Monday, August 24, 2015

Rhenock organization provides aid to Chhuba landslide affected families

The - 10, Nagarik Uthhann Seva Sanstha, a voluntary social welfare society based at Rhenock carried out a social venture on August 23 by providing some relief materials to the 40 victims, mostly students of age 7 to 14 years at Chhuba, Kolakham West Bengal. The children had been residing at relief camp at Lingseykha MSK School. The July 7, 2015 landslide tragedy had affected 81 families at that area. Similar drives was also conducted a month back for those affected families.
The organization had provided school stationaries including books, copies, geometry boxes, uniforms, slippers and others.  Eatery things, medicines and other needful items were also distributed at the camp.

Opinion Piece: Sikkim Organic Mission

Please critique, don’t criticise — Sikkim Organic Mission is far too important - and yes for the future of young Sikkimese farmers

By P. D. Rai

One can look at political rhetoric in many different ways. If it leads to useful debate, imaginative thinking and good outcomes on matters of policy, they are hugely welcome. But what SKM leader PS Golay attempted in the recently concluded session of the Sikkim Assembly when he spoke on Sikkim’s Organic Mission, relied more on accusation than substantial critique. What is known as ‘optics’.

Unfortunately, Golay and the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, have reduced their politics to throw-mud-and-see-what-sticks and Sikkim’s Organic Mission appears to be their chosen victim. As the opposition, they may continue to play their games of one-upmanship, but as a State, let us not sell ourselves short.

Consider what Chief Minister Pawan Chamling pointed out in his reply: this is the first time in the history of the world that a state has attempted to become fully organic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s endorsement of our Organic Mission is testimony to the Mission’s success so far. As he said in Germany — home to the biggest Trade Fair on organic produce — “now the doors for global trade have been opened for the State.”

Have we become perfect? No. But the Organic Mission has set Sikkim on a journey that will shape the future of our economy and livelihoods of many young Sikkimese along the entire value chain. It is also an investment in the health and well-being of our children and our elderly. It provides for better quality of life whilst lowering healthcare costs.

We can already see changes in our ecological balance. Bumblebees are back. Flowering and productivity of our Cardamom has gone up significantly. The mad scramble for seedlings of Cardamom is an indication of the health of the ecology besides fetching good prices.

Our targets for the implementation of Sikkim Organic Mission are aggressive — something the departments are perhaps not used to — yet, we will meet them.

Golay cited examples of irregularities in the certification process. The Department of Agriculture must take note and ensure more stringent monitoring going forward. But let us not jump the gun and say the Agriculture and Horticulture department’s intentions are mala fide! This is the classic cutting your nose to spite your face.

It is foolish to assume all land would be Organic and certified from day one. Certification is an ongoing process. Soil-testing labs have already been established in each district. And Certification of land under organic cultivation is being regulated by the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority of the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry — through APEDA accredited certification agencies, who in turn use service providers such as NGOs who implement National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) regulations. This is needed for differentiation in a market where robust standards rule.

It is one thing to critique policy, and another to use its garb to allege that the policy was made for corrupt purposes. The latter, we must wholly reject. When you critique something, you evaluate it thoroughly. When you criticise, you hold an opinion for just creating confusion in the minds of people.

As the Chief Minister reminded us all in his speech, “farming is a dignified occupation.” There has never been better time to empower our young farmers with the right knowledge, incentives and support to lead an Organic farming revolution that will become a model for the rest of the world to follow. It is naive to expect that a mission of such ambition won’t face challenges. Yes, there are teething problems, and that is why all of us must work together to find solutions. At the Centre, there is renewed thrust in promoting organic produce and we cannot afford to lose all the hard-work we’ve done so far to political pettiness. Unsurprisingly this position will hurt the future interests of our youth, farmers and Sikkim.

To borrow a quote from former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, whose death was condoled in the assembly by all members during the same session: “Let us move on with the spirit of I can do it, we can do it, and the nation can do it.”

(P. D. Rai is the SDF Party’s Spokesperson and­ sitting Lok Sabha MP)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sakyong Chisopani JHS celebrates nation’s 69th Independence Day

 Cine Star Uttam Pradhan along with six others felicitated

SINGTAM, AUGUST 17: PD Rai, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Government of Sikkim took salute of the march past as Sakyong Chisopani JHS joined with rest of India to celebrate the nation’s 69th Independence Day. The day long programs had felicitation ceremony, inter- school cultural and rural and athletics competitions, kho-kho match and Open Football final.
PD Rai, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha was the Chief Guest on the occasion while other distinguished guests present on the occasion were Bhim Thatal, Director Primary Education, HRDD, Gangtok, Thupden Bhutia, Assistant Director, HRDD, Khamdong GVK, Dipendra Gurung, HRDD, Khamdong GVK, Sunita Dahal, Headmistress, Burung JHS, Nirmal Cintury, Zilla Panchayat member, Panchayat members of Sirwani- Chisopani GPU and others.
Seven personalities were honoured for their service towards society and being an inspiration to others. Those personalities included; Uttam Pradhan, Chairman Film and Culture Board, Bimal Lamichaney, Panchayat President, Sirwani Chisopani GPU, Sonam W Bhutia, Officer In Charge, Police Station, Singtam, CM Tiwari, Divisional Engineer, Toppakhani, KB Chettri, Principal, Singtam SSS, Pawan Subba, Range Officer, Forest Department, Singtam and Arjun Chettri, Headmaster, Rikape Primary School, South Sikkim.
Mahesh Dahal, Headmaster of the school gave the welcome speech where he read out about the importance of the day. Speaking on the occasion, Chief Guest spoked about the involvement of the students in all round development. The Chief Guest also visited the exhibition hall at the school where stamps and bank notes along with model making activities of students were displayed.
Inter-school patriotic dance competition had Burung JHS as the winner followed by Sakyong Chisopani JHS and Rising Sun Academy as 1st Runner-Up and 2nd Runner- Up. Students from different schools participated at rural sports and athletics and won medals in the competition. Kho-Kho exhibition match for boys and girls category was highly appreciated by the crowds. Sakyong Chisopani JHS boys and girls won both the categories defeating Sonamati SSS, Khamdong and Singlebong JHS respectively. Prizes for the Culture, Kho-Kho and athletics event was sponsored by Lt. SN Pradhan family, Rongli, LP Chettri, Shantinagar and Pervez Ansari, New Mobile Care, Singtam. Manu Hang Khewa and Preeyanka Tamang was the host of the day.

The participation schools included: Sonamati SSS, Singtam SSS, Singlebong JHS, Burung JHS, Rising Sun Academy, King George Academy, Rikape Primary School and Sakyong CHisopani JHS.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

What old Laws is Dr. Mechung (SKM) talking about?

Press Release

In an article published in the Sikkim Express on 5 August 2015, Dr. Mechung claimed that the Land Acquisition Bill is eroding the old laws of Sikkim and it would make people in Sikkim landless. This is misleading and factually incorrect. SDF condemns this kind of propaganda which is designed to create insecurity in the minds of the people of Sikkim.

Before the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 the land in Sikkim was acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

Sikkim enacted The Sikkim Land (Requisition and Acquisition) Act, 1977 that deal with the acquisition of land. This law will be impacted by by the new Land Acquisition bill. Not 371F as the 1977 enactment in Sikkim already has had the ‘’dilution effect which perhaps Mechung is desirous of claiming.

The larger question is if Dr. Mechungs claim that the new bill would make the people of Sikkim landless based in fact or just a ploy to create fear in the minds of the Sikkimese people. Even a cursory read of the old land acquisition laws, the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 and the proposed bill shows that the 2015 Bill and the 2013 Act favour the farmers and landholders immensely. Under the older laws, land could be acquired by the government forcefully without giving people an opportunity to defend their claims if the government sighted urgency in the matter. Under the new laws, 80% of the landholders need to consent to the acquisition of land if it is being done for private purposes and 70% need to consent if it is for a PPP project. The compensation paid to the landholders is also much higher under the new law. The new bill tried to introduce certain categories of projects that would be exempt from the consent requirements but this has been changed by the Joint Committee in the Parliament. Such projects will also need to conduct a Social Impact Assessment to assess the impact that the acquisition would have on the people. Thus it is clear that the new laws will protect the interests of farmers and landowners in Sikkim, unlike what is claimed by Dr. Mechung, and the land owners of Sikkim are more protected than ever from land acquisition.

The SDF Party desires that debate on this issue be done with facts as the basis instead of trying to create fear and panic in the minds of people of Sikkim through cheap propaganda..