Minister for Animal Husbandry department, AK Ghatani chaired a coordination meeting of the department on 18 June at Krishi Bhawan.
The Minister while addressing the officials deliberated on some of the key issues raised during the meeting, informs a press release. Mr Ghatani directed the department to take immediate steps to ensure that all field institutions in the state are manned by trained personnel capable of providing basic veterinary first aid.
On the issue of shortage of funds for some of the primary activities of the department like feed and medicines, he directed the officers of the department to initiate steps to resolve the issue by organizing a series of meetings with concerned departments particularly FRED and Planning & Dev Department. He assured that he would be ready to take part in any such meeting.
Regarding the various schemes being implemented by the department he asked all scheme in-charges to apprise him of the progress and status of the schemes, the release mentions.
Earlier, the meeting commenced with the welcome address by Commissioner cum Secretary, SK Jha and Director, Dr HK Chettri.  This was followed by a power point presentation of various schemes and activities of the Department by Addl. Director (DI) Dr KC Bhutia.
Officers from various sections of the Department highlighted the achievements, issues and challenges during the discussion session, it is added.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Confusion expected in withdrawal of govt servants from all associations VISHNU NEOPANEY

GANGTOK, 19 June: The State Government, on 16 June, rescinded all permissions granted to government servants to join associations and organizations. With the Circular issued by the Department of Personnel making this announcement, government servants are no longer allowed to become members of any association.
Since just about all ‘associations’, from sports bodies to literary to community to social organizations, have substantial government servant membership, how these groups weather this thinning out will be interesting to watch.
But that is not the big worry. The implementation of this Circular is bound to come with its share of confusion because even the implementing department, the DoP, appears largely unclear of not only what is expected of it in instances of ‘disobedience’, but even about which memberships are disallowed and which can be overlooked.
The Circular in question does not help in clearing the air because it has banned government servant membership from “any association”. And almost immediately confusion begins with officials at the DoP, at the moment at least, unclear on how ensure effective implementation. In fact, the department has yet to ascertain for itself whether employees’ associations are also included in memberships no longer allowed to government servants.
The Circular which is all of one sentence long, disallows memberships from “any association”, a terming which even as it is explicit in banning all memberships, is also vague because it does not mention any exemptions.
Officials at the DoP when queried on the matter were clearly unclear on the finer points of the implementation of the ban, the rationale behind it – apart from it being a proviso in the Employees Conduct Rules – nor did they have much idea as to what would be the fate of the existing various kinds of employees’ associations. Apart from the general Employees’ Association for group C & D employees there are other associations as well including the MR & WC employees’ association and association of certain cadres of employees as well.
To further complicate the conundrum, the DoP does not have the figures on the number of employees who, on permission of the government, are members of various associations or are associated with them in any capacity. This, after several days since the order was issued by the state government.
The order was issued by the government on the basis of the Sikkim Government Servants (Conduct) Rules 1981 a clause [Rule 7] in which says that the every government servant requires the permission of the government prior to joining to any NGO or association. The recently issued government circular states that the government has decided to take back its permission on employees’ joining various associations; it states “…in supersession of all the permissions granted to government employees’ under Rule 7 of the Sikkim Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1981”.
The senior officers in administration were not available to comment on the issue since they were engaged with pre-budget consultations and preparation.
The state government servants have more than 15 registered associations, and what will be the fate of these associations is not yet decided nor has the state government deregistered these associations after the circular was published on 16 June.
Senior government officials at the DoP admit that there will be several interpretations of the circular.
Meanwhile, members of Doctors’ Association have put in their resignation papers today itself. The other employee associations are probably bidding their time, awaiting more clarity.

UPF holds Membership Assembly programme

GANGTOK, 19 June: Membership Assembly 2014 programme of Universal Peace Federation, Sikkim Chapter concluded here in the capital yesterday. The programme was spread over three sessions from 11 a.m. to 7:30 pm.
A press release informs that the final session was attended by Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, KN Rai, accompanied by his wife. RM&DD Minister Sher Bahadur Subedi, Minister for Health AK Ghatani, Minister for Culture, Garjaman Gurung and Mrs. Gurung also attended the session.
Dr. T Chakraborty from Dubai made a presentation on causes of some common diseases and use of Patented German Medicines to cure them.
Minister GM Gurung who is also the UPF Chairman announced that soon an anti-suicide programme will be carried out by UPF in the State. He directed the concerned persons to submit the draft of the programme to him. He also agreed to the proposal put forward by Roshan Kaushik [secretary general UPF, South Sikkim] to have a Blessing Programme in Sikkim.
Further, Mr Gurung announced that the Inter-faith, Inter-Religious and Inter-Community Blessing Ceremony (Marriage) for at least 2000 people will be held in Sikkim this year 2014-15.
Secretary general (national) Krishna Adhikari who had come all the way from Delhi for the Membership Assembly Programme addressed the first session on Divine Principles of Father SM Moon, the founder of UPF and the Peace Movement of the organization.

Tourism celebrates Paryavaran Mahotsav

GANGTOK, 19 June: Tourism Department celebrated Paryavaran Mahotsav today at its 5th Mile, Tadong, secretariat in coordination with Forest Department.  Minister, Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Ugen T. Gyatso was the chief guest on the occasion.
A press release informs that all officers and staff of Tourism Department and Special Branch of Police Department participated in a plantation drive where around 350 ornamental species were planted. Before the function began, a cleanliness drive was also conducted.

Shyari MLA accuses Panchayats of victimisation

GANGTOK, 19 June: Shyari MLA, Kunga Nima Lepcha has alleged victimization at the hands of the Panchayats of people who supported the Opposition.
In a press release, the Shyari MLA informs that he has submitted a representation to the Chief Secretary regarding the matter. He alleges that there have been several instances where villagers approaching Panchayats for recommendation have been turned down and asked to approach the people who they voted for in the recent elections.
Stating that Panchayats are constitutionally elected representatives mandated to serve people without discrimination and distinction on account of caste, creed, and religion, Mr Lepcha has mentioned that any such discrimination is against the principles of democracy, besides depriving innocent villagers of their democratic rights.

Sikkim Psychological Services to help Sikkim heal

GANGTOK, 19 June: Sikkim Psychological Services [SPS], an independent group formed “considering the dearth of mental health professionals in the state”, is all geared up to open a clinic here.
The clinic, scheduled to be opened in Tadong, will offer services tailored towards addressing depression, anxiety management, atress management, alcohol/  drug dependence, adjustment issues, marital counseling, grief/ trauma counseling, family therapy, psycho education and Life Skills Training, a press release informs.
SPS was founded on 20 September, 2013 by Tseyang Palzom (M.Sc. in Clinical Psychology) and Pragyan Deep Dewan (M.Sc. Counseling Psychology) as a means of creating awareness about psychological issues in Sikkim.
In April 2014, SPS teamed up with Arun Awasthy, the centre  director of  PeoplePro/ Skill-ED (PARTH) and was also joined by two additional psychologists - Angela Lama (M.Sc. Counseling Psychology) and Chetraj Gurung (M.Sc. Clinical Psychology).
SPS is seeking participation and cooperation to deal with persistent psychological and substance abuse related issues in Sikkim. Interested persons can schedule an appointment through the manager - Arun Awasthy, Ph. No. 7679884168. There is also the option of tele-counseling, or counseling via email or Skype. Futher queries can be routed through the Sikkim Psychological Services Facebook Page and the blog- www.sikkimpsyched.blogspot.com
The core mission at SPS, the release states, is to bring together trained psychologists and counselors in order to promote quality care and treatment of psychological problems in the state.

SATA felicitates medal winners from national Poomsae c’ships

GANGTOK, 19 June: Sikkim Amateur Taekwondo Association (SATA) today felicitated its sub-junior players who won four Gold and four Silver medals in the recently held 7th National Sub-junior Poomsae Taekwondo championship, 32nd National Sub-junior Taekwondo Championship and 1st National Cadet Taekwondo championship at Kurukshetra, Haryana from 05 to 08 June 2014.
Pawandeep Rai from Namchi won two Gold medals in Cadet Individual Poomsae event and Cadet Pair event. Sulochana Limboo (Subba) from US Academy, Uttarey, West Sikkim won Gold medal in Cadet Pair Poomsae event and Sneeha Pradhan from Namchi won Gold medal in sub-junior Individual Poomsae event, informs a SATA release.
Nugnandini Chhetri from TN Academy, Gangtok won Bronze medal in Sub-junior Individual Poomsae event. Divya Drishti Chhetri (TNA), Priyadarshini Jyoti Baniya (TNA) and Saina Gurung (Namchi) won Bronze medal in Cadet Girls Team Poomsae event.
The team was led by Trilok Subba, Bijay Gurung and Shyam Subba while Rinchen Kazi accompanied the team as manager.
Sulochana Limboo and Pawandeep Rai have been selected for the national team which will take part in the 1st Cadet World Taekwondo Championship which is scheduled to be held at Baku, Azarbaijan from 24 to 27 July 2014, the release mentions.
President and all members of SATA have congratulated the team for their achievement and wish them good luck for the forthcoming Cadet World Taekwondo championship, it further adds.

Prohibitory orders around SLA for Budget Session

GANGTOK, 19 June [IPR]: A prohibitory order has been issued under section 144 Cr.PC by the District Magistrate-East prohibiting assembly of more than five persons sloganeering, shouting, rioting, protesting, staging a dharna, demonstration, picketing, postering, wall writing or carrying out any other activity whatsoever it may be, which may cause disturbance to the public peace and tranquility within the area falling within 500 meters radius from the outer boundary of the Legislative Assembly complex.
The order shall come into force with effect from 9 a.m. on 23 June 2014 and shall remain in force till the end of current Assembly Session or unless withdrawn earlier. This order shall not be applicable to those who are engaged in law enforcement for the purpose of maintenance of law and order.
It is further reiterated and clarified that, this order is issued as a usual standard practice during the Assembly Session and is passed purely as a precautionary measure to prevent any kind of untoward activity which may cause disruption in proceedings of the Assembly and may affect the sanctity and decorum of the Assembly.

Power plants in Jorethang

GANGTOK, 19 June: As part of the Paryavaran Mahotsav being celebrated all over the state from 15-30 June 2014, a Plantation and Cleanliness Drive was carried out at the Energy & Power Office Complex at Jorethang today.
As per a press release, all the officers and staff led by Superintending Engineer, Jigmey Namgyal, took part in this programme. 100 saplings were planted within the Power Colony Complex. The plants included Jarul, Litchi, Bougainvillea, Lampatay, Raj Brikshya and Chaanp.
The forest department was represented by Head Forest Guard, KB Gurung and IB Gurung along with Forest Guards, Kharki M Gurung and Loden Tsering Bhutia.
The officers and staff also undertook a cleanliness drive of the entire colony. A cleanliness drive was also initiated by the Engineers and staff of Melli Energy & Power Office at the 132/66/11 KV Melli Power Substation in coordination with the representatives of the Forest officials of Melli. Similar drives will be carried out at the Namchi Office too, the release mentions.

Organic Mission at Barang Ward No. 1

GANGTOK, 19 June: A day-long awareness training programme on organic farming and certification was organized by Mevedir at Barang Ward No 1 under Tumin GPU on 18 June.
A Mevedir press release informs that the main objective of the programme was to motivate farmers and sensitize them on the opportunities presented by organic farming. The programme was attended by more than 50 farmers of the area.
Approval Committee President, Tulsi Adhikari, Ward Panchayat, Prem Prashad Adhikari and VLW Palden Bhutia also spoke on the principles, benefit and value of organic farming. They also emphasized on the importance of enhancing production from the certified fields so that the benefits could trickle down to the beneficiaries of the GPU.
The programme also included sessions for video presentations and questions and answers during which farmers inquired about the management practices in organic farming. They also showed interest in preparation of organic pesticides and liquid manure to use in their farms.

NRHM advocacy meeting on Leprosy held in Namchi

Namchi, 19 June [IPR]: An advocacy meeting under the National Rural Health Mission on Leprosy for frontline workers of South district was held at the District Hospital here today. CMO [South], Dr. Bimal Rai, chaired the meeting which was also attended by DRCHO Dr. Junita Yonzon; Senior Non-Medical Leprosy Officer (SNMLO) BK Rai; Deputy Director (IEC/BCC) South CR Pradhan alongside ASHA, Anganwadi workers.and Village Health Sanitation & Nutrition Committee (VHSNC) members.
The CMO initiated the meeting by laying down imperatives about the objectives of the National Leprosy Eradication program (NLEP). He appraised the gathering about the history of leprosy and how it is encircled as a stigma by the society. Tracing back instances of how lepers were looked down upon and treated as outcasts, he urged the people to work together in making South a leprosy free district.
The SNML Officer briefed the gathering about the bacterial disease, Leprosy and its different forms thereby also discussing the symptoms and cure available for the chronic infection. He also, notified the gathering about the current figure of Leprosy (Local & Non-Local) infected patients in the state.
Later, the DRCHO informed the frontline workers about the various health care programs that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has put into effect like child death review, measles surveillance program and child growth chart monitor.
The meeting also saw an interactive session between the resource persons and the Front Line workers.

Oranges and Cardamom cultivation on convergence through MGNREGA at Passingdong

DIKCHU, 19 June: A training cum demonstration on cultivation of oranges and cardamom was held at Passingdong GVK today under chairmanship of the GVA. The training was attended by 100 farmers and panchyats, Zilla members of Passingdong, Saffo and Lingthem-Lingdem GPU.
Joint Director [Horticulture], SR Bhutia, highlighted various programmes implemented by Horticulture & Cash Crops Development Department and stressed on successful implementation of convergence scheme on Oranges and Cardamom through MGNREGA in coordination with RM&DD.

A technical lecture was delivered by KT Lepcha, HDO Passingdong, covering cultivation aspects, disease management and after care of both the crops. The GVA Passingdong advised farmers to take full advantage of government schemes and follow the expert advice for successful cultivation of these two crops. 

World Cup Worry

Editorial:-
The traffic cops tried to throw a wet blanket over Gangtok’s celebration of the World Cup when it decided to go over-zealous in its implementation of rules and pulled down flags of world cup teams wherever they exceeded regulation size or were unfurled from unauthorized spots on the vehicles. The traffic police initiative is called “tried”, as in attempted, because there really was no need to throw the proverbial wet blanket because there does not appear to be any World Cup excitement in the capital. Sure, many, perhaps even a majority of Gangtok, are/is watching the matches, but those are at individual capacities. Soccer demands much larger, bigger group collective celebrations, an almost mass hysteria mob frenzy following when it comes to the World Cup. Think Kolkata, Darjeeling or Kalimpong and how the communities there are celebrating the game and the comatose response in Gangtok becomes stark. World Cup 2010 was a much grander affair in Gangtok, why, even the drab Governor’s Gold Cup spins more excitement in the Gangtok air. This lack of lustre would not have rankled if Sikkim was not a football-loving state; but it is a state of passionate footballers and soccer fans which is why the absence of public and community-level celebrations is not only missed, but also worrying.

It is obvious that people are following the World Cup, no one is contesting that; in most offices, the previous night’s matches are also being discussed. But the World Cup is more than that. Traditionally, colonies have adopted teams to support, taxi stands have announced their favourites, group viewings have been arranged, face painted…. There is none of that at least in Gangtok this time around. The spontaneity which one has always missed in Sikkim has amplified to a level of numbness which is disturbing. Look at it like this – one of the joys of having a family is the fun of doing things together, celebrating together. We do that enough times in life and it becomes a habit and when difficult times come knocking, the family spontaneously comes together. Traditionally, this unit has expanded to cover communities, then tribes and then countries. Spontaneous celebrations make a people stronger because it give them an instinctive sense of belonging and allows for a more open embrace of the community. Once they have done that enough times, they instinctively step up when assistance is required and make it a habit to look out for each other. That is where and how a civil society is born. In the absence of a collective, community level celebration of World Cup 2014 in Gangtok, the reasons why Sikkim’s myriad social challenges remain unattended becomes clear…

Christian music album released

GANGTOK, 19 June: A Christian music album by Seven Trumpet Ministries, “Tyo Krush Ko Balidan”, was released by Reverend PS Tingbo today here at Bethlehem Fellowship, Development Area. The release function was attended by Pastors, leaders and members of different churches of around Gangtok.
The album has eight songs - 7 in Nepali and one in Hindi – performed by Samuel Subba, Anuj Rai, Rinzing Tamang, Benhir Thapa, Sangita Subba and Premica.
Seven Trumpet Ministries treasurer, Samuel Subba, informs that this was the first music album by the Ministry which has plans to bring out more in the near future. He stated that the album mainly features gospel songs and a few carry messages for the youth to motivate them to follow the productive and healthy path.
He further shares that STM has plans to make a video on a few songs from the album.

SCPCR urges authorities to fast track sodomy case

GANGTOK, 19 Jun: Chairperson, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights [SCPCR], Manita Pradhan, and member, Yangchen Ladingpa, on Wednesday visited the school where five hostel students had accused a teacher of sodomy.
As per a press release, the Chairperson met the school principal who informed that the five students are traumatised and have been sent home. They will be appearing for their examinations after the necessary medical and legal procedures are completed, it was informed.
The Chairperson has been told by the police personnel in-charge that the children will be appearing in court for their statement as per Section 164 of CrPC. Considering the serious nature of the incident and its effects on the victims the Chairperson has urged the police personnel that all necessary care be taken while examining the children, the release informs.
Further, the Commission has urged the respective law enforcing and justice imparting authorities to take the case up in the fast track court so that the children can attend school at the earliest.
Finally the Commission has urged all the stakeholders of educational institutions to be more alert to avoid such crimes in future and have more awareness programmes and interaction between school authorities, parents and children periodically, the release further adds.

Bhasmey Samaj treats water source to plantation drive

GANGTOK, 19 June: A tree plantation drive was carried out at Kerabari, Upper Lampathey and Lower Lampathey water source of Bhasmey village by Tanquadars of Bhasmey Samaj of Majhitar here in East Sikkim.
The drive was coordinated by advisors of the Samaj, Suresh K. Lama and Hem Kumar Gurung.
The main motive behind undertaking the plantation drive at the said venue was to supplement and nurture the water source of Majhitar and surrounding villages.
Water scarcity has already begun hurting these areas under the combined pressure of increased population and reduced discharge from the source. Plantation drives such as these, the stakeholders hope, will sustain the water sinks and help replenish them.
Around 500 saplings of Lampathey, Kaijaley and Dhokrey flowers were planted at these sources as part of the Paryavaran Mahotsav fortnight underway in the State
Hem Kumar Gurung, one of the advisors of the Samaj, also sponsored the appointment of a local unemployed youth as a caretaker for the sources on a monthly retainership.

ATMA conducted training cum demonstration on Bordeaux Mixture

GANGTOK, 19 June: The North Sikkim unit of ATMA conducted a training cum demonstration on “Preparation and use of Bordeaux Mixture” for ginger growers of Gairee and Tingda wards of Kabi-Tingda constituency on 16 June. The training was attended by 30 ginger growers of the area.
Ginger being the main cash crop of the concerned localities, awareness cum demonstration on Organic management practices of pests and diseases by using locally available remedial measures was given due preference, a process which will not only reduce the overall cost of cultivation, but is also safe and highly effective in controlling the prevalent diseases of the crop, an official press release details.
Since its invention in 1885, the Bordeaux Mixture has been found to be quite effective in mitigating the problems of Fungal and Bacterial diseases and  its use is also permissible under Organic farming System (limit being 6.50 kg CuSo4 per ha.).
It can be prepared by mixing Copper Sulphate [locally called Neela Tutu or Neel Dhatu] and hydrated lime [or locally available Chuna powder] with water in different  proportions or ratio as per the requirement.
The training was also attended by the Tingda Panchayat and BTM, Norbu Dolma Bhutia of Kabi-Tingda.
After a brief interactive session in the morning, the farmers were taken to the nearby Ginger and Maize field by resource person Tsering Norbu Bhutia [Dy. Project Director, ATMA] and shown the pests and diseases which affect Ginger and their time and mode of infestation.
Although there are more control measures, Mr. Bhutia stressed on the use of Bordeaux Mixture for prevention and effective control of Fungal and Bacterial diseases. Subsequently, Method Demonstration of preparation of 1% Bordeaux Mixture was made in active participation with the farmers and the prepared solution sprayed in the field. After the programme, all the trainees were given 1kg each of Copper Sulphate and lime by the ATMA officials. The programme concluded with vote of thanks proposed by panchayat of Tingda ward.

AJKS congratulates three Singtam students for excelling in Cl XII boards

GANGTOK, 19 June: Anushuchit Jati Kalyan Sangh has congratulated three students belonging to the Scheduled Caste community studying at Government Senior Secondary School, Singtam for excelling in their CBSE XII examination with the highest marks in their respective subjects.
An AJKS press release informs that Aruna Shanker, Tej Bahadur Darjee and Prena Bhusal, all students of class XII have scored more than 90 percent in the CBSE exams.
“Our heartiest congratulation especially to Aruna Shanker who received the Letter of Appreciation from the Union Minister, Human Resources Development Department, GoI for securing 90.6%”, the release states.
Lauding the students’ achievement, AJKS Sikkim has also congratulated the Principal and all the teachers of Government Senior Secondary School, Singtam for their efforts. AJKS further extends its best wishes to the trio to excel in their future endeavors and assures all possible support to them.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Creamy Layer redefined to include more in-need sections and exclude well-off segments RANJIT SINGH

GANGTOK, 18 June: The State government has now expanded the definition of “Creamy Layer” for the purpose of issuing OBC certificates to the socially and educationally backward classes in the state in order that they may avail of the benefits from the state and central government.
The redefining of the Creamy Layer is also in order that it is now in consonance with the guidelines issued by the Central government on the matter, informed Secretary, Social Justice, G Upadhyay.
The Secretary stated that the revisions are for the convenience of the public and to enable those who deserve the benefits of the state government. This follows close on the heels of the leg up provided to the BPL category with reservations in government jobs up to 12%.
In this context, the Social Justice Department has issued a new notification revising the criteria on Creamy Layer. Among the significant revisions, as informed by the Secretary, is the income ceiling of non creamy layer category children of private businessmen and those engaged in trade has been enhanced to Rs. 6 lakhs annually from the previous Rs. 4.5 lakhs annually. In other words, children of traders and businessmen who earn up to Rs. 6 lakhs a year will be eligible for OBC certificates; those earning beyond Rs. 6 lakhs will now come under the definition of creamy layer.
Another significant revision is to accommodate children of Group C and D employees who are promoted to Group 1 level employee before the age of 40 years. Secretary Upadhyay informs that as per the new definition, children of those Group C and D employees who become Group 1 before the age of 40 years will not attract the category of creamy layer anymore. The new notification also follows the one issued by the central government whereby children of Group C and D employees are not included in the creamy layer category.
However, those children whose parents retire as government employees in Group 1 category will attract the creamy layer definition.
Also now the MBC certificate has been replaced by Central List OBC certificate. This is because all communities categorized under MBC here have now been transferred under the central list OBC. With the new rules there are two types of certificates for persons in the OBC category – central list OBC certificate and state list OBC certificate. Secretary Upadhyay further informed that for the convenience of the people the validity of these certificates has been enhanced from the current 3 years to 5 years.
As per other criteria for exclusion of creamy layer for the benefit of relief to economically and educationally backward those whose parents are high ranking government officials or high ranking officers in the armed forces are excluded. Also coming in the creamy layer are those whose parents engaged in trade or professions and having an annual income of more than Rs. 6 lakhs or possessing wealth above the exemption limit as in the Wealth Act for three consecutive years. Individuals whose parents own property including agricultural land, plantations or buildings beyond a certain limit are also excluded from the benefit of reservation.
The authorities who are competent to declare that a particular person does not belong to the creamy layer and issue a certificate to the effect are the DMs, ADMs, SDMs and BDOs of the area where the candidate or his/her family resides. It is informed that such certificates issued are to be accepted by all departments and institutions for giving benefit of reservation to Socially and Educationally Backward Classes as well as Central and state list OBCs. The format of the application for such a certificate, as stated by Secretary Upadhyay, has also been made ‘simple and crisp’ for the convenience of the people. For example, earlier the application required a woman to include the name of her husband under “Wife of”; this has been removed among other changes.
Those already possessing OBC certificates are only required to apply for renewal of their certificates on the lines of the revised criteria after the expiry of the term of their existing certificates.





17 housewarmings at Turuk-Ramabung in one day thanks to REDRH and CMRHM

GANGTOK, 18 June: A total of 15 RED-RH and two CMRHM homes were inaugurated and handed over today to beneficiaries at Turuk-Ramabung Gram Panchayat Unit in South Sikkim by Minister Tulshi Devi Rai, who also happens to be the area MLA. Ms. Rai visited all the beneficiaries at their new homes and congratulated them.
One of the beneficiaries under the CMRHM  scheme from Lower Ramabung was clearly overwhelmed and tried hard to hold back her tears as she said, “Thank you our beloved Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for giving us this building which was beyond our imagination. We never thought we would live in a building. A father cannot provide such a building to his sons but our pro-poor government made the dreams of the poor true”. She also thanked the area MLA, the GVA, AE and Panchayats of the area.
Out of 192 homes commissioned under REDRH, 67 have been completed till date and handed over to the beneficiaries and the rest scheduled for completion within the next two- three months, informs the AE, Sumbuk GVA, Sandeep Khatiwada.
The GVA, Dinesh Pradhan, adds that from the 200 CMRHM constructions, 110 have been completed and handed over and that the remaining 90 houses are on the verge of completion.

Minister Rai urged the Assistant Engineer and the Gram Vivash Adhikari and the Panchayats to complete the remaining houses as early as possible.

SSB deliberates its role in “Invigorating Indo-Nepal Relations”

GANGTOK, 18 June: A seminar on the theme “Role of SSB in Invigorating Indo-Nepal Relations” in collaboration with media persons was organised by 19th Bn SSB Gangtok (Sikkim) on 17 June at Uttarey, West Sikkim.
Zilla Panchayat member, Jambu Sherpa attended the programme as chief guest and Deputy Commandant, 19th Bn, Prafull Kumar was the guest of honour. The programme was also attended by Asstt. Commandant, 19th Bn, Giriraj Singh Bisht, Asstt.Commandant, 19th Bn, Navin Kumar Saha, SI/GD Mata Ram and SI/GD Ajay Singh and Coy. personnel. Media persons and panchayat members were also present.
The main objective of the seminar was to create better understanding between SSB and media persons on Indo-Nepal Border and to inform about the various facilities provided by SSB to the people living along the border and various developmental and social activities of SSB with the border population, informs a press release.
Deputy Commandant, 19th Bn SSB Gangtok, Prafull Kumar spoke about SSB's origin and objectives. He emphasized on the role of media in enhancing the relationship between both the countries.
"Earlier, SSB focused on National Integration programmes and later took over charge of guarding Indo-Nepal border. In both the cases SSB never shirked from its responsibilities, and always tried to contribute towards the development of the society by providing vocational training for making people self reliant, helping people in emergencies, so on and so forth", said Mr Kumar.
The seminar was also addressed by Asstt. Commandant, 19th Bn SSB Gangtok, Giriraj Singh Bisht. He informed the media and dignitaries about the developmental works being carried out in different parts of Sikkim and far flung border areas by SSB.
A field visit was also conducted at Uttarey where 19th Bn SSB recently constructed one public toilet and bathroom shed which was handed over to the Maneybong Sopakha Gram Panchayat Unit, West Sikkim on 02 February by 19th Bn SSB Gangtok, the release informs.
After the seminar, a tree plantation drive was also conducted where all media persons, dignitaries and SSB officers and other personnel took part. Mr Kumar further spoke on Paryavaran Mahotsav and its importanc3e. He further informed that SSB is planning other activities as well in the coming days.
The seminar concluded with the presentation of mementos to the media persons and dignitaries.

Sikkim Scouts complete training, await deployment

GANGTOK, 18 June: The first Sikkim Scouts Battalion is now fully trained and equipped to shoulder its responsibilities of serving on the border. The passing out parade of the Battalion was held recently at the 11 Gorkha Rifles Regimental Centre in Lucknow where the new recruits underwent their training. They will be posted in Sikkim in the coming few months.
A press release from Col DN Bhutia [Secretary, Rajya Sainik Board] informs that he visited 11 GRRC Lucknow in the first week of June and interacted with the Sikkim Scouts.
There have been no drop outs, failures or deserters during the rigorous military training, he highlights.
Colonel of the Regiment and all staff of 11 GRRC have praised the Government of Sikkim for extending all possible help and for having generously provided the much needed financial support of Rs 1 crore for establishment of Sikkim Scouts Battalion, Col Bhutia informs.
They will not only be contributing to the country but may get an opportunity to represent the state at the international level whenever called upon to serve under UN Mission, he further states.

UNION HRD MINISTER RELEASES FLASH STATISTICS 2013-14 FOR ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA

Sikkim ranks 3rd
New Delhi, 18 June [PIB]: The Union Human Resource Development Minister today released the “Flash Statistics: Elementary Education in India: Progress towards UEE for the year 2013-14”. The Statistics are prepared annually by National University of Educational Planning & Administration (NEUPA). They were presented to the Minister by the Vice Chancellor of NEUPA, Prof. R. Govind in the presence of Secretary (SE&L) R Bhattacharya, Additional Secretary (EE) Vrinda Sarup and other senior officials of the Ministry.
The State ranking based on the EDI reveals that Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh & Karnataka are ranked in the first five.
The Statistics cover 1.45 million schools spread over 662 Districts across all States and UTs. The District Information System for Education (DISE) is a district based data base and gives information for school, block, district, State & national disaggregates.
The Flash Statistics: 2013-14 also contain an Educational Development Index (EDI) based on four constituents of Access, Infrastructure, Teachers and Outcomes.

The DISE 2013-14 data can be accessed at website www.dise.in.

‘Green Cantt - Clean Cantt’

GANGTOK, 18 June: Rotary Club of Gangtok in collaboration with FSD Deorali [a unit of 17 Mountain Division] embarked on a plantation project at the New Cantonment area on 15 June. As per a press release, the project 'Green Cantt - Clean Cantt' was undertaken as part of the Paryavaran Mahotsav. Apart from the enthusiastic Rotarians and their family members involved in the project, many Army officers, including the GOC participated in the plantation drive.

In South Sikkim, 42 REDRH and CMRHM homes inaugurated in one day PURAN TAMANG

NAMCHI, 18 June: The Reconstruction of Earthquake Damaged Rural Houses, as the name suggests, was a scheme launched to provide homes to families which had lost theirs to the 18 September 2011 earthquake. Accordingly, on the 18th of each month, the government inaugurates houses completed under REDRH. Today, 18 June 2014, a total of 42 houses at 8 blocks of South district were inaugurated in presence of respective GVAs, Zilla Panchayats and Gram Panchayat members.
Among the houses inaugurated today were 6 houses under Namchi GVK, 7 houses under Jorethang GVK,  10 houses under Melli GVK, and 7 houses under Namthang GVK. Similarly, 3 houses under Yangang GVK, 4 houses under Ravang GVK, 2 houses under Sikkip GVK and 3 houses under Temi GVK.

Out of the 1,711 houses allotted under REDRH to families in South Sikkim,  about 390 houses have already been handed over to the beneficiaries while the  remaining 1,321 houses are in various stages of construction and targeted for completion by the end of the year.

Porky’s serves up new flavours- REBYNA RANA

GANGTOK, 16 June: Porky’s Restaurant at Hotel New Castle at Deorali here, a well known name in the restaurant business since 1989, has recently introduced new flavours for its customers.
While talking to NOW!, Managing Director Porky’s [New Hotel Castle], Sunil Mohra said, “It has been almost a month since we introduced some new flavours in our restaurant. We hope that our new menu will please Gangtokians as well as tourists.”
This is due to the new chefs that the restaurant has brought in from Mumbai and Bangalore. Chinese Tandoori [Schezwan] is a new item that the restaurant offers. The restaurant offers Chinese, Thai and Italian cuisine along with some new mouth watering snacks.
For those who prefer Italian cuisine, the Spaghetti and Pasta at Porky’s has a new zing to it while the Sizzlers have also been revamped.
When asked about the response from customers, Mr Mohra said that the response has been positive so far especially from the locals. “We are offering good food at reasonable prices”, he added.
Cocktails and Mocktails have also been introduced in the restaurant while some new services like reservation of tables for lunch and dinner is also available.
“I hope people like the changes and respond positively”, added Mr Mohra.


Gangtok MLA meets Sports Secretary

GANGTOK, 18 June: The Gangtok MLA, Pintso Chopel Lepcha, today met the Secretary, Sports & Youth Affairs Department, Dr Jaya Kumar who has recently returned to the state cadre from central deputation.
The MLA discussed and inquired about various issues related with sports, programme and policies of the state government and centrally sponsored programmes such as rural talent hunt under the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.
Mr. Lepcha sought cooperation from the new Sports Secretary to uplift sports in the state and urged the Secretary not to compromise on the quality of works for up-gradation of 250 school grounds and capacity building of young kids in the two state run sports hostels.
He further sought exchange of ideas for spotting talent from rural areas and provision of required infrastructure at the school level at the earliest. There should not be any shortage of funds, for which he extended all possible help in coordinating with the state and central governments.
In response, the Secretary is reported to have assured all possible help for nurturing new talents and searching for more under the State government’s plans and programmes. The department will chalk out annual plans and programmes for promotion of sports in the state, he said further adding that exposure tours would be conducted for students who are already under the state run sports academy.
Dr. Jaya Kumar also informed that the department of Sports and Youth Affairs will call a two-day consultation meet with Physical Instructors and Principals or Headmasters of schools in the state to make sports more viable and part of the education system for nurturing and encouraging the students from very young age.

Training on Organic Farming and Certification Process held at Namli

GANGTOK, 18 June: Ward level training on concept of organic farming and certification process were organised in all the five wards under Namli GPU, East Sikkim to promote organic farming.
The training was conducted in Chuba [03 June], Khimsitang [05 June], Tumlabung [07 June], Radong [14 June] and Namli [17 June], informs a press release. The third training held at Tumlabung was attended by Joint Director Horticulture who encouraged farmers to adopt organic farming. He stressed on the importance and need for organic farming.
Field In charge, Amar Jyoti NGO, Jeewan Mishra explained the documentation process and its importance in organic certification as well as Internal Control System. He said that farmers should give accurate crop data for tracenet entry. Tracenet is a way to expose their crop data to the world, he added.
The NGO is working with 236 farmers and 307 ha land in Namli GPU, the release adds.

MGNREGA receives horticultural direction at Chuba Phong

NAMCHI, 18 June: Cardamom plantation works taken up under MGNREGA in convergence with Horticulture & Cash Crop Department were launched on Tuesday at Chuba Phong GPU under Namthang Gram Vikas Kendra.
The programme was attended by South Zilla Upadakshya Devi Maya Baraily, ADC (Dev.) Namchi Benu Gurung, Joint Director [Horticulture], GVA Namthang, HDO, ADPC South District and other field functionaries along with the beneficiaries.
Under this convergence programme, cardamom saplings, organic manure, pesticide/ bio agent and vermin-compost are being provided by the Horticulture Department and the labour to clear land, pit digging and pit filling, planting/ staking and for irrigation in winters is being provided under MGNREGA.
A total of 41 beneficiaries are covered at Upper Chuba Ward.
The scheme also involves maintenance of the planted saplings for the next two years.

The beneficiaries were also provided orientation training on plantation techniques by the Joint Director Horticulture which was later followed by interaction of the farmers with the field functionaries of HCCD.  

Waterworld Kids beat Seneterem-5 to lift Inter Mangan football trophy

MANGAN, June, 17: The “Inter-Mangan Football Tournament” organized here by the New Wave Club from 13 to 17 June at the Tiger-5 turf at Pentok was won by Waterworld Kids.
The final match was played on the 17th between Waterworld Kids and Senterem-V. When regulation time ended level at 2-2, the victo had to be decided by penalty kicks. Waterworld Kids won by one goal.

The final day had ADC (N), Raj Yadav, as chief guest and Mangan Nagar Panchayat president, Karma Jigdal Bhutia, as special guest. The winning team, apart from lifting the trophy sponsored by Vodafone and Intex, took home a Rs. 10,000 cash prize and free sim cards while the runners up won a trophy, Rs. 5,000 cash prize and sim cards for each player.

Kabi MLA appraises CS of constituency’s woes

GANGTOK, 18 June: Kabi Lungchok MLA, Ugen Nedup Bhutia called on the Chief Secretary, R Ongmu today and apprised her of the difficulties being faced by the people of his constituency. He also submitted a representation seeking early solution to the problems.
In the representation, Mr Bhutia has highlighted the frequent disruption in road connectivity in North Sikkim. He has urged for stationing of a permanent and sufficient number of excavators and other necessary accessories / equipments along the slide-prone zone as well as such other disturbance-prone zones across Bakcha-chu, Phensang, Ramthang, Namok, etc.
He has accused the GREF and concerned authorities of the state government for causing the death of an elderly lady who could not get medical treatment on time due to disruption of the road at Namok on 16 June.
The MLA has also sought immediate redressal of the problems being faced by people of Phodong due to the lack of doctors and other staff at the Phodong PHC.

Minister convenes coordination meet at S&T

Gangtok, 18 June [IPR]: Minister for Science & Technology and Climate Change, Tshering Wangdi Lepcha, convened a coordination meeting with the department’s staff at the Vigyan Bhawan conference hall today. The meeting was attended by the Secretary PT Euthenpa, Special Secretary Sarala Rai, Additional Directors of Sikkim State Council of Science and Technology and others officers and staff of the department.
At the outset, the Special Secretary outlined the administrative procedures of the department focusing on systematized administration, transparency and dedication. The Additional Directors put forth their achievements and future prospective of the Sikkim State Council of Science and Technology.
It was informed that the Council has worked on the plan diversity mapping of North Sikkim and mapping of bamboo canes all over the state.
Besides this, they also have done documentation on techno-vet medicine or plants that are used for medicinal value. The department has also taken initiative on organic mission and has completed mapping of snow, wet land, glaciers and is being constantly monitored by the scientist. 36 species of rhododendron have also been audio and video recorded as well. The department has been providing training programmes on orchid and mushroom cultivation to local farmers.
The Minister, in his brief address, focused on new innovative ideas that would make the department more exciting with new creativity and vigour. He focused on reaching out to the grass root level people and making all the programmes and policies accessible and beneficial to them.
He also stressed on result-oriented work and felt the need to have programmes on all the constituencies of the state. The Minister requested the officials and staffs to maintain accountability, transparency, honesty, dedication in their duty and work together as a team to achieve the missions set forth by the government. To inculcate the habit of scientific temperament in the students, the Panchayats and Teachers should also be trained and made aware of science and its nature, he added.
The Secretary in his address highlighted the departmental work ethics and requested his officials and staffs to maintain office decorum, punctuality and stressed on the speedy process of the files.
An interactive session was also held wherein the department plans, policies, rules and regulations and practical problems faced by the officials and staffs were discussed and deliberated.
Earlier, the meeting began with a welcome address presented by Additional Director-cum-DDO, Dr. B.C. Basistha and concluded with a vote of thanks proposed by DG Shrestha.

Home plants

Gangtok, 18 June [IPR]: A plantation drive was carried out by Principal Secretary, Home, Suresh C. Gupta, and officers and staff of the Department at the Circuit House campus on Wednesday morning as art of the Paryavaran Mahotsav initiatives. They were assisted by CCF, CS Rao, and officials of the Forest Department. 100 saplings of different varieties of plants suitable to the climatic condition of the place were planted.

Enough of the Condescension

Editorial:-
A regular march of press releases pass through newspaper offices; a majority of these are about awareness programmes [on a plethora of issues and missions] and some from political groups [claiming to be speaking for the “poor and innocent” Sikkimese]. From NGO cells of hydel project developers claiming to have taught basti children the importance of washing their hands [yes, this was done], to obviously registered-for-specific-projects ‘service providers’ becoming enlightened saviours, there is no dearth of agents claiming to be delivering virtuous service. Recently, among the self-projected benefits of a sponsored project was the claim that it would bring “greater conservation awareness among the local communities.” Such comments are made often and rarely contested, but in the condescension with which they are thrown about lies the reason why policy interventions which appear grand on paper, end up delivering only very shallow results. The problem is not with the intent, in most cases, these are very earnest undertakings, but in the ignorance and superficiality with which they are executed.
The problem areas are always accurately identified, but it is in suggestions like the fore-mentioned claim to create “greater awareness among local communities” that the intent is misdirected because it suggests that the environment and biodiversity are being rescued from the stakeholders. Examples of such bureaucratic arrogance abound. Look at the manner in which organic farming is being promoted. A good idea in itself, the consultants, at their patronising best [in what we receive by way of press releases], hold up farmers adopting organic practises as “progressive farmers”, implying thereby that those who still prefer fertilisers and pesticides are somehow “regressive”. Who introduced the water-leaching carcinogens to farming in the first place? In Sikkim’s case, organic farming was the only practice for centuries until departments infiltrated the village farms singing praises of fertilisers and pesticides. They dismissed established-by-tradition and tested-by-time farming practises as old-fashioned and are now realising how short-sighted the approach was. Now that organic farming is being resuscitated, at least admit that a mistake was made in the past. Similarly, local communities everywhere have evolved very refined sustainable usage patterns for their ecological resources, until protection and ownership was usurped by the State. Nowhere in the world have “local communities” ravaged local environment or destabilized biodiversity; it has always been urban greed that has wiped out rural environment and lifestyle. It is ironic hence that urban consultants should return as do-gooders telling the bastiwallahs on how to mend their ways. Some realisation is however dawning that conservation is not possible without endorsement of the “local communities”, but even in such agencies as the JFMCs, the “officers” refuse to hand over any real power to the stakeholders. The attitudes that underline these interventions are flawed, not in what they seek to achieve or deliver, but because they neither trust nor recognise rural pragmatism. There are few “awareness programmes” more ironic than those on the importance of panchayati raj for Panchayat members themselves; they are already aware of it, these sessions should be for government officers who still appear confused about what “public servant” means, and how that is a rung lower than “public representative”.
This, even though it might not appear to be so, is not about babu-bashing, but a condemnation of the education system that creates such disconnected minds with executive power in their hands. What is required is not “greater conservation awareness”, because that is already in place, but more awareness about global realities which are intruding into rural spaces. The forest resources are not under threat from local communities, but are imperiled by the greed manifesting in places further away. Sikkim’s medicinal herbs are not being over-harvested by local stakeholders for kitchen-cures, but for the pharma-mafia. Stakeholders need awareness about these threats that have developed beyond their sights, they will devise their own checks and balances for them. Ditto for the Panchayats; tell them where they fit into the State-level scheme of things, and they will stand up to the roles. Say sorry to the farmers and tell them they can revert to organic farming and they will adapt well. Just recognise the traditional knowledge base and respect rural pragmatism and factor these into all planning and most of the glitches and superficiality that compromise development planning will be taken care of.

DoP circular bans assoc membership for govt servants

ANGTOK, 18 June: The State Government, in a Circular issued on Monday, 16 June, has revoked all permissions given under Rule 7 of Sikkim Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1981, and directed that “henceforth, no Government Servant shall be allowed to become a member of any association”. The Circular has been issued by the Department of Personnel details that the new conduct rule was in supersession of all permissions granted earlier to govt servants to join association.

NEC officials visit DHH's soft toys training & production centre

GANGTOK, 18 June: Research Officer (SSI), North Eastern Council Secretariat, Ministry of Development of NER, Shillong, Mohitosh Chakraborty visited the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom on 17 June to inspect the NEC funded project “Training and Production Centre for Soft Toys”. He was accompanied by Sonam Y Lepcha [Additional Secretary, DPER & NEC Affairs Department, Government of Sikkim].
As per a press release, the entire team of officials of the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom headed by the Director, Ganga D. Pradhan visited the project site. The new building infrastructure has been completed and was handed over by Building and Housing Department on 09 June.
The installation of machines, accessories, tools and equipment and raw materials were demonstrated, inspected and verified thoroughly by the visiting officials from the NEC, Government of India, DPER & NEC Affairs Department, Government of Sikkim and the officers of the D.H.H, the release mentions.
All records and documents were scrutinized, the visiting officials expressed satisfaction on the timely completion of the project as per the guidelines stipulated in the detailed project report and also the mandates of the N.E.C, it is added.

30 yr old charged with attempted rape of minor

GANGTOK, 18 June: 30 year old Deepak Darjee of Nimthang, Lower Nandok, was taken into custody late Wednesday evening on charges of having attempted to sexually assault a minor. The arrest was effected on the complaint of the victim’s mother who has alleged that the accused attempted to rape her 10 year old daughter on Monday evening when she was alone at home.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In limbo regularized employees petition CS to lift ‘abeyance’ order

GANGTOK, 17 June: Muster Roll and Work Charged employees whose services were notified for regularization before the Assembly elections, a process which was put in “abeyance” owing to the announcement of election and Model Code of Conduct, and who continue to wait for the said circular to be lifted, find themselves in a complex limbo. Several of them were issued regularization orders before the process was put on hold, but in the resulting confusion, their status and duties remain undefined, a confusion which has resulted in them not having received their salaries for the past three months [since they were regularised] and not being told how to perform their duties and in what capacities.
In this regard, over 200 MR and WC employees who had been notified for regularization called on the Chief Secretary today to request the completion of the regularization process and also for disbursement of their pending salaries. A memorandum was also put up to the Chief Secretary seeking withdrawal of the notification by which the Department of Personnel had kept the regularization process in abeyance. They are also seeking effective implementation of the notification issued on 22 February this year by which they had been declared regularized.
“We have not been paid our salaries for the past 3 months as a result of the process being kept in abeyance. Moreover, those regularized do not know what to do in their offices or what post they now hold. Almost all had been regularized and had received their office orders and had started their new duties as regularized employees,” stated members of the MR/WC employees association [who had been regularized] while speaking to NOW! today.
5,624 temporary employees, MR and WC, had been notified for regularization in the various departments before the announcement of the elections earlier this year.
“It is strange that after having issued their orders for regularization the government suddenly wants to put the order on hold,” the members said. Furthermore, on having met with the Secretary, Department of Personnel, the employees said that they could not receive any clear reasons on why the process has been put on hold.
“Nobody seems to know why the process has been put in abeyance,” stated the members.
It is informed that the CS has sought a week’s time to sort out the matter.
The memorandum to the CS states that the regularization process of the temporary employees is already in an advanced stage wherein most have already initiated Memorandums of Understanding and further, that most of them have already been relieved from their present dispensations [as temporary employees] across the state. The employees have preferred that the government continue with the process of regularization of the employees taking into considerations the administrative complications arising out of the order for abeyance and in the interest of the “poor working class society of Sikkim”.

The temporary employees visiting the CS today comprised both categories of regularized employees- those with 15 years and above of service and those with 10 years and above of service. In the first category 4,002 employees had been notified for regularization and in the second, 1,622.

Monsoon reaches Sikkim, gets stuck over Gangtok

GANGTOK, 17 June: The southwest monsoon entered India at Kerala on 06 June and did a reasonably quick march to reach Gangtok on 10 June. And then, like in the rest of the country, the monsoon winds and clouds lost steam. Monsoon has reached Gangtok and while it delivers thunder squalls over this corner of the State every night, it has not yet advanced to other parts of the State. The monsoon is slightly delayed this year and projections are that it will be below average in inundation as well. The ‘normal’ date for the onset of monsoons over Kerala is 01 June.
The Gangtok Meteorological Centre informs that the Northern Limit of Monsoon (NLM) continues to pass through Lat. 21°N / Long. 60°E, Lat. 21°N/Long. 65°E, Veraval, Surat, Sangli, Bellary, Nandyal, Bapatla, Lat 18°N/Long. 86°E, Lat. 22°N/Long. 90°E, Cooch Behar and Gangtok.
“Conditions are favourable for further advance of Southwest Monsoon into remaining parts of Bay of Bengal, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal & Sikkim and some parts of Gangetic West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and Bihar during the next 48 hours,” it is informed.
Available met data indicates that rainfall occurred at most places over Sikkim and Maximum temperature remained above normal by 2 to 3°C and Minimum temperature remained normal over most of the stations in Sikkim.

UNION HOME MINISTER REVIEWS CENTRE-STATE RELATIONS

Minister concerned over delay in implementation of women’s distress alarm button on mobile phones

New Delhi, 17 June [PIB]: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the Centre-State Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi today. The Minister was given a briefing by top officials on Women’s Safety issues, criminal tracking network, cybercrimes and modernization of prisons.
While reviewing the progress of the Crimes and Criminal Network Tracking and Systems (CCTNS) Project, it was observed that even though the project is in advanced stage of implementation, few States and Union Territories like Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Haryana, Lakshadweep, Manipur and Rajasthan are still lagging far behind. The Home Minister said that he will personally take it up with the concerned Chief Ministers and UTs Administrator.
Reviewing Crime Against Women – Nirbhaya Fund Project, it was informed that a Project for providing speedy assistance to respond to the calls from women in distress was approved by the Union Cabinet on 04 Feb, 2014.
Distress/ emergency alarms generated by woman, by pressing a button on her mobile phone will land at Police Control Room which would immediately arrange to dispatch emergency PCR van to assist the individual in distress. The proposed system is to be implemented in the identified 114 cities.
The Home Minister raised concern regarding the delay in kicking-off the project. It was decided that the Project should be implemented in an expeditious manner. He desired to review it personally soon with all stakeholders.
Regarding the Cyber Crime Project, the Home Minister stated that India had 916 million phone subscribers and 239 million internet users currently and the incidence of cybercrime recorded in 2012 is only 3,477 crimes (2,876 under IT Act and 601 under IPC).
Considering the number of users, the incidence of crime reported is negligible because of lack of awareness and the lack of capacity in the law enforcement agencies which don’t have enough capacities to handle serious incidents of cyber crimes. Current technology developments and industry best practices are slow to reach Law Enforcement Agencies, lack of enough trained manpower, equipment and incentives for the Forensic Support units and lack of adequate understanding technology crimes and the applicability of digital evidences by the prosecutors and judiciary. Mr. Singh directed that an appropriate body working in the software industry be utilised for providing the guidance and mentorship to the police in the States to enable them to develop their capacities to fight cybercrime.

Reviewing the improvement of prison conditions across the country, the Home Minister asked for modernization of prisons project to be implemented on priority.