General information for the day of counting

Namchi, 21 May (IPR): Returning Officer (South), Mr. Ragul K., informed that the counting of votes polled on 11th April shall be conducted in the counting centre established at Namchi Senior Secondary School. He added that there are six numbers of counting halls for counting of votes in this centre. Hall No 1, 2 and 3 will be used for counting of Assembly Constituencies, similarly, Hall No 4, 5 and 6 will be used for Assembly Segments of Parliamentary Constituencies.

In Hall No 1, votes of Assembly Constituencies 09 Barfung, 12 Melli and 14 Temi Namphing will be counted. Likewise, in Hall No 2 votes of 10 Poklok-Kamrang, 13 Namthang Rateypani and 16 Tumin Lingi will be counted and in Hall No 3, 32 Sangha, 11 Namchi Singhithang and 15 Rangang Yangang Assembly constituencies will be counted.

In Hall No 4, counting for Assembly segments of parliamentary constituencies namely 09 Barfung, 12 Melli and 14 Temi Namphing will be done. Hall No 5 will see the counting of Assembly segments of parliamentary constituencies of 10 Poklok Kamrang, 13 Namthang Rateypani and 16 Tumin Lingi. Hall No 6 will have Assembly segments of parliamentary constituencies of 11 Namchi Singhithang and 15 Rangang Yangang.

The strong room will be opened at 6:30 am in the presence of the General Observers, Returning Officer and contesting candidates. Additionally, the RO mentioned that four General Observers, Mr. Dharam Pal, Mr. Rajesh Jogpal, Mr. Shrish Chandra Verma and Mr. Tribhuwan Pati, who have been appointed by the Election Commission of India, have already arrived in Namchi for the purpose of counting.

The RO updated that these general observers have trained the micro observers on the various facets of counting at the conference hall of DAC today. Mr. Dharam Pal also visited the counting centre and verified the security arrangements. The RO said that the entire IT and communication systems have been checked during the dry run which was conducted at 8 am today.

It maybe mentioned that an elaborate arrangement for the candidates, election agents and their supporters have already been done by South District Administration. The RO also requested the general public to abide with the provision put up on the day of counting including proper maintenance of law and order for smooth and peaceful counting of votes.

Gangtok observes Anti Terrorism Day

Gangtok, 21 May (IPR): Sikkim joined the rest of the country in observing Anti-Terrorism Day today to mark the death anniversary of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who became victim of a terrorist attack in Tamil Nadu on this day in 1991.

Chief Secretary, Government of Sikkim, Shri A.K. Shrivastava, administered the pledge to all the officers and staff of the premises at Tashiling Secretariat.

Every year 21st May is observed as Anti-Terrorism Day, the Day is observed to generate awareness among all sections of people about the danger of terrorism and violence and its effect on the people, society and the country as a whole.

The pledge taking programme had the presence of HoDs of various departments and all officers and staff of all the offices situated at Tashiling Secretariat premises.

The pledge taking ceremony was also observed across the State at all Government offices, Public Sector Undertakings and other Public Institutions.

Anti Terrorism Day observed in North district

Mangan, 21 May (IPR): District Administrative Centre (DAC), North observed Anti Terrorism Day at DAC, Mangan. The pledge was administered by District Magistrate, North, Shri Raj Yadav. Anti Terrorism Day was also observed in Sub-Divisions and Block Administrative Centres (BACs) of the district where in pledge was administered by SDMs, BDOs and HoDs.

West Sikkim Observes Anti Terrorism Day

Gyalshing, 21 May (IPR): Anti Terrorism Day was observed by District Administration, Sub-divisions and Block Offices of West Sikkim. The pledge was administered by Superintendent of Police, West, Shri Tenzing Loden Lepcha, at the DAC in Rabdentse. Similarly, SDMs, BDOs and HoDs administered the pledge at their respective offices.

Arrival of two Central Observers in Gyalshing for counting of State Legislative Assembly Elections

Gyalshing, 20 May (IPR): The Central Observers for counting of the State Assembly namely Mr. Faisal Aftab, IAS for Assembly Constituencies 1 to 4 and Dr. N. Nagambika Devi, IAS for Assembly Constituencies 5 to 8 of West Sikkim have arrived in Gyalshing on this evening. They will be stay till 24th May in Gyalshing for the counting process.

The contact numbers of Mr. Faisal Aftab, IAS is 97338-74950 and Dr. Nagambika Devi, IAS is 93433-10623.

Dry Run (Mock Counting) for counting day held in West district

Gyalshing, 20 May (IPR): The final round of training for counting team and micro observers along with a Dry Run (Mock Counting) procedure for Counting of votes to make the counting team ready for the Counting Day was done at the Auditorium Hall of Kyongsa Girls Senior Secondary School.

The Mock Counting Procedure was done in the presence of Shri Karma R. Bonpo (DC-cum-DEO, West) along with Shri Karma Lodey Lepcha (ADC, West) and other officials.

The DC West briefed the counting team on the counting process and norms to be kept in mind. He further explained in depth the entire procedures involved from the counting of votes to the declaration of results.

Both Assembly Segments of Parliamentary Constituencies and Assembly Constituencies Counting teams were trained in 2 batches which started from 9:30am.

He also informed 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 and other necessary procedures to be followed.

Final briefing on counting of votes conducted for North district

Mangan, 20 May (IPR): The final round of briefing on counting of votes to the officers who have been entrusted with counting task was held at the chamber of District Magistrate, North today.

The District Election Officer (DEO)-cum-District Magistrate, Shri Raj Yadav, chaired the meeting and briefed the gathering about the counting process to the officers and staffs who are engaged with the duty on the counting day. The order was also handed over to the counting officers and staffs.

The final round of briefing was attended by Shri Kunzang Dorjee Shangderpa (Senior Superintendent of Police, North), Shri Samdup Bhutia (Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Mangan), Shri Mahesh Sharma (Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Kabi), Shri Subash Ghimire (Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Chungthang), Shri Norbu Tshering Bhutia (Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Dzongu), Shri Santosh Pradhan (Under Secretary, Election Department), Shri Passang Tshering Lepcha (Sub-Divisional Police Officer, North) and the officials and staffs vested with the task of counting of vote.

Counting of votes pertaining to Assembly Constituencies of 29-Kabi-lungchok, 30-Dzongu, 31- Lachen-Mangan, 32- Sangha and one Sikkim Parliamentary constituency will take place from 8 am on 23rd of May in hall no. 1 and 2 at new conference hall of New DAC and in hall no. 3 of conference hall of old DAC.

Co-ordination meet with contesting candidates held in Namchi

Namchi, 20 May (IPR): A coordination meeting with all the contesting candidates and their election agents was held at DAC conference hall in Namchi, South Sikkim today. The meeting was chaired by District Collector (South), Mr Ragul K., in the presence of Superintendent of Police (South), Mr Manish Verma, Sub-Divisional Magistrates, election officials and election agents.

At the onset, the DC spoke in detail about the arrangements made for the counting day and counting centres which is located at Namchi Senior Secondary School. He also mentioned about the various instructions of Election Commission of India including timely completion and other important guidelines which the attendees need to follow during the process of counting.

He added that the Strong Room will be opened at 6:30 am in the presence of Observer, candidates and their election agents. While speaking further, the DC explained that mobile phones and electronic items will be prohibited inside the counting halls, however, a separate collection room has been identified at Old Primary school building for storing of the electronic gadgets.

Similarly, a particular room has also been identified for candidates and their election agents. The DC informed that the election agents will not be allowed to enter the counting halls without valid identity cards issued by the authority. He also appealed the attendees for peaceful and smooth conduct of counting.

The DC added that the political party supporters will be kept at Alley and Singithang ground respectively. The round wise and final results announcement of the counting will be arranged at both the grounds. It was also informed that the results will also be uploaded immediately at the website on result.eci.gov.in.

The SP(South) in his address briefed about the security and traffic arrangements made in the counting day and urged everyone present to cooperate with the security personnel.

Press Release from AHLF&VS Department, North on Yak tragedy in Mukuthang Valley

Mangan, 20 May (IPR): As per a Press Release issued by Additional Director (North), A.H.L.F&V.S Department, North District, Mangan, Dr. Karma T. Bhutia, with regard to the death of Yaks in Mukuthang Valley and adjoining areas of North Sikkim, the Animal Husbandry Department in co-ordination with the L.R & D.M Department, North district and I.T.B.P immediately procured and arranged a buffer stock of dry fodder, wheat flour, mustard oil cake and local concentrate feed for distribution to the Yak herders of the entire region to tide over the imminent feed and fodder crisis after receiving first hand information from the local Pipons and Herders’ representative.

While the relief package was handed over to the herders in time (1st week of March 2019), barring Lachung area, the relief items could not be reached to the destination as the area remained cut off for over the last four months and still barely accessible even today.

“However, we remain content of the fact that the pre-emptive measures which we were able to deliver to the Yak farmers of Lachung village at the nick of time, greatly helped in curtailing the losses of Yak lives to quite an extent,” the release adds.

The release further informs that an emergent meeting was convened in the chamber of the D.C. (North) with the officials of the concerned line departments on 11th May for working out a task force to tackle the concurrent situation in hand. Subsequently, a departmental team of three Veterinary Officers & Para-vets from the district accompanied by relief and damage assessment team deputed from the B.A.C & S.D.M Office, Chungthang were dispatched to the area on 12.5.2019.

The team could only gain access up to Cho-lhamu and Gurudongmar area and the action taken up along with the preliminary report is recorded here under:

  • As per instructions of the D.C, North, the AHLF&VS department made arrangements for all requisite logistic support in terms of feed supplements and medicines.
  • The surviving animals of the area were provided with health tonics and requisite treatments, namely- anti-stress medication, ecto & endo parasiticides along with some package of concentrate feed and wheat flour.
  • Instructions and modalities for appropriate disposal of carcass.
  • Recording of the name & particulars of the households affected with the no. of Yak deaths against each household by the team from B.A.C and LR&D.M department. A copy of the preliminary report thereof is attached herewith for ready reference and the final report will be furnished by the team after visiting Muguthang valley.
  • On 13.5.2019, a team headed by Secretary AHLF&VS, Special Secretary LR&DM and Additional Director, North (AHLF&VS) briefed the Chief Secretary, Government of Sikkim at the Tashiling Secretariat, Gangtok regarding the calamity wherein a sum of Rs. 50.00 Lacs only was approved for release of ex-gratia in the first instance to the LR&DM Office, North.
  • A follow-up meeting was also conducted at Chungthang on 13.5.2019 which was presided over by S.D.M., Chungthang Sub-division and participated by V.O. (SDVH, Chungthang), B.D.O. (Chungthang) and members of the affected Yak herding families and their representatives.

In the meeting, it was agreed and decided that a second batch of team numbering about 30 persons from the Animal husbandry and LR&DM department (North District) would be proceeding to Muguthang valley on the 18th of May. The primary objective of the team would be to oversee and undertake proper disposal of the carcass and extend necessary Animal health care with adequate back-up support of medicine and feed supplements for which the C.O I.T.B.P has assured to extend all help and logistic support. The team is expected to be back by the 22nd of May 2019 with the final report.

  • Meanwhile, the LR&DM Department, North District is presently consolidating and finalizing the list of affected households for expediting release of the ex-gratia payment as permissible under the latest S.D.R.F/N.D.R.F guidelines, notified by the Government of India.

As may be seen from the above report, the incidence of snowfall ranging from mild to heavy and intermittent to continuous is a phenomenon left best at the mercy of Mother Nature in this era of global warming and climate change. Yak and Tibetan sheep, is globally categorized in the priority list of endangered and threatened species of animals with regard to its role in the conservation of the fragile ecosystem, maintaining the bio-diversity and also as the only source of livelihood to the highlanders.

It is also a fact that despite the animal’s God gifted ability to endure and thrive under stressful environmental conditions, the animal remains vulnerable to the unpredictable fury of nature. In addition, the very presence of the herders in the Country’s ever hostile border areas (Himalayas), greatly help the defense personnel stationed in the Border States like Sikkim to obtain vital information related to the safety and security of the Countrymen.

Therefore, it is but, essential and imperative that concerted efforts and perspective plan be envisaged by the Government for saving the life of this precious animal, augment the livelihood of the highlanders and motivate them to stay put with their herds in the region rather than seeking easier and alternative means of livelihood in urban areas.

With the justifications furnished as above, Dr. Bhutia would like to put forth the following suggestions/proposal, as a tentative and long-term solution to the concerned higher authorities for obtaining onward approval of the Government.

  1. Create/Establish a wing for Highland Livestock Development- This will enable the Government to address burning issues pertaining to highland livestock which are most vulnerable to nature and nearing extinction today.
  2. Build/Construct all weather roads in the Yak herding areas – This will render the area accessible to the tourists visiting the zone and thereby establish some mode of contact with the outside world as well as a fair bit of leisurely time and income to the herders. Moreover, it will also facilitate convenient and timely delivery of logistic support and relief items.
  3. Package of Feed, Fodder & Medical Aid Assistance – Snowfall being a routine phenomenon in the region, it is proposed that these herders be provided with the above special package of assistance by the 2nd week of November of every calendar year. This will see them tide over the winter feed and fodder crisis and aid them to save the losses of Yak lives and sustain their herd.
  4. Organize Highlander’s Annual Yak Festival – the proposed festival envisages, showcasing Yak racing and yak riding through local competition events and exemplary farmers would be felicitated with Certificates and Cash awards from the Head of the State/Government. This would inevitably go a long way in raising the morale of the herders and generating renewed zeal and enthusiasm amongst their new generation youths.
  5. Organize Exposure & Pilgrimage Tour for Yak herding families – Yak herders constantly engage in nature worship and hold religion in its pristine form to ensure the household prosperity and safety of their animals in such a remote location where, availing basic medical aid is a distant reality. Organization of such trips within and outside the Country from time to time will also embark upon establishing a sustainable goodwill relation with the Government functionaries working in close association with the herders.
  6. Allotment of Mobile Ambulance Vehicle – A mobile vehicle, preferably, a Bolero Camper if available at the disposal of the Sub-divisional Officer will greatly help the team in carrying out relief and rescue operations immediately. It will also enable the team to frequently make field visits and undertake timely pre-emptive measures.