Friday, January 9, 2015

Search for missing trekker called off

GANGTOK, 09 Jan: The 14-day hunt for the 23-year-old missing trekker, Biswadeeep Sarkar, a student from Kolkata who went missing from Bhakhim Forest along the Dzongri-Goechala trekking trail on 27 December has been called off. The 30-member search and rescue team deployed on 09 January returned to Yoksum this morning without any information on the missing youth. 
The search and rescue team included members from the Forest department, the West district administration, police personnel, locals from the area that included porters, guides and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) team. Even after extensive combing operations in the area they could not find a single trace of the missing trekker.

Transferred teachers will surrender voter cards if fresh deadline also ignored: STA

GANGTOK, 09 Jan: Sikkim Teachers' Association has given a new deadline to the State government to roll back the recent transfer of teachers failing which the transferred teachers would surrender their voter cards and stay away from any election held in the State until their retirement. The teachers have asked the state government to roll back the transfer of 1063 teachers by 17 January otherwise they will surrender their voter cards to the State Election Commission starting from 19 January and not cast their votes in any of the elections to come until their demands are met.
This was decided in a meeting held today after the earlier deadline given to the state government lapsed on 08 January and the subsequent meeting with the HRD Secretary did not bear any fruit.

SKM challenges renaming of road in West Sikkim

GANGTOK, 09 Jan: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha party has accused the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front of indulging in “petty politics” by renaming the Chakung-Kamling-Khanisherbung road in the name of the Late Arun Rai, an SDF party worker killed in a political clash last year. The road had earlier been named after former Chief Minister, BB Gooroong in 2003.

NHPC officials directed to appear before district admn on 11 Jan on dam water release issue

GANGTOK, 09 Jan: The East district administration has issued a fresh notice and directive to power projects which are in operation in East Sikkim on 08 January after a funeral pyre was swept away on 06 January at Singtam when the Teesta Stage V hydel power project being developed by NHPC released dam water without proper warning. The East district administration had earlier issued directives and safety measures to be followed by power projects last year in June. 

Uncertainty over North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy worries hospitality sector

The uncertainty over continuation of North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP) 2007 is to hit the growth of tourism industry in North East, the Hotel & Restaurant Association of Eastern India (HRAEI) fears and argues that suspension of incentives available under NEIIPP will not only adversely impact industrial growth of North East, but will also prove a major setback towards integrating North East into the mainstream national economy.

There is Pranesh as well aiming for motorsport glory, astride a motorbike!

GANGTOK, 09 Jan: Pranesh Dahal from Ranipool too, like Chewang Lama of Gangtok [click here for story], is smitten by the racetrack, and unlike previous generations which watched and maybe betted, Pranesh too is more keen on closer contact with the tarmac. Following the blogpost on Chewang, Pranesh shared an update on his racing prospects as well.
“As I came across Chewang Lama post in the journey of motorsport it made me immensely happy to have someone who took up the career in motorsport,” he shares.
Pranesh has been racing motorcycles since 2013 after training at Apex Racing India in the Kari Motor Speedway of Coimbatore.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Gurkha’s Daughter to arrive soon as Gorkha-ki Chori

Prajwal Parajuly’s international bestseller’s Nepali translation to be published by Publication Nepalaya

GANGTOK, 08 Jan: Prajwal Parajuly’s debut publication, “The Gurkha’s Daughter”, a collection of short-stories published in the year 2012 to much critical acclaim, will soon be available to readers in Nepali. The book, translated as “Gorkha-ki Chori”, is scheduled to be released next week by Publication Nepalaya, a respected publishing house based in Kathmandu. The book has been translated by BC Sharma and Sarala Bhattarai, Prajwal’s parents.
A Publication Nepalaya press communiqué conveys Prajwal’s delight over the development. He is quoted as saying that the The Gurkha’s Daughter was well received by a wide international readership. “I am happy that now, as Gorkha-ki Chori, these stories will reach readers in their own language,” he is quoted as saying.

Fauji hospitality for stranded tourists

The 239 tourists stranded on the night of 07 January at 17 Mile [between Tsomgo and Gangtok] were treated to some army hospitality. The Black Cat Division of the Indian Army rescued the 37 vehicles carrying 239 tourists as they were stranded on the JN Marg at 10,350 ft, their return to Gangtok cut off by heavy snowfall along the road. The tourists were rescued and accommodated in Army accommodation with centralized heating for the night, an army press communiqué informs. Food, bedding, blankets and medical aid, was provided to make them comfortable during the short stay.
[fotos courtesy Black Cat Division]

Cardamom fetches Rs. 67,500 per maund in Siliguri market!

The large cardamom plantations might be in decline in Sikkim, but the prices are on a steep incline

Large Cardamom
Name of the markets
Badadana (/kg.)
Chotadana (/kg.)
Badadaba (/ maund)
Chotadana  (/ maund)

(Price - /kg.)
 Assistant Director

Assessment camps to screen different-abled persons


Sikkim Vikalang Sahayata Samity is conducting assessment camps for screening and identifying the differently abled persons of all ages in collaboration with Sarva Shikhsha Aviyan, HRDD, Govt. of Sikkim, as per the disabilities mentioned hereunder:
Blind; Low Vision; Hearing impairment; Speech impairment; Orthopedic Impairment; Mental Retardation; Cerebral palsy; Autism; Multiple Disability
Children categorized as CHILD WITH SPECIAL NEEDS of age group 06-14 years, will be provided special attention.
The SVSS request all the members of General public, Panchayats, Educational institutions, civil society, media and all other concerned people to cooperate and extend maximum help to inform and ensure their attendance at the various camps to be held in PHC’s all over Sikkim as per the scheduled available with the concerned PHC.
The assessment camps will commence with immediate effect.

Gangtok’s Anil Kr Yadav enters Golden Book of World Records with degrees from 11 Univs!

Anil Kr Yadav
GANGTOK, 08 Jan: Anil Kumar Yadav, an alumnus of St. Xavier’s School, Pakyong, and Sikkim Government College, Tadong, has elevated the passion for learning to a whole new level and has studied his way to securing 17 Post Graduate and Graduate degrees from 11 Universities. He also boasts of another around 34 PG diplomas, diplomas and certificates! The latest recognition earned for his feat is inclusion in the Golden Book of World Records which issued a Certificate of Excellence to Mr Yadav on 08 January recording him as a Record holder “Post Gradute Degrees Earned from Largest Number of Universities”.

Sikkim’s Chewang Lama races in as a motorsport prospect

GANGTOK, 08 Jan [HMN]: Sikkim’s Chewang Lama has been selected by Buddh International Circuit [BIC] to undergo training in car racing in New Delhi. If the training goes well, Chewang could be selected for this year’s Polo-R Cup tournament. He is already in touch with  the organizers, Volkswagen Motorsport,  for the tourney and the response is “overwhelming”, says Chewang, son of Udai Lama and Rahna Rai of Gangtok and an alumnus of Tashi Namgyal Academy.

Tourists snowed in at 17 Mile

GANGTOK, 08 Jan: Quick response by Sikkim Police and fluid coordination on site ensured that the around 270 tourists stranded on the wrong side of 17 Mile [while returning from Tsomgo and Nathula] were not inconvenienced beyond what was unavoidable last night. The East district Administration headed by SP East, DB Giri, helped by the Border Roads Organisation and Army units stationed along the JN Marg [to Nathula], rescued all the stranded tourists and found them accommodation at facilities available in the area. The tourists were stranded at 17 Mile last evening when heavy snowfall made the road back to Gangtok unmotorable. The tourists were returning from sightseeing tours to Baba Mandir and Tsomgo, informs Sabitra Pradhan, Police Inspector posted in the 17th Checkpost.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Need to discuss ideology more than personalities in Sikkim Politics

Sikkim joined the world’s largest democracy nearly four decades ago, but political engagement here is clearly yet to mature to a level where political thought and ideology become talking points among the lay citizens. The real aspirations of the young and the expectations of the masses are still addressed piecemeal and offered mostly short-term solutions; political debate remains limited to leader/ party-affiliated stands and does not engage at an ideological level. Politics in Sikkim, everyone will agree, is not influenced by political thought or theory, and is instead dictated by situational and personal exigencies. Poll performances and political relevance continue to be decided by personalities and not ideology. This is unfortunate because while individual brilliance is necessary for a politician, for politics to mature, the political space requires ideology-driven discussions and positions, not priorities dictated by personality cults. We, in Sikkim, are lagging behind in evolution of clear political concepts.

Taran secures boxing bronze at national rural sports meet

SINGTAM, 07 Jan: Taran Pradhan from Bardang near here won a bronze medal in boxing [56 kg weight category] at the National Rural Sports Competition Group V held in Indore, Madhya Pradesh from 27 to 30 December.
Taran has thanked Pritam Shilal, his boxing coach for his triumph. He further thanked the state government for providing him a platform and opportunity to showcase his skills. Taran was among the ten boxers from Sikkim selected to represent the State. Sikkim boxers went on to win three bronze medals in the competition. The other bronze medalists from Sikkim were Kalpana Subba from Mangshila and Mausam Rai from Namchi. There were six boys and four girls in the boxing team from Sikkim.

International Flower Fest coming up in Spring

GANGTOK, 07 Jan: The State Government is in the process of organizing the 4th International Horticulture and Flower Exhibition in April-May later this year. As per officials in the Agriculture Department, this installment of the event is being planned on an even larger scale than past years.
The Sikkim government organizes a National and International flower show cum exhibition on alternate years and with the national-level event hosted at Saramsa Garden last year, it is time for an international exhibition this spring. The state government is expected to invite participants from more than 12 countries to the show and related events which seek to promote Sikkim’s natural wealth of horticulture produce, Cymbidium Orchids and other flowers, all of which are now grown organically here.

One arrested with dynamite

GANGTOK, 07 Jan: Sikkim Police arrested one Lop Rai, also known as Kumar Rai, a 40-year-old resident of Bhutia basti, Darjeeling, at Jorethang with explosives on 06 January.
Police sources inform that they were alerted to the accused when he was “creating nuisance” at Jorethang Bazar and when accosted and searched, two sticks of Gelatine (measuring 40mm x 300mm) of Indian Limited Explosives, Gomia 829112 BP and Power Gel/ Dorica 801 explosive substances were recovered from his possession. He did not have any documents to explain the contraband.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Investigative Journalism award for Anita Niroula, Sikkim Express editor felicitated for responsible reporting on suicides and addiction

GANGTOK, 06 Jan: The first late Shova Rai [Bardewa] Investigative Journalism Award was conferred today on Anita Niroula [News Editor, All India Radio, Gangtok] for her recently published book, “Black and White: Sikkim Ma Sangitkar Haru”. The award has been instituted by the Gangtok-based Himalchuli Group of Tourism Industries [HGTI].
The awards function was presided over by CD Rai [Advisor, Press Club of Sikkim] as chief guest and was attended by local dignitaries and members of the press and media fraternity. Amit Patro [Editor, Sikkim Express] was also felicitated for addressing the issue of suicides and highlighting drug-related stories in his daily published from Gangtok.

Schools close, SDF and SKM open debate on teacher transfers

GANGTOK, 06 Jan: Sikkim Democratic Front party has reiterated that the state government has made its stand and the objective behind the teacher transfers clear and that the opposition is only trying to politicize the issue to serve its selfish interests. The SKM, meanwhile, has rejected the SDF explanation as illogical and unacceptable.

Electoral Rolls published, nearly 7K new voters since last election

GANGTOK, 06 Jan: The Electoral Rolls of all the 32 Assembly Constituencies of Sikkim were published on 05 January by the respective District Collectors, who are also ex officio District Electoral Registration Officers, an official press communiqué informs.

A New Year begins! Yay! Yay?

So you partied, got sloshed, stoned, hung over and inside out to usher in the new year and thanks to you the new year has made itself very comfortable here. Yes, so comfortable that it hardly feels like a new year! It feels like we’ve known each other for ages! [It already knows that people have to work for a living and that traffic jams make this town come to life. Grrrr!]. On New Year’s Eve begins the tale of everlasting hope when one casts off all negative experiences of the past year and hopes to carry forward all the positive ones to the coming year. Or so you would like to think. In reality, this is how every New Year rolls...

Children & the City

As usual, the enormously long winter break of the children is upon us. Some of the parents residing in urban clusters have sent the children off to their native villages to enjoy the vacations. But not everyone enjoys the luxury of having a home in the basti as well, and those who are not as lucky see their children cramped for space. Rented quarters and concrete jumbles make enormous demands on the creativity of children [and their parents] to find place to play.
Most of such children can be seen either playing marbles in the corners or playing cricket on the streets – at least on stretches such as ICAR-Lingding, Byepass-Ranka, Ranipool-Adampool roads where traffic is low and vehicles in less of a dangerously tearing hurry [thanks to the poor condition of the roads]. Kids who don’t have too many children of their own age in the neighbourhood can be seen either playing alone [as seen the picture] or spending all their waking hours watching cartoons on TV. The travails of living in the city never end!

Green, Clean and Organic Sikkim theme for Maghe Mela at Jorethang

GANGTOK, 06 Jan [IPR]: Maghe Mela committee 2015 has decided to showcase the organic potential of Sikkim at the Jorethang Maghe Mela celebrations scheduled to begin on 14 January. Zero waste management and traditional flavor will be aligned to attract visitors to the Organic Sikkim theme of Maghe Mela 2015. In this regard a coordination meeting of the committee with the stakeholders was held at the conference hall of Soochna Bhawan under the chairmanship of Minister for Rural Management and Development Department SB Subedi today.

More personnel deployed to search for missing trekker

GANGTOK, 06 Jan: The Sashastra Seema Bal [SSB] late last evening deployed nine more jawans to the already existing team of six SSB personnel undertaking the search operation for the student from Kolkata who went missing on 27 December from the Bakhim Forest area while on the Yuksam-Goechala trek in West Sikkim. [click here for yesterday’s newreport]

Time to bank your LPG subsidy

…or risk paying double

GANGTOK, 06 Jan: Cash Transfer Compliant LPG consumers of Sikkim registered under PAHAL-Direct Benefits Transfer for LPG (DBTL) Consumers Scheme will now have to purchase their refills from their respective distributors at Rs. 935 per cylinder. The subsidy due to them for the LPG will then be directly deposited into the bank account registered by them with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. At present, domestic LPG cylinders enjoy a subsidy of Rs. 475, and this amount will be deposited directly into the concerned bank account within three days, officials inform.
This new system came into effect from 01 January 2015 onwards.

Employment Notice

Army School, Gangtok, requires teachers Click Here for Details

Monday, January 5, 2015

Protesting EIILM students agree to sit for exams: HRDD

Department gets through to acting VC, receives assurance

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: The protesting students of EIILM University have agreed to sit for the remaining papers of their examination, a press communiqué received from the Nodal Officer for Public Relations & Publicity at the Human Resource Development Department informs. This was resolved following a meeting chaired by the HRD Minister with the students in his office here today.
The Principal Secretary, HRDD, spoke to the acting Vice Chancellor of the university RP Sharma over the phone and in return, the acting VC assured that the university will conduct the examinations for the remaining papers within a very short period, the press release informs.

SDF membership drive in East district soon

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front has announced plans to launch a membership drive and renew party cadre memberships from 22 January onwards at the village and ward levels for East district. The decision was taken at a district committee meeting held at the party head-office here at Indira Bye-Pass chaired by the party’s East District president, DB Thapa.

Minister reassures EIILM Univ’s protesting students

HRDD CONVENES MEETING WITH EIILM STUDENTS AND FACULTY IN FRESH MOVE TO BREAK IMPASSEGANGTOK, 05 Jan: The Human Resource Development Department convened a meeting today with the agitating students and faculty members of the Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management [EIILM] here at Gangtok this afternoon. The main intent behind the meeting was to figure out a solution to the ongoing impasse at EIILM where students have been on a protest strike for 13 days now. Examinations at the university began on 19 December, 2014, but the students went on strike on 24 December, since when exams have been suspended. Even as the students protest, the government mediates and the faculty complain, the senior officials of the university remain incommunicado. Today’s meeting was chaired by the HRD Minister, RB Subba, who advised the students to take their exams while the Department tries to resolve the matter. 

Hunt continues for missing trekker even as hope fades

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: It is nine days now since a student from Kolkata went missing from the Dzongri-Goechala trekking trail at the Bakhim forest. Given the difficult terrain and the extreme weather conditions, hope for good news has all but faded in this instance. That said, the search & rescue operations continue, with the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) deploying a search party this morning to Dzongri, West Sikkim. This, the SSB officials hint, could be the ‘final push’ for the search and rescue operation.
23-year-old Biswadeep Sarkar who originally hails from Jharkhand went missing on 27 December and has still not been found even after rigorous search operations launched by the West district Police, locals of the area and forest department personnel.

Govt notifies road names in memory of SDF Martyrs

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: The State government has renamed and notified the Chakung to Khaniserbong Kamling Road, KM 1st to 12th in West Sikkim, as Late Arun Rai Marg. The late Arun Rai was an SDF worker who was killed in a political clash in the run up to the assembly elections last year. The Cabinet had cleared the proposal some months ago and the notification to this effect was passed on 13 December last month.

Mallika Subba appointed Khadi Board chairperson

GANGTOK, 05 Jan: The State Government constituted an 11-member Sikkim Khadi & Village Industries Board on 10 December 2014 with Mallika Subba as Chairperson. The Board also has SK Gurung [former Secretary, Government of Sikkim], KK Kafley [former Special Secretary, Government of Sikkim], Khus Kumari Subba [former Director, Government of Sikkim] and Kagey Lepcha [former Additional Secretary, Government of Sikkim] as Non-Official members. The new body supersedes the Board constituted in November 2009.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Unbridging in progress!

A visit to Singtam presents the rare treat of watching a bridge being dismantled. The suspension bridge spanning the Teesta [from Singtam to Aadarsh Gaon on the opposite bank], has been in the process of being dismantled for the past week. This has been made possible due to the new concrete bridge alongside. A walk along the new bridge provides one with a close up view of how a suspension bridge is taken apart. The suspension bridge was built in 1980 and extends an impressive 66 metres across the Teesta. [ANAND OBEROI]

SKM leaders meet, appoint KP Adhikari as party convenor

GANGTOK, 04 Jan: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha convened a party meeting today and resolved to begin preparing for the urban local body elections scheduled for later this year and also begin work in earnest to reorganize the party and elect office bearers. The party, it may be recalled, had dissolved all its committees and units and nominated the Upper Burtuk MLA PS Tamang [Golay] to continue as party president. Today’s meeting resolved to strengthen the party for the ULB elections through a membership drive and also appointed KP Adhikari as convenor to look after party affairs, an SKM pres release informs. He will be assisted by a 14-member committee which includes former MP PT Gyamtso, TN Dhakal, Phuchung Bhutia and Taraman Rai as advisors. The party MLAs will be members of this advisory committee.

Sikkim Univ team studies peace building process in Sri Lanka

GANGTOK, 04 Jan: A six-member team of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies and Management (PCSM), Sikkim University, completed a successful study tour (16 to 31 December 2014) of conflict-affected areas of Sri Lanka. The undertaking was sponsored by the India-Sri Lanka Foundation and was supported by the Sikkim University, Gangtok.

GMC seeks more time to prep for highway care

GANGTOK, 04 Jan: The transfer of maintenance and upgradation responsibilities along the 16 km stretch of National Highway 10 [the erstwhile NH 31A] from Ranipool to Tashi View Point from the Border Roads Organisation [BRO] to the Gangtok Municipal Corporation [GMC] might take another two years.

AE’s and above are now authorized valuers for Vigilance cases

GANGTOK, 04 Jan: The State Government has designated engineers in the rank of Assistant Engineers and above [serving under the Government of Sikkim] as Government Authorised Valuers for the purpose of carrying out valuation of assets (including roads, buildings, structures, plant and machinery etc.), covering components of civil, electrical mechanical and other technical nature, during enquiry and investigation of the cases of Sikkim Vigilance Police.

SKM leaders to meet today for party reorganisation

GANGTOK, 04 Jan: Sikkim Krantikari Morcha party members will be meeting at the party HQ here at Tibet Road today, reportedly to reorganize the party and staff its various cells and posts. Interestingly, the party president, Upper Burtuk MLA PS Tamang [Golay] is unlikely to be in attendance.

Fire consumes home in Tingkyung

MANGAN, 04 Jan: A wooden house belonging to Khamtuk Lepcha of Tingkyung Basti under Hee-Gyathang GPU of Lower Dzongu North Sikkim was gutted by fire on the night of 02 January at around 10 pm. No one was home at the time and nothing could be salvaged from the blaze since by the time it was noticed, it was already too late. North Zilla Adhakshya Anguli Lepcha called on the disaster struck family the next day and handed over essential commodities to tide over the immediate loss.  The Dzongu SDM, Tshering Dorjee Bhutia, also visited the spot and took stock of the damage.

Worker killed in hydel project site mishap

DIKCHU, 04 Jan: A 27-year-old resident of Tikjek in West Sikkim, employed with Drillcon Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, a sub-contractor for Sneha Kinetic Pvt Ltd, at the Dikchu hydroelectric project site in Lungchok, North Sikkim, was killed in a worksite accident on 02 January. Indra Bahadur Chettri died on the spot when a boulder crashed down on the site he was working at while 28 year old Bharat Deuva was grievously injured. He is currently undergoing treatment at the Central Referral Hospital in Gangtok. The incident occurred at around 4:30 p.m. on 02 January. The deceased was working in a tunnel on a winch machine at the surge shaft area, it is informed.