Forest Right Act 2005

Lachung, 8th February (IPR): A sensitization and an awareness program on Forest Right Act 2005 was held by the District Administration at Lachung Dzumsa. The meeting was chaired by District Collector North which was attended by the Sub Divisional Magistrate Mangan and Sub Divisional Magistrate Chungthang.

SDM Mangan provided a brief overview of the Forest Right Act and role and responsibilities of the Dzumsa with regard to implementation of the act. He stated that under the Act a Forest Rights Committee consisting of ten to fifteen members was required to be immediately constituted by the Dzumsa. Once constituted the applications of Forest Rights should be submitted to the Committee. The committee will verify the claims and objections and conduct joint verification with the Forest and Revenue officials. The final list will then be placed before the Dzumsa which will approve the claims received. The Sub Division Level Committee constituted at the sub-division will verify the claims submitted by the Dzumsa and forward the list to the District Level Committee for establishment of forest rights.

The District Collector stated that Forest Right Act was an important act as majority of the people settled in Lachung were traditional pastoral communities. Many claims were being received from the people but due to the lack of awareness, the act was not being implemented. He stated that it was therefore important to understand the provisions of the act and train the Forest Right Committee extensively. The roles and responsibilities of traditional forest dwellers under the Act should be clearly understood so that there is a balance between the rights of the Scheduled Tribes and conversation of Nature. He stated that future awareness meeting will be made if there is a demand from the people.

The District Collector while addressing the gathering also stated the need for sustainable tourism in the valley. He stated the over the years there has been a explosion in the tourist inflow and due to this it has led to mushrooming of unplanned concrete structures everywhere. There is thus an urgent requirement for proper town planning and regulation so that the traditional architecture and pristine beauty of the valley can be preserved for posterity. The youth of the valley should focus on generation of livelihood from tourism activities and the sub letting of hotel should be minimized. He appealed to the Dzumsa to regulate the construction activities and focus more towards high value tourism rather than commoditization of the tourism. He also stated the Border Area Development works should be focussed on revenue generation and livelihood creation for the youths.

The Awareness program was well received by the members of the Dzumsa who appealed to the District authorities to find a solution to their land rights.

Nitin Gadkari Appreciates Sikkim’s Dhara Vikas Initiative

New Delhi, Feb 7:(IPR) The Rural Management and Development Department (RMDD) was invited by the office of the Hon’ble Union Minister, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to present the Dhara Vikas Initiatives of the State. The Department was represented by Addl. Secretary cum PD – MGNREGA, Mrs Sarika Pradhan and Dr.Subhash Dhakal, OSD – RMDD. The meeting was chaired by Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister for Water Resources and was attended by the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Chairman of Central Ground water Board, Regional Director, Central Ground Water Board, Secretary and Joint Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

The Rural Management and Development Department (RMDD) is entrusted with the responsibility to provide drinking water supply in the rural areas of the state. It is a daunting task, as it requires work to be done in extremely challenging physical landscape of the mid-hills (900 m -3000 m) with scattered households on the fragile slopes. Glaciers and snow-fed rivers flow much below the habitations in the valleys with no scope for utilization. The provisioning for water is thus met by tapping water from small springs and streams. According to Sikkim First, an economic and political journal, about 65,000 (nearly 80%) of the state’s rural households depend on springs for drinking water and irrigation. Until the springs were perennial, the task was only to manage the distribution system. However, the ever growing demand for water due to population increase and rapid transformation in land use and land cover on the one hand and impact of climate change on the other hand has exerted immense pressure on the limited water resources. Most of the springs are drying up or becoming seasonal leading to acute water scarcity during the dry season especially from December to May.

According to Meteorological Department, rainfall, as a principal source of natural recharge for these aquifer systems in itself, is undergoing change wherein we are experiencing a reduction in a number of rainy days. Well-distributed rainfall in the form of a drizzle spread over a number of months is now received in the form of a heavy down pour in few months. Thus, the availability of water during the dry season and the rainy season varies drastically, resulting in too-little and too-much syndrome.

The outcome of the prevailing situation has directly affected the women and children living in the rural areas as they have to spend the best part of their time fetching water for household needs. This also has affected the agricultural practices and livestock management. The impact is apparently in their economic condition, health, and hygiene at the household level and in rural schools and other local institutions.

As a part of Climate Change adaptation and recognising the urgent need for ensuring water security, the Rural Management and Development Department (RM&DD), conceptualised the Dhara Vikas initiative to revive the state’s drying springs. The core thrust of Dhara Vikas is to catch the surface runoff water and use it to recharge groundwater. The initiative was funded from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), with technical support from other government agencies and organisations like WWF – India; People’s Science Institute, Dehradun; ACWADAM, Pune Arghyam, Bangaluru and others. The programme has been evolving over the years basically in a “Learning by doing” mode as there were no models for spring revival available to replicate in the State. Success of the programme is also being measured by people’s perception and works are on to scientifically back this up with data and studies.

The Hon’ble Union Minister was impressed with the pioneering initiative of the State for its simplicity and effectiveness. He has asked his Ministry to see how this initiative can be upscaled to other Himalayan and North East states where the same is replicable. He has further requested that the State present this initiative in the Bhujal Manthan being organised by the Central Ground Water Board on 16-17th of February 2018. The main objective of the Bhujal Manthan is for brainstorming interactions applying collective wisdom amonst various researchers, stakeholders, water managers engaged in ground water resource management and policy planners to give attention to role of ground water in irrigation, water conservation & recharge and participatory ground water management and sustainability.

‘Morning Walking Group’ Club of Neil Tara Academy

Gangtok, Feb 7: (IPR) Last year students of ‘Morning Walking Group’ Club of Neil Tara Academy launched a beautiful campaign which aimed for the upliftment of disabled persons.

They started making greeting cards and sold them for social cause. The total donation collected was around Rs.14,000/- which was donated to ‘Sikkim Viklang Sahayata Samiti’. The two prominent faces of this campaign Ms. Priya Mishra and Ms. Kalina Pradhan today called on the Hon’ble Governor at Raj Bhavan. They were accompanied by their parents and Principal Mr. Navraj Tiwari.

Hon’ble Governor felicitated them and applauded their hard work. Ms. Kalina Pradhan has also produced a short movie on the true story about ‘Malala Yousafzai’, the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. A copy of this movie was presented to Hon’ble Governor who assured that it will be premiered at Home theatre, Raj Bhavan for the young kids of Raj Bhavan’s employees, so that they can also get inspired to work for the betterment of society.

Hon’ble Governor said that these girls have proved that nothing is impossible. If we take initiatives and use our skills in right direction then we can change the face of society. Hon’ble Governor also congratulated parents and Principal who guided and motivated these girls.

An inspection of various infrastructure works in Chungthang town

Chungthang, 7th February(IPR): An inspection of various infrastructure works in Chungthang town was conducted by the District Collector North, SDM Chungthang and the team of officials from the District headquarters.
The team inspected the ongoing construction of the Chunghtang monastery where the contractor was directed to complete the slab basting within the month of March 2018. A monitoring team was also set up with the Divisional Engineer, E&P Chungthang and SDM Chungthang as members. The monitoring team will review the progress of the monastery on a daily basis.
The Chunghtang Water Supply project which is currently being executed by the PHE Department was also inspected. The work is expected to be completed by March end. Besides the above, the team also inspected various ongoing works at Chungthang Senior Secondary School, Weaving Centre, PHCs and ICDS centres.
The plan to upgrade the drainage system of the town and prevent untreated waste to flow into the river was reviewed with Teesta Urja Ltd. The District Collector directed that the plan should be immediately finalized and executed to stop the flow of waste. The District Collector also directed that any toilets without proper soak pits should be immediately removed from the town. He asked the sub divisional magistrate and Panchayats to check the mushrooming of labour colonies in the town. The District Collector also inspected the potential site for setting up a Sewage Treatment Plant for which a DPR is currently under preparation by the PHE Department.
An interaction was also held between the Panchayats and the administration and various ideas and plans to improve the Chungthang town were discussed. During the interaction the District Collector stated the Administration and Panchayats should focus on sustainable tourism development for livelihood generation in the town.

Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department, Government of Sikkim

Bhopal, Feb 6:(IPR) A team of officers from Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department, Government of Sikkim led by Ms. Sarala Rai, IAS, Secretary visited the Tribal Research Institute and the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya National Museum of Mankind (IGRMS) in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on 06.02.2018.

Professor Sarit Kumar Chaudari, the Director of IGRMS welcomed the team and informed them that the institute would be organizing a Sikkim themed festival from the 21st to the 23rd of March 2018 at their campus which would coincide with the Foundation Day of IGRMS. The aim of the festival would be to showcase the cultural heritage of Sikkim through cultural dances, organic and ethnic cuisine, traditional handloom/handicraft etc. including an academic programme where a book on the “Cultural Heritage of Sikkim” would be released. The Director expressed his desire in extending a welcome and requesting the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Sikkim to attend the event as his esteemed presence would add significant value for all.

The purpose of this visit was to get a comprehensive idea for the establishment of a Tribal Museum that would function effectively and efficiently.

Secretary, Ms. Sarala Rai, thanked the institute and the team and assured that all help and support required from the SJEWD would be extended in making this event successful.