Thursday, August 14, 2014

DC East reassures Pakyong Airport affected

FOLLOWING QUERIES BY AAI, BUILDINGS & HOUSING DEPTT REEVALUATING DAMAGE ASSESMENT

AMEET OBEROI
GANGTOK, 13 Aug: District Collector [East], Tshewang Gyaccho said today that the district administration is trying to solve the problem related to the rehabilitation of families affected by the construction of Pakyong Airport as soon as possible.
While speaking to NOW!, the DC said, “We learnt about the press meet held by the Pakyong Airport Affected Families Committee recently and the District Administration is also very much concerned for the safety of the people. We are aware of the public resentment and since the monsoon is at its peak which can cause further damages to the houses, the district administration is trying to solve the problem as soon as possible”.
Pakyong Airport Affected Families Committee had held a press conference on 11 August where it had requested the state administration to undertake the rehabilitation process earnestly and provide compensation to the 165 families affected by the construction of the Pakyong Greenfield Airport.
Seventeen households had approached the district administration for acquiring houses, the assessment for which has already been done by the Buildings & Housing Department and the assessment value in total had been forwarded to the Airport Authority of India [AAI]. But the AAI had sent back the file putting up certain queries basically pertaining to the rates of compensation to be paid for the damaged houses.
Therefore, the district administration requested the Building & Housing Department to immediately look into the matter regarding the rates quoted, said the DC further adding that before the monsoons, 143 households had approached the district administration regarding the same issue and the line departments had gone to the field and analyzed the assessments of the houses. A few of the houses were not under the ambit of consideration, but 137 households were assessed and their compensation values completed, he informed.
“Now since the AAI has come up with the observation regarding the 17 houses [regarding the rate of compensation to be given], we have asked the Building & Housing Department to look into the matter of even the other 143 houses so that there is no problem to any of the total households regarding the rate of compensation to be given and so that the file is not returned by AAI as done by it for the 17 houses recently,” he stated.
The DC [East] further stated that the AAI had informed the district administration of experts being called in from an engineering college in Roorkee by the AAI to carry out an independent assessment from their side of the damages sustained by the houses due to the Airport project in Pakyong.
Simply writing about the issue will not solve the problem, so to reach an amicable solution the Tourism & Civil Aviation Department has taken the initiative of holding a series of meetings with AAI in the next five days and has requested the district administration to be a part of the meetings, the DC [East] said and added that the district administration is pursuing the matter with utmost urgency and an outcome should be reached in the coming days so that a tangible solution to the whole issue is reached, the DC further stated.

Recently regularized employees continue demand for release of salaries

DEPARTMENT REITERATES INTERIM RELIEF OFFER
GANGTOK, 13 Aug: A section of temporary employees of the Power & Energy Department whose services were cleared for regularization in March, but who have not received salaries since then despite having been issued regularization letters, gathered in protest for the third consecutive day at the Department’s head office today and marched up to Ridge Park attempting to make it to Samman Bhawan, the CM’s office, in a bid to meet the Chief Minister and place their grievances to him.
The aggrieved employees, who had met the Power Minister and Secretary yesterday and turned down the interim arrangement offered by the, could not meet the CM today as well. There was proper police bandobast at the spot and the group could not meet officials at the CMO either.
Meanwhile, the Power & Energy Department Secretary-cum-Principal Chief Engineer, PB Subba, issued an official press statement today, reiterating the interim relief offer.
The Secretary conveys that the government has decided to release monthly interim relief equivalent to salaries last drawn by the recent regularized employees in their earlier temporary establishment till the completion of re-verification process. This, he clarifies, was being offered as a relief measure and to avoid hardships being faced by the employees whose cases are under process of regularization.
“The re-verification is being conducted to protect the interests of the local people,” the release details, adding that the government has already set aside sufficient funds in the current year’s budget allocation for regularization of employees.
The offer has already been rejected by the group representing the around 1,450 MR and WC employees who were regularized in the Power Department in March and then the regularization process put in abeyance pending reverification.
Today, the employees stayed away from their work demanding that their pending salaries be paid.
In the meantime, the All Sikkim Government Master Roll and Work-charged Employees’ Association office bearers today tendered an unconditional apology to media-persons who were heckled on Tuesday by association members during the protest dharna at the Power Department.

1st Chitra Laxmi Pradhan Memorial football tourney underway at Temi

GANGTOK, 13 Aug: The first semi final match of the 68th Independence day celebration and 1st Chitra Laxmi Pradhan Memorial football tournament was held on Tuesday between Singtam Saipatri Club and Temi Pinasa Dara Gaon at Temi Government School Ground. Singtam Saipatri Club won the match 1-0 to enter the finals of the tournament.
MLA, GM Gurung was present as the chief guest for the day. He appreciated the efforts of the Pradhan family in sponsoring the cash prizes for winners [Rs 50,000] and runners-up [Rs 30,000] of the tournament.
Also present were Chairman of the Temi Tea Garden, Mohan Chamling and the ex-principal of Temi Government Senior Secondary school, K  Imbaraj.

New set of 53 buses to join SNT fleet by yearend REBYNA RANA

GANGTOK, 13 Aug: The SNT Division of the Transport Department, is all set to introduce 53 new buses to its fleet in the state under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM).
According to department officials, the Centre has sanctioned Rs 13.25 crore for the project in which 90% of the funds will be provided by the centre and 10% by the state government. The new buses are expected to take to the roads by the end of this year.
It was informed that 12 of the new buses will be AC buses and talks are on with Chennai-based automobile manufacturing company Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors for supply of the new buses. The new buses will have electronic information system where announcements will be made for stoppage along with visual display and e-tickets will be issued. The department is also making arrangements for staff needed for the new fleet.
The officials informed that increase in population in the state has led to a huge demand for public transport and this new fleet of buses hopes to address this demand. It was also informed that SNT has been catering to the Indian Army since 1963 and sometimes their buses have to be diverted for Army use in order to ferry army personnel. The new buses will also address this issue, they added.
At the moment, there are 89 SNT buses on the roads, it is informed.

SDF rejects Kunga Nima Lepcha’s statements

GANGTOK, 13 Aug: Sikkim Democratic Front has stated that SKM MLA Kunga Nima Lepcha, being a legislator, has failed to put forth any “intelligent arguments” regarding the regularisation of MR and WC employees.
An SDF press release states that the SDF government took the decision to regularize MR and WC employees following proper process and rules. While rejecting the arguments of Mr Lepcha, the release alleges that he is yet to mature as a politician and should avoid making such statements.
SDF has further stated that Mr Lepcha’s statement on the allotment of government vehicles to Ministers only shows his jealousy and further warns the SKM MLA and his party against playing with the future of Sikkim.

SDF condemns agitation by Power Deptt’s recently regularized employees

PARTY THUMBS DOWN PRESSURE TO COMPLETE REGULARIZATION PROCESS IN HASTE
GANGTOK, 13 Aug: The Sikkim Democratic Front has said that it is unfortunate that the regularised MR and WC employees of the Energy and Power Department have created a fracas by taking the issue of regularisation to the streets to press their demands despite full assurance from the Government.
An SDF press release states that the State Government is in the process of proper verification and examination of the relevant documents of each MR and WC employee before the regularisation of their services in the Government Departments. This fact is fully known to the employees of the Energy and Power Department, it adds.
The Government has assured to complete regularization process by the end of September 2014 and to pay them in their revised scale before Dasain, it is stated.
Since the Government had already assured them, it was not necessary for the MR and WC employees to agitate and make this into an issue, the party has said.
The process of scrutinizing and regularizing the service of the MR and WC employees of Energy and Power Department after proper verification and documentation of all the papers required under the Service Rules of the State of Sikkim is a proper democratic action  taken by the Government, the party reiterates.
They have already been advised by the Government to draw their MR and WC salary [as they were receiving earlier] till the process of regularization is over.
The party has demanded that proper verification of all the documents including domicile, CoI etc. should be carried out by the Government in the process of regularization of the services in order to safeguard and uphold the interest and the rights of local Sikkimese people.
Condemning the action of the MR and WC employees in taking to the streets to press for their regularization to be completed in haste, the SDF party has appealed to the Government to complete the process of regularisation by the end of September 2014 and to ensure payment of the salaries to the employees as per the norms.

SKM rejects explanations offered by Power Deptt and SDF on regularization issue

GANGTOK, 13 Aug: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha MLAs, in  joint statement issued today, have dismissed as “ridiculous” and “misleading”, the statements issued by the Power Department Secretary PB Subba and the SDF spokesperson Bhim Dahal in relation to the ongoing protest by the recently regularized temporary employees of the department.
Challenging the claim that the regularization process was going through “necessary verifications to establish the bona fide of the employees”, the release points out that as per prescribed norms, these are already done before their appointment by the police, Special Branch and the office of the District Collector.
The MLAs have thus demanded that if discrepancies are still being found, then the “erring officials who carried out the verifications and subsequently issued the relevant certificates should be punished as there are no other verifying authorities to establish the authenticity of the individuals”.
The party has cast aspersions on the re-verification claims of the State Government and wondered whether this was “an attempt to delay the entire process of the releasing the salaries to the aggrieved employees”?
“Is it not inhuman to subject the poor employees and their families to near starvation? Do they not have the right to live a dignified life? Or does the State Government have no faith in the authorities who have been assigned with the verification job? The State Government is answerable to all these questions and stop coming out with lame and ridiculous excuses,” the release concludes.

Mangan Sr Secondary School to meet Upper Singhik Boys in decider for Lachen-Mangan MLA Cup

MANGAN, 13 Aug: The Lachen-Mangan MLA Cup football tournament, being held at Mangan Public Ground as part of the Independence Day celebrations will feature Mangan Senior Secondary School and Upper Singhik Boys in the final match scheduled for 15 August. The tournament is being organized by the North District Football Association.
In the semifinal round today, Mangan SSS outplayed Power Department 4-2 while Upper Singhik Boys blanked out Akraman 4-0.
The winner of the tournament will be awarded a cash prize of Rs. 50,000 along with the trophy and the runners-up team will receive Rs. 30,000 in cash and a trophy.

Training held on census of Minor Irrigation Schemes

NAMCHI, 13 Aug: A day-long training cum workshop on 5th Census of Minor Irrigation Schemes for South District was conducted today here at District Administrative Center Conference Hall, Namchi South Sikkim. The training programme was organized by Irrigation & Flood Control Department which was sponsored by Ministry of Water Resource, government of India, New Delhi.
Chief Engineer Irrigation & Flood Control Department, DK Rai was present as the chief guest of the training programme which was also attended by ACE Suren Karkidholi, SE PK Pradhan, Joint Director Monitoring and evaluation SK Lameychaney and Deputy Director LR&DM DK Rai.
During the programme ACE, Suren Karkidholi informed that this census of Minor Irrigation Schemes is being conducted in state to create reliable data for the future planning for the development of the water resource of the state. He further informed that this census is done every five years which will illustrate the covered water resource, potential creation and various water development works and benefits of schemes in the covered area of the state.
Joint Director Monitoring and Evaluation, SK Lameychaney who was the main resource person of the training programme informed about the various procedures of filling up the forms to collect the data for the census. He also urged all the trainees to collect the data according to the norms and conditions and to approach the departmental heads if they have any doubts.

68TH I-DAY KNOCK-OUT FOOTBALL TOURNEY 2014 NAMCHI

Siniolchu FC and SAI-Namchi to meet in finals
NAMCHI, 13 Aug: Siniolchu Football Club of Namchi will play against Sports Authority of India (SAI) Namchi in the finals of the 68th Independence Knock-Out Football tournament 2014.
Siniolchu FC Namchi defeated Darjeeling Teens FC with a score of 4-1 today here at Singithang, play ground Namchi, South Sikkim.
It may be mentioned that Siniolchu FC had lost their semifinal match against SAI Namchi last year. They are now looking forward to avenging their defeat last year while SAI Namchi is all set to hold their position as champions of the tournament.
Parliamentary Secretary cum MLA Namthang Rateypani, Tilu Gurung was present as the chief guest of this second semifinal match of the tournament and was accompanied by Chairman Tourism, RN Rai, Advisor WS&PHE, Binod Rai.
It may be recalled that the winner of this tournament will be awarded Rs 1 lakh cash along with trophy while the runner-up team will be awarded Rs 50,000 cash with trophy.

Fire breaks out at Axis Bank’s Namchi branch

NAMCHI, 13 Aug: A fire broke out at Axis Bank’s Namchi branch today at around 2:55 pm due to a short circuit. The fire was put out quickly enough before any major damage could result.
Soon after receiving information, a team of personnel from the fire department reached the spot with fire tenders and other equipment. The fire was soon brought under control and major damage was averted.

Regularization of temp employees a political gimmick: SKM

GANGTOK, 13 Aug: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha MLAs have jointly demanded that the State Government immediately release the salaries to all Muster Roll and Work Charged employees of Energy & Power Department and second installment of Dearness Allowance [from the month of July] of all Government employees.
In a press release issued on behalf of all SKM MLAs, Shyari MLA Kunga Nima Lepcha alleges that the regularization proposal of the SDF Government has been proved to be nothing but a pre-poll political gimmick to woo MR and WC employees to vote for SDF in the last Assembly and Lok Sabha Elections.
By not paying salaries to these MR and WC employees the state government is depriving them of their legitimate rights which is a clear violation of the Fundamental Rights so guaranteed by the Constitution and provisions under the Human Rights Act where each every citizen is guaranteed dignified living, Mr. Lepcha argues.
He further alleges that the state government is depriving its employees of legitimate benefits like medical reimbursements on the false pretext of a financial crunch. This, he adds, is proven by the provision of costly vehicles to Ministers and appointment of numerous chairpersons and advisors with cabinet ranks.
The SKM MLA has further accused the Chief Minister of not keeping his promise of denying any extension of service or reappointment of government officials. Mr Lepcha has alleged that an official in the Roads and Bridges department has been reappointed which, he adds, goes against the assurance given by the CM in the last Assembly session.
The party has also demanded immediate regularization of other MR and WC employees as assured by the state government.

ENGAGE 14 reaches out to Daffodils Home School

GANGTOK, 13 Aug: ENGAGE 14, the initiative of the Gangtok Municipal Corporation reached out to students of Daffodils Home School to encourage them to understand more about Solid Waste Management and inspire them to reduce, reuse and recycle.
A press release informs that the ENGAGE Discussion program, the intervention for Secondary school students was very well received by the school. The Principal of the school, Sandhya Gurung thanked the GMC for taking the initiative to involve students to lead the change and inspire them to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Roshan Rai, a teacher at Daffodils Home lauded the efforts of the GMC and 24hours Inspired for this initiative while student Alin Balkuti also appreciated the programme.
The ENGAGE discussion was also attended by Suman Rai of the Gangtok Municipal Corporation and Vivek Chettri, Ex-member KCC with the panel discussion moderated by Chief Learning Officer, 24hours Inspired, Dewaker Basnet, the release informs.

A Special Gesture

Editorial:-
The recent decision of the State Government to institute a new scholarship [Sikkim Grant of Scholarship to Students with Disabilities Scheme, 2014] aimed at addressing the special needs and requirements of the disabled in accessing even routine services like education is a welcome move. This latest initiative complements the monthly monetary aid extended to persons with disabilities, and already in place commitments like Special Olympics Bharat. There will be those who believe that the amount and the punctuality with which the assistance is released leave a lot to be desired, and they will be right, but it is not so much the amount as the gesture that is important here. A policy initiative is a permanent commitment and slack babus a condition that can be corrected. That said, the amounts in consideration will still be princely for the poorer sections of the society which could put it to good use in according better care and ensuring more ambitious education for the special children in the family. As for importance of the gesture, the initiative reassures one to believe that now, with the State Government having recognised the presence of this section of the society and realised the moral obligation towards ensuring better care and access for them, more initiatives will follow from more sections. This is a big step forward in a State where such children were, till not so long ago, hidden away at home and their presence ignored by the society at large. Things changed with the setting up of the Spastic Society, and the diligence of its volunteers helped in educating not just the special children, but also those responsible for them on how to handle their special needs. As mentioned, there have been wider undertakings like the Special Olympics Bharat and other such efforts but these have been less consistent that would have been desirable. Sadly also, there has been very little societal involvement in the work and engagements of groups like the Spastics Society or even the much older “Blind School” in Namchi. Their circles are still limited to the volunteers, the staff, the special children and their families. The lay people make at most only guest appearances on special occasions and that is a tokenism that everyone can do without. It is for this reason that the State government’s continuing initiatives, irrespective of how lavish the outlay or how effective the official follow-up, is so welcome. With the society at large refusing to get involved in the care of persons afflicted with disabilities, the State’s direct involvement should help make up for the gap between what this special section deserves and what it gets. The gesture, because it proves that the State recognises the presence of special people among us and realises its responsibility towards them, opens the doors for those involved in their care to pursue and achieve the many more measures that need to be taken to guarantee the special people a life of self-respect and dignity.

13-yr-old boy reported missing

GANGTOK, 13 Aug: A 13-year-old boy has gone missing from Tokal Bermiok in South Sikkim since 07 August 2014. A report has been received at Temi Police Station that one Khus Raj Joshi, originally hailing from Nepal but residing at Tokal Bermiok at present, has gone missing. The missing child was studying in class III at Bermiok Secondary School and had been staying with the complainant since 2008. Efforts are being made to trace out the missing child.


South dist Engineering Cell office burgled

GANGTOK, 13 Aug: Some unknown miscreant(s) broke into the Engineering Cell, South DIstrict Zilla Panchayat office in the intervening night of 11-12 August 2014 and stole a CPU from the office of the Division Engineer. A case u/s 457/380 IPC has been registered at Namchi Police Station and efforts are being made to trace out and apprehend the culprit.

Two killed in road mishap

GANGTOK, 13 Aug: Two persons were killed when the vehicle they were travelling in met with an accident at KN Turning, Singtam at around 11.30 am on Tuesday.
The driver [35] and one occupant [38] were killed when the taxi they were in fell off a cliff around 200ft below. They were the only occupants in the vehicle which was plying from Upper Ralap towards Singtam. Both the deceased were residents of Ralap.

Siliguri’s Kanchenjunga FC to take on Sikkim Boys for Chogyal Sir Tashi Namgyal Memorial Cup on I-Day

GANGTOK, 13 Aug: Kanchenjunga Football Club, Siliguri will take on Sikkim Boys in the final match of the Independence Day Football Tournament for the Chogyal Sir Tashi Namgyal Memorial Cup 2014 on 15 August here at Paljor Stadium.
In the second semi-final match played today, Kanchenjunga FC outplayed the strong team of Siniolchu Sikkim Football Club, Namchi 2-1 and secured its berth in the finals of the tournament.
The final match is scheduled to kick off at 1:30 PM on 15 August.
The tournament is part of the state-level Independence Day Celebration to be held in the capital. Ten teams from in and outside the state had participated in the tournament.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Power Deptt’s recently regularized employees reach Samman Bhawan with salary demand.

GROUP REJECTS INTERIM RELIEF OFFER OF COLLECTING MR AND WC WAGES, WITH ARREARS, FOR NOW

VISHNU NEOPANEY
GANGTOK, 12 Aug: A section of the temporary employees of the Power & Energy Department whose services were cleared for regularization in March, but who have since then not received their salaries, gathered at the Department head office today and marched up to Mintokgang in a bid to meet the Chief Minister [who is also the Minister for Department of Personnel and Finance]. It has now been five months that these employees have not received their salaries owing to complications and discrepancies noticed in the regularization process. [read “DoP scrutiny team submits report on regularization of temp employees at Power Deptt” published in NOW! issue dated 12 August 2014]
A 6-member delegation of the employees, led by the president of the All Sikkim MR and Work-Charged Employees’ Association Pema Doma Bhutia, was invited up to Samman Bhawan, the Chief Minister’s secretariat, where they met the Power Minister DD Bhutia and the Power Department Secretary PB Subba. The core issue of the regularization process which is currently in “abeyance” will clearly take longer to resolve, and today, the employees also rejected the interim arrangement offered by the Department.
Members of the delegation, while addressing fellow employees outside Samman Bhawan after the meeting, informed that the Minister and Secretary offered them the option to collect their arrears and current wages based on their previous [before regularization] working arrangements. The employees gathered at the Ridge rejected this offer and demanded that they be paid their dues as regular employees.
When contacted to clarify this offer, the Power Secretary explained that the said arrangement was offered as an interim arrangement in light of the financial difficulties being faced by the employees while the regularization process was being evaluated properly.
He informed that those whose documents are found in order on completion of the process and whose regularization of service hence passes scrutiny, will go on to receive all their dues and arrears [as regular employees] at that time. Those MR and WC employees who were regularized in March 2014, but whose documents are now found inadequate for regularization, will continue as Muster Roll and Work-Charged employees.
As things stand, this interim arrangement has been rejected and the employees now plan to continue their protest. They remained at the Ridge outside Samman Bhawan till 4:30 p.m. and dispersed, resolving to gather again at the Department on Wednesday and march up again to Samman Bhawan and press their case demanding the “abeyance” imposed on their service regularization be lifted and their salaries released.
The MR and Work-Charged employees of Power & Energy Department has also called for support from employees at other departments.
It may be recalled that more than 1,450 temporary employees [who have completed more than 15 years of service] at the Power Department were regularized in March 2014. The process was held up once the Model Code of Conduct [owing to the elections] came into effect and was then put in abeyance when reports of widespread discrepancies in the regularization process were detected. A scrutiny by the Department of Personnel reportedly found discrepancies in more than 400 of the 1,450 personnel cleared for regularization.

Army installs Tetra Pak compaction unit

GANGTOK, 12 Aug: General Officer Commandant [GOC], Trishakti Corps, GS Chandel, inaugurated a Tetra Pak Waste Compaction machine here at the New Cantonment Military Station, Tadong, today. This is for the first such unit in the North-East Region and has been undertaken as a pilot project with aid and technical expertise from Tetra Pak India Pvt Ltd, it is informed.
The plant cost around Rs. 3.2 lakh to install and compacts empty TPM cartons into pellets which can then be cost-effectively transported to a recycling plant at Khatima in Uttarakhand. The Tetra Pak Cartons are thereafter fully recycled into paper, polythene and aluminum by the factory, it is informed.
On its part, the Black Cat Division has provided the infrastructure for installing the plant and has also put in place arrangements to collect empty TPM cartons from its units deployed in Sikkim, operating the plant and transporting the compacted empty TPM cartons to the recycling plant at Khatima.
Army personel deployed in remote areas are supplied with Tetra Pak Milk [TPM] - annually about four and a half lakh TPM cartons are getting accumulated in these areas, it is informed. Despite efforts by the Army, these TPM cartons are choking the water bodies, polluting the soil and degrading the ecology.
Addressing the function, LT. Gen. Chandel appreciated the initiative taken by the army.

MG-NREGA Social Audit conducted at Kabi-Tingda GVK
GANGTOK, 12 Aug: The MG-NREGA Social Audit of Lingdok-Nampong GPK and Navey-Shotak GPK under Kabi-Tingda GVK was conducted on 07 and 09 August 2014 by District Resource Institution (North District) Nava Jyoti Sangh under the guidance of Social Audit Unit (SAU)-Sikkim  with support from  Rural Management and Development Department (RM&DD),Govt. of Sikkim.
A press release informs that under Lingdok-Namphok GPK, 48 MG-NREGA works were audited which includes 28 land development works, 5 Minor irrigation channel works, 1 water harvesting work and 9 Eco-friendly footpath works.
Total amount of Rs.1,99,02,033 was sanctioned under MG-NREGA, out of which Rs. 1,07,42,718 was audited. On the other hand under Navey-Shotak GPK, 69 MG-NREGA works were audited which includes 54 land development works, 4 Eco-friendly footpath works, 4 protective wall works, 2 Construction of concrete footpath works, 2 Jhora training works  and 3 Box drain works.
Total amount of Rs.1,38,87,600 was sanctioned under MG-NREGA, out of which Rs. 1,01,25,759 was audited under Navey-Shotak GPK, the release adds.

Sports gives better high than drugs

REHAB CENTRE ORGANISES U-14 I-DAY FOOTBALL TOURNEY
GANGTOK, 12 Aug: For the first time in Sikkim, a rehabilitation centre for the chemically dependent; Serenity Home is organizing an Under-14 Independence Cup Football Tournament with the theme, “Sports is a better option than Drugs” for the underprivileged children here at its centre compound at Manbir Colony, Lower Burtuk.
What is interesting here is that the rehab which specializes in treating people with problems of substance abuse and alcoholism has now initiated a sporting event, ‘Prevention against Addiction’ specifically for children below the age of 15 years that is aimed at inculcating competitive spirit and to introduce them to sports.
The five-a-side tourney under the NGO’s ‘recreational therapy programme’ began on 10 August and the finals will be played on the 68th Independence Day on Friday.
“The five-a-side tournament will encourage youngsters in the locality especially from TNHSS school area and Lower Burtuk to opt for productive activities. There are 40 children participating in the tournament where the winners will be awarded trophies, medals and certificates,” stated Centre In-charge, Rinchen Karthak while speaking to NOW! today.
It may also be informed that the tournament is based on league points, the best two of which will play the finals on 15 August.
While informing that drugs and alcohol have now become a common ‘getaway’ for the youngsters, the Serenity Home in-charge explains that such sporting activities if promoted would positively influence youngsters to take-up sporting activities instead of drugs and alcohol. He added that many of the children participating in the tournament are playing competitive football for the first time in their lives.
“Football is not the only game that we encourage the youngsters to play. Some children are good at other games like athletics and cricket for which we plan to further strengthen the training facilities and coaches in the future. Instead of the children going astray, we want them to adopt different disciplines of sports,” said Uday C Rai.
It may also be informed that the coaches, referees and officials for the tournament are also recovering addicts and alcoholics who could not pursue their careers in sports as drugs and alcohol took over their lives. The initiative is the brainchild of the members of the rehabilitation centre who state that this is their way to give back to the society.
At present, the U-14 tournament is being played at a small ground in the rehab complex that was dug up and made game ready by the residents of the rehabilitation centre. However, the centre Incharge states that in time the initiative would grow and more children would benefit from the programme specifically those below 15 years.
It was also informed that Serenity Home has carried out this initiative without any funding from any government or private institution or organisation.
“This disease of addiction can be easily prevented if such initiatives are encouraged amongst the young. Even in the rehab we have seen that there is ample talent and many of our boys are now playing in different tournaments this season. A little competitive motivation, encouragement and basic facilities is just that is needed. There is the will and determination,” explains the Centre Incharge.
Lastly, it may also be stated that many of the parents in the locality could not pay for training of any sports which is why the 40 children were identified from various households across the area. “Many parents do not know what their children are going through and what they see every day. With negativity all around us, it is important and the need of the hour that we create a programme through which we can monitor these children, speak to them, interact and carry out psychological intervention and counseling,” states the centre-Incharge.  

CHOGYAL SIR TASHI NAMGYAL MEMORIAL CUP 2014

Sikkim Boys beat Kalimpong team to enter finals
GANGTOK, 12 Aug: Sikkim Boys has entered the finals of the ongoing Independence Day Football Tournament for the Chogyal Sir Tashi Namgyal Memorial Cup 2014 here at Paljor Stadium. In a contesting semifinal match played today, Sikkim Boys knocked out Share FC of Kalimpong two goals to nil.
Towards the end of the second half, the match was halted for around 10 minutes when Share FC players expressed their deep displeasure over a decision of the referee and refused to play further. The match resumed only after a long discussion between players, referees and other match officials which ended with the Sikkim Boys goalkeeper being sent off on a red card.
The second semi-final of the match will be played between Kanchenjunga FC of Siliguri and Siniolchu Namchi at 2 PM on Wednesday.


Promoting production of Organic Fertilizers

NEW DELHI, 12 Aug [PIB]: Government is promoting production of organic fertilizers in the country through various programmes under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) and Network Project on Organic Farming under ICAR.
Under Soil Health Management (SHM) component of NMSA, financial assistance upto 33% of financial outlay, subject to a maximum ceiling of Rs.63 lakh for establishment of agro/vegetable waste compost production units, and 25% of financial outlay subject to a maximum ceiling of Rs.40 lakh for bio-fertiliser production units, is provided as back-ended subsidy through NABARD. And also, financial assistance upto 50% of cost subject to a limit of Rs.5, 000 per hectare and Rs.10, 000 per beneficiary is provided for promotion of organic inputs including organic fertilizers.
Assistance has been provided for 42 bio-fertiliser production units and 16 agro/vegetable waste compost production units under the scheme.
The ICAR has developed technologies to prepare various types or organic manures such as phosphocompost, vermi-compost, bio-enriched compost, municipal solid waste compost etc. from various organic wastes. Improved and efficient strains of bio-fertilizers specific to different crops and soil types are being developed under Network Project on Soil Biodiversity – Biofertilizers being operated in 14 different States. Liquid biofertilizer technology with high shelf life has also been developed.
This information was given today by Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries in a written reply to Lok Sabha questions.

Training on management of Mandarin and Guava saplings

GANGTOK, 12 Aug: Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Gyaba, West Sikkim conducted day-long training on “Management of Mandarin and Guava sapling” at Panchayat Bhawan, Malbasey, West Sikkim on 11 August 2014.
As per a press release, around 25 farmers of Malbasey attended the training programme which was chaired by Panchayat Secretary, Til Bahadur Rai.
Subject Matter Specialist in Horticulture, Sangay Palmoo Bhutia discussed organic farming, its benefits and consequences with the farmers and later briefed them about management practices undertaken in setting up of Orchard.
The farmers were also introduced to the technology of “High Density Planting” of Guava fruit tree and explained the basic steps starting from orchard planning, layout, spacing required, manuring, training and pruning till harvesting and the technology of HDP requirement in coming days of Sikkim scenario. The programme ended with interactive session and vote of thanks from Panchayat, Malbasey.

41 complete year-long cutting and stitching training

GANGTOK, 12 Aug: The first convocation of the year-long training course in Cutting & Stitching at Namchi Livelihood School under State Institute of Capacity Building [SICB], Karfectar was held at the School premises Tharpu, Namchi on 11 August 2014. The event was hosted in association with SICB and its service partner Nayuma Women’s Cooperative Society, Gangtok.
As per a press release, advisor to PHE department, Binod Rai was present as the chief guest in the function where the 41 students were given certificates and mark sheets. A sewing machine each was distributed to the passed out trainees to start their own venture. 10 students have been given placement at Nayuma Women’s Cooperative Society Gangtok, as per their preference.
The outgoing students expressed their gratitude towards the Chief Minister and SICB. The students shared their experiences and some even recited poems they had composed about the Livelihood school. Some of the students expressed their desire to start a cooperative society in Namchi and requested for assistance for the same.
Chief Administrator of SICB, SD Dhakal requested the Advisor, PHE department  to arrange for a shop at Namchi Bazaar to enable the proposed society to function. He also appealed to different government departments to allot work to these cooperative societies.
The chief guest, Mr. Rai advised the students to take advantage of the training availed from the Livelihood School to earn a livelihood. He highlighted the steps taken by the State Government to train unemployed educated youth, particularly the under privileged through the livelihood schools.
Deputy Registrar Cooperation Department, Tenzing Gelay, also addressed the gathering. Earlier Deputy Director SICB, Ranjan Rai gave the welcome speech.

I-DAY KNOCK-OUT FOOTBALL TOURNEY IN NAMCHI

SAI-Namchi sweeps past NLA to enter finals
SOCCER STARS SANJU AND NIRMAL COME OVER AS SPECIAL GUESTS
NAMCHI, 12 Aug: Sports Authority of India (SAI), Namchi has become the first team to reach the finals of 68th Independence Day Knock-Out Football Tournament after thrashing New Light Academy 6-1 today here at Singithang ground Namchi, South Sikkim.
SLA Speaker KN Rai was present as the chief guest today along with Indian National Football Team players from Sikkim, Sanju Pradhan and Nirmal Chettri as special guests.
In the first semi-final match of the tourney today, NLA opened the score in the first half of the match but SAI Namchi equalized the score within 6 minutes of the NLA goal.  SAI scored the remaining five goals in the second half of the match to enter the finals.
The second semi final of the tournament will be played on Wednesday between Siniolchu FC and Darjeeling Teens FC.  
Earlier, the national footballers and the chief guest were presented with a souvenir by the members of SDFA who also thanked them for encouraging the players with their presence.

5TH MLA CHALLENGE CUP OF MELLI

Turuk School wins U-14 category
GANGTOK, 12 Aug: The ongoing 5th MLA Challenge Cup of Melli Constituency being played at Melli Gumpa School playground witnessed two football matches and some cultural programmes from different schools of Melli Constituency today.
As per a press release, in the U-14 football final played between Turuk Secondary School and Begani Pry. School, the former team won in a tie-breaker. The U-14 Football tournament was organized in the memory of Late Laxmi Prasad and Man Maya Pradhan who are the parents of NB Pradhan of Melli Dara. The winning team won cash prize of Rs. 20,000 along with trophy while the runners' up won cash prize of Rs. 10,000 and a trophy.
In the Senior Boys category semi final played between Tashi Choderling Gumpa and Rabitar FC, the former team won by 3 goals to 1. The final match of the tournament will be played between Melli Gumpa Sec School and Tashi Choderling Gumpa on 15 August, the release informs.
The chief guest for the day was Chairman of Scheduled Tribe Board, Prem Tsh. Lama. BDO Melli, Dinesh Pradhan, Zilla Panchayats and Panchayat members were also present as special guests in today’s programme.

Engage-14 reaches Kyi-de-Khang Secondary School

GANGTOK, 12 Aug: Students of Kyi-de-Khang Secondary School have also participated in the ENGAGE 14 initiative of the Gangtok Municipal Cooperation and vowed to reduce and reuse as much as possible. A press release informs that the students of the school during the course of the Engage Discussion intervention also promised to segregate their waste and highlighted that they would have two bins at home for segregation of dry and wet waste.
During the ENGAGE Discussion, the students of the school also positively highlighted on the aspect of creating an e-waste bin to collect electronic waste and send it to the GMC for further recycling of the same.
The ENGAGE 14 program is a seven months intervention of the GMC and till date has reached out to 27 schools within the jurisdiction of the Gangtok Municipal Corporation. ENGAGE 14 is a three-phase intervention with ENGAGE Quiz for Junior High Schools, ENGAGE Discussion for Secondary Schools and ENGAGE Race for Senior Secondary Schools. The ENGAGE 14 program has been powered by 24hours Inspired.

Never Justify Violence

Editortial:-
Sikkim prides itself over being a peaceful state and often highlights its Buddhist ethos of nonviolence. But is it really a nonviolent society? Recent incidents, in fact a series of incidents since the run up to the elections, suggest that senseless violence, especially when emboldened by a mob-size gathering, is coming disturbingly easily for crowds in Sikkim. The cold brazenness with which some of the pre-poll violence was launched, and which claimed two lives, because it was not condemned widely enough by the lay people and their civil society, continues to pop up every time a disaffected group finds some numbers. The most disturbing display of this madness was visited on Sikkim on 16 July when a marauding mob went on an anarchic frenzy on the streets of Gangtok. On Tuesday, this mentality sparked again in the aggression with which a group of employees [with complaints against the government] decided to vent their anger on journalists who had come to cover their protest. A similar attack on the media by the protesting students [in the college standoff] and their support groups went largely unreported even though it was more vicious and violent than the incident at the Power Department on 12 August. This is not about attacks on media, that is a risk we run and will tackle with our own devices as and when they surface. What should have the Sikkimese society at large more worried is the violent streak that is highlighting its public expressions.
Individual violence is an easily identified crime and easier to prosecute. What Sikkim is seeing of late is a spike in aggressive posturing which is always only a step away from violent aggression. Take the college fiasco for instance – the students really had no need to hold up traffic at the college gate on day-One of their protest, but they did; the police had no need to lathicharge them, but they did that as well and then there was no need for the “support groups” to continue to heckling the police and attacking media-persons when the students were already in negotiations with the administration, but they did, and look how that ended. That one episode was a textbook enactment of how mob violence happens, and how it spreads. Mob violence, including looting, typically ignites without much planning. They start as a collection of earnest believers, adherents and supporters, as inspired by the ideology [or need] which brought them to the streets as the lure of defying authority. Typically, mobs invariably have a small percentage of violently inclined to the level of criminality characters who play an important role in instigating unbridled lawlessness and setting a more vicious tone. Violence typically perpetuates and even gets copied elsewhere when the media and public at large explain away the behavior as “anger” and “disenchantment” by “disaffected youth” or “wronged sections”. Such messages, sometimes appropriated by the perpetrators themselves through the convenience of press releases in Sikkim, carry with them an entitlement that legitimizes lawlessness. Violence is wrong. Period. Keep justifying it and one will soon reap the proverbial whirlwind. Violence is a criminal expression. See it as such and demand that it is tackled as such, and may be civilized protests and negotiations will become possible. Sympathetic portrayals of criminal activity propagate free-for-alls. When institutions fail to repudiate violence, it not only lasts longer but also pops up more often.
How to curb this trend? The community has to reject all forms of violence as a shame to the community and repulsive behavior that embarrasses them. This rejection should occur loudly in places of worship, in schools and among neighbors and the police and public officials allowed to expose and take legal action against those who break the peace. While on this aspect, the people should also follow police action on breakdowns of law and order situations and demand better case preparations. No one wants innocents to be punished for mob violence, but it is worrying to notice that thus far no one has ever been convicted for rioting or mob violence in Sikkim even though such incidents have occurred. What could also work in puncturing mob violence tendencies is to strip it of anonymity. Prospective troublemakers may pause in future then.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DoP scrutiny team submits report on regularization of temp employees at Power Deptt

DISCREPANCIES FOUND IN DOCUMENTATION OF AROUND 400 OF 1,400 ORIGINALLY CLEARED FOR REGULARISATION, SAYS DoP

RANJIT SINGH
GANGTOK, 11 Aug: Muster Roll and Work Charged employees of the Power Department who had been recently regularized may be in for a long haul before their salaries, pending since March 2014, are finally disbursed. This would particularly hold true for those MR/WC employees of the department whose documentation screening process have thrown up ‘discrepancies’ as officials at the Department of Personnel put it.
The report of the committee sent by the Department of Personnel to the Power Department has highlighted discrepancies in the documents of several MR & WC employees which include non possession of Certificates of Identification and discrepancies in dates of birth and dates of appointment to service etc.
The four-member committee of the Department of Personnel deputed to the Power Department for screening of the documents of the ‘regularized’ muster roll and work charged employees who have completed 15 years of service has completed its task and a report on the findings has been compiled. Officials inform that the report was put up to the Chief Secretary who has noted her observations for further action.
The report, officials inform, has observed discrepancies in the documentation concerning the appointment process of approximately 400 MR/WC employees who had been listed for regularization and had been regularized as per the decision and notification of the government a few months ago.
On the other hand the screening process also found approximately 1,050 MR & WC employees who had their documentation in order – that is to say, their papers were found to be genuine and eligible for regularization. Approximately 1,450 employees who had completed 15 years of service had been notified for regularization, all belonging to the Power Department.
Secretary, DoP, AK Chettri informed that it was now for the concerned department to act on the observations particularly regarding the ‘discrepancies’ found  in the documents  of the concerned employees. This could mean a further screening process by the concerned department if they are to be considered for regularization.
It is informed that ‘discrepancies’ in the documents of approximately 400 MR & WC employees observed from the report of the committee includes discrepancies in such things as date of birth recorded, date of appointment in service - as they were supposedly underage at the time - and non possession of domicile documents. It is informed that Rule 4 (4) of the Service Rules which puts emphasis on local employment cannot be overlooked and has to be considered in this process as well.
Despite the submission of the report and the observations, the employees [even those without any question marks on their eligibility for regularization] are still to be paid their due salaries. Secretary DoP informed that his department would now move the file for salary disbursement for the MR/WC employees who have been screened. There is no definite time frame given as to by when this process will be completed. However for those whose screening has resulted in questions about their appointment and other documents it may take longer. A group of the MR/WC employees had also gone to meet with the Chief Minister today to pursue their case. However it is informed that the group could not meet with the CM.

Vice President to visit Sikkim in end-Aug

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: The Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari, is scheduled to arrive here on a two-day visit on 28 Augsut. He is expected to deliver a lecture at Sikkim Manipal University on 29 August, it is informed.
With this visit, Mr. Ansari will become the first Vice President of India to visit Sikkim twice in a term. He was in Sikkim four years ago when he had laid the foundation stone for the railway project at Rangpo.
Home Secretary SC Gupta confirmed that the dates of the Vice President’s visit have been finalized. The itinerary however is still being processed.
The Chief Secretary chaired a meeting with the Heads of Departments as part of preparation measure today.

Tibetan Youth Congress working committee meeting gets underway in Gangtok

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: The 45th Working Committee Meeting of Tibetan Youth Congress [TYC] started today here at Choe-Kha-Sum hall, Nam Nang.  More than 100 participants from all over India and abroad are attending the meeting, which will conclude on 16 August.
TYC is the largest Tibetan NGO in exile and has more than 35,000 members and 88 chapters worldwide.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister RB Subba conveyed his best wishes to the participants and encouraged them to work towards becoming socially responsible youth. He further wished them success in their cause.
Mr. Subba shared that the people of Sikkim share a good relationship with Tibetans in the state and would continue to do so. He also appreciated the role and works of the TYC.
He mentioned that the Government of Sikkim has also been working for the welfare of its youth. The Sikkim Youth Development Board has recently been formed which will soon be followed by the framing of the Sikkim Youth Policy, he informed.
Gyalo Thondup, the elder brother of the Dalai Lama, expressed his gratitude to the Government of Sikkim and the people of the state for permitting the TYC to hold the meeting in the state.
Earlier, TYC president, Tenzing Jigme mentioned that the TYC turns 45 years old this year. Since its formation in the year 1970, TYC has been working for the welfare of the Tibetan community, he said. He further added that it has also being working for the preservation of Tibetan culture and traditions and has produced large number of leaders who are presently working in the government and different organizations.
Mr Jigme informed that this 6-day long meeting will discuss and deliberate on different agendas and issues and would also come up with new programmes and strategies. The meeting would also discuss further strengthening of the organization, he added.
The inaugural ceremony of the meeting concluded with the presentation of the vote of thanks by TYC vice-president, Tamding Sichoe.

Host school marches into semis of I-Day Interschool JHS level football tourney

SINGTAM, 11 Aug: Brothers Nikhil and Neeraj Rai shared five goals between themselves as Chisopani JHS went on to blank out Bright Life Academy seven goals to nil in the 68th Independence Day Interschool JHS Level Football Tournament underway at Chisopani JHS.
Karan Gurung scored the first goal for his team, following which, the brothers dominated the field. Nikhil scored a hat-trick following which, his younger brother, Neeraj Rai, coming in as a substitute added two more goals for his team. The seventh goal was scored by Lakpa Tamang.
Although the scoreline suggests a one-sided match, BLA did put up a good fight and tried hard.
Chisopani JHS will now meet Pachak Secondary School in the second semifinal of the tournament scheduled for 13 August.
Agriculture Minister Somnath Poudhyal was present as chief guest today and also visited the school and interacted with the staff. He assured every help to make the school better. Mahesh Dahal, Headmaster of the school placed the requirement list of the school to the Minister along with the half yearly report of the school. [from SHITAL PRADHAN]

SIMFED concludes second round ward-level farmers training in North Sikkim

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: The 2nd Round Ward Level Farmer Training was held at SIMFED’s ICS area, North Sikkim in the Menrongong, Phensong and Kabi Tingda Gram Panchayat Units, by SIMFED, a press release informs. The federation is working under the Sikkim Organic Mission in establishing Internal Control System for Organic farming and Certification in these Gram Panchayat Units.
The topics covered in the course were principles and practices of plant protection in organic farming system; and preparation of various formulations locally for insect pests and disease management.
Demonstrations were held and the training included the screening of videos on organic farming.

A total of nineteen wards were covered and the training also saw the attendance of the concerned line department officials, respective Ward Panchayats along with all concerned SIMFED ICS field functionaries and officials.

SDF stands by KT Gyaltsen, dismisses BLPF challenge as politically inspired

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: Sikkim Democratic Front has reiterated its defence of statements issued by its spokesperson KT Gyaltsen enumerating the various initiatives which stand proof of the SDF party and its Government’s promotion and preservation of Sikkim’s Buddhist heritage. In a press release issued today, the party had pointed out that organizations like SIBLAC and Bhutia-Lepcha Protection Force had declared their political ambitions [as against claims of being social organisations] by having openly supported SKM in the last elections.
The release stresses that these organisations can no longer deny their political nature and goes on to allege that the SKM MLAs, including the Sangha MLA, take their orders from SIBLAC’s Tseten Bhutia.
Highlighting that Sikkim remains a peaceful state and yet SIBLAC insists on playing “inexplicable” politics by raising a Bhutia-Lepcha Protection Force and having it shadow the Sangha MLA. The release also regrets the use of words like “genocide” by the Sangha MLA in his representations to central leaders. The release points out that organisations like BLPF and some SKM MLA’s, because of the their affiliation to SIBLAC, clearly reflect the said organisation’s stance.

World Photography Day photo-exhibition next week

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: Vividh Kala Akademi and Vichar Kala Sangam have announced plans to jointly organize a weeklong photography exhibition in Gangtok on the occasion of World Photography Day from 19 August onwards at Hotel Tashi Delek. The closing ceremony of this exhibition will be held at Raj Bhawan Gangtok on 26 August, it is informed.
The exhibition will showcase the works of one of Sikkim’s pioneering news photographers, Twang Yang, besides frames by Ashok Dilwali.
The opening ceremony, it is informed, will have former Chief Secretary KC Pradhan as chief guest.
The Governor will be the chief guest on the closing programme at Raj Bhawan. In his interactions with the organizing committee members, the Governor advised them to include photographs from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Siliguri as well in the exhibition and also suggested that younger photographers be provided space at the exhibition also.

CHOGYAL SIR TASHI NAMGYAL MEMORIAL CUP 2014

Kanchenjunga FC in semis
GANGTOK, 11 Aug: Kanchenjunga Football Club, Siliguri has entered into the semi-final round of the ongoing Independence Day Football Tournament for the Chogyal Sir Tashi Namgyal Memorial Cup 2014 here at Paljor Stadium. In a neck-to-neck played match today, Kanchenjunga FC edged past the United Sikkim Football Club by a lone goal. On Tuesday, the first semi-final of the tournament will be played between Share FC, Kalimpong and Sikkim Boys at 2 PM.

7-yr-old dies in fire

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: A 7-year-old boy was killed in a fire that broke out in his house last night at Padamchey, East Sikkim.
The house was a single storied wooden structure belonging to Ramesh Gurung and caught fire at around 10:30 pm. The deceased, Kunal Gurung, who was a student of Class II, was in the house at the time and died in the fire.
Preliminary inquiries suggest that the probable cause of the fire was a lit candle as there was no electricity supply at the time of incident. The dead body of the deceased was forwarded to STNM Hospital, Gangtok for medical autopsy.
The District Collector East, Tshewang Gyatchho visited Padamchey, East Sikkim and met the family of the deceased this afternoon. During his visit the District Collector handed over the ex-gratia payment of Rs.1,70,300 to the owner of the house and father of the deceased, Ramesh Gurung.
While conveying his heartfelt condolences over the incident, the District Collector assured Ramesh Gurung that besides the ex-gratia payment, the Government and the district administration will provide all the required assistance and help to restore normalcy in his life and reconstruct his living.

Monks of Sikkim stand by Sangha MLA against SDF spokesperson

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: After the Bhutia-Lepcha Protection Force, today, another organization, Monks of Sikkim, joined in the section’s condemnation of SDF spokesperson KT Gyaltsen’s comments against the line of argument being taken by the Sangha MLA Sonam Lama in his meetings with central leaders in Delhi.
MoS general secretary, Lama Sherab Tenzing Lepcha, in a press release issued today, argues that “all the religious issues” raised by the Sangha MLA are in consonance with “what is aspired by all the dharma adhering devotees and monks of Sikkim”.

UDHD Minister inspects ongoing projects at Melli

Melli, 11 Aug: Urban Development & Housing Department Minister NK Subba, accompanied by area MLA, PHE Minister Tulsi Devi Rai, visited the ongoing projects and upcoming worksites at Melli Bazaar here in South Sikkim today.
During the visit, Mr. Subba expressed happiness over the cleanliness at Melli Bazar and highlighted that the town was the gateway to South and West districts and hence even more necessary to be kept clean and appealing.
He visited the Melli Primary Health Centre and discussed beautification plans for the rpemises along with proposals to increase and improve facilities for patients. He visited ongoing projects like the Melli Bazar playground and gallery construction, parking and shopping complex, sewage treatment plant.
The Minister also visited the proposed site for the walkway at Melli Bazar along the Teesta, food court and shopping complex area. He instructed departmental officials that no compromises be allowed on quality and assured to fulfil all the demands placed by the gram panchats.
Later, Minister Subba was felicitated at Melli Gumpa Secondary School playground.

Melli MLA Challenge Cup

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: UDHD Minister, NK Subba attended the 16th day of the 68th Independence Day Celebrations cum MLA Challenge Cup, Melli today as the chief guest. Minister for Water Security, PHE & SJE&WD, Tulshi D. Rai was also present as special guest.
On the day, the semifinal match between Melli Gumpa Secondary School and Sadam Senior Secondary School was played which the former won by 2-0, informs a press release.
The occasion featured numerous cultural presentations from various schools. Minister NK Subba was also felicitated for his various contributions towards the state and the society, the release adds.
Later both the Ministers visited the ongoing projects and upcoming worksites at Melli Bazaar South Sikkim. During the visit Minister UD&HD expressed his happiness over the cleanliness at Melli Bazaar premises.
Mr Subba visited the ongoing projects like  Melli Bazaar play ground and gallery construction, parking and shopping complex, Sewerage treatment plant, proposed site for the walk way at Melli Bazaar along the Teesta river, food court and shopping complex area, etc. In his visit he instructed all the departmental officials not to compromise on quality in all the works. He also assured to fulfill all the demands placed by the gram panchayats.

High Court acquits LP Tewari in DA case

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: The Sikkim High Court has quashed the conviction and sentence passed by the Special Judge, Prevention of Corruption Act, East and North Sikkim at Gangtok, and acquitted former Secretary-cum-Chief Engineer Laxmi Prasad Tewari of corruption charges and released him from bail today.  `The single bench of the High Court comprising Justice SP Wangdi, while acquitting the former Power Department Secretary, observed that the appellant [Mr. Tewari] at the end of the check period was found to have been in possession of assets much lesser than the income earned by him during the check period, hence, the charge of the prosecution against the Appellant under Section 13(1)(e) read with Section 13(2) of the Act of 1988 corresponding to Section 5(1)(e) read with Section 5(2) of the Act of 1947, for being in possession of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income fails.
Mr. Tewari was convicted by the Special Court in a disproportionate assets case and sentenced to one year imprisonment with fine of Rs. 10,000 [and on default of payment of fine, a further six months of simple imprisonment].

BHADAURIA PURNIMA AT TSOMGO: Jhankris perform traditional rituals at Tsomgo on Sunday on the occasion of Bhadauria Purnima festival. This traditional festival was revived by the Tsomgo Pokhari Sanrakshan Samiti (TPSS) in 2008. [from PRAVIN KHALING]


Discussing waste management at Mt Zion

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: Engage Discussion, the second phase of ENGAGE 14, the initiative of Gangtok Municipal Corporation to sensitize school students on the different aspects of Solid Waste Management and inspire them to reduce, reuse and recycle, was conducted at Mt. Zion School, Tadong, today a press release informs.
During the intervention, the students of the school were informed about how to reduce as much of waste as possible. The students were also sensitized about Dry and Wet Waste, biodegradable and non bio degradable waste, electronic waste and urged to spread wider awareness on these topics.
The students also competed in a poster design completion on the topic of Solid Waste Management and the future of Gangtok in terms of reducing, reusing and recycling.
ENGAGE 14 is a three phase initiative with the first intervention targeted for Junior High Schools, second intervention for secondary schools and the third intervention for senior secondary schools. ENGAGE 14 is carried out by 24hours Inspired.

Freedom

Editorial:-
The I-Day week is underway, and even though, or maybe because, 15 August means little more that a public holiday and the culmination of a series of football tournaments, the week of the 68th Independence Day is as good a time as any to attempt putting our freedom in perspective. Nearly seven decades of self-rule later, the only freedom which we can guarantee ourselves is our political freedom and the attendant rights. Make no mistake, political freedom is important, but it is not complete in itself. What are also necessary are economic and more importantly social and cultural independence. This is a pertinent issue in our country today where rapid developments in various fields, the homogenizing impact of globalization, the elevation to government of a Hindutva ideologue, and the ironically simultaneous percolation of identity issues are collaborating to inflict serious fragmentation of society. The plethora of touchy social issues which are multi-dimensional in nature, but painted in nuance-obliterating swathes making it urgent for free citizens of an Independent nation to go over the basics once again. People’s wants and aspirations have become more intricate. Neither India, nor the world is uni-polar anymore and together with the development of human thought, all areas of human development have also become broader and inclusive in thought, while parochial and paranoid in practice. These are complicated times and knee-jerk condescension or claims to importance and identity that the political freedom guarantees all Indians is not enough for the all round development of the individual or the society.
Later this week, we will celebrate our freedom from colonialrule, but should we just limit our definition of freedom to political sovereignty? If anything, political freedom while giving us the right to choose our ‘rulers’ [it’s unfortunate how public representatives are now referred to as rulers] has also, indirectly, allowed caste and communalism to stifle our social, cultural and intellectual leg-room. The practice of vote bank politics – an unfortunate fallout of “democracy” – conspires to bring each and every move, whether by a politician, the individual or a community, under elaborate scrutiny. A society existing in an environment of suspicion and mistrust is fooling itself if it considers itself free. In the past few years, the concept of freedom in India has experienced a regression especially due to the rise of certain politico-religious ethnic pressure groups and the moral police muscle. Globalisation has taught us about open markets and open economy; about privatisation and MTV. At a time when the government is attempting to relinquish the responsibility of economic activity and is withdrawing from the economic sphere making the term ‘public sector’ almost inapplicable, the extension of various groups, owing allegiance to political parties, into the social domain and attempting to regulate our private lives is undesirable, inexcusable and even confounding. As this happens more often, people find themselves painted into a corner with someone else doing the thinking for them and speaking on their behalf. People need to be empower themselves through more genuine collaborations to break out of these corners. The past few years as a nation have more than amply announced that India as a country and Indians as a people are negotiating through the second phase of independence, the greater freedom, the freedom to disagree, challenge and dissent without risking either State suppression or social ostracism. This greater freedom can only be delivered by us as citizens of India and will not be served up by representatives we have allowed to become rulers or leaders we have allowed to function without consultation. It is a difficult task as there is no tangible body to overthrow anymore and this is also probably the reason why most of us do not realise our subtle subjugation. We can begin by grasping the concept.

Man robbed in Gangtok

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: A man was robbed by an unknown person on 05 August near MG Marg on Tibet Road. The victim is a resident of Kazi Road and was on his way home from a local restaurant. A mobile phone, wallet containing Rs. 8000 in cash and ATM card was robbed from the victim.
Further, on 06 August a sum of Rs. 6,200 was withdrawn from his bank account with his ATM card. A case u/s 392 IPC has been registered at Sadar Police Station against the unknown person and efforts are being made to identify and apprehend the accused.

One arrested for assault

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: Pakyong Police arrested a 43-year-old man for assaulting his in-laws on 10 August. As per the FIR, at around 1 pm on Monday, the in-laws had gone to visit their daughter at her residence at Samsing where a heated discussion took place between the accused and his in-laws. The accused then allegedly attacked his in-laws with a Khukuri thereby causing physical injuries to them. A case u/s 326 IPC has been registered against the accused and is under investigation.

Dead body recovered from Teesta

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: The body of one of the three boys feared to have drowned in Teesta on 06 August. The dead body of Kishan Rai (Khaling) has been recovered from Teesta Barrage today. Bikram Rai, Ramesh Roy and Kishan Rai had been swept away by the river when the boys were out for a break near the riverside at Mamring.

Two suicides

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: A 46-year-old man reportedly committed suicide by hanging himself at his field at Malbasey, Soreng, West Sikkim on Sunday morning. The dead body of the deceased was forwarded to District Hospital Namchi for autopsy.
In another case, a 52-year-old man committed suicide by hanging himself inside the kitchen of his residence at Chisopani, Soreng, West Sikkim on Sunday evening. The body was discovered by his daughter in law who informed the police.
A crisis intervention centre intended for suicide prevention throughout the state of Sikkim has been set up at Police Control Room, Gangtok for handling distress calls. A dedicated phone number 221152 is installed where all calls will be attended by gazetted officers of the Police department. The Helpline is available 24x7 and supports people who call for themselves or someone they care about.    

IRBn and Tourism Lower Kambal in Dikchu I-Day football semis

DIKCHU, 11 Aug: IRBn edged past Chandey 3-2 while Tourism Lower Kambal swept past Achuley Boys 5-2 in the two quarterfinal matches of the ongoing Independence Day Football Tournament here at the Dikchu Senior Secondary School ground today. The winners of the tournament will be awarded a cash prize of Rs. 30,000 and a trophy while the runners-up will take home Rs. 15,000 in cash. 32 teams from all over the State had signed up for the tourney which had begun on 30 July.  

Dainik Jagran celebrates Bharat Raksha Parv

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: Dainik Jagran successfully conducted the Bharat Raksha Parv cultural programme -2014 at City Centre, Siliguri on 10 August. A press release informs that singers from across the country, including Sikkim’s Remanti Rai, performed in the cultural programme.
Bharat Raksha Parv is a festival that seeks to spread nationalism, patriotism and brotherhood across the country and is an initiative of Dainik Jagran. Lakhs of children make Rakhis and greeting cards for jawans serving at the borders and Dainik Jagran distributes them to the jawans, the release mentions.
Remanti Rai was also felicitated by Commissioner of Police, Siliguri, Jag Mohan during the programme. He wished her success and thanked Dainik Jagran for promoting young talent of the region.

Principal Accountant General calls on CM

GANGTOK, 11 Aug [IPR]: Principal Accountant General of Sikkim, Laisram Angam Chand Singh called on the Chief Minister of Sikkim, Pawan Chamling at his official residence Mintogang, today. It may be mentioned that Mr. Singh has been recently transferred from the state of Sikkim.
During the meeting the Chief Minister thanked Mr. Laisram for his services and cordial relationship with the people of Sikkim and state government too. He offered his best wishes to Mr. Singh for a successful life.
While Mr. Singh expressed his gratitude to the Chief Minister and said that people of Sikkim are very lucky for having such a positive Chief Minister with a clear vision for the development of the state. Mr. Singh also offered his best wishes to the Chief Minister.

Marathon Man returns with bronze medal from 12-Hour Stadium Run

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: Amar Subba is back in Sikkim with a bronze medal from the 12-Hour Stadium Run held at Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on 03 August. The 45-year-old Marathon Man of Sikkim was the only runner from the North-Eastern region to be invited to this Extreme Endurance Challenge.
Mr Subba ran 96 kilometers [240 rounds of the 400 meters lap stadium] in 12 hours. He was just few kilometers short from the winner who ran 106 KMs in 12 hours and runners-up who ran 104 KMs in 12 hours. He was also awarded with a cash prize of Rs 20,000.
Thirty-three runners from different parts of the country participated in this 12-Hour Stadium Run from 6 AM to 6 PM, which was organized by Shriram Properties Bengaluru Marathon.
Addressing a press conference today, Mr Subba shared that he was confident about finishing in the top 10 before the marathon began but making it to the top three was his ultimate goal.
“So after a tiring run when I heard the announcement that I stood on the third place I could not hold my tears back,” he shared. He further added that the support from spectators in the stadium filled him with new energy and motivation.
"This event was new source of inspiration and a new experience for me", added the Marathon Man.
After running for 8 hours, he was on the 6th position and then he moved forward to the 4th position by the end of 11 hours. He increased his pace to end the last hour of the marathon on the 3rd position, informed Mr Subba.
He thanked his coach Daniel Viaj from Mumbai and all the people of Sikkim and the neighboring hills who supported and encouraged him for this event. “With my work I want to encourage young people. Being a 45-year-old man if I can achieve such feats they can do much better,” he added. He stressed on the importance of practice, dedication and will power to be able to do anything.
There are many talents in the hills who can perform much better especially in long distance running, stated Mr Subba further adding that this field is a good career option for the young.
Now, one of his students, 20-year-old Buddha Singh Limboo of Khechopalri is all set to take part in the Hyderabad Marathon to be held on 24 August. Accompanied by Mr Subba, the young athlete will be leaving on 19 August for the competition.

Pakyong Airport affected request state govt to start rehabilitation process

GANGTOK, 11 Aug: Pakyong Airport Affected Family Committee has requested the state administration to undertake the rehabilitation process earnestly and provide compensation to the 165 families affected by the construction of the Pakyong Greenfield Airport.
Addressing a press meet today, coordinator of the committee, Basant Gurung said, “We would like to request the District Administration to work on the rehabilitation and compensation process which is yet to be done even though the damage assessment work has been completed by the concerned authorities”.
Since the monsoon season is on, living in the damaged houses has become very dangerous for the affected families, he highlighted.
“We are very thankful to the District Collector [East], SDM [Pakyong], Secretaries [Land Revenue, Tourism] and officials of the Buildings Department for completing the assessment process of the 153 [as of now] damaged houses by the ongoing construction of the Airport here in Pakyong, where work has been stopped for the past seven to eight months but living in these damaged houses of which five houses have already collapsed has become very precarious,” the coordinator stated.
The most affected areas are Dickling-Karthok, Bhanu Turning, Pushpanjali area and Danlakha School where houses have suffered major damages with some houses caving in while others have developed major cracks, he added.
Mr Gurung also asked the media to only entertain news items or press releases issued by the members of the committee when reporting in the airport affected issue. Here, he added that there were many anti-social elements involved in the ongoing cause and none of the affected families were against the government. Proposals to file a Public Interest Litigation [PIL] regarding the issue has also been turned down by the families since they would like the government to look into the matter at the earliest and take the necessary steps, he stated.
“Through the Right To Information [RTI] Act we came to know that the Airport Authorities had bought just the land required for the said project whereas it was necessary for them to procure more than 170 meters around the project area because of the construction work which involved drilling and produced major vibrations around the adjoining areas thereby causing the damages to the said houses,” he stated. This, he added, had not been done by the company, thus resulting in damages to the houses.
“This is totally a social cause and there is no politics involved and neither do we want any outside involvement by any organization with political backing. The assessment of the damaged houses has already been completed and we are happy with the value of compensation to be given but now there was a need of priority to be taken up regarding the compensation to be given and the rehabilitation process to be expedited by the district administration as soon as possible”, he further informed.
Earlier, Mr Gurung congratulated the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for his victory in the general elections 2014 and forming the government again.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gangtok to host 45th Working Committee Meeting of Tibetan Youth Congress

GANGTOK, 10 Aug: The 45th Working Committee Meeting of Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest Tibetan NGO in Exile, will be held from 11 to 16 August in Gangtok at Choe-Kha-Sum Hall. The meeting will be attended by delegations from all over India and abroad.
In a press release, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress president, Zimba Pintso has thanked the concerned department and the Government of Sikkim for their support and permission to organize the event. It is informed that with the blessings of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Youth Congress was formed in 1970 and presently it has over 35000 members and 88 chapters worldwide.

Younger sisters from Saraswati Vidya Niketan reach SSB HQ with Rakhis and prayers

GANGTOK, 10 Aug: School girls from Saraswati Vidya Niketan High School, Tadong, tied rakhis to SSB jawans here at the force’s 36th Battalion Headquarter premises today to mark Raksha Bandhan.
Manoj Kumar Singh, Second-in-Command, 36th Bn SSB Gangtok, thanked Krishna Adhikari, the school principal, and Saraswati Vidya Niketan office bearers for the initiative to bring the students to the SSB HQ to ties rachis on the personnel and pray for their well-being.
He also extended thanks to the Dainik Jagran team for providing Rakhis to the unit as part of celebrating the festival.
The visiting students also treated the border force personnel to Gita recitals and patriotic songs.
“In the forces the Jawans always serve far away from their homes and it is not possible for all to go to their homes for celebrating this pious festival. So the presence of these young sisters filled up the absence of their own sisters. With deep reverence and affection in their hearts for these young sisters the SSB Officers, SOs and the Jawans blessed the girls with all good wishes for the life ahead,” the officer conveys.
The function was also attended by Dr. Doma Lachenpa (Asstt. Commandant/ Medical), LN Singh Asstt. Commandant, SI/ GD Ramesh Chand Negi, SI/Min Pravash Khawas other Sub-ordinate Officers and 120 other ranks.

Dribbling towards reconciliation?

SFA AND FCAS MEET, KEEP THINGS CIVIL AND RESOLVE TO MEET AGAIN NEXT WEEK
GANGTOK, 10 Aug: The ongoing confrontation between Sikkim Football Association [SFA] and Football Clubs Association of Sikkim [FCAS] has struck a somewhat positive note with the two finally holding a meeting today.
As per an SFA release, in the meeting today, the association welcomed the eight Premier Division clubs who have been granted temporary membership of the SFA. Of the eight clubs, three could not attend the meeting since they are engaged in the Independence Day tournaments being held across the state, it is informed.
The SFA general secretary, Menla Ethenpa, highlighted the aims and objectives of the welcome programme and expressed hope of working together with the clubs for the betterment of Sikkimese football in days. He further said that both SFA and the clubs need each other and must co-exist, the release adds.
SFA president, BK Roka offered khadas to Bhaichung Bhutia who has been offered the post of Chairman of the Technical Committee of SFA and representatives of other clubs offered membership, it is mentioned. He thanked Bhaichung Bhutia and the representatives of all the clubs for expressing solidarity with SFA to work together for future growth of football in Sikkim, the SFA release states.
It was unanimously felt that since this was only an induction programme of the new member clubs, any other issues pertaining to the development of football in the state will be jointly discussed in the next meeting, the release states, reiterating that this was also endorsed by all the clubs.
An FCAS release on the meeting meanwhile informs that representatives of the clubs also proposed some amendments in the constitution of SFA regarding the membership criteria and they are: to give permanent membership with voting right to all the clubs of premier division league; membership without voting rights to the clubs under second division league and; have at least 10 teams in the premier league.
FCAS members also sought clarification about the rights and functions of the Chairman, Technical Committee. The SFA general secretary said that the association will look into the proposals and hopefully give a positive response in the second meeting to be held on 24 August, the release mentions.

Sikkim gets highest number of foreign tourists among NE states

GANGTOK, 10 Aug: Sikkim has been receiving the highest number of foreign tourists among the North-Eastern states in the country. While sharing the latest figures of the Tourism Ministry, a Sikkim Democratic Front press release mentions that the figures suggest that Sikkim has been the favorite tourism destination among north-eastern states for foreign tourists.
An SDF press release issued by its publicity secretary, Krishna Lepcha states that after a long survey the Tourism Ministry has issued this data. The figure shows that the number of foreign tourists visiting the state has been increasing every year.
According to the data, Sikkim has received 23602 tourists in 2011, 26489 in 2012 and 31698 in 2013.  Sikkim is followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, respectively.
The release further adds that Tourism development has been the priority of the SDF government and the state government has been working for tourism development for a long time now creating world class tourism infrastructures in the state.
The SDF party has expressed that the state has already been recognized as the best place to visit in the world famous travel guidebook ‘Lonely Planet’ and that such praise and recognition is a source of inspiration to all.