Saturday, August 23, 2014

Governor completes three-day tour of North Sikkim

MANGAN, 22 Aug: Governor Shriniwas Patil undertook a three-day tour of North Sikkim from 20-22 August. The Governor was accompanied by First Lady Smt. Rajanidevi Patil and escorted by district officials including DC North, TN Kazi, SP North, RN Yadav and SDM Chungthang, ST Tashi.
During his three-day tour, the Governor had a series of public meetings and visited different places of the district. After Mangan and Naga, the Governor was given a warm welcome by Panchayat and officials followed by guard of honor by ITBP Jawans at ITBP Camp, Pegong Chungthang. Later on, the Governor met with the District, sub-divisional officers and panchayat members and discussed about the functioning of district as well as sub-division offices.
On the second day, the Governor and entourage proceeded towards Lachen from ITBP Camp Pegong. The Governor visited Lachen Monastery and offered prayers and met with the Lamas. He met with the Pipons and Public at PWD Guest house, Lachen where the Pipons said that allowing passage to tourists via the alternate route of Donkiala pass towards Gurudongmar would affect the livelihood of people of Lachen since tourism is the only source of income for the local public. They requested the Governor's intervention in the matter.
The Pipons also appraised the Governor about the bad road conditions from Lachen to Gia-Gaon undertaken by GREF and demanded early maintenance of the road. On behalf of public, the Pipon put forward a request for installation of one more mobile phone tower at Rabom.
In the evening, the Governor and his entourage reached Lachung where he was accorded a traditional welcome at the Forest Rest House by the public of Lachung. Mr Patil met the Pipon and public of Lachung where he was apprised about the Army occupation of private lands in the area.
The case regarding the acquisition of land occupied by the Army is still lying before the High Court of Sikkim and the Pipon and public prayed to the Governor for early settlement of the case.
Secondly, the public of Lachung demanded uninterrupted service from BSNL. Responding to the demand and grievances placed before him, the Governor gave positive assurance to the public of Lachen and Lachung. He said that he will take the matter up with central authority for early and proper execution of work.
At the same time, he has asked the DC, North and SDM, Chungthang to proceed with all necessary action and to prepare a report of difficulties regarding telecommunication and Land Acquisition and submit the same to him.

On the third day, the Governor and his entourage visited Yumthang Valley. On the way back to Gangtok, landslide at Lanthey Khola blocked the road and the Governor could not proceed further. 

Slides strand Governor

CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO SLIDES ON NORTH SIKKIM HIGHWAY, GOVERNOR HALTS AT MANUL
MANGAN, 22 Aug: The Lanthey Khola, which is around 5 km short of Mangan towards Chungthang, got blocked today at around 4 p.m. due to a landslide triggered by the incessant rain. The road was also blocked at Meyong Khola near Naga about 10 kms from Mangan towards Chungthang on the same axis.
The two slides acted up in such inconvenient timing that the Governor’s entourage was caught between the two road blocks on their journey back to Gangtok this evening. As a result, Governor Shriniwas Patil, along with District officials and his entourage halted at Manul under Toong-Naga GPU for the night.

Fed up with BRO, North Sikkim wants private companies to work on its roads

SUBMITS MEMORANDUM TO GOVERNOR, CM, CS
GANGTOK, 22 Aug: The North Zilla Upadhakshya, NT Lepcha and the Gram Panchayats of Toong-Naga on behalf of the public of North Sikkim have submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Sikkim, Chief Minister, Chief Justice and others demanding better road conditions in the district by engaging a private company to undertake road construction and maintenance work replacing the Border Roads Organisation.
A copy of the memorandum shared with the media states, “It is a demand of the local public to engage a private company in lieu of BRO [GREF] for road construction from Mangan onwards”.
It states that the deplorable condition of roads in the district has adversely affected the lives of the local public, tourism and tarnished the image of the state. The condition of roads in the area also raises questions on how situations of emergency would be handled in the border area, it is stated further adding that this also poses a threat to national security.
It is alleged that the BRO, despite several requests made by the public and government authorities, is not serious and sensitive towards the improvement of road network in the area.

Awareness programme for tourism stakeholders of Lachung and Lachen

GANGTOK, 22 Aug: The Department of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Government of Sikkim organized an Awareness & Sensitization programme for the Tourism stakeholders at Lachung and Lachen, North Sikkim on 19 and 20 August, respectively.
The programme was attended by the Pipon of the respective Dzumsas as the chief guest along with the Chultrimpa, Senior Citizens of the Dzumsas.
A press release informs that the programme was held for Tourism stakeholders from Lachen and Lachung region, North Sikkim. Around 60 participantscomprising of Hotel operators, Homestay operators, Trekking Guides, Assistant guides and drivers actively participated in the programme, it is informed.
The resource persons for the programmes were Freelance motivator, Manil Raj Rai, vice president Travel Agents Association of Sikkim, Tsering Dorjee and president Sikkim Hotels and Restaurants Association, Pema Lamtha. They covered various topics like marketing, homestays, tourism oriented approach, etc.
Earlier, Trekking Officer, Tsewang Ngodup presented the welcome address on behalf of the organizing Department.

Suicide

GANGTOK, 22 Aug: A 25-year-old man reportedly committed suicide by hanging at Kokalay, East Sikkim on Thursday. The dead body of the deceased has been handed over to the legal guardians after medical autopsy.
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.    

1,300 to take literacy assessment test on Sunday

GANGTOK, 22 Aug: Under the Saakshar Bharat Mission Programme in Sikkim, 1,300 non-literate persons will be appearing for the assessment test to be held on 24 August, 2014. The programme was launched in Sikkim on 01 May 2010 to educate 19,377 non-literate persons as per survey done by State literacy Mission Authority (SLMA).
The programme aims to further promote and strengthen Adult Education, specially of women, by extending educational options to those adults who having lost the opportunity of access to formal education and crossed the standard age for receiving such education, now feel a need for learning of any type, including, literacy, basic education (equivalency to formal education), vocational education (skill development), physical and emotional development, practical arts, applied science, sports, and recreation.
In a press release, Joint Director SLMA, Hem Pd Dhakal informs that till date Six assessment tests have been conducted with the help of National Institute of Open schooling (NIOS). Out of 19377 non-literates 16644 learners passed the ‘A’ Level grade assessment test i.e. class III Level.
The programme was launched in two districts of Sikkim i.e. North and West. There are altogether 18 coordinators and 148 preraks engaged for this literacy programme in the state.
For conducting the assessment test the preraks, Coordinators, panchayats Pradhans, Panchayats, Assistant Education officers (AEO), Assistant Director of Blocks and the nodal officers of the districts are mobilized.
The Mission is giving thrust to women of SC, ST, Minority and disadvantaged group.
Mr Dhakal has urged the field functionaries, learners and the general public to help eliminate illiteracy in the state. [from PRABIN KHALING]


Rotary organises admissions and counseling fair for Indo Global Colleges

GANGTOK, 22 Aug: To assist and guide students from underprivileged families, the Rotary Club of Gangtok South conducted an admissions and counseling fair at Janta Bhavan recently. The fair was conducted in association with Indo Global Colleges, Chandigarh.
A press release informs that students from various parts of Sikkim accompanied by their parents and elders attended the fair.
It is informed that the fair was attended by over 200 students and many students took admission in courses like Diploma in Engineering, B. Tech, M. Tech, B.Ed and MBA. Director General of Indo Global Colleges accompanied by senior faculty members and the training & placement officer counseled the students.

No nominations for bye-polls on 3rd day as well

NAMCHI, 22 Aug [IPR]: No nominations were filed today as well for the Rangang Yangyang bye elections as informed by the Returning officer cum District Collector (South), Prabhaker Verma. The last date for filing of nominations is 27 August, next Tuesday.

Officials to visit Sherathang and take stock of infrastructure

GANGTOK, 22 Aug: A team of officials from the concerned departments will be visiting Sherathang, the trade mart for border trade with China through Nathula, as soon as the 17 Mile slide on JN Marg has been cleared. The purpose of the visit, as informed by the DC East, is to get a status report on the infrastructure ready and available for use at the trade mart.
Trade has come to a halt but there are divergent opinions as to the actual reason. While Customs Department officials say they are unable to visit the trade mart as there is no accommodation available for them, the state officials still contend that it is the landslides at JN Marg which is the reason for the suspension of trade. The longer route [via Rongli] which needs to be taken now to reach Sherathang makes daily drives impractical, and in the absence of arrangements for overnight stay, Customs officials have not be going up ever since 17 Mile collapsed. [read NOW! dated 22 August 2014 for details]
It is important, in this context, to recall that some years ago, nearly the entire trading season was kept alive via the alternate route from Rongli when JN Road was totally shut down.
Meanwhile, returning to the matter at hand, the DC-East, who is also the chairperson of the Sherathang Development Agency, claims that infrastructure, particularly the accommodation for Customs Department, has still to be fitted with water and electricity lines. This update, he informs, was forwarded to him by the Industries Department and is the official reason for not handing over the particular building housing the accommodation to Customs.
Apparently, there seems to be a significant communication gap here among the different agencies. Custom officials, while talking to NOW! earlier, informed that the building was ready and that they had written thrice to Industries department for handing it over to them but got no response.
Similarly, traders as well claim that the structure is ready and when they had approached the department, they were told that it was the DC, East who would do the necessary handing over formalities. In fact, it is not just the accommodation building for Customs, other infrastructure such as parking yard, cafeteria, shopping complex have been constructed and need to be handed over to user agencies in order to facilitate the trade.
So, while the state officials seem keen to rest their case on the road block at JN Marg for trade suspension, the question is that should JN Marg not reopen for weeks, will trade remain suspended as well? Traders seem willing to take the longer Rongli route as they did a couple of years ago, but that is of no use if the Customs officials are not on their post there. However in the event that the road is reopened by the BRO it is informed that DC, East along with concerned officials plan to visit the trade mart to take stock of the infrastructure and work out the ‘handing over’ part of it.

Promoting Village Tourism through ICT in South Sikkim

NAMCHI, 22 Aug [IPR]: A Promotion and Marketing meeting to promote Village Tourism and Home-Stay through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in association with Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation (STDC) was held at Panchayat Bhawan, Namchi today.
The STDC organized program was chaired by Deputy Director (South) Department of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Anita Rai and also attended by CEO  STDC, Binita Rai; representatives from South District Tourism Development Society (SSTDS); Government Officials; Panchayats; Hoteliers; Travel Agents; members of South District Taxi Driver’s Association and Tourism Stakeholders.
The Dy Director Anita Rai welcomed the gathering and informed that about 220 houses had been allocated for Home-Stay tourism so far in the South district. She also laid down the objectives of holding the meeting that aims at promoting and developing Tourism sector in South district.
Addressing the gathering, STDC CEO, Binita Rai presented a power point presentation where she provided a brief background and the aims and objectives of STDC which is a fully self-sustained corporation. She brought to light the training opportunities created by STDC under the ‘Hunar Se Rozgar Tak’ scheme that provides free of cost training in hospitality for those interested.
Ms Rai also spoke about the numerable business ventures available for the stakeholders that are existent on revenue sharing basis.  In addition, she laid focus on the commercial ventures and services for enhancing the Tourism sector in South district.
Giving her insights on the various methods to further boost the tourism economy, she highlighted the varied tourist destinations in the district and what can be done further in order to attract tourists globally.  Ms. Rai also familiarized the stakeholders present on the occasion about the E-business and IT-Sub Hubs that they could avail, to amplify marketing of Village Tourism and Home-Stays in the state.
The program also saw handing over of desktop to Sadam Village Tourism Association by STDC, Gangtok to commend the work done by the association in the area of Tourism followed by an interactive session between the officials and stakeholders.

Awareness on Child Labour and Labour laws at Mangan

MANGAN, 22 Aug: An awareness programme on Child Labour was conducted here at Zilla Bhawan Mangan in North Sikkim on 21 August which was organized by the Labour Department, Government of Sikkim.  Awareness on Implementation of Building & Other Construction Workers (RECS) Act 1996 was also held during the programme.
The Joint Commissioner, DS Kunwar underlined about the Prohibition & Regulation Act, 1986 on Child Labour according to which children below the age of 14 years should not be engaged in domestic works, construction site, hotel, tea shops, etc.
The JC further informed that the act defines a child as any person who has not completed his fourteenth
year of age. He further stressed that if anyone violates the act he/she will be punished with a fine of Rs. 20,000 or imprisonment of one to two years.
Mr. Kunwar also highlighted on Implementation of Building & Other Construction Workers (RECS) Act 1996 that the registered beneficiaries (labour) will be covered under an insurance policy worth Rs. 1 lakh in case of accidental death and also added that the beneficiaries will get other welfare facilities based on their needs like medicine, injury compensation, etc.
Likewise, Secretary Labour Deptt, KK Pradhan highlighted that the Child Labour Act passed during the year 1986 has been implemented all over the country and further stated that children should be playing and studying instead of working.
The ADC North, Raj Yadav also underlined that there should be more awareness among the people in order to eradicate child labour and urged all to help in implementing this act and eradicating child labour.
An interaction session was also held where queries made by the students and the panchayats were explained by the Board.
The chief guest, Chairman, Labour Welfare Board, Govt of Sikkim, Topda Bhutia said that the information on child labour and labour laws shared during the programme are essential for all and urged for cooperation from the public regarding the implementation of the same.
Earlier, the function was welcomed by Asst. Labour Commissioner, BP Bhattarai and ended with the vote of thanks by Labour Inspector, Arjun Kumar Sharma. The function was attended by District officials, Panchayat members, Members of Mangan Nagar Panchayat, students from Mangan SSS, and the general public.

Four-day vermi-composting training held in Dzongu

GANGTOK, 22 Aug: Four-day training on vermi-composting was organised at Dzongu, North Sikkim under Capacity Building Programme of Integrated Watershed Management Programme [IWMP], North District by State Level Nodal Agency [SLNA], Forest Environment & Wildlife Management Department which concluded today.
A press release informs that 200 beneficiaries from all the ten micro watersheds of IWMP-I Dzongu were trained on the latest techniques and correct procedures of vermi-composting. The beneficiaries were given theoretical as well as practical training.
This is the first time that vermi-composting training has been conducted under IWMP, it is informed. The earthworms will be provided to the beneficiaries after completion of training and construction of vermi-compost pits for seed stock.
The beneficiaries of IWMP North thanked the department for conducting such beneficial training for the villagers.

3rd Inter Departmental Football Tournament update

GANGTOK, 22 Aug: Food & Civil Supplies Department and State Bank of Sikkim registered victories today in the ongoing 3rd Inter Departmental Football Tournament here at Paljor Stadium.
Food & Civil Supplies Department edged past Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department with a solitary goal. Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department staff cheered strongly for their team throughout the match but failed to power through a goal. Even CA&HD Minister GM Gurung joined the team in the second half.
Sonam D Tamang of F&CS Department was adjudged the Man of the Match.
In the second match, State Bank of Sikkim thrashed Gangtok Municipality Corporation 4-0. Nor Tshering Lepcha of SBS was awarded the Man of the Match title.

Figure Out Landslides

Editorial:-
Isn’t it ironic that after the rains failed the crops, monsoon showers are now collapsing away roads? Even as the weather confounds with its climate-change temperament, the certainty of landslides discovers new formations to slice away in Sikkim? But should it really come as a surprise? Planning has consistently delineated development from ecology in Sikkim and although the State has admittedly taken handsome strides in attempting to conserve and nurture its environment, it has been doing so in isolation and piecemeal. Laudable initiatives like the State Green Mission, the creation of a Commission to study the health of Sikkim’s glaciers and the spring rejuvenation programme to map and protect its water sources, have not been effectively tied into the State’s race to develop infrastructure. For instance, even as dhara vikas is being implemented, new roads are carving routes through, or too near to, these very springs even as construction excavation gets routinely dumped into already stressed jhoras and on already unstable slopes. The unmonitored digging and scraping venture of hydel developers is another cause for worry, and although the government has recognized it and instituted a committee to spell out how these developers should go about their business, the close watch that these projects need to be kept under is still not palpable. Compounding the situation is the half-hearted followup that natural disasters receive. Neither the media, nor the ‘concerned agencies’ have done an even remotely thorough job of recording how Sikkim has healed or learned from the September 2011 earthquake, and if a calamity of such proportions is so casually forgotten, the niggling worries of traditional troublespots and notorious slide zones end up only as news-reports, not feature length meditations. The incidents [of slides and disruptions] are reported extensively, but the causes remain unexplained. The North Sikkim Highway has been on a consistent sink and slide ever since it was cut out as has been the case of the marg to Nathula in East Sikkim. It clearly takes more than just heavy rain to excavate hills and dump them on roads. More engineering sense should be invested to understand landslides and figure them out. Now that the Governor and his entourage have been ambushed by North Sikkim Highway’s most notorious neighbours of Lanthey and Meyong Chu slide zones, another reason has arrived to send in the experts to figure out why these slides remain active despite decades of repair and restoration works. And while the road formation and water course science is figured out, perhaps some real experts and better engineers should also be invited in to recommend more reliable fixes.

Workshop underway on preventive conservation of museum objects

GANGTOK, 22 Aug: A three-day workshop on preventive conservation of museum objects was inaugurated today at the State Archives office here at Zero point. 50 participants from the premier monasteries of Sikkim, private museums, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Raj Bhawan and private candidates are attending the workshop.
A press release informs that the workshop is being organized by the Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department in collaboration with National Research Laboratory for conservation of cultural property (NRLC) Lucknow. The basic objective behind this short duration workshop is to create awareness on preventive measures to be taken with regard to care of cultural materials.
While delivering the introductory note, the Director NRLC, BV Kharbade highlighted on the importance of preventive conservation of various objects. He also suggested to all the monks to register antique objects for their future safety and assured that his organization shall extend all possible cooperation for establishing a laboratory in the upcoming state museum of Sikkim.
The chief guest for the inaugural session was Chairman, Cultural Heritage & Communal Harmony Board, Sonam Wangchuk Bhutia while Chairman of Song Music & Film Board, Uttam Pradhan was the guest of honour. The chief guest while addressing the gathering spoke about the importance of preserving thankas, manuscripts, paintings and statues. He further requested all the participants especially the monks to learn the basic techniques of preventive conservation seriously which will be beneficial to them and their institution.
The other dignitaries who attended the programme were RT Lepcha [Special Secretary, CA & HD], Sonam Gyatso Dokhampa [Additional Director, Ecclesiastical Deptt.] and other senior officers of Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department.
After the inaugural session, the technical session started after a short break which was taken over by the experts from NRLC Director, BV Kharbade; Senior Conservation Assistant from Mysore, Prabaharan and; Technical Restorer from Lucknow, Pramod Kumar Pandey, the release adds.

Child Rights Commission meeting deliberates on sexual offences against children in Sikkim

GANGTOK, 22 Aug: Following the recent reported cases of child abuse/sexual assault in the State, Chairperson, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Deekila Bhutia, convened an urgent meeting with the members of the Commission - Rehana Rai, Yangchen Ladingpa and Nim Choki Bhutia in the Commission’s office on Thursday.
A press release informs that the main agenda of the meeting was to discuss the issue of sexual assault on children and also to frame necessary modalities to address such issues in the State. In this regard, the Commission has  proposed to organize a meeting with the stakeholders like police, health, voluntary organizations and HRRD to have collective input to address the issue.
The Commission will apprise the Government with the outcome of the said meeting and "will leave no stone unturned to eradicate such issues in the State", the release states.
Furthermore, the Commission also received five maintenance complaints regarding children which were addressed by the Commission by providing immediate relief to the complainant.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Typically disinterested babudom freezes Border Trade RANJIT SINGH

GANGTOK, 21 Aug: Nathula, for the umpteenth time, is in the middle of a controversy. Border trade via the Nathula has come to a standstill for the second time this season, and not just because of bad roads. The reason behind the trade suspension this time has more to do with bureaucratic logjams and confusion among various state agencies resulting in a predictable impasse.  The subsequent confusion and lack of initiative on the part of the state to “get going” comes out starkly in this rather unnecessary controversy.
While trade is officially still on with the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, traders from Sikkim are unable to engage in trade as there are no officials at the trade mart at Sherathang. Custom Officials have refused to go up to Sherathang this week and without the Customs officials present at their posts, trading is not possible. This is leading to significant losses for the traders, both Indian and Chinese.
Lately, the border trade had begun to pick up and had developed into its robust self that it had been in the past seasons. Officials at the Customs department, while speaking to NOW!, confirm that they have stopped going up to Sherathang. The reason, they inform, is that there is no accommodation facility available at Sherathang for an overnight stay for their officials.
“With the JN Road closed it is not viable for us to go via Rongli which is a six-hour journey; if we use this Rongli route we will have to stay the night over at Sherathang and there is no place for us there for an overnight stay,” say officials.
It is further added that with the increase in the scale of trade there has been an increase in the number of Customs personnel deputed to Trade duty at Sherathang. The number has increased from the earlier two to eight officials now, all of whom require proper and adequate accommodation.
It is not entirely true that there is no place at Sherathang for Customs officials for an overnight stay. In fact the state government has constructed a building expressly for Custom officials at Sherathang. This accommodation, it is informed, has been ready for the past few months now.
The only hitch is that it has not been handed over to the Customs for their use. This little, seemingly minor oversight has brought trade to a halt!
Delving further into the issue, it emerges that it was the Commerce & Industries Department which supervised the construction of this Customs quarters. The Customs department has written three letters to the Industries Department requesting that this structure be handed over to them. The department, it is informed, has not bothered to reply.
It was then left to the traders to take up the matter in order to save the border trade with China by approaching the concerned department. However, at the department it was quintessential bureaucratese when it passed the buck to the DC. It seems there is something called the Sherathang Development Agency and as is informed, the Industries department washed their hands off the matter saying that it was for the agency to do the allotment of the construction to the Customs.
The DC East, is the chairman of this agency. When traders met with the DC East the latter, supposedly expressed that he had no information on the matter!
Further inquiries reveal that the controversy or logjam is not limited to the Customs building at Sherathang. None of the newly built structures at Sherathang have been handed over to the concerned user agencies or parties. While this has not stopped trade, it is the matter of the customs building which has brought trade to a halt and exposed the lack of initiative of the state government.
In fact there is a letter of the Ministry of Urban Development, New Delhi to the Chief Secretary on this matter as well. The letter is dated 30 July, 2014. The Ministry expresses that construction of cafeteria, parking yard, shopping complex and other constructions at Sherathang for the benefit of the border traders is a subject matter which “…comes under the administrative control of the state government…”
It emerges that not just the customs building, all other infrastructures at Sherathang from cafeteria to parking yard, while having completed construction, have not been officially handed over to the user agencies and so are still under the contractors who built them.
It is embarrassing for the State that border trade with China remains suspended over such a commonplace ceremony as a “handing and taking over”.  The trade had just about begun to pick up after the initial hiccups earlier this season with almost 70 vehicles on average going up to the trade mart on the Indian side and 30 vehicles from China crossing over to Sherathang daily.

Seleley slips, cuts off Ralong and surrounding villages

MONSOON TROUBLESPOTS BEGIN ACTING UP ALL OVER SOUTH SIKKIM
NAMCHI, 21 Aug: The persistent downpour across Sikkim over the past week has littered the hills and roads with several slips and slides. While most are minor in scale and get routinely cleared out, a traditional troublespot about three kilometers out of Rabongla towards Ralong has acted up, and now become a full-blown headache. This slide-zone of Seleley was reactivated about a week ago and even as repair and restoration works were underway, the fresh wave of rains has carved away entire chunks or the road formation, not only cutting off Ralong and its surrounding villages, but also disrupting the water supply lines to distant Namchi which pass through this alignment.
The people of Ralong, Borong and Phamtam and the adjoining areas are now totally cut off from vehicular access and even transshipment is strenuous and fraught with dangers.
A petrol pump on the Rabongla-Ralong road has also sustained damage due to a mudslide. As this slide occurred at night there was no one inside the office building of the pump which is now almost buried in this slide.
When contacted, Assistant Engineer, Roads & Bridges, Rabongla, Sangay Nepo Bhutia, informed that Seleley is a notorious slide prone area and that the entire stretch is a sinking zone. Due to the continuous rainfall that the area has been receiving, on the night of 13 August, a major slide occurred at Seleley which washed away a chunk of the of Rabongla-Ralong road.
The Roads & Bridges Department is working on restoration, but the continuing rainfall is making progress difficult.
The engineers posted at the slide zone are also working towards shoring up the transshipment routes even as they tackle the main road formation and the laborers engaged in the restoration work are also helping women and children cross the slide zone.
Meanwhile, since the entire formation has been washed out here, it could take a month or even longer to restore the road for vehicles.
Elsewhere, the road leading to Gyalshing via Rabongla-Legship is also damaged at Kilometer 12 and 13. The stretch linking Ralong with Phamtam is also damaged at Kilometer 27.
Similarly, a report from the District Administrative Centre here informs that Rabong to Yangyang abd Yangyang to Lingmoo roads are also blocked at Dojok and Mangzin. The road leading to Bermiok from Namchi via Phongla is blocked at Bethghari while Yangyang to Sinchuthang is blocked at Sripatam.
Besides, these major mud slides, number of minor slides are hampering the daily flow of traffic along some of the busy roads of the district like Namchi-Melli, Jorethang-Melli, Namchi-Namthang stretches.
As learnt from DAC Namchi, three LT electric poles were damaged by falling trees at Lower Chuba (Langang). Power supply for the 10 households of the area has been affected due to this. Temporary restoration work is under process there.

Veterans and Late Thupden Kunga Bhutia Memorial TT c'ship next month

GANGTOK, 21 Aug: The 8th Sikkim Veterans and the 3rd Late Thupden Kunga Bhutia Memorial Table Tennis Championship 2014 will be held from 07 to 09 September here at Paljor Stadium indoor gymnasium hall. The tournament is being organized by Sikkim Veterans Table Tennis Association.
The tournament will have 19 categories from cadet to veterans 50 plus. The last date for submission of entries is 02 September. Interested paddlers may contact the SVTTA members or State TT Coach, Norden Bhutia for further details.
Speaking on the championship, the state TT coach mentioned that the main objective of the championship is mainly to encourage budding young paddlers by providing them a state-level platform and to build their confidence. Mr Bhutia stated that the championship has also been providing a good opportunity for veteran players to continue with their game and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Rhenock felicitates journalist and litterateur

GANGTOK, 21 Aug: On the occasion of Bhasa Manyata Diwas on Wednesday, senior journalist Joseph Lepcha of national Hindi daily, Dainik Jagaran, and literary figure, TB Chandra Subba, were felicitated at a function organized by Retired Government Employees’ Association of Rhenock.
A press release informs that the two were felicitated in recognition of their contributions in preserving and developing the Nepali language.
Mr. Lepcha has been working in the field of media for the last twenty years. He is also the general secretary of the Press Club of Sikkim and has acted in Nepali films as well.
The function also included poetry recitals by RK Pradhan, Abhi Narayan Misra, students from Rhenock Government College. A poetry competition amongst school students of various schools was also held on the day.

SSB organises 3-day Samajik Chetna Abhiyan at Rimbi

GANGTOK, 21 Aug [PIB]: Three-day Samajik Chetna Abhiyan was organized by 36th BN SSB Gangtok for the people of Rimbi and adjacent villages that concluded today.
As per a press release, during the three-day long awareness campaign, medical officers of SSB examined and treated a number of villagers suffering from various ailments and provided medicines free of cost. Veterinary medicines were also distributed among villagers for their livestock and cattle.
President GPU Darap, Pranay Limboo was present as the chief guest for the valedictory function where he distributed prizes and certificates to winners of different competitive events. Addressing the function he appreciated the events organized by SSB and congratulated the winners of various competitions as quiz contest, debate competition and drawing competition. He extended his sincere thanks to SSB for organizing this programme as it provided students a platform to show case their talents.
Speaking on the occasion, Principal Rimbi High School, Krishana Limbu said that these events provided students an opportunity to expose their hidden talents. These events will surely develop a sense of competition among students and add to their knowledge. He urged the SSB to organize such programmes in the future as well, the release mentions.
Manoj Kumar Singh [Second-In-Command  Offg Commandant], DK Thongon [AO Sikkim Area], Dr. Doma Lachenpa [Asstt. Commandant Medical], Anil Singh Yadav [Asstt Commandant] and Deepak Savita [Asstt. Commandant] were present during the entire programme.

Training on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention for Paralegal volunteers

ANGTOK, 21 Aug: In the coordination with the Health Care and Human Services & Family Welfare department, the Sikkim State Legal Services Authority is organizing a three-day training programme for Paralegal Volunteers on how to tackle the high suicide rate in the State.
The ‘Training of Trainers on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention' is scheduled to begin on Monday at Sikkim Judicial Academy training centre. The inaugural session will be held at the High Court Auditorium and is expected to be attended by Justice Narendra Kumar Jain, Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court.
More than 40 Para-Legal Volunteers, extended arms of Sikkim State Legal Services Authority from across the state are participating in the training.
Earlier this year in June, the High Court had directed the Department of Health care and Family Welfare to coordinate with the Sikkim State Legal Services Authority to create awareness on suicide as a curable disease and not a crime.

Govt’s move to appoint GTs and PGTs for Nepali welcomed

GANGTOK 21 Aug: Nepali Sahitya Parishad, Sikkim, and the All India Nepali Bhasa Sangarsh Samiti have welcomed Chief Minister Pawan Chamling’s announcement to appoint Graduate and Post Graduate Teachers for Nepali from the next academic session onwards in Sikkim.
In a press release, Nepali Sahitya Parishad, Sikkim, welcomes the announcement by pointing out that the appointment of Nepali language teachers in Upper Elementary and Senior Secondary levels will help in the development of the language and improvement of its standard.
Anjan Upadhyaya, general secretary of the All India Nepali Bhasa Sangharsh Samiti, in turn adds that they have been demanding the appointment of Nepali language teachers since the early 1990s and adds the State government’s announcement was a positive step forward for improvement and preservation of language and its development.
He also urged the government to use Nepali as an official language and use use it on signboards along with English.
He has also welcomed the state government initiative to approach the Central Government with a request to include Nepali language as part of the optional languages in the UPSC and other central level competitive examinations.

Executive Magistrates appointed for bye-polls

GANGTOK, 21 Aug: The state government has appointed executive magistrates for the ensuing bye-election to be held at the Rangang Yangang constituency in South Sikkim. The executive magistrates will oversee maintenance of law and order within the South district till the election process is over.
Six executive magistrates have been appointed namely- Prakash Kharel, Gram Vikas Adhikari, Yangang; DP Sewa, AE, GVK, Yangang; Karma Samten, AE, Roads & Bridges, Yangang; Yogendra Pradhan, AE, GVK, Ravangla; TD Bhutia, SE, Power Department, Ravangla and; Sangam Rai, Gram Vikas Adhikari, Ravangla.
It may also be noted that the Election Commission of India has also notified the dates for the bye elections for the Rangang Yangang constituency in South Sikkim. The day of voting is scheduled for 13 September, 2014.

No nominations for bye-polls yet

NAMCHI, 21 Aug [IPR]: No nominations were filed today for the Rangang Yangyang bye elections according to Returning Officer cum District Collector (South). The bye-election for the constituency is to be held on 13 September. As of now no candidate has filed the nomination papers since the process began on Wednesday.


Chultim is the only one to clear JEE from Sikkim this year

GANGTOK, 21 Aug: Chultim Doma Bhutia who passed out from Holy Cross School here earlier this year, is the only student from Sikkim to crack the Joint Entrance Exam [for engineering colleges] this year. Chultim figured in the top-200 from among the 13 lakh who took the JEE Main 2014 exam held on 06 April. Her success has secured her a seat at the prestigious Silchar National Institute of Technology where she is now pursuing a course in Electronics.

TNA wins city-round of all-India INTACH quiz

GANGTOK, 21 Aug: The city round of an all India Quiz competition for schoolchildren of Classes VIII to X was organized by INTACH Sikkim Chapter here at Deorali Girls Senior Secondary School on 20 August. The competition was attended by 92 students representing 14 Gangtok schools.
The team of Debraj Chaudhuri and Udishya Giri of Tashi Namgyal Academy won the contest and are now through to the Zonal Competition scheduled for 27 August at Guwahati, an INTACH-Sikkim press release informs. Should they get through the zonals, they will be competing in the national contest to be held in Delhi and which will be telecast in national channels.
Meanwhile in the city round, there was a tie for the runners-up slot between the team of Chopel Wangdi Bhutia and Ritik Kumar Das of Holy Cross and Simran Sharma and Zeenat Azmi Ali of West Point School.
The quiz was conducted by Bina Sharma, a senior teacher of Enchey Senior Secondary School.
PK Dong, convenor, INTACH Sikkim Chapter, while giving away the Certificates of Participation, congratulated and thanked all the principals, teachers in charge and students for participating in the quiz. He advised the students to keep participating in such competitions whenever they get the opportunity so that more and more students of Sikkim are seen competing in national and international levels of diverse competitive fields.

Gerethang GPU celebrates its senior citizens

GANGTOK, 21 Aug: Gerethang GPU celebrated Senior Citizens Day today with a special programme which had the area MLA, Parliamentary Secretary RMDD Sonam Dadul Bhutia, present as the chief guest.
A press release informs that senior citizens above 60 years of age participated in traditional Dhan Naach, Chabrung dance and other competitions held on the day. The event featured cultural performances of different communities of the state.
Sawan Limboo, Roshan Phuyal, Biren Pradhan and BB Limboo were also in attendance as guest performers. The chief guest and Zilla Upadhyaksha, LP Kafley also presented mementoes to the senior citizens during the programme.

3RD INTER DEPARTMENTAL FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT

Higher Education wins big 
GANGTOK, 21 Aug: Higher Education [HRDD] thrashed the Law Department today in its first match of the ongoing 3rd Inter Departmental Football Tournament here at Paljor Stadium.
Making its debut in the tournament, the Higher Education team registered a 06-01 victory against the Law Department. The team came with strong supporters comprising of college students who cheered for their teachers throughout the match. Zigmi Dorji Bhutia of Higher Education was adjudged the Man of the Match.
The other match of the day, between Tourism and Ecclesiastical departments, ended in a goalless draw. Kapil Rai of Tourism was declared as the Man of the Match.

Prepared for Disasters?

Editorial:-
The current spate of wet weather makes it difficult to believe that the monsoon has actually been weak this year. Look around, rain-triggered collapses and damage are being reported only now, when the monsoon [if seasons follow any timetable any more] should be on its way out. That is perhaps not happening this season, and the final weeks of the rains appear intent on pouring some wreckage around these hills. Hopefully that will not be the case and should some sections give way, hopefully they will be on the overburdened and much-abused road formations. Here’s hoping that habitations get overlooked this year. That said, the latest collapse at Seleley in South Sikkim, where both, a road formation and water supply network have been demolished, along with hardships [by way of nervy transshipments] imposed on residents, triggers some worries about the state of Sikkim’s disaster preparedness. This is not to say that Seleley caught anyone off guard or under-prepared, but is just a wondering aloud triggered by the reminder that Sikkim’s slopes have been traditionally unstable and its slides huge and scary. The weak monsoon appears to have lulled many into a false sense of security, but it is towards the fag end of disaster season that all concerned should be even more wary.
Sikkim has always lived with landslides and earthquakes. It is a zone primed for natural disasters and if ‘awareness’ about them is still required, it throws up the question of how and why local pragmatism was lost leading to a situation where people here still manage to get caught by surprise when a landslide or an earthquake strikes. Despite the horror of September 2011 and the many slides before and after that watershed event, Sikkim still lacks intelligent urban planning or a coherent disaster mitigation plan. Its roads, over which rescue and relief will have to travel, are still most often the first casualties of any severe event – whether a landslide, earthquake or even an impromptu protest. Houses continue to be constructed in cramped corners and with dodgy engineering. For now, let us also drop any further comments on how the disaster awareness camps were conducted and proceed with the acceptance that when disaster strikes, Sikkim will again be ill-prepared and caught off-guard. Let us also accept that despite all the expert studies, land stability maps and building bylaws, Sikkim will continue flirting with disaster and continue constructing and developing irresponsibly. All plans for disaster mitigation should now build from this premise. Disaster mitigation plans and training for, say a mega earthquake rippling through Gangtok, should be imparted to residents of Ranka, Luing, Rumtek, Rhey Khola etc. because the only help and assistance for the victims here will have to come from these surrounding villages. The disaster mitigation plans have to identify support and rescue groups from the surrounding areas. This is not half as hare-brained as it sounds. Surrounding areas should be sensitized on how they can help neighbouring areas in distress.
And while on that topic, one notices the near absence of what were once too many disaster awareness programmes and workshops being held in Sikkim. In the absence of any other effort, may be these sessions should be held all year round, they will eventually grow out of the talking-down syndrome and then perhaps intelligent disaster mitigation plans will get drafted and refined. Till then, all the best…

Man assaulted and robbed

GANGTOK, 21 Aug: On the intervening night of 19-20 August 2014 at around midnight, four miscreants entered a house at Amba, Pakyong, East Sikkim and assaulted the owner. The miscreants also demanded Rs. 30,000 and gold & silver ornaments and threatened him with dire consequences if he did not comply. The miscreants also took one LPG cylinder from him. A case has been registered at Pakyong Police Station against the unknown miscreants and efforts are being made to identify and arrest the accused persons.

Sexual assault on minor

GANGTOK, 21 Aug: Sexual offences against minors in the state have become a serious cause of concern. Even as the Sikkim State Commission for Protection of Child Rights condemned a recent case through a press statement on Wednesday, another minor was sexually assaulted on the same day.
As per the police, a 15-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by two persons, one of them himself a teenager, on Wednesday evening at Singtam. The victim was returning home from school when she was forcefully dragged by the duo into a vehicle and sexually assaulted. Thereafter, the accused fled from the spot.
The two accused, Shakeel Ahmad [21 yrs] of Muzzafarpur residing at Singtam at present and his younger brother Azad Alam [15 yrs] have been arrested and a case under sections 341, 342, 354 and 34 of the IPC read with section 8 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences. Act, 2012 has been registered at Sadar Police Station. The case is under investigation.

Screening Committee appointed to select next DGP

GANGTOK, 21 Aug: A Screening Committee has been set up for the selection of the next Director General of Police for Sikkim. The present DGP, Jasbir Singh, is due to retire next month.
In this context, a three-member screening committee has been constituted for appointment of the next DGP from police officials of the Indian Police Service belonging to the state cadre. The three-member committee comprises the Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary and the Secretary, Department of Personnel. Their recommendations will be put up to the state government for approval.

Rs 8 cr sanctioned for CM’s Meritorious Scholarship scheme

GANGTOK, 21 Aug: The state government has sanctioned Rs 8 crore for the CM's Meritorious Scholarship scheme for the academic session 2014-15. The amount was approved and sanctioned by the Cabinet on 12 August.
This year, 129 more students hailing from underprivileged backgrounds and enrolled in government schools across the state were selected under the CM's Meritorious Scholarship scheme. 26 of these students were sent to reputed public schools outside the state while the rest were sent to public schools within the state.
It may also be mentioned here that the State government has also sanctioned Rs 11.5 crore for the Mid Day Meal scheme for 2014-15.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

23RD NEPALI BHASA MANYATA DIWAS CELEBRATION


Speakers underline need to supplement Bhasa development
GANGTOK, 20 Aug: Agriculture Minister Somnath Poudyal today iterated that even after the recognition of Nepali language in the VIIIth Schedule of the Constitution of India, the movement should continue to further develop the language and stressed on the need for students to take up this language seriously in order to carry it forward.
Mr Poudyal was speaking as the chief guest at the 23rd Nepali Bhasa Manyata Diwas Samaroh 2014 held today at Sikkim Government College auditorium at Tadong, which was chaired by the Sikkim University Vice-Chancellor, Prof TB Subba. The function was jointly organized by Nepali Sahitya Parishad Sikkim, Sikkim University’s Nepali Department and SGC Tadong.
On the occasion, Premlall Smriti Saichik Puraskar was presented to the MA in Nepali topper from Sikkim University, Martha Rai, while CBSE class XII topper in Nepali [from Singtam Senior Secondary School], Aruna Shankar was also felicitated by the Nepali Sahitya Parishad.
Speaking further on the occasion, the Minister expressed his admiration for all the people who worked for the Constitutional recognition of the Nepali language. Celebrations should not be limited to the observation of this day but sincere efforts to develop Nepali language further should also be part of the celebration, he added.
Mr. Poudyal encouraged the younger generation, especially students, to take interest in language, literature, culture and traditions and take it forward.
Meanwhile, Prof Subba, in his address, said that it was important to respect and learn languages and not to dislike any language. Every language has its own qualities and if we look at these then we will learn to respect the language, he highlighted.
Earlier, Sikkim Akademi president Pempa Tamang made a presentation on Adikavi Bhanu Bhakta and his life and works, especially focusing on the translation of Ramayan. Similarly, Rudra Poudyal gave a talk on Nepali language and its recognition. The function also featured poetry recitals by Dr Rajendra Bhandari, Matrika Sharma, college students along with other cultural events.

The function started with the welcome address by SU’s Nepali Department’s Dr Kabita Lama and concluded with the vote of thanks by NSP-Sikkim president, Parasmani Dangal. 

High Court gives Army two weeks to furnish details on land occupied in North Sikkim

GANGTOK, 20 Aug: A division bench of the High Court of Sikkim has taken serious note of the inadequate amount of hiring charges paid to landowners by the Army. This, in connection with the Public Interest Litigation pertaining to land occupied by the Indian Army in North Sikkim for the last 40 years.
The Division Bench, headed by Chief Justice NK Jain and including Justice SK Sinha, in a direction passed on 14 August, given two weeks time to the Army administration to furnish details of all the landholders with their names and addresses; the details of private land occupied by them; the amount of hiring charge paid to each landowner; whether the Army has finalized the hiring charges as per the prevalent market rate, after hearing the concerned persons/ land owners; the basis for calculating the amount of hiring   charges; and mode of payment of hiring charges paid by respondents to landholders.
The grievance of the petitioners in their Public Interest Litigation is that their land, as well as houses, have been occupied by the Indian army forcefully without entering into an agreement to pay rental or hiring charges and without issuing any notification for acquisition of their lands and houses.
They also stated that the Army has neither been paying any amount of hiring charges nor are they vacating their land.
After the intervention of the High Court, the Army started paying hiring charges to some of the landholders but it was only a meager amount and not as per the prevalent market rate, it is now being contended.
The petitioners’ counsel submitted that during pendency of this Writ Petition, the Army decided to acquire the land, but the same has not been acquired till now, even the notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 has not been issued.
Now, the new Land Acquisition Act of 2013 (The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013) has come into force, but for want of framing of Rules under the new Act, the acquisition proceedings have not been finalized and compensation has also not been paid.
The court has also directed the state respondents to let the High Court know about the status of framing of new Rules by State of Sikkim under the new Land Acquisition Act of 2013.
However, Senior Counsel, Karma Thinlay appearing on behalf of Army and Central Government submitted that the hiring charges were paid to persons whose lands were occupied, on interim basis, as per direction of this Court, but some of the owners did not accept the amount, which is lying with the Bank as per directions of the District Collector (North).
He further submitted that since the new Acquisition Act, 2013 has come into force, therefore, acquisition proceedings will be completed very soon under the provisions of the New Act of 2013, as and when the Rules are framed under the New Act of 2013.

CHAMLING CELEBRATES BHASA MANYATA DIWAS IN GYALSHING

Will lobby for inclusion of Nepali in UPSC and other national level competitive exams, CM announces
GYALSHING, 20 Aug [IPR]: The 23rd Nepali Bhasa Manyata Diwas organized by the Nepali Bhasa Manyata Organizing Committee (West) was observed in Geyzing community hall today. Chief Minister Pawan Chamling attended the program as the chief guest while literary figure Man Bahadur Pradhan from Kalimpong and retired Additional Director BB Muringla from Lingchom, West Sikkim, were present as guests of honor alongside Cabinet Ministers, Chairpersons, MLAs, Adhakshya, Upadhakshya, Government officials, Panchayats, students and public of the adjoining areas.
The Chief Minister, while addressing the function, announced that he would place an appeal before the Central Government to include Nepali language as part of the optional languages in the UPSC and other central level competitive examinations.
In addition, he also made the announcement to appoint Graduate Teacher and Post Graduate Teacher for Nepali subject from next academic session onwards in Sikkim.
Addressing the literary assets of the state and lauding their achievements, Mr. Chamling congratulated the literary scholars and asked the students and youth to draw inspiration from their work.
Furthermore, highlighting the significance of the occasion when Nepali as a language was included in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution on 20 August 1992, the Chief Minister underlined the need to preserve and put to practice Nepali language as it is eroding with time.
He discussed how westernized thoughts and opinions have become a part of the society and how steadily, as a result of such globalization, people, particularly the younger generation, have started disregarding the heritage, customs and traditions of Nepali language. He also detailed the relentless efforts and contributions of Dil Kumar Bhandari and Anand Mani Singh in the field of protection, preservation and advancement of Nepali language and called upon the people to shoulder a collective social responsibility to preserve their language.
He also urged the youth to abandon misconceptions of holding Nepali as a mediocre or substandard language and instead value its learning as it has a rich history and origin and therefore work towards giving Nepali language its integration and due recognition.
Mr. Chamling also assured full support in fulfilling the demands placed by the people and pledged to works towards the development of Geyzing and the adjoining areas.
The program also saw release of books by Kusum Lata, Kedar Gurung and Phurba Khandu Sherpa.
Similarly, felicitations were conferred upon Man Bahadur Pradhan who is a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi award; eminent writer, poet and musician BB Muringla who is a recipient of Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture Samman and Bhawani Gautam.
Essay recitations by Dilliram Sharma from Benaras Hundu University, Shree Bhuwan Dhakal from Girls Senior Secondary School Geyzing, Narayan Sharma from Geyzing Government College and Tek Bahadur Sanyasi, a student from Pelling Senior Secondary School were also presented. Song and dance presentations by students formed the cultural highlights of the day.

SMIMS stumbles on MCI hiccup again

MCI DENIES PERMISSION TO CONTINUE INTAKE OF 100 STUDENTS
RANJIT SINGH
GANGTOK, 20 Aug: In what has become a routine at the start of every academic session, the Medical Council of India has once again denied permission to the Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences to take in the desired 100 students for the MBBS batch which begins this year. With only around 10 more days to go for the new MBBS session at SMIMS to commence, it seems that there could be confusion once more for the institution, its students as well as for the state government arising out of the denial by the MCI to allow Sikkim Manipal University to continue with its intake of 100 students per batch.
SMIMS had taken 100 students in its MBBS course the previous year.
The Ministry of Health, Government of India, had, in a letter dated 15 July, 2014, intimated the decision of the MCI to the Sikkim Manipal and further conveyed that on the basis of the report of the Medical Council of India, the Ministry was disapproving the “increase” of seats from 50 to 100 at Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences for its fifth batch of MBBS students for the year 2014-15.
The tersely worded letter does not divulge the details of the report of the MCI; it only conveys the Ministry's inability to allow the institute to increase its MBBS seats from 50 to 100 on the basis of the report of the MCI.
It is to be noted that admission process at the SMIMS commences several weeks before the actual MBBS classes begin; so the process would have begun sometime in June-July. Just before the admission process began this year, a three-member team of the Medical Council of India had also visited the SMIMS campus at Tadong and the Central Referral Hospital in order to assess the available infrastructure, the facilities for students and the capacity of the institute to take in 100 MBBS students in one batch.  It was on the basis of this inspection that the MCI prepared its current report whereby, apparently, it has disapproved the increase of MBBS seats at SMIMS from 50 to 100.
Following the report of the MCI and particularly the letter of the Ministry of Health denying SMIMS from continuing with its 100 MBBS seats for the new session the SMU has approached the Sikkim High Court with a petition. Subsequently, the court has issued notices to the respondents which also include the state government of Sikkim. There is a quota of 12 seats in the MBBS course at SMIMS for Sikkim students. Next hearing is set for 22 August.
It is informed that the institute had been allowed to take in 100 students in the past year/s after the High Court of Sikkim passed an order permitting the institute to take in 100 admissions. This order was passed in September 2011. While passing that order, the court had noted that the decision of the Board of Governors of MCI refusing increase of seats to 100, was not found convincing as records indicated that deficiencies of SMIMS had been accepted as being fully met; this was shown to be met by also considering the facilities at STNM Hospital and the peripheral hospitals of East District. Peculiarities of Sikkim being a hill state were also taken into account.

Rangang-Yangang bye-election process is now officially underway

GANGTOK, 20 Aug [IPR]: Election Commission of India has announced the schedule for Bye-Election to fill casual vacancy in Rangang Yangang Assembly constituency of South Sikkim on 16 August. Accordingly, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force w.e.f 16 August. District Collector cum Returning Officer South Sikkim has informed that preparations for smooth conduct of Bye Election are being done in the district.
Further, he informed that Rangang Yangang constituency has 14 Polling stations in total which have been divided into 3 sectors. Out of 14 polling stations there is one critical polling station namely 15/14-Nehbrum as of now and the District Police is reviewing other polling stations. Based on the Notification issued by the Home Department, Sector Magistrates and other Expenditure monitoring teams have been appointed and given powers of Executive Magistrate for maintenance of Law and Order.
Various Nodal Officers have been appointed for the major activities to be undertaken during the conduct of Bye Election. Returning Officer, South further informed that along with 3 Sector Magistrates cum Flying Squad Team one Static Surveillance Team, one Assistant Expenditure Observer and Video Surveillance Team and a Video Viewing Team have been deputed for implementation of Model Code of Conduct.
A helpline cum Control Room number has been assigned for the general public to make any kind of complaint. Expenditure Observer for the Bye Election is arriving at District Headquarter by this evening and general observer will also be coming subsequently.
Notification of Bye Election has been issued on 28 August 2014, a copy of which has been displayed in the DC Office, SDM, Yangang Office and BDO, Yangang Office. With the issue of notification the process of nomination has started from 20.8.2014 and will continue till last date of nomination 27 August.
District Collector/ RO [South] further informed that on the first day of nomination i.e.20.08.2014 no nomination paper was received. He has further informed that District Police is making all necessary arrangements for security and maintenance of law and order in the district. The Sector Magistrate cum Flying Squad Teams have started functioning in the field and are submitting law and order as well MCC reports on a daily basis.

Make CoI mandatory in other spheres too, suggests SIBLAC

GANGTOK, 20 Aug: Welcoming fee exemption for college students belonging to Sikkim, Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee [SIBLAC] has urged the state government to “apply the same yardstick” in according all kinds of beneficiary measures and other initiatives in the state.
In a press release, SIBLAC has said that this would “rejuvenate the effect and significance of these most crucial documents like Sikkim Subject Certificate and Certificate of Identification”. It has also said that this decision of the government should not be taken otherwise by those students not possessing these necessary documents as a matter of “discreet right of the Sikkimese people”. “Every state and government has the sacred responsibility of safeguarding its native people,” the release argues.
Quoting a newspaper [Himalayan Mirror] report of 2013, SIBLAC claims that there are 1,50,469 “fraudsters” in Sikkim who hold fake CoIs and Sikkim Subject Certificates. The state government should verify these and take proper action as per the law of the land and come out with a White Paper on the issue, the release states.
These measures will curtail the ever increasing influx thereby establishing a sense of pride and security amongst the Sikkimese people, according to SIBLAC.

Sangha MLA greets Sikkim on Bhasha Manyata Diwas

GANGTOK, 20 Aug: Sangha MLA, Sonam Lama has conveyed his greetings on the occasion of the Nepali Language Recognition Day [Bhasha Manyata Diwas] today.
In a press release, Mr Lama has said that this event is reflective of years of struggle and commitments of all the stakeholders, particularly of the former Chief Minister of Sikkim Nar Bahadur Bhandari, during whose tenure Nepali language was included in the VIIIth Schedule of the Constitution of India.
“I wish that the occasion rejuvenates progress and literary development of Nepali and all other languages of Sikkim,” he adds.

NEDFi organises business meet in Gangtok

GANGTOK, 20 Aug: Continuing its series of awareness camps and business meets, NEDFi Gangtok Branch conducted another programme today at Hotel Chumbi Residency. The programme was attended by 45 participants.
As per a press release, the Branch Manager, Nawang Pintso Bhutia opened the session with his deliberations on the aims and objectives of NEDFi followed by a presentation on the activities taken up by NEDFi as a whole and in particular, financial assistance provided to entrepreneurs in Sikkim during the last financial year. He also highlighted the various schemes with special emphasis on the soft rate of interest on loans granted by the corporation.
The BFC Mentor, PT Sherpa made a soulful presentation on the different tenets of establishing Business Enterprises. He also explained the possibilities of activities that can be taken up as new opportunities and that any new venture can be assisted by NEDFi.
It was more of a session on reaching out where he requested all participants to act like ambassadors of NEDFi in passing on the message so that small entrepreneurs can benefit, the release mentions.
The programme ended with an open session where many relevant topics were discussed and satisfying answers were provided by NEDFi.

NASBO welcomes fee exemption for Sikkim students

GANGTOK, 20 Aug: National Sikkimese Bhutia Organisation [NASBO] has welcomed the decision of the State government to exempt Sikkimese students from paying college fee at government colleges.
A NASBO release states “this kind of governance is something which is surely welcomed by our Sikkimese people” and further calls upon the government to scrutinize details of all personnel employed in the state machinery in order to confirm that they possess Certificates of Identification.
This was discussed in a general body meeting of the organization held today at Gangtok which was presided over by the NASBO president, Pintso Bhutia, the release informs.
“NASBO looks forward to such positive approach on the part of the government which is more conducive to the preservation of Article 371F of the Indian Constitution,” the release adds.

KN Rai appointed member of two Standing Committees

GANGTOK, 20 Aug [IPR]: Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, KN Rai has been nominated as member of the ‘Standing Committee of the All India Presiding Officers Conference’ by Speaker, Lok Sabha, Sumitra Mahajan. The committee consists of eight members and has Ms. Mahajan as the Chairperson.
Further, Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly has also been nominated as member of the ‘Follow up Subcommittee of the Standing Committee of the India Presiding Officers Conference’. Chairperson, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council, Dr. A Chakrapani is the Convener of the Committee which consists of five members.

“My Earth My Duty”

ITBP’S ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
GANGTOK, 20 Aug: The Himveers of  Indo Tibetan Border Police Force at Sector Head Quarter Gangtok, Tadong Camp organized a plantation drive as part of environment awareness campaign cum plantation activity “My Earth My Duty” on Tuesday.
As per a press release, the event was organized and celebrated with a medley of plantation activity, children’s painting competition and dance competition.
The campaign addresses the issue of environmental degradation and is aimed at sensitizing and encouraging the force personnel and their families to take concrete actions towards mitigating the effects of climate change and environmental degradation .
Present on occasion were DIG Raman Khadwal, senior officers of ITBP and other personnel. The DIG, in his address, urged the troops to plant more saplings to keep environment clean and green. He also emphasized on the need of the  hour to understand our duty towards mother nature, the release mentions.

Governor begins 3-day tour of north Sikkim, assures to take up road woes with Delhi

MANGAN, 20 Aug: Governor Shriniwas Patil arrived here today on a scheduled three-day tour of North Sikkim accompanied by First Lady Rajani Devi Patil.
The Governor was received at the Power Guest House by District officials led by DC-North TN Kazi and SP North, RN Yadav, and was presented a guard of honour by a Sikkim Police detachment.
Today, the Governor visited the Kanchenjunga Eco-Tourism Park construction site at Naga in Toong-Naga GPU where the Upadhakshya [North], NT Lepcha, explained the Boongthing School and Mun Research Centre projects.
He also interacted with the panchayats and public of Toong-Naga at the multipurpose ground where a demand petition requesting improvement of the road condition was submitted by the panchayat and public.
The Governor in turn assured the people that he will take up the matter with the central authorities at the earliest and also shared that tourism, hydropower and the organic farming held great potential in Sikkim and should harnessed it properly for the development of the state.
At Chungthang, the Governor was given a guard of honor by ITBP and accorded a warm welcome by the Sub-Divisional officials led by SDM Chungthang, ST Topgay. The Governor also enquired about the functioning of the Sub-divisional offices. The Governor will be visiting Lachen and Lachung on Thursday.

3RD INTER DEPARTMENTAL FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT

SLA and Health win matches 
GANGTOK, 20 Aug: Sikkim Legislative Assembly defeated SIMFED 2-0 in a match played today in the ongoing 3rd Inter Departmental Football Tournament here at Paljor Stadium. Sandeep Kapil of SIMFED was awarded with the Man of the Match title.
In the second match, Health Department defeated Sports & Youth Affairs 3-1. Khushen Pradhan of Health Department was adjudged as the Man of the Match.

Police-Public Relations

Editorial:-
Cops, who see themselves the world over as the custodians of law & order and personnel ensuring security for the people, have rarely evoked confidence as such, and of late, have found themselves at the receiving end of rebuke from the very public they are paid to protect. While such a situation would visit only rarely in the past, it has become worryingly frequent of late, everywhere – from the streets of Gangtok, or for that matter Rangpo a few days ago, to the suburbs of St. Louis in USA, to the Assam-Nagaland border villages. Policing is increasingly, and not always without reason, attracting allegations of atrocities and excessive use of force.
People are the most comfortable when cops are in the background, it is when police presence is overt and overpowering that public responses can turn hostile. Overt and overpowering are not always about sheer numbers and can also manifest through attitudes, and no one will contest that cops tend to swagger around with an overbearing air. While people let this slide during “normal” times, when a situation turns tense, the backlash can be strong. Sikkim saw this in how the college situation collapsed and the nation witnesses this in the continuing trouble along the Assam-Nagaland border. Listen to the debates and discussion around the public-police confrontation at Ferguson in distant USA, and one will notice many echoes of the emotions and situations seen in Gangtok last month. Agreed, the severity of the situation and the history of atrocity, perceived or otherwise, is much deeper there than here. Returning then to the point that people are most comfortable when cops are in the background, one realises that this is not always the case and sometimes not even possible, neither in Sikkim, nor anywhere else in the world any more. Khaki meanwhile ends up inspiring more discomfort than security because just about every business activity operates on the borderline of legality, not only in Sikkim, but in most parts of the country. The police, which is authorized to investigate and take cognizance of misdemeanors makes people uncomfortable because the moment the cops start digging, something ‘illegal’ will turn up. The Rangpo protest by shopkeepers alleging overbearing policing harks back to a day in Gangtok some years ago when a police raid ran from MG Marg to Ranipool early in the morning to ‘nab’ people dumping waste at unauthorized locations. Perhaps in the over-zealousness, but most probably because they were not even briefed properly, the constables “arrested” even people who were waiting by the roadside waiting for the garbage truck to arrive. Something similar appears to have happened a few days ago at Rangpo, but things have changed in the intervening years and while some years ago in Gangtok, people meekly paid the fine for “public nuisance”, in Rangpo, the people protested and pushed back.
The point being made here is the force is in desperate need to be trained and briefed better. Police wields enormous powers, there was never any doubt of that, and clearly shoulders enormous responsibilities as well; it is thus in its interest, and more so in public interest, for the personnel to be better trained and routinely briefed about their role in society. Closer community participation in the managing of neighbourhood outposts and police stations is perhaps an involvement which can now be taken up formally and at an official level so that the police and public learn to work together instead of, what is increasingly becoming against each other.

Woman loses gold jewelry to conman

GANGTOK, 20 Aug: A case of cheating has been registered at the Sadar Police Station against one Francis of Goa for cheating a lady. As per the FIR lodged by the victim, on 18 August, the accused came to her beauty parlour and told her that he deals in gold jewelries and diamonds and would put diamonds in her jewelries.
Since the accused had been visiting her parlor for the past 3-4 days, the victim handed over her gold jewelries to him on good faith [01 gold necklace, 2½ tola and 01 gold bracelet 1½ tola] after which the accused went missing. Efforts are being made to trace out and arrest the accused. 

Hit & run

GANGTOK, 20 Aug: A 5-year-old girl was hit by a vehicle bearing registration No: SK-03P-0050 near Rakdong School at around 9 am on Tuesday, a Sikkim Police update informs. The vehicle fled from the spot. The victim was evacuated to STNM Hospital, Gangtok for medical attention. A case has been registered at the Sadar Police Station against the driver of the involved vehicle and efforts are being made to trace out the vehicle and arrest the accused.



Child Rights Commission condemns sexual assault on minor, urges civil society to take initiative

GANGTOK, 20 Aug: Sikkim State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has condemned the sexual assault on a minor in South Sikkim as reported in local newspapers.
In a press release, the Commission has said that it is a matter of great concern and urges all members of civil society to be alert and also to take initiatives by reporting such incidents. It has also urged the police to immediately book the perpetrators under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 and immediately take the victims for medical examination without delay with the assistance of social workers under the Child Rights Commission.
SCPCR with the help of the local voluntary organisations will conduct more awareness programs and also provide sensitization programmes for the stake holders in the state on the new law 'Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012, the release states.
The Chairperson, Deekila Bhutia has also requested the Police personnel to take assistance of the State Legal Services Authority in providing legal aid facilities and requested the SLSA to provide relief to the victim under the Sikkim Compensation to Victim or his Dependents Scheme 2011.
The SCPCR has further requested the general public to take the assistance of the Commission by reporting any cases of violence against children at 03592-208217 or 8016881868.

Chamling convenes “frank” discussion with govt officials in West Sikkim

Geyzing, 20 Aug [IPR]:  A coordination meeting was held today in the conference hall of Bhanu Shalik building. The meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and attended by Heads of Departments (HODs), Officials and College and School Heads of West District. At the onset of the program, HoDs and Officials of various departments of West Sikkim placed their personal and departmental grievances before the Chief Minister. DM-West, Aishwarya Singh, welcomed the gathering.
Calling this meeting a platform for “frank and plain discussion”, the Chief Minister said that for the successful governance of the Government, implementation of project works should be carried out properly called upon the bureaucrats and technocrats to shoulder full responsibility and carry out the developmental works.
Reiterating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s acclaim of Sikkim’s Organic Mission on his recent Nepal visit and Prince of England’s letter of appreciation on the same, Mr. Chamling underlined the need for driving the organic mission of the Government towards becoming successful by December 2015 and asked the officials to wholeheartedly contribute and participate in the organic mission program.
He directed the Horticulture and Agriculture Departments to create maximum awareness and sensitize the employees regarding the mission.
Mr Chamling directed the Departmental Heads and District Magistrates (DMs) and officials to complete all the ongoing schemes on priority basis and asked them to put up all requirements without any delay for works needed to complete the ongoing schemes.
Regarding the issue of subletting commercial business, contract works, or trade licenses to outsiders (non Sikkim Subject holders), the CM said that from now onwards this type of practice in Sikkim will be forbidden by the State Government as it has attracted negative feedback from higher central authorities. He stressed that only main proprietor in whose name the license, work or business permit has been issued will be allowed to carry out the business.  
The Chief Minister firmly informed the gathering of the officials that there would be no cancellation on Transfer Orders issued by the Government and that the Government employees have to abide by the same.
Dwelling upon the MR & Work Charge issue of nonpayment of salaries, he informed that the salary payment will be released on 01 October that is only after thorough verification of their documents by the concerned HoDs and only the employees with the genuine documents will be entitled to get the payment on that day.
Mr Chamling also looked into the suggestions and grievances placed earlier in the meeting and assured positive action upon the same. He called for prompt action and efficient management from the bureaucrats and technocrats for the delivery of good outcome in the government administration.
The Chief Minister called for collective responsibility from all the bureaucrats and technocrats of the State Government in making the governance of Sikkim Government transparent, participatory, responsive, effective, efficient, earnest and the best.

BJP-Sikkim to contribute to construction of Statue of Unity in Gujarat

PARTY TO COLLECT USED FARM IMPLEMENTS FROM ACROSS THE STATE
GANGTOK, 20 Aug: At a meeting held here today, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) Sikkim, decided that Sikkim too would contribute towards the construction of the proposed 182 metre tall Statue of Unity, a statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, to be constructed in Gujarat.
A BJP release informs that as per suggestions from the party at the centre it was decided that party cadre would fan out across the state and make appeals to farmers and other rural folk to contribute ploughshare tips and other used iron-made farm implements that would be melted and added to the ores collected from across the nation that would go into the making of the statue.
Among other important points discussed the local BJP unit also thrashed out details and a strategy related to the upcoming bye-election at Yangang-Rangang constituency. A final decision as to the candidate representing the party and other details will be declared only after the green light from the party high command at the centre, the release informs.
The Sikkim BJP will also be undertaking a mass membership drive, in both the urban and rural areas of, in accordance with the instructions of the new BJP president  at the centre Amit Shah. As per the instructions of the centre people all over the country may apply for membership of the BJP through the internet also. This membership, ‘e-membership’ as it has been dubbed will be free of cost. However those attaining membership through the earlier traditional method directly and personally will still have to pay the membership enrolment fee of five rupees.
Other points discussed were the matter of setting up of a state head office at Gangtok, as well as district offices at the district-level. Another important topic discussed was the setting up of office bearers at the district and ward levels.

State Badminton c’ship postponed

GANGTOK, 20 Aug: The 26th Sikkim State Badminton Championship 2014 which was scheduled to be held at Namchi Indoor Gymnasium hall from 28 to 31 August has been postponed, and will now be hosted from 17 to 21 September. A press release from Badminton Association of Sikkim informs that due to unfinished renovation works of Namchi Indoor Badminton hall the tournament had to be postponed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Clicked & Framed

WEEK-LONG PHOTO EXHIBITION INAUGURATED ON WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY DAY

GANGTOK, 19 Aug: To mark World Photography Day, a week-long exhibition-cum-sale of photographs opened today at Hotel Tashi Delek, MG Marg. The exhibition was inaugurated by former Chief Secretary and renowned floriculturist, KC Pradhan. The exhibition this year is dedicated the late Twang Yang, counted among the pioneers of news photography in the State and includes a special section on his works.
The event is being organized by Vichar Kala Sangam and Vivid Kala Akademi Sikkim. Archival photographs from the IPR Department’s collection, including photographs by Twang Yang, and also those by journalists and other photographers of the state are on display at the exhibition.
Addressing the inaugural function this evening, Mr. Pradhan spoke briefly on the life and works of Twang Yang. He stressed that it was important to collect and preserve old photos of Sikkim and encouraged young people to come forward to protect old photographs. This, he added, would be important documents of the state for the coming generation.
Mr Pradhan mentioned that Sikkim has become a haven for photographers with its scenic beauty, natural resources and mountains. He appreciated the efforts of the organizers in putting together such an event.
Earlier, the inaugural function started with the welcome address by the Press Club of Sikkim president, Bhim Dahal where he shared the plan to organize the event every year. The inaugural function was also addressed by Vivid Kala Akademi president, Kiran Rasaily and a member of Vichar Kala Sangam, Rupesh Sharma.

UBI extends financial assistance to five Gor School students

GANGTOK, 19 Aug: On the occasion of the 68th Independence Day celebration, Union Bank of India, Mangan Branch, extended financial assistance to five girls studying between classes VI to X at Gor Government Secondary School, North Sikkim.
A press release informs that Demand Drafts of Rs. 4,000 each were handed over to the selected meritorious girl students belonging to ST, SC, OBC and Minority Community from economically weaker sections. The objective of this initiative is to motivate girl children from these sections to study well and achieve success in life, the release explains.
Chief guest of the day, Panchayat President Chung Chung Lepcha, Principal Gor SS Phuchungla Bhutia and Union Bank of India, Mangan Branch Manager, Gunjan Thapa handed over the Demand Drafts to the beneficiaries.

Sikkim Manipal Swasthya Suraksha Scheme covers 10,000 so far REBYNA RANA

GANGTOK, 19 Aug: The Sikkim Manipal Swasthya Suraksha Scheme has managed to cover 10,000 people in the state since it was launched slightly over six months ago.
The health insurance scheme started in February this year and being an annual scheme, those enrolled are covered till 15 February 2015. This scheme has revealed that there are quite a number of people in the state requiring major surgeries including brain surgery.
In fact, as informed by Sitting Medical Superintendent, CRH, Dr. Sajiba Dutta, the hospital receives up to five patients requiring brain surgery on average each month.
However, it is informed that patients with all kinds of diseases have been visiting the hospital under this scheme.
Since the scheme is a tie up with an insurance company the hospital is required to observe certain conditions and so alcoholism, drug addiction and the like cannot be treated under this scheme.
The maximum limit covered under the scheme is Rs. 1.50 lakh. Expenses beyond this limit are to be borne by the individual. Interestingly, it is informed that all the cases of brain surgery treated by the hospital were done free of cost.
The highest number of subscribers to this health initiative of Sikkim Manipal comes from the East District followed by South, West and North districts respectively.
Marketing Manager, CRH, Bunty Agarwal, accompanied by Executive Marketing, Arpan Chhetri, have been supervising this scheme since its initiation. They inform that they intend to cover all the four districts through awareness campaigns and have also been engaging in village sensitization programmes. They now expect to enroll more numbers into the MSS Scheme on the field itself.  They have also expressed their gratitude to the concerned people for having enrolled themselves to the scheme.  
The amount to be paid for subscribing to the scheme is Rs. 500 for an individual and Rs. 800 for a family.