Saturday, July 5, 2014

Track & field training underway for budding athletes

GANGTOK, 04 July: A “Summer Athletic Coaching Camp” is underway full swing here at the Paljor Stadium since 28 June. Around 40 children from within and around Gangtok have registered for this camp which is scheduled to continue till 08 July.
The 10-day camp is being organized by the Department of Sports & Youth Affairs and is supported by the Sikkim Running Group. Two-hour long training sessions are held every morning from 6:30 to 8:30 AM under the supervision of the State Chief Athletic Coach, Basant Pradhan, who is being assisted by senior athletes.
Speaking to NOW! today, coach Pradhan shared that athletics training is held throughout the year but this summer coaching was mainly targeted for the young athletes and beginners. The summer coaching camp has school students from the 10-16 age group.
He shares that the main objective of the camp was to tap athletes while they were still very young and then motivate and train them throughout the year to hone their skills and talent. He believes that the camp also served to engage the students in healthy and productive schedules and that such efforts help keep the young away from harmful distractions.
The Coach further mentions that the camp provided basic training and focused on building endurance, skills, speed, strength, flexibility, stretching and other basic knowledge. He added that seeing the potential and talent these beginners brought to the stadium, he was hopeful that they will continue with track and field events in the future.
The training camp is also being scientifically backed as per the latest training and fitness patterns in consultation with Dr Remon Chettri. It is informed that Dr Chettri is the first sports physiotherapist in Sikkim and is presently an Assistant Professor at the Sikkim Manipal College of Physiotherapy.
Sikkim Running Group, it is informed, was started by some likeminded runners 3 years back and has been working mainly to motivate and support beginners and young athletes to bring them up to competitive levels.
The group has also been sponsoring young athletes in their training, diet, kits, and sending them to different competitions outside the state.
The state chief athletic coach mentions that with the coordination with PETs and sports teachers at schools, talented athletes will be identify and trained. Mr Pradhan has also urged parents to contact him or SRG if their children were interested to join training sessions in athletics.
The State athletes have also been preparing for a string of national level competitions starting next month.

Minister chairs coordination meet for Hee-Martam GVK

NAMCHI, 04 July: A coordination meeting of the Gram Vikas Kendra staff and Panchayats with the RMDD Minister was held at the Hee-Martam GVK in West Sikkim today.
The meeting, chaired by the RM&DD Minister SB Subedi, was also attended by Chingthang and Bermiok Martam Territorial Constituency Zilla Panchayats, Gram Panchayats, DE Power & Energy Deptt. and GPK staff and others officials under Hee Martam GVK.
The GVA, Biswa B Raj Gurung, detailed the objectives of the meeting and updated the meeting on the ongoing projects in the GVK, drinking water supply works, MGNREGA etc. He also placed the key issues before the Minister like shortage of staff and officials at the GVK because of which the people were being inconvenienced and requested that such coordination meets be organized with heads of the different departments in the district and panchyats as well. 

Gram Panchayats of all GPU under Hee Martam raised their issues and demands with the Minister. Most of the demands related to drinking water supply, road connectivity, school upgradation, public play grounds, Panchayat Bhawan etc. 

Dikchu HEP affected houses surveyed

MANGAN, 04 July: A total of 175 houses were covered under a joint survey carried out by representatives from the Land Revenue Department, Buildings & Housing Department and Sneha Kinetic Power Project Ltd. Between 01 to 04 July, the survey checked houses for major and minor cracks believed to have been caused by SKPPL’s work on the 96 MW Dikchu HEP.
This survey was a follow up to the one carried out in 2013 and was necessitated when more complaints came in of houses suffering damage due to blasting works undertaken for the said project. The survey was carried out at the project affected villages of Lower Rakdong, Sokpay, Raidang, 12th Mile, Tamsay and Dikchu Bazar.
Another 300 houses have been surveyed at the dam-site in the Lingdok area.

Mild tremors

GANGTOK, 04 July: A mild tremor of magnitude 3.9 was felt today at around 11:28 a.m. The epicentre of the quake was along the Nepal-Sikkim border [Lat. 27.8°N Long. 87.9°E]. 

Changes proposed in colour scheme for taxis

GANGTOK, 04 July: The Transport Department has proposed a modification in the colour scheme/ pattern of taxi vehicles. Certain proposals of the Department, though minor in nature, are likely to be interpreted as restrictive by many, especially taxi drivers. In particular would be the proposal that the colour in which a taxi vehicle is bought can no longer be changed apart from the hassle of having to spend money and time to make the necessary changes.
The Transport Department has proposed to make changes to the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 for which it is issuing a draft of the proposed amendments inviting objections and suggestions from all persons within a period of 45 days of the publication of the draft. Objections and suggestions from all persons will only be considered if they are forwarded within the stipulated 45 days.
According to the proposed amendment, the colour of the vehicles, namely taxi vehicles, cannot be changed anymore after purchase of the vehicle. As per the proposed rule, the colour of the vehicle will remain the same as is recorded in the purchase document.
Meanwhile, a new colour system has also been proposed by the Transport Department. According to this, Maruti Omni vans and similar vehicles are to have their entire rooftop painted yellow.
For contract carriages and other taxi vehicles the proposed colour scheme is that the whole bonnet portion be painted yellow.
No rationale has been attached to the proposed amendments.
The proposed amendment is to Rule 224 of the Sikkim Motor Vehicle Rules. Rule 224 of the said rules earlier required (by an amendment as recent as one made in November 2010) both front doors of Maruti Omni vans to have a circle of 24 cm diameter with yellow in the middle of 17 cm diameter and having green border of 3.5 cm width. For contract carriages and cars it was required that the bonnet be painted with a circle of a 35 cm diameter with yellow in the middle having diameter of 20 cm bordered with green consisting of 5 cm width.

SUTO to adopt villages for Green Village Model project

GANGTOK, 04 July: Sikkim United Tourism Organization (SUTO) has announced plans to “adopt” villages in the state under the Green Village Model concept. The organisation has also started conducting field surveys for the project.
A SUTO release informs that the organisation has decided to start with villages falling along the Nathula and Jelepla trade route viz Aritar, Dalapchand, Rongli, Chujachen, Rolep, Lamaten, Sisney, Lingtam, Nimachen, Phadamchen and Zuluk.
The organisation has apprised the Chujachen MLA, the concerned Minister and officials of the concerned department about this project, the release informs.
SUTO is confident that the project will benefit villagers and help provide opportunities for the educated unemployed youth of the area. The project aims to benefit around 1000 youth of the area, the release adds.

KS Ranapaheli conferred Dr. Shova Kanti Thegim Memorial Award 2014

GANGTOK, 04 July: Poet Kalu Singh Ranapaheli was conferred the 17th Dr. Shova Kanti Thegim Memorial Award 2014 here at Gangtok today for his collection of poems, ‘Samaya Ko Galbandi’. The award includes a cash award of Rs. 21,001, a Tamra Patra and a Certificate which was presented to Mr. Ranapaheli by the chief guest, Dr. Bindhya Subba, a respected Nepali litterateur from Darjeeling.
The award, it may be recalled, has been instituted in the memory of the late Dr Shova Kanti Thegim who is the first Sikkimese woman to have received a Doctorate degree in Nepali literature. The award in her memory is presented by the Dr Shova Kanti Thegim Memorial Trust every year.
The chief guest, in her address spoke of Dr Thegim’s contributions in the field of Nepali literature, regarding which she stated that Dr Thegim’s efforts have guided others like her to also work tirelessly for the development and promotion of the language and its literature.
The Trust’s president, Dup Tshering Lepcha, Dr Thegim’s husband, briefly spoke on the life and contributions of Dr Thegim.
Mr. Lepcha also explained the working of the Trust and the selection process for the award.
Also on the occasion, two students of Paljor Namgyal Girls School, Anjana Sharma and Agnish Lepcha were presented with stipends of Rs. 2,001 and Rs. 1,500 respectively. They received the stipend for having excelled in Nepali in class X and for having continued studies in it in Class XI as one of their major subjects.

International Plastic Bags Free day at Mangan

MANGAN, 03 July: The international Plastic Bags Free Day was observed here today with a special programme hosted by the Rural Management & Development Department.
The practical session was organized at the Mangan Nagar Panchayat with ADC (Dev), TC Kaleon, as chief guest, and attended MNP president KJ Bhutia, councilor PK Malu, SI Palden Bhutia, resource person Dewakar Basnet from Gangtok and DPO (NDZP), T Sachokpa.
The practical session was attended by business community members of the town, taxi drivers, children and women of Mangan bazaar area.

Assoc of Old Settlers thanks Gangtok MLA

GANGTOK, 04 July: The Association of Old Settlers of Sikkim has thanked Gangtok MLA Pintso Chopel Lepcha for raising issues related to them during the recent Budget Session.
An Association press release issued by its president, RC Mundra, today, conveys the organisation’s thanks towards the MLA for having raised the issue of completion of Thakurbari Mandir and declaration of a cut-off year for old settlers.
It has now requested the State Government to “expedite solution” to issues raised by the Gangtok MLA.

Orientation on OBC certs held for issuing officers

Gyalshing, 04 July [IPR]: An orientation programme on the issuance of Other Backward Class certificates was held today at the DAC conference hall here at Rabdentse for Sub Divisional Magistrates, Gram Vikash Adhikaris and other officials of West District.
Resource Person, Additional Secretary, State Commission for Backward Classes, TB Chettri, explained the changes in the procedure and of how these certificates will now be valid for five years against their earlier validity of 3 years.
Bina Kanti Pradhan, OSD, State OBC Commission, in turn explained the new criteria for identifying Creamy Layer.
DC West, Tshewang Gyatccho, underlined that the issuing authorities strictly follow the existing rules, laws and notification while issuing such certificates. Yousa Lachenpa, Legal Officer, SJEWD, highlighted the legal procedure regarding the issuing of OBC certificates.
The welcome address was placed earlier by ADC West, Bhim Thatal.


Honorarium of urban local body members increased

GANGTOK, 04 July: The state government has enhanced the monthly honorarium of the elected members of the urban local bodies under the Urban Development & Housing Department. The urban local bodies include the Gangtok Municipal Corporation, the Namchi Municipal Council and the Nagar Panchayats.
As per the order issued by the UD&HD, the monthly honorarium of councilors of the Gangtok Municipal Corporation has been enhanced to Rs. 4,800 per month; this does not include the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
For Councilors of the Namchi Municipal Council the honorarium has been enhanced to Rs. 4,400 per month; this does not include the honorarium of the Chairperson and Vice chairperson of the Council. For Councilors of the Nagar panchayats the honorarium has been likewise enhanced to Rs. 4,400 per month. For the president of the Nagar panchayat the monthly honorarium has been enhanced to Rs. 4,800 and for the vice president it has been enhanced to Rs. 4,400 per month.

Ex-gratia funds released for Dalapchand landslide affected

GANGTOK, 04 July: The funds under the State Disaster Relief Fund [SDRF] for the house completely damaged in the landslide that occurred on 29 June at Mandir Dara, Dalapchand have been already released by the District Administration for distribution to the SDM [Rongli], informed District Collector [East], AK Singh, while speaking to NOW! over the phone today.
It may be recalled that the model house of Sirju Gurung at Mandir Dara, Dalapchand had got completely destroyed in a landslide last Sunday. The landslide had also blocked the Rongli-Dalapchand road.
The proposed amount is to be distributed to the affected family while additional funds required in case of any such natural calamity in future has already been released by the district administration and handed over to the SDM [Rongli] for distribution, he added.
The report of how much amount has been distributed by the SDM has not come in as of now and the report is expected to reach the office within a day or two and only then will we be able to inform of the total amount distributed as ex-gratia to the affected family, he further stated.

From 10-Minute Dedications to Life-long Pacts

Editorial:
The State Green Mission was a wonderful idea, pleasantly imaginative and reassuringly evocative of the need to recognize Green as The Colour for the next generation. It was a ‘mission’ launched by the State Government, but it was not just a government programme. It might have ended up as that, but the idea was to catalyze public participation in ecological conservation; no, not the government ‘approved’ joint resource management assemblies, but a more from-the-people initiative, an involvement which will will ensure the mission sustenance. Tree plantations should have been the trigger that reintroduced Sikkim to greenery and the need to nurture it and not just ‘organise’ plantation drives to get photos taken and issue press releases. The act of planting trees should have ideally led to understanding Sikkim’s ecology more intimately than the token ‘biodiversity hot-spot’ introduction that completes most understandings of what the State contains. This obviously did not happen because most plantation drives were undertaken with saplings that the ‘volunteers’ neither recognized, nor even bothered to enquire about, leading to a situation where the survival rates of planted saplings remain anybody’s guess. The fault was not with the idea though. Maybe, the people’s participation which might have been cultivated gradually was compromised by eager-to-please and prompt-to-be-counted organizations and departments which usurped the initiative, and as is wont, distanced the people from the idea with their over-fawning.
Of course, it is very possible that the general public has grown too lethargic even to engage in an initiative which conserves their own future, but hopefully, the generation still in the making is more open and willing. Ideas like the State Green Mission and the Green School awards should address them directly by informing them in schools and colleges and inviting them over to power the Mission. It is in this light that the “10 Minutes for Earth” had brought fresh hope. And it was not so much about getting all of Sikkim planting and would have more than served its purpose if Sikkim came together to acknowledge environment and stood together to recognize that they have a collective responsibility towards it. There will be those who dismiss the 10-Minute dedication as a gimmick, and they would not be wrong, because a gimmick it is. And a gimmick is what is prescribed to shake loose the propensity acquired by Sikkim to lie to itself and simply pretend that all is well. Given the fragility of Himalayan eco-systems and the worrying march of Climate Change, there is never room for complacence when it comes to environmental issues. In that regard, one misses the earlier excitement that had complemented the 10-Minute initiative, because, let’s accept it, the excitement was missing this year, so while the [plantation] numbers might have been impressive, the spontaneity was wanting. It will be through spontaneous collaborations that Sikkim will notice all it has lost, what it still retains and what it could nurture and conserve of the environment they inhabit. For the dedication to lead to commitment, the young will need to be roused every year, not the departments and Panchayats. The young, if they are adequately inspired, will keep the pact for life where the official arms will only keep the date. It is the former that the 10 Minutes to Earth should seek to establish.

Suicide

GANGTOK, 04 July: A 27-year-old man reported committed suicide by hanging at his residence at Lower Pachak, East Sikkim at around 6.30 pm on Thursday. 

Security guard charged with scrap theft

GANGTOK, 04 July: Pakyong Police have arrested a security guard on charges of stealing car batteries and iron scrap from a Maruti Alto on Thursday. According to the police, Devi Das Sharma worked as a security guard at the Pakyong Airport construction site and had made away with two vehicle batteries and one bag of iron scrap from an Alto parked at the construction site. Acting upon information from sources, the police apprehended the accused at Pakyong market area and recovered the stolen goods from his possession. The vehicle involved has also been seized and the case is under investigation.

Burglary at Lower Maney Dara

GANGTOK, 04 July: Some unknown person(s) broke into a house in Lower Maney Dara, Tholungay, South Sikkim on the intervening night of 02 and 03 July and stole away gold bangles (9 tola), gold earrings (12 annas), gold rings, gold necklace and other gold ornaments. A case has been registered at Namchi Police Station and efforts are on to trace out and apprehend the miscreant(s).

CMRHM and REDRH inaugurations at Upper Berthang

Namchi, 04 July: A house constructed under the Chief Minister’s Rural Housing Mission (CMRHM) and another completed under the Reconstruction of Earthquake Damaged Rural Houses (REDRH) scheme under Hee-Martam Gram Vikash Kendra in West Sikkim were inaugurated by area MLA, Minister SB Subedi and formally handed over to the beneficiaries today.
The inaugurated houses belong to Sonam Thendup Lepcha (REDRH) and Janga Bahadur Limboo (CMRHM), both at Upper Berthang ward under Bermiok Berthang GPU.
The occasion was also attended by Gram Vikash Adhikari Bishwa B Raj Gurung , GVA and other staff of the GVK, PB Sherpa, former chairman Sikkim Juvenile Justice Board and all Panchayats of the GPU.

RBI-Gangtok DGM conferred CFA Charter by ICFAI Tripura

GANGTOK, 04 July: ICFAI University, Tripura has conferred the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter and Designation on DGM of Reserve Bank of India, Gangtok Office, Anil Kumar Yadav.
CFA, once the flagship programme of ICFAI, is one of the most coveted and tough financial qualifications across the world, informs a press release.  ICFAI is no longer offering this programme in India after its settlement agreement with CFA Institute, USA, on 25 May, 2012, when it amicably resolved its worldwide dispute with CFA Institute (USA).
Only the pipeline students were allowed to complete the programme. CFA designation from ICFAI can be used worldwide including USA and Canada. Mr Yadav also has membership of other professional bodies such as All India Management Association (AIMA), New Delhi, Indian Institute of Banking & Finance (IIBF), Mumbai etc.

Awareness programme and broom binding training held in South Sikkim

GANGTOK, 04 July: Awareness programmes and broom binding training were conducted at five Micro watersheds falling under Integrated Watershed Management Programme-IV South District from 09-12 June.
A press release informs that the programme was organized by the Forest Department at Kau Khola, Ramphok Khola Micro Watersheds. During the training programme, the beneficiaries were trained on broom binding and briefed on developmental works to be carried out in the project areas.
Broom binding training was given by KB Thapa and awareness programme was conducted by SLNA staff in the presence of Ashok Kumar Pradhan [DFO-cum-PIA], Sanjeev Kumar Rai [R.O-cum-Project leader], SLNA staffs, local Panchayats, respective Watershed Secretaries and local villagers.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Site allotment rules relaxed for a year to bring bazaar records of old settlers in order ANAND OBEROI

GANGTOK, 13 July: The state government has made a one-time relaxation of clauses 19 (i) (ii) (iii) of the Sikkim State Site Allotment Rules, 2012 by omitting the same for a notified period of 12 months starting 14 February 2014.
As per the relaxation, it will not be required for a beneficiary [of site allotment] to possess a Sikkim Subject Certificate or a Certificate of Identification for allotment of a site in any bazaar area. The relaxation, intended at enhancing the regularization of already occupied sites, will also omit the criteria for a beneficiary to be under the Economically Weaker Section to avail allotment facilities in the state.
Speaking to NOW! this afternoon, Chief Town Planner, UD&HD, Devika Sharma, informed that the relaxation was already under effect as the department had to complete the process of compilation of records of the regularization of occupied sites at the earliest.
“There are a number of old settlers and businessmen who still do not possess the required documents under the clauses (i) (II) (III) as required by the Act but have been running their businesses for over 40-50 years. This relaxation will prove beneficial for this section of people who are neither economically backward nor have Sikkim Subjects or COIs,” the Chief Town Planner explained.
She also added that keeping in the view the strictness of the Act, the relaxation would be in effect only for a stipulated period of one year since by then the department would have completed the compilation of records of the regularization of occupied sites as required by the UD&HD at its earliest.
Further, the CTP also informed that this relaxation would further make the process of site allotments systematic as many old settlers in the state were still carrying out their businesses without following the three major criteria required under the Sikkim State Site Allotment Rules 2012 which is why the relaxation was made in exercise of the power conferred by section 25 of the Sikkim State Site Allotment (Amendment) Rules 2014.

Not even inaugurated, but already dilapidated

STRING OF COMPLETED BUT UNATTENDED INFRASTRUCTURE IN NORTH SIKKIM CALLS FOR URGENT ATTENTION


WANGCHUK BHUTIA
MANGAN, 03 July: Infrastructure development has been a thrust area of the state government especially with regard to encouraging tourism in the state. However, many parks and buildings have been constructed but left abandoned without even an official inauguration. Many such infrastructures are already in need of repairs having been left largely unattended since completion of construction but not officially inaugurated.
The government or the concerned department are not the only ones to blame for such negligence and apathy. The public are also to be held responsible for the lack of civic sense towards such public property that results in defaced buildings and parks littered with garbage.
The construction of infrastructure if it was of no immediate use [since they have not received even an official inauguration] also raises questions on the motive behind such spending of public money.
There are many NGOs and SHGs which are requesting the concerned department to sublet such parks and centres to them following proper norms and guidelines as set by the department.
For instance, the newly constructed Jurassic park at Lower Samdong in East Sikkim was constructed some years ago and has been left abandoned and is in a sorry state now. The entrance gate of the park has been locked ever since the construction was completed.
Few months earlier the infrastructure inside the park like table, chairs and machines for the newly installed 3D simulator were vandalised and stolen by some miscreants due to the lack of a caretaker being stationed there. The vapour lights in the garden were also damaged not to mention the litter that is strewn everywhere around the park. Unfortunately, the newly constructed park requires renovation now.
Similarly, the tourist view point at Rakdong Monastery is also eagerly awaiting its inauguration despite being completed a few years ago. At the moment, the view point is under lock and key. The tourist view point at Tumlong in North Sikkim also needs proper upkeep and a care taker. The department’s reluctance to sublet the infrastructure on lease to local NGOs or SHGs is difficult to understand since there are many such organisations willing to do so.
The forest department building constructed at Tingda village on the Gangtok-Mangan highway in North Sikkim has also been left abandoned and sadly, is being used as a toilet by the public. One can imagine the kind of filth and stench that must mean. All windows and doors and other items inside the building are also damaged.
Likewise, the two-storeyed HRDD building constructed at Munsithang near Lachen in North Sikkim is also not in use as the building has been left abandoned since construction and has been engaged by labourers as a labour colony at present.
The newly constructed cafeteria by Tourism Department at Mangan near the petrol pump also awaits inauguration.
There are many such infrastructures which remain neglected and uncared for by the government and the public. Therefore, there is urgent need for proper monitoring of the money spent in such construction together with proper planning and utilisation of such infrastructure.

Weeklong World Photography Day celebration planned

GANGTOK, 03 July: Vivhit Kala Academy has announced plans to celebrate “World Photography Day” with a weeklong series of events in collaboration with Bichar Kala Sangam from 19-26 August at BL House here. This will be the third year that Photography Day celebrations are being hosted by the organization.
Addressing a press conference today, chief coordinator for the event, Kiran Rasaily, informed that celebrated photographer Ashok Dilwali will be among photography enthusiasts on the day.
A photo-exhibition and books display will be hosted at the first floor of BL House while a workshop will be held on the ground floor, Mr. Rasaily informed.

Tatopani slide disrupts traffic to West Sikkim

GYALSHING, 02 July: The torrential rain over the past few days has been proving troublesome for the Road & Brideges department in West Sikkim with the excessive rainfall having caused landslides in several places blocking the roads and bringing traffic to a standstill.
The Gyalshing-Legship road has been closed for the past couple of days due to a landslide at Tatopani. The concerned department is trying its best to clear the road but their efforts are going in vain due to the excessive downpour which has kept the slide active and dangerous.
Commuters meanwhile are taking the longer route via either Rabongla or Dentam to reach their desired places outside the district. The Legship-Gyalshing road which remains the most convenient for commuters but which is also currently the most beset with disruptions needs to be restored at the earliest.
The landslide at Tatopani is not new and gets triggered every monsoon.

SIMFED organizes GPU and ward level programme on Organic Farming and Internal Control Systems

GANGTOK, 03 July: GPU level Orientation Programme on Organic Farming and Certification was conducted by SIMFED in seven GPUs of North, East and South Sikkim from 23-30 June.
The programmes were held in Menrongong, Phensong and Kabi Tingda GPUs in North Sikkim on 23, 24, and 25 June respectively; Byeng Phegyong, Sirwani Chisopani and West Pendam GPUs of East Sikkim on 19, 26 and 28 June respectively and; Rateypani GPU of South Sikkim on 30 June, informs a SIMFED release.  
The resource persons for these programmes were RN Sharma (CONCEDE), Tashi Bhutia (IPL), Ramesh Sharma (IPL) supported by SIMFED ICS officials and staff. The programme saw the screening of the Prime Minister’s speech in the Parliament wherein Sikkim’s Organic Mission was spoken highly of and a short film on Organic Cultivation and after effects of inorganic farming with clippings of actor, Amir Khan’s T.V. serial “Satyamev Jayate” featuring Sikkim’s Organic Mission.
The gathering was informed about the details of Internal Control System, features of Organic Farming with organic methods of pest & disease management and soil fertility enhancement.
The programme witnessed a lot of interaction amongst the visiting resource persons, Line Department Officials, farmers and Panchayats. During the Interaction Sessions clarifications to questions and queries were made with regards to ICS, Organic Farming Certification and marketing of Organic produces, packages & practices of Kharif crops, the release mentions.
The Programme was also attended by Joint Director (Training) Sikkim Organic Mission, ND Bhutia, all Panchayats, members of Growers Group Committees, school children along with their teachers, VLWs, ADOs, Inspectors of the concerned line Departments along with the farmers.
The programmes in each of these GPUs concluded with plantation of saplings of various species of trees on the occasion of “Paryavaran Mahotsav”. On the occasion, short deliberation was also made to the gathering on conservation of nature and waste management including an interactive session. The plantation was carried out by the students, Panchayats, farmers, visiting Line Departmental Officials and resource persons along with SIMFED ICS field functionaries and officials.



SGC-Tadong increases number of Science seats to 200, hopes infrastructure will be supplemented as well REBYNA RANA

GANGTOK, 03 July: With a huge number of students applying for admission in the science stream in Sikkim Government College, Tadong this year, the college has had to increase the number of seats to 200 from the earlier 120.
The college took out a second list on 28 June while the first list had come out on 24 June. Admissions of 200 students were confirmed on Tuesday.
Speaking to NOW! Dean of SGC Tadong, Sudhan Pradhan said, “The number of applicants this year was so high that we decided to admit 200 students this year based on merit”. The HRDD Minister, RB Subba and HRDD Secretary, Thomas Chandy visited the college on Tuesday especially the Science department, he informed.
During the visit, the Minister and Secretary were apprised of the problems faced by the college’s Science department and they assured to look into the problems.
“We hope that they will look into the issue of starting more courses in the science stream. Since science involves lab work it is difficult for us to accommodate more students as there are not enough labs in the college”, said the Dean.
Vice Principal, SGC, Dr Bina Pradhan said, “We have apprised the Minister about the introduction of new courses, labs, etc. It is due to these problems that we are unable to take more students in the college”.
It was informed that the Minister has assured to provide assistance in terms of increasing the strength of students in the college as well as in providing adequate lab facilities.
Dr Pradhan informed that at present there are 90 students who need lab facility and they are divided into 3 groups of 30 students each. These 3 groups use the lab on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday every week. She expressed hope that the concerned department would take the matter up in earnest.

MLA tours landslide affected places of Yuksam-Tashiding


GYALSHING, 03 July: Yuksam-Tashiding MLA, Sonam Dadul Bhutia, visited the various landslide affected areas of the constituency on Wednesday and Thursday. The MLA reached every landslide affected home in his constituency and assessed the scale of damage suffered.
The monsoon arrived only a few weeks back, and the severity of the rains of the past few days has been intense and damaging. Already, reports of damage to cardamom plantations and maize fields have begun coming in.
Over the two days, the MLA toured Chong, Tingting, Thingling and Khecheopalri areas. He reassured the affected families that the government was aware of the losses suffered by them and would arrange ex-gratia payments and all other assistance to help them recover.

Sikkim Lepcha Assoc and Sikkim Lepcha Lit Org thank CM

GANGTOK, 03 July: Renjyong Mutanchi Rong Tarjum (Sikkim Lepcha Association) and Renjyong Mutanchi Ringmom Kurmom (Sikkim Lepcha Literary Organization) have expressed their deep gratitude towards Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and the State government for the various steps taken to uplift the socioeconomic and educational condition of the Lepcha community since the formation of the SDF government.
A joint meeting held on Tuesday noted the various steps taken in favour of the community in an effort to bring social justice to all sections of the Sikkimese populace, informs a press release.
The meeting highlighted some of the steps taken by the state government like according Primitive Tribe status to the community, setting up of Primitive Tribe Welfare Board, 5% seat reservation for Lepcha students in various post-matriculation courses in different educational institutions in the country, 5% reservation in government jobs and declaring Tendong Lho Rum Faat a government holiday.
The Renjyong Mutanchi Rong Tarjum on behalf of the Lepcha Community of Sikkim has extended their good wishes to the Chief Minister and his family, the release adds.

Kanchenjunga Kalam Puraskar for HT’s Pramod Giri

GANGTOK, 03 July: Senior journalist Pramod Giri has been selected for the ‘Kanchenjunga Kalam Puraskar 2014’ of the Press Club of Sikkim. Mr Giri is the principal correspondent for Hindustan Times and is based in Siliguri. His name was announced by the Press Club of Sikkim on Tuesday.
Meanwhile Amber Gurung, staff reporter of Himalayan Darpan, has been named for the ‘Laganshil Yuva Patrakar Samaan’ by the Press Club of Sikkim.
The awards would be presented on 17 July during the 12th foundation day function of the Press Club of Sikkim.
On the occasion, journalist Amalendu Kundu from Times of India will also be felicitated by the club in recognition of his contribution to media in Sikkim.

Hit & Run suspect nabbed

GANGTOK, 03 July: One vehicle bearing registration no. SK-01-T-0600 [Alto] has been seized by Singtam Police and driver/owner Karma Sonam Bhutia [25], resident of Tumin detained in connection with Sang Khola hit & run case of 26 June, where one 48 year old man died after being hit by an, at that time unidentified vehicle at Sang Khola, East Sikkim. The case is under investigation.

Hit & Run driver arrested

GANGTOK, 03 July: Singtam Police arrested a 45 year old driver of vehicle bearing registration number SK-01-P-3686 in connection with a hit & run case at Martam. The victim was evacuated to Singtam District Hospital for medical treatment. A case under section 279/337 [rash driving or riding on public way and causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others] of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against the driver and the involved vehicle has been seized by the police.

Scooty recovery leads to cash haul

GANGTOK, 03 July: A case under section 379 [punishment for theft] of the Indian Penal Code has been registered on 02 July at Singtam Police Station against one Robin Chettri [31], resident of Siliguri [WB], presently residing at Adarsh Gaon. As per the FIR lodged, on the evening of 02 July, some unknown person(s) stole a scooty from Golitar, Singtam. A man hunt was initiated by Singtam police to catch the miscreant.
Accordingly, at midnight, the accused was apprehended at Bagey Khola alongwith the stolen scooty and a bag containing cash amount of Rs. 2.13 Lakhs, official documents related to office of BDO [Khamdong] and Stamps/ Seals of BDO [Khamdong].
The stolen documents and cash are suspected to belong to BDO [Khamdong], the theft of which was reported in a police complaint yesterday. The accused has been sent to Judicial Custody.

Politics and Victimisation

Editorial:-
A complaint that the Opposition parties [party, rather, at present since only one seems to be around] always have on the ready against the ruling front is that of “victimization” of its supporters. On this, the SDF’s fifth term in office, the post-poll worries of said victimization have returned with SKM MLAs having reported it from their constituencies and other groups seeing it in a swathe of policy decisions which have come in the barely two months that the new government has been in office. Interestingly, the transfer tease has not happened thus far even though speculations were rife on a major reshuffle being planned. What has come instead is a reinforcing of rules and revisiting of service conditions which had remained overlooked thus far. But this cannot be seen as victimization because even if they were inspired by a desire to curtail ‘influence’, these were necessary rules that had remained unimplemented for far too long. Even in the short run, the people at large will benefit from the tightening of reins in babudom. Even the media has seen largesse being curtailed and attitudes getting gruff, but even these remain policy decisions, which, even if they are unpopular, are not wrong in essence. What is of concern is that the distrust between different sections will deepen to levels of irrational hostility if the air is not cleared soon and at least a basic level of congeniality reclaimed.
Returning to the issue of ‘victimisation’; undesirable though it may be, it is also a reality of even social engagements so it is only to be expected when it comes to politics. And in this regard, Sikkim has a track record which makes this response plausible, so, most of the allegations could be true although the extent of victimisation gets amplified or subdued depending upon which side is narrating the story. That said, it forces some introspection on what makes political victimisation common and possible in Sikkim. The State’s small size gets further abbreviated when broken down to constituency and block levels, and now with EVMs, to the polling station levels. While it would be near impossible in larger states to actually pinpoint which areas voted against the eventual winner, it does not take much calculation to work out the voting pattern in Sikkim. That done, a victimization drive becomes too tempting to ignore. And this time, there is also a bouquet of constituencies which went to Opposition breaking a decade long complete sweep run. One clarifies again here, that this is not an attempt to justify victimization in any way, but an effort to discuss it. It is necessary here to also classify the victimised into two slots - the private/ individual supporter and the ‘government-employed party worker’. Most will claim that the latter group is larger than the former in Sikkim. While there is no justification why individuals from the private sphere should be targeted for their political affiliations, there is little defence for government functionaries who take sides when elections come calling. While government officials are entitled to their political preferences, it is wrong when they become actively involved in furthering the interests of their favourites. This holds as true for ruling party sympathisers as for Opposition supporters. When a government official ends up taking sides, s/he does not think twice before abusing the office to serve that end. The same holds true for teachers, many of whom invariably end up “playing” politics. One thing is certain, govt employees who “play” politics [and this is different from just voting] and back the losing side should not have too many complaints if they are singled out for “victimisation.” They knew the risks involved when they made their decision.
Despite all that, Sikkim is perhaps not best suited for victimization drives since politics here has this nasty habit of infiltrating everything and becomes difficult to avoid for most people. The best approach for Sikkim should be something that the Chief Minister suggested in the recent Budget Session when he invited all Legislators to dedicate the next four years exclusively to Sikkim and its people since the last one year of the term would be enough to play politics.

SCA team off to Gaya for chess tourney

GANGTOK, 03 July: A six-member Sikkim Chess Association [SCA] team is all set to represent Sikkim at the 1st Lord Buddha FIDE-Rated Below 2000 Chess Tournament scheduled to be held in Gaya, Bihar, from 05 to 09 July. The team will be leaving for the tournament on Friday.
The state team has Rahul Gurung, Sushmita Lama, Priya Chettri, Rohit Gurung, Thendup Tamang and Chetiz Rai. All six are FIDE-rated players. The team will be accompanied by SCA general secretary, Mahendra Dhakal, who will also be serving the tournament as an Arbiter.
Mr. Dhakal shared that the team is in high spirits and fully prepared to win medals and improve their FIDE rating in the tournament. He adds that the team has undergone rigorous training sessions to prepare for the tournament.
Soon after this tournament, an SCA team will also be participating in the 1st edition of Asom FIDE Rating Open Chess Tournament scheduled to be held from 15 to 20 July at Guwahati in Assam.
Mr Dhakal informs that thus far, only the participation of Rakesh Gurung, Rahul Gurung and Rohit Gurung is confirmed and rest of the team will be finalized soon.

CD Rai to be conferred Bhanu Puraskar 2014

GANGTOK, 03 July: Ninety year old Chandra Das Rai, who retired as a journalist, but served full tenures as a bureaucrat and politician before that, was also instrumental in the establishment of APATAN Sahitya, a pioneering literary institution of Sikkim in the Sixties, an involvement that has secured him the Bhanu Puraskar this year on the prestigious 200th Bhanu Jayanti.
The Executive Committee of the Nepali Sahitya Parishad, Sikkim, which confers the award, unanimously endorsed Mr. Rai’s name for the award at a meeting chaired by its president Paras Mani Dhangal here at the Parishad Bhawan.
Nepali Sahitya Parishad, Sikkim, it is informed, had constituted two tier selection committee including a former Bhanu Puraskar recipient and two other literary figures, and another tier with a national awardee in literature, one Bhanu Purashkar awardee and one literary figure.
The award will be conferred on Bhanu Jayanti, 13 July, at Manan Kendra during the function which is also expected to be addressed by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Governor Shriniwas Patil. The Bhanu Puraskar was constituted in 1985 and comprises of a cash prize of Rs. 25,001, a citation and a shawl.
Besides this, the Nepali Sahitya Parishad has also decided to confer the Bhasa Sewa Sri Samaan on Binita Rai; Sangeet Sri Samaan to Jagadish Sharma; Chitrakarita Sri Samaan on Homnath Mishra; Patrakarita Sri Samman to Rudra Kaushik [West District correspondent of Samay Danaik]; Natya Sri Samman on Bimal Kafley and Sahitya Sri Samman to Binashri Kharel.

More associations dissolve exec bodies to release govt servants

GANGTOK, 03 July: Nearly a fortnight since the State Government rescinded all permissions granted to government servants to join associations and organizations, news of the dissolution of the executive bodies of such organisations have started pouring in.
The latest sports organizations to join the list are Sikkim Olympic Association [SOA] and Sikkim Veterans Table Tennis Association [SVTTA] which have dissolved their executive bodies and formed adhoc bodies for the time being.
The existing body of SVTTA was dissolved during a special general body meeting held on Tuesday here in Gangtok. The adhoc body of the Association was formed under the presidentship of UK Pradhan and four other members. The adhoc body proposed to hold a membership drive and election of the new body within three months.
SOA dissolved its executive body on 25 June and formed an adhoc body under the chairmanship of Rajen Subba [Sikkim Amateur Taekwondo Association] along with other members - Bidhan Ballav Subba [Sikkim Karate Do Association]; DawaTamang [Sikkim  Amateur Taekwondo Association] and Shambu Pradhan [Sikkim Athletics Association].
The meeting also discussed SOA's future course following the resignation of most of its members.
Meanwhile, the central executive committee of the Sikkim Lepcha Youth Association [SLYA] has appealed to all the office bearers of its district and village level branches who are government employees to resign from their respective posts.
The CEC office bearers who are government employees are resigning from their respective posts from 05 July onwards while the association has requested all the Branch Members who are government employees to resign by 10 July 2014.
It may be mentioned here that the order regarding the ban was issued by the government on 16 June 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”.

Assembly secretariat hosts welcome and farewell programme

Gangtok, 03 July [IPR]: A joint Welcome & Farewell programme was held at Sikkim Assembly Secretariat, during which the staff extended warm greetings to the new Speaker, KN Rai, and Deputy Speaker Sonam Gyatso Lepcha even as they bid heartfelt good-bye to former Speaker KT Gyaltsen and Deputy Speaker MB Dahal at the banquet hall on Tuesday.
Speaking at the programme, Speaker Mr. KN Rai thanked his predecessor for his commendable role in raising the dignity and decorum of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly and further committed to preserve its level of achievement in future.
He also highlighted the importance of responsibility of every citizen in a democratic environment.
Meanwhile, expressing gratitude towards the Chief Minister and the people for giving him an opportunity to serve the State, the former Speaker highlighted that the Assembly was the Temple of Democracy. It is a system of government where people are supreme, he stressed.
The programme was also addressed by former Deputy Speaker Mr. Dahal.
Secretary D. Rinchen assured all cooperation to the new Speaker and stated the last term was remarkable, result-oriented and progressive.

Abhijit Singha to choreograph Miss Sikkim Diva 2014 finalé

GANGTOK, 03 July: Guwahati-based fashion entrepreneur, designer and fashion choreographer, Abhijit Singha, has been hired to choreograph the finalé of the Miss Sikkim Diva 2014 contest scheduled to be held on Saturday, 05 July 2014 at Manan Kendra.
As per a press release, Abhijit Singha is the founder of Mega Entertainment, which has organised events like the Sunsilk Mega Miss North East 2014, successful shows in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata for launching the fragrance brand Christian Dior in India. He is also the Managing Director of Mega Miss North East and Mega Mr. North East.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

NHPC directed to evacuate residents from 4 Jang houses rendered unfit for habitation by Stage V dam

GANGTOK, 02 July: A joint inspection of the Jang village in Lower Rakdong Tintek above Teesta Stage V hydel project was conducted on Tuesday by the officials of the East District Administration and NHPC, which has constructed the hydel project. The inspecting team of the District Administration was led by SDM Gangtok, Karma Lodey Lepcha, an official press release informs.
A press release informs, during the visit it was found that there are 16 houses located in Jang have been severely affected by the Stage-V dam directly below. 4 houses were so severely affected that they have been declared unfit for habitation.
The SDM directed the NPHC officials to immediately evacuate the residents of these 4 houses to a safer locations. The NHPC officials, the press communiqué from the DC East office informs, have assured to do so immediately.
Regarding the permanent acquisition and settlement of the Jang by the NHPC, a geological survey of the village needs to be carried out by a team comprising of NHPC and State Government and the matter will also be taken up immediately, the release mentions.
The inspection team also included Sonam Wongyal Lepcha [DPO Disaster Management], Pema Wangchen Bhutia [GVA Rakdong Tintek], Bijayata Kharel [TO Disaster Management] and Sherap Dorjee Bhutia [Revenue Supervisor, Rakdong Tintek]. The officials representing NHPC were QZ Khan [Chief Engineer, Civil, Siliguri Regional Office], Asutosh Kumar [Manager Electrical] and Biman Gosh [Manager Civil Dam].

Team checks on water release warning systems downriver

The inspecting team also checked the alarm and warning system at Dikchu, Makha and Balutar used by the NHPC for release of water from the Stage-V dam at Dikchu. The DC East’s office informs that “improvements” have been made by the NHPC on the alarm and warning system as per the suggestions of the District Administration.
The manual sirens have been converted to GSM operated sirens and new sirens installed at SMIT, Rangpo, Makha and Bardang in addition to the sirens already installed at Balutar, Forest Office Singtam, Forest Office Mamring, it is further informed.
NHPC was also directed that sirens be installed at Yongaon, Makha and Lower Samdong where there is habitation along the river side. NHPC also requested the general public to cooperate with them in the installation of the sirens.

Meeting discusses 200th Bhanu Jayanti celebrations for West Sikkim

NAMCHI, 02 July: A meeting to discuss the celebration of the 200th Bhanu Jayanti was held at Soreng, West Sikkim on Monday. The meeting was initiated by SDM Soreng, Ravindra Kumar and was chaired by Minister HRDD, Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Sports & Youth Affairs Department, RB Subba.
Welcoming the gathering SDM Soreng gave a brief introduction of Adikavi Bhanu Bhakta Acharya and also highlighted the work of various committees set up for the celebration and their responsibilities. Minister RB Subba requested the officials present to give their introduction and urged the gathering including officials, school heads and others to do their duty sincerely for the service of the people and society as a whole.
Speaking on the Bhanu Jayanti celebration, Mr Subba urged the gathering to celebrate the occasion in a grand manner by duly constituting ‘Bhanu Smarika Committee’ for recording activities of Bhanu Jayanti Celebration and of the committee so as to promote youngsters in the field of literature.
Former Zilla Panchayat Adhakshya, RM Rai was nominated as the president of Bhanu Jayanti Celebration Committee Soreng by the Minister and was entrusted with the responsibility of framing sub- committees as and when required in coordination with other members. SDM Soreng will be coordinating the celebration as chairman of the Bhanu Jayanti Celebration Committee Soreng.
In the course of the meeting the Minister also directed the Deputy Directors HRDD Soreng to verify the complaints of shortage of HMs, mathematics and science teachers and other teachers and to make arrangements for the same within the summer vacation.
The Minister also requested the SDM and SDPO Soreng to look into the public's complaints regarding the charging of Rs1000 by the LPG distribution centre of Soreng for registration of consumers.
The meeting was conducted in the Conference hall of Sub-Divisional Administrative Centre in Soreng and attended by officials, school heads, former and present Zilla Panchayat members, NGOs and youths.

75% ‘discount’ for local unemployed youth in trade and hawker license fees

GANGTOK, 02 July: The state government has reduced the trade license and hawker license fees by 75 percent on all prescribed rates for local unemployed youth. Aimed as a move to encourage youth towards business and commercial enterprises, the efficacy of this ‘discount’ will become apparent over the next few months.
The Urban Development & Housing Department (UD&HD), through a notification dated issued on 26 February 2014 had amended the Sikkim Trade License and Miscellaneous Provision Rules, 2011, notifying that “the trade license fee and hawker licence fee in respect of the local unemployed youth in the items enumerated in Schedule I, II and III shall be 75 percent less that prescribed in the Schedule I, II and III.” Provided that the local unemployed youth shall fulfill the conditions laid down in Rule 7 of the STL&MP Rules 2011.
Special Secretary, UD&HD, LB Chettri, while speaking to NOW! today, stated that the decision to reduce the trade license and hawkers fees for local unemployed youth has ensured that many local unemployed youth in the state now have an opportunity to make a living in a society where employment opportunities in the government sector was limited.
He also informed that the concerned urban local bodies and the nagar panchayats had been devolved powers as functionaries for the same and that the department had transferred the powers for the implementation part to the ULBs.
“Ours is a totally consumer state which is why we have limitations in state government employment opportunities. However, the state government has notified the reduction in fees for obtaining license to only local unemployed youth who have to fulfill the requirements as mentioned in the notification,” he stated.
He added here that these requirements included having Sikkim subjects or certificate of identification, recommendations from the concerned panchayats or ULBs and state government issued employment cards that have been updated and stamped.  

VC seeks govt support in developing Yangang campus, Minister assures all help for Sikkim University

GANGTOK, 02 July: Human Resource Minister RB Subba today assured all logistic support towards the development of the Sikkim University campus at Yangang in South Sikkim. He added that the State Government was closely working with the University.
Minister Subba was addressing the 7th Foundation Day programme of the University hosted here at the Sikkim Government College, Tadong, auditorium.
He said that the Sikkim government was doing its best to provide adequate support and policy interventions for education and human resource sector so that the maximum number of students can pursue higher education within the state.
The government is ready to extend all possible help to the University for early commissioning of infrastructure building at Yangang in south Sikkim.
Addressing the gathering, Sikkim University Vice Chancellor Professor Tanka B. Subba sought cooperation of the State government for early commissioning of infrastructure development at SU’s campus at Yangang. This was necessary for better education facilities with proper class rooms, library and other necessary infrastructure and sanitation for university teaching and non-teaching staff including the students, the VC pointed out. At present, Sikkim University functions out of rented accommodations spread across Gangtok.
He said that University is reeling with shortage of drinking water, space and electricity and also urged the state government to address these issues on priority basis.
He also informed that the University has established a separate Academic Research Award Fund to scholars to provide assistance for research scholars under Sikkim University. He also said that during the current academic year, nearly 13,000 students are getting enrolled in Sikkim University and that this number will cross 22,000 by the next academic year. The need for proper space for teaching and other activities was hence growing urgent, he highlighted.

SUNANDA DATTA-RAY DELIVERS FOUNDATION DAY LECTURE AT SIKKIM UNIVERSITY

…fleshes out ‘near abroad’ concept for ‘big’ countries like India
GANGTOK, 02 July: Sikkim University celebrated its 7th Foundation Day today, starting with official and academic exercises and ending the evening with a rock performance. The occasion had the HRD Minister RB Subba as chief guest and featured veteran journalist, Sunanda K. Datta-Ray, author of “Smash & Grab in Sikkim”, delivering the Foundation Day lecture.
Mr. Datta-Ray spoke on “The ‘Near Abroad’ concept for big countries line the US, Russia, China and India”, pointing out that every large country is surrounded by small, and perhaps, sovereign states, whose governments must accommodate the security needs of the central power, forbidding any foreign power to intervene in regional affairs.
He said that in looking at the geo-political region of India and its ‘Near Abroad’ reveals several flash points of potential conflict, challenges to economic growth, rampant human rights violations and democracy under construction.
“Geopolitically speaking, undivided India is India’s “near abroad.” That includes not only Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, but also Sri Lanka, probably Myanmar and possibly, parts of Tibet. I would have included Sikkim if India had not in this one respect self-defeatingly followed the Chinese example of annexing a fragment of the ‘near abroad’. The main question revolves around Pakistan, which is yoked with India in the American consciousness, like unreconciled Siamese twins. India and the US in the New Millennium, sometimes the hyphenation is symbolic,” Mr. Datta-Ray underlined.
“Parity was extended to create the myth that if India’s neighbours were not its equal in every way, this invested India with a special responsibility to shrink to their level in all regional transactions. Indians did not repudiate this theory, perhaps seeing in it a tribute to their own pre-eminence,” he added.
Highlighting the issues confronting “big countries” like China, Russia and USA, he said China has tried to solve the problem by swallowing up parts of its “near abroad”, but is still embroiled in controversies over the Paracel and Spratly Islands, arguments with Vietnam and the Philippines, territorial disputes with Japan, Bhutan and India, and claims regarding the South China Sea. Although annexed, Tibet and Xinjiang have not been pacified. Many of the “core interests” that Beijing speaks of refer to the “near abroad.”
“Countries need a glacis – an open field of fire for defensive purposes – such as surrounds Calcutta’s Fort William,” he contended.
The lecture was well-received by the audience made up primarily of University students and teachers.

SIBLAC thanks Chamling for scrapping Kabi-Longstok project and Assembly resolution on Karmapa to Sikkim

APPEALS TO HIM TO RECONSIDER AND REEVALUATE TASHIDING HYDEL PROJECT AS WELL
GANGTOK, 02 July: The Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee, at a meeting held on Tuesday, resolved to express gratitude towards Chief Minister Pawan Chamling putting on record in the Legislative Assembly that the beautification project planned for the Kabi Longstok sacred grove has been scrapped and for having passed a resolution in the Assembly requesting the Centre to allow Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje to Sikkim.
A SIBLAC press release issued by its general secretary Pem Tshering Lepcha informs that the meeting, chaired by SIBLAC convener Tseten Tashi Bhutia, was also attended by representatives from the Bhutia Lepcha Protection Force, Save Kabi-Longtsok Committee and members from Monks of Sikkim, including community members from all four district of the State.
Apart from registering gratitude towards the CM, the meeting, after deliberating on the verdict passed by the High Court on the petition challenging the Tashiding HEP, resolved to appeal to the Chief Minister to “re-evaluate and check whether he is not misguided or kept in dark by the state administration or the project proponent” about the project.
The meeting agreed that the CM should be conscious of the fact that “no meaningful performance of Tashiding Bhum-chu ritual is possible if river Rathong Chu is desecrated or defiled”.

The meeting concluded with an expression of congratulations for Mr. Chamling and his team for their fifth term in government and extended good wishes to all the new elected members of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly. 

Inter-departmental collaboration to establish quality orchards in Sikkim

Intro: A special feature from the IPR Department, Govt of Sikkim, explains the “convergence” initiative underway in Sikkim
Can we divert the MGNREGA labour force back to the agriculture sector? Can we support the farmers to offset the opportunity costs incurred while establishing long gestation horticulture crops? Can we revive the main cash crops of the Sikkimese economy namely large cardamom, mandarin orange and guava? Can two departments join hands in convergence to create livelihoods assets without having issues of duplicacy, double payment and transparency?
A quiet initiative is underway in the rural areas of the state where two departments have joined hands to make this dream of establishing quality horticulture orchards a reality. Groundwork was carried out over the last 6 months to complete the planning and preparatory activities. The convergence framework between Horticulture and Cash Crop Development Department (HCCD) and the Rural Management and Development Department (RMDD) was approved by the Government in Jan-2014. RMDD took up the function of identification of beneficiaries and location (in gram sabhas), pit digging, planting and maintenance, while HCCD took up the function of providing the plants, bio-fertilizer, bio-pesticide and technical support under one of the schemes under MIDH namely Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalayan states [HMNEH]. Hence, in this convergence model, both the departments combined their strengths in the form of technical expertise of the HCCD and the social mobilization of RMDD.
Special registers and books were printed to keep a detailed record of the plants and inputs received and distributed to the beneficiaries (plants indent book, plants received register, beneficiary plants issue register etc). Electronic Muster Rolls (e-MR) and direct wage payment in the accounts of beneficiaries was ensured. To prevent duplicacy or double payment complimentary financial components were taken up i.e. wage component by RMDD and material component (plants, biofertilizer and biofungicides/ biopesticides) by HCCD. Several State, district and block level meetings were held to ensure seamless integration.
In this convergence model, a total of 2,147 ha of horticulture plantations is underway covering 9000 beneficiaries in which 46 lakh horticulture plants approximately are being planted. A total of 1450 ha large cardamom, 661 ha of mandarin orange and 41 ha of guava plantations are in full swing to be completed by 10 July, 2014. The total joint investment involved is to the tune of Rs14 crore.
This convergence model of Sikkim has been appreciated at the Government of India level as well and the MGNREGA officials from Sikkim have been invited by the north-eastern and Himalayan states to share their expertise. Also, MGNREGA-Sikkim bagged the National Convergence Award from the Ministry of Rural Development in Feb 2014.



Phidang suffers the destructive tug of Teesta Stage-V reservoir WANGCHUK BHUTIA

MANGAN, 02 July: Woes born from the Teesta Stage-V hydel project, despite its having been commissioned some years ago, continue to befall people in the surrounding areas. The dangers posed by the sudden, at times unannounced, release of dam-waters is a running worry, and the crumble at Jang village above the dam has been in the news often. Joining the line of residents with complaints against NHPC’s management of the project components and responsibility towards affected people are the residents of Phidang in Lower. The village, above the Stage-V reservoir are aggrieved over NHPC’s uineffective Reservoir Rim Treatment which has resulted in the reservoir banks tugging at Phidang and imperilling dwellings there.
NHPC, the residents insist, should  have  adopted proper and better planned treatment  works along  the  reservoir in keeping with the  geography and topography  of  the  area and its slopes. In fact, several specific representations seeking the same were made to the district authorities to take up with NHPC and even as people continued to seek strong reinforcements at the reservoir  below  their village, it was not provided.
The residents accept that NHPC has undertaken the rim treatment works on the entire stretch below Phidang,  right  from  Phee  Kyoung  to  Namphyoung  Kyoung,  up  to  the  “EL  583”. All these, the people point out, were at acquired  areas, but even this was in proper manner,  and  at  places  along  the  old  Phidang  Bridge, no  treatment  has  been done at all, the people highlight.
“The  rim treatment   measure   adopted  should  have  been one  of fully  strong  grouting,  rod  concreted  measure at least  up  till  the  Reservoir  Submergence  level,  that  is  EL 579 Level, so as  to  protect  Toe  Erosions, Scouring, Tremors and  Vibrations  from  occurring.                              The  very   base  foundations  should   have  been  well  excavated, dugout, well below  the Teesta  riverbed   level,   and  a  sustainable  concrete,  rod  grouting  R/R  treatment,  should  have  been undertaken up till at least  the  reservoir  water  submergence  level. But, this sustainable measure has not been adopted,” details Gyan Ongrub Lepcha, one of the affected persons from Phidang.
He, like his neighbours, is convinced that since this was not done, the entire village and all areas surrounding the reservoir are getting  so severely affected  by  landslides,  crates, pothole  formations,  and  cracks occurring  in the houses and on their land holdings.
Mr. Lepcha further stated that while NHPC has  paid  compensation  to  houses   lying  within  the  purview  of the  reservoir  at  “EL 581-EL 585” [NHPC  acquired  areas], the RCC  building  of Karma Donka Lepcha,  just  above  the  reservoir  [at  an  EL  588m] has been declared  safe  to  live  in after NHPC undertook [vide  a letter   signed in  the  presence  of  the DC  North] that it would  undertake suitable and sustainable R/R  Treatment for  the  protection  of  this  building.
This was not done and now Ms. Lepcha is finding that her building is developing cracks as are the open spaces around her house. Just below the foundations of the building the land too is sinking.
Elsewhere, a crater formed on the Bridge Deck of the Old Phidang Bridge last month and have been growing bigger by the day.
The issues were brought to the notice of the NHPC GM through a letter on 20 June by  the  Gram  Panchayats  of  Lum,  Gor, Sangtok, but no follow up action  has been seen thus far.

PHE cleans up collection and distribution tanks in Namchi

NAMCHI, 02 July: The Water Security & Public Health Engineering Department at Namchi sub-division has been carrying out cleanliness drives at different water sources and water collecting tanks and today reached the Alley water collection tank. This drive is in continuation of the Paryavaran Mahotsav 2014.
The PHE team led by AE Tara Rai and including JEs Kham Lal Chettri and YP Adhakari and staff of the Department has cleaned all the major water sources of Namchi like Burmali, Ghatey Khola, Darey and Guddi Khola. They also cleaned all the distribution tanks of Namchi following which the Alley distribution tank was cleaned today.
About the initiative, AE Mr. Tara Rai explained that owing to continuous rainfall at the upper reaches of the water sources, the water was becoming increasing muddy due to which the load on the collection and distribution tanks to desilt the water was heavy. Through such clean-up efforts, the Department was trying to keep providing clean water to Namchi. He also thanked his team of JE Khamlal Chettri and YP Adhakari and all the office and field staffs to their cooperation and support.

GOC 27 Mtn Division calls on CM

GANGTOK, 02 July [IPR]: GOC 27-Mountain Division, Kalimpong, Major General Gurpal Singh Sangha, commissioned into the 11th Bn Grenadian Regiment called on the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling at his official residence Mintokgang here in the capital this morning.
During the meeting the Maj General congratulated the Chief Minister for his fifth term in office and good governance. He informed about the Army coordination in the eastern region and the expansion of infrastructures in the area.
During the discussion the Maj General informing the Chief Minister about the various issues of army in the border areas said that army in the border areas is for the security of the Nation as well as to fight against any form of natural disaster.
The Major General also presented a souvenir to the Chief Minister during the meeting.
While taking to the Major General the Chief Minister said that there is good coordination between army and the state government and hoped for the same in the future. He also assured the General that his government will provide any possible help and cooperation to the army.

Minister inaugurates GPK at Lamting-Tingmo

GANGTOK, 02 July: Minister, Rural Management & Development Department, SB Subedi inaugurated the newly constructed Lamting Tingmo Gram Prashashan Kendra, under Wok Gram Vikas Kendra, South Sikkim today.
A press release mentions that the Gram Prashashan Kendra building had been badly damaged in the 2011 earthquake and had to be reconstructed. The new Gram Prashashan Kendra has been constructed at a cost of Rs. 29.99 lakh under the Thirteenth Finance Commission and was completed within three years.
On the occasion, Panchayat President, Mingma Sangay Sherpa welcomed all the guests present and thanked the Government for the new Gram Prashashan Kendra. D. E. (Zilla), Pratap Gautam read out the Technical Report while GVA, Wok, Milan Rai apprised the house of the various developmental activities being undertaken under his Block.
Purna Bahadur Limboo, the donor of land for the new Gram Prashashan Kendra was also felicitated during the programme, the release mentions.
Secretary, RMDD, DR Nepal in his address spoke of the various works being undertaken by the Department and the need for the public to be aware and vigilant so that the delivery mechanism improves.
Zilla Adhyaksha, CL Gurung emphasised on the various developmental activities being undertaken by the Government and how it has improved the lives of the poor.
The chief guest on the occasion, Minister RMDD, SB Subedi stated that like the Secretariat in Gangtok is the seat of the State Government likewise the new Gram Prashashan Kendra is the seat of the Village Government and all the Panchayats and functionaries must be present in the office everyday to provide their services to the people. He congratulated all for the new office and wished them the best in the future.
Also present were Devi Maya Baraily [Zilla Up-Adhyaksha], HB Gurung [Director, Panchayat], Tashi Chophel [ADC Dev, Ravangla], Yangchen Tamang [DPO, South], BK Rai [SDM, Ravangla] and other officers, Panchayats (Zilla and Gram) and local gentry.

When Trouble Spots Act Up, the Expose Ineptitude

Editorial:
So, NH31-A is acting up again, the North Sikkim Highway remains a dangerous gauntlet to run and just about every other ‘highway’ has become a doubtful travel proposition now that the monsoons have arrived. Portions of roads across the State are either collapsing or getting buried. Yes, it is monsoons and the hills are fragile, even a lay person knows that. Fine, the concerned agencies, depending on which road is under stress, are clearing the debris or pushing up retaining walls, but even this much the lay people can do. Equipped with excavators and earth movers, every village along highways could double as road clearers, charging a retainer for their service to get the roads ‘open’. If the present level of service can be delivered with personnel with expertise in driving specialist vehicles, they why is an army of engineers being retained by Border Roads Organisation or the State Roads & Bridges Department? Why are there agencies with specific duties to look after roads being financed by the State and the Centre? If repair is all that these agencies can do, why not set aside budgets earmarked for villages around notorious trouble-spots? That way, the crores that go out on salaries towards engineers and experts at BRO or Roads & Bridges Department can also be invested directly on repairs and shared out among the ‘villagers’.
The point being made here is that repairs are short-term measures; measures that anyone confronted with a broken road will devise. What one expects of agencies with the human and material resources to look after roads, are more long-term corrections and better advance planning. It confounds all logic that a more permanent solution is not available for landslides that come down every year around the same spots. In these times of scientific temper, it is bewildering that the mechanics of road repairs has not developed beyond wire-meshed retaining walls and bull-dozer clearances. Given that NH 31A is a strategically important lifeline, by now, an inch-by-square inch mapping of the road alignment should have been at hand with projections on which contour can take how much rainfall before collapsing. A special cell should be monitoring the rainfall records at regular intervals to organise road-gangs and support equipment the moment precipitation hits the red band for a particular area. But these again are about response to road blockages. What NH 31A should have received by now is a proper plan on how to contain at least the troublespots that have troubled every monsoon for decades now. There can be no acceptable explanation for collapses and blockages at the same spots year on year. There is no excuse for why a long-term plan to settle these stretches is either not available or not successful. While Sikkim pushes the demand for an alternate highway, it should also start demanding that ‘real’ experts be commissioned to recommend the engineering basics that will hold together NH 31A more reliably in the future.

Landslide destroys house, blocks Rongli-Dalapchand road

GANGTOK, 02 July: The model house of Sirju Gurung at Mandir Dara, Dalapchand which got completely destroyed in a landslide on Sunday night. SDM Rongli along with his team visited the spot on Monday for assessment of damages. Ex-gratia relief will be paid as per the SDRF norms.
The landslide has also blocked the Rongli - Dalapchand road at Mandir Dara. It may be mentioned that another house at Pam Basti in Chujachen was also damaged badly on Sunday night.

DESME holds sensitisation workshop on Business Registration and House numbers

GANGTOK, 02 July: A sensitization workshop on Business Registration number (BRN) and House Number was held in Namchi and Gyalshing on 30 June and 01 July respectively.
In his key note address, DG-cum-Secretary, DESM&E, SD Tshering emphasized on the importance of collecting micro and macro level data for generating socio-economic indicators, informs a DESME press release.
The DG-cum-Secretary, DESM&E, SD Tshering, Director, Madhu  Pradhan and Joint Director, S K Pradhan were the resource persons for the workshop. The workshop was also attended by the district officials, BDOs, panchayats and Councilors.
The DESM&E is undertaking this task as the government of Sikkim through a notification has made it essential to assign BRN in order to prepare BR.
At the same time, owing to the absence of any address information system, DESM&E has been asked to develop and implement a system for assigning house numbers which will help in fulfilling: the administrative requirements (Passport, Ration Card, EPIC, etc); carrying census/survey and other studies and; help the service providers such as Post offices, PHE, Power deptt, courier services, etc in locating and delivering services (letters, couriers, etc).

BUSINESS REGISTRATION NUMBER
Business Register essentially means the list of all establishments pursuing various economic activities relating to production and or distribution of goods and or services at a place. Such a list when complete will provide an ideal frame for conducting sample surveys and undertaking studies of various economic activities for finding their pattern and trend in the country. The BR will help in the computation of State Domestic Product and generating other indicators of the trade sector
In theory, Business Register records all enterprise groups, enterprises and local units that are active in the national economy. Thus it is the basic foundation for System of National Accounts (SNA). Geographically it covers the entire state of Sikkim.
Benefits:
For the Private entrepreneurs
(a) Establishing business profile for a specific area;
(b) Analyzing existing potential business markets and assessing/ assisting market research;
(c) Reducing administrative burden;
(d) Improving efficiency in registration system; and
(e) National Accounting and effective policy formulation, monitoring and planning.

16 digit Business Registration Number (BRN)
Business Registration Number (BRN) is a unique identification number of an establishment in the Business Register. A 16 digit BRN will be assigned/allotted in the following manner:
Rural Area:
6 digit code: Six Digit Census Village Code
4 digit code: Running serial number of an establishment in the Business Register assigned in the order they get listed/appear/report for registration starting from 1 in each GPU
6 digit number: 3 Digit BRC Code + 3 Digit GPU Code
Urban Area
6 digit code: 6 digit Town Code
4 digit code: Running serial number of an establishment in the Business Register  assigned in the order they get listed/appear/report for registration starting from 1 in each MW
6 digit number: 3 Digit BRC Code + 3 Digit MW code
NOTE: Only 10 digit BRN - 4 digit running serial number and 6 digit number (3 BRC code + 3 Digit MW/GPU Code) will be given by the registering authority

Address Information System
House number: A unique unduplicated number will be assigned to each building and units therein. The number will be constructed in such a way that it will denote the exact location of the house/unit.
The numbering system is based on the following location particulars:  system:
(i) STATE  
(ii) DISTRICT: EAST/WEST/NORTH/SOUTH
(iii) Gram Panchayat Unit/MC/NP
(iv) Panchayat Ward(PW)/Municipal ward(MW)  
(v) SECTOR- Divisions within MW/PW
(vi) Building: Pucca/semi-pucca/katcha structures within a sector
(vii) Units: HHs/Enterprise/Other units within the building
HOUSE NUMBER -Urban Area
Acronym of the Urban block
Code of Municipal Ward
Sector Number: In running alphabets
Building Number: Running serial number of buildings
Unit Numbers: Serial number of HHs/enterprises/others within the building
e.g of House Number in Urban Area- GTK/001/A/1(1)
HOUSE NUMBER Rural Area
Acronym of the GPU
Code of PW
Building Number
Unit Numbers within the building
e.g of House Number in Rural Area- RNK/01/1(1)

House number in the rural areas will be allotted by the GPK. In Urban areas, the same will be allotted by DESM&E.

Village Directory
Location particulars of a village/HHs/Ent/Structure/Etc
Rural Village  Directory: Codified directory of all notified gram prashashan kendras and panchayat wards
Urban Village Directory: Codified directory of all notified municipal wards

Cabbie nabbed with ‘drugs’ consignment

GANGTOK, 02 July: 32 year old Rabin Chettri was picked up Sikkim Police from a restaurant at 5th Mile, Tadong, today with a substantial cache of substances of abuse – all prescription drugs which the accused had reportedly purchased from Siliguri for onwards sale in Gangtok.
Booked under the SAD Act, the accused, as per police records, was caught with 1,227 capsules of Spasmo Proxyvon, 163 Nitrosun-10 tablets, and 24 bottles of a cough syrup.

East farmers visit Azing’s Farm in West

GANGTOK, 02 July: Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA-East) organised an exposure tour (within state) for the farmers of East district from 25 to 27 June 2014 at Azing’s Farm, Hatthidunga, Sangadorjee GPU, under Rinchenpong Constituency, West Sikkim.
As per a press release, around 80 farmers, mostly members of the Farm School of East District from all the eight blocks of East Sikkim namely Khamdong, Assam Linzey, Regu, Rongli, Basilakha, Duga, Ranka, Namli took part in the exposure tour to West Sikkim.
The tour programme was guided by Bina Rai [Deputy Project Director, ATMA East] and the Block Technology Managers of East District. At Azing's farm, the visiting farmers of East District interacted with the Resource Person cum Progressive Farmer, Azing Lepcha regarding strategies for integrated farming system.
The visiting farmers saw the adaptation of Animal Husbandry, Horticulture Crop Farming, Agriculture Crop Farming, Floriculture, Apiculture, and Fisheries at Azing Lepcha’s farm, the release mentions.
Regarding organic integrated farming, open interaction between Azing Lepcha and the farmers of East District was conducted, where the farmers of East District placed various queries. They also exchanged their innovative ideas for organic agriculture farming and indigenous technical knowledge to control pests and diseases.
Mr. Azing too shared his experiences and knowledge about integrated farming and its benefits with the visiting farmers. He also mentioned about the high demand of locally prepared organic products such as Local Wine, Honey, Stingless Wasp’s Honey, (Putka Honey), Pickles, Fruit Juice,  Agriculture and Horticulture  Products in local markets as well as outside the state. He also emphasised on village tourism, where one can attract tourists through organic integrated farming.
The visiting farmers have expressed their sincere thanks to the officers of ATMA-East for providing the opportunity for such an interesting exposure tour, the release adds.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

High Court directs Health Deptt to come up with concrete plan to tackle suicides VISHNU NEOPANEY

GANGTOK, 01 July: Justice SP Wangdi of the High Court of Sikkim directed the Department of Healthcare and Family Welfare to come up with concrete proposals to tackle the high rate of suicides in Sikkim and to treat suicides as a disease, an approach which will hopefully make the condition curable.
At a meeting convened with senior Health Department officials in his office in the High Court, Justice Wangdi explained that he felt it necessary to call the meeting since the High Court was growing concerned with the almost daily reporting of suicides in Sikkim, a situation which is alarming in itself and even more so since it is apparently not receiving enough professional attention. Justice Wangdi convened the meeting in collaboration with the Sikkim State Legal Services Authority of which he is also the Executive Chairman.
The High Court had called this high level meeting with the Health Secretary along with officials and psychiatrists and directed the departmental officials and doctors to come up with concrete formula and proposal of implementation along with awareness amongst the people within the next ten days.
Justice Wangdi commented that as suicide rates climb steeply in Sikkim, suicidal behaviour should be considered a disease on its own rather than a behavioural condition resulting from mood disorders. The latter approach, a commonly held misconception, makes a poor excuse for the general lack of attention being paid to suicides.
Health functionaries discussed the situation in detail from a medical point of view, detailing how the brains of people who have committed suicide have striking similarities, suggesting that it had a combination of common physical, mental and chemical conditions irrespective of what the triggers were. These “brain maps”, they added were noticeably distinct from the brains of people who have similar mood disorders but who die of natural causes.
Interestingly, they informed that most people with mood disorders never attempt suicide and that around 10 per cent of suicides have no history of mental illness.
The High Court has also directed the Health Department to coordinate efforts with the Sikkim State Legal Services Authority to create awareness on suicide as a curable disease and not a crime. SLSA with its extended arms of Para Legal Volunteers and panchayat plans is to reach out to students and youth sensitizing them on suicides.

Ban on trucks carrying loads 1 metre beyond rear end takes effect

Tadong Police Outpost personnel stop a goods carrier at Convoy Ground on 01 July for carrying iron rods protruding more than a metre beyond the rear end of the carrier.
GANGTOK, 01 July: Goods carriers, mainly trucks and other heavy vehicles are now banned from carrying construction materials such as iron rods and poles which extend up to 1 metre beyond the rear end of the particular vehicle. A notification endorsing this has been issued by the Transport Department; this was primarily the result of a public interest litigation filed in the high court of Sikkim challenging the provision which allowed goods carriers to carry such construction material.
Constructions materials such as iron rods and poles which extend beyond the rear end of a good carrying vehicle are known to have been the cause of thousands of accidents and deaths across India.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had issued a notification on 05 March, 2014, by which it withdrew the provision in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 which allowed goods carriers to extend their load consisting of poles or rods or indivisible load. Trucks could now carry such loads only “…so long as the projecting part or parts do not exceed the distance of 1 metre beyond the rear most point of the motor vehicle”.
The SNT has already issued letters to Senior Regional Transport Officer, East and RTOs of other districts for their information and necessary action. Letters and notices were also issued to the Truck Owners’ and Truck Drivers’ Associations by the SNT for compliance; besides this letters were issued to President, Truck Owners’ and President, Truck Driver cum Owner Association informing that proviso to sub rule (8) of Rule 93 of the CMV Rules had been omitted and further that henceforth no load should extend beyond the size of the body of the vehicle.
On the other hand the DGP has also issued directions to all District SPs and the DIG (Range) for strict compliance to the rules and furthermore, all police officers including SDPOs, SHOs traffic field officers and all police outposts and check posts have been sensitized on the matter and to take strict action in case of any violation by the goods carriers.
Save Life Foundation, New Delhi which had filed the PIL also sought that this notification be given immediate effect in the state of Sikkim. In light of the notification issued by the Union Ministry and the letter petition submitted, the High Court had sought a compliance report from the concerned department,
On 09 May, the last date of hearing, the state Transport Department filed its compliance report which the division bench of the High Court took on record. The court had further asked the action taken report and proposed action to be taken by the Director General of Police by way of an affidavit within a period of three weeks.