Friday, September 7, 2007

Decline in the State Sex Ratio

The 2001 Census recorded 875 as the state Sex Ratio (the number of females per 1000 males). It’s a decline from 878 recorded in the previous census in 1991. While the state does us proud in terms of increase in the literacy rate, the slight decline in the sex ratio somewhat concerns…

We seem to stand much below the national average of 933, which is an improvement of 6 points over 927 recorded in 1991. Like the 1991 Census, the highest sex ratio (1058) was reported in Kerala and Haryana (861) the lowest.

The numbers recorded in Haryana doesn’t surprise me at all. We all have read and seen so much about the female foeticide in the states like Haryana, Punjab, Bihar and UP from decades. Unfortunately, we know its nothing but the repercussions of the heinous crime committed decades ago, which sadly still continues.

But the question that comes to me now is – but what about Sikkim? Why so low? Why the decline?
We have never heard of female foeticide in our state! Nor I think any such case has been reported so far. This just makes me vaguely wonder if this atrocious crime is also happening at our homes covertly.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Democracy 101 :: OF | BY | FOR - it's people {Sikkimese - Style}

The Preamble to the Indian Constitution, summarizes the aim and objective of the Constitution:

"WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to Constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY, of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY, of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all;
FRATERNITY, assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation;


The Preamble to our Constitution serves two purposes: -
a) It indicates the source from which the Constitution derives its authority;
b) It also states the objects, which the Constitution seeks to establish and promote.

Members are elected by the Legislative Assembly of Each State. Seats are fixed for each state on the basis of its population, and not equality. The numbers of seats as of 2006; according to the official website are:

Rajya Sabha [Upper House]: 242 members

Lok Sabha [Lower House]: 545 members

Total strength of both houses of Parliament = 787 representatives

Sikkim has only 2 representative; 1 each in both the houses of Parliament based on its population of 540,493.

Looking at those figures it is NOT that hard to imagine; how our issues are hardpressed getting noticed in the corridors of powers in our nation of 1,028,610,328 people???

Another significant barometer of SIKKIM's relative obscurity is to analyse how much airtime issues concerning SIKKIM get on News Broadcast Channels.

Generally you learn that - "NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS" and I subscribe to that perspective but only when everything is honky dory; BUT sometimes we have issues that need a little more visibility than it is afforded to it on the mainstream media.

Well it all boils down to - the hard fact of how? we are NOT that significant as far as Indian national POLITY is concerned; and the numbers are there to prove it. Hence, we are forever relying on the sympathies of someone else in DELHI to take up our causes'.

Another anomaly of the same phenemenon is that; MP's [Members of Parliamant] from Sikkim always side up with whichever party is in power at the CENTRAL Government. This must be a phenomenon unique to Sikkim. It definitely shows our politicians and "We" Sikkimese in poor light as far as political maturity is concerned; illustrating we do not have any political agenda/identity/idealogy/affiliation and principle. The politicians will call it a compulsion but the truth is that those 2 seats are so insignificant that noone takes it seriously among the 785 other seats.

Don't lose hope.. Yet!! There is a remedy to the situation; though it is sometime in the future. If we have to change this prevailing scenario then we need to find a powerful voice by-of-from Sikkim to represent us at Parliament; a voice that can lead, motivate and move the masses at the National level. That day my friend is visibility for Sikkim.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Planet in Peril - CNN AC 360 special.. Coming October 23rd

CNN Anderson Cooper 360 Special - Planet in Peril

"If you've been wondering why we're going to such great lengths -- and distances -- to tell the stories of threats to our planet and its inhabitants, now we can finally tell you.

We'll take you around the globe and show you how all of these threats aren't just future predictions but instead are happening right before our eyes. Through reports from Anderson Cooper, wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, you'll meet the people working to address these issues; you'll also see a shadowy world of wildlife trading where billions of dollars, and lives, are at stake.

It will air on CNN October 23rd and 24th."

Those of you who watch Anderson Cooper on CNN - 360; this is an opportunity to watch the Planet in Peril segment of the show in full episode formats. Coming to you on the 23rd and 24th of October. Please watch.
The threats to our planets are not somewhere/sometime in the future. It is a CLEAR & PRESENT danger and is heppenning right before our eyes.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

1787 AD - Teesta changes course | Landslides abound

"Tista is notorious for changing courses. The excessive rains of 1787 caused heavy floods in Tista valley and the river instead of following the original course to meet the Ganga River directly, changed its original course and captured a minor river, Ghaghat......

......As long as the river gradient and the mountain slopes are in a state of balance, the incidents of landslides are minimized. However, whenever due to natural or anthropogenic reasons if this precarious balance is upset a landslide starts. A river that changes course frequently is bound to erode the toe of the mountains along the new course and lead to landslides."

source - V K Joshi

In the year 1787 AD approximately 220 year ago Teesta changed her course. It will again in the future and is "notorious" for it.

September 2005 another landslide claimed 15 lives - among them 10 locals and 5 members of a climbing expedition.

Friday, July 20, 2007

LandSlide | RELIEF CAMP | Ganesh Tok might get washed away.

"Is this the real life - Is this just fantasy - Caught in a LANDSLIDE;
No escape from reality- Open your eyes - Look up to the skies and see."
- Bohemian Rhapsody - QUEEN

25 families have been evacuated in the past few days from Upper Chandmari.

RELIEF CAMPS are setup at panchayat office complex, Enchey School premises and the Doordarshan complex in Chandmari. Ganesh Tok also faces the danger of being washed away.

Does it sound like the Sikkim you know??? Did you ever imagine RELIEF CAMPS in Su-khim.

Mother Nature is definitely cross with the way we are treating the planet that she decided to shower incessantly and wreak havoc; triggering landslides and blocking roads in several parts of the state.

The districts [Gyalsing/Namchi/Mangan/Gangtok] are SILOS onto themselves; cut off from each other logistically and paralysing communication.

"More than 15 landslips on state highways have cut off South and West Sikkim from the rest of the state. Rabongla remains inaccessible from all sides.

Gyalshing remains cut off because of landslides near Tashiding Fatak, close to Legship." Source -

Landslides have cut off Singtam Dikchu Road in east Sikkim. Chungthang, remained cut off from Mangan.

National Highway 31A was blocked with slush/debris for several hours at 20 Mile between Singtam and Rangpo. About 500 vehicles were stranded throughout the day on the 16th of July 2007.

The road at Indira Bypass at Lower Sichey has caved in. This is in addition to the landslide at Amdo Golai last month which had already left the Bypass closed to traffic.

Are we PREPARED???

POST MORTEM is all we are good at; we never are PRO-ACTIVE and we never initiate preventive measures. In many ways we are akin to the BIG Pharma companies producing medicines to fight existing DISEASES but never produce medicines to PREVENT those DISEASES {maybe except for pregnancy :)}. Preventive medicine is left to holistic healers/Yoga/Sadhu/Babas/ under the ambit of alternative medicine. Somewhere; somehow - economics and commerce dictate the path they take and choices they make.

Among the 4 major causes of landslide listed namely Geological, Morphological, Physical and Human causes; the Human causes makes the most interesting reading:
  • Excavation
  • Loading
  • Drawdown
  • Land use change
  • Water management
  • Mining
  • Quarrying
  • Vibration
  • Water leakage



"The sense of development of the the present policy makers is much to be desired and it is scarySikkim does not need a broad gauge train. As it is the monsoons cause havoc and the roads keep getting blocked.
I am sure there will be major accidents.
Rangpo will be like any other train station in India with the typical calls and cries of " chai"..."chai"......hordes of people coming in for god know what........Maybe this train service will do to Sikkim what the Beijing Train service did.....I mean..why cant we have a toy train the Kalka Simla or the Darjeeling one. I dont see nay logic in a Broad Gauge service to Sikkim and to Nathula, they must be crazy!As for the tunnel, what can i say.

The President of the Sikkim Chamber of Commerce only cares for the moneyy, not the fragile ecology. Looks like he's very inspired by the Chinese feat of Engineering. A tunnel to Yakthung!!!!!!!!!!!ha !! ha!!! ha!!! ha!!!!!!I'm seriously going crazy in this place!!! Nobody wants to tALK SENSE ANYMORE!!!"

-Please visit to get the latest on the ACT [Affected Citizens of Teesta] indefinite hunger strike.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Rail connectivity in pipeline - worth a thought...

While I see no tangible outcome of the protest against the hyel power project, the mere thought about another ubranization leap in the pipeline has started bothering me. The initiative of connecting Sikkim with the broad gauge railway network to West Bengal sounds promising. Well the thought of further extending the railway link upto Nathula sounds even more promising. But I wonder, what surprises it might bring along...

The Union Minister of State for Railways, R Velu during his recent vist to Gangtok claimed that the railway project for Sikkim - West Bengal link is on the advanced stage of submission to the Central Railways Board. This would definitely bring down the cost of transportation, leading to some industrial growth and tourism benefits, but I wonder if the due diligence has been done in terms of geological research and survey.
The road that has been carved in the fragile Himalayas suffer innumerable landslides every monsoon, so I wonder if the same terrain can bear the construction of the broad gauge railway track.

What I find even more concerning is the proposition to construct the direct tunnel between Gangtok and Yatung (located in Tibetan Autonomous Region) in order to make the all weather, safe and shortest route as a part of the Indo-China connectivity initiative. The Sikkim Chamber of Commerce (SCC) President quotes that the tunneling will not affect the over land fragile environment as everything will be underground. I admire the faith that's being reflected by the SCC on the world class technologies.

We are aware of the high-end technology and machineries used for tunneling the hard rock. But here we are talking about tunneling in the terrain that literally permits only G +2 wooden constrution? Is it possible to build a 20 km long tunnel through the soft rock? I wonder...

We are already observing the changes in climate drastically - higher temperature and change in rain pattern being the most evident ones. We are seeing multi-storey buildings tilting and collapsing during monsoons every year. I can't even begin to imagine the possible natural disasters that might come as a bonus to this developmental leap. Its high time we stop playing blind...

The Central Board of Irrigation and Power and Tunnelling Association of India is organizing the World Tunnel Congress “Underground Facilities for Better Environment & Safety” & 34th General Assembly of ITA-AITES in September, 2008 at Agra. The objective is to provide a forum for exchange of information on the new practices and technologies to ensure sustainable life for future societies.
Hope such initiatives make some difference. Hope we'd be able to reach a healthy balance between development and sustainability soon...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Business: Real Estate | Designation: Landscape Modifiers | Harbingers of Extinction?

  • WANTED:- arable/agricultural LAND that can nurture and sustain approximately 40568 people of a Vanishing Tribe that are on the verge of displacement and extinction due to the construction of a Hydro electricity project in their backyard.

Not to trivialize the issue but I tried to identify the root cause of the problem faced with both sides of the debate - FOR and AGAINST the construction of the PANAN Hydel Project. After much deliberation and scratching my head for long periods; I conclude that Sikkim is just another piece of real estate that has to be explored and exploited.

And the problem gets acute if the real estate happens to be PRIME & STRATEGIC one as is the case of Sikkim as a whole and Dzongu in particular the last bastion of the "ravine folk" or RongPa' or the Lepchas'.

Ironically this piece of land which this website claims and I quote "The Government has reserved the Dzongu area, in North and Central Sikkim for Lepchas only ,to preserve this vanishing tribe" is almost being brought to its demise.

The question to ask is; what is the price you would put on a piece of prime real estate which would immediately displace its current inhabitants/tenants and eventually drive them to extinction?

Charles Darwin and his theories be DAMned and THANKS to the powers that be we the citizens of the world and Sikkim in particular can witness the destruction and extinction of an entire species of the an indigenous people. I think we live in amazing times where the greed of a few can spell extinction for a whole people. I think this would make good Reality TV. Hello! Endemol Listening????

Like I heard it before "Nature can provide for mankind's every NEED but never for his GREED"; well that does sum up.

I know there are those who will talk about the merits of the DAM being built for the greater common good. The question IS and always HAS been; FORGET the "greater" or "common"; atleast start with the 'good' first. And if the intentions were not noble to start with then what is the point?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Please remember its our SIKKIM...............

Despite many initative, the quality of the urban and rural enviroment continues to decline. The root cause of this problem is the slack performance of the enforcement agencies.

Recently, the Supreme Court Lamented :" if the mere enactment of the laws relating to the protection of enviroment was to ensure a clean and pollution free enviroment, then India would, perhaps, be the least polluted country in the world. But, this is not so. There are stated to be over 200 central and state statues which have at least some concern the enviromental protection, either directly or inderectly. The plethora of such enactment has unfortunately, not resulted in preventing enviromental degradation which, on the contrary, has increased over years"

We the people of "SIKKIM" might be oblivious about this fact, that although Courts are ill-equipped to take over enforcement functions, the dismal performance of Governmental agencies has compelled a higher judiciary to secure compliance through Public Interest Litigation.

The only thing that is ' Constant' in this world is change, forget the question ' ARE WE READY' rather stress on 'DO WE REALLY' need change.????????????

The enviroment is not just pretty trees and tigers, threatened plants and eco system. It is literally the entity on which we all subsists , and on which the entire agriculture and industrial development depends. Development can take place at the cost of the enviroment only Until a point. Beyond that point it will be like the foolish man who was trying to cut the very branch on which he was sitting.

DRAMATIC EXAMPLES of changes can be seen where man has altered the course of nature. It is vividly evident in his well- intentioned but poorly thought out tampering with river and lake ecosystem . The 'ASWAN DAM' was primarily built to generate electric power. It produced power, but it also reduced the fish population in the mediterranean, increased the number of disease bearing aquatic snails and markedly lowered the fertility of the NILE VALLEY.

NOW LETS TALK ABOUT URBANISATION......................... SHALL WE???????????

Many people prefer to call the urban migrants economic refugees from the countryside. But, in fact many of them are really ecological refugees, displaced by dams, by mines, by deforestation,by destruction of grazing land, by floods, by drought, by urban expansion and what not. We have today the world's 4th largest urban population. Before the end of the century we will be the largest.

A cognizance of eco system services, expressed in terms of their loss, dates back at least to Plato and probably much earlier:

what now remains of the formerly rich land is like the skeleton of a sick man with all the fat and soft earth wasted away and only the bare frame work remaining. Formerly, many of the mountains were arable. The plains that were once covered with forest and produces abundant pasture now produce only food for bees. Once, the land was enriched by yearly rains, which were not lost, as they are now, by flowing from the bare land into the sea. The soil was deep, it absorbed and kept the water and the water that soaked into the hills fed springs and running streams everywhere. Now the abondoned shrines at spots where formerly there were springs atleast that our description of the land is true

I quote:

" thy shall not shift into someones shoes, to be someone famous ..... someone known.... someone great.... thy shall still be recognised, by being what you are.... thy don't need to change thy shoes, to walk through the lane of fame and success...........

Monday, July 2, 2007

Waiting for the World to Change!

Teesta Hydro Electricity Project [WORK IN PROGRESS?????]
Well, take me back down where cool water flows, yeah.
Let me remember things I love,
Stoppin at the log where catfish bite,
Walkin along the river road at night,
Barefoot girls dancin in the moonlight.
I can hear the bullfrog callin me.
Wonder if my ropes still hangin to the tree.
Love to kick my feet way down the shallow water.
Shoefly, dragonfly, get back tyour mother.
Pick up a flat rock, skip it across GREEN RIVER.
Up at codys camp I spent my days, oh,
With flat car riders and cross-tie walkers.
old cody, junior took me over,
Said, youre gonna find the world is smouldrin.
And if you get lost come on home to GREEN RIVER.
Come on home.