South district preps for vote counting procedure

Namchi, 13 May (IPR): A preparatory meeting for counting of votes with representatives of various political parties was held at conference hall of DAC in Namchi, South Sikkim today. The meeting was chaired by Additional District Collector (South), Mr. Satyen Pradhan, in the presence of Sub Divisional Magistrate (Headquarter), Mr. Hemant Rai, and other officials.

Addressing the gathering, ADC (South), Mr. Pradhan, briefed about the important guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) that needs to be followed on the day of counting. He also informed that there will be a total number of three counting halls which is located at Namchi Senior Secondary School.

Additionally, the ADC updated that candidates need to obtain required identity cards for the designated agents only then will these agents be permitted in the counting hall. He also underlined that the strong room placed in the school will be opened in the morning of the counting day in the presence of the representatives from political parties, returning officer and various other officials and that the counting process will commence from 8 am onwards.

Speaking during the meeting, the SDM (HQ) explained about the security arrangements which will be manned by SSB, IRB and district police in and around the school complex. He also added that during the day of counting the candidates and their agents will be put up in a room in the school premises which has already been identified by the officials.

Around 300 Yaks starve to death due to heavy snowfall in North Sikkim

Mangan, 11 May (IPR): District Magistrate, North, Shri Raj Yadav, has informed that approximately 300 Yaks have reportedly died because of starvation due to heavy snow fall at Mukuthang in North Sikkim.

Because of heavy snow fall, the yaks were stranded at one place in Mukuthang since December which caused starvation and led to death of yaks.

A medical team of Animal Husbandry Department along with feed and fodder has already reached Mukuthang for medical treatment and to feed the rest yaks.

Fifteen families of Mukuthang and 10 families of Yumthang have been affected due to this catastrophe.

A team of District Administration in coordination with ITBP has started ascertaining actual death toll and preparing report. The report will be submitted to the DC Office by 13 May and subsequently, the compensation will be disbursed to the affected families as per norms.

Meeting convened for vote counting procedure in North district

Mangan, 10 May (IPR): District Election Officer-cum-District Magistrate, North, Shri Raj Yadav, conducted a meeting on Vote Counting Procedure for all political parties of the district at his chamber today.

The meeting was held in the presence of Superintendent of Police, North, Shri Kunzang Dorjee Shangderpa, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Mangan, Shri Samdup Bhutia, Under Secretary, Election, Shri Santosh Pradhan, and representatives of all political parties of the district.

The DM/N informed that the counting will begin from 8 am on 23 May at the conference hall of strong room in DAC, Mangan. At first counting of Electronic Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) will be done which will followed by Postal Ballot counting. Both the counting process will be verified three times by a scanner and any mismatches on the Postal Ballot envelope serial number will be accounted as an invalid vote.

The third counting will done on the Control Unit (CU) and the final counting will be done on Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips. There will be separate counting tables for CU and VVPAT.

The DM/N stated that there will be restrictions of people entering in the Counting hall during the day of counting. Only exclusive agents and staffs with ID cards and authorization letter will be allowed to enter the hall. There will also be restriction of vehicles entering into the DAC compound. Only two vehicles belonging to political party/candidates will be able to enter the DAC compound.

He also added that only media person will be allowed to use phone within the DAC but no one will be allowed to use counting table. It was also informed that only the IPR Department will be allowed to take video inside the counting hall.

Shri Yadav also informed that the vote counting process of one constituency may take couple of hours as it has to go through multiple verification. It was also informed that the election result will be declare after the VVPAT counting is done as the number of votes on CU should match the VVPAT slips.

He urged the political parties to extend their best cooperation in making counting process a peaceful one. After the result declaration, the CU and the VVPAT machines will be re-sealed and kept in safe custody for 45 days in Strong Room to address any form of complaint by the political parties.

The counting process will begin constituency-wise starting from 29-Kabi-Langchuk to 31-Lachen-Mangan and finally 30-Dzongu. The counting of the last constituency 32-Sangha will take place in East Sikkim.

The DM/N asked all political party supporters and officials to maintain peace and discipline on the day of counting.

The SP/N briefed about the traffic and transportation arrangements for the counting day. He stated that the political parties supporters will be kept separately at Zilla Bhawan and Mangan Hospital to avoid any form of violence.

He informed that only two vehicles for candidates will be allowed for a touch and go at the DAC Office. Mobile phones will be kept outside of the hall with a token system. It was also informed that frisking will be done. In the end, he told all the political parties to direct their supporters to celebrate responsibly without any form of violence.

Monsoon preparedness meet held for North district in Mangan

Mangan, 09 May (IPR): A meeting on monsoon preparedness-cum-coordination organized by District Disaster Management Authority, North was held here at the conference hall of DAC in Mangan today.

The meeting was chaired by District Magistrate, North, Shri Raj Yadav, in the presence of Senior Superintendent of Police, North, Shri Kunzang Dorjee Shangderpa, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Mangan, Shri Samdup Bhutia, heads of line departments and representatives of ITBP, NHPC, Teesta Urja Ltd. and GREF.

The sole aim of the meeting was to discuss the fundamental issues to combat the unforeseen disaster that may occur in the upcoming monsoon in the district and to prepare better coordination between line departments to deal with any post disasters.

During the meeting, DM, North, Shri Yadav, while briefing the house about the monsoon preparedness stated that in any emergency or disaster District Administrative Centre, Mangan will function as a control room where every concerned officials will assemble and shall proceed with disaster management plan.

For faster communication all concerned officers will be communicated through SMSs or WhatsApp and they shall act accordingly during course of any calamity. Further he directed the heads of department to submit their contact number to the DC office to update on WhatsApp group.

The Departmental Disaster Management Plan and GPU level Disaster Management Plan would be incorporated in the district level Disaster Management Plan for better co-ordination and DAC will add at least one proficient member of all GPU level disaster management plan of the district on DAC WhatsApp group for better coordination and communication during any disaster.

Prompt action and an immediate disbursement of ex-gratia shall be initiated to the affected person of natural calamities by the concerned department, he added.

Speaking on maintenance of road connectivity in the district, the DM directed the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) and the Roads Department to give daily updates to public about road condition through WhatsApp and Facebook.

Shri Yadav while addressing the representatives of GREF stated that use of gelatin to blast boulder while clearing the roads must be done in co-ordination with the Police, PHE Department and the Power Department as to take intensive precaution of local public and power grid and water supply of proximity. Further, he directed the GREF to construct drainage system along with widening of roads.

Similarly, Assistant Engineer (AE) and Junior Engineer (JE) of the Power Department were asked to provide regular updates on maintenance or failure of electricity. It was also suggested to the department to provide a departmental contact number where public can lodge their complaints regarding power outage.

The Food Department was instructed to keep reserve stock of essential commodities as monsoon preparedness as most of roads of the district are slide prone.

Officials of the PHE Department were asked for perennial supply of water in the governmental offices and to all stakeholders of the district. Mangan Nagar Panchayats were asked to clean all clogged drains and nullahs in and around Mangan Bazaar.

Talking to the representatives of Power Projects of the district, the DM instructed them to ensure proper functioning of the warning system of the hydel projects and to hold public awareness programme on monsoon preparedness in the district.

The SP, North opined that there is need to hold a mock exercise in co-ordination with different departments to make the public aware about the rescue and relief operation. He insisted on buffer stock of essential commodities, reserve medical teams as monsoon preparedness.

The representatives of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) informed about the Regional Response Centre (RRC) which is capable of responding any disaster in a short time. The RRC Team is stationed at Chungthang and they are available any time in case of natural disaster.

First review meet for 2019 Aspirational District in West Sikkim

Gyalshing, 08 May (IPR): First review meeting for 2019 Aspirational District was conducted at the conference hall of District Administration Center (DAC) in Rabdentse, West Sikkim. District Collector, West, Shri Karma R. Bonpo, chaired the meeting along with Sub Divisional Magistrate (HQ), Shri Tushar G. Nikhare, and heads of line departments.

The DC, West urged the departments involved to pick up the pace and start progressing towards the improvement of the indicators of Aspirational District in West Sikkim. He congratulated everyone for their efforts made in the past year and asked them to make similar commitment and show similar enthuse in making the West District better than last year.

He further urged the Health and Education Departments along with ICDS, NERLEP, ITI, AHVS, Horticulture and Agriculture Departments to put work collectively and in convergence to make an overall development in the district.

The DC, West stressed on education being the main priority of the district and asked the Additional Director, Human Resource Development Department to concentrate more on residential schools. He also asked the ICDS and Primary Schools to work in cooperation. He advised the HoDs to focus mainly on the gaps of their individual departments which needs to be worked upon whilst ensuring that the District Administration would cooperate in every way possible.

He also asked the AH&VS Department to focus more on the production of dairy and poultry. Agriculture and Horticulture Departments were advised to help farmers with creating more income via their crop production and also the possibility of Cold Storage facility which could be made available in Dentam for the benefit of the Farmers of West Sikkim.

The Horticulture Department was also advised by the DC to use the surplus lands of the Residential Schools for crop cultivation which could be utilized to feed the students of the school itself. He instructed the Additional District Collector (Development) of Soreng and Gyalshing along with SDMs and BDOs to look after the water supplies, rural electricity issues, adoption and monitoring of Schools and teachers. The DC, West also welcomed innovative ideas and projects of the departments which can improve the District at large.

The SDM (HQ) also spoke under similar lines and urged the departments to focus more on the programmes of the Aspirational District after the elections and to provide the data and target for 2019 as early as possible. He also briefed the gathering on the Aspirational District Programme and the indicators which they are ought to improve.

A day long general awareness cum training of Fair Price Shop Owners, Panchayats and Beneficiaries or Public Distribution System

Gangtok, May 7 (IPR): Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department organised a day long general awareness cum training of Fair Price Shop Owners, Panchayats and Beneficiaries or Public Distribution System here at Food Godown, Lumsey today.

The Secretary of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, Ms. Sarala Rai was present as chief guest and she was accompanied by senior officers and staffs.

Addressing the gathering, Secretary, Ms. Sarala Rai called upon Fair Price Shop (FPS) Owners to follow the guidelines while running the FPS. “Consumers are protected with adequate law under Consumer Protection Act 1986 but most of the consumers are not aware with their rights. So far only few number of cases have been reported in Consumer Forum as people are lacking with their rights and responsibilities and people should be educated and trained or their own welfare and for the general society as a whole,” said Secretary.

Secretary also stated that common people were becoming the main target of exploitation for the market due to lack of awareness, education and ignorance and further informed that now onwards beneficiaries will get grade A rice from FPS.

Earlier, Additional Controller, Shri C.K Sharma emphasized on the Consumer Protection Act 1986 which was implemented in the country to look into the issue of consumer rights.

Shri Sharma informed about various processes which have been initiated by the Department to provide justice to consumers through district, state and national forums. Sharma stated that the shop owners cannot put their own stickers and rate to make an extra profit on the commodities and if anyone found of mal practices will be booked as per law.

During the program shop owners and beneficiaries placed their problems and grievances which was clarified by the Department.

At the end the Department appealed to everyone present to make themselves more aware so as to avoid exploitations and malpractices

1st Round of Training for Counting Supervisors, Counting Assistants and Micro Observers successfully completed

Gyalshing, 7th May, 2019 (IPR): The First round of Training for Counting Supervisors, Counting Assistants and Micro Observers was held at the Community Hall, Gyalshing, West Sikkim. The training was chaired by Shri. Karma R. Bonpo, DC West along with Shri. Karma Lodey Lepcha, ADC West and Shri. Tushar G. Nikhare, SDM (HQ). Shri. Jigme Wangchuk Bhutia, SDM Ravangla was the Master Trainer for the program.
Shri. Karma R. Bonpo addressed the trainees present on the layout of how and where the Counting would take place in the district. He mentioned that a three layered security system would be constituted wherein the State Police, State intelligence Bureau and Central Parliamentary Armed Forces would be deployed to ensure proper security. He also mentioned that separate counting halls for Parliamentary and Assembly Constituency have been designated, Hall 1 (BRC Auditorium Hall, Govt. Girls SSS, Kyongsa) and Hall 2 (Auditorium Hall, Govt. Girls SSS, Kyongsa for Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies respectively.
He also mentioned that the personnel involved in the counting process would be given Identity Cards without which they wouldn’t be allowed to enter the premises. He also advised that every personnel must be alert and vigilant in their duties. He further informed that randomization of the counting tables would start from 5am on 23rd May, 2019. He also informed that the entire process of opening of strong rooms, opening of EVMs would be videotaped for evidence purpose.
Master Trainer Shri. Jigme W. Bhutia spoke on the objective of the training was to learn about the counting of Postal Ballots, Counting of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballots, Counting of Votes recorded in EVMs, Counting of VVPAT slips and Compilation of data. He also spoke in depth about the filling of different forms, compilation of data, counting teams for EVMs, Postal Ballots and Additional Counting Team for the ECI Observer, Counting Team Compositions (1 Counting Supervisor, 1 Counting Assistant, 1 Micro Observer and one Support staff), Micro Observers and their duties, computation team who have to compile data manually and digitally, process involved in the postal ballot counting, cross checking of results by the ECI Observer and other aspects associated with the counting procedure

Pre-Monsoon Disaster Preparedness held at DAC Namchi

Namchi, 7th May (IPR): A daylong co-ordination meeting on Pre-Monsoon Disaster Preparedness organized by District Disaster Management Authority South (DDMA) at the Conference Hall of DAC Namchi today.

The meeting chaired by DC (South) Mr. Ragul.K was held with an objective to meet the challenges of the impending monsoon. The meeting was also attended by SP(S) Mr. Manish Verma, ADM (South) Mr. Satyam K Pradhan alongside SDMs and HoD’s of line Departments from the district.

During the meeting, issues related to monsoon induced calamities, action plans, coordination between all line departments, and readily available assistance to reinforce normally of lives post disasters were discussed.

Speaking on the occasion, DC (S) Raghul K, highlighted that all the concerned officials and disaster management team to be vigilant and alert during times of monsoon disasters. He also spoke in detail about the availability and access of disaster management equipments and directed the stakeholders to remain vigil and ready to tackle any magnitude of disaster. He also addresses the issues of effective communication during times of disaster and urged the public to report any incidents or casualties to the SDMs or the concerned officers of the area. Matters related to disbursement of ex-gratia was also taken up during the meeting. In addition, the DC urged the representatives of different departments to ensure full preparedness to face
natural calamities of any kind during monsoon season. He called for an active and correct monitoring and implementation for disaster relief plans for the district under Incident Response System (IRS).

The DC took up matters of damaged and vulnerable water pipeline supply in Namchi with the PHE Dept and directed them to get the problem resolved in a timely manner. Similarly, he issued directives to Roads & Bridges Department and the Private stakeholders to ensure restoration of slide prone areas along the highway prior to monsoons and emphasized the clearance of roads inorder to avoid unnecessary traffic. He asked the officials of PMGSY and Roads Department to clear the drains urgently and take preventive actions. He also asked the SDMs to inspect the roads to avoid natural calamities. Likewise, the DC advised the Forest Department to look into the problem of reckless dumping, felling of tilted trees and plantation wherever necessary. All officials were directed to be on high alert during the monsoons and stock adequate supplies of essentials in the respective stations during the course of the meeting.

Vegetable cold storage reopens at Mangan Lal Bazaar

Mangan, 05 May (IPR): An organic vegetable centre-cum-cold storage located at Lal Bazaar in Mangan reopened in a short function organized by the North District Zilla Panchayat today.

From now on, farmers who want to store their vegetables in the cold storage can avail space after paying the rate as charged by the concerned committee.

The reopening function of organic vegetable centre-cum-cold storage was attended by Shri Somnath Adhikari (Additional District Magistrate/North), Shri K.R. Limboo (Additional District Collector, Development), Shri Pempa Bhutia (District Planning Officer/NDZP), officials from the line department and the local dignitaries of Mangan.

The cold storage is owned, operated and maintained by the NDZP under the guidance of the DPO.

This new facility gives a good opportunity to farmers to market their local organic products to the public at a good price. The reopening has given mutual benefit to both the local public and the local farmers.

Chief Secretary holds monsoon preparedness meet

Gangtok, 04 May (IPR): A meeting was held at the conference hall of the new Secretariat at Tashiling in Gangtok with regard to monsoon preparedness.

Chaired by Chief Secretary, Shri A.K. Shrivastava, the meeting was headed by Chairman, Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA), Professor V.K. Sharma , Special Secretary, Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department, Shri Rinzing Chewang, and Additional Director, LR&DMD, Shri G.C. Khanal.

Heads and representatives of State Government Departments, Armed Forces, Paramilitary Forces, Government of India Agencies and NGOs were in attendance at the preparedness meeting.

The meeting was primarily held to discuss and deliberate upon the problems and preparations in place to tackle possible calamities arising in the State due to the oncoming monsoons. The meeting also focused on the various actions taken on the deliberations of the last monsoon preparedness meeting held in May of 2018.

The CS, in his address, stated that Sikkim is placed strategically in the geographical map of the country. Being blessed with rich natural biodiversity, the State is also prone to natural hazards like heavy monsoons and also falls on a critical seismic zone, and hence, requires alertness from all the disaster relief related departments and organizations.

He applauded that despite these hardships, the concerned officials have been working impressively towards dealing with disasters effectively and encouraged all to continue with their vigilance.

“We all have to maintain and develop concrete documentation for active and correct monitoring and implementation for disaster relief plans and modules,” the CS said.

He further stated that Sikkim is working zealously towards becoming a model state in disaster reduction and solicited co-operation and participation from all towards achieving this distinction.

Chairman, SSDMA, Prof. Sharma, while addressing the officials, reiterated the importance of meetings related to monsoon preparedness and mentioned that Sikkim stands as a splendid example of mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in the country. He said that progressive efforts have put Sikkim on the road towards becoming a Model State in disaster risk reduction.

Prof Sharma shared that the preparedness meeting was an enlightening one and expressed positivity that although natural adversities cannot be averted, the state is fully prepared to deal with any disaster head on.

The heads and representatives of the departments, agencies and organizations presented their respective reports on the action taken on the outcome of the last meeting to the CS and core issues that greatly affect the State during the monsoons were also placed forward for discussions.

The meeting also highlighted the need for a Hospital Safety Plan and a School Safety Plan to be devised and implemented duly. The need of a Safety Audit for schools and hospitals was also taken up positively by those in attendance at the meeting.