Tuesday, May 27, 2008
GANGTOK, May 26: Asha, the miracle baby today blew her birthday candle and cut the birthday cake with the help of her mother at Mamtalaya where both of them are presently staying.
It was a happy moment for both the mother and the child when the staff of Mamtalaya, a short stay home for destitute women today observed the first birthday of the child with joy and fanfare.
Despite all odds and circumstances Asha, who turned one today, had underwent pains and sorrow ever since her birth.
This girl, who was dumped by her very mother and her parents in a sewerage pipe in 6th Mile a year ago, was given a new lease of life with the efforts of many including Dr Priya Reddy.
She was rescued by some of the people who heard her cries and was instantly taken to the nearby Manipal hospital.
This unwanted and underweight girl child has started gaining weight today and is one amongst the most loved baby at Mamtalaya.
Bhima Gurung, Chairperson, Social Welfare Board, Sarita Gurung, counselor, Bharati Dewan, Superintendent, staffs of Mamtalaya and others were present to share the moment of joy with Asha.
Although the hope of her survival was low at first, the tireless effort of the staff of intensive natal care unit of Manipal and the effort of the local people made Asha survive.
She made newspaper headlines, became household talks and funds started percolating in to bring Asha back to her normal conditions.
Finally Asha got recovered and was taken to Mamtalaya, located at Amdo Golai bye-Pass along with her mother and she has been staying there for the past eight months.
“It was my ignorance and wrong decision to dump the baby, now she is the reason and my biggest strength for my living,” says Hark Maya Gurung, Asha’s mother.
She also said that the supportive staff at Mamtalaya has turned out to be a beacon of hope for many such destitute and unwedded mothers.
“Asha has become a part of our family and she is the dearest amongst all’ says Bharati Dewan, the Supretdentient of the destitute home.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Ram Patro Memorial Award 2007-08 held Freedom of the press is the most integral part of democracy: Governor
GANGTOK, May 25: Governor Sudarshan Agarwal said the freedom of the press is the most integral part of democracy.
He was speaking at the Ram Patro Memorial Award ceremony on the occasion of 5th anniversary of SIKKIM EXPRESS as a daily newspaper at Mangla Mansion here yesterday.
While stating that journalists have a greater role of leading the society in the right direction, the Governor urged the local journalists to report on rural and social issues alongside to carry out initiate investigative journalism and emphasized at reporting on the effective implementation of centrally sponsored schemes in particular the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for the welfare and betterment of the rural folks across the State.
According to him, Mass Media are the shepherds of the society and that the shepherds depending on its guidance and leadership can vulgarize, brutalize, and help lift the society to a much higher level. “I hope the fourth estate would perform its sacred duty of awakening the society through honest, sincere, investigative and effective journalism on social issues pertaining to the society at large,” he opined.
Governor Agarwal also handed over the Ram Patro Memorial Award to two State aspiring journalists, Sagar Chettri and Yishey Doma
While Sagar was conferred with the trophy alongside a certificate of appreciation and a citation of Rs 5,000 for the most promising journalist of the State for 2007-08, Yishey was awarded the best working journalist in SIKKIM EXPRESS. The latter award also carried a memento, certificate of appreciation and prize money of Rs 5,000.
The Ram Patro Memorial Award Committee formed in memory of Late Ram Patro, founder-editor of SIKKIM EXPRESS, who pioneered and heralded positive journalism in Sikkim in the 1970s, is into existence in the State since 2005 and has been giving away the awards with the sole objective to encourage young and promising journalists of the State.
Earlier, the president of Press Club of Sikkim and also the Chairman of the Ram Patro Memorial Award, CD Rai talked about the importance of education as an effective tool for one’s progress and development which according to him is an effective means to enhance growth and prosperity of the community, state, and nation and of the world.
Applauding the duo award winners, Mr. Rai highlighted at the successful fostering of journalism in the state from the late 1970s ignorant and uninformed Sikkim to the present day informed community.
The award function was also addressed by the editor of SIKKIM EXPRESS, Amit Patro and its associate editor Sarikah Atreya.
Also present were former MLA, JB Pradhan, publisher of SIKKIM EXPRESS, Mala Rana Patro, veteran journalists like Subhash Deepak, Ashok Chatterjee, Pema Wangchuk and officials from Raj Bhawan and members of the fourth estate.
Gangtok: Mr. Sudarshan Agarwal, Governor of Sikkim, recalled that Edmund Burke, one of the foremost political thinkers of 18th Century England, attributed the coinage ‘Fourth Estate’ to journalism (press).
He said ‘you can hold the other three – legislature, executive and judiciary – accountable’. Quoting Oscar Wilde, an eminent 19th Century British writer, he said, ‘collect facts first, distort later’.
Recalling his personal experience of setting up a school for the downtrodden in Uttarakhand as Governor there, and a distorted report thereof by a national daily, Mr. Agarwal said, ‘I have been a victim of media distortion’. Referring Press Council of India observation he said, ‘media should work within a Lakshman Rekha to be drawn by themselves’ and advised not to take ‘liberty as licence’.
The Governor was speaking as chief guest at ‘Ram Patro Memorial Award’ function held by Sikkim Express, a local English Daily, at Mangla Manson here on May 24, commemorating anniversary of the newspaper becoming a daily from a weekly. Mrs. Mala Rana Patro, publisher of Sikkim Express and Himali Bela (Nepali), received the chief guest with khada. Those present included Mr. C. D. Rai, president Press Club of Sikkim and chairman of the award committee, other members of the committee, Mr. J. B. Pradhan, an Ex-MLA and a former minister, Mr. Amit Patro, editor, Sikkim Express, guests and journalists, including Mr. Sagar Chettri, reporter, Sikkim Now, and Miss Yishey Doma, copy editor, Sikkim Express, selected for the award.
The Governor warmly congratulated the two young journalists while giving them the award for 2007-08, comprising of felicitation, memento and Rs. 5000 in cash. He also congratulated Mrs. Patro and her son for instituting the award (since 2005). “It is a befitting tribute from a son to his father”, the Governor observed.
In his address, the Governor rued saying ‘basic ethics are being compromised by the media for commerce and competition’. He said ‘it is media’s responsibility to the society to provide facts’, while stressing on ‘truthfulness, integrity and objectivity’ in reporting. He called upon media to ‘expose corruption wherever you find it’.
Speaking on the occasion, the award committee chairman Mr. Rai noted that Ram Patro Memorial Award is the first of its kind for journalists of Sikkim. He lauded the endeavour of the publisher and her son to take forward the two publications founded by Late Ram Patro, whom he called ‘a pioneer in promoting journalism in Sikkim’.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Gangtok: Government Fruit Preservation Factory (GFPF) in Singtam has launched Orange and Passion Fruit RTS (Ready to Serve) drink in 2 litre bottle, along with orange, mango, pineapple and passion fruit squash in 700ml plastic bottle with GFPF’s brand name - ‘Sikkim Supreme’.
The design of RTS and quash bottle is reverted the original, old one, to maintain GFPF brand mark 200ml orange and passion fruit RTS are already available in the market. Besides, RTS and squash, Thot-ney pickle, Kapra pickle, Ningro pickle, Broccoli pickle and dried natal powder of Sishnu are also introduced by GFPF, which are available in the market in 400gm, 250 gm, 200gm and 50gm bottle and packet. The 2 litre RTS and plastic bottled squashes would be available in the market from May 24 (Saturday) at a very reasonable price, Ms Nima L Yethenpa, Managing Director of GFPF said. Altogether 57 GFPF products have been introduced till date, she informed.
She said 5,146 bundles of Sishnu, 10,983 bundles of Thot-ney, 190 kg Kapra, 132 kg Broccoli and 6,423 bundles of Ningro have been procured by GFPF from various places of the State like Namchi, Damthang, Pangthang, Assam-Lingsey, Jaubari and others for preparation of pickles. GFPF items are produced in an eco-friendly environment and in a very organic manner utilizing fruits and vegetables organically grown in the State without using any hazardous chemicals, Ms. Yethenpa said, adding, “That is why GFPF products are unique and better than others available in the market”.
She said use of organic fruits and vegetables and their procurement from local farmers is the policy directive of the State Government to promote organic farming in the State and provide economic benefit to the local farmers. “Farmer growing fruits and vegetables can contact me directly in person to sell their products”, she said. According to her, “Policy of Sikkim Government has given a significant boost for promotion of organic fruits and vegetables in the State”.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
This spring the world’s attention was drawn to Tibet, where on 10th March this year the people commemorated the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan upheaval against the Chinese occupation. The protests spread from Tibet across the whole world and along the route of the torch relay for this year’s Olympic games people demanded: “Free Tibet!”.
In the Southern part of the Himalaya another occupied territory did not attract any attention at all: Sikkim. The Kingdom which had defended its independence for 300 years against powerful neighbours was annexed by India in April 1975 and became the 22nd state of the Indian Union. The 85th birthday of the 12th Chogyal of Sikkim gives me the opportunity to focus on the fate of the tiny Himalaya Kingdom.
Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal, Twelfth Consecrated Ruler of Sikkim, was born in Sikkim’s capital Gangtok on 22nd May 1923. The Denzong Chogyal was the second son of the late illustrious Chogyal Sir Tashi Namgyal, who will always be remembered as Sikkim’s gracious, enlightened and benevolent ruler.
In 1935 he continued his studies at St. Joseph’s College, Darjeeling, and completed his studies at Bishop Cotton School, Simla, in 1941.
As the Heir Apparent, Gyalsay Palden Thondup Namgyal undertook the Indian Civil Service Training Course at Dehra Dun in 1942 and thereafter returned to Sikkim to look after the administration so that the needs of the people could be taken care of.
Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal was keenly alive to the needs of the people and as Heir Apparent had exercised direct personal supervision over various departments of the government of Sikkim. He was his father’s adviser on external affairs and led the Sikkim team, which negotiated the Treaty with India in 1949-1950. By contract Sikkim became India’s “protectorate” on 5th December 1950, not unlike Nepal and Bhutan that were forced to sign similar treaties after the British had left the subcontinent. So far the other two Kingdoms could maintain their independence. If Nepal will be able to keep the two greedy neighbours outside the borders should the country be declared a republic, is in doubts.
The Chogyal was connected with a number of cultural and academic bodies in Sikkim, India and abroad. He had been the President of the Mahabodhi Society of India since 1953 and he led the Sikkim delegation to the Sixth Buddhist Council that was held in Burma in 1954. He participated in the 2500 Buddha Jayanti Celebrations in India in 1956, and was the only member of the Working Committee from Sikkim. In March 1959 he attended the 2500 Buddha Jayanti Conference in Japan and represented Sikkim at the Sixth World Fellowship of Buddhists conference in Cambodia in 1961. In 1958, under the patronage of Maharaja Sir Tashi Namgyal, he set up a centre for Mahayana and Tibetan studies at Gangtok , and this world famous centre bears the name of “Namgyal Institute of Tibetology.”
In August 1950, he married Sangey Deki, daughter of Yapshi Samdu Phodrang of Tibet. Sangey died in June 1957. In March 1963 he married Hope Cooke, grand daughter and ward of Mr. and Mrs. Winchester Noyes of the United States of America, which drew a huge media attention to the tiny Kingdom. The Chogyal had three children from his first wife, namely Tenzing, Wangchuk and Yangchen. His second wife bore him Palden and Hope. After his father’s death, Palden was crowned as the Twelfth Chogyal of Sikkim on 4th April 1965. (Please note the photo, where his US-born wife Hope Cooke is sitting at his right on a lower throne.)
Among the honours and distinction the Chogyal held were: The Order of the British Empire (1947), Padma Vibushan, India (1954) and Commander de l’Ordre de l’Étoile Noire, France (1956).
The Indian invasion
Small numbers of Nepalese had been migrating to Sikkim from about the 15th century, but it was only under the British that the Nepalese began entering Sikkim in great numbers, entirely upsetting the traditional ethnic balance of Sikkim. This social engineering was done by the British to weaken the traditional Lepchas – Bhutia strength. The Eleventh Chogyal and representatives of two of Sikkim’s largest parties, the Sikkim State Congress and the Sikkim National Party, agreed in May 1951to a parity formula . According to this formula, the seats in the state council were to be divided equally between the Bhutia-Lepcha group, and the Nepalese. The Sikkim State Council was then institute in 1953.
In April 1973, after making allegations that elections had been rigged, ethnic Nepali protested in front of the King's palace, demanding civil rights and the sidelining or even removal of what they called the "feudal" monarchy. Palden Thondup Namgyal, the King of Sikkim, ultimately gave in and signed an agreement on 8th May 1973.
The document called on India to provide a chief executive, and to hold elections for an assembly. The agreement was the first step in the disappearance of the Kingdom of Sikkim. The inhabitants of the Kingdom are in no doubt that the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her local agents fomented the unrest. Indira Gandhi’s dictatorial and imperialist attitudes were are a major concern in the 70s. Asked in 1998 by the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, why the Sikkimese army did not resist the Indian invasion, a former captain of Sikkim's army replied: "The Indians soldiers had joined the army because they were hungry and received a warm meal; to shoot at them would not have been in accordance with our Buddhist faith. We knew four days in advance about the invasion, but the King had ordered not to fight."
In 1975, Sikkim’s Prime Minister “appealed” to the Indian Parliament for representation and change of Sikkim's status to a state of India. In April 1975 the Indian Army moved into Sikkim, seizing the capital city of Gangtok, disarming the Palace Guards and putting the Chogyal under house arrest.
A “referendum” was held in which 97.5% [!] of the votes cast (or counted!) agreed to join the Indian Union.China did not recognize Indian’s occupation of Sikkim until 2003, which led to an improvement in the Sino-Indian relations. In return, India announced its official recognition of Tibet as an integrated part of China.
The Chogyal never renounced his throne and hoped till the end that justice would win.
On 29th January 1982 Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal died a heartbroken man from cancer in New York. His second son Wangchuk inherited the rights to the throne after the Chogyal's eldest son Crown Prince Tenzin had died in a car accident in 1977.
Friday, May 23, 2008
CM calls on Union Home Minister in New Delhi Chamling places demands reservation of seats for LTs in Assembly and expansion of list of items for Nathu
GANGTOK, May 22: The Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today called on Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil in New Delhi to discuss various important issues pertaining to Sikkim.
The meeting assumed greater significance in view of the long pending decision of the Government of India on one of the most crucial socio-politico-cultural issues of providing electoral reservation to Limboo and Tamang communities, which have since been included among the categories of Scheduled Tribes by providing for reservation of seats in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly.
During the deliberations with the Union Home Minister, the Chief Minister once again brought home the need for an early and amicable solution to the issue by the Government of India.
While expressing his satisfaction and happiness on approval of the long pending demand for a new alternate two-lane National Highway connectivity to Sikkim by the Government of India, Mr. Chamling impressed upon the need of early implementation of the project besides simultaneous improvement and restructuring of the existing alignment of the National Highway 31A to two-lane alignment from Coronation Bridge to Gangtok which is currently not in good shape.
Mr. Chamling reminded Mr. Patil about the problem being faced by the commuters and vehicular traffic on the West Bengal portion of NH 31A in the wake of frequent bandh calls enforced from since 1985 and reiterated the need to have an amicable permanent solution to the problem.
On the issue of the ongoing Indo-China Border trade through Nathula, the Chief Minister impressed upon the need to enlarge the list of tradable items from Indian side as has been already made available at the Central Government by him to make the bi-lateral trade more viable and purposeful.
The Chief Minister Sikkim apprised the Union Home Minister on the concrete steps taken by State Government on affectively harnessing the hydro electricity potential of the Himalayan state as per the norms and guidelines issued by the Central Government. Duly highlighting the pace of implementation of some of the flagship hydro-electric project in Sikkim, Mr. Chamling briefed Mr. Patil on the politically motivated campaign by some vested interest with a view to hamper development of the State Government under the garb of cultural aspects.
On the issue of proper air connectivity to Sikkim, the Chief Minister reiterated the demand of provision of a ten-seater twin engine helicopter service to Gangtok pending the completion of the Greenfield Pakyong Airport, which is likely to be commissioned by July 2011.
Appreciating the issue and concerns raised by the Chief Minister, the Union Home Minister assured him that the Central Government is examining them in detail with a view to arrive at early decisions.
The Union Minister also lauded the State Government in maintaining law and order, peace and tranquility in the State besides initiating requisite measures for an accelerated growth of infrastructure to achieving over all socio-economic development. (IPR)
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Gangtok (PTI): Sikkim will miss the services of India captain Bhaichung Bhutia, who is doing national duty, during the 62nd National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy to be held in Jammu and Kashmir from May 25.
Three more key players, besides Bhutia, would not be available for the same reason, SFA General Secretary Menla Ethenpa said today.
The three are East Bengal player Nirmal Chhetri and two members of national under-16 team -- Ashish Chhetri and Bigendra Rai.
Keeping these limitations in mind, the Sikkim Football Association has picked a 20-member squad, Ethenpa said adding the boys should do well in the national football tournament as it would be held in similar weather condition as prevailed back home.
Sikkim has been drawn with Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Chandigarh in Pool A and play their lung opener with Tamil Nadu on May 26.
A five-day training camp for the state team was held at Paljor Stadium recently.
The squad: Bimal Bagdas, Karma Tsering Lepcha, Tashi Rapden, Rupen Rai, Karma Lhendup, Robin Gurung, Sonam Bhutia, Don Tshering Lepcha, Sagar Rai, Rohit Ansari, Milan Lepcha, Sanju Pradhan, Tshering Lepcha, Kiran Tamang, Ong Tshering Lepcha, Sisil Karthak, Engphuhang Subba, Bikash Jairu, Nim Tshering Lepcha and Bir Bahadur Pradhan.
Coach: Thupden RapgyalManager: Arjun Rai
Gangtok: Paying tribute to Mary Scott, PNG School celebrated its 84th Founder’s Day in a befitting manner at the school premises on May 21. Mr. PS Tingbo, Reverend of EPCS Church (Gangtok) was chief guest on the occasion.
During the function, a documentary video ‘The Touch’ was displayed to the gathering which included present and former students and teachers of PNG School and guests. The video narration revealed the journey of PNG School since its inception in the year 1924 till date. It was narrated that PNG School was founded by Mary Scott of Scotland in 1924 with the permission of the then King Chogyal.
At that time there was lack of education for girls due to the ethics and culture of Sikkim. In such kind of circumstances, Mary Scott with the vision and hope to develop girls literally, visited every family and tried to convince them for girls’ education.
Mary Scott then started her school with only two girls at Mazakoti. Boys were also allowed up to class II at that time. Later, the school was shifted in its present location on the land donated by King Chogyal.
The pictures of Mary Scott with her students in the film depicted her endeavor, hard work and dream of upliftment of girls. She remained incharge of the school as its principal till 1939. After her, several other principals including Grace Patterson from New Zealand, Martha Hamilton, Miss Richie and Roosevelt Namchu (from within Sikkim) carried forward the responsibility of executing the vision and dream of Mary Scott.
Ex-students of the school, watching the video, recalled nostalgic memories of their school days. Mrs. NM Karthak and Mrs. Jemima Pradhan, ex-students and teachers of the school shared their school experience with the gathering. Mrs. Pradhan said that PNG School produces not only an academic student but also a complete woman. “Apart from education, PNG School taught us everything associated with the real life of a woman”, she said.
The school students performed impressive colourful Nepali, Bhutia and Lepcha dances. The chief guest in his address said, “Rich person is one who makes others rich. Mary Scott came here in Sikkim sacrificing all the comfort and luxury of her home just to make the people of Sikkim literally, morally and spiritually rich. She was very rich”.
He informed that the first church of Gangtok was built by the effort of Mary Scott. He told the students to keep their school always young and vigorous as at present.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Union Tourism Ministry has been according top priority to development of tourism in the area, since tourism has great potential for employment generation and economic growth. This was stated by the Union Tourism Secretary Sh. S. Banerjee recently while reviewing the progress of projects sanctioned to the State Governments for development and promotion of tourism in the North-Eastern Region. He said during the 10th plan period a total amount of Rs.319 crore was released to the North Eastern states including Sikkim, as against the mandatory provision of 10% amounting to Rs.269 crore. Similarly in the first year of the 11th plan i.e. 2007-08, against the target of Rs.95.3 crore (10% allocation of the budget) the actual expenditure on the North East including HRD & publicity amounted to Rs.170 crore. Sh. S. Banerjee said out of this amount, the amount released to the States for infrastructure development, Fairs and Festivals, Capacity Building for Service Providers and Information Technology was Rs.139.7 Crore.
The amount sanctioned and released for the year 2007-08 for Sikkim as follows:
(Rs. In lakh) (Rs. In lakh)
No of Projects Sanctioned
Sh. S. Banerjee said, the Ministry has continuously been promoting the North Eastern Region through its publicity campaigns in the print, online and electronic media. In 2006, 4.45 million foreign tourists arrived in the country, 0.038 million foreign tourists visited the North East region and the number of domestic tourists who visited the North East was 3.9 million. The Union Tourism Secretary said however in order to tap the immense tourism potential of the region it is required that a concerted effort be made for upgrading infrastructure and ensuring better connectivity of important tourist destinations and circuits. (PIB)
After Indian Idol's Prashant Tamang comes another talent, also named Prashant, from North East India.
Prashant Rasaily was the runner-up in Gateway To
Prashant speaks to Patcy N about his experience on Gateway To
I am from Gangtok,
I was interested in filmmaking, so I made a 24-minute film called Myth. It was very difficult to convince people to fund my film, so I produced it myself, on a very small budget. I hired the equipment from Kolkata and shot the film in Sikkim. I did the post production work in Kolkata.
Myth is about the wildlife, and about gods who protect the wild.
The movie was appreciated and soon, I got an offer to write a Nepali film, Kagbeni. It is a thriller and has done well in
I worked as a disc jockey by night and pursued my hobbies by day. So I did not face any financial constraints. Besides, my siblings also took care of my family. I have two sisters, one is a nurse and another is a doctor. My youngest brother has not decided what career he wants to take up yet.
I have two films in hand -- Karma and a silent film called Liason. But I don't know when I will be free to complete those.
I hoped to win Gateway To Hollywood, and was disappointed when I lost. But I felt reassured when I got work from Anurag Basu.
I have already started working with him on Kites. It's still on the pre-production stage. After that, I will be direct a film for him. We are looking for a good script. I will work on the first few drafts and he will check the final draft.
I don't plan my life so I don't know what I will do next. I have not decided whether I will stay back in Mumbai or return to Gangtok and work there. But if all goes well, I will stay in Mumbai.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
“On the one hand, China is trying to tell the that it has stepped back from laying claims on portions of Sikkim close to its borders, on the other hand, we keep hearing about military activities on Sikkim’s border with China,” said Ratan Gurung, a resident.
“China is retracting on its commitment. It’s wrong on its part to lay claim on the area,” added Bhupal Basnett, another resident.
China has made fresh claims with troops making an entry into the “finger area” which is the northernmost tip of Sikkim. The boundary area is demarcated by mounds of stones, which China has objected to.
India though has told China it will not allow Chinese troops in the area, as it would mean a breach of treaty between the neighbours.
The row has occurred even as the two Asian giants reopened trade across the 15,000-ft Nathu La Pass, 52 km east of Sikkim’s capital Gangtok, as part of a broader rapprochement.
The move marked the first direct trade link between the two countries since a bitter border war in 1962.
The Sikkim boundary was demarcated and recognised by the two countries as far back as 1959.
The current claim by the Chinese is the latest among several irritants in Sino-India ties. China has continued to stake claim over large parts of Arunachal Pradesh, particularly Tawang.
Even as discussions continue over the matter, China and India have exchanged words over Arunachal. The Indian Government has on many occasions asserted and conveyed to the Chinese that Arunachal is an integral part of India. (ANI)
Monday, May 19, 2008
A day after your channel reported China's attempts to lay claim to a strategically important area in North Sikkim, called the "Finger Area", TIMES NOW have gained access to the exclusive pictures of the Finger Area showing Indian patrol vehicles.
Earlier, China has surprised India by laying claims on a small tract of land in North Sikkim and has threatened to demolish the existing stone structures there. India strongly rebutted these claims, lodged an official protest and barred Chinese troops from entering the area.
Referred to as the "Finger Area" by Indian armed forces, this territory falls north of Gyangyong in Sikkim and overlooks a strategically important valley known as the Sora Funnel. It contains several stone cairns, which are essentially heaps of stones that can be used for shelter.
The exclusive pictures, which TIMES NOW have, depict the actual situation in the Finger Point area. The pictures, the first from Sikkim, show Indian military patrol vehicles on the Indian side as well as Chinese patrol vehicles on the other side of the border. The pictures also show cairns, or bunkers, that the Chinese have threatened to break down on the Indian side.
Surya Gangadharan / CNN-IBN
New Delhi: It would seem China is determined to broaden the areas of territorial dispute with India. To their claims on areas in Arunachal Pradesh, Beijing wants to add Sikkim, which China had accepted as part of India only a few years ago.
The area being claimed by the Chinese is a sliver of territory jutting into Tibet – the Indian Army refers to it as the ‘Finger Area’.
Chinese troops were trying to lay a road cutting through the Finger Area that would link up their locations on either side of it.
The Indian Army objected when China claimed this area during flag meetings and also diplomatically in Beijing.
“This is a flat area, same height as the Tibetan plateau from where forces can be launched to cut of the Shigatse-Yatung highway,” said Lt Gen Sheru Thapliyal, explaining why the area was crucial to India.
China-watchers in India say this is part of Beijing's tactics against India, probing Indian military defences on the ground, gauging the response, and diplomatically keeping up the psychological pressure on India.
“Unfortunately, we do not react strongly enough when the Chinese raise these doubts; our attitude is to sweep the thing under the carpet,” pointed out Thapliyal.
The Chinese moves in Skkim are also related to their concerns in Tibet. Before the 1962 war, Tibet was sustained to the extent of 60 per cent through supplies from India that came through Sikkim's Nathula Pass. They want normal trade through Nathula but India prefers to restrict such commerce, keeping in view its own security concerns and the need to protect local industry.
Some intelligence reports even suggest China provoking an incident somewhere on the frontiers with India, with the intention of winning concessions from a government seen as weak as it heads into a general election.
With inputs from Mansi Sharma
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Beijing sends ‘informal’ threat to demolish stone structures in Finger Area, India protests, bans Chinese troop entry
New Delhi, May 17:China has surprised India by laying claim on a small tract of land in North Sikkim, even threatening this week to demolish existing stone structures there. India has strongly rebutted these claims, lodged an official protest and barred Chinese troops from entering the area.
Referred to as the “Finger Area” by Indian armed forces, this territory falls north of Gyangyong in Sikkim and overlooks a strategically important valley known as the Sora Funnel. It contains several stone cairns, which are essentially heaps of stones that can be used for shelter. The area is in the northernmost tip of Sikkim, north of a place called Gyangyong, and appears like a protruding finger on the map — hence the name Finger Area.
On Thursday, at the periodic division commander-level flag meeting in Nathu La, India made it clear that it will not allow Chinese troops to enter the area and will strongly enforce this measure. While this was not the first time in the past five months that India was asking Chinese troops to stay away, sources said, this time it underlined stronger enforcement.
A day earlier, in Beijing at a lunch meeting between Indian officials led by Indian Ambassador to China Nirupama Rao and a Chinese team led by Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs He Yafei, a key member of the Chinese delegation called aside a senior Indian diplomat and conveyed Chinese objections on the row building up in North Sikkim.
And in that informal off-the-record conversation, the Chinese side is believed to have gone to the extent of saying that its troops would soon demolish the stone cairns. A surprised Indian side is said to have pointed out that this would be a breach of the treaty to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC.
Though off-the-record, the message of China’s “informal threat” officially reached New Delhi, which then made it clear at the military-level meeting that the Indian Army will not tolerate any more transgression into this area by Chinese troops. This has created a bit of tension, but the general view is that, at present, the issue had not gone beyond posturing.
Going back in history, Chinese troops used to cross the area during patrols but this was attributed to the general confusion that occurs during patrols along the Line of Actual Control. In many other areas, Indian troops, too, would cross Chinese territory for the same practical reasons like taking the shorter and negotiable route which may involve bit of transgression.
The row began to build up last year when Chinese troops started to frequent the area far too often — this year too about 50 Chinese transgressions have been reported in this area — and then started building a road towards the end of the year that crossed this tract of land.
When India objected to this at a local military commander level, China claimed that the area fell in its territory. A shocked Indian side then produced a 1924 map of the Survey of India where the stone cairns have been identified and shown as part of Indian territory. When China did not pay much attention to this, India even lodged a diplomatic protest in February with the Chinese government on this issue. This was after China had protested other troop deployments in Sikkim resulting from relocation of India troops from the western border. As a result of this diplomatic escalation, the road construction near the area came to a halt.
Realising that this could suddenly escalate into a major controversy, the Indian side started beefing up its positions and constructing pathways in the area. Sources said this further annoyed China, which re-emphasised its claim.
The bigger question that has emerged from this issue, China destroying a makeshift bunker at Doka La near the Sino-Sikkim-Bhutan trijunction and then the protest of India troop movements, sources said, is a Chinese effort to bring Sikkim back into the boundary controversy. Known as the Middle Sector of the LAC, the boundary along Sikkim was considered a less difficult issue compared to other sectors. In fact, this is the only sector where both sides have exchanged maps.But clearly, what was considered a settled issue once China recognized Sikkim as part of India is now making an uncomfortable re-entry into the boundary settlement discourse.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
The company who will also finance the entire project, said that the total cost of this express highway will come to about Rs 1550 Corores.
The express highway will have tunnels and bridges with two lanes and the slope of the tunnel will be less than 3 % and it will be all weather concrete roads, open round the clock.
Before coming here this project was presented to Minister DONER Mr. Mani Shankar Iyer, and only about 30 km of the high way will be in West Bengal and the company has already got the approval from the government of West Bengal for it
It will have 10 tunnels and same number of bridges and when this express high way will completed the distance from Gangtok to Siliguri will be covered in about 40 minutes.
About 12 months will be required for survey and 36 months for putting up the bridges and tunnels from Sevok to Gangtok.
The entry points of the tunnel will be in Pakyong and Rangpo, as and when the government of Sikkim will give consent to the project we'll start the work said Mr. Golshair from Austria who was representing the company.
Chief Minister Mr. Chamling who showed interest in the project and said that he'd like to come to an aggrement with the company as soon as possible..
The meeting was attended by the Minister Roads and bridges and other cabinet ministers, Chief Secretary Addl Chief Secretary, secretaries from the concerned officials of BRO and 17 Mountain divisions were also present for this presentation.
Gangtok, May 16: Sikkim paid rich honor to the 1973 pro-demoracy martyr Birkha Bahadur Gurung who led to the erstwhile Chogyal kingdom becoming the 22nd state of India on this day. Chief Minister Pawan Chamling posthumously awarded the L D Kazi award for Democratic Movement to martyr Gurung, who sacrificed his life in the 1973 uprising. The award carried a citation and a cheque of Rs one lakh.
On the occasion of 34th State Day, Chief Minister unveiled a life size statue of Kazi Lhendup Dorji Khangsherpa, Father of Democracy of Sikkim, at Chintan Bhawan here today.
"Mr Kazi's contribution was immense for Sikkim and we must take inspiration from him. Credit for today's developed Sikkim goes to him and his democratic soldiers," Chamling said.
It was on May 16, 1975 that the Himalayan kingdom held a referendum that favoured its merger with India thus making it a full fledged state under the chief-ministership of late Kazi.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
NAMCHI, May 14: The Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today visited various places in and around Namchi, in order to take stock of the various developmental projects currently under progress here.
He was accompanied by the minister, Rural Management and Development Department, KN Rai, Area MLA, Melli, Girish Chandra Rai, secretaries of all the government departments along with the officials from the South District.
Mr. Chamling started his inspection from the construction site of the Ropeway near Gandhi Park here. He directed the engineers of the concerned department to ensure that the ropeway meets top standards. He also directed them to look for a good parking area near the site.
During his visit to the Jorethang Road, the CM directed the engineers to make provisions for street lights up to Kamrang College Road. He also suggested that sufficient numbers of pay and use toilets in and around Namchi town should be constructed in order to facilitate both the locals as well as tourists.
Concerned over the increasing number of vehicles in the town, the Chief Minister directed the concerned departmental officials to look for a proper site where a parking plaza can be constructed.
The Chief Minister also visited the newly constructed children’s park at Kazitaar, where he instructed the SDM, Namchi to look for a land for the construction of a nature park in Namchi.
Walking towards Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Institute for Handicapped (JNMIH), Mr. Chamling directed the engineers to find a site for the construction of Schedule Caste Bhawan there.
During his interaction with the public, the CM urged them to cooperate with the State Government and help them to make Sikkim a green State by colouring every house in the Namchi Municipality area in green.
The Chief Minister also visited the construction site of the District Library cum Museum and the multi-storied shopping complex cum parking plaza here.
Mr. Chamling announced that the Namchi bazaar will now be a vehicle-free zone. Expressing his desire to make Namchi town as beautiful as Gangtok, the CM directed the engineers of the State Urban Development and Housing Department to design a dancing water fountain at the present taxi stand here.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The ceremony was organized by the Sikkim Filmmakers and Artist Society for his landmark achievement in the show.
Shyam Pradhan, a film maker based in Sikkim and Chandra Prakash Ghimirey, a cinematographer also from Sikkim chaired the occasion as the chief guest and guest of honour respectively.
Prashant was felicitated with a citation, shawl and a memento.
Expressing his gratitude towards the Association, Prashant said he was touched with the gesture and the support that he received from the people of Sikkim.
The young director said that there are very talented youths in Sikkim who are in desperate need for proper guidance and mentoring, especially in the area of filmmaking. He further expressed his desire to make a film on Sikkim for which he sought the support of the people.
In his address, the chief guest said that the State had a long way to go in the field of filmmaking. However, the success story young talents like Prashant had paved the way for aspiring filmmakers of the State.
The occasion also witnessed screening of the Prashant’s entry film for Gateway, “Mother” and his final submission “Children of light.”
Monday, May 12, 2008
source: you tube