Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The sturdy Nigerians began cautiously and were evenly matched by Sikkim Police till the first half.
However, the visitors found their composure in the second half and Aigiojano Felix drew first blood in the 49th minute with a volley.
The second goal for the Nigerian team came with a dose of luck and Egaware Charles's long range shot was slipped by Sikkim Police goalkeeper into the net through his legs.
Oyoh Emmanuel then beat the offside trap and the Sikkim goalie with a neat placement in the 83rd minute to make it 3-0.
The Nigerian team now plays BJS, a Bangladesh football club, in the quarter-final on November 1.
The second pre-quarter final match between Punjab Police and Chittagong Abahon of Bangladesh ended in a goalless draw.
The extra-time was called off due to bad light and will be played tomorrow.
Bhutan XI and Tibetan National Football Academy clash tomorrow for a berth in the last eight.
Nigerian Eagles vs Sikkim Police 3-0
The first goal was scored by Aigiojano Felix in the 5th minute of the match off a pass from Egware Charles, who, later in the 63rd minute scored the second goal of the match.
Though a thoroughly one-sided affair, the match saw a heavy turnout in the stands supporting the local team.
The final goal was netted by Oyoh Emmanuel in the 81 minutes off a through from Edoho Gilbert.
The Nigerian XI Eagles have got a direct entry to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Despite winning the match, coach Mr Fuja Tope felt that his boys didin't play upto their potential due to the less time on hand for adapting to the conditions of this Himalayan hamlet. “We’ll try to perform better in the next matches and hope to reach the final,” said Tope.
At present Nigerian team fulfilled the viewers’ expectation today on the knockout match of the 29th All India Governor's Gold Cup Football Tournament 2007’ as they have more fans in Sikkim apart from the country.
The match was very interesting as both team supporters cheered the match with great enthusiast at the stadium.
Three were warned with yellow card Aigiojano Felix and Okonkwo Celestin from Nigerian team and Sisir Karthok from Sikkim Police FC in the match today.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani today became the richest person in the world, surpassing American software czar Bill Gates, Mexican business tycoon Carlos Slim Helu and famous investment guru Warren Buffett, courtesy the bull run in the stock market.
Following a strong share price rally on in his three group companies, India's most valued firm Reliance Industries, Reliance Petroleum and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure, the net worth of Mukesh Ambani rose to $63.2 billion (Rs 2,49,108 crore).
Warren Buffett, earlier the third richest in the world, also dropped one position with a net worth of about $56 billion.
Ambani's wealth of about Rs 2,49,000 crore includes about Rs 2,10,000 crore from RIL (50.98% stake), Rs 37,500 crore from RPL (37.5%) and Rs 2,100 crore from RIIL (46.23%).
Slim's wealth has been calculated on the basis of his stake in companies like America Movil (30%), Carso Global (82%), Grupo Carso (75%), Inbursa (67%), IDEAL (30%) and Saks Inc (10%).
According to information available with the US and Mexican stock exchanges where these companies are listed, Slim currently holds shares worth a total of $62.2993 billion, with more than half coming from Latin American mobile major America Movil. Slim is closely followed by Gates with a net worth of $62.29 billion currently.
Earlier last month, US business magazine Forbes had named Gates as the richest American with a net worth of $59 billion, calculated as on August 30. The magazine had said that a movement of $2 in the share price for Microsoft, the world's biggest software maker, could "add or subtract $1 billion" from his wealth.
Since August-end, Microsoft's share price has risen by $6.58 (based on yesterday's closing on Nasdaq at $35.03), which results into a gain of $3.29 billion in Gates' wealth based on Forbes assumption.
Gates is followed by Buffett at the fourth place in the league of the world's richest with a net worth of $55.9 billion through his holding in his investment vehicle Berkshire Hathaway and in other companies. At the end of August, Buffett's wealth stood at $52 billion, as per the Forbes magazine. Berkshire Hathaway's share price has gained by about 7.5% since then.
Earlier on September 26, Ambani had overtaken steel czar Lakshmi Mittal to become the richest Indian in the world.
Mittal currently ranks as the fifth richest in the world with a net worth of $50.9 billion through his 44.79% stake in world's biggest steel maker ArcelorMittal.
While most of Mittal's wealth comes from his steel empire, though he has also spread his wings into businesses like oil and real estate, those of Ambani and Gates are mostly through petrochemicals and software respectively. However, Buffett and Slim are making money from investments across a host of sectors.
Monday, October 29, 2007
| September 13, 2007 12:39 IST|
Danny Denzongpa, at 59, is not exactly not idle. The actor, who began his career with Mere Apne in 1971 and played the villain in many films, has an interesting role in Frozen, his 150th movie.
The film is making the rounds of many festivals, including the 32nd Toronto International Film Festival, this month.
He plays Karmam, the father of a young woman called Lasya and a son called Chomo in a remote village somewhere in the northern Himalayas. The family's quiet life is disturbed when the army moves into the village in search of the enemy, but instead finds a frozen body.
First time director Shivajee Chandrabhushan, a sociology graduate from Delhi University, says the low-budget film, which got stuck for want of money, got a big morale boost when Danny stepped in.
'Danny Denzongpa fitted well with the character of Karma. He is a Buddhist and the son of a monastery head priest,' Chandrabhushan recently said. 'He loved the script and when I showed him pictures of the locales, he was on.
Mumbai's Gauri, an untrained artiste with a sharp, intelligent mind, was cast as Lasya from the start. The boy Angchuk, a brilliant actor, as Chomo, was chosen in Ladakh.' Danny, who still gets roles in masala films like Big Brother, never lost patience though the Frozen shooting was delayed from time to time.
Filmed in Stakmo, an hour drive from Leh in Ladakh, the movie is in black and white. It is being shown at the Toronto festival's Discovery Section, its only competition section, one tailored to emerging filmmakers worldwide.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Sikkim Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling’s Presentation at the “North East India Investment Conference” New York
I bring with me the warmest Greetings of the people of our State Sikkim and country India to the people of the United States of America and the members of the Pravashi Bharatiya fraternity. Our greetings carry in them the fragrance of rhododendrons and orchid, serenity of the pristine Kanchenjunga mountain, holiness of priceless cultural heritage and affections of hill folks with rich social values.
Sikkim is one of the most fascinating eco-tourism destinations in the world. We depict the real story of continuity amidst change. We take pride in being the living example of unparalleled and the most successful sustainable practices.
With a unique political history, Sikkim today has a robust democracy that has trickled down to every hearth and home and every individual. Democracy has climbed the remotest valley. We are therefore, declared as the third best state in the Panchayati Raj implementation in the country. With a consistently maintained very low level of crime rate and proven record of socio-political stability, Sikkim boasts of having the highest per capita availability of peace perhaps in whole of Asia. Our State is terrorism and insurgency free. Peacefulness and tranquility are inbuilt in Sikkimese ethos. Unlike many parts of the world, we have redefined the concept of border state as a bridge between States and Nations to foster friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding. This is our hallmark and this is our priceless brand name also.
We have one of the best social indicators and have achieved unprecedented success in areas like environment, tourism, horticulture, decentralization and cross border interactions. We have published very many state of the art reports and volumes including Sikkim Human Development Report and Sikkim: the People’s vision.
We started very late in the modern development interventions. Widely successful Freen Revolution is yet to reach Sikkim. Mega industrial ventures do not exist there. We have not seen much of mainstream technologies. Yet, Sikkim has one of the highest economic growth rates in the country. Our State was declared the best State in the whole of Eastern and North Eastern India by reputed fortnightly magazine India Today in 2006.
Our development foundation is mainly based on eco-tourism characterized by amazingly fabulous and charming natural resources. Our growth is triggered by traditional farming practices that produce a magnificent variety of horticultural, floricultural and ethno-medicinal items. With a negligible use of chemical fertilizer, we have been the harbinger of organic farming in the country. I very warmly invite all the distinguished commercial corporate establishments here in the US to Sikkim for investment and development interventions. Our investment laws are most liberal. Our labour laws are incredibly investor friendly. Most importantly we have rich hydro-power potential. A range of reputed independent power producers are already working in our State. B 2015, we plan to generate over 4000 MW.
I keep reading about the ever increasing craving for ethnic food, ethnic medicines, ethnic services and ethnic values among the American and European people. To say in the American parlance, we pretty much remain the storehouse of all the ethnic values, ethnic practices and traditional beauties. Look at our natural herigage. With over 4000 species of striking varieties of plants and shrubs and around 700 species of rare orchids and rhododendrons, we are one of the top bio-diversity hotspots in the world. We are storehouse of very rare medicinal and aromatic plants. I am told that the American people pretty much like Ringad (wild fern and what we locally call Nigro) and water crest (what we locally call Simrayo). We traditionally grow both of these in highly organic condition. Our passion fruits, ginger and cardamom are of unparalleled quality and flavour.
All these provide space to both traditionalist and modernist. We are a playground for both ethno practices based tourism activities and a modern pharmaceutical research based commercial harnessing of our intellectual property resources. Perhaps nowhere they coexist in such a harmonious and complementary manner. Therefore, I am here before this very distinguished gathering to invite the American people, Pravashi Bharatiya community and traders, investors and corporate houses to take advantage of all these.
You will have an unparalleled advantage. The Government of India has now reopened the old trade route through Nathy la pass in Sikkim with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. This mans connectivity and market access to the entire eastern Himalayas and the huge and unexploited region of entire western landmass of China. In very near future, this route is likely to be a normal trade route that will function under the most favored nation (MFN) arrangement. Our exports could be anything varying froom people centric commercial services to energy and from construction material to traditional incense sticks used in monasteries and temples. This is the shortest and most viable land route to access Chinese market from anywhere in South Asia.
We have the crystal vision of integrating trade and tourism in the very near future. With the Buddhist relics of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Manmar, Nepal and India being integrated, Nathu la will be the fountain head of magnificently unparalleled eco-tourism panorama and treks. This makes us play a very critical role in India’s “Look East Policy”. Our contribution in steadily converting a hard border into a soft one and emerging as a bridge between two diverse civilizations of India and China is in fact being now replicated within India and outside.
Therefore, Sikkim provides a huge scope for making investments in Hotels which are beyond the traditional landmark of 5 stars. We have opened the State with very attractive incentives for golf courses and amusement parks. Ours is perhaps the only State in the country, which provides license and other provisions for opening casinos. Required land is easily forthcoming on the basis of 99 years arrangement from Government to Private Developers.
Empowerment of people is the core content of our political philosophy. If individuals are happy, communities are contented and institutions re sound, we believe that the country will be in a fast forward progress mode. Social mobilization in the nation building process then will be easier and smoother. We are doing exactly this in Sikkim. Look at our gender development index which is perhaps the highest in the country. Besides the well researched and jealously maintained traditional liberal social practices, Sikkim is the only State in the country which has had women in the post of Speaker of its Legislative Assembly and introduced 40 percent affirmative share at all levels of rural governance for women. Per capita average annual earning of our government employees is the highest in the country. Well known NGOs and international development agencies have a strong presence in the State. For a noted Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation also, Sikkim has been a model state.
Very distinguished guests in this august gathering.
What Sikkim requires today is modern technological and managerial intervention in the harnessing of its natural resources based comparatively advantages. With over 45 percent of the total geographical area under forest cover, total ban use of plastic bags and popular statewide Green Mission in operation, I was given the honour of being declared as the “Greenest Chief Minister” in the country in a nationwide poll conducted by Down to Earth Magazine published by Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi. This is why we are declared as the best maintained State in arena of Total Sanitation Campaign under the Nirmal Rajya programme. In other words, Sikkim provides comprehensive security to the mainstream India.
We need institutions and corporate houses that bring a comprehensive package from field market ventures. We invite actions that connect producers of cardamom, tea, orchids, ethno-medicines, carpets, hydel power to the American and other markets. We will be delighted to host those exclusive investors that specialize on harnessing the beauties of our serene lakes and furious water fall. We keenly look forward to agencies and houses that sell the idea of cross border Buddhist circuits to the orthodox lovers and modern fans of eco-tourism spread across the globe.
Our strength also lies in a variety of service sector activities including education, health, construction, communication, energy, tourism, transport, trade banking and insurance. In all these we have the best of facilitating agencies, investment friendly legal and institutional norms. For instance, there is a huge scope for energy efficiency technology dissemination, bio-technology, organic certification, patents designing, hospitality business, cross border trade in services and, of course, modern communication techniques. We are always ready to tailor our norms and practices to the needs and aspirations of investors.
After seeing what is happening in China and other South East Asian countries, Sikkim has realized that there is a huge scope for opening Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in our state. This is an area the American investors particularly the Indian diaspora here must explore. In the last two years I personally led delegation of our State abroad. This included visits to the South East Asian countries including Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand and to six European countries including Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Given the geography, liberal investment environment, rich human resources and special natural resource endowments, these visits have generated a lot of enthusiasm and corporate interests to invest in Sikkim.
Once you are there in Sikkim, it is a place that dazzles your spirit, enlightens your mental faculty and emboldens your decisive culture. We welcome you heartily. We have had very well known corporate houses from Europe, south East and East Asia visiting us in the last three years. Many of them are now finalizing their ventures and participation in the State. I assure all of you that Sikkim with ever smiling faces and warm hearts will be a destination worth considering in terms of a sustainable and gainful partnership.
While our concerns on globalization remains as acutely as what famous American Economist Joseph Stiglitz has elaborated in his widely read book “Globalisation and its Discontents”, we remain doubly reassured by our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan singh’s unflinching commitment to maximize on the advantages of flobalisation, His dictum of “inclusive development” as the theme of the ongoing 11th Five Year Plan could bring a massive transformation in the flourishing economy and diverse society of today’s India. I am deeply delighted to notice the presence of Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia in this august gathering. He is one of the chief architects of India as an emerging global power and represents a new generation of India’s astute policy thinkers.
Let me also mention that Sikkim being a small state of hardly 600000 people also has the privilege of hosting a national university created by an act of Parliament. We are now designing a range of both traditional and non-traditional courses in the University. We plan to have very specific courses on mountain ecology, border management, bio-technology, military sciences, disaster management, migration, development communications, bio-diversity, natural resources management and hydrology, human security and environment. It is a new University where we intend to make both national and international recruitments. We hall have students from all over. I take this opportunity to invite the American educational institutions to collaborate with us in making this national University mutually beneficial.
I thank you all for giving me this rare opportunity to make my presentation before you. I warmly congratulate all the members of the Indian diasporas here for their love and dedication to their country Mother India. I extend my deep gratitude to our distinguished American friends for their gracious presence here in this gathering. I also thank all the Ministries of Government of India and distinguished officials from India for making this superb arrangement for us too interact with the American people.
We have a very resourceful mission and a highly dedicated team of diplomats and officials here in the UD led by one of our very knowledgeable, versatile and seasoned diplomats Mr Ronen Sen. I am sure our Mission here would be of tremendous support ot facilitate your visit to initiate corporate activities in Sikkim. We remain there to welcome you as our honoured and valued guests. Sikkimese hospitality is known all over for its warmth and highly cultured services, Please visit us soon to see what we can do for you.
Thank you once again.
NAME : Pawan Chamling.
NAME OF CONSTITUENCY : Damthang.
FATHER’S NAME : Shri Aash Bahadur Chamling.
MOTHER’S NAME : Smt. Aasha Rani Chamling.
DATE OF BIRTH : September 22, 1950.
PLACE OF BIRTH : Yangang, South Sikkim.
MARITAL STATUS : Married.
NUMBER OF CHILDREN : Daugthers - 4 Sons - 4.
EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATION : Sr. Secondary School, Yangang;
PhD (honoris cousa), Manipal University, 2003.
Chintan Purashkar, 1987 – presented by Sikkim Sahitya Parishad for his poem “Maile samjheko
samjhana-ma kati kati, being published in the Annual literary
Bharat Siromani 1996 – presented by Shiromani Foundation, New Delhi on March 5, 1997
“for his outstanding contribution to integrate the people of Sikkim
with the rest of the country, for endeavouring to bring them in the
national mainstream and for reinforcing democratic system in
Greenest Chief Minister of India, 1998 – presented by Centre for Science and Environment,
New Delhi for his outstanding contribution towards
Nature conservation measures undertaken in the
Man of the Year, 1998 – presented by Biographical Institute, USA for “his outstanding
accomplishment to date and the noble example he has set for this
peers and entire community”
Manav Seva Purashkar, 1999 – presented by Institute of Economic Studies, New Delhi for his
“rare vision in bringing about far-reaching changes in the quality
of life for poor …….. championing the cause of the Sikkimese
people and downtrodden specially upliftment of women rights
and child welfare ……”
Poets’ Foundation Award, Kolkata, 2002 – presented by POETS FOUNDATION, Kolkata “for
his lifetime achievement in literature” for 2001.
Some of the other Awards received by the Chief Minister are as follow:
Secular India Harmony Award 1998.
Man of Dedication 1999.
Pride of India Gold Award 1999.
Best Citizen of India 1999.
National Citizens of India 2002.
|Sl. No.|| |
Name Of Awards
|1.||Balraj Sahani National Awards||March 1996|
|2.||Rashtriya Ekta Puraskar||June 1999|
|3.||Outstanding Speaker Award By IBC||January 2000|
|4.||Commemorative Medal Of Honor, Hallmark 2000||March 2000|
|5.||International Order Of Marit By IBC||March 2000|
Outstanding Man Of 20th Century (Certificate Of Excellence By) By Friendship Forum Of India
|7.||Platinum Record For Exceptional Performance By ABI||October 2000|
Jawaharlal Nehru Excellence Award By Institute Of Economic Studies
|9.||Sewa Ratna Award By Indian Board Of Alternative Medicines||December 2000|
|10.||International Personality Of The Year By IBC||January 2001|
|11.||Universal Award Of Accomplishment By ABI||May 2001|
2001 Noble Prize For Outstanding Achievement And Contributions To Humanity Of The United Cultural Convention (UCC), USA
|13.||Life Time Achievement Awards By IBC||December 2002|
|14.||Outstanding Man Of 21st Century By ABI||March 2002|
|15.||Vikas Shiromani Puraskar By Institute Of Economics Studies||April 2002|
|Sl. No.||Name Of Awards||Year Of Award|
|1.||Indo Nepal Friendship And Economic Co-Operation||1999|
|2.||Gold Star Award||1999|
|3.||International Man Of The Millennium||1999|
|4.||Outstanding Man Of The 20th Century||1999|
|5.||Abi Gold Record Of Achievement For 1999||1999|
The Abi Laurels For Dedicate Personal Attainment (World Laureate Of The ABI
Rashtriya Gaurav Award/Sukriti Millennium National Teachers Service Award/Sukriti Kala Award
|8.||1st Bharat Gaurav Award.||2005|
|9.||American Medal Of Honor||2006|
PROFESSION (PREVIOUS) : Government Contractor (Class 1 unlimited).
PERMANENT ADDRESS : Ghurbisey, Namchi, South Sikkim.
PRESENT ADDRESS : Mintokgang, Gangtok, Sikkim (Residence),
Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Tashiling,
Gangtok, Sikkim (Office).
PHONE NUMBER (OFFICE) : 03592 – 202575.
PHONE NUMBER (RESIDENCE) : 03592 - 202536, 202304, 221122.
E-mail : email@example.com
Web sites : www.pawan-chamling.org
POSITIONS HELD (YEARWISE) i. 1985-89, MLA & Chairman, Sikkim Distilleries Ltd.
ii. 1989-92, Minister for Industries, IPR & Printing Department.
iii. Chief Minister of Sikkim from 12th December 1994 till date.
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL i. Prominent contribution in the movement towards recognition of
ACTIVITIES Nepali Language in the 8th schedule of Indian Constitution.
ii. A pioneer in the promotion of cooperative movement in Sikkim.
iii. Significant involvement in the cultural and intellectual discourses
spanning the last four decades
iv. Formed Nirman Prakashan in 1977.
v. Chief Editor- Nirman quarterly magazine
vi. A prolific writer, poet and thinker.
FAVOURITE PASTIME &
RECREATION : Reading, writing and social works.
1. Antahin Sapana Mero Bipana, 1985 (collection of poems).
2. Perennial dreams and my reality (Translation – collection of poems).
3. Damthang, Heeja Ra Aja, 1992 (collection of treatise).
4. Prativad (collection of treatise).
5. Mah Koh Hun, 1992 (collection of poems).
6. Excavating Self (collection of poems-English translation)
7. Prarambhik Kavitaharu, 1993 (collection of poems).
8. Sikkim Ra Nariko Maryadaa, 1994 (a treatise).
9. Crucified Prashna Aur Annya Kavitayen, 1996 (collection of poems in Hindi).
10. Sikkim Ra Prajatantra, 1996 (a treatise).
11. Democracy Redeemed, 1997 (collection of speeches in English).
12. Prajatantrako Mirmireyma, 1997 (a treatise)
13. Sikkimey Jaati (a treatise).
14. Mero Sapanako Sikkim, Volume I, II, III & IV, 2002- 2007 (collection of speeches).
15. Perspectives and Visions, Volume I, II & III 2002-2007 (collection of speeches in English).
16. Prajatantrik Andolanko Aatma Sangharsha, 2004 (collection of treatise).
17. Pawan Chamling ka Udgaar-haru
PUBLICATIONS AND WRITINGS ON CHAMLING AS A POLITICIAN AND LITERARY PERSONALITY:
18. Vichar, Kranti Ra Parivartan (C.B. Karki and Bhim Dahal).
19. Daring to be Different, 2003 (biography written by Yogendra Bali).
20. Pawan Chamling – Vyakti Ra Vyaktitva (Kamal Sadai).
21. Pawan Chamling – Man of the Masses.
22. Chhapama Pawan Chamling.
23. Pawan Chamling in Print Media.
24. Bharatiya Nepali Kavita Vrittama Pawan Chamlingko Yogdan (Mahesh Parsai).
25. Dr. Pawan Chamling – Yug Purush? (Damber Giri).
26. Pawan Chamling – Bharatiya Kavitako Sandarbhama (Dr. Harka Bahadur Chhetri).
27. Pawan Chamling - Pragyik Ayam Ra Adhyayan.
28. Vartako Vritta Bhitra Pawan Chamling (Sudarshan Shreshtha).29. Sandarbha – Pawan Chamlingka Teen Kavita Sangraha Ra Geetharu (Prem Thulung).
• Banned plastics after the 1997 landslides in Gangtok. Promoted ecotourism. Open grazing in high-altitude pastures and forests stopped. Stopped commercial felling of timber
• Free distribution of ginger seeds to farmers.
• Rathong – Chu Hydel Project at Yoksum called off. Firing range in north Sikkim scrapped. Ban on smoking in public places.
• Tourism department initiated clean-up campaigns in tourist spots. Afforestation scheme started by the forest department.
• Set up the Civil Defence to promote environmental management. Keen to tap wind energy in south Sikkim. Established a garbage disposal yard 10 km from Gangtok. Waste no longer dumped into the river.
• Social forestry carried out by panchayats.
• Sanctioned loans for planting fruit trees and other valuable trees teak and sal
SIKKIM PAWAN KUMAR CHAMLING
THE LONE CRUSADER
From social worker, to government contractor, to politician, and then to the highest political Station of the state. It has been an interesting Journey
Born in Yangang, a sleepy little village in Sikkim’s West, Chamling got involved in rehabilitation of landless people after completing school. “In fact, I donated some of my own land to settle landless people” he says recalling his days as an activist. Transition form social work to politics came naturally, more so when the state was wintnessing the movement for democracy. “I used to earn my living as government contractor in those dayds,” he says, “but soon politics got me in its throes completely.” Chamling was 26 when Sikkim became a part of India in 1975. “It was difficult to keep out of politics at that time.” He says.
In 1982, Chamling was elected the sabhapati (president) of his village panchayat. He won his first election to Sikkim Legislative Assembly form Damthang in 1985 on a Sikkim Sangram Parishad (SSP) ticket. In the 1989 assembly elections, Chamling won form Damthang with a whopping 96.26 per cent of the votes cast going in his favour. As a minister in the Nar Bahadur Bhandari-led government, Chamling handled industries, information and public relations and printing.
Soon, differences cropped up between him and Bhandari, in 1992,he dropped form Bhandari’s cabinet as well as SSP. “He was dropped because he was seen as rival to Bhandari in SSP” says Jigme N Kazi, editor, Sikkim Observor. A year later, Chamling formed his own party, the Sikkim Democrativ Front (SDF). But with Bhandari breathing down his neck, Chamling was forced to go underground in June 1993, only to resurface during the assembly elections the following year.
He returned to the assembly in 1994 with an absolute majority and was elected chief minister. Chamling, however, wears an uneasy crown. The masses see him as a man with the right intentions and vision but lacking support from his people. Tashi Pema, a school teacher in Sikkim, put it succinctly: “He is too sweet and simple to handle them, but if you spare the rod, you spoil the child and that is exactly what is happening here." “He is a man ahead of his times” says Chukie Topden of Concerned Citizens of Sikkim, a non-governmental organization (NGO), “and his steps will be appreciated a decade from now."
Many people believe that the common people might not elect him chief minister the next around. They do not approve of many of the conservation and environment laws Chamling has introduced.
The masses see his efforts at conservation as whimsical decisions. “Commitment to environment is fine, but for Chamling all this is part of a strategy to generate support for himself at the national level. What has he done for the common people? Has any of the steps he has taken made life easy for the common person?” ask Tara Nima, a agricultural labourer from Rangpo town. Common people complain that prices of essential commodities have gone up in leaps and bounds in the state and the government has done nothing to address it.
Basic of Rating : Nearly 90 per cent of the environmentalists surveyed say that the state is moving towards sustainable development. Two-fifths of them gave Chamling full points on a scale of 10 for his contribution towards better environmental management, and another 60 per cent gave him eight.
REVIEW OF WORK
"The negative work of the previous Sikkim Sangram Parishad government’s 14-year rule is still haunting us. But I do not want the greenery that is still around us to degenerate completely. Prevention is better cure," says chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling. He has passed several laws to protect the environment. But only on paper. It is this lack of implementation that mars his projects to protect the environment.
Among the series of Environment-related programmes that the chief minister has initiated in Sikkim are: a ban on use of plastic bags in the state capital Gangtok; largescale afforestation; integrated pest management; joint forest management-cum-integrated watershed management; grazing ban in forests; and scrapping of hydel power project and of also the army’s G-firing range.
Chamling is seen as someone who has a vision but cannot carry it forward for the lack of team support. MLAs of his party are not convinced about his vision, though he keep insisting that he is trying his best to educate them. At a recent public rally, he said, "As long as these bureaucrats criticize me, it means that I am with you. The day they start praising me, take that to mean that I have lost touch with you." Environmentalists in Sikkim generally laud Chamling’s zeal to involve community participation in the conservation and development process despite tremendous political and bureaucratic opposition. "But he also loves to pay the martyr," observes Rajiv Rai, president of Concern Sikkim, a NGO, adding, "He keeps saying in public meetings that he receives no support from his party legislators and bureaucrats in addressing environmental issues and that he is fighting a lone battle."
There is severe water crisis in the chief minister’s constituency, Damthang, in southwest Sikkim. "It was not like this 20 years ago," says Rajiv Rai, president of Concern Sikkim. "Arbitrary marking of trees by the forest department and felling of trees by smugglers has led to situation where the loss of tree cover has resulted in drying up of streams," he says. Immediately after coming to power, Chamling declared the area drough-prone and urged people to work towards conservation and afforestation. He has not started an afforestation programme per se but has been telling people the importance of forests in public speeches and pamphlets. He took out a pamphlet that spoke of bringing about Harit Kranti (Green Revolution) through afforestation, conservation and grazing ban in forests. The forests cover of the state 3,129 sq. km, which constitutes 44. 1 per cent of the geographic area. According to the State of Forest Report 1997, there was a net increase of 2 sq. km during 1993-1995. The credit, however, should not go entirely to Chamling; the forest cover increased even during the tenure of former chief minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari.
But what probably tilts the balance on his side is the effort to educate and involve the masses. In all his public speeches, he has focused on increasing public awareness and has tried to motivate them to participate in the afforestation and conservation process, say local NGOs.
Ban on grazing
Cattle rearing is one of the principal occupations of several communities living in Sikkim. Extensive rearing of livestock is done especially by communities living in the higher altitudes. And grazing is the principal source of animal feed. Livestock is maintained in substantial numbers. As no serious attempt is made to cull unproductive animals, Sikkim has witnessed a drain of biodiversity due to overgrazing.
When Chamling came to power in 1994, he banned grazing in forests. But this was not because he understood that the ecological-sensitive alpine forest and biodiversity were at risk. It was more out of an observation that over the years animals reduce the productivity of the forests. “I have seen what grazing does to forests. Earlier, the forest could sustain itself because the livestock population was small. But now the cattle population almost equals the number of people in Sikkim. At least that is what the 1991 census says” quips the chief minister. As an alternative, he proposed stal-feeling. The graziers have taken the matter to court. But even at the cost of his popularity, Chamling has refused to take the order back.
Environmentalists and NGOs welcome the ban but say there is no scientific evidence to prove that it was warranted. “The ban should have been preceded by a proper study on the effect of grazing in Sikkim Forests. It was arbitrary decision that came from his own observation. And here the bureaucrats are to blame. They did not brief him properly,” says Chhezung Lachungpa, a forester and president of Green Circle, a NGO.
He may not be sophisticated enough to view environmental problems like a trained activist, but he understands them in his own way. His solutions may sometimes look roughshot but his willingness to learn is his greatest asset. What more can one expect form someone who took over after 14 years of environmental neglect by Bhandari? Chamling has been around for just four years
Concerned Citizens of Sikkim, an NGO
Commitment to environment is fine, for Chamling all this is part of a strategy to generate support for himself at the national level. What has he done for the common people? Has any of the steps he has taken made life easy for the common man?
Agricultural labourer, Rangpo town
The chief minister is very open to ideas and has always given a lot of weight to our inputs on any environment and development-related activity.
Principal Scientist, G B Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development
Chamling appears to be addressing environmental issues, but it is perhaps more to do with appearing the religious sentiments of the people than a deliberate attempt to conserve the environment.
-Rajiv Rai, President, Concern Sikkim, an NGO
'No Plastic bags, no landslides
Seventy-year-old Aitamai has lived in Sichey Busty on the outskirts of Gangtok for over 40 years now. “But I have never seen such a bad landslide,” she says, referring to the one that devasted her house in 1996. Aitamai remembers with horror the day the otherwisecalm jhoras (rapids) that criss-cross the town washed away mountain slopes and brought life to a standstill.
Aitamai blames plastic bags. “Plastic,” she says, groping for words to express the enormity of the devastation that plastic bags brought to her home. They clogged the streams and choked the sewage system of Gangtok. And when the gushing waters finally broke free, they swept away mountain slopes in Sichey Busty. This is when the chief minister passed a law banning the use of plastic bags in Gangtok.
"Chamling has been successful in convincing ever the illiterate masses that plastic bags were responsible" sats Tashi Tsering of the Gangtok-based NGO Concern Sikkim. While it is one thing to understand the problem, it is another thing to do something about it. Though there are a few shops which use paper bags, may others continue to use plastic bags. The chief minister blames bureaucrats for failing to implement the law.
However, plastic bags were not the only reason for the landslides, says P Mukharji, director, Geological Survey of India (GSI) in Sikkim: “Sikkim is geologically unstable. It is formed of much younger rock so any unplanned construction banned the allotment of land for private construction in the state capital. Instead, a satellite township at Ranka, 10 km off Gangtok, is being built. Besides, the construction of a waste management plant in Ranipul, 10 km from Gangtok, is in progress.
Integrated pest management
The orchards of Lachen district, one the highest producers of apples in the state, having hardly produced any apples in the past decade. The reason: indiscriminate use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers to fight apple-scab during Bhandari’s regime. “Pesticides and chemical fertilizers have never been popular with farmers in Sikkim. In fact Sikkim is one of the lowest consumers of pesticides in India,” says Chamling.
In 1994, the Bhandari government had initiated an integrated pest management (IPM) project in East Sikkim. The 10-week training-cum-demonstration programme for farmers was extended to other parts of the state by Chamling. At present, farmer’s field schools (FFSS) have been set up in 12 villages. These help farmers recognize their friends (predators, parasites and pathogens) and foes (chemical and fertilizers). A total of 41 agricultural extension officers and 360 farmers have been trained at these schools from 1994 to 1997. The state project, however, does not cover all the villages in the state. Besides, other crops like ginger, cardamom and mandarin orange, which are large revenue earners for Sikkik, are yet to be included in the IPM project.
Joint Forest Management
In May 1998, the chief minister introduced the joint forest management (IFM)-cumintegrated watershed management programme in the state. “Though in the planning stage, it has already generated a lot of interest among the people, especially as they are being involved in the planning process in a large way.” Says S B Sing Badoria, conservator of forests, Sikkim
Sikkim has 30 watersheds, Afforestation under JEM and watershed management will be done through a four-tier system that will involve local people. NGOs, panchayats and the forest department. A rural appraisal programme was conducted to spread awareness among the people about the project. “People are being asked to draw the maps and point out rivers, streams, houses, important sites and landslide-prone areas. Official then convert the rudimentary sketches into scientific maps. And as we are heavily depending on local knowledge, there is greater participation and less conflict,” says Chhezung Lachungpa, president of Green Cirlce. However, the efficacy of the project will be judged only after its implementation.
Rathong-Chu hydel project
Pawan Chamling became a hero of the masses in 1994 when he scrapped a major hydel power project in Rathong-Chu in west Sikkim after Rs 15 crore had been spend on it. “For that single act, Chamling will be the hero of environmental activists in the state.” Says Chukie Topden of the NGO Concerned Citizens of Sikkim (CCS). “Chamling had been very adamant about carrying own with the Rathong-Chu project till his political adversary Bhandari started backing the movement to scrap the project”, says Jigme Kazi, who obviously sees political motivations.
There is a glacial lake in Rathong-Chu and the area is ecologically fragile. “We used to hear up to 36 blasts a days when the work was in progress. It would have been disastrous if the project was completed,” says Pema Namgyal of CCS.
But many feel scrapping the project was not a deliberate effort to stop environmental degradation. It would have submerged a Budhist monastry. Moverover, Buddhists in Sikkim believe the glacier is the home of many of their deities. The monks as well as the common people were against the project. “You could say that the chief minister played to the gallery by scrapping the project. Yet, apart from the social tension that it avoided, it also saved the environment,” says Namgyal.
However, the restoration work at the project site is yet to start. A committee, which had been instituted to plan the restoration work, has just submitted its report.
Out of the line of fire
In 1992-93, there was a proposal to construct a G-firing range by the army on forest land in north Sikkim. “But the area is ecologically-sensitive. It is rich in biodiversity, and though the army was ready to compensate us with land elsewhere, the species that we would have lost would not have been regenerated elsewhere. Especially medicinal plants and herbs,” says S B Singh Badoria, conservator of forests, Sikkim.
Besides, the forest is the habit of rare animal such as the snow leopard, the musk deer, the Tibetan wild ass and various species of rodents, local NGOs like Green Circle also agitated against the firing range. Chamling stepped in. At his personal initiative and canvassing, the programme was finally scrapped in 1997.
Chamling has the will. His efforts deserve great appreciation. His predecessor Nar Bahadur Bhandari di nothing ever though he had 32 out of 32 MLAs, he could have done a lot for the environment. He lacked the will.
-Jigme N. Kazi, Editor, Sikkim Observer
Chamling lacks determination. It is no use passing the buck on to the bureaucrats all the time
-Mahesh Gurung Concern Sikkim
IINTERVIEW: PAWAN KUMAR CHAMLING
“NGOs have the most important role to play”
Do you think environmental issues are important?
No development process can exclude environmental management. I grew up amidst natural beauty. When I see it being degraded in the name of development. I feel very disturbed.
In southwest Sikkim, there has been large-scale deforestation. Streams are now drying up and the area has an acute shortage of drinking water. Immediately after taking over as chief minister, I started afforestation on large scale. We have been able to cover a huge area but a lot more needs to be done. I involved the village panchayats to maximize people’s participation.
How do you link the environment with development?
Development cannot come at the cost of the environment. Look at Gangtok, it has become a concrete jungle. I stopped allotment of land for private building construction in Gangtok in 1995. Now I am planning to introduce an urban forestry programme in Gangtok. But it is only my mind right now. Only if I am re-elected, I will probably be able to implement this project.
How will you ensure sustainable development in your state?
I have chalked out a 25-year development plan for Sikkim. I hope to make the sustainable by then. This plan will involve developing five to six sectors, namely, tourism, education, horticulture, agro-based and cottage industries, and of course hydel power plants.
But impounding rivers to make hydel power plants have often been ecologically disastrous.
Hydel power has immense potential in Sikkim. At the same time, we need to be very careful while harnessing it. Any unplanned step might prove disastrous. But if we conduct a proper environment study along with discussions with local people, I see no reason why we cannot blend the right technology and the environment. If we are able to harness the river Teesta, we can produce about 3,600 megawatts of electricity everyday.
Are you taking any special initiative to improve the environment?
I have plants for a massive terracing-cum-afforestation programme. We are building a garbage disposal site for Gangtok at Ranipul, which about 10 km away. Besides, I have stopped giving permits to commercial vehicles in Gangtok. There are more vehicles than roads in Gangtok. I have many more plants but very little time.
What role do you see for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the civil society and the government?
NGOs have the most important role to play in any developmental process. The government can, at the most, give directions. It is the NGOs, the civil society who carry it forward.
What about the role of bureaucrats? A chief minister needs a committed team of bureaucrats to implement his projects. But most of them are corrupt and cause unnecessary delays.
For example, take the ban on plastic bags in Gangtok. I passed the law but there are still many shops which use plastic bags. Can I go from shop to shop personally and check this?
Then take the case of joint forest management (JFM). We could have started it six months ago, but nothing has been done about it. Bureaucracy must change its vision. It is there to serve, not to rule.
How committed is your cabinet team?
I have 26 MLAs from my party in the 32-member House, but I feel very lonely in terms of my principles and vision. My views are very different from those of my cabinet colleagues. But I have not given up hope. I speak to them personally and in group meetings whenever I can.
How will your rate your work?
I am very satisfied with my work. I do not care if I get a second term or not. My intentions were honest. If even 50 per cent people appreciate my work, I will be back with all the 32 seats in the assembly in November. If any other party is elected to power, it will be a blunder.
In another match, Sikkim beat Tripura by 62 runs. In reply to Sikkim’s 286, Tripura managed to score 224.
Gangtok: Hosts SFA XI lost to JCT Academy 3-1 in the opening encounter of the 29th All India Governors Gold Cup football tournament at Paljor stadium on Saturday. Jagpreet Singh, who scored a brace, proved to be SFA XI’s nemesis.
The win helped JCT Academy make the pre-quaerter finals where they will lock horns with NRT, Nepal.
JCT Academy took the lead when Jagpreet Singh scored in the seventh minute of the first half. Jagpreet netted his second goal 12 minutes later. SFA custodian Karma Tshering Lepcha fumbled on both the occasions as the visitors took a 2-0 lead. JCT completed the tally when L. Zira made it 3-0 in the 51st minute.
However, SFA restored some parity when skipper Dawa Lepcha scored in the 64th minute.
Seventeen teams from all over the country including sides from Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh are vying for top honours in the knock-out tournament.
Nigerian Eagles, an all Nigerian team, are the special attraction this time.
However, the tournament, considered as the region’s biggest sporting extravaganza, this time lacks lustre with big teams including Calcutta clubs missing out of the action. With the meet clashing with the Durand Cup, fingers are being pointed at the AIFF’s step-motherly attitude towards Sikkim football.
Blaming the AIFF for ignoring the Governor’s Gold Cup in national football calendar, a senior member of the Sikkim Football Association (SFA) said: “Taking into account of the tournament’s popularity, the AIFF should have avoid the clash in dates. Had the Gold Cup been added to the annual soccer calendar such clashes could have been avoided.”
Missing in action this year are defending champions Air India (Mumbai), Tata football Academy and Army XI among others.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Gangtok:, 27 October
Panchayat election, simultaneously held in all the four districts of the state on October 26, was totally peaceful without any untoward incident, informed the state election commission secretary Mr. C.P.Dewan. According to reports received in the commission office till 4 pm on the day, polling was 85 %.
Election was held for 889 gram panchayat wards,161 gram panchayat units and 93 territorial councils (TCs) of the state. In 585 wards and 45 TCs the Sikkim Democratic Front candidates having already won uncontested, 717 candidates contested for 314 panchyat wards and 124 candidates contested for 47 TCs.
For TC seats 61 independent candidates, 43 SDF,13 Congress, 3 CPM have contested and for gram panchayat wards 283 SDF, 34 congress, 5 CPM, 23 Sikkim Gorkha Prajantantrik Party and 372 independent candidates were in the fray. In this election five Electronic Voting Machines had to be replaced, one each at Kolok of West, Gom, Mallipayung and Parbing of South, and Lower Tintek of east District.
Mr. C.P.Dhakal, the Chief Election Officer informed that the results of the election would be announced on 29 October at four district headquarters - in east at Gymnasium Hall, in south at Indoor Auditorium, in west at Zilla Bhavan and in north also at Zill Bhavan – after counting of votes the same day.
Zilla Adhyaksha and Upadhyaksha will be elected on November 5 and Gram Sabhadhipati, Upa Sabhadhipati and Secretary will be elected on November 6 by the elected Zilla and Gram Panchayat members respectively, Mr. Dhakal informed.
In early hours of the polling day, voters turned out in less number. But in later hours polling was brisk. According to indications, 85% poll is expected.