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Updated: 2017-04-09T18:45:11.263+05:30

 



Sikkim Duo in North East Ke Super Star Finals

2011-10-21T22:23:10.816+05:30

Gangtok: October 21 Remanti Rai and Robin Mukhia has appealed the people of Sikkim for their support to make them the winners of the ‘North East Ke Super Star’ being telecast on the DD North East Channel. Remanti reaches the final round of singing competition scheduled to be held on 12th November, while Robin is in the final round of dancing competition to be held on 13th November. Addressing a press conference today, the duo finalists informed that a total of 5 singers and 5 dancers from Sikkim were shortlisted for the competition and likewise similar participants were chosen from other north eastern states as well. The finalists informed that in earlier rounds, participants from the different states were mixed up and competitions were conducted by dividing into different groups and talented were shortlisted for the further rounds. The duo finalists informed that in the semi-final round the competition was conducted between participants of their own states to choose the state champion, in which Rai became the state champion in singing and Mukhia became the state champion in dancing categories respectively. Now, the state champions of each state will be performing in the final round. “With our talent and hard work, we have survived so far in the competition but now to win the title of the event is purely depends upon the voting, so we appealed our people to send more vote for us,” the duo finalists requested. The episode of duo in which they became the state champions will be telecast on DD NE Channel today by 9 PM and likewise, state champions in singing of each state will be introduced in the episode of 28th October and state dancing champions will be introduced on 29th October. Adding further, the duo informed that from 29th October midnight the voting lines will be opened till 11th November. To send vote to Ms. Remanti Rai- type SONG RMN and send to 56363 and to send vote of Mr. Robin Mukhia- type DANC RBM and send to 56363. They have also planned to approach the people of neighboring hilly state by visiting Darjeeling, Kalimpong and other areas soon



All about Earthquake

2011-10-19T16:41:59.669+05:30

(image)
SIKKIM EARTHQUAKE
An earthquake is caused by a sudden slip on a fault, or fracture, in the earth's surface. The tectonic plates on the surface are always slowly moving, but they get stuck at their edges because of friction. When the stress on the edge overcomes the friction, there is an earthquake that releases energy in waves that travel through the earth's crust and create the shaking we feel. An earthquake's magnitude is a measured value of its size and is the same no matter where you are, or how strong or weak the shaking was in different locations. An earthquake's intensity is a measure of the shaking it creates, and varies with location. A magnitude of 8 or higher defines a "great" earthquake; 7 to 7.9 is considered "major"; 6 to 6.9 is "strong"; 5 to 5.9 is "moderate"; 4 to 4.9 is "light"; 3 to 3.9 is "minor"; and less than 3 is "micro." Experts have said that a million people died in earthquakes in the 20th century ­ and that this century might see 10 times as many deaths, with as many as a million killed in a single quake. That is, unless major efforts are made to fortify the world’s growing cities, which are expected to be homes to billions of added residents. Even though the rate of earthquakes over time seems to be more or less unchanging, the world's population explosion means that more people are moving into quake zones, which are often near coasts. The result, the experts say, is the prospect of continuing trauma. "It is inevitable," Klaus H. Jacob, an earthquake expert at Lamont-Doherty, the earth sciences research center of Columbia University, said at the end of the last century. "More and more people, and more and more buildings, are at stake. As the world gets more populous and richer, allowing a more built-up environment, higher buildings and all the infrastructure that supports our civilization, communications and the like, the risk goes up."



Rs. 3,500 crore Required to Rebuild Sikkim

2011-10-19T16:36:14.328+05:30

GANGTOK, 19 Oct: The State government has submitted a memorandum to the Central government detailing its earthquake damage estimates and rebuilding costs. Officials however inform that the memorandum is not a comprehensive estimate of the total damages incurred by Sikkim, but an estimate of the immediate and short term measures of repair and rehabilitation as required by the Central government. The short term rehabilitation estimate put up by the State comes to approximately Rs. 3,500 crores inform officials while refraining from divulging the exact amount or its detailed break-up. This total, it is informed, includes the cost for immediate restoration and rehabilitation works being undertaken by the line departments. As for the long term rebuilding plans of the State government, these, it is informed, that this will be included as part of the annual plan proposal of the state. These are those works which take a longer time for implementation and are usually undertaken in phases. It is informed that the estimates and proposals for the long-term rebuilding and repair works are required to be put up in the plan budget proposal to be submitted to the Planning Commission which will subsequently release the moneys as part of the annual state plan. All departments have been directed to put up their long term rebuilding proposals to the State government by 30 October. The departments are currently engaged in preparing their project proposals for this purpose. Earlier, the state government had put up a figure of between Rs. 6,000 and Rs. 7,000 crore to the Centre as the estimate of total damage incurred by the State due to the earthquake. This total amount also included the present memorandum for Rs. 3,500 crore put up for immediate rehabilitation, it is informed. As per the directions of the Central government, the state had to put up a lump-sum figure as a memorandum for the immediate restoration and rehabilitation works, particularly those to be undertaken by the line departments. This includes the immediate need for restoration of damaged water supply lines across the State by the Water Supply & PHE Department, the restoration of power supply; the restoration of road network [by the Roads and Bridges department] and also the rehabilitation of students in classrooms where school buildings had been damaged, among others. Senior officers are expected to leave for New Delhi shortly to take up discussions with central officials over the memorandum and other related matters such as whether the earlier Rs. 1,000 crore interim relief declared by the Prime Minister would be part of the total disbursement of the central government for the short term rehabilitation measures. The break up for each of the department from the estimate of Rs. 3,500 crore will also be clear after discussions with central officials. It was just last week that the Chief Secretary had chaired a meeting of heads of various departments in order to prepare the memorandum cataloguing the total rehabilitation costs of each department. This was done soon after the central assessment team had completed their tour of affected areas.



Government of Sikkim Secretariat shifted to Gangtok Community Centre

2011-10-19T16:29:33.277+05:30

GANGTOK, 19 Oct [IPR]: It has been felt that people are confused with regard to the relocation of offices after the earthquake hit the state. Hence, the office of the Chief Secretary has issued a circular to this extent to be notified to the general public. As per the circular No. 349/CS/SKM/2011 dated 17th October 2011, the Secretariat has now been shifted to the Community Centre at Development Area with immediate effect. The following departments are located there: 1. Office of Chief Secretary 2. Office of Additional Chief Secretary 3. Home Department 4. Finance, Revenue & Expenditure Department 5. Department of Personnel, Adm., Reforms, Trg., Public Grievances, Career Options & Employment Skill Development & Chief Minister’s Self Employment Scheme. 6. Development Planning, Economic Reforms & North Eastern Council Affairs Department. 7. Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department 8. Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department



Fire Prayers for Sikkim Earthquake Victims

2011-10-19T16:25:14.474+05:30

GANGTOK, 19 Oct: Jungdul Shiwai Jensek - Vajrapani Peaceful Fire Puja for earthquake victims and the well being of the universe and the State of Sikkim in particular was performed at Sa-Ngor Chotshog Centre, Rongyek [SNCC] this morning. The one-day “fire puja” was performed by Sakya Trizin, the supreme head of the Sakya lineage, along with 163 [113 from outside Sikkim] Rinpoches. The Rinpoches were from Nepal, Himachal Pradesh, Dehradun, Darjeeling, Rimbi, Kurseong and Kalimpong. Speaker KT Gyaltsen, who is also the area MLA, was also present for the prayers. Incidentally, the Ngor Gonpa is also celebrating its golden jubilee, the special event for which the Sakya Trizin has travelled to Sikkim



Sikkim wooing Bollywood

2011-10-15T11:43:38.527+05:30

Gangtok, Oct 14: Sikkim’s impressive beauty has won appreciations, but what may come as a misfortune is the dismal conditions of its roads. Narrow highways and potholes leading to Sikkim has now invited Bollywood’s complaints, when the state government is attract filmmakers to shoot in the Himalayan state.Sikkim’s roads have come as a spoiler for Bollywood’s dream. While its scenic beauty has lured many, Bollywood though has a different take. Bollywood actors turned producer-directors Jeetendra and Rakesh Roshan, who are currently in Sikkim, have pointed out the need to improve road conditions. The filmdom duo presently in Sikkim to promote a casino gaming event at a luxury hotel near Gangtok hope improved road conditions would help to showcase Sikkim in Bollywood movies. The duo had to fritter over four hours enroute Gangtok from Bagdogra due to narrow and miserable roads.Rakesh Roshan whose superhero science fiction film ‘Krrish 2’ is to go on floors early December has asserted to shoot some portions of the Hritik Roshan starrer in Sikkim. Roshan had shot Shah Rukh Khan starrer ‘Koyla’ in Arunachal Pradesh. Speaking to media, the duo observed lack of promotion by the state authorities for these states missing movie locations.Jeetendra and Roshan, whose visit comes barely within a month of September 18 devastating earthquake condoled the loss of life and property in Sikkim.



Gangtok Schools reopens Today after Earthquake and Puja Holidays

2011-10-10T11:10:52.503+05:30

(image) Gangtok, Oct. 10: Parts of North Sikkim still continue to be inaccessible though the administration and schools, crippled since the September 18 earthquake, are expected to function normally from tomorrow. Temporary arrangements have been made so that 779 government schools with their 1.18 lakh students can start functioning. “Classes will start from tomorrow. Whatever temporary arrangements were to be done, has been done,” said HRD secretary C.S. Rao over the phone from Ravangla in South Sikkim. Construction of temporary structures on campuses, hiring buildings near schools for classes and introducing shifts in schools with low enrolments are some of the options that have been worked out. Sikkim government spokesperson K.S. Topgay said aerial sorties to evacuate people stranded in North Sikkim and air-dropping of relief continued during the Puja break by the army choppers and the civilian Pawan Hans helicopters. Chungthang, Lachen and Lachung still remain cut off from Mangan because of landslides along the North Sikkim highway. Mangan is the administrative headquarters of the North district, 30km from Chungthang. Apart from multiple landslides, a 400 metre stretch of the highway had been washed away between Toong and Theeng near Chungthang. “We have managed to cut inside the rocky hillside to create a new road up to 350 metres. Now only 50 metres is left to be created,” said AK Das, the joint director of the Border Roads Organisation’s Project Swastik. “The spot is on a steep incline. Even the rock of the hillside is hard to break,” said Das. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who visited Sikkim on September 29 had directed the BRO to restore the North Sikkim highway to Chungthang by October 15. The highway is important as it is the sole link to the army and ITBP bases on the China border. “All our resources and manpower have been concentrated at this point and the BRO is committed to open the road as soon as possible,” said Das. Nearly Rs 16,000 crore has been released by the state government as ex-gratia for the 21,659 pucca and kutcha houses damaged in East Sikkim. This amount is in addition to the Rs 1.2 crore distributed earlier. The ex-gratia ranges from Rs 3,000 to Rs 50,000, depending on the intensity of the damage and the type of house. “We appeal to those, whose damaged houses have not be been recorded so far, to come to us by October 15. Our officials will survey these houses and we will release ex-gratia for the genuine claims. We don't want to leave out any genuine cases,” said district collector D. Anandan. Around 100 claims from owners of damaged houses were received at the district control room during the Puja break. The claims should be reported to the administrative centre in Sichey, Gangtok, where the district authorities will resume work from tomorrow. Anandan has been camping at the district control room at MG Marg since the earthquake. “We will be shifting to the district administrative centre from Monday and resume our normal functions along with relief work related with the earthquake,” said the district collector. According to officials of North Sikkim, 3,361 houses have suffered major and minor damage in the Mangan subdivision including Dzongu. Assessment of the damage is in progress at Lachung, Lachen and Chungthang.



Miss Shillong 2011 Today

2011-10-08T19:31:52.754+05:30

Miss Shillong 2011 is being held today on October 8 at Shillong Club Grounds, M.G Road at 4:30 pm. There are 15 contestants who will be participating in the event. The stage set up will be different compared to the past pageants and thus there will be other numerous filler items during the show. The event will consist of 5 rounds - 1st the traditional round, 2nd western denim round, 3rd the look of the 70’s, the designer round. There are also a few collections by Sikkim Manipal University, Jessica Shullai (Winner of NIFT Fashion Show at Chennai) Humanoid Collection, Madame courtesy of Broadway Collections and Regi’s Jainsem Collections. Amit Paul of Indian Idol fame will mesmerize the audience with his magical voice besides Grace Maureen Sohliya who was recently crowned Karaoke Queen of India, Sarah Lee vocalist of the band Fourth Element, established singer Caren Nonpiyur, a group street contemporary item by Dance Wiz, Arif Mukhim & Vandana Borkatoki who will be dancing the “Cha Cha Cha”. Garima Garg, Assam’s most celebrated designer will also be attending the show. The theme song “More Than A Woman” will be performed by Grace Sohliya, Caren Nongpiyur and Marvel Lyngwa. The Judges will comprise of Ampareen Lyngdoh, Minister for Urban Affairs, Government of Meghalaya, V.K Nautyal, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Government of Meghalaya, Mark Stone Laitflang, Managing Director, Group Avenues, Shankuntala Bora of Guwahati University, Sabina Warjri, Former Miss Shillong and hotelier and Susan Swer, Stylist Trendsetter.



6.9-magnitude earthquake in Sikkim Unique

2011-10-08T11:45:08.372+05:30

The recent 6.9-magnitude earthquake in Sikkim, which claimed more than 100 lives, was different from most temblors that had rocked the Himalayan region. It did not occur on the well-known thrust faults formed due to under-thrusting of the Indian plate below the Eurasian plate as in 95 per cent of the major earthquakes in the Himalayan region. Instead, it occurred between two transverse faults represented by Tista and Gangtok lineaments where two segments of Himalayas have moved in a horizontal direction. Although the transverse faults were also the result of under-thrusting of the Indian plate, this was the first time that a major earthquake had occurred along them in Sikkim region, according to R.K. Chadha, Chief Scientist, CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) which deputed a team of five scientists to the affected region following the earthquake to carry out field investigations. The team has set up a network of four broadband seismic stations. The earthquake with its epicentre located 68 km of northwest of Gangtok occurred at a depth of 20 km beneath the Himalayas.
Seismically very active
With the Himalayan region being one of the most seismically active places in the world, the recent earthquake, however did not come as a surprise. Most other major earthquakes above magnitude (M) 8.0 in Shillong (1987), Kangra (1905), Bihar-Nepal border (1934), Arunachal Pradesh (1950) and many others between M 6 and 7 were caused by faults formed by the under-thrusting of Indian plate below the Eurasian plate. The Sikkim region experienced relatively moderate seismicity over the past 35 years with temblors of M 5 or greater occurring within 100 km of the epicentre of the September 18 event.
Large area impact

Dr. Chadha said another interesting feature of the recent earthquake was that it was felt over a large area, including Delhi and other major cities such as Lucknow, Patna and Ranchi along the Indo-Gangetic plains. With most of the region lying in the soft sediments in the Indo-Gangetic plains and the Brahmaputra Valley, the earthquake was felt strongly as the seismic waves get amplified in soft sediments when compared to hard rock regions. As experienced earlier, such temblors would cause damage in faraway regions too due the amplification process. The amplification phenomenon again showed that major cities located in the Indo-Gangetic plains face greater earthquake hazard than other regions.



Indian captain Bhaichung Bhutia’s return to professional football

2011-10-08T11:41:16.499+05:30

New Delhi: Former Indian captain Bhaichung Bhutia’s return to professional football was marked with success as Sikkim United, team co owned by him rallied to beat Indian Air Force 3-0 in a quarterfinal matchup in the 124th Durand Cup played at the Ambedkar Stadium here, on Friday. Sikkimise striker who came on to play in last 15 minutes of the game received huge roar as he walked towards the centre line to make his professional comeback after announcing his retirement from the international football in August this year. Bhutia replaced his friend Rennedy Singh in the 78th minute of the match with score line reading 1-0. Bhutia away from football for quite some time now did not look that polished as he was, but that did not stop him from influencing the outcome of the match. His first real contribution came in the 85th minute of the match, when he skillfully set up Indian international Sushil Singh inside the box for a goal. Bhutia, who received a pass in the box, cleverly dribbled it past two defenders and passed it on to Sushil just inside the 18 yard box, whose right footer shot, was no match for diving IAF’s goalie MK Jena. With Sikkim United cruising at 2-0, the much awaited moment of the match came when the Indian football stalwart found the back of the net. Bhaichung who did not score a goal since May last year, brought an end to this draught much to the delight of everyone. Daniel Bidemi’s right footer at the target off Sushil's cross from just outside the box, rebounded, and Bhutia seizing the opportunity nudged in a well timed header to find the left corner of the box. Bhaichung looked extremely happy to be playing for the team he partially owns and is enjoying the responsibility. “I am happy with the team. We played well and it was very important for us to clinch three points. It is also very difficult to be playing for the same for the club that you own. The pressure is huge and I have to involve myself with lot of off the field work which keeps me away from the training sessions,” said the former Indian Captain. Bhutia was not fully fit lacked and his magical touch but hopes to get better as he keeps playing. “I am only 30% fit and I did not train for last three weeks as I was travelling. Right now I can only last for maximum 20 minutes, not more than that. So I need to be more match fit before I start playing full game,” said Bhaichung. Bhaichung did not dismiss the whole idea of playing and said that his future participation would depend on the situation of the match. “Yes, I would be around and my chance of playing depends on the situation. If the team is winning, I would not, but then if not then I would have to come,” added Bhaichung.Earlier the first goal of the match came when, Sikkim’s foreign Babatunde John headed one home, just a minute before the break. Sikkim United’s coach Stanley Rozario was very impressed with his boys and strongly feels that the momentum needs to be carried forward. “I am happy with the team. We need to sustain the momentum in order to achieve mileage. I was happy with the way Bhaichung played. But then we missed quite a few opportunities and we also need to work on that as well,” said the Sikkim’s coach. Earlier the first match of the day saw the reigning I-League champions Salgaoncar FC defeat BSF 1-0, with Chidi Edeh scoring the goal in the 75th minute. Salgaoncar who won the recently concluded Federation Cup are the tournament favorites and are vying for their third title in a row [...]



Easy money lure for teenage flying sex workers of Gangtok

2011-10-06T18:08:43.542+05:30

She is the youngest one of her family, but her life story is like that of eldest one of Hindi movie Laga Chunari Mein Daag. Like Rani Mukherjee in the film, 20-year-old Sarita (name changed) not only earned enough to support her family, but also helped her elder sisters get married by working as a flying sex-worker (FSW) in real life. Sarita was barely 15 when she was raped by her boyfriend. “I had no idea about sex then,” she said. “I was shattered. After some days, the woman who owned the house where he had taken me introduced me to another man. I was in need of money. My father had died and my mother’s earnings as a domestic help was not enough for us. In any case, I thought I was already deflowered and how did it matter if I slept with another man. This is how I got sucked into the trade.” Like other FSWs, she made anything between Rs 500 and Rs 5,000 per session. But after marrying off her sister, she quit the trade and now works as an “outreach” worker for a voluntary organisation. At the NGO, she earns Rs 5,000 per month. “It is enough for me and my mother and I am happy that I am able to lead a life of dignity.” But often it is hard to return to normal life. “The lure of easy money makes it difficult to wean them away from the trade,” said a local NGO counsellor at the AIDS Education Society for FSWs run by the Sikkim Voluntary Health Association. Flesh trade in Gangtok or nearby Singtam in Sikkim is still rampant, albeit the only brothels that exists elsewhere is no more in business. Sex workers here do not have a fixed place of business, and they meet their clients outside in varied places. These types of sex workers are called Flying Sex Workers (FSW). It is estimated that there are more than five hundred FSWs in Sikkim and they work in different places in a discreet fashion. Most of these women are school-drop outs and do not possess ample knowledge about STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). Moreover, there are very few prominent organizations in Gangtok which equip them with proper Sex Education and provide them with Regular Medical Checkups (RMC). “It is generally the boyfriends who introduce them to the trade,” and “Often, the inhibition is lost after the first physical relationship and the girls are willing to take risks if it means extra money.” Like Sarita, 18-year-old Doma from rural Sikkim, too, had been brought to the flesh trade by her boyfriend. “I am trying to get away,” she said. “I want to get married, settle down and have a family of my own.” The number of HIV patients in Sikkim has reached 199 in 2010, 15 years after tests for the disease began in the state. There were only two HIV patients in 1995 when the tests were introduced in Sikkim, categorised by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) as one of the lowest prevalence states in India. V. Singhi, the project director of the Sikkim State AIDS Control Society, said 28 persons had died of AIDS after 1995. “According to our records, the number of surviving AIDS patients in Sikkim is 111 and they are in different age groups. Most of the patients are in the age group of 20-39 and they total 106,” said Singhi. The project director said there were only two HIV patients in Sikkim in 1995. “Fourteen persons tested HIV positive in the state in 2005 when the Sikkim society was established in Gangtok. But today, the number is 199. Three patients are below 10 and 152 are aged between 20 and 39,” said Singhi. He added that Sikkim falls under the low HIV prevalence group of C & D categorised by the NACO. The society has been working extensively with NGOs, the STNM Hospital in Gangtok and four district hospitals to provide counselling and assistance to high risk group-commercial sex workers, intravenous drug users (IDU) and mig[...]



Justice Pramod Kohli appointed as the Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court

2011-10-06T17:49:27.424+05:30


Gangtok: Justice Pramod Kohli of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been elevated as the Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court. The orders were officially conveyed to the High Court on Wednesday. At the same time, the Supreme Court has also issued the transfer orders of other two judges being Justice Mahindra Pal Singh and Justice Ajay Lamba. Justice Mahindra Pal Singh has been transferred to Gujarat High Court and Justice Lamba is slated to be transferred to either to the Allahabad or Orissa High Court. Justice Kohli joined the Bar at Jammu after enrollment on 12 October 1972. He was appointed Additional Advocate General of the state during Governor's rule in the year 1990 and took over as the Advocate General in December 1990. He continued as Advocate General till January 1992 and was designated a senior advocate in April 1991. He was later appointed Additional Judge of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir on 07 January 2003 and as permanent Judge on 03 January 2005. He was later transferred to Jharkhand High Court, Ranchi and took oath on 04 May 2006. Thereafter, he was later transferred to Punjab and Haryana High Court and took oath on 10 May 2007.



Dasain in Gangtok Today

2011-10-06T08:46:32.719+05:30

Gangtok,October 6: The hills of Sikkim, Darjeeling are ready to celebrate Dasain today, setting aside for sometime the sorrow that had descended after the recent earthquake which took several lives and damaged properties. For the people in the hills it is that time of the year when those who stay away from their houses for their livelihood come to their hometown. “As always I am happy to be home to celebrate Dasain with my family. Last month’s earthquake certainly makes this Dasain a special one, especially so when my family and friends say that on September 18 they all got a second birth,” said Anita Chhetri, a call centre executive who stays in Bangalore. With the region still recovering from the losses caused by the tremors, which also triggered a series of landslides, many families have chosen to tone down the celebrations. “The excitement and the vigour are not quite there. We don’t feel like celebrating knowing that there are people who do not have roof over their heads,” said Kritika Moktan, a senior analyst who works in Delhi. For most people who stay elsewhere, this year’s Dasain is a mix of happiness and gloom. While there is the joy of meeting family and friends, there is also a sense of loss. Prakash Sharma who stays in Mumbai said he would be spending the next few days with his family and friends in Gangtok.“Frankly, I did not understand the impact the quake had on the people here while I was in Mumbai. It is only over the last two days after I met my friends here that I am beginning to get a sense of the magnitude of the impact,” he said. Prakash added that there is more reason for him to celebrate Dasain this year because his family members and friends are all safe. “The close shave gives me all the more reason to celebrate this year’s Dasain. A few seconds here and there, and it could have been a different story altogether,,” he said. The Gorkhas or Nepalis celebrate Dasain by seeking blessings from the elders of the family. The elder members apply tika (made of rice and curd) on the foreheads of the young people and bless them. The family members gather for a feast to complete the celebrations.



United Sikkim Players reach Delhi for Durand Cup

2011-10-06T08:38:15.246+05:30

Gangtok, Oct. 5: A 20-member squad of United Sikkim football club with co-owner Bhaichung Bhutia reached New Delhi yesterday for the Durand Cup, the quake deterring little the players who were determined to fight the panic attacks that followed. The team had been in Siliguri from September 24 to practise at the Kanchenjungha Stadium as the quake had hampered their training in Gangtok. The team could undergo only light training at Gangtok’s Paljor stadium for three days from September 21. “The team is ready for the Durand Cup. All the boys are fit and raring to go after an eight-day training camp in Siliguri. Our first aim is to qualify for the semi-finals,” said chief coach H. Stanly Rozario over the phone from New Delhi. He added that although the team’s preparations for the tourney had been hampered because of the earthquake, the squad is now ready. United Sikkim used to practice daily at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok. But the training had to be stopped for six days after the earthquake that killed 60 people in Sikkim and caused widespread damage. “The preparations were a bit affected and the boys were scared. They could not sleep properly for the first few days (after the quake). Every time an aftershock came, they used to run outside their flats,” said Rozario. The club office at Baluwakhani in Sikkim suffered severe damage when the building in which it is located collapsed on September 23 after an adjacent structure tilted on it. Several trophies, cups, computers, kits and other equipment were buried under the collapsed building. On September 24, members of the main squad of United Sikkim travelled to Siliguri for practice sessions at the Khanchenjungha Stadium. The club also played three friendly matches during the camp. United Sikkim had been placed in a quarterfinal group with Indian Air Force and Shillong Lajong. Only one team from the group will qualify for the semi-finals. “Both our opponents are strong teams. The IAF gave a tough fight to Lajong yesterday before losing 1-2. We have to win against IAF and then play the deciding match against Lajong,” Rozario said. The club will play against IAF on Friday and Lajong on October 9. “Our boys have started improving their scoring rate and they had a good outing in Siliguri against the lower sides. We are expecting more (from them) in the Durand Cup,” said Rozario. The finals of the Durand Cup will be on October 15. Senior manager Arjun Rai said the Siliguri camp has prepared the players for the Durand Cup. “The warm weather of Siliguri has acclimatised the players for a similar weather in New Delhi,” he said. Rai added that Renedy Singh, who has been playing as a substitute till now because of his knee injury, will be available for a full match in the championship. “Renedy has played a full match in a friendly game at Nagaland and he is fit,”said Rozario. Bhaichung, who has also not played full matches till now because of a calf injury, played a full game at the exhibition match. “Although he has not recovered fully, we want him to play for at least for some time, especially during the final 15-20 minutes of the matches in Durand Cup. His presence will be a huge boost for our team,” said Rai. With Nim Tshering Lepcha out of the team for a couple of months because of a knee injury, United Sikkim’s Namibian recruit Quinton Jacobs has been handed over the captaincy since September. Apart from Bhaichung and Renedy, the other players to watch out for are Jacobs, two Nigerian strikers Babatunde Oladele and Daniel Bidemi, national team striker Sushil Kumar Singh and defender Gobind Singh. [...]



Apple's visionary leader Steve Jobs is no more.

2011-10-06T08:33:08.416+05:30

Steve Jobs, who transformed the worlds of personal computing, music and mobile phones, died on Wednesday at the age of 56 after a years-long battle with pancreatic cancer. The co-founder of Apple Inc, one of the world's great entrepreneurs, was surrounded by his wife and immediate family when he died in Palo Alto, California. His death was announced by Apple and sparked an immediate outpouring of sadness and sympathy from world leaders, competitors and other businessmen including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The Silicon Valley icon who gave the world the iPod, iPhone and iPad had stepped down as chief executive of the world's largest technology company in August, handing the reins to long-time lieutenant Tim Cook. He was deemed the heart and soul of a company that rivals Exxon Mobil as the most valuable in America. "Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve," Apple said in a statement. "His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts." Apple paid homage to their visionary leader by changing their website to a big black-and-white photograph of him with the caption "Steve Jobs: 1955-2011." The flags outside the company's headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop flew at half mast. Jobs' health had been a controversial topic for years and his battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer a deep concern to Apple fans and investors. In past years, even board members have confided to friends their concern that Jobs, in his quest for privacy, was not being forthcoming enough with directors about the true condition of his health. Now, despite much investor confidence in Cook, who has stood in for his boss during three leaves of absence, there remain concerns about whether Apple would stay a creative force to be reckoned with in the longer term without its visionary. Jobs died one day after the consumer electronics powerhouse unveiled its latest iPhone, the gadget that transformed mobile communications and catapulted Apple to the highest echelons of the tech world. His death triggered an immediate outpouring of sympathy. "The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come," Gates said. "For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely." Outside an Apple store in New York, mourners laid candles, bouquets of flowers, an apple and an iPod Touch in a makeshift memorial. "I think half the world found out about his death on an Apple device," said Robbie Sokolowsky, 32, an employee for an online marketing company, who lit a candle outside the store. Cook said in a statement that Apple planned to hold a celebration of Jobs' life for employees "soon". Apple, NeXT, iPhone A college dropout, Buddhist and son of adoptive parents, Jobs started Apple Computer with friend Steve Wozniak in 1976. The company soon introduced the Apple 1 computer. But it was the Apple II that became a huge success and gave Apple its position as a critical player in the then-nascent PC industry, culminating in a 1980 initial public offering that made Jobs a multimillionaire. Despite the subsequent success of the Macintosh computer, Jobs' relationship with top management and the board soured. The company removed most of his powers and then in 1985 he was fired. Apple's fortunes waned after that. However, its purchase of NeXT -- the computer company Jobs founded after leaving Apple -- in 1997 [...]



HAPPY NAVRATRI

2011-10-05T18:32:09.321+05:30




1,600 temporary classrooms in Earthquake hit Sikkim

2011-10-05T18:25:21.310+05:30

Gangtok, Oct. 5: The Sikkim government is determined to utilise the eight-day Dasain or Puja break to repair and restore damaged school buildings so that the 779 government institutions with 1.18 lakh students are able to function on Monday. Classes in most institutions have been suspended since September 19, a day after the earthquake as 682 government schools suffered damage of various degrees. Fifty-nine of the school buildings had collapsed. Alternative arrangements like holding classes in the open did not work out because of bad weather. The options now available before the government are: construction of temporary classrooms, hiring buildings near damaged schools and introducing shift system in institutions with low enrolment, located mostly in remote areas. “We have constituted teams of officials and engineers in each district for construction of the temporary classrooms. We have requested the respective MLAs to provide us with help in the form of labourers, most of whom will be unavailable during Dasain,” said state human resource development secretary C.S. Rao. The 20ftX16ft temporary classrooms will accommodate some 30 students each. Locally available material will be used for construction and the arrangement will continue for the next four to five months till permanent structures come up, said Rao. The number of temporary classrooms will depend on the enrolments in each school. “The number of temporary classrooms may cross 1,600 and the MLAs along with our officials are on a tour to assess the exact requirement,” said Rao. Most of these temporary structures are expected to come up on vacant school grounds. The HRD department has the option of hiring space in local buildings if there is no scope to set up a temporary structure near a school. If both these options do not work out, classes may be held in shifts, said Rao. This means the less damaged rooms of a school may be used in turns for holding classes. On September 26, the government officially announced that classes in government and some 325 private education institutions would resume only on October 10 when the Dasain break ends in most schools. The school heads had been directed to work with the authorities for putting up alternative arrangement by then. Chief minister Pawan Chamling had already instructed the HRD department to repair and restore all government schools during Dasain so that students can be back in class on October 10. “There has been a loss of more than a week of class but we will compensate it at the end of the academic calendar. According to an earlier schedule, the schools would have shut on December 17 for winter. Now it will close only on December 22. Right now our target is to start classes from October 10. All arrangements will be ready by October 9 evening,” said Rao. Earlier, schools were supposed to close for Dasain on October 10.



Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda expresses condolences to Sikkim Earthquake victims

2011-10-05T01:27:37.128+05:30

Tokyo, Oct 4 (PTI) Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar today met Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda here and discussed with him the whole gamut of bilateral relations.

Kumar, who is leading a parliamentary delegation to Japan, called on the Prime Minister and also met speaker of the House of Representatives in the Japanese Diet, Takahiro Yokomichi.

During their meeting, Prime Minister Noda said in a lighter vein that Japan was a tourist friendly country and more and more Indians were welcome to visit it.

During her interaction with her Japanese counterpart, Kumar referred to her emotional trip to Hiroshima, while also paying homage to the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, reiterating India''s commitment to offer all possible help during the crisis, said an official statement.

Yokomichi, on his part, expressed his condolences for the victims of the recent earthquake in Sikkim while also thanking the Indian government for its support in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Kumar also said that India was looking forward to receiving the Japanese Prime Minister in December.

The delegation also met the Emperor and the Empress of Japan at the Imperial Palace.
PTI



44 Sorties in a day by Sikkim Pawan Hans Relief and Rescue Operation

2011-10-04T11:02:46.747+05:30

Gangtok, Oct. 4: The Pawan Hans helicopter had drawn a lot of flak earlier this year after the death of Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu in an air crash, leading to the suspension of services for some time in the Northeast. Five months since, there has been a turnaround and Pawan Hans has proved its mettle: evacuating stranded civilians in quake-hit Sikkim. Since September 20, two days after the quake, Pawan Hans helicopters had been making regular sorties to Mangan, Chungthang, Lachen, Lachung and Sakyong — all in worst-hit North Sikkim. The helicopter service comes under the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation (STDC), owned by the state government. Pawan Hans were the only civilian helicopters tasked with aerial relief operations alongside the dozen army choppers. In normal times, Pawan Hans operates from the helipad at Burtuk in Gangtok. Its service is between the Sikkim capital and Bagdogra airport in Siliguri, besides being used for sightseeing. Only one five-seater chopper is available daily. But barring a day or two since September 20 when inclement weather did not permit flying, two Pawan Hans choppers conducted 512 sorties till yesterday. “They evacuated more than 950 civilians from the quake-affected areas to Mangan and Gangtok, said K.S. Manilal, the deputy general manager who is in charge of Pawan Hans Helicopters’ Northeast region. Around 98 tonnes of relief material were dropped in the affected areas till yesterday. Initially, one stationed Pawan Hans chopper had been pressed for relief and rescue operations. On September 22 onwards, one more was brought from Guwahati for the operation in Sikkim, said Manilal. A third Pawan Hans chopper was also brought on October 1 to provide a back-up in case any of the two existing choppers had to be grounded for maintenance. “These three choppers till yesterday have been in air for around 120 hours,” said Manilal. Relief and equipment provided by the state government or collected by the voluntary organisations are being ferried in Pawan Hans choppers from Burtuk helipad to North district. Government officials and engineers too are using Pawan Hans for air drops in quake-hit areas. “We are working within the limits of the rules and regulations while trying our best to extend relief and rescue services to the people of Sikkim. The Pawan Hans helicopters have been doing such service for many years in different parts of the country especially in the Northeast. We are a professional body and have vast experience in this field,” said Satnam Singh, deputy manager (maintenance) of Pawan Hans, who had arrived from New Delhi. For the six pilots, the task was challenging, given the increased intensity of sorties in unpredictable weather in the high altitude areas of Lachen (9,400ft) and Lachung (8,610ft) and army relief choppers claiming the same airspace. “There is no fixed weather, it changed every 10 minutes. There used to be nearly 16 choppers flying at a time in those areas and we had to coordinate very carefully while landing,” said Captain Srinivas Rao, one of the pilots. The payload for the civilian chopper varied depending on the altitude of the location it was supposed to land in. For Chungthang and Mangan, it was around 400kg while for Lachen and Lachung — located higher up — it was 300-350kg, said the pilot. Captain Rao’s was the first of the 14 sorties that reached Mangan and Chungthang on September 20 with relief and returned with injured persons. “I could see anxious people on the ground at Chungthang. They made a rush to board the chopper, [...]



Happy Holidays

2011-10-03T16:33:36.335+05:30




Dashain holiday begins in Sikkim

2011-10-03T16:31:42.592+05:30

Today is the beginning of the longest and biggest festival of the Nepalese calendar: Dashain. At its heart, Dashain is all about celebrating happiness and good luck. The main days of celebration this year are the 3rd-7th October when families get together, pray and offer thanks, or “puja”, to the gods. Fulpati, the seventh day of the Dashain festival, is being celebrated across the Sikkim on Monday. With the Fulpati the Dashain holiday begins closing all the government offices, educational institutions and other service centers for the next seven days. As part of the religious and cultural celebrations of Fulpati, people collect different flowers and shrubs including stalks of banana, turmeric, leaves of pomegranate, Bel, Ashok and Jayanti, and rice plant and sugarcane and introduce to the Dashain Ghar, where Goddess Durga’s statuette or image had been set up on the first day of the festival and Jamara was planted, in their households .The festival each year falls into late September or early October and lasts for 15 days. It commemorates the victory of gods over demons. It’s a great time to immerse yourself in Sikkim’s rich religious culture. Dashain is celebrated throughout all casts and parts of society . The festival ends on full-moon day. During the festival, the goddess Durga is worshipped with offerings and thousands of animal sacrifices – the festival therefore is not for weak stomachs. Just before Dashain all homes are cleaned and decorated to invite goddess Durga to visit and bless the house. People go to the markets to buy new clothing, gifts and offerings for the gods, and families reunite to celebrate. During the festival all work in the country nearly comes to a halt, as everyone is celebrating. The first nine days of the festival symbolize a ferocious battle between the goddess Durga and a demon, which is slain on the tenth day. The last five days symbolize the celebration of the victorious goddess. On the first days, rituals to worship Durga are carried out. The seventh day is Fulpati with its parade. The eighth day holds the “dark night”, in which animals are sacrificed in Durga’s temples. The sacrifices continue until dawn, and in the homes big feasts with meat meals are held. More sacrifices follow on the ninth day, along with  parades and asking for blessings for vehicles. On the tenth to fourteenth day everyone visits their elders to receive their blessing – these are days to visit relatives, a chance to reunite for families that live spread out across the country. On the last day, people stay at home and rest. However, The celebrations has become a low-key affairs in light of recent Earthquake.Sikkim CM Pawan Chamling has already announced that Dashain and Diwali festivals will not be celebrated by him as a mark of respect to people who have lost their lives in 18.9.11 Earthquake.[...]



After quake, tourism drops in Sikkim

2011-10-03T16:09:47.660+05:30

Gangtok: The massive September 18 earthquake in Sikkim left more than 70 people dead or missing and crippled travel and tourism industry in state.
Following the earthquake disaster, the number of visitors was down significantly from 2010, said the state-affiliated Local Tourism Organisations and Operators.
"Due to the great earthquake last month, people continued to avoid trips to Sikkim in October," the local tour operators said .
"The Relief and Rescue Operations in North Sikkim has not been settled and still undertaken by Army and State Government and its details have been continually reported by the world's media. There are problem of road connectivity to prominent tourism destinations such as Yumthang,Lachen,Lachung, Changu lake and even Nathula.Many Monasteries are also damaged across Sikkim.
"Worries about safety and security, which are essential to travel, still remained large around the world."
The report noted however that group tours to Sikkim had been resumed since October "in a limited manner" due partly to discount sales by travel agencies & Hotels.



Unique Charm of Thumb-shaped State of India

2011-10-01T17:59:02.956+05:30

Sikkim spans just 7,000sqkm but if the tour operator insists you visit just two districts in one trip, he isn’t taking you for a ride. The state has four distinct sections — the North, South, East and West districts — and each has its unique charm. One such quaint spot in West Sikkim is the site of the coronation of the first king or Chogyal. Legend has it that Mahaguru Rimpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, had made a prophecy about Sikkim in the 8th century. Nine centuries later, three wise lamas gathered from the north, south and west at Yoksam and launched the search for “a man from the east, bearing the name Phuntsog”, as foretold in the prophecy. The chosen young man was found near Gangtok and crowned the first king of Sikkim in 1642. At that historic spot today stands a stone throne shaded by a 300-year-old fir tree. As a homage to the erstwhile kingdom, a stupa nearby contains soil and water from all over Sikkim and is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. Sikkim gave up monarchy and became a state in the Union of India in April 1975 after popular sentiments went against the Chogyal. Between 1947 and then, Sikkim was a special protectorate. The Government of India managed its external affairs, defence, diplomacy and communications. The monarch had autonomy in other matters. Sikkim’s accession to India remains a sore point with China, which considered the state a territory occupied by India till 2003. As Buddhism was once the state religion, monasteries and stupas abound in Sikkim. Some of the famous ones are Rumtek Monastery, Peymiangtse Monastery, Sangachoeling Monastery, Dro-dul Chorten stupa (in Gangtok) and a stupa resembling the Swayambhunath temple of Kathmandu in a monastery near the holy Khecheopalri Lake. Speaking of lakes, Sikkim has nearly 180 of them. “Of them, Khecheopalri, Gurudongmar and Chhangu are the most scenic,” said Priya Majumdar, who visited Sikkim a second time a few months back. The state is also famous for its numerous therapeutic hot springs. Sikkim’s lifeline is the Teesta, which originates in Cholamu Lake in North Sikkim and unites with her “lover”, the male river Rangit, near Teesta Bazaar. But the most defining geographical feature of the state is the Kanchenjunga (8,586m), the third-highest in the world and the guardian deity to the people of Sikkim. Residents believe that beneath the slopes of this sacred mountain, God created the original man and woman, from whom all Sikkimese have descended. The slightest whims of the deity can unleash floods, avalanches and hailstorms upon the valleys. Earthquakes too. Joe Brown and George Band were the first to summit the Kanchenjunga on May 25, 1955. The British expedition honoured the beliefs of the Sikkimese people by stopping a few feet short of the actual summit. Since then, successful summit missions have followed this tradition. The people of Sikkim can be broadly divided into three ethnic communities — the Bhutias, the Nepalis and the Lepchas, who are the oldest inhabitants of the land. Each community has its own traditional costumes, customs and festivals. “The communities, though distinct and diverse, live in harmony. The Sikkimese, like most hill-dwellers, are simple, hardworking people,” said Pranab Basu, a Calcutta-based photographer who has shot extensively in Sikkim. While keeping their ethnic traditions alive, the Sikkimese have embraced modern living. The government aims to achieve 100 per cent[...]



Sikkim CM Pawan Chamling roll-out Action Plan for Sikkim

2011-10-01T11:18:36.771+05:30

Gangtok:  A meeting of all Sikkim Ministers, MLAs, MPs, Advisors to Sikkim CM Pawan Chamling , Chief Secretary, Additional CS and other HoDs following the visit of the Prime Minister,was held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister at Mintokgang on 29th September. According to minutes of the meeting, all policy decisions taken were to be implemented in right earnest CM directed at the outset and also said that he wanted to know about the ground realities from the legislators and urged them to come out with remedial measures for the problems faced by the people due to the recent earthquake. He also stressed on the fact that being the elected representatives, all legislators were answerable and accountable to the people, and for leadership to them. The views and suggestions of all legislators were heard at length by CM.   The following decisions were taken: -1.BDOs, SDMs & DCs will verify the victims/affected people as well as assess the damages and release grants through cheques. 2.The grants for damages of pucca and kutcha houses were revised as follows:- I.Pucca houses a.Totally collapsed - Rs. 50,000/- b.Severely damaged - Rs. 25,000/- c.Majorly damaged - Rs. 15,000/- d.Partially damaged - Rs. 5000/- II.Kutcha houses a.Totally collapsed - Rs. 30,000/- b.Severely damaged - Rs. 15,000/- c.Majorly damaged - Rs. 6,000/- d.Partially damaged - Rs. 3000/- The above grants are for immediate relief. 3.The State Government would take up construction of houses in case of totally collapsed houses wherever necessary. Such houses will be constructed in the same land where the collapsed house was located. In case the land is beyond use, then land can be made available through land bank scheme.4.The 2nd instalment of relief grant to the Districts are as follows:- i.1(one) crore each to all DCs, which is to be disbursed to the respective BDOs. ii.Panchayats of Chungthang- Rs 10 lakhs each. iii.2Pipons( Dzumsas)- Rs 10 lakhs each. iv.Panchayats of Dzongu – Rs 5 lakhs each. 5.Relief grants to Municipalities/Nagar Panchayats are as follows:- i.Municipal Commissioner ,Gangtok Municipal Corporation- Rs 10 lakhs. ii.Municipal Executive Officer, Namchi Municipal Council- Rs 5 lakhs. iii.President, Singtam Nagar Panchayat- Rs 5 lakhs. 6.The officers who are local residents of the same place are posted in the following places exclusively for rescue and relief operations :- i. Chungthang- Mr. TN Kazi, Director, HRDD has already been posted. ii.Lachen- Mr. Gozin Lachenpa,SE, Irrigation & FC Department. iii.Lachung- Mr. Lobsang Dorjee Lachungpa, Jt.Director, AH&VS. iv.Dzongu- Mr. Sonam Lepcha, Dy. Directror, HRDD. 7.Basic amenities such as road connectivity, drinking water supply, electricity are to be restored immediately. For restoration of roads, the Chief Secretary will co-ordinate with BRO and Army. Facilities for medical treatment should be provided to all the victims and also be of high quality. 8.All Government schools should be repaired and the repairing work should be completed before the Dushera holidays are over, so that all schools can be re-opened from 10th October,2011.In case of totally collapsed schools, temporary arrangements are to be made .All repair works are to be under the guidance and supervision of respective area MLAs. 9.All essential commodities for disbursement to North Sikkim will be taken by road to Mangan, from there they would be airlifted for disbursement[...]



Interview with Sikkim's Anti-Hydro Dam Activist Dawa Lepcha

2011-10-01T10:51:37.751+05:30

‘Devastation happened only in areas close to dam projects’Dawa Lepcha, a 38-year-old anti-dam activist, points out that the secrecy surrounding government decisions leads to anti-people policies<><> Dawa LepchaWhen did you start your protests?We came to know about these projects around 2003- 04. We have been running this campaign since. We have approached the government, submitting memorandum, press releases. But to no avail.Post-quake, do you think things will change?It will be easier to convince people that there is something behind our protest. People are discussing it.A number of projects were sanctioned in quick time. Was there no opposition?It was all being done secretly. They came up with the list only when we asked for it. By then, they had already signed MOUs for 19 or 20 projects out of 30.What impact did you fear?There would be demographic changes, social and cultural issues. Also, if a project lies within 10 km of a national park, the law says you need permission. They haven’t even applied for it. The seismic issue was never considered very seriously — environment impact assessments just make a mention of it. Of course, we can’t say the earthquake was caused by these projects, but they have definitely worsened the situation. Dynamite has been used carelessly for years. It’s common sense: devastation has happened only in construction areas.Do you oppose all projects?When we realised there are many more projects coming up, we tried to widen the protest. Most project-affected people were very concerned, but unfortunately the government has a tight control here.It is said almost 80 percent of the people work for the government. Does it make entry of private companies easy?On the finance side, in all the Independent Project Co-operatives, the government has 25 percent equity. If the State is a minority stakeholder, how will it have a say?Excerpts From The Interview:Sai Manish is a Correspondent with Tehelka sai.manish@tehelka.com [...]