Writings of Sikkim since 2007

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sikkimese women who marry a non-Sikkimese would also be exempted from the Income Tax: CM


ASGEA holds a massive rally to thank CM for IT exemption


GANGTOK, June 29:
More than 7000 government employees braved the rain to be a part of the Dhanyabaad rally organized by All Sikkim Government Employees Association (ASGEA) on June 28 as an expression of gratitude to the Chief Minister for having exempted government employees from Central Direct Taxes.
The rally saw the participation of government employees of all four grades from the 24 government departments. The rally started from Convoy Ground and was rounded up at Paljor Stadium where the Chief Minister addressed the mammoth gathering.
The Chief Minister was accorded a warm welcome by the government employees and offered flowers as a token of gratitude.
In his address, the Chief Minister said that government employees in Sikkim enjoy a lot of facilities in terms of salaries compared to other states in the country. He informed that government employees in Sikkim receive Rs 48,000 more than the employees of other states. Talking on income tax exemption for Sikkimese, he informed that all government employees would be exempted from Income Tax from the month of April 2008 in retrospective effect. It was our persistent effort and endeavor which has proved fruitful finally with the accomplishment of the demand, the CM said.
He informed that all those Sikkim Subject holders who carry business outside will be kept out from the tax purview and obtaining a Permanent Account Number (PAN) would be easier. The Chief Minister also assured that Sikkimese women who marry a non- Sikkimese would also be exempted from the Income Tax.
He further assured to try and work for exempting taxes for the business community and for those government employees who do not hold Sikkim Subject along with the assurance to increase the salaries of all the Work Charged, Adhoc and Muster Roll employees.
Stating that the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) government has always made the promotion criteria more flexible, Mr. Chamling appealed to the Grade D employees to further their education so that they have scope for promotion.
‘The MRs and WC employees would now get age relaxation up to 50 years in other departments and 30 years in Police Department to appear for examination held by the respective departments,” he announced.
“The State Government has devised a norm according to which posts will have to be filled 50 percent by recruitment and 50 percent by promotion. However, in Police Department the reservation would be 10 percent up to the rank of Assistant Sub Inspector rank and 50 percent from the rank of Sub Inspector,” he added.
While thanking the Chief Minister on behalf of all the government employees, Narsing Rai, president, ASGEA said that the present government had always worked for the welfare of the government employees and that in return all the government employees should work with more commitment and dedication towards their duties.
He also informed that rallies across the state were taken out simultaneously today including government offices in Siliguri, Delhi, Kolkata and other places.
“ASGEA is also in the process of submitting a charter of demands to the government,” he said adding, “earlier, the chief Minister had formed a committee headed by the Home Secretary to look into the grievances of government employees.”
“The exemption of the Central Direct taxes is the best gift the government employees have got from the State government and the Central government,” he added.

http://www.sikkimexpress.com/otherstories.htm
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Sikkim Motor Bike Tour




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Sunday, June 29, 2008

One of my best nepali song...

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

25 years after SIKKIM



Next month, it will be 25 years since the Indian annexation of Sikkim. Sudheer Sharma looks back at how a Himalayan kingdom lost its sovereignty.

King Palden Thondup Namgyal, the Chogyal of Sikkim was in his palace on the morning of 6 April, 1975 when the roar of army trucks climbing the steep streets of Gangtok brought him running to the window. There were Indian soldiers everywhere, they had surrounded the palace, and short rapid bursts of machine gun fire could be heard. Basanta Kumar Chhetri, a 19-year-old guard at the palace’s main gate, was struck by a bullet and killed—the first casualty of the takeover. The 5,000-strong Indian force didn’t take more than 30 minutes to subdue the palace guards who numbered only 243. By 12.45 it was all over, Sikkim ceased to exist as an independent kingdom.

Captured palace guards, hands raised high were packed into trucks and taken away, singing: “Dela sil, li gi, gang changka chibso” (may my country keep blooming like a flower). But by the, the Indian tri-colour had replaced the Sikkimese flag at the palace where the 12th king of the Namgyal dynasty was held prisoner. “The Chogyal was a great believer in India. He had huge respect for Mahatma Gnadhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Not in his wildest dreams did he think India would ever swallow up his kingdom,” recalls Captain Sonam Yongda, the Chogyal’s aide-de-camp. Nehru himself had told journalist Kuldip Nayar in 1960: “Taking a small country like Sikkim by force would be like shooting a fly with a rifle.” Ironically it was Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi who cited “national interest” to make Sikkim the 22nd state in the Indian union.

In the years leading up to the 1975 annexation, there was enough evidence that all was not well in relations between New Delhi and Gangtok. The seeds were sown as far back as 1947 after India gained independence, when the Sikkim State Congress started an anti-monarchist movement to introduce democracy, end feudalism and merge with India. “We went to Delhi to talk to Nehru about these demands,” recalls CD Rai, a rebel leader. “He told us, we’ll help you with democracy and getting rid of feudalism, but don’t talk about merger now.” Relenting to pressure from pro-democracy supporters, the 11th Chogyal was forced to include Rai in a five-member council of ministers, to sign a one-sided treaty with India which would effectively turn Sikkim into an Indian
“protectorate”, and allow the stationing of an Indian “political officer” in Gangtok.
As a leader of international stature with an anti-imperialist role on the world stage, Nehru did not want to be seen to be bullying small neighbours in his own backyard. But by 1964 Nehru had died and so had the 11th Chogyal, Sir Tashi Namgyal. There was a new breed of young and impatient political people emerging in Sikkim and things were in ferment. The plot thickened when Kaji Lendup Dorji (also known as LD Kaji) of the Sikkim National Congress, who had an ancestral feud with the Chogyal’s family, entered the fray. By 1973, New Delhi was openly supporting the Kaji’s Sikkim National Congress. Pushed into a corner, the new Chogyal signed a tripatrite agreement with political parties and India under which there was further erosion of his powers. LD Kaji’s Sikkim National Congress won an overwhelming majority in the 1974 elections, and within a year the cabinet passed a bill asking for the Chogyal’s removal. The house sought a referendum, during which the decision was endorsed. “That was a charade,” says KC Pradhan, who was then minister of agriculture. “The voting was directed by the
Indian military.”

India’s “Chief Executive” in Gangtok wrote: “Sikkim’s merger was necessary for Indian national interest. And we worked to that end. Maybe if the Chogyal had been smarter, and played his cards better, it wouldn’t have turned out the way it did.”

It is also said that the real battle was not between the Chogyal and Kaji Lendup Dorji, but between their wives. On one side was Queen Hope Cook, the American wife of the Chogyal and on the other was the Belgian wife of the Kaji, Elisa-Maria Standford. “This was a proxy war between the American and the Belgian,” says former chief minister, BB Gurung. But there was a third woman involved: Indira Gandhi in New Delhi.

Chogyal Palden met the 24-year-old New Yorker, Hope Cook, in Darjeeling in 1963 and married her. For Cook, this was a dream come true: to become the queen of an independent kingdom in Shangrila. She started taking the message of Sikkimese independence to the youth, and the allegations started flying thick and fast that she was a CIA agent. These were the coldest years of the Cold War, and there was a tendency in India to see a “foreign hand” behind everything so it was not unusual for the American queen to be labelled a CIA agent. However, as Hope Cook’s relations with Delhi deteriorated, so did her marriage with the Chogyal. In 1973, she took her two children and went back to New York. She hasn’t returned to Sikkim since.

Then there was Elisa-Maria, daughter of a Belgian father and German mother who left her Scottish husband in Burma and married LD Kaji in Delhi in 1957. The two couldn’t have been more different. Elisa-Maria wanted to be Sikkim’s First Lady, but Hope Cook stood in the way. “She didn’t just want to be the wife of an Indian chief minister, she wanted to be the wife of the prime minister of an independent Sikkim.” With that kind of an ambition, it was not surprising that with annexation, neither Hope Cook nor Elisa-Maria got what they wanted.

Meanwhile in New Delhi, Indira Gandhi was going from strength to strength, and India was flexing its muscles. The 1971 Bangladesh war and the atomic test in 1974 gave Delhi the confidence to take care of Sikkim once and for all. Indira Gandhi was concerned that Sikkim may show independent tendencies and become a UN member like Bhutan did in 1971, and she also didn’t take kindly to the three Himalayan kingdoms, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal, getting too cosy with each other. The Chogyal attended King Birendra’s coronation in Kathmandu in 1975 and hobnobbed with the Pakistanis and the Chinese, and there was a lobby in Delhi that felt Sikkim may get Chinese help to become independent.

In his book on the Indian intelligence agency, Inside RAW, The story of India’s secret service, Ashok Raina writes that New Delhi had taken the decision to annex Sikkim in 1971, and that the RAW used the next two years to create the right conditions within Sikkim to make that happen. The key here was to use the predominantly-Hindu Sikkimese of Nepali origin who complained of discrimination from the Buddhist king and elite to rise up. “What we felt then was that the Chogyal was unjust to us,” says CD Rai, editor of Gangtok Times and ex-minister. “We thought it may be better to be Indian than to be oppressed by the king.”
So, when the Indian troops moved in there was general jubilation on the streets of Gangtok. It was in fact in faraway Kathmandu that there were reverberations. Beijing expressed grave concern. But in the absence of popular protests against the Indian move, there was only muted reaction at the United Nations in New York. It was only later that there were contrary opinions within India—Morarji Desai said in 1978 that the merger was a mistake. Even Sikkimese political leaders who fought for the merger said it was a blunder and worked to roll it back. But by then it was too late.

Today, most Sikkimese know they lost their independence in 1975, and Siliguri-bound passengers in Gangtok still say they are “going to India”. The elite have benefited from New Delhi’s largesse and aren’t complaining. As ex-chief minister BB Gurung says: “We can’t turn the clock back now.”

This article was first published in Nepal Times From Issue #35 (23 March 00 - 29 March 00). http://www.nepalitimes.com/issue/35/Nation/9621 pic: scan from a book
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BB Gooroong refutes report


Gangtok: A report of Sify news, titled “Sikkim political parties back Gorkhaland demand”, said to have been filed from Gangtok on Friday, June 27, 2008, appeared in Google website on the day. Quoting PTI based in Gangtok as the source, the report attributed a statement to Mr. B. B. Gooroong, political advisor to Sikkim chief minister, which has been emphatically refuted by Mr. Gooroong.
The report said, “The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front - has openly supported the creation of a separate Gorkhaland state to fulfil what it says the aspiration of the Gorkha people”, adding, “The demand for creation of a Gorkhaland state is fully justified for the fulfilment of democratic aspirations of the Gorkha people living in the Darjeeling hills and adjoining areas in West Bengal, party leader and former chief minister B B Gurung told PTI here”. When contacted by Sikkim Reporter, Mr. Gooroong said, “I deny having made any such statement”. He further said, “I did not talk to PTI on the matter”. The Sify report also carried what it called a statement by former chief minister and Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee president Mr. Nar Bahadur Bhandari. “The Gorkhaland demand is also supported by Mr. Bhandari who said Darjeeling hills were never a part of West Bengal historically and the present agitation was a culmination of the discriminatory attitude of the state (West Bengal) government over the years”, according to the report.
“Some political parties like BJP, CPI-M and Sikkim Himali Rajya Parishad have refused to express their stand on the statehood issue”, said the report which also quoted, SHRP president, Dr. A. D. Subba, saying, ‘’The Centre should find out the foreign forces which were behind the agitation on the statehood issue and were encouraging the agitators in all manners”.

http://sikkimreporter.com//
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Friday, June 27, 2008

Former Home Secretary appointed Sikkim Governor

GANGTOK, June 26: The former Union Home Secretary, Balmiki Prasad Singh was today appointed new Governor of Sikkim.
He will replace Sudarshan Agarwal, whose tenure ended in January, this year but was extended till date.
Governor Agarwal was sworn in as the 13th Governor of Sikim on October 25, 2007.
Mr. Singh, a former Executive Director of the World Bank has authored four books including “The Problem of Change-A Study of North-East India’ and India’s Culture: the State, the Arts and Beyond.”
A veteran bureaucrat, he is also a recipient of several honours including Nehru Fellowship, Queen Elizabeth Fellowship and Gulzarilal Nanda Award for his outstanding public service in India. He is also the Chief Editor of 'The Millennium Book on New Delhi' published by Oxford University Press, in 2001.
The author, Balmiki Prasad Singh, began his career at the age of 19 as Lecturer in the Post Graduate Department of Political Science, Patna University, and Administrative Service in 1964. Mr. Singh was brought up in a village in Bihar and got the opportunity to serve the length and breadth of the country in various capacities including as Union Home Secretary.

http://www.sikkimexpress.com/topstories.htm
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coffee at 13,000 feet (Sikkim)


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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Taking flight

Vanya Jha writes about the migratory patterns of birds in the Sikkim Himalayas

The air was filled with songs of numerous birds. Suddenly, the valley where the Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology (SMIT) is located reverberated with a new enigmatic birdcall “Cooooo-Cooooo”. The Indian Cuckoo has finally arrived. I noted the date 14 March 2008. Last year it had arrived a little earlier - on 9 March. I shared the celebrations with my Lepcha brethrens at its arrival. For them it is a bird of hope - a divine messenger sent by Goddess Mother Nazong nyo. Living here at SMIT, I consider myself extremely blessed to witness such a wide variety of flora and fauna. In this tiny area of about 34 acres almost 80 birds have been recorded. They enthrall in many ways including their migratory instincts and activities.
Well, all of us are familiar with bird-migration. Many birds have two homes located far away from each other. They fly enormous distances from one home to another every year religiously to avoid food scarcity, harsh weather or simply to breed. Observing them in these idyllic surroundings I gradually begin to discover that migration is not as simple as it is made out to be. Rather it has several hidden nuances not known to most of us. Birds cannot just be classified as migratory or non-migratory.
To begin with, we have Indian Cuckoos along with the Large Hawk Cuckoo and the Himalayan Cuckoo arriving with spring. Their calls are sweet music to our ears. But by the end of April the calls cease. By June-July they leave these environs altogether. The Spotted Dove and Bulbuls also arrive in spring but they are here till October or even November. But we have many birds such as Hoopoe that arrive in October-November and disappear well before the spring. Thus, we have spring migration and autumn migration.
I was to learn more. One bright December morning I heard a familiar call. I was amazed, because Spotted Doves should not be around here during December. I shared my confusion with Usha Lachungpa, a well-known ornithologist and a Senior Research Fellow at Department of Forest, Government of Sikkim. She smiled and told me that Spotted Doves and Bulbuls observe what we call partial migration. Most of them fly away to warmer regions in winter but some stay back. There is a misconception in the minds of people that birds migrate in order to escape harsh climatic conditions but this is not so because birds are biologically strong, they can survive fairly unfavourable conditions also. They migrate because of lack of food in that particular region. This explains why the morning calls of the Spotted Dove can be heard even in severe winters.
What is more, these birds also exhibit local migration, confirms Dr.B.K.Acharya, a well-known ornithologist and lecturer at the Department of Zoology, Sikkim Government College. During winters Doves and Bulbuls at higher elevations such as Ranipul or Gangtok shift to lower elevations (such as Singtam, Rangpo etc.) in Sikkim. Whereas birds of these species from lower elevations of Singtam and Rangpo migrate to perhaps Siliguri or further south.
Even as I digested these fresh facts on bird behaviour, Dr Acharya enlightened me further with a new phenomenon called reverse migration. Hoopoes arrive here in autumn from warmer Indian planes. Thus, they spend summers in warm planes and winter in cold mountainous regions! An interesting fact I stumbled around is that Lepchas associate Hoopoes with the arrival of guests. If a Hoopoe is seen, a guest will arrive soon in the village, believe Lepchas. This belief hides common sense. In the hills, rainy season certainly cannot be the time for social visits as rains are extremely heavy, terrain almost impossible and rivers at their most ferocious-self. Thus logically, social visit will start right after rains - in October, when the Hoopoe also arrives! Last year Hoopoes (a solitary pair) arrived at SMIT on 8 October.
Interestingly, many birds migrate through Sikkim. Thus, at times we have a glimpse of a few species of geese and duck which otherwise is a part of Sikkim’s avifauna. As if this was not enough, a friend told me he had sighted a Blue whistling thrush in Chandigarh - far away from its Himalayan range. We went through many books on ornithology. At last, we found out that the Blue whistling thrush, though a non-migratory bird, flies out during winters to places a couple of kilometres away. Such occurrences though, are extremely rare.
In the context of migratory birds I came across another interesting Lepcha belief. According to it, when Mayel Pho (Divine birds- Lepcha term for migratory birds), first arrived from Mayel (Heaven), Mother Goddess Nazong Nyo decided to ensure a comfortable stay for them. She chose a few lakes for their visit. To ensure the cleanliness and sanctity of these lakes she commanded Chamung Pho (Whistling thrush) to keep the lake clean and sacred by removing dead leaves and twigs from the same. Lepchas believe Chamung Pho can still be seen cleaning the lake religiously and the Chamung Tea estate in Darjeeling district derives its name from this bird. This Lepcha belief throws up interesting possibilities for ecologists. Do migratory and non-migratory birds share a symbiotic relationship? Do non-migratory birds in any way help migratory birds? There must be some truth in such a hypothesis. Offhand, it may be said that migratory birds such as various Cuckoos are brood parasites, which depend on non-migratory birds such as thrushes to hatch their eggs and nurture their young ones by laying eggs in their nests.
I am sure this is not all. There must be many more nuances of bird migrations that I am yet to discover. Perhaps that is why we find the world of birds so supremely enchanting!

Class XII, Holy Cross School, Gangtok

http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=18&theme=&usrsess=1&id=210049
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Sikkim resident moves SC against highway blockade

Wed, Jun 25 09:31 PM

A Sikkim resident has moved the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Centre to ensure safe transportation of essential commodities to the state through National Highway 31A, the lone road that connects the state to the rest of the country, which is frequently blocked by 'Gorkahland' supporters.

The apex court shall hear the application on Thursday.

A vacation bench headed by Justice Altmus Kabir agreed to give urgent hearing to the application filed by a Sikkim resident alleging that frequent bandhs and strikes in the recent past have hit movement of vehicles on the highway.

Senior Advocate P H Parekh, while mentioning the matter before the bench, contended that normal life in the State has been adversely affected because of the ongoing agitation over 'Gorkhaland' and there was an urgent need to ensure the safe movement of the essential commodities on the highway.

"Sikkim is a land locked state surrounded by three foreign countries and National Highway 31A is the only road connecting the state to the country. The ongoing agitations have disrupted the supply of essential commodities as it is highly dependent on other states," Parekh said.

He contended that the government should take help from the Army and para-military forces to remove the blockade on NH 31A.

http://in.news.yahoo.com/48/20080625/804/tnl-sikkim-resident-moves-sc-against-hig_1.html

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New governors appointed for Assam, Sikkim and Meghalaya

New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) Charan Mathur was Thursday named the next governor of Assam while Balmiki Prasad Singh and Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary were appointed governors of Sikkim amd Meghalaya respectively. Balmiki Prasad Singh takes over from Sudarshan Agarwal in Sikkim while Charan Mathur has been appointed in place of Lt. Gen. (retired) Ajai Singh, who completed his tenure earlier this month.

Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary succeeds S.S. Sidhu as governor of Meghalaya, a release from the president’s office said.

Also, Bihar Governor R.S. Gavai was transferred to Kerala for the remainder of his term.

Gavai will replace R.L. Bhatia, who moves to Bihar.

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/politics/new-governors-appointed-for-assam-sikkim-and-meghalaya_10064908.html

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Sikkim government moves Supreme Court on Gorkhaland issue

New Delhi: Following the ongoing Gorkhaland agitation, the Sikkim government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court for a direction to the Centre and the West Bengal government to ensure free movement of traffic on National Highway No. 31A to and from Sikkim.

A vacation Bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice G.S. Singhvi decided to hear the petition on Thursday on a mention made by counsel for the State A. Mariarputham about the filing of an application.

The Bench, after hearing senior counsel P.H. Parekh, said it would take up another application filed by O.P. Bhandari seeking the same relief.

The apex court had already issued notice on a writ petition from Mr. Bhandari for a direction to the parties concerned to take appropriate action during bandhs and strikes called by political parties and social organisations. The present applications are filed in the same writ petition.

The applicants said on account of frequent bandhs called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the last few days, the entire stretch of NH-31A from Siliguri to Sikkim was closed and traffic had been disrupted as the followers refused to allow vehicles on the road.

This was the only national highway connecting the State with the rest of the country and due to the blockade, the people of Sikkim and thousands of tourists were stranded. The people were facing miserable conditions as even essential commodities and medicines could not reach Sikkim.

The applicants pointed out that the GJM had commenced an indefinite strike from June 14 and had asked the people to store essential goods for about 45 days.

Contending that life had come to a standstill due to the road block, they sought a direction to the Centre and the West Bengal government to ensure free movement of vehicles and people on NH 31A.

http://www.hindu.com/2008/06/26/stories/2008062655511300.htm

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha forced to postpone indefinite strike until 5th of July

BY BARUN ROY [BEACON ONLINE EXCLUSIVE]

Darjeeling
: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha President declared the postponement of the indefinite strike which was supposed to start tomorrow morning at 6am. Speaking at Chowrasta, Bimal Gurung said that the talks that had taken place between the GJM delegation lead by Roshan Giri and the Union Home Minister was promising. However, the GJM President refused to divulge the details of the talk.

http://beacononline.wordpress.com/2008/06/24/gorkha-janmukti-morcha-forced-to-postpone-indefinite-strike-until-5th-of-july/
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CM talks to Centre, directs officers to make ground plan to cope with bandh


Gangtok: A meeting was held at Mintokgang Monday morning under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Dr. Pawan Chamling, to review the stock position of essential commodities in the State and devise ways and means to replenish the depleted stock of various items resulting from the ongoing indefinite strike called by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) in Darjeellng Hills.
The meeting was attended by the Chief Secretary, Mr. N.D.Chingapa, Additional Chief Secretary-cum-Finance Secretary, Home Secretary, Development Commissioner, Food Secretary, Managing Director, STCS, Principal Secretary and Additional Secretary to the Chief Minister. In the meeting concerned officers apprised the Chief Minister about the State’s storage capacity of Motor Spirit and High Speed Diesel which are 255 KL and 875 KL respectively, enough to last only two days, 780 KL of Kerosene Oil to last only for 3 days and 10,700 MT of Wheat/Rice (including PDS & Open) in FCI godown and almost equivalent capacity in the State food godowns, enough to last 2 months.
The Chief Minister, who had already telephonically discussed the latest situation arising out of the indefinite bandh called by the GJM with the Union Home Minister, Mr. Shivraj Patel on June 22 and 23 followed by an official letter, directed the concerned officers to take advantage of the relaxation in the bandh and also arrange the stocks of essential commodities to its full capacity when the Union Home Minister is seized of the matter with his total concern. He also asked the officers to work out the modalities to put the operational mechanism in ground to ensure continuous flow of essential commodities even after the resumption of bandh.
In this connection it may be noted that the Chief Minister had also requested the Union Home Minister to take all necessary steps at the earliest including issue of explicit, unambiguous and workable instructions to the Government of West Bengal and Army to ensure regular flow of traffic along 31 A National Highway so that supplies of essential commodities to the State are ensured and the people do not feel a sense of alienation, particularly in view of the recent developments in North Sikkim.
http://sikkimreporter.com//
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Monday, June 23, 2008

“Kranti” is reformative change not destruction: Dr. Chamling


DB RAI
Gangtok:
“Pawan Chamling is the most sincere Chief Minster of India and the most sincere leader of the country. You people should know this very well. If you fail to understand me, you will be grossly mistaken”. This was said by the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front president and Chief Minister Dr. Pawan Chamling.
He was addressing a large gathering of Ministers, MLAs, Panchayats, party leaders and members of SDF frontal organizations on the occasion of 16th Kranti Diwas observed at SDF Bhavan on Sunday, June 22. He said, the people of business community of the State were not very conscious of their social and political rights. When they were offered by Chogyal (King) to be ‘subjects’, they refused and now they are asking for it, he said. He, however, assured the business community that he would try to provide ‘Ladhak model’ provision so that they would also be exempted from the Central Income Tax.
Mentioning Sikkim Succession Bill passed in the State Assembly, he said now women in Sikkim are no more considered second-class citizens. They have become equal to their male counterparts. They can inherit the property of ther father.
SDF observes Kranti Diwas every year as on this day, 22nd June 1993, a huge protest rally was taken out in Gangtok by the party which resulted in the fall of Nar Bahadur Bhandari government, SDF president noted. ‘The day is very important for the Sikkemese people and those who think for the State and the party”, he said. As to the meaning of ‘Kranti’ (revolution) he said, “many people have the misconception that Kranti means calling bandh, damaging vehicles and torching houses and fighting. But true kranti is bringing about reforms”. Sikkim has changed in a big way in the last 14 years SDF rule, he added, and mentioned achievements of SDF government, including succession bill and exemption from Central Direct Tax for the Sikkimese people.
On the occasion, Dr. Chamling released a book “Krantipath” written by SDF publicity secretary,MrKiran Chettri.

http://sikkimreporter.com//
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GJMM relaxes bandh till Wednesday morning


DARJEELING, June 22: The Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) relaxed its indefinite bandh in the Darjeeling hills for 60 hours beginning 6 pm today.
The 60-hour breather, from 6 pm today till 6 am on Wednesday (June 25), was decided at the central committee meeting at the “request from different quarters including ministers and MPs and also considering the overall situation.”
Talking to reporters here today, Bimal Gurung, the president of GJMM said that the bandh has been relaxed after persistent request from the Union Ministers as well as because of several students, who have been stranded in hostels across the Darjeeling Hills even after the start of their summer vacation.
He further announced that all the schools, colleges and tea gardens, which were running despite the strike, would now be totally closed from Wednesday onwards.
A team headed by Roshan Giri, the General Secretary of the Morcha would be going to New Delhi for talks with the Central leaders on the issue of Gorkhaland, he informed.
Benoy Tamang, publicity secretary said the blockade of the National Highway 31A, linking Siliguri to Gangtok, would be lifted during the relaxation period enabling resumption of vital supply of essential commodities to Sikkim.
The indefinite bandh demanding for a separate Gorkhaland State had started on June 16 this month.

http://www.sikkimexpress.com/otherstories.htm
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Radio Misty to launch in Gangtok by August

By Shabana Ali

MUMBAI: Sikkim capital Gangtok will welcome its first radio station in August with Radio Misty entering the market. This would be the second radio station of the PCM group, after the first Radio Misty launched in Siliguri some months ago.

The station will position itself as the station 'for the locals'. It will aim at promoting the local talents, will be anchored by local RJs and Nepali, Hindi and English music will play on the station. The programming of the station would be very different from the station in Siliguri.

Radio Misty, CEO, Nishant Mittal adds, "We are already heard by the people in Gangtok from our Siliguri station. So, we are not totally unkown for the crowd. We are into eco friendly campaign as Sikim has won award for being the most eco friendly state in the country."

The station is promoting itself through ground activities, print media and ads printed on paper hand bags. No hoardings have been put up, as these would tend to block the scenic beauty of the area. The campaign promotes areas of Sikkim, unknown to tourists.

Radio Misty has also introduced a new BBC programme, which plays the top Pop chartbusters. The programme is already on air in Siliguri and would also be the part of Gangtok's radio station, Mittal says.

http://www.radioandmusic.com/headlines/y2k8/june/23june/radio_misty.php


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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sikkim cut off from the rest of the country for 5th day


GANGTOK/RANGPO, June 20: Sikkim remained cut off from the rest of the country for the fifth consecutive day today due to the ongoing blockade on National Highway 31-A called by the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) to press for its demand for a separate Gorkhaland demand.
Except for ambulance, press, vehicles carrying students and vehicles carrying LPG cylinders, no other vehicles are permitted to ply from Rangpo, West Bengal side.
The State may not be affected with the shortage of LPG as more than 15 trucks carrying LPG cylinders entered in two days from Rangpo Checkpost.
Yesterday, an SNT tanker was not allowed to pass as the Morcha picketers slept on the Highway.
Meanwhile, a huge rally was organized today at Rangpo, West Bengal side where more then 500 youth and Nari Morcha members shouted slogans for the fulfillment of their demand for a separate State.
Morcha supporters today hinted that the indefinite bandh, which started from last Monday, is expected to continue for 45 days.

http://www.sikkimexpress.com/otherstories.htm
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Friday, June 20, 2008

NH blockade stalls airport inspection


Bappaditya Paul
SILIGURI, June 19: A team of the Union civil aviation ministry from New Delhi today failed to visit Sikkim to inspect the progress of the upcoming Gangtok airport due to the ongoing blockade of the National Highway 31A by the GJMM Agitating over a separate Gorkhaland state in Darjeeling, the GJMM has brought the Sikkim lifeline to a halt since 16 June evening through its blockade of the highway.
The three-member Union civil aviation ministry team, headed by the departmental secretary Mr Ashok Chawla, landed at the Bagdogra airport near Siliguri at 12:15 pm today. The other two members in the team included, the Airports Authority of India member operations Mr Praveen Seth and the executive director (engineering-central headquarters) Mr Raheja.
They were scheduled to visit Sikkim by road and take stock of the progress of the Sikkim's first airport project coming up at Pakyong, 31 kms off Gangtok. The team was also supposed to hold a meeting with the Sikkim chief secretary in Gangtok, before leaving the mountain state tomorrow.
“But due to the closure of the NH 31A, they dropped the Sikkim trip and left for Guwahati at 12:45 pm. From Guwahati, the team would go to Meghalaya to inspect the project work of the upcoming airport at the capital town Shillong,” informed Mr KK Bhowmick, airport director, Bagdogra. The civil aviation team's visit was related to the release of further Central funds.
The first civilian airport project of Sikkim, the foundation stone of which was laid by the former Vice President, late Mr Krishan Kant on 6 April 2002, is already lagging behind schedule. According to Mr Buddhi Rai, PRO, Sikkim government in Siliguri, the upcoming Gangtok airport with a proposed 1600 metre runway and a 106 X 76 metre apron would accommodate two 50-seater ATR aircrafts at a time. Sikkim has a helipad at Gangtok, wherefrom a government of India subsidised helicopter service to Bagdogra is run.

http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=10&theme=&usrsess=1&id=209095
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Indian gorkhas are not rebels without a cause

20 Jun 2008, 0131 hrs IST, Anand Soondas ,TNN

When the first batch of Indian Nepalese, or Gorkhas as they like to be called, settled in what is now Darjeeling, there was nobody to record it for history.

But Darjeeling already had a resident population when the British, after a ravaging war with the fierce warriors, brought them down with guile to annex the hill tracts in 1814.

That was almost 200 years ago. A decade after that General Lloyd and J W Grant of the East India Company began the first British settlements in Darjeeling, finding it favourable both as a getaway and sanatorium.

The region was formally adopted by the British in 1837 and a road from Pankhabari to Ghoom, and then up to Darjeeling, leapt up almost immediately as a hotel was established in Kurseong for European travellers. By 1866, Darjeeling district as we know today was complete.

It's surprising, therefore, that CPM state secretariat member and West Bengal transport minister Subhas Chakrabarty should call Gorkhas foreigners, exhibiting ignorance about the history of a region that has long been a part of West Bengal.

That apart, it's doubly worrying that his utterances have come when the hills are burning with the renewed rage of a people marginalized and dispossessed through centuries.

It didn't help either that external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, and not the Union home minister, made a statement just a day before that when he dismissed the demand for a separate Gorkhaland. Could he have thought, for a slippery moment, that Gorkhas being "foreigners" all matters relating to them logically come under external affairs?

Today, when charged up masses in the hills have pledged to go on a 45-day strike, botching up on history can have grave consequences. Also, it will be worthwhile for the Buddhadeb government to remember that the first rumblings of discontent were heard in the hills way back in 1907, making the call for separate statehood and identity one of the country's oldest rebellions.

The wounds thus are centuries old and call for sensitivity and diplomacy. More importantly, Subash Ghising sold his Gorkhaland dream 20 years ago to a government that just wanted the monkey off its back.

No genuine effort was made to tackle the festering problems of poverty, unemployment, water scarcity, lack of quality higher education and roads. All that was done was a promise made to Ghising that his autonomous hill council wouldn't be accountable to anyone and that he could run it like a fief if he so wanted with no questions asked.

Now, though, both the dynamics of agitation and those leading it have changed. Indications are Bimal Gurung of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, spearheading the fresh homeland demand, will not sell out, prolonging an agitation that can be bitter, violent and more broadbased. After all, much has happened in the Hills in the last two decades and Gorkhas, in India and abroad, are better educated, better connected and better equipped to sustain their struggle.

There is already a frantic Internet community exhorting people to lend a helping hand to their brethren back home.
There is also a new cultural and linguistic nationalism in the way Gorkhas came together, from Nagaland to Nepal, Mumbai to Manhattan, to heave and push Prashant Tamang to his Indian Idol victory last year which has come into play in the region, making the situation trickier than earlier.

Socio-economic indicators of the Hills show that a staggering 75% of the populace, according to Laden Tenzing of Tenzing Wine Store in Kurseong, are alcoholics. Though culturally a wine-drinking people, he says neither he nor his father remember so many people hitting the bottle. This time around, the agitators need to be brought to the table and efforts made to address immediate issues, ensuring that the escape hatch of all the piled up despondence and hopelessness is not violence. Not again.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Indian_gorkhas_are_not_rebels_without_a_cause/articleshow/3146832.cms
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Vote for Gorkhaland

India today is conducting a poll on the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland comprising Darjeeling Hills, Siliguri and the Doors.

It's an issue close to our heart!

Please vote 'yes' and spread the word around.

Here is the link (you may have to copy-paste):

http://indiatoday.digitaltoday.in/
The poll is on the left had side of the page as u scroll down
warm regards
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What difference did you find between Gorkha and Nepali?

There are different interpretation for the definition of Gorkha and Nepali. Actually it is the two sides of the same coin. It is only because the Indians used to see us like the people living across the river Mechi, this problem was emerged.

As far as I believe, there should not be any geographical boundary in respect of language and literature. It is not that the English language is meant for the English people in England only and Nepali language for the Nepali of Nepal only. The language and literature are two such things that become more rich and prosperous as it extends its sphere.


If by calling Nepali reflects the citizen of Nepal then in order to distinguish us from them we have formulated the concept of calling us Gorkha. ABGL was working in this field for a long time in its own level.


To segregate and safeguard our identity in India, it is better to call us Gorkha to have distinct bifurcation. That is why Mr. Subash Ghisingh might have called Gorkha. But regarding the language, I don’t agree with him. In my personal opinion it would be better to say Nepali speaking Indian Gorkhas – that will be a good solution.
The followings are may be the reason to distinguish ourselves as Nepali or Gorkha:

(a) In 1946, late Damber Singh Gurung, of ABGL had said in the constituent Assembly of India that out of one crore Nepalese 30 lakh are living in India.


It happened at the time when the backward class commission of India was trying to include the Gorkha community in backward class. For which, Damber Singh Gurung was also trying his level best. But then President (now speaker) of Constituent assembly of India Mr. Acharya J.P Kripalani used such humiliating words, he said “Gorkha should fight with sword” meaning Khukuri, which was actually not a good comment.

(b) In 1948, communal riot broke out in Calcutta between Hindus and Muslims, in which 10 thousand Gorkhas / Nepali were also effected, who were from Darjeeling, and in order to compensate their losses, leaders of ABGL like Shiva Kumar Rai led a delegation to Nepal for raising funds for the settlements of riot victims.


These are the reason which made the Indian people to get confused with the citizen of across the river Mechi (Nepal) and which made us to proclaim ourselves as Gorkhas to make us secure in India.


In this regard, when there was a deep rooted suspicion in the minds of many Indians towards Gorkhas, Mr. Ari Bahadur Gurung once had to defend in Constituent Assembly by saying “we, the Gorkhas had participated in the freedom movement of India. Till now we are defending the country in the frontiers from the enemies. Gorkhas will not hesitate to shed their last drop of blood to preserve the independence that we have got. Therefore, the people of India should not be suspicious of our Identity”.

Obtain from other source
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GJM shutdown cuts off Sikkim, paralyses entire Darjeeling


Gangtok: A key highway NH 31-A, which is lifeline to Sikkim, was blocked and normal life in the Darjeeling Hills was paralysed on Tuesday, day two of the indefinite shutdown called by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) fighting for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
There were no reports of any untoward incident, but private and public vehicles did not ply and offices remained closed in the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, as the latest phase of the GJM’s indefinite shutdown stretched into on Tuesday. The streets were deserted, with only police and army vehicles moving around as GJM activists assembled at various points. Kalimpong Additional Superintendent of Police K.V. Dorji said GJM activists put up a blockade on National Highway 31A, connecting Sikkim with the outside world, at the Bengal-Sikkim border of Rongpo. “We are sending reinforcements to remove the blockade as the highway is the lifeline of Sikkim,” Dorji said. Tea gardens, cinchona plantations and school and college examinations have been kept outside the purview of the protests by the GJM, which has also exempted the plains of Siliguri, Terai and Dooars from the shutdown that began 6 p.m.on Monday.
The GJM’s plans for a relay hunger strike in Siliguri, Dooars and Terai met with stiff resistance from the administration which extended the night ban on the assembly of more than four people in the areas to the daytime. Police sources said groups of GJM supporters arrived at various points of Siliguri and adjacent areas on Tuesday morning for the hunger strike, but were not allowed to hold the protests. Troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) deployed in Siliguri since June 13, following clashes between GJM activists and Bengali-speaking activists opposed to the Gorkhaland demand, are being moved to potential flashpoints in the sub-division to prevent any breach of peace.
“Come what may, we will hold the hunger strike,” said GJM Sukna branch committee president Bishal Chhettri. GJM president Bimal Gurung has asked the people in the hills to stock up food and essential supplies that could last up to 45 days. The GJM had last week on Tuesday called for the indefinite shutdown in the hills, but gave a 60-hour relaxation Wednesday to enable thousands of stranded tourists reach the plains. The party then deferred the agitation to Monday evening. With the Gorkhaland demand triggering violence in the Darjeeling Hills, Siliguri and the Jalpaiguri district area of Dooars in the past few days, tea and tourism - the bread and butter of the region - have been severely hit.
According to DIG (Range), Sikkim police, Mr. Akshay Sachdeva, the GJM supporters are picketing along the National Highway 31-A. Sikkim police is trying to talk to GJM leaders as well as West Bengal administration to secure the highway for Sikkimese people. “We have started talk with the agitators and concerned IG of Bengal”, the DIG said, adding, “some headway will be certainly made through dialogue”. (With Agency input)

http://sikkimreporter.com//
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The bane of bandhs Caught in neighbourhood politics, Sikkim suffers


KARMA SAMTEN YANGZOM
GANGTOK, June 17:
The tiny, landlocked Himalayan State of Sikkim has become a victim of neighbourhood politics it has little to do with.
The unrest in the neighbouring Darjeeling Hills, punctuated with frequent and unpredictable bandh calls have left Sikkim not only completely cut off from the rest of the country but with a huge dent in its exchequer.
Sikkim is losing a staggering Rs 6 crore a day whenever the Darjeeling hills shut down and the National Highway 31A, the vital road link connecting Sikkim with West Bengal, is subjected to closure by the agitators. About 60 percent of the National Highway 31A connecting Sikkim runs through the Darjeeling District in West Bengal.
This figure is based on a survey conducted by the State department of Economics, Statistics, Monitoring and Evaluation in February this year. The survey was carried out during a two-day bandh called by the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) in Darjeeling around the same time. It calculated the daily financial loss suffered by various sectors in Sikkim because of the shutdown.
This figure includes losses in terms of revenue loss in taxes and losses incurred by businesses, taxis, companies, losses in exports and imports; and losses incurred by hotels.
The per day loss is estimated to be around Rs. 7 Crores during the peak tourist season of April, May and June.
The highest loss is suffered by businesses - a huge Rs. 1.65 crores in lost profits in a single day; followed by the losses suffered by State government to revenue loss from VAT and Sales Tax - Rs. 1.54 crores. The State exchequer also loses Rs. 1.1 lakhs in excise duty on import and another Rs. 15,000 on tax on animal imports, taxis plying on the highway (Rs 75 lakh), goods carriers (12 lakh) and various industrial and manufacturing companies (Rs 64 lakh).
The per day loss suffered by the State’s economy every time National Highway 31A becomes out of bounds for Sikkim traffic, whenever some political outfit calls a bandh in the Darjeeling Hills or in Siliguri, is enough for the Sikkim Government to worry about.
As if landslides along the National Highway 31A during the Monsoons were not enough to paralysis normal life in the State, the bandhs have added to the problems the State has to face.
The closure of National Highway 31A means that the vital supply line to Sikkim is completely blocked. The supply of essential commodities, including foodgrains, fruits and vegetables, and petroleum products (petrol, diesel and LPG) is snapped as the State has to completely depend on the Siliguri market for the supplies.
With the supply line cut off, the prices of foodgrains and vegetables shoot up, with inflation in the State going up by almost 50 percent. It also means untold hardships to local residents travelling to outside of the State for personal works, medical treatment or securing admissions in Colleges across the country.
When the GJMM called the indefinite strike earlier this month, the State was forced to ration the distribution of LPG and fuel from various depots and petrol pumps. Sikkim remained cut off from the rest of the country for four days following the simultaneous bandh call by another outfit opposed to GJMM in Siliguri. The Highway remained closed which led to a mass exodus of tourists from the State.
The agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland has surfaced again, and the recent clashes between the GJMM and those opposed to the idea of a separate state of Gorkhaland have once brought to light the unnecessary hardship that Sikkim has to endure, caught in a struggle it has little to do with.
The strategy adopted by the GJMM is similar to the strategy its predecessor GNLF adopted 20 years ago when the Gorkhaland movement gathered momentum. Block the National Highway 31A and choke the vital lifeline of Sikkim. This may be seen as a tactic-pressure on Sikkim to perhaps support the Gorkhaland demand more openly than before or force the Centre to accept the demand for Gorkhaland keeping in mind the hardships Sikkim faced because of the unrest in its neighbourhood.
The hardships faced by Sikkim are manifold and as said by the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on many occasions, the State cannot be held at ransom. Chief Minister Chamling has said time and again that National Highways belonged to the nation and to forcefully keep it closed on the pretext of some political agenda by anyone would be anti-national and anti-Constitutional. Last week, Mr. Chamling wrote to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh informing him of the hardship the state is facing and asking for his personal intervention.
The GJMM has, in the past, always refused to relax its frequent bandhs for Sikkim, although the State and its people have emotional and social ties with the Darjeeling Hills and have supported the demand for Gorkhaland. The Sikkim Government has brought up this matter a number of times before the Centre as well as the West Bengal Government but this issue has largely been ignored.
This time around too, the GJMM has declared that the National Highway 31A will be blocked during the indefinite bandh call starting Monday. While the State administration has assured that there is adequate stock of essential commodities like food grains petrol, diesel and LPG in the State to last at least a week, it will all depend on how long the bandh will continue or whether the Highway is opened for Sikkim.
Taking into consideration that the Monsoons have begun, the State Government cannot effort to remain a silent spectator while the State is being held hostage. Analysts say that political intervention is needed to permanently solve this problem, which has to come from the Sikkim Government before the situation goes out of hand.
http://www.sikkimexpress.com/news-2.htm
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Monday, June 16, 2008

What difference did you find between Gorkha and Nepali?



There are different interpretation for the definition of Gorkha and Nepali. Actually it is the two sides of the same coin. It is only because the Indians used to see us like the people living across the river Mechi, this problem was emerged.

As far as I believe, there should not be any geographical boundary in respect of language and literature. It is not that the English language is meant for the English people in England only and Nepali language for the Nepali of Nepal only. The language and literature are two such things that become more rich and prosperous as it extends its sphere.


If by calling Nepali reflects the citizen of Nepal then in order to distinguish us from them we have formulated the concept of calling us Gorkha. ABGL was working in this field for a long time in its own level.


To segregate and safeguard our identity in India, it is better to call us Gorkha to have distinct bifurcation. That is why Mr. Subash Ghisingh might have called Gorkha. But regarding the language, I don’t agree with him. In my personal opinion it would be better to say Nepali speaking Indian Gorkhas – that will be a good solution.
The followings are may be the reason to distinguish ourselves as Nepali or Gorkha:

(a) In 1946, late Damber Singh Gurung, of ABGL had said in the constituent Assembly of India that out of one crore Nepalese 30 lakh are living in India.


It happened at the time when the backward class commission of India was trying to include the Gorkha community in backward class. For which, Damber Singh Gurung was also trying his level best. But then President (now speaker) of Constituent assembly of India Mr. Acharya J.P Kripalani used such humiliating words, he said “Gorkha should fight with sword” meaning Khukuri, which was actually not a good comment.

(b) In 1948, communal riot broke out in Calcutta between Hindus and Muslims, in which 10 thousand Gorkhas / Nepali were also effected, who were from Darjeeling, and in order to compensate their losses, leaders of ABGL like Shiva Kumar Rai led a delegation to Nepal for raising funds for the settlements of riot victims.


These are the reason which made the Indian people to get confused with the citizen of across the river Mechi (Nepal) and which made us to proclaim ourselves as Gorkhas to make us secure in India.


In this regard, when there was a deep rooted suspicion in the minds of many Indians towards Gorkhas, Mr. Ari Bahadur Gurung once had to defend in Constituent Assembly by saying “we, the Gorkhas had participated in the freedom movement of India. Till now we are defending the country in the frontiers from the enemies. Gorkhas will not hesitate to shed their last drop of blood to preserve the independence that we have got. Therefore, the people of India should not be suspicious of our Identity”.

This article is not an original piece..it has been obtain from other source.
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CM lays foundation stone of 1200 MW Teesta Stage III power project in Chungthang


“Panan project will not be scrapped”

NIRMAL MANGAR
CHUNGTHANG, June 15:
The Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling, has welcomed and appreciated the decision of the Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) to withdraw their indefinite hunger strike.
He was speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the 1200 MW Teesta Stage III hydro electric project here today.
While stating that the main aim of the State Government is to bring about economic and infrastructure development through hydel power plants, the Chief Minister said the Panan hydro electric power project in Dzongu would not be scrapped.
“The other four projects located in Dzongu, which was supposed to be implemented, stands scrapped,” he said.
Speaking on the Teesta Stage III project, Mr. Chamling said that a two-storied building would be constructed for those people whose land has been acquired by the government for the power project here.
“The project on completion would supply 12% free power to the State Government for the first 15 years and 15% free thereafter. Full ownership would be transferred to the government after 35 years, which would significantly contribute towards GDP revenues and overall development of the State,” Mr. Chamling said.
He further said that the power project will bring in economic boom for the people.
The Chief Minister also urged the promoters of Teesta Stage III to cater to all the demands of the local people, which include the construction of a Community Center, maintenance of roads, school repair, construction of monasteries, drinking water supply and the construction a statue of Guru Padmasambhava.
Stressing on the point that stopping on-going work at hydel projects even for a day means a loss Rs 500 crore, the CM said that the local people would get 80 % job placement facilities as per the guidelines given by the State Government.
On the occasion, Mr. Chamling also made an announcement to rename Lingdong Secondary School as Sonam Chyoda Secondary school in memory of the late MLA from Dzongu.
The 1200 MW project has been awarded to the consortium of promoters led by M/s Athena Projects Private Limited under the joint sector with the State Government under BOOT (build, own, operate and transfer) basis for a period of 35 years. Athena Projects in turn formed a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)-Teesta Urja Ltd- for the implementation for this project. The Teesta III is the largest power project in the State.
Earlier, the Managing Director of Teesta Urja Private Limited, YN Apparao while placing the technical detail of the project. Stating the project as totally environment friendly, Mr. Apparao said there would be two underground desilting cambers of size 285X16mX21.2m each to exclude silt particles above 0.20 mm. “There will be 60m high concerted faced rock fill dam, two numbers, 11.0 m finished diameter tunnels, one intake tunnel, two desiliting chambers, headrace tunnel, two pressure shafts, underground power house complex, tailrace tunnel and pothead yard,” he informed. The project has received all the statutory clearances from the concerned authorities, he added.
At the end of the programme, the people of North Sikkim felicitated the Chief Minister.
The Area MLA, Lachen Mangshila, Hissey Lachungpa and MLA, Dzongu, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha also addressed the gathering.

http://www.sikkimexpress.com/otherstories.htm


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Darjeeling Hills get ready for shutdown

People rushed to stock up on supplies and trucks snaked up the hills to carry essentials Monday in readiness for the indefinite shutdown in the Darjeeling Hills called by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), agitating for separate statehood.

People rushed to stock up on supplies and trucks snaked up the hills to carry essentials Monday in readiness for the indefinite shutdown in the Darjeeling Hills called by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), agitating for separate statehood.

As long queues formed outside shops in the area, the GJM, which Sunday renewed the call for an indefinite shutdown beginning 6 p.m. Monday in the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling district - Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong - also stepped up calls for the resignation of state Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattacharya.

The GJM, which has kept the plain land areas of Darjeeling districts outside the purview of the shutdown but announced a relay hunger strike at various spots in Siliguri, Terai and the Dooars, called him the mastermind behind the attacks on pro-Gorkhaland activists June 8 at Siliguri and the Dooars.

'The CPI-M men beat up our supporters and ransacked their homes. And they also instigated some Bengali-speaking outfits to attack our workers. We called the shutdown not only to press for a separate Gorkhaland state, but also to force the administration to arrest Bhattacharya and others involved in such atrocities,' Gurung told IANS from Darjeeling.

Gurung said he would lead a delegation of his party's senior central committee members to Delhi in the last week of June to brief top national leaders, including those from the main opposition parties, on their demand for Gorkhaland.

'We will apprise the political leaders in Delhi of the situation. We will tell them there is no democracy, no political freedom in West Bengal,' he said.

According to sub-divisional officer, Kalimpong, P.T. Sherpa, prices of essential commodities have shot up after the last shutdown following a shortage of supply.

Senior police officers held a meeting in Darjeeling town Sunday night to discuss security arrangements and ways to prevent any breach of peace during the agitation.

'We are monitoring the situation closely. We don't think there is any need to deploy the Central Reserve Police Force in the hills now,' said Inspector General of Police (North Bengal) Kundan Lal Tamta.

The GJM had last week Tuesday called for the indefinite shutdown in the hills, but given a 60-hour relaxation Wednesday to enable thousands of stranded tourists reach the plains.

The party then deferred the agitation to Monday evening.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has called an all-party meeting in Kolkata Tuesday to discuss the issue, but the GJM has been kept out of the deliberations.

The chief minister separately invited the GJM for a dialogue on June 18, but the hill party turned down his request and instead called for tripartite talks with the central and state governments.

With the Gorkhaland demand triggering violence in the Darjeeling Hills, Siliguri and the Dooars in the past few days, tea and tourism - the bread and butter of the region - has been severely hit.

The GJM has been leading the movement in the hills for a separate state, besides opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling district that ensures greater autonomy to the district's governing body Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.

http://www.indiaprwire.com/businessnews/20080616/30937.htm

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EXTRA MILES FOR EL SHADDAI



Mark Dalton will be running the Himalayan 100 mile Stage Race in Sikkim between 30th October and 9th November 2008. He is Looking for your generous support to sponsor his run for El Shaddai.
We look forward to your sponsorship.

http://childrescue.net/blog/2008/06/16/extra-miles-for-el-shaddai/

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sikkim archery team stranded

14 June, 2008 - One of the two Sikkimese teams, Sikkim AA Red, scheduled to play Chang II today in the Coronation Shield archery tournaments could not make it to the tournament.

According to archery federation officials, the team was stranded because of a strike in the Indian district of Darjeeling. The other team, Sikkim AA Blue, will make it for their first match against Key Dee Timber on Monday, according to officials. “The Sikkimese teams will wear their traditional dress, Chu-ba, while playing in the tournament,” said the assistant general secretary of Bhutan archery federation, Jurmey Wangdi. Sikkim AA Red missing that match means Chang 11 gets a walkover to the next round.

A record 36 teams are participating in the tournament, played on imported equipment at the archery ground opposite the Chang Jiji housing complex. The tournament started on June 2, coinciding with coronation day.

http://www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=10564

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Army on a standby in Siliguri

Tension grips Darjeeling and Siliguri as clashes continue between GJMM supporters and anti-Gorkhaland

SILIGURI/DARJEELING, June 12:
Army is on standby and Section 144 clamped in Siliguri in West Bengal as three organizations called a total bandh opposing the demand for creation of a separate Gorkhaland state.
Earlier, Police lathicharged and tear-gassed on protesters who went on a rampage stopping traffic, throwing stones and burning tyres. Some tourists were also injured in the clashes.
In the wake of fresh tension arising out of clashes between supporters of Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha’s (GJMM) and anti-Gorkhaland factions in Siliguri and parts of Darjeeling, the West Bengal Government today called in the Army in Siliguri and adjacent areas.
According to reports, the Home Ministry has dispatched ten companies (about 1,000 personnel) of BSF, CRPF and SSB to West Bengal. The reinforcement was meant to deal with the situation in violence-hit North Bengal. The additional forces had been sent following a request from the West Bengal government.
To ease tension following the clashes, personnel of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) staged flag march in Siliguri.
The deployment of Army came after Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee discussed the situation in Siliguri and adjacent areas with Army authorities. The CM also appealed for maintaining peace and amity.
Further, he has called an all-party meeting on June 17 to discuss the Darjeeling crisis.
The development came after normal life was hit in Siliguri today as it observed a near total bandh called by three organisations opposing the demand for creation of a separate Gorkha state.
The two-day parallel bandh, called by Amra Bangali, Banglabhasha Bachao Samiti and Jana Jagaran Morcha, in Siliguri and Dooars in protest against the indefinite bandh called by the GJMM, initially began on a dull note, but picked up as the day progressed with all shops and business establishments remaining shut and vehicles off the roads.
Some educational institutions cancelled their scheduled examinations and majority of the banks remained closed.
GJMM press secretary Benoy Tamang alleged that the bandh at Siliguri and Dooars was purposely called to restrict movement of vehicles carrying food and essentials to Darjeeling.
Inspector General of Police (North Bengal), KL Tamta told reporters that the allegation of GJMM was not correct. Vehicles were very much moving towards the hills and sufficient security forces were deployed at all vulnerable points, particularly the entry points to the hills.
There was no repot of any major untoward incident either in Siliguri or Dooars, the IGP said.
The picture, however, was opposite in the hills after the GJMM announced a 60-hour breather in their indefinite bandh which began at 3 pm yesterday. Police said that there was no untoward incident reported in the hills.
On the other hands, the GJMM today said that there was no question of giving up its demand for Gorkhaland.
“We are yet to receive any invitation for the all party meeting and we will take a decision as and when it comes,” GJMM president Bimal Gurung told reporters from Darjeeling.
Meanwhile, the WB Governor has urged for calm in the region. “It is essential that leaders of the public opinion and civil society strive to maintain communal harmony, even as the administration performs its duties for maintaining law and order,” the West Bengal Governor said in a statement.

http://www.sikkimexpress.com/topstories.htm
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Army on alert to battle Siliguri unrest


The Army has been put on alert in Siliguri and neighbouring areas after violent clashes broke out between Gorkhas and non-Gorkhas during a 48-hour bandh called by the Amra Bangali with support from Jana Chetana, an outfit formed to oppose the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) demand for inclusion of Siliguri and areas of the Dooars in a separate state of Gorkhaland.

SSB border guards were later despatched in many parts of Siliguri town and on its outskirts.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who was asked by Left Front partner CPI to “hold talks without pre-conditions” with the GJM, called an all-party meeting, which is slated to be held on June 17 to discuss the Darjeeling crisis caused by the demand to form a separate state altogether.

Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who described the Siliguri incidents as “a matter of great anxiety”, has urged people to do nothing that will instigate any sort of violence.

In Delhi, the Union Home Ministry said it had moved nearly 1,000 Central paramilitary personnel to West Bengal to deal with the situation.

In Darjeeling, GJM chief Gurung slammed the ruling CPM for “trying to create another Nandigram of Siliguri and the foothills with its murderous cadres”.

Violence broke out in Champasari area of Siliguri, which has a mixed population of Gorkhas, Bengalis, Biharis and other sects. Traders hit by the GJM agitation joined an Amra Bangali procession which targeted Gorkhas.

The attacks were apparently started to teach the GJM a lesson for harassing Bengali tourists in the hills. The violence spread to areas like Pradhan Nagar, Sahidnagar, Bidhan Market and others in the town. In Bagdogra, a Gorkha vehicles were destroyed as well.

Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has asked the Prime Minister to intervene. “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should intervene to resolve the problems in the Darjeeling hills permanently so that the people of Sikkim can lead a peaceful life without being put to difficulty due to bandhs on the National Highway which is the state’s sole road link with the rest of the country,” Chamling said in a letter to the PM.

http://www.timesnow.tv/Newsdtls.aspx?NewsID=9750

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Everesters call on CM


GANGTOK, June 11: The Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling today met the members of the successful Everest expedition from Sikkim.
The team of 11 mountaineers, who recently scaled Mount Everest, met the CM at his official residence in Mintokgang here today.
Mr. Chamling congratulated the whole team and expressed his profound happiness over the successful expedition.
After the long gap of 43 years, seven mountaineers of the Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute (SGMI), Sikkim accomplished the glorious feat at 7.26 a.m. IST on May 22, this year.
Among them, Phul Maya Tamang and Yandhi Sherpa were women climbers. Nima Wangchuk Sherpa (60) from the same team made the record of being the oldest Indian Mt. Everest climber.
http://www.sikkimexpress.com/news-6.htm
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When i started my blog on Sikkim way back in 2007, i had it clear on my mind that this blog shall help people look out for knowledge on Sikkim. I always wanted a knowledge house about Sikkim, its past, present and future. I do not know over the years how much did i succeed but my determination to let other understand my Sikkim is always giving me a push. with regards Shital Pradhan (himalayanreview@gmail.com)

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