Saturday, January 17, 2015

Development will be the one and only agenda: CM

All other issues which hinder growth to be left aside, Chamling informs meeting with Panchayats and urban body reps

GANGTOK, 17 Jan [IPR]: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling addressed the state-level meeting of panchayats and representatives of urban local bodies here at Manan Kendra today. The meeting, which saw a huge turnout of public representatives and senior government officers, focused primarily on the role of panchayats in spearheading the implementation of ongoing programmes and policies of the Government at the grass root level. “Development will be the one and only agenda of the Government. All other issues which hinder growth will be left aside,” stated the Chief Minister.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Status: Unemployed

“Kay chaina, ek din regular huncha hola ni,” is what an elderly relative once said on learning that I work with a local newspaper. And that pretty much sums up what employment has come to mean in our state. The prized and ever elusive “regular” “government” job is employment and everything else is...err...coca cola, campa cola, coco cola? You choose.
The struggle to get a regular job is something every soul here understands, and sympathy, coupled with never-say-die encouragements, flow freely. A friend once related an incident about this time she had gone to renew her unemployment card at the concerned office.

Four airlifted to medical aid from snowbound Muguthang

GANGTOK, 16 Jan [IPR]: According to a report received from Sub Divisional Magistrate, Chungthang Sub Division, North Sikkim, Muguthang village, located under Lachen Dzumsa in the cold desert area of North District, was rendered inaccessible due to heavy snowfall in the second week of January, 2015. Upon being informed by the people of Muguthang [through the land line at the area 13th Battalion Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Post] of four sick civilians who needed immediate evacuation, the Chungthang SDM immediately brought the matter to the notice of District Collector, North.

Sikkim students at Asian Rotary Youth Conference

GANGTOK, 16 Jan: Interactors from Paljor Namgyal Girls’ school and Enchey Sr Sec school along with Rotarians from Rotary Club of Gangtok-South attended the “First Actasia – 2014” ( First Asian Rotary Youth Conference and South Asian Rotary Festival) held at Khulna Bangladesh from 19-22 December 2014. The students and the Rotarians represented Rotary District- 3240.

Aita Raj Subba will march for Sikkim in R-Day parade

GANGTOK, 16 Jan: Aita Raj Subba, a class IX student and NCC Cadet of Biraspati Parsai Senior Secondary School, Ranipool has been selected to represent Sikkim in the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi this year. He is being escorted by Nima Tshering Bhutia, ANO, NCC of BPSSS [alongside Aitaraj in accompanying photograph], who informs that Aitaraj is the only NCC Cadet from a government school in Sikkim selected to represent the State in the Republic Day Parade.

Refresher course begins for frontline foresters

GANGTOK, 16 Jan: A two-week general refresher course for the front-line staff of the Forest Department started today here at the Forest Department conference hall. The refresher course is being organised by Working Plan Circle of Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department and sponsored by Directorate of Forest Education of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter sports camp a hit with kids and parents in Namchi

NAMCHI, 15 Jan: Winter Sports Coaching cum Children and Adolescent Development Programme being undertaken here by the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs is proving a hit with children with enrollments going up every day and having reached a handsome 285 children as on the tenth day of the camp on Thursday. The Department’s South district office had started this camp looking to engage children during their winter holidays in sports, adventure courses and recreational programmes. The camp had begun on 05 January with 247 children. The number now stands at 285.

Faujis salute their martyrs on Army Day

GANGTOK, 15 Jan: Black Cat Division at Gangtok joined the rest of the country in celebrating the 67th Army Day on 15 January. The day is celebrated to pay homage to brave Indian soldiers, who sacrificed their lives for protecting the country. 
On the occasion, General Officer Commanding Black Cat Division, Major General YVK Mohan, laid a wreath at Sherathang War Memorial on behalf of all ranks of the Division, informs a press release. 

Strength-lifters all set for national c'ship

GANGTOK, 15 Jan: A nine-member Sikkim Strength Lifting Association will be participating in the 22th edition of Junior, Sub Junior, Senior & Master Federation Cup National Strength Lifting Championship 2014-15 to be held at Guru Ravi Das Gurudwara Ground, Phagwara in Punjab from 23 to 26 January. The state team comprises of Karma Lhamu Bhutia, Leena Chettri, Karishma Subba and Manisha Tiwari in women’s category, while the men’s team has Pema Dorji Bhutia, Dhan Bahadur Tamang, Devendra Basnet, Ram Dhoj Rai and Damber Bahadur Rai.

Jorethang Maghey Mela Day-02

JORETHANG, 15 Jan: The second day of the Jorethang Maghe Sankranti Mela 2015 was marked by an array of cultural programs and events. Speaker KN Rai was present as the chief guest on the second day.  Speaking on the occasion, chief guest, KN Rai termed the mela as a cultural nucleus for people of all castes, creeds, faiths and social orders in Sikkim and urged the youth to give prominence to preserving this traditional mela. The three-day Jorethang Maghey Mela will conclude on 16 January.
[from an IPR press release]

CM underlines govt’s locals-first commitment, reiterates firm stand on teacher transfer row

Chamling inaugurates Jorethang Maghey Mela

JORETHANG, 15 Jan: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling inaugurated the State’s biggest Makar Sankranti fair, the Jorethang Maghey Mela 2015, here on 14 Jan, Wednesday. The fair has been organized thos year to showcase Sikkim’s organic farming potential, its pursuit of zero waste and is flavoured with the tradition and culture of the ethnic communities of the State. Also in attendance for the inaugural event this year was member North East Council, MP Bezbaruah, Speaker KN Rai, Ministers, MLAs, Chairpersons, Officers and foreign delegates.

BJP petitions Governor against Govt’s attitude towards employees

GANGTOK, 15 Jan: The Sikkim-unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party has petitioned the Governor, seeking his intervention in addressing what the BJP sees as “unconstitutional moves” of the State Government against government employees. In a memorandum through its Sikkim-unit president Palden Wangchuk Khangsarpa, the BJP has is “demanding immediate action against recent unconstitutional moves taken by the state Government”.

Teachers should welcome, not protest transfers

a ViewPoint by SANTOSH SUBBA on the teachers transfer row

A recent order for transfers of teachers has given rise to an unwarranted protest by some teachers in the garb of Sikkim Teachers Association or STA. They seem to have misunderstood the words “service” and “servant”. They are to render their service to the people irrespective of whether they are comfortable with the time and place where they are to render their service. Freedom for choice of place of work is available only in business and in entrepreneurship and for this, they must stop being a government servant and start a business, for, so long as they are government servants, they have to abide by all the rules laid down for government servants, transfer being one. The salary that they draw from the public exchequer every month is not for their comfort but for the service they have to render to the people.

Central Provident Fund Asst Commissioner visits Sikkim, verifies EPF Act implementation

GANGTOK, 15 Jan: The Additional Central Provident Fund Commissioner [WB,JH,NER], V Vijayakumar of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation, was on a Sikkim visit from 04 to 08 January 2015 to verify the implementation of Employees Provident fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. He was accompanied by SB Sinha [Regional Provident Fund Commissioner - I, RO Jalpaiguri], SK Gupta [Regional Provident Fund Commissioner - HRO, Jalpaiguri], KN Tenzing [Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner, SRO Siliguri], TP Niroula [Enforcement Officer, SRO Siliguri] and A Sarkar [Enforcement Officer, SRO Siliguri].

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Chinlop Orphanage brings new hope for the underprivileged

Offering hope for a better tomorrow to children who have nowhere else to go is Chinlop Orphanage at Bojoghari in East Sikkim. The dream and vision of Sonam Chuki Lepcha, the orphanage was formally inaugurated by Burtuk Councilor, Lok Bahadur Bhujel on Sunday [04 January 2015].
At present, there are five children in the orphanage which is being managed by a 7-member committee headed by Ms Lepcha as the president. The youngest child at the home is 6 years old and the oldest is 14. These children will be pursuing their education from Bojoghari Government School.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CM to be felicitated at Jorethang Maghey Mela

GANGTOK, 13 Jan: A host of organisations representing different communities of the state will be jointly felicitating Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on 14 January at Jorethang Maghey Mela in South Sikkim. Sources further inform that a memorandum is also expected to be submitted to the Chief Minister seeking early establishment of a Regional Institute for Development of Regional Languages in Sikkim to promote the study and conservation of ethnic languages of the state.

Rickshaw rides at Dev Area’s Red Panda Fest

GANGTOK, 13 Jan: The 'Red Panda Fest 2015' [from 10 to 25 Jan] organised by Sikkim Royal Sports Academy, Development Area, is underway at TNSS School here. The fest is a curtain raiser for TNSS School’s Golden Jubilee celebrations to be held this year. Highlights of the fest are the two cycle rickshaws brought by the organizers for the fest which offer people fun rides from Sangram Hall up to TNSS School for Rs 50. It is informed that the funds collected from the festival will be used for the maintenance of the TNSS school ground. [pics courtesy JOSEPH LEPCHA]

CM inaugurates SAATO convention on NE tourism promotion

NAMCHI, 13 Jan [IPR]: The 6th state-level Sikkim Association of Adventure Tour Operators Convention themed ‘Joining Hands Regionally and Promoting North East Tourism Globally’ was inaugurated by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling here at the Community Hall today. The convention, held with support from Tourism Department, hoteliers and transport operators of Sikkim, was attended by Speaker KN Rai, Cabinet Ministers, NEC Member MP Bezboruah, Regional Director Guwahati Sanjay Shrivat, Advisor NEC Gautam Chintey, Secretary Tourism C. Zangpo, officials from the central and the state government, tourism stakeholders from Germany, France, Nepal, Bhutan and North Eastern States.

Bishal Mukhia’s Paari Himal video eyes Maghey Mela release

NAMCHI, 13 Jan: Singer Bishal Mukhia of Jorethang is all set to release the music video of his song 'Paari Himal' at the Jorethang Maghey Mela. The Maghey Mela date is also significant because in the past, Mr Mukhia has [in 2006] also released a song titled “Jorethang ko Mela ma”. 
With lyrics by Bhasker Pradhan from Darjeeling, the song has been composed by Adrian Williams Lama of Namchi with music by Gopal Rasaily of Kathmandu. The music video has been directed by Mandira Chettri of Maark Productions, a director who has established her credentials for slick productions.

Union Agri Minister to visit Sikkim

GANGTOK, 13 Jan: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh is scheduled to visit Sikkim from 29-31 January and is expected to address a function at the Central Agriculture College at Ranipool on 29 January.
During his three-day visit to Sikkim, the Union Minister is expected to visit ICAR and organic farming units in and around Gangtok. This will be his first visit to Sikkim since he assumed the charge of Union Agriculture Minister in May 2014.

Van to spread Zero Waste message at Jorethang Maghey Mela

GANGTOK, 13 Jan: As part of the endeavour to observe the 2015 Jorethang Maghey Mela as a Zero Waste Event, the State Institute of Rural Development in collaboration with the State Institute of Capacity Building and Zero Waste Himalayas is deploying an IEC Van from 12 – 14 January, 2015. This van would be continuously travelling in and around Jorethang and surrounding areas playing specially recorded messages and jingles regarding Zero Waste, informs a press release.

CBSE revises Class XII exam schedule to avoid clash with Online JEE mains

KOLKATA, 13 January [PIB]: The Central Board of Secondary Education has issued a corrigendum regarding the revised dates of examination in a few subjects in case of Class XII Examination 2015 as a result of Online JEE (Main) Examinations which are scheduled for 10 and 11 April 2015. Accordingly those subjects of Class XII examination scheduled earlier for 10 April will now be held on 18 April and those of 11 April will take place on 20 April. Details of examination schedule are available on

Daily wage hiked by 10%

GANGTOK, 13 Jan: The Labour Department has notified a hike in daily wages for labourers/ workers in the State. The new wages come into effect from 01 November 2014 onwards. As per Gazette Notification No. 459 dated 06 November 2014, the daily wage for un-skilled labourer has been hiked from Rs 200 to Rs 220, semi-skilled from Rs. 220 to Rs. 242, Skilled from Rs. 250 to Rs. 275 and Highly-skilled from Rs. 290 to Rs. 319. The overall hiked saw 10% increased in all category wages.
The last hike in wages was undertaken in April 2013.

Tarul, anyone?

Grand display of Sankranti shopping options at Lall Bazaar, Gangtok [fotos Sagar Chhetri]

Centre okays 3-month service extension for CS

GANGTOK, 12 Jan: The Union Ministry of Department of Personnel has extended the service of Chief Secretary Rinchen Ongmu, a 1979 batch IAS officer, by three months after she retires on 31 January 2015 upon attaining age of superannuation. As things stand, Ms. Ongmu will be in office as the CS at least till end-April, completing a tenure of two years in highest administrative post in the State. She had taken charge as Chief Secretary to the Government of Sikkim on 01 March 2013. Apart from being the first lady Chief Secretary of Sikkim, Ms. Ongmu is also the first Sikkimese to clear the UPSC exams and join the Indian Administrative Service. Ms. Ongmu’s service extension is on the request of the State Government.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ong Tshering to captain young Sikkim squad to Santosh Trophy zonal

GANGTOK, 12 Jan: A 20-member squad is all set to represent Sikkim in the zonal round of the Senior National Football Tournament for Santosh Trophy to be held at Jamshedpur in Jharkhand. This time, the state team is primarily featuring young footballers playing for the first time in this prestigious tournament. This young squad will be backed by few experienced footballers of the state. The team is being led by experienced mid-fielder, Ong Tshering Lepcha as captain.
The team members are:

Caves for rent in the urban jungle!

It is a fact that urban areas, with their substantially more employment opportunities, choice of schools and colleges, better medical facilities, easier access to administrative centres etc., attract a high number of migrants from the rural parts of the State. While the aspiration to live in the “city” must have always been there, the past few decades, when “development” and disposable incomes spread comparatively wider in Sikkim, and also when more opportunities opened up, have seen an explosion in the number of people settling in Gangtok. Sample this, the Gangtok Municipal Corporation area is estimated to have a population of nearly 2 lakh, that is close to 30% of Sikkim’s population of a little over 6 lakh. [accompanying video at the end of the column provides a virtual walk through a sample tenement which sees no natural light even during daytime]

Labour Bureau data on unemployment in Sikkim is flawed: SDF

Party wants Govt to undertake comprehensive employment-unemployment census to settle matter   

GANGTOK, 12 Jan: The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front has argued that the Labour Bureau data which has posted Sikkim as the State with the highest rate of unemployment in the country was flawed and self-contradictory. As such, the party has called on the Government to take cognizance of what the party has explained as “anomalies” in the Labour Bureau report and include a full-fledged comprehensive employment-unemployment survey in the next State Socio-Economic Census due to be conducted. Such a comprehensive survey, the party believes, “will settle this matter which otherwise is misleading”. SDF spokesperson, the Lok Sabha MP PD Rai, issued a detailed press release today explain the issue; it is reproduced below:

The Sikkim of 2014

Of course, there were more events which made headlines in 2014, but when it came to selecting Five which will be remembered much after the year has passed, we narrowed things down to these…

Elections 2014; College Students Protest; Service Regularisation; Rhenock Fire; Sexual Assault of Minors
Elections 2014The year 2014 was an election year, and the contest was expected to be keen and intense, and the campaigning, voting and results lived up to this billing. The politicking was also unprecedentedly violent, with West and South districts especially volatile and given to frequent breakdowns of law and order.

Maghey Sankranti greetings from CM

GANGTOK, 12 Jan [IPR]: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and Smt Tika Maya Chamling have extended warm greetings and best wishes to the people of Sikkim on the auspicious and meritorious occasion of Makar Sankranti.

Khabzeys and Jero, made to order

The Khabzey Kitchen in Daragaon and the Jero stall at Sajong
Khabzey and Jero are traditional snacks of the hill communities, especially popular among the Buddhists and looked forward to during festivals like Losoong, Namsoong, Tamu Lochar and the approaching Loasar festivities. Of course, these treats are also laid out during special occasions like weddings, and have now become popular among other communities as well.
In earlier times, family members would gather to prepare these food items especially whenever the occasion demanded. Apart from cutting down on the time and effort required to prepare these items, it also served as an opportunity for the family to come together. This practice is however fast disappearing, but the Khabzey and Jero survive and in fact have gained popularity with commercial small scale production taking over.

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SDF finalises CEC list, drops those of ‘suspect’ allegiance

GANGTOK, 12 Jan: Sikkim Democratic Front party president, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, convened the first meeting of the reconstituted Central Working Committee of his party on Sunday. All the CWC members attended the meeting, a press release issued by the SDF spokesperson PD Rai informs. The meeting, the release informs, was called to finalise the list of all members of the Central Executive Committee of the Party. The names of all those who were nominated were discussed and finalised. Many names were also dropped due to various reasons chief being that their allegiance to the Party and their adherence to party principles were suspect, the release details.

Teacher transfers required to staff rural schools better and meet humanitarian commitments: CM

GANGTOK, 12 Jan: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has stated that the recent transfer of around 1,000 teachers in Sikkim was in pursuance of the government policy “of ensuring that most of the excess teachers who are now residing in many of the urban centres are transferred to fill vacancies in the rural schools”.
The explanation, an SDF press release informs, came at the central working committee meeting of the Sikkim Democratic Front chaired by Mr. Chamling in Gangtok on Sunday, 11 Jan.

New Year, New Resolution

EDITORIAL: If letting bygones be bygones is too difficult, at least allow space for new collaborations

There are rarely good years or bad years, the annual cycle playing out in a mixed bag kind of routine. In individual experiences, of course, years can be brilliant or disappointing, but when it comes for a collective people, like say the residents of Sikkim, the best one can hope for is a “normal” year – one in which the dejections and shocks are balanced out by a fair share of euphoric delights.
Year 2014, however, was an election year, a phase which arrives every five years to stir things up in otherwise laidback Sikkim. The environment gets roiled in an election year even when the challengers are uninspiring, so when 2014 was set up as a more keenly contested election than Sikkim had seen in the recent past, everyone was expecting fireworks.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mishap at Barbing

GANGTOK, 11 Jan: A Maruti Alto taxi plunged more than 1000ft off the road at Barbing on the Rey Khola-Ranka road about one kilometre away from Rey Khola on the intervening night of 10-11 January. There were only two occupants including the driver in the vehicle at the time of the accident, it is informed. A lady passenger was rescued from the site and is currently undergoing treatment at Central Referral Hospital here at Tadong. The driver, reported to be one Kumar Tamang, is missing.