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UNION HOME MINISTER CHAIRS MEETING OF CHIEF 

MINISTERS OF STATES BORDERING CHINA

 

Gangtok, May 20: (IPR) Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh chaired the review meeting of Chief Ministers bordering with China at Chintan Bhawan in the state capital today.

At the outset of the programme, the Union Minister thanked the Hon’ble Chief Minister for the wonderful hospitality bestowed upon him and the other dignitaries. He said that the Indo-China border is undemarcated, extremely cold with very difficult terrain and thus it is more important that impetus should be given about infrastructure and peace in the border areas. The Union Minister praised the work of ITBP and said that the Centre was doing everything feasible for their smooth functioning in overcoming challenges. He stressed upon the development of model villages and said that innovative and concrete proposals would be taken up. Implementation of Border Areas Development Programs (BADP) projects and construction of border infrastructures were taken up in top priority.

The  Chief Minister of Sikkim, Shri Pawan Chamling addressed the august gathering and briefed them about the state and the geographical strategic importance. He said that the army, Paramilitary and the government of Sikkim implements a number of schemes under the Border Area Development Programme which is designed to meet the special developmental needs of people living in remote and inaccessible border areas with essential infrastructure through convergence of other existing flagship programmes in a proactive and participative approach. The Chief Minister thanked the Union Home Minister for his benign presence to the state.

The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat and Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Shri Pema Khandualso briefed the Union Minister on the issues concerning development. Issues concerning border infrastructure including border roads, border out posts, critical infrastructure and coordination between the concerned States and ITBP stationed in states were some of the main issues deliberated upon in the meeting. The states of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh were represented by their respective Principal Secretaries, Home.

 Earlier, Secretary, Department of Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs, Smt Sanjeevanee Kutty presented the broad agenda of the meeting and apprised about the various programs and initiatives being taken for development of infrastructure and other facilities for the security personnel and the population living in border areas.

Likewise, a brief presentation was made by DG ITBP Shri Krishna Choudhary, wherein he briefed about the functioning and issues of the organization.

Chief Secretary Government of Sikkim Shri A.K. Shrivastava gave the vote of thanks where he thanked the Union Minister for sparing his valuable time and visiting the beautiful state. He also thanked the various dignitaries of different states for attending the meeting of this kind which had happened for the very first time.

Later, addressing the press conference, Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh expressed pleasure that such a review meeting concerning infrastructure and other issues in Indo-China Border states was held for the first time. He appreciated the participation and inputs provided by the Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim and officials from the states of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. He put on record his appreciation for the contribution of Sikkim as the host state fort the meeting.

 

The Home Minister briefed about the various developmental projects being implemented by the Ministry in the Border States. He also shared some of the projects and proposals on the pipeline.

The Union Minister stated that along with the border security forces, equal impetus should be given for the upliftment of civilian people living in these border areas. He stated that these people are the strategic assets of the country and their basic needs should be addressed. He added that the State Government of the Indo-China Border states have been requested to look into these issues.

The Union Minister also informed that Central assistance for Border Area Development Programmes (BADP) has been enhanced from 990 Crore in 2016-17 to 1100 Crore in the current financial year.

Likewise, he informed that the Ministry is focusing on modern villages, and stated that in the last financial year, 41 model villages were created for which a financial allocation of 92 Crore was made. He further urged the State Governments to submit maximum proposals for model villages to the Central Government.

He further added that the issues concerning border areas should be jointly handled by the State and the Central Government in a coordinated way.

He stated that any hindrances like land acquisitions, forest clearances and allocation of quarries should be sorted out diligently and in a time bound manner by the State Government with support from the Central Government.

Indian Seed Congress 2017 was inaugurated ata Kolkatta

Sikkim Minister Poudyal speaks on Organic Farming

Kolkata, February 13: The 7th edition of Indian Seed Congress 2017 was inaugurated on 13th February 2017 here.The event was inaugurated by Shri Radha Mohan Singh,  Union Agriculture Minister, India , Shri Abdur Razzak Molla, Minister of Food Processing Industries & Horticulture, Government of West Bengal & Shri Somnath Poudyal,  Minister for Food Security and Agriculture Development, Government of Sikkim as the Guests of honour.

The welcome address was given by Mr M Prabhakar Rao , President , National Seed Association of India. Shri Rao reaffirmed the Seed Industry’s commitment to providing quality seeds to farmers. He also stressed upon the role of the Seed Industry which is making huge efforts and investing continuously to provide superior seeds to meet the diverse requirements of the farmers across the country in more than 100 crops.  The research investments made by the Industry are leading to development of superior products which enhances the profitability of all the farmers and makes the consumer get constant supply of the main Agriculture commodities including cereals, pulses, oil seeds, fruits and vegetables.  Besides demand for feed and industry raw material requirements are also fully met by Indian agriculture with support of seed sector. 

This was followed by address of  Union Agriculture Minister Shri Radha Mohan Singh. The  Union Minister said that the government is committed to work to achieve the objective of doubling farmer’s income. Addressing the august gathering Shri Radha Mohan Singh appreciated the presence of participants from different countries. He reiterated his Government’s commitment to farming community. Hon’ble minister informed the house that due to relentless efforts of his Government the quality of Seeds has improved. The Government has focussed more on export of seeds to other countries. Hon’ble minister stressed on the importance of Technological advancement. He further spoke on various initiatives of the Government which have helped farmers to great extent like soil testing, skill development. He informed the gathering that in the last 2 years the government has given 14 crore soil health cards to the farmers. The Government has allotted 40,000 crores to irrigation projects alone for betterment of farming community. The minister further stressed on the importance of digitalization in agriculture. He further stated that every drop of water has to utilized to maximum and reaffirmed his commitment to the goal of “per drop more crop”. He called upon all to work together for betterment of farmers and stop their exploitation at all cost.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Somnath Poudyal,  Minister for Food Security and Agriculture Development, Government of Sikkim stressed on the need for a general agreement on the requirement for organic breeding; major increase in the genetic diversity of the breeding materials; need to breed for performance in mixtures and populations; rethink on breeding methodologies including exploitation of gene banks, population breeding and farmers’ participation; and last but not the least, consistent support to Sikkim as the First Fully Organic Farming State of the country that can bring together the interested individuals and national groups to provide the stimulus for research and funding of these activities in organic sector. The minister stressed on good quality seeds free of inorganic assimilation and in quantities easily available upon asking in a short notice should be our main aim. Unless healthy seeds of proven quality and of organic origin are made available in sufficient quantities, any programme on organic advancement is likely to face a setback. Seed therefore becomes a matter of major concern to the farmers and planners alike. He also shared that Sikkim is the first Organic Farming State in the country. It is a well known fact that production of organic seeds is fundamental to sustaining the organic movement in the country. Interacting with the major players of the industry through this forum is an experience that will help accelerate the growth of this industry which is still at its infancy in Sikkim. He hoped the seed industry would meet this requirement.

This was followed by address of Shri Abdur Razzak Molla, Hon’ble Minister of Food Processing Industries & Horticulture, Government of West Bengal. Hon’ble minister shared his vision of setting up Seed Hub in West Bengal. He called up on all stakeholders to work together to meet this challenge. In this regard, he stated that the government would provide extensive support for betterment of farmers.

Shri Sanjeev Chopra, Addl. Chief Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Government of West Bengal stated that they are keen to work together with the central government in the field of irrigation and creation of seed hub in western districts of West Bengal i.e. Purulia, Bankura and Birbhum etc. He stated west Bengal holds great promise in the field of agriculture.

About Indian Seed Congress 

Indian Seed Congress is an annual forum organized by National Seed Association of India which has emerged as a much-awaited event to project the latest trends and views of the Seed Industry sector; voice their concerns; deliberate on the new technological advances and the barriers to technology development and introduction; showcase new product ranges and services and network for better business development. The Indian Seed Congress provides a platform for the Seed Industry to interact closely with technology developers, sector development officials and policy makers.

Training of Internal Committee on understanding Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Concludes

Gangtok, Febuary 12: The Internal Committee (IC) members of 42 government departments of Sikkim are going to participate in an intensive training on understanding Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal), Act 2013 and the role of the said committee in its implementation. This week long training which starts from today in the conference hall of the Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department in Lumsay, 5th Mile, Tadong, Gangtok, will cover 10 Departments each day and the training will focus on the crucial role of the Internal Committee members in the monitoring and implementation of the law in the respective Departments. The Act mandates the formation of an Internal Committee at each of the administrative units and offices located at each of its divisional or sub- divisional levels. All employers must provide necessary facilities for the IC to deal with the complaint of Sexual Harassment and to conduct an inquiry.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act was passed in 26th February, 2013 by Rajya Sabha and notified on 23rd April, 2013. It is recognized that sexual harassment results in the violation of an individual’s Fundamental Right to gender equality under Articles 14,15 and 21 – which provides for equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and protection of life and personal liberty. An instance of Sexual Harassment at the workplace is also the violation of an individual’s Fundamental Right to practice any profession and carry out any occupation, trade or business which depends on the availability of a “safe” working environment under Article 19(1) (g).

The training will be conducted by Nandita Pradhan, Programme Manager of Martha Farrell Foundation. Deputy Secretary, Social Justice Empowerment and Welfare Department informed the participants about the actions that the department has been taking for meaningful compliance of the Act in the State as a Nodal Department. Further they also informed that Martha Farrell Foundation is a technical partner of the SJE&W Department to provide support in this endeavour.

The Martha Farrell Foundation is an initiative of PRIA (Participatory Research in Asia) and was set up in 2015 after its Director; Dr. Martha Farrell was killed in a Taliban attack in Kabul in the year 2015 while she was conducting gender trainings for organisations in Afghanistan.

 Training of Internal Committee on understanding Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, 2013

The Internal Committee (IC) members of 42 government departments of Sikkim are going to participate in an intensive training on understanding Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal), Act 2013 and the role of the said committee in its implementation. This week long training which starts from today in the conference hall of the Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department in Lumsay, 5th Mile, Tadong, Gangtok, will cover 10 Departments each day and the training will focus on the crucial role of the Internal Committee members in the monitoring and implementation of the law in the respective Departments. The Act mandates the formation of an Internal Committee at each of the administrative units and offices located at each of its divisional or sub- divisional levels. All employers must provide necessary facilities for the IC to deal with the complaint of Sexual Harassment and to conduct an inquiry.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act was passed in 26th February, 2013 by Rajya Sabha and notified on 23rd April, 2013. It is recognized that sexual harassment results in the violation of an individual’s Fundamental Right to gender equality under Articles 14,15 and 21 – which provides for equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and protection of life and personal liberty. An instance of Sexual Harassment at the workplace is also the violation of an individual’s Fundamental Right to practice any profession and carry out any occupation, trade or business which depends on the availability of a “safe” working environment under Article 19(1) (g).

The training will be conducted by Nandita Pradhan, Programme Manager of Martha Farrell Foundation. Deputy Secretary, Social Justice Empowerment and Welfare Department informed the participants about the actions that the department has been taking for meaningful compliance of the Act in the State as a Nodal Department. Further they also informed that Martha Farrell Foundation is a technical partner of the SJE&W Department to provide support in this endeavour.

The Martha Farrell Foundation is an initiative of PRIA (Participatory Research in Asia) and was set up in 2015 after its Director; Dr. Martha Farrell was killed in a Taliban attack in Kabul in the year 2015 while she was conducting gender trainings for organisations in Afghanistan.

 

Registration for Kailash Manasarovar Yatra 2017 Begins

New Delhi: February 07 :Registration for Kailash Manasarovar Yatra organized by Ministry of External Affairs has commenced on 1 February 2017. This year the Yatra is scheduled during the period 12 June to 8 September through two routes. Applicants for this Yatra must be at least 18 years and not more than 70 years on 1 January 2017 to be eligible to apply for this Yatra. Last date for registration is 15 March 2017.

There are two routes for this Yatra. The route through Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand), which involves some trekking is estimated to cost about Rs.1.6 lakh per person. It will be conducted in 18 batches of 60 pilgrims each. The duration of the Yatra is 24 days for each batch including 3 days in Delhi for preparatory work. This route passes through important sites like Narayan Ashram, Patal Bhuvaneshwar. Yatris can also see the scenic beauty of Chialekh Valley, or the ‘Om Parvat’, which has the natural occurrence of snow in the shape of ‘Om’ on this mountain.

The route through Nathu La Pass (Sikkim) is motorable and suitable for senior citizens unable to undertake arduous trekking. From Gangtok the route passes through scenic places like Hangu Lake, and through the vast landscape of the Tibetan plateau. It is estimated to cost about Rs.2 lakhs person, and duration would be 21 days including 3 days in Delhi for preparatory work. This year 8 batches of 50 pilgrims each are scheduled for this route.

As in previous years, first time applicants, medical doctors, and married couples would have priority. Senior citizens would have priority on the Nathu La route if they opt for it. Four persons may apply and undertake the Yatra together, subject to conditions. Yatris can select both routes indicating priority or select only one of the routes. They will be allotted a route and batch through computerized draw of lots.

Keeping in line with Government of India’s push for digital mode of interaction with the public, registration for this Yatra on the websitehttp://kmy.gov.in is a fully online process. Applicants have to scan and upload passport pages containing personal details (photo page), address details (last page), and a photo to complete the application. The online form has necessary guidelines in Hindi or English languages to complete the form. Incomplete applications would be automatically cancelled after a cut-off date.

Selection of applicants will be through a fair computer-generated, random, gender-balanced selection process. Applicants will be notified of their selection after the computerized draw through automated email or SMS. After selection, applicants have to pay the confirmation fee as detailed on the website, to confirm their participation. Applicants can also get information, and track the status of their application through interactive helpline No: 011-24300655.

 

 

 Governor of Sikkim highlights the performance of the State in his Republic Day message

 

Gangtok, Governor of Sikkim, Shriniwas Patil  while addressing and conveying his greetings to the people of the expressed on the 68th Republic Day of the nation, that “ It was on this day, 67 years ago that the people of India gave unto themselves a Constitution that established India as a sovereign, socialist and democratic republic. Over the decades, our Republic has emerged as the largest democracy in the world, with democratic values and principles taking firm roots in our great Nation.

 He also took the opportunity to take stock of the progress recorded by the State in various fields.

He said, “Over the last two decades and more, my Government’s programmes and policies have been pro poor and people centric. Our Annual Plan outlay has increased to Rs. 2746.33 crores during the current financial year 2016-17. As per revised estimates the GSDP at constant prices for the year 2015-16 is Rs. 13,72,154 lakhs, with a growth rate of 6.5%.In the year 1995-96, my Government took a historic decision of allocating 70% of its Plan outlay for the up-liftment of the rural areas and this policy continues to guide the overall development initiatives of the rural areas.

Under the Health sector the State has made substantial progress in formulating and implementing the health care measures over the decades. The critical indicators such as IMR, MMR, disease prevalence, morbidity as well as mortality rates have shown consistent decline. The ambitious project of construction of the 1000 bedded multi-speciality Hospital which was started in 2010 is on the verge of completion. Great stress has been laid by my Government to complete this task and hopefully by end of this year the hospital should be operational. The Government of Sikkim’s dream of providing the best of medical care to the poorest of the poor at an affordable price would become a reality. Once all the facilities and specialities are in place, there would be no need to refer patients from Sikkim to the metros.

Speaking about the Education, he said,“0% of the State’s annual plan is earmarked for the education sector which is a top priority of my Government. This initiative has paid rich dividends and the literacy rate has increased to an impressive 82.20% today.

The policy adopted by my Government for education has seen a massive growth in the education sector. There is a tremendous improvement in access to schools with different category of schools in every kilometre. The teacher pupil ratio of 1:10 in primary and 1:21 in secondary levels (2013-14 data) is perhaps the best in the country.

The literacy rate has improved from 56.94% to 82.20%. There has been a substantial increase in the number of schools. There were 6381 teachers of all categories in the year 1994-95 which today (in 2016) stands at 10650.

The Chief Minister’s Merit Scholarship scheme was launched in 2010. Till date 607 students, 245 boys and 362 girls have been sponsored and are studying in reputed Public Schools in the State while 161 students are studying in reputed private schools outside the State. The first batch of such students shall be completing higher secondary education in 2017. In order to see the students through the higher education, this scheme has been made available till college level for the meritorious students.

The Chief Minister’s free scholarship scheme was introduced in 2011 under which local students securing admission to any of the world’s top 20 Universities in their chosen discipline are eligible for scholarship. Three such students have availed of the scholarship at a rate of Rs.22.00 lakhs per student so far.”

The Sikkim University, a Central University was established in the year 2007-08. Four private Universities, including Sikkim Manipal University and five private colleges - have been established since 2005.

About Rural Development, he further added,  “The planning process has been decentralised. District Planning Board under Zilla Panchayats have been formed for formulation of developmental plans at the District level.

The decentralization of power is one of the chief features of the Panchayati Raj. The PRIs of Sikkim are considered one of the best in the entire country. The success of PRIs of Sikkim is evident by the National Awards the State has received so far. It was ranked the best amongst the North Eastern Region in the year 2009-10 and ever since the State has bagged the Award every year. The latest edition being the recent honour, where the State was placed first on the cumulative devolution index and second on the incremental devolution index for the assessment year 2015-16. Besides the Devolution Award, various Gram Panchayats Unit of Sikkim have been bagging the Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Award and the Panchyat Sashaktikaran Puruskar every year. Block Administrative Centers (BACs) were established to provide administrative, accounts and technical support to cluster of Gram Panchayats. Thirty one BACs have been created so far to cater to the needs of the 176 Gram Panchayats in the State. These centres have greatly broadened the decentralization process by strengthening the last mile outreach of the administration and developmental programmes.

Under the rural Housing Scheme of my Government which is another top priority area, economically backward sections of the society are provided with one of the basic necessities of life, namely shelter. 5150 pucca houses have been completed till date against the target of 6000. Similarly total no. of houses completed under Reconstruction of Earthquake Damaged Rural Houses till date is 6450 against the total target 7972.

Rural connectivity has been taken to new heights by my Government with roads being constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana in the villages having difficult terrain. Development of a State largely depends on connectivity, more so roads in Sikkim’s context. The PMGSY has helped bridge the remotest of areas to the mainstream by connecting most difficult terrains also. The status of PMGSY roads till April 2016 is as under:-

Under stage I of construction, a total of 296 numbers of roads were sanctioned out of which 290 numbers have been completed. Similarly, under Stage II, 186 numbers of roads were sanctioned and 77 numbers have been completed.

He further said about Energy & Power, “Electricity has reached almost every nook and corner of the State including remote areas. The installed capacity of hydro-power has now become 810.70 MW. With the upcoming of several hydro-electric projects that are being developed through Independent Power Producers and joint ventures, my Government will be able to fully meet the local demand and also export the surplus power to other States. Electric power will be a major revenue earner for the State Government. The Hydro-electric projects allotted to IPPs on Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis will be returned to the State after 35 years from Commercial Operation Date (COD). The combined installed capacity of projects under construction through private developers and Central Public Sector Units which are at various stages of development are 4746.50 MW out of which 2526 MW are in advanced stage of construction. Apart from above, four projects totalling 765 MW capacity are already commissioned and operational.

The Prestigious Teesta Stage-III HEP having 1200 MW capacity is almost ready for commissioning and is likely to be dedicated to the Nation soon.

Women Empowerment & Social Justice

The empowerment of women in the State is a subject of top priority. My Government has ensured social justice to all sections of the society which has contributed to the peace and harmony within the various communities in the State. Positive policy and pro-poor initiatives have been adopted to cover the weaker section with focus on the marginalized sections like differently-abled persons, old aged persons, SCs and STs, children and women.

50% reservation has been provided to women in panchayats and urban local bodies. 33% reservation has been provided to women in Government service. Necessary legal framework has been created to ensure protection of the rights of women and their protection. A Sikkim State Commission for Women and Sikkim Commission for Protection of Child Rights and Social Welfare Board are active and operational in the State.

The nutritional needs of pregnant and lactating mothers are taken care of by providing supplementary nutrition to all such women in the villages. Under Small Family Scheme, special focus is being laid on the financial security and educational requirement of the girl child. My Government has enacted the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and Provision of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 which provides legal support to prevent exploitation of women at home as well as at work place.

The Widow Remarriage Scheme, the State Resource Centre for Women and establishment of Family Counselling Centre are all aimed at empowerment of women.

There has been perceptible change in the condition of women in the last few decades. The political empowerment, social equity and economic up-liftment have resulted in perceptible transformation in the condition of women in the State.

My Government is providing subsistence allowance of Rs. 600/- per month to 2804 beneficiaries who have been identified with disability of 40% and above by the State Medical Authority.”

Speaking about, Forest & Environment, he said, “Under the Forest and Environment Sector, 50 lakhs and 15 lakhs saplings have been planted under the State Green Mission and Ten Minutes to Earth plantation programmes respectively. Eco clubs are being formed in schools since the year 2000 and compulsory environmental education is being provided till Class VIII since the year 2002. Smriti Vans are under gram panchayats since the year 1999. Green awards have been instituted in the Schools in the year 2011 which provides Rs. 5.00 lakhs to the best Green School and Rs.1.00 lakh each to four second best schools. Development of eco-tourism through projects such as Banbas in West Sikkim, Chauridara in South and Golitar in East Sikkim as well as holding of international rhododendron festival in 2009 and international conference on Khangchendzonga National Park in 2015 are the many initiatives taken up under the forest & environment sector. Schemes for preservation of forests and wildlife, namely, Integrated Forest Management Scheme, Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats, Sikkim Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Management Project, Medicinal Plants Conservation & Development programme are on-going in the State. Wireless communication and GIS based mapping have been introduced since 2001. Forest development through Joint Forest Management Committees has been instituted and 228 JFMCs are currently operating in Sikkim.

As per the Forest survey of India’s State of Forest Report, there is an increase in the forest and tree cover from 43% in 1995 to 47.80% in 2015. Network of wildlife protected areas in the same way, has increased to 30.77%.

The noteworthy achievement has been the Khangchendzonga National Park being declared as one of the top 100 global green destinations by a consortium of top global agencies working on environment and sustainable tourism.

Khangchendzonga National Park has been declared as World Heritage Site on mixed criteria basis in 2016.

Sikkim has been ranked first in natural resource management and first in reducing pressure on the environment by Centre for Development Finance, Chennai in 2008 and 2009 and ranked as environmentally the most sustainable State in 2012 by the same institution.

Many schools have been awarded the Green School National Award since 2010.”

About the prospect of Tourism in the state, the Governor said, “A leading newspaper in the world, “New York Times” has listed Sikkim under 52 places to go in 2017 where Sikkim has been ranked at 17th place. This is very encouraging news for the State.

No doubt tourism is one of the most viable industries in the State. The State possesses all ingredients to make Sikkim one of the top tourist destinations in the country and the world.

The State has witnessed a sharp increase in tourist arrivals since 1994. There has been a boost in tourist’s footfalls in the State from a mere 0.82 lakh in 1993 to 7.44 lakh in 2015. The Government has adopted the best practice in

creation of tourism infrastructure with tourist friendly policy. It has made the State one of the safest and most sought after hill destinations in the country.

My Government has constructed some remarkable tourist attractions, such as, the statue of Guru Padmasambhava, Siddeshwara Dhaam, Tathagata Tsal, Indian Himalayan Centre for Adventure & Eco-Tourism, Institute of Hotel Management, etc.

My Government has opened up the Kailash- Manasarovar route via Nathu la which is a boon to the pilgrims visiting this holy shrine. The ropeway and skywalk at Bhaleydunga is also coming up which will add to the number of tourists attractions already in place.

Home stays have been promoted in a big way along with adventure tourism, trekking, etc. Once the Greenfield Airport at Pakyong is commissioned, we expect that the tourist foot-fall in the State will increase further.

My Government is continuously upgrading the carrying capacity of the State to cater to the growing number of visitors through subsidy incentives to hotels and home-stays.”

He said about Agriculture & Horticulture that “In the Food Security and Agriculture Development & Horticulture Sector, a historic decision was taken by my Government and a Resolution in the Assembly to convert the entire agricultural land of the State under Organic management was taken. A resolution was adopted in 2003 which was followed by constitution of Sikkim Organic Board, to take the initiative forward.

Sikkim Organic Mission was launched in 2010 and the time-frame was set to bring the entire agricultural land under organic management through certification by end of 2015. In the three livelihood schools, 800 educated

unemployed youth were trained, out of which 700 have been engaged in Internal Control System and certification activities. The Sikkim Agricultural/Horticultural input and livestock feed regulatory Act 2014 was enacted to regulate import, seed, distribution and use of inorganic agricultural environmental inputs and livestock feed. In total, 76,169.604 Ha. of its cultivable area has been organically certified in compliance with National Programme on Organic Production. A path breaking event “Sikkim Organic Festival-2016” was held at Gangtok from 18-20 January, 2016 graced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister.

Many international and national events have been organised in Sikkim such as Sikkim Organic Festival 2016 at Saramsa, Ranipool and Flower Show at Ridge Park in January, 2016. The event was graced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. National Conference on Sustainable Agriculture was also organized as a part of the Sikkim Organic Festival.

About Roads & Bridges in the state, he said, “My Government has given high priority to connectivity viz: the road sector in the year 2017-18. In order to overcome the current inconvenience being felt by the public and tourists visiting the State, focus has been laid to upgrade and strengthen and also to achieve 100% carpeting of all State Highways, major district roads and other district roads within the State.

We are maintaining 2255.23 km of roads including, national highway-510, 710 and 717 including 400 bridges across the State.

Up-gradation works for conversion to double lane on the newly declared national highway i.e. NH-710, NH-510, NH-310 have also been initiated.

Under Special Accelerated Road Development Programme - North East, up-gradation of other existing roads from single lane to double lane standard

leading to central business district, important tourist destinations has been initiated.

In order to facilitate better trade between the Tibetan Autonomous Region (China) and India the Roads and Bridges Department has played an important role in the creation of the required infrastructure at Sherathang and Nathu la.

The Government of India has approved the Up-gradation and double laning of NH-510 from Singtam-Ravangla-Legship-Pelling. At the first instance a distance of 44 km from Singtam Hospital to Geyzing has been approved. Similarly, Up-gradation and double laning of NH-717 A from Rhenock-Pakyong-Ranipool has also received approval. At first, the work along the stretch from Rhenock to Pakyong via Rorathang shall be taken up. These works will be undertaken by National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation.”

About Urban Development, he said, “The growth of population and urbanization is a global phenomenon. Under the Urban Development sector, my Government has taken major steps such as complete ban on use of plastic bags, completion of garbage plant at Martam, construction of garbage plant for the South and West Districts at Shipshu, West Sikkim, introduction of pay and use toilets and washrooms and has involved the Sulabh International to construct and operate toilets in Gangtok and surrounding areas.”

In the Water Supply and Public Health Sector, the goal of my Government is to provide clean, safe and potable drinking water to the public at large.

Besides drinking water, sewerage facilities are also provided in all the urban areas of the State. Currently, 7 towns, 41 other bazaars and 96 rural marketing

centres have been covered. Besides, these services are also provided to the Army, BRO and other central organizations in the State.

My Government is committed to provide 24x7 quality services, improve revenue generation with rationalized tariff structure, and adopt methods for water conservation and to protect the ecology and environment and source preservation. Besides it is envisaged to establish efficient sewer networks in admissible towns and provide support to the Fire and Emergency Services.”

He further added, “I have briefly touched upon the major developmental activities of the State but we still have a long way to go. The vision of my Government is to transform Sikkim into a self-reliant and self-sufficient entity and at the same time to make the State prosperous and progressive, so that the people can live a full life with dignity and freedom. I seek your full support and cooperation in order to achieve the many tasks at hand.

Lastly, as I conclude, I congratulate the Republic Day medal winners and all those who have brought laurels to the State. Your hard work and achievements have been acknowledged. Let us all renew our pledge to contribute our might to the process of nation.”

 

“ The literacy rate improves by 82.20% In Sikkim”

Republic Day Message of  Chief Minister Chamling

Gangtok, 26 January: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling in his Republic Day message  conveying his heartiest felicitations and best wishes for the New Year to the people of Sikkim expressed that, “It was on this day 67 years ago that the people of India gave themselves a written Constitution, enshrining the founding principles of our democratic socialist republic. Our Constitution drew from the best experiences of the world with democracy, and created a robust democratic institution which granted liberal basic rights to its citizens. Our Constitution put due process of law above everything and has since acted as a beacon of light for the entire nation. It is a tribute to the people of this nation and its leadership that our Constitution has stood the test of turbulent times and provided the framework for all round progress that our nation has witnessed.”

He further said that the journey over more than two decades for Sikkim has been satisfying and most fruitful. Over the years the Government has been successful in meeting the dreams and aspirations of the people. The Government has ever since worked tirelessly for the betterment and welfare of the people of the State. The Government has laid great emphasis on providing peace, security, dignity and respect to the Sikkimese people, through our continuous effort for all round development of the State. The Government has tried its level best to make Sikkim the best and leading State in the country. Today other States look towards Sikkim with admiration. Our policies and programmes have been appreciated and are often cited as examples worthy of emulation. Sikkim has raised the benchmark in many sectors, which has made the country and the world take notice of the State.

He further said, “ The Government has been successful in uplifting the lives of the people. The living standards have improved. New avenues have been created especially in the service sector for the youth to explore. The growth rate and the increase in our Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is better than anywhere else in the country. We have implemented schemes well, especially in terms of providing quality education and human resource development. The results have been most encouraging.

Providing health care, basic facilities, social security to all communities, women empowerment, power decentralization and devolution, development of infrastructure, promotion of tourism, floriculture and horticulture have been our priority sectors.”

He further said, “ The other area of focus of the Government is in the creation of the required infrastructure, such as, roads, buildings, hospitals, schools and colleges, stadiums, shopping complexes, car parking, block administrative centres (BACs), District Administrative Centres, Gram Prashashan Kendras etc.

Education has been one of the top priority items of the Government and 20% of its budget allocation is being invested in the sector annually. The result has been encouraging. Today the literacy rate of the State is at 82.20%. A Central University has been established apart from four private Universities and five private Colleges established since the year 2005.

The policy adopted by the Government in the education sector has been seen to bring about overall growth. In comparison to other States, especially in the North Eastern Region, Sikkim is ahead in various fields. There has been a tremendous improvement in access to schools, with different category of schools in every square kilometer area. The teacher pupil ratio of 1:10 in primary and 1:21 in secondary levels (2013-14) is perhaps the best in the Country.”

He further said, “ The literacy rate has improved from its earlier 56.94% to a whopping 82.20%.

* There has been tremendous rise in the number of schools and

* Number of colleges has also increased considerably.

Annual growth rate of higher education institutions in Sikkim is 15.27% against the national average of 7%. The enrolment of students has also shown a significant improvement.”

He further said, “ It is worthwhile to note that the boy: girl student ratio has improved over the years. There has been improvement from 56 girls to 100 boys during 2006-07 to 108 girls per 100 boys during 2013-14.

There has been substantial increase in the number of schools and colleges and the enrollment of the students has increased considerably. Sikkim was the first State in the country to establish a Directorate of Capacity Building and a State Institute of Capacity Building to train our youth in various trades and other disciplines, in order to create a pool of trained and skilled manpower.”

He further said, “ Since the year 1994 health care has been the top priority of the Government. The vision of the Government is to make Sikkim the healthiest State with people having a longer life span. In order to achieve this goal we have focused on development of the infrastructure providing equipments, man power and medicines in the four Districts as well as in Gangtok. It is heartening to note that most of the District hospitals have been upgraded in terms of infrastructure, equipment and with substantial number of specialists.

The upcoming multi specialty hospital at Sichey is going to be a milestone for the State. We hope to shift the STNM Hospital to the 1000 bedded Multi Specialty Hospital by the end of this year, or early next year. This hospital will cater to providing better health facilities to the poorest of poor in the State with better equipments and specialized treatment and with better working conditions for the doctors, nurses, para-medics etc.”

He further said, “ The CATCH programme heralded since 2010 is a unique one. It has provided opportunity to the poorest of the poor to avail of medical help at their doorsteps. This programme reflects our emphasis on preventive measures being adopted for keeping our people healthy. Our health indices have steadily improved over the years. The immunization cover is more than 93% and the institutional delivery is encouraging. The Infant Mortality Rate has come down from 46 per 1000 in 1994 to 19 per 1000 in 2014. The Department of Health has made concerted efforts in prevention of smoking in public places and the State has been declared as Smoke Free State in the year 2010. Getting into deep past Sikkim was also the first State to start the Hepatitis B vaccination for children in 2001.”

He further said, “ Sikkim has emerged as one of the top eco-friendly tourist destinations in the country. The Lonely Planet magazine had named Sikkim as the best region to visit in 2014 and very recently the New York Times has ranked Sikkim 17th place among 52 places to visit in 2017. This is indeed encouraging and augurs well for the people and the State. The Government has promoted eco-tourism, adventure tourism, culture and pilgrimage tourism and more recently much focus has been laid in promotion of village tourism, home stays etc. The opening up of the new pilgrimage route through Nathula to Kailash Mansarovar has added a new dimension to the vibrant tourism industry in the State.

During the fiscal year 2017-18, the State Government is committed to improve the quality of roads across the State. Our main focus would be to provide blacktopping, protective works and drainage to such roads rendered hazardous on account of severity of rains and fragility of the soil. Extraordinary care through on-the-spot supervision by the concerned JEs, AEs, DEs etc is called for so that such roads are no longer the defective

liability of the department for a minimum period of five years. Double lanning of the State Highway connecting South and West District would also begin this year. We need to seriously monitor these road projects in order to ensure quality works.

Along with the roads, the Government is committed to making Sikkim a Kutcha House Free State by building more houses during the year. 2017 is the year of development and our thrust would be to complete all incomplete and ongoing schemes and projects. While doing so let us look back and retrospect at the achievements recorded so far. We must make every effort to consolidate on the gains achieved in the past.

In the rural development sector the Government through the Rural Management & Development Department (RM&DD) has played a key role in implementing various programmes and schemes in the rural areas of the State. The projects and schemes funded by both the Central and State Government, Finance Commission etc. has been the harbinger of progress and prosperity and self reliance in the villages of the State. If the nation is to truly achieve progress, the villages have to be developed first. In this direction the State Government has left no stone unturned in securing a better life and livelihood for the people residing in the villages. It is heartening to note that the poverty ratio has decreased from 41.3% in 1993-94 to 8.19% in 2011.”

He further said, “ A noteworthy mission of the RM&DD has been to encourage young people to become self reliant by providing them skill development training at the village level in the fields of organic farming, masonry, carpentry and other skilled vocations.

The State has achieved success in several areas of rural development and the State was declared India’s first Nirmal Rajya in 2008. The other notable achievement was in March 2016 when Sikkim became the first State in the country to be declared as Free from Open Defecation.

You will be happy to know that the progress of the Teesta III hydro electric project towards commissioning its total capacity has been progressing on the right line and it is already generating 220MW of power continuously. It has been connected to the National Grid though this is considered to be a lean period for power generation.”

He further said, “ Recently on 18th January 2017, we observed Sikkim Organic Day 2017 to commemorate one year of Sikkim becoming the fully organic state. We are trying to address all aspects of organic mission from awareness building, supply of organic seeds and organic manure to the marketing of the organic agricultural commodities.”Within the increasingly dynamic, private marketing system, the role of the Government is to help keep the marketing of organic commodities flowing in an orderly and efficient manner, to promote effective distribution, to eliminate speculation and waste, and to stabilize the marketing of agricultural commodities.”

Sikkim Organic Mission, under the Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCD-NER) has therefore appointed Agricultural Marketing Specialist for planning, providing information, or taking action concerning basic marketing operations pertaining to a broad field of marketing. Accordingly, we have hired the services of Shri S. Chaudhary from IIM, Ahmedabad as our Marketing Consultant for this purpose.

The Agricultural Marketing Specialist will be responsible for supporting the implementation of Sikkim Organic Mission’s marketing, communications, knowledge management, branding and outreach activities.

Some of the unique and successful programmes are the Chief Minister’s Rural Housing Mission, Chief Minister’s Financial Inclusion Project, Model Villages, Mukhya Mantri AwaasYojana, Total Connectivity Mission, Implementation of the Village Development Action Plan, Establishment of BACs, Gram Prashashan Kendras, Creation of Sustainable Rural Infrastructure etc.”

He further said, “ Though Sikkim has shown exemplary performance in many socio economic aspects, when it comes to rural prosperity, the process is ongoing. We have several projects being implemented in the State, in order to provide the best of services and facilities to the rural people. The major milestones to be achieved on a mission mode are as follows:

* Katcha House Free State – 2019

* 100% Rural Connectivity – 2020

* Mission Poverty Free State – 2020

* 100% Water Supply in all Villages – 2020

Guided by the Constitutional norms and principles, we have been serving the interest of the people at the State and national level. Within the framework of our Constitution, we have been able to fulfill many of our socio-political demands in consultation with the Central Government. We will continue to establish regular dialogue with the Government of India and based on the democratic tradition, the Central Government has always been forthcoming to appreciate our hopes and aspirations by granting many of our socio-political demands in the past. I am confident of positive outcome with regard to some of our pending demands with the Central Government as well.”

 

Committee of Chief Ministers Meet Prime Minister Modi

Chamling Raises Karmpa and Seat Reservation Issues

          New Delhi January 25: (IPR) Shri Pawan Chamling, Chief Minister, Sikkim returned Sikkim after meeting  Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, along with the other members of the Committee of Chief Ministers on Digital Payments, in New Delhi, on January 24, 2017.

 In a separate meeting, Chief Minister Chamling also raised the existing demands of the people of Sikkim with  Prime Minister Modi. He requested for allowing 17th Gyalwa Karmapa to visit Sikkim and bless his devotees. He also requested for additional financial support to compensate Sikkim for the loss caused by the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) recommendations. Finally, Shri Chamling also urged Government of India ensure reservation of seats for the Limboo – Tamang (L-T) communities of Sikkim in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly (SLA). ( File photo of Chief Minister with PM Modi)

 Earlier, the Committee of Chief Ministers on Digital Payments  presented its final report outlining in detail the steps needed to be taken to expand digital payment transactions in the country, from one transaction per adult per month to one transaction per adult per day, i.e., an increase in total monthly transactions from 900 million at present to 30 billion a month, by December 2017.  In its detailed, the Committee advised setting of targets and monitoring mechanisms; expanding technical infrastructure for digital payments; increasing supply of acceptance infrastructure; promoting Aadhar Enabled Payment Systems (AEPS), encouraging e-Know You Customer (KYC) mechanisms, prepaid instruments, Unified Payment Interface (UPI); Unstructured Service Supplement Data (USSD) and backend infrastructure; instituting institutional, policy and regulatory changes to ease adoption of digital payments; creating awareness and trials among customers and merchants; incentivizing digital transaction through tax reliefs and subsidies; strengthening security in digital payments; and targeting specific segments for quick results.  Shri Modi accepted the report of the committee and complimented the members for having developed a series of effective recommendations, which will boost digital payment mechanisms in India, within a short period of time. 

 Shri Chamling, in his oral intervention during the meeting, stressed on the need to create awareness about digital payment technologies at the grassroots level, through the institutions of Gram Sabhas, Gram Panchayats and Nagar Panchayats.  He argued for instituting schemes that will transfer funds to these bodies, which can then be used for information, education and communication (IEC) activities. Shri Chamling also advocated for rapid spread of internet connectivity, particularly in the rural and remote areas of North East States like Sikkim.

Prime Minister thanked Shri Chamling for his suggestions on digital payments and assured to look into the genuine grievances of the Sikkimese people.

Union Minister for Railways

 Shri Prabhu Assures Railway Connectivity to Sikkim

 

Gangtok ,January 21 ( IPR) : Railway connectivity would soon be approved up to the capital city of Gangtok in addition to the 45km long railway link from Sevoke to the town of Rangpo, assured the Union Minister for Railways , Government of India - Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu while interacting with the Sikkimese people  on “Good Governance” at Chintan Bhawan, here in the state capital today. The interaction meeting was also chaired by the Member of Parliament-Shri. P.D Rai, the Chief Secretary of Sikkim-Shri.A.K Shrivastava , General Manager of the North East Frontier Railways- Shri H.K Jaggi and the Secretary of the Sikkim Chamber of Commerce. 

 

The Union Minister, while speaking to the gathering  appreciated the prepossessing beauty of the State of Sikkim and highlighted that this can be greatly tapped to give further impetus to the rapid progress of the State  of Sikkim. He mentioned that improved rail connectivity to the State of Sikkim will greatly benefit the State and its people. 

He also lauded the organic status of the State and asserted that the railway connectivity to upto Gangtok and further advanced to the international rail links of Asia would be a collosal factor in taking the organic harvest & produce of Sikkim to the booming economies of Asia .

While speaking on the North East Region , the Union Minister stated that the region has the potential to be the next growth story through the overall  development of the tourist infrastructure. 

He accented that the good governance of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is reflected in the fact that the Prime Minister has decided to shift focus on the development of the North East with dedication and expedition to transform the North East for the people of the North East.In conclusion , he solicited feedback and suggestions from the stakeholders for improving the connectivity and services .

M.P, Shri P.D Rai, Chief Secretary of Sikkim and the Secretary, Chamber of Commerce also addressed the meeting wherein they collectively highlighted the problems faced by the Sikkimese people in terms of railway connectivity  while soliciting a favourable response from the central government .On the occasion an Achievement Report  of the Northern Frontier Railways in the North East ( 2014-2016) which is reflective of the good governance in the region was also released by the Minister.The interactive meeting saw discussions on the topic of Good Governance by the  Minister with the media , members of the Chamber of Commerce , prominent citizens, students and stake holders.                   

Sustainable Development Leadership Award to  Chief Minister Chamling-President of India praises Sikkim

 

New Delhi October 6: Sikkim Chief Minister Sri Pawan Chamling was today conferred the prestigious 2016 ‘Sustainable Development Leadership Award’ by  the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee,during the World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. While presenting the award, President Shri Mukherjee hailed Sikkim as the most progressive State of the Union and applauded Sri Chamling’s leadership in making Sikkim the first organic State of the country. He said that Sikkim has always endeavored to maintain harmony with the requirements of climate change. President  Mukherjee further  recalled his long association with Sri Chamling, spanning more than two decades, and complimented him on being the longest serving Chief Minister of a State of the country. He wished Sri Chamling success in the march of Sikkim towards its developmental goals.

In his acceptance speech, Sikkim Chief Minister stated that the conferment of the ‘sustainable development leadership award’ on him by TERI was a validation of Sikkim’s efforts towards conservation and protection of nature. In spite of being a late entrant to the Indian Union, Sikkim has gained the distinction of a forerunner and a touch-bearer in various spheres, including sustainable development. Chief Minister further expressed his gratitude to the people of Sikkim for their continued support in all endeavours and dedicated the award to them. 

The ‘Sustainable Development Leadership Award’ has been conferred on Sri Chamling in recognition of his vision and leadership in the sphere of environment and sustainable development, leading to establishment of Sikkim as the first and only organic state in the country, according to the citation released by TERI on this occasion. The award is conferred annually on eminent individuals engaged in encouraging global initiatives that can lead the world towards a sustainable future. Sri Chamling is the 12th recipient of the award and the previous recipients include luminaries such as Dr Manmohan Singh, the then Prime Minister of India, Mr Ban-ki-Moon, Secretary General, United Nations,  Mr Arnold Schwarnegger, former Governor of the State of California,  Prof Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico and Director, Yale Centre for the study of globalization, USA, and Dr Shoichiro Toyoda, Honorary Chairman and member of Board of Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan.

 

World Sustainable Development Summit in New Delhi,

Chief Minister Chamling Address the Summit

 

New Delhi, October 6:The World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) is being organized by the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) from October 5-8, 2016, in New Delhi under the broad rubric of ‘Beyond 2015: People, Planet and Progress’. The WSDS organized by TERI as an annual feature is India’s foremost platform discussing issues of sustainability since 2001. The Railway Minister, Government of India Sri Suresh Prabhu also shared the dais with the Chief Minister Sri Pawan Chamling and in his address spoke very highly of Sikkim’s efforts in the field of sustainable development.

Sri Pawan Chamling,  Chief Minister of Sikkim who delivered the special address at the plenary session of the WSDS, that was held at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi and was attended by dignitaries from all across the globe.

Sikkim, under the leadership of Chief Minister, Sri Chamling has built up an impressive track record of achievements in areas of organic farming, environment conservation and sustainable development. Sikkim is the only State in India to have attained the official status of a fully organic State in January, 2016, when Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi made the official announcement to this effect during his maiden visit to the State. The State, known as the Land of Flower, with a population of around six lakh, has now attained international acclaim and prominence for having persistently, over a period of more than a decade, pursued and successfully attained the vision of an ‘organic’ Sikkim. Around 75000 hectares of land has been converted into certified organic farms over the years, following the guidelines prescribed by

National Programme for Organic Production. Sikkim contributes around 80,000 million tonnes (MT) organic production out of total 1.24 million tonnes of organic production recorded in India.

At the initiative of Shri Chamling, a historic declaration was made through a resolution in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly on February 24, 2003, for transforming Sikkim into a ‘total organic State’. Following this, the Sikkim State Organic Board was constituted on September 16, 2003, for outlining policy issues and strategic plans, as well as developing standards and regulations. The State Government stopped procuring chemical fertilizers and pesticides from 2004 onwards and also eliminated the existing subsidy to farmers for procurement of chemical pesticides. The State Government also created category wise organic farming schemes and organic action plans to set the targets of conversion of traditional to organic farming.

Besides the initiatives in organic farming, Government of Sikkim, under the leadership of the Chief Minister, has undertaken a number of other measures, with a view to promote environment conservation and sustainable development and contribute to the creation of a ‘green Sikkim’. A ban on consumption of pan masala/ gutka was enforced in the entire State in the year 1995; subsequently, in 1997, the Government passed an Act prohibiting throwing of non-degradable garbage in public drains and sewerage. This was followed up in the same year by the passage of a law prohibiting smoking in public places and in public service vehicles plying in the State.

 On August 14, 1998, Sikkim became the first State in the country to impose a ban on plastics and non-degradable material. Tourists were also prohibited from carrying plastic bags and containers under the extant rules. In 2001, the State Government imposed a complete ban on

collection of medicinal plants & non-timber forest produce for commercial purposes, and framed statutory rules for mandatory planting of ten saplings in lieu of one tree felled in private holdings.

 In 2009, Sri Chamling started a unique programme called ‘10 Minutes to Earth’. Under this programme, on June 25 each year, the entire population of Sikkim plants a sapling each during a pre-announced 10 minute interval. In 2015, the State Government imposed a ban on use of diclofenac sodium and burning of agricultural wastes. In 2016, all the old trees in Government forests were identified as “Sikkim State Heritage Trees”. In 2016, again, the State Government re-iterated the ban on the use of Styrofoam products, including use of plastic bottled drinking water, in State Government functions and also banned burning of tyres.

 The slew of initiatives taken by Government of Sikkim, under the leadership of Sri Chamling, have contributed to Sikkim being today the most environmentally conscious and progressive State of India, and today serves as an example to the entire nation.

Chief Minister Inaugurates Another new Temple in Sikkim, Shri Vishwa Vinakaya Temple

Rhenock October 3: Shri Vishwa Vinakaya Temple” was formally inaugurated by State Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling and Shri Dinesh Chandra, Organizing Secretary General of Vishwa Hindu Parishad inaugurated the newly built “Shri Vishwa Vinakaya Temple” at Rungdung, Rhenock, East Sikkim toady and dedicated it to the people of Sikkim. After the inauguration ceremony, Chief Minister Mr. Chamling while addressing a gathering of people and students expressed his gratitude to Shri Dinesh Chandra for sparing his precious time and making it possible to attend the function. “His gracious precence is the pride and honour to the people of Sikkim.” Chief Minister Chamling said. Further he added that it’s the good fortune of the people of Sikkim that they have the blessings of Shri Chandra. He, on behalf of the people of Sikkim welcomed Shri Dinesh Chandra.


Further, he informed that his government constructed over 200 temples all over the state so far in the span of over 22 years and also established a Sanskrit College in the state, and urged Shri Chandra to visit the college and bless the students there, whenever he comes to Sikkim second time.Chief Minister further added, “Its only 42 years back that Sikkim merged in India as 22 state but the people of Sikkim are nationalist and have dedicated their lives and given everything for the country”.

Though land locked and surrounded by 3 international borders Sikkim has redefined the definition of border state by being very peaceful and tranquil with serene environment, Mr. Chamling added and termed it exemplary.
The Chief Minister also appealed to the locals that now the temple has been inaugurated and dedicated to them, now it’s their collective responsibility to look after it ad keep it properly.
Equal rights and opportunities has been provide to each and everyone in the state and that has been the hall mark of his governance  Chamling added while speaking at length about abut tapping the opportunities created by the government, he urged the students and younger generation to work hard and become skilled and capab
On the other hand Shri Dinesh Chandra in his address stated that though Sikkim is a tiny Himalayan state but the heart of the Chief Minister Mr. Chamling is very big, therefore places like Char Dham, Samduptse in Namchi, Buddha Park in Ravangla and now Shri Vishwa Vinakaya Temple in Rhenock is possible.

He was all praise for the vision and the concept of the Chief Minister . Chamling for creating such religious infrastructures in the state.
Shri Chandra also advised the Chief Minister that a temple of Pashupatinath could be made in Char Dham Namchi, to which the Chief Minister humbly accepted the suggestion.

Shri Chandra while talking about the karma, urged people to keep their karma good and stated that if the karma of people is good, their lives are bound to be good.
He also expressed his happiness for the invitation and termed Sikkim as very beautiful.
Built at an estimated cost of  Rs 13 Crore and 85 Lakhs, the temple is spread across three acres of land and has a Lord Ganesha Temple and Temple of Lord Hanuman.
The inauguration function also saw Shri Dinesh Chandra felicitated by the Chief Minister, where he was presented with citation and a memento. 

Cleanliness Drive in Holy Cross School, Tadong by NSS School Wing

Gangtok, October 6: NSS Wing of Holy Cross School, Tadong conducted a cleanliness drive today in keeping with the spirit of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The NSS volunteer of Classes XI and XII cleaned the school campus and then both sides of the National Highway from the school gate till the housing colony. The programme officer Mr. Verghese Ambrose along with teachers Mr. Shyam Kumar Pradhan, Mr. Mukesh Kumar Jha, Mr. C. S. P. Singh, Mr. Samuel Adhikari and Mr. Prabin Thapa also too initiative to make this programme a grand success.

Sikkim University bags the state level inter college Sanitation Quiz Trophy

Gangtok: Sikkim University’s Raj Kumar Priya and Vandana Varun bagged the prestigious Sanitation Quiz Trophy at the state level inter college p“The Sanitation Quiz” organized by the Rural Management & Development Department (RM&DD) on the occasion of the week long National Sanitation Week 2016 at Janata Bhawan, Gangtok today. The second place was grabbed by Pakim Palatine College. I

Nine colleges from across the state viz. Sikkim Government College, Rhenock , Sikkim Government College, Namchi, Sikkim Government College, Geyzing, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, Sikkim University, Pakim Palatine College, CCCT, Chisopani, ATTC, Bardang, Vinayaka Missions Sikkim University participated in the competition. The quiz which comprised of two semifinals and one final, had questions based specifically on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management

Addressing the students, Chief Guest of the program, Mrs. Cheden Ladingpa, Joint Secretary, Directorate of Panchayati Raj, Rural Management and Development Department encouraged the students from colleges and schools to take the mission of Sanitation further stressing that they are the torchbearers of the future. She also appreciated the efforts of the Sanitation cell of the department for conIducting an interactive and engaging competition for students from colleges and universities.

 

Minister Ghatani Attends Global event of World Hepatitis Day

Minister Invites Superstar Amitabh Bachchan in Sikkim

 

Mumbai July 28:(IPR)  : Minister for Health and Family Welfare Shri A. K. Ghatani attended the Global event of World Hepatitis Day (28th July) organized by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India in collaboration with the World Health Organization on Thursday.

On the occasion Mr. Ghatani submitted a priority list of demands of Health Departments to the Union Minister of  State, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India Ms. Anupriya Patel here at JW Marriott Hotel, Mumbai on Thursday evening.

While submitting the demands, Mr. Ghantani acknowledged Ms. Anupriya Patel on the prioritized projects of the state govt. including Construction of 300 bedded Chest, Respiratory Disease and Tuberculosis Hospital at Bharikhola on Melli Jorethang Road; Upgradation of 100 bedded District Hospital to 300 bedded Hospital at Namchi, South Sikkim; Upgradation of Pakyong PHC to 50 bedded CHC, East Sikkim; Upgradation of Jorethang PHC to 100 bedded CHC, South Sikkim; Construction of 300 bedded District Hospital at Chisopani Singtam East Sikkim.  Ms. Anupriya patel also complimented Sikkim as an inspiration for the nation in Organic Farming when she was presented with organic products along with a magazine of Sikkim Today, a publication of IPR deptt by Mr Ghatani.  

The event was organized with the global theme “Know Hepatitis, Act Now” which would help in understanding the magnitude of the problem and identify the way forward on prevention and control of Hepatitis.

Minister Anupriya patel highlighted on the Mission Indradhanus under which children are being vaccinated against various types of diseases and so far 7.6 million children have been covered under this mission. Referring to the statement made by different speakers earlier, She assured that the union govt. has shown keen interest to combat viral Hepatitis with complete consciousness and seriousness and also planning to allocate separate budget to ensure universal coverage.

The keynote speaker, Bollywood Superstar Amitabh Bachchan also delighted the event with his magnificent deliberation. Minister Ghatani also invited Bachchan and urged him to expose the beauty of Sikkim in Bollywood Industry while presenting organic items and the state govt`s publication Sikkim Today. Mr. Bachchan also expressed gratitude over the achievements of Sikkim in Organic Farming.  In his address, Mr. Bachchan encouraged people to go for blood test at least to be aware on the fact of blood containing, so that it can be cured in initial stages. He articulated his incident of being infected with Hepatitis in early 80s and was cured even when his lever was 75% damaged. He further committed to contribute immensely to prevent Viral Hepatitis.

Regional Director of WHO South East Asia Region Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh also applauded the initiatives of Sikkim govt for being first state to start Hepatitis B vaccination in infants  as a universal immunization programme free of cost and successfully continuing since 2001. The programme was also attended by Ministers from various states, Director General Health Services GoI, representatives from World Hepatitis Alliance, UK and other dignitaries. 

UNESCO declares Sikkim  Khangchendzonga National Park as a world heritage site- Chamling Expresses Satisfaction

 

New Delhi : The 40th Session of the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization . In their presentation to the World Heritage Committee the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognized the outstanding universal values of the National Park in both cultural and natural criteria. These advisory bodies stated that there was strong justification for the "integrity" and "authenticity" of the nominated property and exquisite flora and fauna apart from the unique cultural features of the sacred landscape.

 Expressing deep satisfaction at this development, Sri Pawan Chamling,  Chief Minister of Sikkim, stated that the efforts undertaken by the State in preserving the environment and creating a ‘green’ Sikkim have been recognized by the international fraternity. He informed that Sikkim has the largest area, in proportionate terms, among all the States in the country, under wildlife reserves and sanctuaries. It is the only State in the country where the forest cover has increased over the years. Sri Chamling referred to the zero tolerance policy of the State on wildlife hunting, tree felling and ban on open grazing, and credited the success of the ‘green’ policies of the State to the people of Sikkim. He congratulated the officials of the Forest, Wildlife and Climate Change and Culture Departments of the State Government for their untiring efforts in having KNP declared as a World Heritage Site on both cultural and natural criteria, which is the first of its kind in India.
 It may be mentioned here that the KNP has been inscribed based on criteria (iii) and (vi) which are cultural criteria and (vii) and (x) which are natural criteria of the Operational Guidelines of the World Heritage Convention. Criteria (iii) states that the property bears a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared and (vi) that the property is directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. Criteria (vii) states that the property contains superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance and (x) states that it contains the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of Outstanding Universal Value from the point of view of science or conservation.

The outstanding universal values and the management system of the National Park were evaluated in October 2015 by International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which are advisory bodies of UNESCO and both recommended the inscription of the property.

Thanking the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO and the international community, Ms. Ruchira Kambhoj, Ambassador of India's Permanent Delegation to UNESCO stated that KNP was the first mixed criteria site in India to become World Heritage Site and represents India's unique traditional links between nature and culture.

KNP is incidentally India's first "mixed criteria" world heritage site. There are 25 "cultural" and 7 "natural" world heritage sites in India. KNP has been on the tentative list of World Heritage Sites since 2006.

Journalist  Lepcha Receives  “Kanchenjunga Kalam Puraskar”

Press Club of Sikkim Observes Foudation Day

 

Gangtok July 17: (IPR) Shri. Joseph Lepcha, senior journalist of Sikkim, currently working as the bureau Chief of National Hindi Daily, Dainik Jagran, was conferred with prestigious “Kanchenjunga Kalam Puraskar” for his contribution towards journalism. On the occasion of 14th foundation day celebration the Governor Mr. Shriniwas Patil along with the Minister for Information and Public Relations Department , Government of Sikkim, Mr. A.K Ghatani, Chief guest and the guest of honour for the celebration respectively, presented . Joseph Lepcha with cash award, citation, shawl and memento for his contribution, Shri Lepcha has been in this profession for last 25 years.

In a function organized at mini auditorium of Manan Kendra, Press Club of Sikkim also felicitated journalist Ms. Nita Nirash, awarded young journalist from West Sikkim, Mr. K.N Sharma with “ Lagansheel Yuva Patrakar Samman” and Patrakarita Gaurav Samman award was presented to Mr. Kashi Raj Pradhan, posthumously,  who is also known as the father of journalism in Sikkim,

In his address the Governor Mr. Shriniwas Patil while congratulating all the awardees also suggested  that from now on just like Bhanu Bhaka Acharya is known as Adi Kabi, similarly Mr. Kashi Raj Pradhan should be addressed as Adi Patrakar, Shri Kashi Raj Pradhan from now on, for his unparalleled contribution in the  field of journalism and education, in Sikkim.

He also appealed to the journalist to cover everything and not hide anything and be absolutely authentic with their stories and news items.

Journalist should be like mirror and should only show the truth and nothing else, the Governor stressed.

Similarly Minister Mr. A.K Ghatani in his address hoped that such prestigious occasion like the foundation day of press club will see more participation of people from all walks of life, as the journalists are the voice of the people and society, therefore  people should come forward in numbers and participate in such occasion, he added.

He also highlighted how the government of Sikkim and the department of Information and Public Relations has always come forward to help the press club of Sikkim right from its foundation year, when the Chief Minister Mr. Pawan Chamling himself inaugurated the Press Club of Sikkim, he informed.

He also assured to extend full cooperation from his department as well as from  personal front towards the Press Club Sikkim.

The 14th Foundation day celebration programme which was neatly punctuated by cultural show by local artists also saw awardees addressing the gathering and share their experiences.

The daughter in law of Mr. Kashi Raj Pradhan who received the award on his behalf also spoke on the occasion.

 

Khangchendzonga: The first expedition

 

                                                              - Dr.P.K.Chhetri       
      
By the beginning of the twentieth century, Khangchendzonga and its surrounding areas were adequately mapped, which opened an opportunity for the eager mountaineers to try their luck to scale its lofty heights. By 1899, its two circuits had been successfully completed by explorers facing all hazards; glaciers delineated and possible routes to reach its summit were also ascertained. Now mountaineers simply waited for the sponsors to support them financially to go ahead to conquer its summit.
       The first assault on the mountain was launched by Aleister Crowley, born Edward Alexander Crowley, an Englishman in 1905, though it proved to be an abortive battle, because it ended in tragedy and shame. In fact, nowhere in the world any mountaineer had ever succeeded in his maiden venture, as it is difficult to guess any route to the summit without oneself reaching the spot in person and ascertaining its topography. Mountain routes are always treacherous and tricky, so guess work always proves to be flawed. Mountains have also behaved mercilessly always to an adventurer. Four members of Crowley’s team lost their lives in an accident, and it was an abrupt end to Crowley’s mountaineering career. Later Crowley noted: “I had been so concentrated on Khangchendzonga that the other facets of my life had not glittered perceptibly. They had kept up with me, but I hardly knew it. They were now to shine, the bushel of Khangchendzunga having been rudely removed.”
      Apart from being a mountaineer, Crowley was an occultist, writer, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, astrologer, novelist and social provocateur. In his later life, he was sarcastically called ‘The Wickedest Man in the World.’ Only three years earlier in 1902, he was a member of an abortive expedition to K2 with Eckenstein, which had never been attempted before. It was his sheer bad luck that on the way he was afflicted with influenza, malaria and snow blindness. His illness forced him to retreat, though they had reached an altitude of 20000 feet. Simply a year before his Khangchendzonga adventure, this man with multifarious interests had been found to have started a religious and philosophical system called Thelema. Though he called himself its prophet, it was not a new philosophical belief, because its description at first appeared in Francois Rabelais book ‘Gargantua and Pantagruel’ in 16th century.
         While in England, Crowley had obtained his familiarity with Khangchendzonga from the photographs of mountain taken by Vittorio Sello and Douglas Freshfield, which had been taken by them during their circuit in 1899. However, his first visit to Darjeeling at a later date brought him face to face with Khangchendzonga, the majestic vision of which had moved him so profoundly that he at once made a determination to conquer its summit one day in near future. He wrote in his autobiography, The Confessions of Alistair Crowley: “Is it a mirage? Is it a phantom of hope created by courage from the chaos of nightmare? For there, above the highest hills, stands the mass in the dawn.”While whiling away his time in Darjeeling, he received an appointment from Dr.Jules Jacot Guillarmord to lead the expedition. Crowley became extremely confident when he once viewed Khangchendzonga through his field glasses, and he instantly concluded that to scale the summit would not be that difficult. “It entirely confirmed my theoretical conclusions; the highest peak was almost certainly easy to reach from the col to the west of it, and there could be no doubt that it was an easy walk up to that col by a couloirs of sorts which I called Jacob’s rake... The foot of this rake is in a broad snow basin and the only possible question was whether that snow basin was reachable from Yalung glacier.”
       Guillarmord constituted a team of three people initially by tagging two men, Charles-Adolphe Reymond and Lieutenant Alexis Pache. Later Crowley drafted one hotelier from Darjeeling, Alcesti C.Rigo de Right to arrange for necessary transport and provisions for the journey of the entire team. It was decided to approach Khangchendzonga through the southern face via Singalila Ridge and Yalung glacier. Though the team started its journey on August 8, 1905, it faced a serious problem because of Crowley himself. Since Crowley was a man with haughty temperament with a strong racist attitude, his behaviour alienated most of the 89 porters, who deserted the team in the midway. In the team, Crowley was an only Englishman; others were either Italian or Swiss. Crowley subsequently wrote: “A moment’s hesitation in complying with any order of mine and they saw a look in my eyes which removed the inhibition. They knew that I would not scold or wheedle, but had a strong suspicion that I might strike a man dead without warning.”
        Since he always thought he was the leader of the team, he suffered from a serious complex that he could intimidate any of his team members any time. He forgot that in any difficult journey through mountains, the party succeeds in its mission only if it functions as a compact team. His autocratic and arrogant behaviour was abhorred by his every team member, and, therefore, they neither fully cooperated nor communicated him on any problem they suspected. Moreover, this man Crowley always thought that he had a power of clairvoyance and could predict any trouble accurately long before it happened. It was his presumption that everything was going smoothly, therefore, he wrote: “I was already at fourteen or fifteen thousand feet, less than a fortnight out from the base, in perfect physical condition, not an ounce of my reserve of strength yet called upon, a perfectly clear course to the peak in front of me, the mountain scarce five miles away, the weather looking better all time. No sign that wind was likely to give any trouble. In short, not one dark spot upon the horizon.”
      But he was absolutely wrong in his study, because he could not predict exactly within a next few days what a critical situation he would be face to face with. At the height of around 20000 feet they came across a snowy hump, where Camp 5 was set up. On 31 August, Crowley started climbing up the slopes, because the camp was exactly below a small peak. Though they reached a couloir, a few chips dislodged by their steps started sliding down carrying with them the surface ice triggering a heavy avalanche. A porter called Gali was watching all this, which gave him an immense fright and he fell out of his steps. Though Crowley caught him and put him back and hastily anchored the rope to a wedged axe, “the man had completely lost his nerve and by the operation of that instinct, which makes a drowning man throw up his hands, began to do a thing that could possibly have brought him harm... to untie himself from the rope. I ordered him to desist, but he was quite hysterical, uttered senseless cries and took no notice. There was only one thing to do to save him from the consequences of his suicidal actions, and that was to make him more afraid of me than he was of the mountains; so I reached out and caught him a whack with my axe. It pulled him together immediately and prevented his panic communicating itself to the other.”
      The incident was frightening enough to demoralise the entire team, and a decision was taken to step back, because the slopes having been chipped off by the avalanche looked highly dangerous, and looked like a vertical wall. Now there was no question to follow the same route once again, therefore, the team retreated to Camp 5 once again. Crowley writes: “Their imaginations got out of hand. They began to talk nonsense about the demons of Kangchenjunga and magnified the toy avalanche and Gali’s slip and wallop to the wildest fantasies.” Being frightened to the core, some of the porters slipped out at night and retreated to the Camp below. Even in such a situation, Crowley did not relent from his shenanigans. Guillarmord and Pache could no longer tolerate Crowley’s arrogance, therefore, decided to leave Crowley and Reymond to their fate and descended to Camp 4 in the afternoon along with some porters. Nightfall was approaching Crowley warned them that it was too dangerous to move out. But his warnings went unheeded. The porters were not adequately equipped with supplies to negotiate the steep slopes, so they slipped frequently. One porter eventually fell on a traverse, which dislodged a substantial chunk of ice, triggering a fall of a heavy avalanche from the top at a lightning speed. According to an account of Righi, who was leading in front with Guillarmord: “Suddenly the four men above us began to slide; we hoped they would be able to stop themselves, but the slope was too steep. They swept past us like lightning. The doctor and I did the best we could to stop them, but in vain; for, as they rushed downwards, they started an avalanche. I was torn away from my anchor, head downwards, the doctor vainly calling me to hang on as we might be able to stop others. I was pulled down in what seemed a whirlwind of snow.”
      Everything abruptly ended in a matter of seconds burying Pache and three porters in the avalanche suffocating them to death. Crowley also wrote about the incident in his account: “Less than half an hour later, Reymond and I heard frantic cries. No words could be distinguished, but the voices were those of Tartarin and Righi. Reymond proposed going to the rescue at once, but it was now nearly dark and there was nobody to send, owing to Righi stripped us of men. There was, furthermore, no indication as to why they were yelling. They had been yelling all day. Reymond had not yet taken his boots off. He said he would go and see if he could see what the matter was and called me if my assistance were required. He went off and did not return or call. So I went to sleep and rose the next morning at earliest dawn and went to investigate.”
     Now there was no question to continue further with the expedition, Crowley returned leaving behind others to find the dead bodies and bury them. This incident put a final full stop to the climbing career of Crowley. Khangchendzonga had claimed its first toll of climbers. In spite of the tragic end of the first ever attempt to conquer the summit of Khangchendzonga, the sacrifice of the mountaineers did not go in vain. This added important information on the Yalung Glacier, the same was later incorporated into previous Garwood’s map, which helped the later climbers to avoid the hazards associated with the route once followed by Crowley and his team. However, Crowley was unhappy neither with this incident nor an abrupt end to his mountaineering career. He wrote: “I was very sad at heart about the death of my friends; but with regard to the mountain I was in excellent spirits. I had demonstrated beyond doubt the existence of an easy way up. “

     

 
 

                               Designed by  Bijay Bantawa, Himgiri Prakashan, Tadong, Gangtok, East Sikkim     Email>bbanawa@gmail.com