Celebration of Asar-Pandra was held at Dung Dung village in Khamdong, East Sikkim

Khamdong, June 29: (IPR) The traditional paddy(rice) trans-plantation festival of Asaar Pandra (15th day of the month of Asaar as per Nepali calendar), was held with much fervour and enthusiasm at Dung Dung village in Khamdong, East Sikkim, today.

The programme was graced by Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture Shri L.N. Sharma as the chief guest, along with Hon’ble Minister for Health Department Dr. M.K. Sharma, Hon’ble Minister for Transport Shri Sanjit Kharel, MLAs Shri Sonam Venchungpa, Shri B.K Sharma, Smt Sunita Gazmer, Shri Em Prasad Sharma, Secretary Agriculture Department Shri Rinzing Chewang Bhutia, Secretary Horticulture Department Shri M.T. Sherpa, Secretary IPR Department Ms. Namrata Thapa, and senior officers of the Agriculture and Horticulture Departments, amidst the enthusiastic presence of the people of Khamdong and surrounding areas.

At the outset, the dignitaries performed the bhoomi puja as a mark of reverence to the mother earth. It may be mentioned here that the paddy land belongs to local gentry Shri. Bhim Bahadur Pradhan, Shri. K.N. Pradhan and Shri. L.P. Pradhan.
Amidst traditional songs and music, popularly called ‘Bethi’, the dignitaries joined the local residents in trans-planting new seedlings of rice in the field. Traditional sounds of the ‘Naumati Baja’ and traditional songs lent festivity to the occasion. The dignitaries and other guests were treated with the significant ‘dahi chewra’ or beaten rice with curd and bananas.

A brief introduction on the tradition of Asaar Pandra and Bethi was made by Shri. Hari Adhikari, a local resident and teacher by profession.

Secretary, Agriculture Department, Shri Rinzing Chewang Bhutia in his address emphasized on the importance of the agricultural sector. He said that the people of Sikkim, especially the youth, are taking a keen interest in agriculture and allied activities. He stated that the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic has tested the forbearance of the farmers. But the farmers have responded relatively well and have not let the circumstances affect them adversely. To add to the zeal of the farmers, the Agriculture and Horticulture Departments, under the guidance of the Hon’ble Minister, have initiated schemes which are designed to uplift the farmers, he stated. He shared the Department’s initiative to link the farmers with banks which will reap the desired results in days to come.

Minister for Health Department and also the Area MLA of Khamdong Singtam constituency, Dr. M.K Sharma reiterated the importance of farming as a sustainable professional and a way of life. He extended his warm greetings to the people of Khamdong and surrounding areas and dignitaries present on the occasion.
He stated that post-Corona era will be an era of agriculture and sustainable development. He called for the need to integrate traditional farming with new and scientific farming methods for optimum production. He further stated that the State Government is laying the highest priority to agriculture and allied activities and urged the people to make the most of the opportunities. He extended gratitude to the people who participated in today’s festival with utmost zeal and enthusiasm and wished them success in their endeavours.

The Chief Guest of the programme, Minister for Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry Departments, Shri L.N. Sharma in his address stated that the purpose of organizing the festival in this manner is to encourage the farming community to take pride in this profession. He emphasized on the importance of farming in our daily lives and the contribution of farmers who toil day in and out to provide a variety of products to the entire population.
He added that the vision of the State Government is to make the farmers self-reliant and economically sound. He also informed the incentive provided to dairy farmers in the State. He urged the dairy farmers to take membership of Sikkim Milk Union to avail of an upcoming incentive scheme.
The Minister explained the economic viability of agriculture as a profession. He said that Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry Departments has focused more on the fields rather than files. He added that all the officers are totally involved with the farming community and are eager to lend all required assistance.
The Minister informed of several agricultural schemes to ensure that agriculture will be the most viable profession. He also explained the concept of Green Economy. He informed of the Credit Subsidy Programme being launched from West Sikkim and subsequently in other districts. He explained the details of the scheme and urged all the farmers to avail of the benefits. He also appealed to the farmers to inculcate a culture of timely repayment of the loans for long term benefits.
The Minister also urged the beneficiaries who received the agricultural inputs today to utilize them to the optimum.
The Minister also shared the special economic incentive package for the cultivation of Ginger, Cardamom, Turmeric, Orange and Buckwheat which was announced by the Hon’ble Chief Minister recently.
He also informed the Terrace Farming scheme for urban dwellers to keep them healthy and happy.

Earlier, it was also announced that the long-pending aspiration of the people of Khamdong for the establishment of National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Khamdong has materialized, and the same has been sanctioned by the Government.
On the occasion, the amount of land compensation was also presented to the following land owners namely, Shri Ram Pradhan, Ganga Prasad Lamichaney, Sonam Thendup Bhutia and Hari Lal Dhakal for NIT campus in Khamdong.
Further, the Chief Guest handed over Agricultural inputs like chaff cutter, power tiller, poly pipe, spray machine under Agriculture Department.
Likewise, UV film, tubular Green House, gnap tank, micro-irrigation pipes, and vermicompost were distributed under the Horticulture Department.
Similarly, milch cow, backyard poultry, and chaff cutter were distributed under the Animal Husbandry Department.
This was followed by Carp distribution under Intensive Fish Farming scheme from the Directorate of Fisheries.

HCM took stock of flash flood affected areas in Passingdang North Sikkim

Mangan, June 29: (IPR) Hon’ble Chief Minister, Government of Sikkim Shri Prem Singh Tamang took stock of flash flood-affected areas in Passingdang, Upper Dzongu, North Sikkim Today.

During his visit, Hon’ble Chief Minister was accompanied by the Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Hon’ble Ministers of various department, MLAs, Secretaries and officers from the district administration.

The chief minister visited flood flash affected areas which triggered on 27th of June due to incessant rainfall in the region.

Due to unprecedented wave of flash flood the Passindang village was hugely damaged out of which 19 houses were majorly damaged. 48 families are evacuated to PHE house. No causalities have been reported so far.

HCM interacted with the people of the Passindang village and asked about the present situation of the villages. He also said that the people of the village should be shifted to a safe place as soon as possible because those areas are more like to sink.

HCM asked Power Department to restored electricity facilities within the village as soon as possible and also the entire North district for the better communication between villagers and Administration. He also instructed the Irrigation department to provide immediate relief and to find permanent solutions for the villagers on a war footing. Road and bridges Department should keep road communication open during this monsoon season and also find alternative solutions he added.

As per the NCRT norms, 35 affected families were provided with one lakh one thousand and nine hundred to each house as for the financial assistance by the Department of disaster management and District Administration. Later HCM also provided two lakhs to each house from the CMRF.

As Passindang Sec school has been damaged hugely, the public of Passindang demanded to shift their school to the nearby junior high school as a combined education till the things get better. HCM directed HRDD Department to provide combined education.

HCM also visited the old Mangan of under Lachen-Mangan constituency in North Sikkim where people are living in constant threat of landslides, especially during the season. Old Mangan and Mangan SNT complex situated in sinking zone has become a landslide-prone area and said to the concerned Department to build a proper drainage system and should be diverted to the river which is also likely to be the main reason for a landslide. While visiting Rabumkhola HCM came to know that 14 families were also badly affected by the landslide, so he decided to provide two lakhs with each to 14 families from CMRF.

A press conference to generate mass awareness on GECL scheme & PMEGP was convened at Commerce & Industries Dept

Gangtok, 29th June (IPR): A press conference to generate mass awareness on Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) scheme and Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) was convened by Secretary, Commerce and Industries Department, Shri H.K. Sharma, at the conference hall of Udyog Bhawan today.

The Secretary was accompanied by Director, State (MSME), Shri M. Ravi Kumar, General Manager and Officer-in-charge, RBI Gangtok Shri Ravindra Sangvai, Chief Manager, Lead Bank, Shri Gopal Lama, AD, Khadi Village and Industries Commission Gangtok, Shri B. N. Roy, and senior officials of the department and other dignitaries.

In his address, Secretary Shri H. K. Sharma highlighting the two schemes said that Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) scheme and Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) have been designed by the Government of India in finding solutions to the issues related to MSME.

During the first phase of the conference, Chief Manager, Lead Bank, Shri Gopal Lama, provided a brief introduction on the GECL Product scheme.
It was informed that the GECL scheme is a specific response to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. The main objective of the scheme is to provide an incentive to member lending institutions to increase access and enable the availability of additional funding facility to MSME borrowers in view of the economic distress caused by the COVID 19 by giving them 100% guarantee for any losses suffered by them due to non-repayment of the GECL funding by borrowers.

It seeks to provide much-needed relief to the MSME sector setting a pre-approved sanction limit of up to 20% of the loan as on 29th February 2020 through additional working capital term loan facility.

Those business enterprises or MSME having combined outstanding loans across different banks, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and financial institutions (FIs) upto 25 crores as on 29th February 2020 and having the annual turnover up to Rs 1000 crore for the financial year 2020 are eligible for the scheme. The scheme is valid for existing customers of a bank, NBFC or FI and not for new borrowers.

The scheme will be applicable to all loans sanctioned under GECL during the period from 23rd May to 31st October 2020. The rate of interest is 7.5 % for public sector banks and a maximum of 9.25 per annum for private sector banks. NBFCs cannot charge more than 14% interest for the loans under this scheme, it was informed.

The loan is extended for a period of four years from the day of disbursement and there will be no pre-payment charge if a borrower wants to repay earlier without any processing fee for such loans. With a moratorium of one year on the principal repayment, but interest payment will continue during this period while the principal repayment will then be converted into equated instalments spreading across the remaining period of 36 months.

Shri Lama further stated that by supporting MSMEs to continue functioning during the current unprecedented situation, the scheme is also expected to have a positive impact on the economy and support its revival.

The gathering was also briefed on the simplified guidelines of the Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), a flagship programme of the Ministry of MSME, to streamline the process of selection and examination of the flow of application under PMEGP.

It was also informed that the State and District level implementing agencies namely Khadi Village Industries Commission,(KVIC) Khadi Village Industries Board (KVIB) and District Industries Centres (DICs) will be directly receiving the applications and proposals and will also be scrutinising and forwarding them to the Banks within three weeks of receipt for taking credit decision. The Banks will then examine the project technically and financially and sanction the applications for loans as per their rules and norms.

A scoring sheet system has now been introduced for evaluation of the project by the applicant itself to help them judge their application for funding and further improvisation if needed. It was informed that there should be a minimum scoring of 50 out of 100 for the project estimate up to Rs. 10 lakhs and minimum 60 out of 100 for projects amounting to more than 10 lakhs.

The revised guidelines and the scoring sheet for PMEGP can be downloaded from the Ministry of MSME website or the Commerce and Industries Department, Government of Sikkim webpage or can be directly obtained from State DIC/KVIC office in Gangtok.

Earlier, a new scheme of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries – “PM Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (FME)” – under Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan was virtually unveiled by Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, in the presence of Union Minister of State, FPI, Shri Rameswar Teli.

Director, State MSME, Shri M. Ravi Kumar, along with media personnel also joined the video conference at NIC in Tashiling Secretariat.

19 houses damaged by the flash flood in Passingdang, North Sikkim

Mangan 28th June IPR: Due to incessant rainfall since a couple of days a huge flash flood occurred in Passingdang, Upper Dzongu, North Sikkim on 27th June at 6PM. Huge damages to the houses and public properties and old hostel of Passindang Sec School has been damaged majorly. No casualties were reported till now. Civilians were evacuated on time.

MLA Dzongu Shri Pinstso Namgyal Lepcha along with him District Magistrate North, Shri Tenzing T Kaleon, SP North Smt Ongmu Bhutia, DFO(T), SDM Dzongu, BDO Dzongu, RO Dzongu and NGOs visited the affected areas today.

As per the information from SDM Dzongu the total no of 19 houses has been damaged by the flash flood and 35 families were evacuated to the Passingdang PHE house. The affected families were provided with ration by the District Administration.